It is so warm that the dandelions have started blooming again in our yard. ("So warm" here in upstate means 60 degrees.) We scrapped most of our lessons today to spend the day outside, since it looks as if the bottom is going to start falling out tomorrow -- first rain and wind, and then snow every day for a week. Welcome to December!
This morning we refilled our bird feeder. This winter I hope to be a little more savvy about how I fill our bird feeders. As a result of Katydid's bird studies, we're now a little more aware of what birds will be with us through the winter. (Alas, we live too far north to keep our cardinals, and I miss their flashy streaks of red in these gray months.) We have a pair of enormous blue jays, and black-capped chickadees have a small territory, which they never leave. (It's comforting to me to think of the pair I often see in our big spruce tree as "our" chickadees.) Katydid says she heard a Northern Flicker the other day and saw a pair of white-breasted nuthatches out her window. (Katydid's window is the nature-viewing window. We set up the feeders so she could see them.) We used the enormous container of birdseed which we already have on hand to fill the feeders today, but for the winter we need to mix in more suet, nuts, and berries for the woodpeckers.
Our garden is -- almost -- put to rest. (There are three rows of strawberry plants hiding under that straw.) At the beginning of the month (when it was cold), Farmerboy and I planted garlic in a small patch where the potatoes grew this past summer. I have been very happy with the garlic we grew last year, but I'm hoping for better yield this year.
(He's helping me pack down the dirt.) According to my planting instructions, garlic should be planted 6 weeks before the ground freezes. We planted at the beginning of November, and I thought I was late. Fortunately, it's been too warm for the ground to freeze, so it looks as if we'll have hit that magic 6 week mark after all.
(Doesn't look like November in upstate New York, does it? The big kids were playing a little soccer with Pop. He had a great time.)
See that stick? It's coated in mud. We're going to forget about mud until March, when it will make a grand reappearance. (In Vermont, that's called mud season. Here, they try to call it "spring". But it's not really spring, because how can you have spring when it's still 35 degrees outside? But I digress.)
And because I can't leave anyone out, here's Pip with that same muddy stick. This is nature study for toddlers. He spent a good long while pushing that muddy stick down into that hole. Then he threw a bunch of leaves in there. If I was an early childhood specialist or something, I might say he was developing his eye-hand coordination and his attention span, and gaining sensory knowledge. But really? He was sticking a muddy stick in a hole. And when you're one year old, does it get better than that?