How Did It Get To Be So Late?

“How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”
~ Dr. Seuss

The Calendar says “December.” I knew it was coming; even wished it so. But it arrived so quickly.

The valley fog has set in.

We had our first real rain.

The leaves have nearly finished falling; the beds are all raised; the bulbs – nearly 500 of them – are all planted.

The Dahlias are lifted and stored for the winter. And the best indications of the season’s close are my aching knees, the tired bees…

and the stack of garden magazines by my bedside for inspiration. For gardeners – winter is for imagining. Sometimes, our plans are larger than our reality. And sometimes, not.

Last October, the front entry was a barren stretch of dirt.

The weeds had been killed off. The ground covered with cardboard, leaf mulch, and dirt mixed with compost to “cook” for the better part of a season. Some tiny starts were installed late in the fall so their roots might grow strong before spring (Ceanothus, Lavatera, Smoke Tree, Lupine, Iris, Crepe Myrtle, Barberry, and Iceberg roses).

This was the design that I thought might take two or three years to reach maturity.

In the spring, I added Lavender, Asters and Miscanthus grass divides. And one season later, the bed exceeded all of my expectations.

The bed has created a perfect surround for the remembrance tree that our president and her father crafted with the original tags of dogs who have come through our doors on their journeys home.

In the garden, I have learned the benefits of patience. If you can clear a bed, fill it with good soil and nutrients, and let it rest for a season, the reward may be more than you imagined.

So it was with Ariel and Mason.

These two very special senior citizens – a bonded pair – have been waiting a long while for their forever home. They were both of advanced age and in need of medical attention when their human passed. Destined for a shelter, their odds were not good. An area partner intervened and recognized how much they needed each other. Placing this mismatched pair would take some time…something we could, thankfully, provide to them. We thought we found the right place once, but a little misunderstanding about the purpose of chickens put a quick end to that.

Still, they kept the faith and waited patiently. This week, they went home with a longtime volunteer. We could not have picked a better human for them if we had imagined one all winter long.

Happy lives to you two. We sure are going to miss you around here!

Holiday Cheer

Saturday morning, there were two adoptions on the weekly board. By evening there were seven. This is all the cheer I need to make my holiday bright.

Daisy Going Home
Star Going Home

“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
~ Dr. Seuss


But, try as we might to empty the kennels before Christmas Eve, there are always new recruits.

Darbee snagged the coveted office dog spot, which makes her Judy’s (current) favorite.


This adorable little girl looks like a cross between a Golden and a Corgi with a little Basset Hound rolled in for good measure.


Yule was a stray, rescued from the shelter. Part Golden, part Great Pyrenees.


Scared and very thin, his wary face turned to smiles in Maria’s hands (which means she found a way out of gardening chores!)


The rains have turned our garden and walking paths to lakes and mud, but after three years of drought, no one is complaining. The rice field next door once again supports migrating geese and herons.


And the bees were enjoying the last of the roses and the blooming Ceanothus on a late, warm, December day.



Nature’s Yuletide decorations cannot be beat.