Shifting Gears

I like being a denizen of the temperate zones. I appreciate that the seasons here, dictated by my position on the globe, are so distinct. Watching the gradual cycling of weather, light, foliage, and animal activity has helped train me in the habit of attentiveness. Yes, I’ll think, there go the oak trees, turning to…

The Hazy Days of Summer

The crisp weather I associate with fall arrived early this year. The grasses and wildflowers and weeds that had shot up in June matured, set seed, and began to spin the landscape into gold by mid-August. If clouds bothered to assemble at all, they lost interest in organizing themselves into thunderheads. The cloudless sunrises typical…

Strawberry Season

It’s been a good summer for strawberries in the garden. Actually, it’s almost always a good summer for the strawberries, but this has been one of those years when we’ve not only had a steady stream of fresh berries for eating with cereal or yogurt, but enough to give away, cook with, and stash by…

A Secret in the Garden

One afternoon back in early June, a junco exploded from underfoot when I was in the garden. I didn’t think much of this, even though the same thing happened (in about the same location) a couple of days later. Dark-eyed juncos are common up here. Their habits keep them close to the ground where I’m…

Fireworks Underfoot

Impressive rains in early May gave everyone in this region plenty to talk about. Water accumulated in places it hasn’t been seen in years, if not decades. Springs sprang back to life, and long-dried-out seeps began weeping once again–presumably from joy. Rivers, streams and creeks raged. Lakes, ponds, and reservoirs brimmed, and overflowed. Roads flooded.…

Running Late, Right on Time

Annual cycles come in every variety, and my yearly gardening procrastination routine is well underway. Every year, in the doldrums of “spring” promise during March and April, I vow that THIS YEAR I’ll get the garden put together in a timely fashion. This pledge seems eminently reasonable in those months when the weather is too…

Just One Storm

I’ve lived in a semi-arid environment all my life (except two years during college when I lived in England: a wonder of green, and skin that did not demand a daily slathering of lotion). Living where the air is perched perpetually at the edge of parched, my default setting is to welcome both the idea…