• A Winter walk with Maggie

    by  • February 28, 2011 • Design, Projects, Wildlife, Winter

    Maggie says, "Let's go."

    Today, Maggie and I walked all the way to the bottom of the property, where it’s fairly wild.

    Just beyond the garden, the first path was made on top of the leach line, one of the only level areas.

    It’s easy to walk this season for the poison oak hasn’t leafed out and the grass is low, only an inch or two. Most of the upper paths are covered in pine mulch to prevent muddy shoes, ..and paws.

    A watery beam of light on the mountain.

    The grasses and weeds with stickers don’t bother us and no sticky seed pods stick to my jeans. I wear my coat, but on the way up I huff and puff, becoming warm. 

    A welcome bench built into the tree.

    I’m glad of the bench, placed halfway up, and Maggie jumps up, as well, on cue, and patiently, ever watchful, waits with me until its time to go on. I lean back against the trunk.

    With mountain view, this bench looks onto the natural meadow, surrounded by a path.

    That field could use some raking, I see, and dead branches trimming. The Yerba Santa could be cut low to make it bushier and more attractive in summer.

    "Come on!" This path leads past a pile of old manzanita branches that need clearing.

    Look at all the dead manzanita branches! They’re left from when the property was first cleared for sale ten years ago. If it bothers me, I suppose I’ll do something about it.

    Beyond the furthest point where we've cleared, done in Fall of 2010 the brush is thick and tangled under the oaks.

    We could add another big loop to the system of paths, I imagine.  A big job, as we progress downhill; we may need help, a teenage boy, needing pocket money and with energy, to work alongside us, to direct to do this or that, but in actuality, to spur us on, too, with the sometimes overwhelming job of taming a bit of our ground.

    Down the woodland path you can see the line of thick brush in the Sierra National forest.

    I stand and we make our way along the woodland area, looking for any signs of the bulbs I planted, probably too deep.  Ah, well. The pear tree, wild lilac and the crabapple buds are forming and there are other bulbs showing their leaves.

    Storm coming...time to go in.

    At the top, Maggie, on her short legs, gathers herself and bounds up the patio steps. Another winter walk done…and a patrol.

    "There'll be no deer or squirrels on my watch."

    Open the door and we clatter into the kitchen.  Maggie trots away to see where my husband is; to see if all is well indoors.


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.