The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

A New Year and a New Outlook

Lori

By Lori

30 comments


For the past two years my hubby and I have been preparing to sell our city home and move into the countryside. We have been relocated now to a cottage in Eastern Ontario..about an hour west of Ottawa..in a situation which some might call “the middle of nowhere”; and we are delighted to be here.
The night sky is dark for stargazing and the air is clean. It’s very cold, as it usually is in mid January, and the silence is profound. Yesterday I undertook a trudge through the deepening snow, to the very top of our hill…and looked out across the highlands to the Ottawa Valley. What a vista! I was awe struck.
During the coming weeks, my challenge will be to reorient myself. For some reason I still can’t fathom, North is where south used to be …the compas doesn’t lie…and looking at the land with sunrises and sunsets, prevailling winds and storm shelter in mind, is a kind of refreshment as well. To look at a new landscape and see the possibilities gets the juices flowing.
The approaching growing season will not be about “new” or “experimental” plants…it will be about getting the plants I consider “basics” in a proper place for them to thrive…while starting the landscaping changes I’ve decided to make. Suddenly I’m “eating” that “elephant” again! I have so much I want to do..but have to contain my enthusiasm to realistic “small bites” over time!

The elevation is a new factor that I’ve never had to deal with when selecting plants. In summer, if the cloud cover is sufficiently low…we are veiled in mist. Our first trip into this part of Ontario, we experienced the odd sensation of driving into a cloud! We commented on the sudden fog…and then realized it was not fog but mist! I’ve noticed the growth of reindeer moss and lichens on deciduous trees, and have found hydrangea, apple trees and syringa as well as ancient red cedars and beech trees, growing alongside maples and oaks. It is a genuine mixed forest. Along with the cedars there are hemlock, spruce and pine growing between the granite outcroppings, and on the higher exposed rock, juniper grows in cracks and crevices. I’m sure that in spring the forest floor will be white with trilliums and the other wild flowers (dog tooth violet, sweet violets, and may flowers). There is a lot of deadfall to be cleared out…and I found a few ancient skeletons, standing, …riddled with the works of pileated woodpeckers, as reminders that even in the lifetime of an oak..(centuries?) the final chapter is a sad, but useful one.
Geologically, this place, was the site of the death of the glaciers. The Madawaska River is furiously swift, gathering effluent from the hills it cuts through. We are almost at the very top of the large ridge of hills and from a spring above us a small creek collects run off and burbles it’s way to lower elevations… Needless to say, I’ll be planning and constructing another pond for the goldfish I managed to bring along with me. They are in aquaria at present…but come spring…
I’ve seen two red foxes, numerous blue jays and chickadees…hubby saw a single little red squirrel…and rabbit tracks… so we know we’re not alone! lol…
Since the area is famous as a draw for hunters and anglers there is sure to be more wildlife than we have seen so far. More to look forward to…
It’s good to be connected again to the internet and your input will be sought again, goY friends. This is going to be an adventure!!

More blog posts by Lori

Previous post: preparing for winter...common sense edition

Next post: Getting to Know the Terrain



Comments

 

That was a very descriptive piece Lori. I enjoyed it very much. Can't wait to see it in the spring time! The image of all those wildflowers, especially trilliums, is a thrill! I do hope that your new home turns out to be the peaceful place you are hoping for..it certainly seems to fit the bill! I sometimes wonder myself, if I were to live in a more rural woodland setting like you...closer to nature...would the 'need' for gardening be as strong. After all, my garden is ...for me....an attempt to create a kind of 'woodland clearing' in a semi-rural environment. If I lived in the 'real thing' I think I would have less need to 'cultivate' and would just enjoy natures gifts! Mind you, I think I'd always grow a few flowers too!

27 Jan, 2011

 

Welcome to the best adventure I've ever had! Like you, I moved from a town to a rural mountain hide-away but I took in a new country as well. I've had the most incredible fun over the past nearly-five years with attempting to grow stuff that doesn't like it; cutting back stuff that likes it too much; shifting pots of stuff around until they find a place they like and generally coming to terms with wild stuff I can do nothing about! I hope you have the greatest fun! :o)))

27 Jan, 2011

 

What a great way to start 2011,looking forward to your future blogs from your new home, it look's a lovely place to live :o)

27 Jan, 2011

 

A lovely tranquil place - the second picture down looks so much like Bardon hill where we live - will look forward to future pics of your pond and various wildlife you may get :):):)

http://www.growsonyou.com/photo/slideshow/183731-bardon-trees/member/paulsgarden

27 Jan, 2011

 

a very interesting blog lori ............ me tooo, carnt wait to see how it gos .
the wild life is fab ........... do you think there are brown bears .i watched a wild life pro. on them last week ...... they really are quite gentle . a man from scotland did the story !!! i really puts them in a diff light ..........
you are so luky .. take care wondering of in that snow lol ..........you dont want to get lost x

ps natures garden really is the best !!! who can compare!!!

27 Jan, 2011

 

I watched the same programme Cristina if it was Gordan Buchanan and one of the bears was called Hope, it was a brilliant programme and wasn't the scenery gorgeous.

27 Jan, 2011

 

woderfull blog and discription Lori, all sounds amazing and i could just imagine the scene you were telling us about, love your new home and look forward to updates, hope your fishies are doing well to, happy newyear Lori :o)) x

27 Jan, 2011

 

Great blog Lori, what an adventure you have got in front of you. I wish you all the happiness and contentment in your new home and surroundings. Looking forward to your next blogs.

27 Jan, 2011

 

Lovely to hear that you're so happy in your new home, Lori, and so positive about the gardening ahead of you. I'm now going to Google your area to see where it is(!) as my knowledge of Canada is so scanty (only been to British Columbia).

27 Jan, 2011

 

What a lovely picture you paint with your description Lori. Great blog, and like the others I look forward to your next blog and pictures. It sounds a fabulous place.

27 Jan, 2011

 

Thanks everyone for the well wishes...I will be buying some snowshoes for my next foray. I have skiis but there is too much deadfall and hidden crevasses to try skis...I'd break my neck and assorted other bones! We have only a foot, or so, of snow, and walking really isn't too difficult. Will be interested to see if March brings extra snow. In the areas of the province near the Great Lakes very early spring brings "lake effect" snow. A couple of years ago, in Cornwall, (on the St. Lawrence River) we received 50 inches of the white stuff in one snow fall in early March!! The Madawaska River is smaller than the St. Lawrence and surrounded by massive hills and well distant from the large lakes...so I'm hoping for a more even distribution of snowfall over the winter months.
Christina and Mavis: I had to google Gordon Buchanan. I watched the clip on the BBC site and until I realized that the little cub was abandoned by her parent, I was worried for Mr. Buchanan's safety!! Rule number one in the North American bush country ...NEVER get between a mother bear and her offspring!!! The area of U.S. where the doc was filmed is due west of us about (this is a guess) 800-1,000 km. on the other side of the Great Lakes. (Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron)
I think if I had a caveat to offer it would be: Do not make the mistake of thinking that all black bears are as gentle as the pair Mr. Buchanan befriended. They are animals of the forest and deserve respect and distance. They can also be unpredictable and grumpy, if not downright unfriendly. I enjoyed the story though, and charmed by the little bear.

27 Jan, 2011

 

What a wonderful place to move to, hope your dreams of your garden will succeed.

27 Jan, 2011

 

I can imagine this will be the greatest garden challenge yet for you Lori..it sounds like you want to persuade nature to be part of your garden and persuade your planned garden to be part of nature and the combination could be fantastic! Im not sure I have your courage to live in isolation, I hate running out of milk lol!
How long does it take you to reach Ottawa? How far is your nearest neighbour? Im glad that you have the internet and the opportunity of sharing the progress you make. Im really looking forward to it, even tho its out of my comfort zone!

27 Jan, 2011

 

really wonderful blog Lori...look forward to more photos & blogs of your lovely new home...

27 Jan, 2011

 

what an adventure lori ~ its one that i am very much looking forward to following!
i hope it all works out for you ~ i cant wait to see your next blog ~ its just fascinating!

27 Jan, 2011

 

I am with you on that one Lori about keeping a safe distance, I think the man has been doing research on the bears for a few years, that is why they know him so well.I think Gordon Buchanan was much safer when he was on Springwatch with the foxes that live in our town's.....I googled Ottawa as well and it made great reading I found out such a lot. :o)

27 Jan, 2011

 

New start for you then Lori, I wish you every happiness in your new home and will be eagerly following future blogs to see how it is going........

27 Jan, 2011

 

Lori, you are almost "pioneers" having moved to quite an isolated part of Ontario. I do wish you lots of happy planning towards sorting out your "new" garden. Having the opportunity to do something completely different and fulfilling your longed for dream will be a real adventure.

Hope you find some snowshoes to make getting around a bit easier for you. I'll look forward to hearing more about your new place and the photos when you have some more to share :)

28 Jan, 2011

 

Wonderful blog, Lori, and what an adventure! Seems to be a beautiful place to live, except for all the snow! You'll have some fantastic wildflower-photographing opportunities. I'm looking forward to seeing more photos.
I agree with you - stay away from the bears! Bear attacks are on the increase as humans continue to build in bear country. A baby was snatched by a bear some years ago in New York state.

28 Jan, 2011

 

Lots of luck in your new home and garden Lori! I'll be looking out for your photos and pics.

30 Jan, 2011

 

It all sounds very exciting Lori. Good luck in your new home. I will be looking forward to hearing about your garden.

30 Jan, 2011

 

Thanks Beattie! more blogs will follow!
Thanks Hywel! I have a few acres of forest as well as a huge area which is mostly lawn, at present. This winter I will work clearing undergrowth and checking for dead (and dangerous) overhead limbs etc. First task in spring will be a pond for the fish.

30 Jan, 2011

 

you mentioned 'profound silence' Lori, so precious & becoming a rarer element nowadays, it's a gift & so are your informed writings, a wonderful read. Thankyou & the thought of trilliums & wildlife - - - perfect!

30 Jan, 2011

 

Glad you are settled in now Lori, and it sounds a wonderful place to be! This spring should be chock full of amazing little discoveries for you! I love exploring new places in spring, just to see what wonders Mother Nature has hidden away... Have fun!
You will have to pace yourself on remodeling your yard so that you don't overdo, as I know you must already have a billion plans, lol! I am certainly looking forward to 'virtually' exploring it all with you.
We haven't gotten too much snow down here this winter, but the temperatures have been the coldest that I can remember in this area - we hit -13*F at one point - I can just hear Greenthumb laughing at me, but we are so spoiled with our rather temperate winters here as compared to up north, I have become a real baby about the true cold! Just had our 'January thaw' with a couple days of sunshine, dead grass and dirty pavement showing through in patches, and now will have February's lake snow to deal with, which is usually the nastiest weather here, as it can be snow/sleet/freezing rain or a mix of all - ugh! Oh well - not too much longer for spring!

31 Jan, 2011

 

Thanks Bampy! I just hope that once I get started with the work outdoors, I have the time and energy, (the latter is likely to be scarce) to blog it all.
Hi Grammazoo! I'm sure you remember the "northern" winters...cold like that is pretty unforgettable. There are some who question the logic of retiring to an isolated place, but we're going to enjoy this place for as long as we are able. You are in the most wonderful climate zone down in the south west. it is actually part of the Carolinian Belt... and the mild winters are definitely a plus. I don't think I'd want to live where there was no winter. The cold is nature's antibiotic... or antifungal or whatever. Some threats from the more temperate areas don't even register here... like the anophiles mosquitoes. But we have the lovely blackfly...nature never misses a chance does she?
We had a thaw between Christmas and New Years...does that count as the first thaw? IF it does..that means only two more to go... Roll on Spring!

31 Jan, 2011

 

it fascinates me that the weather is so different ~ it sounds as though yours is much more predictable than ours.

31 Jan, 2011

 

We are at the whim of the jet stream...and you have the Gulf stream current! Most of our weather comes sweeping eastward across the continent carried by the high altitude jet stream, which dips low and brings frigid temps or rides high and allows warmth from the gulf of Mexico to flow up and moderate our temps. You have the lovely Gulf Stream current that keeps you from sub-arctic temps...you are on the same level of latitude as far northern Ontario where the winters are fierce.. It's the continental effect (kinda like Siberia) that keeps our north so cold. sorry...but I really envy your climate!

3 Feb, 2011

 

It certainly gives us a much easier task Lori. You wrote -

"A couple of years ago, in Cornwall, (on the St. Lawrence River) we received 50 inches of the white stuff in one snow fall..."

I live in the "original" Cornwall and the range of temperatures we expect here (sticking out into the Atlantic on a peninsula) is from about -5C (23F) in winter to about 22C (72F) in summer. We've had a particularly "hard" winter - for us, and two or three inches of snow on at least two occasions! ;-)

Anyone with a "Continental" climate, as opposed to a "Maritime" one has to deal with a really big range - and that's what makes growing things difficult as you know only too well. I've been interested in Alaska since I heard a radio programme about the Iditarod and have read Greenthumb's contributions with interest and awe!

Just eat that elephant slowly, now! We'll be taking an interest. :-)

3 Feb, 2011

 

Good advice, beattie! Thank you. My Mandy dog is a descendant of the sled dogs used in the far north. Her mother was feral. She was born under the exhaust hood of the local restaurant in an isolated (no roads in) northern Ontario town. I found her on the street, barely six weeks old, just a little bundle of fur and bone with big paws...I cried when I saw her...took her home and it's been 13 wonderful years. They round up homeless dogs and take them out to the quarry and shoot them!
The gov't gives the locals grants for snow machines...they don't need dogs anymore, and they don't often keep pets.

4 Feb, 2011

 

What a sad story - thank you so much for giving Mandy a happy ending. :-) The sled dogs are simply amazing.

4 Feb, 2011

Add a comment

Recent posts by Lori

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    4 Jul, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    16 Feb, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    31 Oct, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 Dec, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    3 Apr, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Apr, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    27 Dec, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    17 Aug, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Mar, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Aug, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    29 Mar, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    10 Sep, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    22 Oct, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    8 Apr, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    16 Mar, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    14 May, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    12 Feb, 2008

  • Gardening with friends since
    5 Jul, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    28 Feb, 2011