• A Winter walk with Maggie

    by  • February 28, 2011 • Design, Projects, Wildlife, Winter • 7 Comments

    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.

    About

    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.

    7 Responses to A Winter walk with Maggie

    1. March 1, 2011 at 5:21 am

      Beautiful! I’ll have to read more about how you got the property to this point. =)

    2. March 1, 2011 at 7:05 am

      What a marvellous stroll (admittedly huffed and puffed along with you, up the steep slopes) with you and Maggie (she’s adorable!). You have such an amazing garden to claim as your own…beautiful views and landscapes to be enjoyed right on your doorstep! How lucky is that! I can see it comes with one downer…the amount of intensive labour required in its upkeep! But I’m sure it’s keeping you young & supple 🙂

      I deliberately hunt down lopped branches and stumps to add to my garden and there you are, contemplating getting rid of your piles!!! One man’s junk is another’s treasure 😉

    3. March 1, 2011 at 9:39 am

      A beautiful walk, and Maggie is adorable! I’m thinking now that maybe we need a bench. I always see piles of things that need to be chopped, pruned, cleared, or dug over around here, but sometimes I don’t just sit and appreciate what we’ve achieved so far. You’ve clearly done a lot too, and just maintaining the trails and paths alone is a ton of work! You could just leave the pile of Manzanita branches though…they are pretty, and you could just declare them ‘habitat’. We have a few log ‘habitats’ here too 😉

    4. March 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Welcome, Alan. Look at Homebuilding for some ‘beginning posts’

      Aileen, I’m grateful for our setting everyday, and it is work, but we don’t have to go to the gym! The quail disappeared for a while after the building process disrupted the general peace and quiet, but I was relieved that after leaving brush piles in outlying areas(one is shown next to the path), they came back!
      Over ten years, I’m sure we have burned a tall, mountain of brush, but some is kept now for bird shelter.

      Clare, thanks, Maggie says! We’re finding a balance between what the CDF considers safe, (no brush) and wildlife habitats with a natural look. We’ve been here long enough to see some trees fall from the weight of snow and one burn in the fire of 2001, nine months after we purchased the land. Now there are lots of natural but neater brush piles for the birds, but far enough away from trees so they’re not ‘ladder’ fuels.

    5. March 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Welcome, Alan. Look at Homebuilding for some ‘beginning posts’

      Aileen, I’m grateful for our setting everyday, and it is work, but we don’t have to go to the gym! The quail disappeared for a while after the building process disrupted the general peace and quiet, but I was relieved that after leaving brush piles in outlying areas(one is shown next to the path), they came back!
      Over ten years, I’m sure we have burned a tall, mountain of brush, but some is kept now for bird shelter.

      Clare, thanks, Maggie says! We’re finding a balance between what the CDF considers safe, (no brush) and wildlife habitats with a natural look. We’ve been here long enough to see some trees fall from the weight of snow and one burn in the fire of 2001, nine months after we purchased the land. Now there are lots of natural but neater brush piles for the birds, but far enough away from trees so they’re not ‘ladder’ fuels.

    6. March 2, 2011 at 10:52 am

      and we thought you really MEANT to clear the wildlife habitat we were admiring …

    7. March 2, 2011 at 10:52 am

      and we thought you really MEANT to clear the wildlife habitat we were admiring …

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