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Re: Winter!

In a message dated 1/3/99 9:23:34 AM Pacific Standard Time, Don Burns
[burns@mobot.mobot.org] writes:

<< Hi Aroiders! This list has be silent so long I thought I'd throw my two 
 bits in by asking those of you in the midwest what you are doing for fun 
 with two feet of snow on the ground. >>

I have missed the postings.  Although the taxonomic discussions are sometimes
quite intimidating to this novice, I always find them fascinating.

Here in Traverse City, Michigan, where we have had about 16 inches of snow or
more in the past 36 hours, we are getting out the Kabota tractor with the snow
blower and opening our 700 foot driveway and plowing the two-track that is our
only access to the outside world.  [As you can tell, that's the "royal 'we' "
--- actually Glen's out there, and I'm in here where it is warm.]  [For 17
years we were the only family living here year-round, now there are two
families, and we clear their driveway, too.

Of course, it is Sunday, and once we get the two track open, we are only on a
narrow gravel county road that is a "last class" road --- meaning that the
road commission plows it if and when they feel like it.  That means they never
plow it on weekends or holidays, and it is the last road to be plowed any
other day.

We, of course, don't care, as we both work from our home-offices.  But the new
neighbors have children to get to school.

We also get to avoid such things as a 115 car pileup on I-75 December 31
during a whiteout that left, miraculously, only one person dead, only a few
serious injured and about 35 others injured, treated and released. But there
were 115 cars, sports-utility vehicles, pickup trucks, snowmobiles trailors
(and the snowmobiles), trucks, tractor-trailers, etc. off the road, some
crushed  ---- lots of damage. Law enforcement and EMS personnel from about 5
counties assisted, and the lovely town of Grayling hosted hundreds of stranded
people while they got themselves squared away.

In these long winter days, when I am not working, I read books on various
kinds of gardening --- shade gardening and collectors' plants, [both Ken Druse
books], [we live in a beech forest, and have a few openings for specialty
gardens], ornamental grasses, moss gardening, hellebores, primulas, etc.  I
look longingly through tons of catalogues.  I make up my wish lists for the
coming spring, pare them down, go through the catalogues again, then pare the
lists once more.  I try to locate specimens of exotics that I "need" for the
Japanese garden or the English garden or the water garden, or something
relatively shade tolerant [5-6 hours of sun per day] that we don't yet have
for the grass garden.

Presently, I'm trying to locate an out-of-print book on Arisaema that I would
love to have --- I've tried all six of my usual OOPS on-line sources, and have
had no luck.  I guess I'll have to use an interlibrary loan to read it.

Inside, I can tend to the orchids in the greenhouse, soothing work --- mostly
Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis, Phragmapedium [some species, some primary
hybrids], Brassia, Ondontoglossum, Oncidium, a Zygopedilum that hasn't bloomed
in 5 years : ( Vanilla, and a wonderful night-blooming Cereus [Hawaiian, and
VERY different from the Florida species, cuttings of which I brought back
December 1997].  The bloom on the Hawaiian Cereus is much larger, far more
fragrant, and much more beautiful.  This plant threatens to take over the
greenhouse, and almost looks a likely suspect to feed uninvited door-to-door
salesmen to [not that many find us!].

Anyway, it's very "Dr. Zhivago"-like beautiful here, as we've had no wind, and
the trees are laden with snow. Perhaps we'll go out to cross country ski past
the neighbors' cherry and apple orchards, while keeping a watchful eye for our
erstwhile companions the red fox, the barred owl [cute "little" devil ---
likes to sit in the tree and watch us, fly ahead and wait for us to catch up],
and the bunnies --- [who like to slide down the hills on their bottoms,
leaving troughs in the snow --- then scamper off into the beech trees].

Sound idyllic?  It is ---- all 20 degrees of it --- so long as the wind is not
blowing us into a 30 below wind chill factor.

Jeanne Hannah

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