Pandemic 2020 in the Field

Today is the Spring Equinox of 2021. But, really, this post is a summary of the last season in photos since it is so overdue.

The global pandemic kept me grounded which meant I and others did lots more clearing last spring of unwanted plants in the meadow. Ryan and Emily cleared truckload after truckload of bittersweet and honeysuckle; Scott with the help of a small tractor cleared out some deer tongue (native but aggressive) from the section of the meadow surrounding the bee hives.

2019-2020 was a bad/good year for deer: bad if you were me stepping over countless piles of deer scat and lamenting the browsing on winterberry, American red cedar, viburnum, hydrangeas, hostas; good, I guess, if you were a white-tailed deer.

It may be that I had more deer because my neighbor fenced a portion of her garden that used to satisfy most of the deer population’s appetite. Therefore, in the fall, Scott and I put up make-shift deer fences around the visitors’ favorite plants. It seems to have worked.

Another species needs mention — the groundhog. Faithful readers of this blog will know of the extreme efforts that we have undertaken to keep the resident groundhog from helping himself to garden produce. Most notably, you heard of the 4 feet of quarter-inch hardware cloth that Scott buried all around the garden perimeter. In October, my cross-the-street neighbor whose garden became the dining room of my groundhog after the hardware cloth was installed, sent an email with a photo of our furry friend now road kill.

Groundhog as road kill

One more animal species needs acknowledgement, also because of his departure. Oscar, the cat from next door not cross the street, sold his house and moved away. The hunting camera caught the best photo I have of Oscar. (Study the shadow in the lower left.) The birds are rejoicing.

The hardware cloth allowed for an excellent harvest of garden produce, but the pandemic meant that I had few family and friends with whom to share my good fortune. Scott who lives in the shade of the woods, Ruth who delivers the NYTimes, Jane who loves chard, and — week after week — the Jonnycake Center that feeds an alarmingly large number of people, helped with the eating.

The pandemic meant there was time and money for more follies. The garden got a new raised bed. The compost bins that were themselves decomposing were replaced. Each shed got a new door. But the biggest project by far was the construction of a blueberry house.

Deer and birds ate fewer of the berries — both blue and rhasp.

That fairly well summarizes the year of the pandemic. May it rest in peace. Better yet: May it open a hotel and be found dead in every room.

But before getting back into the field for the coming season, here’s a photo calendar of the last.

I’ve spared you August because you saw all the produce but doubled down on September.

As the heat dissipates in October, the sky can get bluer or grayer.

  1. said:

    The Keils are hoping for a visit this year to ring some normalcy to our life and yours. Lots to look at that we missed in person.

  2. Judy Staples said:

    Inspiring! Thanks for sharing.
    Now that we’re vaccinated, let’s get together – I’ll help you get rid of some of your bounty!

  3. Beverly Hodgson said:

    What a great update! Deer! Zucchini! Road kill! Can’t wait to move back to Matunuck, probably in May soon after my return from the west coast. Miss you! Bev


  4. A busy year, Susan. Was your blueberry house folly a worthwhile endeavor? It seems to be an unusually solid structure for keeping birds away from blueberries. Perhaps worthy of presentation in Architectural Digest? May we all resume a more normal and safe lifestyle this summer. I wish you the best.

  5. David said:

    Not a bad way to spend a year

  6. bee starr said:

    Good to hear! Good to hear! Seems here in Cleveland we actually might get an early spring! It’s been a long time coming!

    Barbara Starr 216-346-6473

    On Sun, Mar 21, 2021 at 4:44 PM Meadow Restoration wrote:

    > Susan Marcus posted: ” Today is the Spring Equinox of 2021. But, really, > this post is a summary of the last season in photos since it is so overdue. > The global pandemic kept me grounded which meant I and others did lots more > clearing last spring of unwanted plants in the me” >

  7. Mary Lou Upham said:

    Well done. We have had several Bluebirds come by for suet treats, The frog chorus has been “quacking” and the usual suspects have been sited.

  8. Felice Friedman said:

    Wonderful!!! Lovely photo story. Here’s to a better year ahead for everyone, with family and friends able to reunite!

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