An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

March 24, 2014

2014 Winter Walk-Off Wrap-Up

     Until early last week I was worried that few bloggers would join in my Winter Walk-Off, but a parade of last minute entries came in at the deadline. These late posts reminded me of my college days, staying up all night to finish a term paper. I remember boarding the city bus once, bleary eyed, to hand deliver a particularly onerous paper to a professor's house in a vain effort at beating a late penalty, but I digress. This year I ended up with 17 entries, and many of them had common features, snow, snow and snow. Here they are in the order received.

#1 - Beth in Wisconsin
God bless people who live in northern climates, where the first sign of spring is ice thawing and water flowing. Beth shows us around McFarland, Wisconsin where the snow is deep and lakes are frozen, but buds are swelling and the cedar waxwings are whistling.

#2 - Emily in Seattle
Ever wish you lived in a neighborhood full of free spirits, where neighbors lend books from street-side libraries, and garden art is a high form of personal expression? My neighborhood has its funky moments, but I wish it were more like Emily's.

#3 - Sarah in Maine
In this year's first Walk-Off to include a canine and our second with lots of snow, wise Sarah says "You need to embrace winter, not hide from it." And embrace it she does, on skis along a snowy wooded trail near Bowdoin College.

Lamium amplexicaule (1)

#4 - Alison in Seattle
Alison's Walk-Off shows us a bit of downtown Seattle, a place were chewing gum is used as wall covering, where the restrooms are fresh, and a pig named Rachel has survived 25 years in a market without once being eyed for bacon by the butcher.

#5 - Denise in Long Beach
Who'd have thought that in traffic-clogged, car-obsessed southern California that precious parking spaces would ever be converted into even more precious parks, or more precisely, parklets? Is it just me, or do you smell change coming too?

#6 - Sybil in Nova Scotia
Sybil shares this year's first international entry, though not some balmy tropical isle, but cold Halifax, where she reluctantly braved the weather to show us some of the provincial capital. It may be cold now, but it must have been hot there this summer, because some of the streetlamps appear to have melted.

Penny

#7 - Jan in Northern Virginia
Virginia is a very diverse state, and the northern part of the commonwealth is one its most densely populated areas, although from Jan's entry you wouldn't think it so. Like Sarah she has embraced the season and takes us on a snowy trip around her neighborhood.

#8 - Annie in New Hampshire
I am grateful that Annie tempted fate and walked with us. Though it was through a cold and snowy New England landscape, there was a warm break by the wood stove in a carpenter's shop, plus there were dogs.

#9 - Loree in Salem, Oregon
If all you know of Salem, Oregon is how it prevented you from getting a perfect score and a red ink smiley face on Miss Greene's 5th grade state capital quiz, then I didn't realize that you and I were ever classmates. Loree shows us that Salem is also home to some really unique architecture, monumental sculptures, an intriguing garden store that needs better hours, and some really bad municipal landscaping.

Metompkin March (3)

#10 - Janet in South Carolina
It wouldn't be the same Walk-Off without Janet and her dogs. She has participated in every one I have ever hosted, and I really appreciate that. Make sure you pause long enough to hear the frogs.

#11 - Lynn in North Carolina
In her entry, Lynn takes us to High Hampton Inn and Country Club in the magical mountains of western North Carolina. Not that I am ungrateful for all of the other entrant's efforts, but Lynn was the only one to invite me for a visit which will include libations. I am sure that was just an innocent oversight on everyone else's part, and I promise it will have no bearing on the prize drawings - honest.

#12 - Peter in Tacoma
Spring has come to Tacoma, Washington and Peter shows us a few things blooming in his neighborhood. However, what he shows more of is some eclectic residential architecture. He must have remembered from last year that I like looking at buildings as much as I do gardens.

Metompkin March (12)

#13 - Sweetbay in North Carolina
Sweetbay's entry includes pictures of blooming quince, cherries, narcissus, hellebores and magnolias in Chapel Hill, all sure signs that winter is over. Hopefully the blooms and warming weather will soothe and distract Carolinians from March Madness sadness.

#14 - Gene in Hampton, Virginia
Like Janet, Gene has participated in everyone of my Winter Walk-Offs, and it just wouldn't be the same event without him. This year he takes us on a walk around his church, showing that people out west aren't the only ones who can grow spiky things, and that homelessness knows no geographical boundaries either (look in his comment section for the link to an interesting sculpture).

#15 - Jennifer in Ontario
In another post from snow covered Canada, Jennifer risks bodily injury exploring a copse of trees with a hidden pond at its center. She could have used skates this month, maybe this summer all she will need a bathing suit.

Metompkin March (19)

#16 - Lynn in Chicago
Some American cities have suffered more than others in this long winter, one of them is Chicago, but I want to think they are probably bettered prepared for it than some, though that doesn't mean they necessarily like it. Lynn takes a break between snow storms to walk through the park and to Lake Michigan. Visible bare ground between patches of snow must surely mean that spring is on its way.

#17 - Ray in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is one of Virginia's most historic cities, and it is full of interesting architectural details, some of which are captured in Ray's Walk-Off entry. Those of you who have ever contemplated downsizing, maybe a spite house might work for you.

Metompkin March (6)

     And now for the rich swag. As is tradition here, all entries are put into a hat (or in this year's case, a bowl), and a thoroughly disinterested teenager randomly drew 2 names.

  • The first winner is Sybil in Nova Scotia, and she has won a can of Crab House Crunch, a local delicacy with addictive properties. 
  • Peter in Tacoma won the next prize, a collection of seashells I personally pulled from the Atlantic during a trip to Metompkin Island. In this case I think most of them are Knobbed Whelks. 
Sybil and Peter, I will contact you for a mailing address, and the prizes should follow shortly thereafter, more or less.

     I thank everyone who took the time to contribute a post this year, I really appreciate the efforts. We will have to do it again next year.

Isabel (2)

(All of the photos in this post were taken during a walk the dogs and I took this past weekend at my parent's house on the Eastern Shore. It was beautiful day with temps in the 70's, it might snow here tomorrow. Two steps forward, one step back.)

29 comments:

  1. Very nice wrapup, Les. It's going to snow here tonight/tomorrow, as well. Hopefully they're wrong...at any rate, I doubt it will last too long.

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    1. Jan, maybe you should just take a two-week nap and hope spring's here when you wake up.

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  2. You have the luckiest dogs. Penny is constantly bemused. Wonderful synopses for a fun Walk-Off. Happy Spring, Les! We might be comparing snow photos tomorrow.

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    1. I am the lucky one on the canine front Lynn.

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  3. Congrats to the winners! And again, thanks for prompting us to do this. Great way to welcome in spring.

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    1. Janet, spring is definitely here now, although today didn't look like it.

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  4. Thanks for the great wrap-up! During the next few days I'll read all the entries I missed. This meme is a great one--as we all need encouragement this time of year. By the way, we'll be hitting 63 on Sunday, the snow I showed on my post is almost all melted, and the lakes are melting. I think participating in your meme had something to do with it. ;)

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    1. As much as I'd like to help bring spring your way, I can take no credit.

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  5. This is such a fun and unique meme to participate in. Congrats to Peter and Sybil!

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    1. I am glad you were able to join Alison.

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  6. Great photos in the wrap-up and I look forward to reading the others entries!

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    1. Thanks for your part in it Loree.

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  7. Will be back next year (although Chris is disappointed he isn't getting the Crab House Crunch.)

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    1. Lynn, please tell Chris I am very sorry about the Crabhouse Crunch. Maybe you can pick up a can on your next trip up the Shore.

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  8. If I hadn't been challenged, I never would have slogged through slushy snow. However, I loved getting outside and discovering a few signs of spring. Delightful wrap-up. Thanks!

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    1. You are quite welcome Annie, but the thanks are mine.

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  9. Drooling already ... thanks for this Les and thanks too to the disinterested teenager for drawing my name for that delicious sounding Crab House Crunch !

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    1. Your prize was put in the mail yesterday. I had to complete some sort of international document to get it to you, but left my glasses at home and had to ask the postal clerk to help me.

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  10. Thanks for hosting, Les! I'm looking forward to catching up on these walks. It's still quite wintery in Maine. My dog would be envious of your weekend walk.

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  11. It's too windy and icy to walk outside today so I went on these virtual walks instead. It's well worth visiting all these posts to appreciate the diverse landscape of North America.

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    1. I am glad you were able to ski along with me Sarah.

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  12. Some wonderful posts of terrible weather! Seattle, Chicago especially. I had a post in mind for your Walkabout, a survey of all the neighborhood trees that have died of drought, but that doesn't seem very wintery.

    A wonderful meme, maybe next year there will be a winter here, and I can again join in.

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    1. It may not seem wintry, but I would have been interested in seeing a dead tree walk. It would have given the rest of us some perspective, especially when we complain about the cold.

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  13. I enjoyed the Walk-Off as always, Less. Happy to live at the Pacific NW and experience the snow blizzards from afar. Whenever you announce a Walk-Off I regret not having the dedication required to have my own blog; I would love to participate. Congratulations to the lucky winners!

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    1. Chavliness, I really appreciate your comments on any of my posts, especially knowing you don't have your own blog.

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  14. What a wonderful group of walks...perhaps I will get it together next year to join in!

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  15. Thanks, it was fun walking with everyone else.
    Ray

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  16. Sorry, I was one of those late night entries. Glad to see that you got such a good response in the end. Love, love the two dog portraits and the picture of the basket of shells.

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  17. Just found your blog - how exciting! Beautiful photography! Beautiful plants.
    I will have had so little time to post anything lately... old age does that. As spring has finally arrived here on the Eastern Shore - the redbud is humming (bees) and the onions are in the ground... your blog has inspired me to try to find some time to dust the old SLR off and shoot!

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