For the past month, Amsterdam has experienced the worst winter in my 25 years living here. Piles of snow, icy sleet, freezing cold (-10C or 14F). Normally, I bike everywhere, but after a winter tumble last year that left me in a cast for 5 weeks, I decided to walk everywhere and rediscovered the "joys" of public transportation.
There hasn't been lot happening on my balcony. Or so it appears. My carefully harvested worms are probably frozen to death in the solid block of icy compost in my balcony bin. I shook it around, but nothing budged. But maybe there's hope, because the worms some from my plant containers, which means they survive winter there. Do worms hibernate? Are the like frogs, and can freeze and thaw without dying? I guess I will find out once spring comes.
I read in the newspaper that birds love peanut butter, so I bought a couple of pinecones on sticks from the florist and some generic peanut butter (at first I used my organic peanut butter, which they totally loved!). Everyday during the snowy days I had to reload the cones, and swarms of starlings
and blue tits
battled over them (click the links for photos and to hear them sing!).
I rolled the filled cones in birdseed until I noticed that the starlings just spit the seeds out to get to the peanut butter underneath. Talk about picky eaters! They made a real mess of my balcony - lots of droppings and seeds everywhere. My husband saw a little field mouse taking total advantage of the spillover, nibbling birdseed from the frozen hosta container. So cute (or so mouthwateringly tempting, as my cats thought).
What amazes me is, now that the snow has melted (though the ground is frozen) everything is still green! And the winter pansies still have their flowers, and are perked up and ready to grow! And it's so nice to know that underneath all the scattered bird seed and icky droppings and frozen dirt - my flower bulbs are getting ready to blossom.
When will I see my first early iris start showing its green tips? I just can't wait!
That's the promise of winter. Knowing that spring hides underneath what appears to be barren soil. Underneath, there's hope. Of sunshine and warmth and summer to come.
Happy New Year to all my gardening friends - here's to the beauty of hope!