Winter in the garden & the story of Albert


Winter has arrived in our garden. But, for a while there, it was warm enough to do outside chores like tucking a few more plants in the garden, giving the raised beds a fresh coat of paint and spreading compost. I’m still figuring out this new climate but I was really loving that mild autumn, let me tell you.

During the warm spell, a severe storm passed through and gave us some much-needed rain. The wind kicked up so hard it literally exploded our temporary rose arches. Guess they’ll have to get replaced with something more permanent sooner than later, but what? Can’t decide, so in the meantime they look a bit wonky.

Then, it was all mists and magic. We live at the top of a small mountain, so when it turns cool like this, we are essentially living inside the clouds for several weeks. It’s very quiet, a bit spooky and the sun never seems to rise. The fog and mist time is like a season unto itself.

Christmas arrived and was celebrated quietly and peacefully, just the way we like it. New Year’s, too. I’m not one to put a lot of thought into “new year” kinds of things–for me, the cycle begins in late fall, after the garden is put to bed, not on the first of January–but man, 2016 was a doozy and I’m happy to see the back of it.

And then, the snow and cold came. It’s lovely, especially through the twinkle lights, but honestly, I’ve seen my fill of winter after spending the last 20 years in north east and central PA. Snow and ice? I’m over it. Yesterday we woke to frozen pipes (fixed, thank heavens) and as we never did get our broken heat pump replaced, are making do with the old fireplace, space heaters and electric blankets to keep warm. I’m not complaining; I’m grateful to have a roof over my head! But I dream of someday having this house converted to solar and unplugging the whole mess.

Spring is really just around the corner, though, and we’re planning our kitchen garden with some big improvements. Namely, adding bees and chickens. I’ve kept chickens before but beekeeping is all new territory. I’m beside myself with excitement and nerves. I’ll have more to update on that once we get things set up but hives and bees are already reserved! What sorts of plans are you making for your garden this year? Have you started any seeds yet?

Inside the home, we’re still renovating the laundry room as budget and time allows, which means it’s taking forever. Big stuff, like the walls and replacing the water heater are done and getting this old floor torn up and replaced with something much nicer went a long way to making me feel a whole lot better about this space. I’d love to do a reveal but we’re still a ways off from this thing being completed!

In other news, if you follow my stories on IG, then you’ll have seen that we recently adopted a new addition to our family. We had zero intentions of adding additional pets to our home, let’s be clear. However, the other morning, I made a very random stop into Petsmart (I never go there, it was one of those weird things) and as I was walking down the aisle toward the kitty litter, I saw this face looking back at me through the glass.

I took one look, and it was just one of those things where I said to myself, OK, so you’re coming home with me today, then? And sure enough, he did. This poor kitty had gone from one shelter to the next before finally being brought to Petsmart in hopes he would “get seen” and I guess it worked! He is a Maine coon mix, just like our Lucy. We’ve named him Albert– Albie for short. Jesse said we needed more cats to keep us warm this winter. Ha! Albie looks like he’s pretty happy here, don’t you think? 😉

Not to worry, Lucy and Pepper are still adored and pampered kitties, as per usual. They turn 11 and 12 years old this year!

10 thoughts on “Winter in the garden & the story of Albert

  1. My pipes froze, too. This has been some record-breaking cold for central NC. I don’t mind it, though, and all the plants seem to be fine.

    Albert is a lovely cat! Isn’t it dear when they take possession of your beds and furniture so naturally? I had not intended to have any large pets, but an orange cat was dumped on our street just before Thanksgiving 2015. I thought he was a couple years old but he turned out to be an overgrown kitten. Kepler has been our cat since day 1 and right now is probably sleeping upside-down on top of something expensive and dry-clean-only.

    I’ve been working on some major garden renovations and trying to get back into blogging again. I planted some clearance daffodils and tulips last week and I’m going to grow some paperwhites on top of the circulation desk at work, but other than that haven’t started anything yet.

    1. So now we’re both having spring-like weather, isn’t this crazy? I was just talking to my neighbor about it and of course the topic of global warming came up. Selfishly, I’m relieved it’s a bit warmer so we don’t have to run our ridiculous space heaters to keep warm.

      I LOL’d at your description of Kepler (he sounds beautiful and it does seem that cats adopt us, not the other way around) as our cats have completely taken over the sweater I recently bought for myself but, of course, is now theirs.

      Isn’t it difficult to get back into blogging sometimes? I look back on previous years and I would have dozens of posts every month and now I’m lucky if I can squeeze out one. So, I feel ya on that one.

      I haven’t done any actual gardening yet, either–not even seed starting–but the plant catalogs are coming in fast and furious making me excited to get back into it! 🙂

  2. I half expected to see faeries and wood sprites frolicking about in the fog and mists. Very hobbit-like. Those are good stay-at-home-and-be-cozy days. I like your variety of kitties, all beautiful. I would love to be a crazy cat lady (not insinuating anything here) but my timid Ragdoll would have a nervous breakdown if I brought another cat into her domain. I would like to have a Maine Coon some day.

    You southerners surely got hit with winter. Hope your roses come through with no cane damage. You mulch so nicely, and that is probably their saving grace.

    1. Yes, Hobbit-like! We said from the moment we first saw this little forest that it felt very much like Rivendell. 🙂
      Ragdolls are such beautiful cats, lucky you! Ours are still adjusting to one another. Sometimes Pepper & Lucy are OK with being near Albert but most times it’s growling and hissing. It’s too bad, too, because he’s such a lovable goof and just wants to be friendly. Hopefully they get over themselves!

      We definitely got hit with a ton of snow but would you believe it had completely melted in just a couple of days? It’s actually so warm out right now we’re getting some early spring projects done. I have to keep reminding myself that we’re still a few more months of winter….

  3. Lovely pictures, the mists made me think of Lord Byron and romantic moors! We spent a quiet New Years Eve as well, binge watching The Crown on Netflix, very intriguing.

    Isn’t Albie just darling! No wonder you couldn’t resist his face. I’m glad the other kitties are doing well. We have two polydactyl Maine Coons and they have some of the cutest quirks and personalities!

    1. Don’t you just love The Crown? I’m actually re-watching it this week because I can’t get enough of the settings/hair/clothing. I didn’t know you also had Maine Coons! They’re such sweet kitties but I have to say Albie is still a very naughty kitten who gets into everything. 😉

      1. Yes, in fact our O’Malley looks just like your red kitty! They could be twins, except for the extra toes of course. O’Malley is also significantly more tubby than your kitty, he has been putting on quite a bit of winter weight! Can I call it winter weight, if it started in July? haha

        1. Ha! I know what you mean… our Pepper has been getting progressively rounder and rounder, like she swallowed a pumpkin! I just say well, she is retired and can be what she wants. 😉

  4. Oh you will love chickens! We need to build them another coop and a bigger run. I wanted to let them run in the yard for a few hours in the evening but between 2 bigger dogs and the chickens I couldnt handle all of the poop… We are wanting to have a bee hive too. At our fair in Oct we have a socitey that makes a display and we signed up for it so I am hoping they call us so we can attend meetings and I am looking at all of the pollenator loving plants (which I do any way and tey to plant as many as I can) to add to my small gardens. I CANT WAIT!

    1. Oooh so exciting! You definitely need bees. (This is not my first time at the rodeo with chickens but it is for my husband. I keep telling him how fun it’s going to be.) Ahhhh can’t wait for spring!!

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