Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice

Tomorrow day length will be 1 whole second more than today. And then 4 seconds, 6, 8, 12.... It's an exiting time and another day to reflect on what the sun's energy gives to us both directly and indirectly. It's a day to be in her presence and plant seeds which will feed from her in the longer days to come. We plan on taking a hike. Hubs and I enjoyed a quiet Solstice Dinner together with some foods yet from the garden and I took some time to plant a few seeds until my hands were too cold to work.

Solstice Meal
 Solstice feels a little like the more appropriate New Year for me. I decided to make some light & healthy North African fare.  
 A cucumber salad with tomatoes still from the garden.
They are shriveling so these will be the end soon. This
also contains green onions & parsley still growing outdoors.
 Fattoosh (w/o the pita bread)

Lentil Salad w/ tomatoes, parsley, garlic and peppers (from the garden).
This was very good. Salatat 'Adas

I also made Hareera (Moroccan Veg Soup) that is traditionally eaten at sundown during Ramadan and a Zucchini and Yogurt spread on pita bread. All were delish. 

And for the Celebratory Cocktail:

 Winter Warmer

Orange Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Very yummy

 I collected some Common Milkweed seeds from the side of the road in town this summer. Knowing that Milkweeds are notoriously difficult to transplant due to their long taproot and wanting to make sure they do not have to compete with nearby plants, while putting them in an existing bed....I came up with this solution. Well, I hope it works.
 I took some 2 gal plastic pots, removed the bottom and slit up the sides.

 Dug a hole and partially buried the pot.
Filled the pot with the native soil.
 And planted the seeds directly in the potted soil.
My plan is to remove the potted ring when the plants have
established themselves. This method will also help me
find and monitor the plants, while they receive the necessary stratification
time outdoors and in their native soil. 

There was a nice article regarding the importance of snags (dead or dying trees). The author suggested we need to see more of these in landscapes, not just wild places. According to the article snags support up to 1,000 species; providing habitat, food and shelter. In addition 35 native bird species use these trees. Our Sugar Maple is slowly dying. The last 2 years we trimmed away some of the fragile branches- particularly ones that could land on our house. The intent, however, is to leave the bulk of this tree for wildlife.
The article is here
Dying Sugar Maple in the
woodland garden

Worshiping the Sun from Indoors:
Growing Alfalfa Sprouts

Various plants reaching for the light

Narcissus in bloom

Other outsidies
 Henry's Garnet Itea still holding leaves
The Fragrant Viburnum's leaves finally dropped this week. 

and Coral Bells
still green 

This year's Solstice tree.
A Chinese Juniper loaded with berries

Happy Winter and Cheers to longer days.

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