The month of January is moving quickly, sometimes a little too quickly for me. In my opinion, January should be hibernation time, with a couple of weeks for recovery from the holidays, but instead it is a time of increased activity and resolutions as people start fresh in life.

Tree reflected in puddle, with rain drops

We are seeing some winter weather here, temperatures almost reached freezing at night for a few days in December. Since then, it’s warmed up, with temperatures in the 40’s at night and in the 60’s during the day. Most of the leaves are gone from the trees, although there some stubborn colored leavings clinging to branches here and there. The best kind of weather is the rain, which helps the local plants out.

I decided to plant some herbs out back so that I could take advantage of the rainy weather for growing them. My outdoor plants have a much better chance of survival if I plant them when they will get plenty of water. In the past, I’ve planted sage and oregano and the rabbits, squirrels, gophers, etc, seemed to ignore them. I lovingly planted my new purchases in our open raised bed, delighted at these new plants.  I didn’t worry about fencing them in since I’ve had good luck with herbs in the past.

Tree in winter, without leaves, bird perched on branch

However, apparently, these were extra tasty herbs so I was surprised to see they had shrunk in size since I’ve planted them. When I saw the gnawed stems, I sighed at my naivety in trusting they would be left alone.

I checked them again today and there is still a tiny portion left so they might survive. This weekend, I will make wire cages for them so they get a chance to grow bigger. I also want to plant marigolds around them so the garden bed doesn’t appear to be at 5 start Michelin restaurant for the vegetarian animals that wander through. If I have to plant , there may be fewer varmints, I have heard coyotes howling in the evenings, seen a feral cat wandering about and heard an owl hooting at night.

View of hills, mountains on rainy day, with trees at front of picture

I’m also taking a song writing course, a short one, which is fun. It’s informal and 4 classes in two weeks but I’ve enjoyed spending some time focusing on music and creativity. As I get older, I’m moving towards just enjoying these activities as time permits. I’ll also be working on one of my books, as I squeeze in time and energy where I can. My day job is busier than ever and it’s a challenge at times to get back to writing. These blog articles have helped, it reminds me that I can focus on a creative task.

Hope everyone is enjoying the new year resolutions or their hibernation, whichever works best for you. :-)

Pictures by J.T. Harpster