It almost sounds like spring around here.  Just waiting for the familiar exclamations that spring is indeed here...
Hey, Chuck!  ... Is that Chuck?!
Yep!  ... good ol' Chuck.

Chuck moved in under our deck shortly after we had done some backyard demolition of all things tacky & tawdry, namely the death-trap hot-tub & paver fire-pit shaped like The Ring's well.   
We've moved!  Chipmunks & snakes relocated to pile behind shed
We're very glad he's stayed.  
Shake your fist at winter, Chuck, shake it good and hard.  Fight for spring Chuck!
Chuck Pump
During our first year we were fascinated (& still are!) by all the wonderful diverse plants we have growing here naturally.
Wild Ginger 1
Wild Ginger 2
Jack in the Pulpit
Bleeding Hearts

Some we've found the deer won't eat.
Others, not so much.
I did notice this one plant had begun to push up a marbled, candy pink & snow white head on it over in a patch of various vines by the shed and thought, wow, this is going to be something amazing!   I can just tell!  What could it be!
There was so much to clean up in the yard, it was nice to find this large unexpected hand-me-down treat!   It seemed like every Christmas tree since 1999 and other various logs or entire trees were left to decay and rot as fuel for the dreaded multifloral rose.

Sadly, the deer ate my discovery.  & everything around it....  & then they ate everything else around that too.  & they keep eating, everything but the multiflora rose that is... infact, you can see in the forsythia, there's a line of how far up they eat. 

Watchung Mountain 2 in the distance, we're on Mountain 1.
Yes, they are clever names.
 A few weeks later at the Peapack-Gladstone town wide garage sale we picked up a few rolls of left over garden fence for a dollar from someone's own struggle project to keep out the deer.   I made a circle where I had seen this mysterious plant begin to grow and waited for the next year.  

Peapack-Gladstone is a cute town.  We looked at a few properties during our house hunt but the commute was an issue as was the extreme degree of lifestyles.  We could afford the bones of a doll house requiring your soul and children's children worth of sweat equity so we bought this lovely Nesting Ranch 15 minutes away.  Nonetheless, the town is adorable and full of history.  They do a great town-wide garage sale in spring to benefit the Rescue Squad.  Nearby there is an annual spring & autumn charity rummage sale.  There are also two tranquil & quiet Somerset County Parks nearby, Buck Garden and Natirar.  Oh, and this guy Sir Richard Branson who owns a lil' company called Virgin just opened a Spa and restaurant, which is quite good to say the very least.  And really, Rachel, once you're done antiquing in Texas come stop by here in NJ.  I'm certain you & Sir Branson must be old couture friends and we'll all pal along together for a nice jaunt in the spring to do a little yard sailing...

I digress...

So, after a year of waiting and wondering what had I caged into my bargain fence lab experiment, I got to see what might have been ...

There must've been some magic 
in that old back yard we found
cos when we put up some simple fence
the flowers began to dance around!


It was official, we had inklings but now it was confirmed.  At some point the yard was a lovely garden.  Like anthropologists we're still investigating the clues thru changing seasons of time.  In later years daffodils, Iris, and Lilacs have all emerged.  It must have all been fenced at some point, how else did those ever-green Euonymus become tree size!  Berries appear and disappear, buds emerge and disappear... everything disappears.  

But how could we be mad?
This baby deer is maybe 4 hours old, we watched it born outside our bedroom window.

 Later I'll write more on the most amazing book found at a yard sale on wood land gardening and the master plan to live with everyone.  

For now though it's up to Chuck to bring on the spring.