One of the many.

One of the many sunflowers on our property.

We feed the birds, which means that they and the squirrels deposit sunflower seeds throughout the yard. The seeds sprout. Sunflowers grow. Seed eating birds glean the flower heads. The seeds they miss fall to the ground. The cycle renews, year after year.

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While it looks demonic . . .

. . . it isn’t. I recently saw this Cicada Killer wasp not far from my feet. Being about 3 or 4 centimeters long it looked rather intimidating. Yet it was minding its own business never mind being aggressive, even not minding much when I very gently put a stick against its legs. A little research revealed that it can be a beneficial insect and is not aggressive.

It left me alone so I left it alone.

EDITED TO ADD: Apparently I neglected to include the photo of said demonic looking creature.

 

Peeling

As our garden transformed last fall from actively growing into dormant and dying, we left many stems and other material in place instead of tidying up all of the dead stuff.

A few days ago this Baltimore Oriole was a benefactor of our decision, peeling fibers off of this Butterfly Bush stem for its mates’ nest.

I believe we will continue gardening in this wildlife friendly way.

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Lettuce

We have a healthy crop of lettuce – on December 27th! It is partly because the hoop tunnel moderates night time low temperatures. I cannot help thinking that it is largely because night time temperatures have been fairly mild compared to the historical average – generally -5C or warmer. Daytime highs have been 5C, give or take a few degrees.

Are these temperatures the new normal? Hard to say. We will find out as the years roll out.

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Additions

Made a beef stew today. Browned the meat, added onions and garlic, tomatoes, bouillon, thyme. While it baked in the oven in the Dutch oven, chopped up potatoes and carrots. The purple carrots at the upper edge of the cutting board are courtesy of our local organic farmer and our subscription to the winter [vegetable] box program.

The stew is not too bad.

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