Sunday, April 25, 2010

One Thing Leads To Another

Just one more from our house......
(Click to enlarge)

"If one daffodil is worth a thousand pleasures, then one is too few." ~ William Wordsworth

I know the time for daffodils is past... nothing left but the tall, thin and extremely gangly leaves that are so unsightly. I want to hide them somehow, but to preserve the bulbs for next year we must leave them alone. The first picture is one of my daffodils and the second is from the Norfolk Botanical Garden. They always have so many different varieties and colors, some double and all different shades of yellow, pink, peach, white and orange. Someday I am going to get over my fear of planting the bulbs too soon and finally plant them on time so that I have enough daffodil and tulips to make a cut bouquet... although never as pretty as Judy does.

Yesterday, I cleaned the garage... all day... but it is really, really clean. Today, I had several plants to get out of the pots and into the ground before the rains come. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, Monday and part of Tuesday and this way I won't have to water. My work gloves gave out... the seam just split wide open and I finally took them off. It is much more fun to dig in the soil with bare hands. It only rained on me once and for just a few minutes. I tried to plan these flowerbeds but they are really becoming a mix and match haven for birds and butterflies. I grew butterfly weed from seed and planted about 20 tiny seedlings in various areas. I also planted a candy apple red black-eyed Susan, a scarlet dianthus, Coreopsis Moonbeam, lamb's ears and three begonias that I first put in a large pot and then put the pot in the ground. I figure I will take it out of the ground and inside for the winter next fall. Some lavender, stonecrop, sedum, blanket flower, blue fescue and one lenten rose went in the ground. So far everything is growing well. I did start some seed but my labeling was not the best in the world and I have them a bit mixed up. In the one flat I started the black-eyed Susan, a blanket flower and a white swan coneflower... so... I am just going to transfer them to a large flat pot and see what happens. Perhaps I will be better able to tell them apart when they are just a little bit bigger.

Norfolk Botanical Garden..... Posted by Picasa

So, daffodils for Mellow Yellow Monday... just one more time... I promise... well, until next year!

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Two Sweet Girls, One Birthday...

Miss Daisy and Miss Nyssa...Who's the birthday girl?

One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them. ~ Virginia Woolf

I have two sweet girls... Miss Daisy Doodlebug and Miss Nyssa Sweet Pea. Today is a special birthday for one of these lovely creatures, can you guess who? If I tell you her age you can surely guess but at what age does it become inappropriate to divulge a woman's age? OK, probably not before 30 so that lets Miss Daisy out since in dog years she has to be older than 30. Today Nyssa turns 24. The night before her birth I stayed in the hospital and had Red Lobster and strawberry pie brought in. Two days of induction will make you hungry. Still she would not cooperate, even then she knew her own mind and showed she had inherited that stubborn streak that is so strong in her family.

I have to celebrate this birthday long distance and know that this will be the case for many years to come. So even though I couldn't bake a cake or make cookies or see her friends giving her hearty wishes all around, I looked back and thought about a few of the birthdays we were together. And I wish her a very, very happy 24th birthday!! (I am you mother, I can tell people your age and you can't do anything about it! ♥) And if I were there I would bake you a cake.... or cookies... any favorites!?

Birthday cakes and cookies... a selection. Posted by Picasa

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Some Days It Doesn't Pay To Show Your Face

...this was one of those days. Posted by Picasa

"Someday we'll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car." ~ Evan Davis

One thing went right today... I got my hair done... cut and colored. At my age you have to color to keep that pesky gray stuff from showing in the roots... never mind dark roots... they are gray now.. gray hair is your kid's fault, specifically teenagers. It doesn't matter if you have your kids when you are really young or in your thirties... when they hit puberty you will turn gray. So my hair did well and the lady said... "Don't get it wet for 24 hours." I stepped out of her house and.....

It was raining. I wanted to go to the nursery to get some ladybug lure so that the ladybugs I put out to eat the aphids on my roses would stay. But it was raining. No one walks around a larger outside nursery with an umbrella. I had about decided not to go when... the rain stopped. I went. I did take my umbrella with me and halfway to the Japanese maples.. it started again. It was like that for two hours... rain... stop... rain... stop...

Then after getting the hair wet again getting the plants and ladybug lure in the car.. I started home. My windshield wipers decided to shred, front and back... just when it started to rain again. Thank goodness the front only shredded on the edges. So I stopped and bought new wiper blades.

I made it back to the house and the rain stopped. So I put out the ladybug lure and when I got to the rose garden in the back.. that one that I have spent several months lovingly planting.. it looked as if someone had come in and dug small holes down beside four of the roses and the last one I planted just yesterday had been completely dug up and was laying on its side. So I stopped and got down and dug with my hands, made a small mound and carefully put the roots back in and replanted it. Now I am dirty and it is raining again.

My car is going to the shop for an oil change tomorrow and it is a trash heap inside. Really, the garbage dump has nothing on the inside of my car... dirt from the topsoil, fragments of rock and mulch, a box of files and papers that need shredding and empty cups and bags and bits of gum wrappers. Oh yes, and a piece of a bacon biscuit that crumbled and fell on the floor... er... well, almost half of a half of a biscuit. I kept meaning to pick that up. I was going to wash my car inside and out... or at least vacuum inside... but, it is raining. I do finally get the trash out, in the rain and my hair is even more wet.

Now I can't lock the car because I can't find my keys. I had them to open the car. I think I had them when I went around putting the ladybug lure out... So, around the house again.. no keys. Back to the rose garden.. No, I couldn't have dropped them and covered them with dirt. Before I go digging again I check around the house and in the car and in the house and just before I head back to the roses... there they are, not lost at all, on the workbench.

Who could have vandalized my roses? I decide to scan the security video for last night. Finally, at the 3:18 AM time stamp he appears.... waddles by around the patio to the back steps before heading to the roses. It has a body slightly bigger than our Ragdoll cat.. she is really big.. but has a gait different from a cat and a tail that drags the ground and is not as round as a raccoon but flatter. Dad said it wasn't a badger and since the neighbor has seen beaver in the pond behind her house... that is the most likely suspect. So now I have to figure out how to keep beaver out of the roses. This is the city, I am a suburban girl and there shouldn't be beaver in my back yard. Sigh!

It is trash night... so next, I scoop the cat boxes and gather the trash and put the monstrous can out on the curb along with the four bags of limbs and vines and cane I cut back out beyond the back fence. I haven't had anything to eat today... nothing but a coffee. So at 8PM I make a salad and sit down... I think about calling Nyssa and reach for my cell phone. It was in my shirt pocket, I know it was! It is not there. I am determined to finish the salad. I do. It is not raining but it doesn't matter as I am inside.

I look for my phone. Not in the purse, on the cabinet, in my room or in the garage. I do hope I turned the volume on at least low... I get the house phone and start calling my phone. Listen... no, not in the house. Let's try another trip around the house... oh, look... it's raining again. No, no sound out front... try the rose garden. Surely there is no way it fell out of my shirt pocket while I was trying to replant the rose and it was covered by the dirt and mulch? I don't hear any ringtones... would I hear the ringtones if it were buried?

One last place to look... yuck... oh, yes.. the garbage can. I open the lid, hit redial for the tenth time and..... bingo! Now I have to pull the can back up from the street, take everything out and keep calling my phone to see which bag it is in. It is there... I even see the light on the face light up... the bag on the very bottom of the can... and it is in the very bottom of the bag and covered with.... well, I can't bring myself to say which bag it was.. but by my previous work you can guess.... please, don't say it out loud... I will definitely find the lysol wipes.

Looking back.. I did a lot of "things" but all of the "putting out the next fire" variety and very little of the actual accomplishment type. Now, I am tired... and have wet hair. Sigh.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Feel Like Part Of The Road



“Once a new technology rolls over you, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road.”~ Stewart Brand

I never liked Blogger's commenting because it links the commenter name with the Blogger profile page instead of the person's blog. So I used Haloscan for several years. I was perfectly happy with it and never wanted it to change. But, like home loans being sold from one lending institution to another until you have no idea who is holding your mortgage... so JSKit acquired Haloscan. They ran it as Haloscan for a while... hinted at migrating everyone over to JSKit... kept postponing it and had people waiting for their "invitation" and then.... they suddenly gave a two week notice of shutting down Haloscan. Of course Blogger will not import the old comments from Haloscan, but this new Echo will import the old Blogger comments and actually keep them synched with Blogger. I have no idea what that really means. They also tout all this other stuff... which I still don't know about either. Trackback and pings and such.. so simple with Haloscan, even if you didn't know what you were doing. Not so, Echo gives a code to put in a template to do this but ends up with double "Comments" showing up on posts.

Anyway, my biggest problem is that when someone comments... I cannot find a way to click back to their website to visit. So, please.... (and I think you only have to do this once)... click on the "Login" button to get the pull down window and click on "My site (click to edit). Then add your blog address here. I think this should take care of it. I hope.

Thank you.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Words From A Mind That Finally Thawed

Female cardinal braving the snow... January 2010
(Click to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Antisthenes says that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time then thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer."
~ Plutarch, Moralia

Who knew?

It doesn’t snow much, in this place where we live.
We are too close to the ocean
With air warmed just enough by the Gulf Stream
To melt the delicate flakes before they reach the ground,
Most winters.
But, not this winter.
This winter it snowed.
Not the usual few flakes here and there for twenty minutes or so.
No, it was an all night, all day affair with blinding and sometimes blowing snow.
Heavy large flakes and tiny microscopic flakes, with bits of tiny-ice-pellets-that-sting-your-face thrown in for good measure.
It was a remarkable snow for this place.
A snow that didn’t melt in two hours or even five days.
I watched it that first night through my window.
The blowing flakes whirling and dancing, then frantically racing toward the ground...
Lit to a glow by the streetlight.
Ten inches... not much by upstate New York standards,
A blizzard to coastal southern Virginia residents.
The child in me said... “It is good.”

It snowed here again, in this place where we live,
Just ten days ago;
Not the white cold wet snow, no... it was yellow and dry.
Not ten inches deep, but it might as well have been.
It coated everything: plant leaves, hot tub covers, cars, anything left outside.
One night it was not there and the next morning everything was yellow...
Even the black hot tub cover was that nasty sort of green you get when you mix black with yellow.
I had just cleaned out the hot tub.
Anything touched left yellow debris on hands and clothes.
It snowed this yellow pollen for four days.
I watched the security camera feed from my bed one of these nights.
A spider has built his web in front of the camera and I see him spinning and spinning
Looking larger as he comes close to the camera and getting smaller as he walks away.
I think I see small flying insects floating by his web,
Surely, some will be snared by the sticky stuff and yet,
The tiny bits just fly by ...... and then I know.
This is not a swarm of gnats..... this is snow.
This is that yellow, nasty pollen snow!

Today it snowed again.
Not the fluffy, white, cold, wet stuff
Nor the nasty, yellow, powdery stuff that makes so many eyes water and noses run.
This was a snowstorm of little whirling helicopters and brown squiggly worms.
They coated the deck and the freshly swept patio
And in that corner or the patio where the wind seems to swirl all things into a twirling frenzy
They danced, spinning round and round and finally landing in a pile by the steps.
They shower the cars driving across the draw bridge.
They cling to the sisal door mats like velcro pieces and cannot be moved.
The brown worms are just a nuisance.
The tiny helicopters search for soft moist dark earth to land.
Some make it and on a warm sunny day in summer
A tiny maple tree sprouts.

This won’t be our last snow.
Soon the white fluffy summer snow of cottonwood and cattails will begin.
Later, in October, there will be a snow of red and gold as the autumn leaves float by.
That snow will be punctuated by a blanket of pine needles.
Then, winter will again come to this place where it is usually too warm to snow and
Who knows?
Who knew?

~ srp (April 17, 2010)

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Friday, April 16, 2010

My Baby's Got Blue Eyes

Miss Scarlett... finely tuned at fourteen
(Click to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"An animal will always look for a person's intentions by looking them right in the eyes." ~ H. Powers

Miss Scarlett and her brother Mr. Rhett (aka Houdini) are fourteen this year. Rhett is as sharp as ever; able to dart out an open door in a fraction of a second and quick enough to evade capture unless you are able to grab at that long tail. His Siamese tail has saved him many times. Rhett never seems to learn that it is not a friendly world out there for kitties with cars and raccoons and other nasty critters in the swamp preserve behind the house. His cat curiosity always gets the best of him.

Miss Scarlett, for the most part, is physically fine. She has never gotten over her nervousness and pacing when anyone is around, but she did gain all her weight back after that bladder stone surgery and so far, no more problem in that area. I've noticed over the last year that she seemed to be running into things and being startled by objects in the middle of the room or if we moved objects out in the garage. She spends a lot of her time in the safety of a box, with her back up against a wall or door. Miss Scarlett is for all purposes blind.... no cataracts and eyes just as clear as ever.... she just cannot see. We think she sees a bit of light and shapes but not really any detail. She is able to get around her special places just fine... as long as nothing is moved.

For cats as well as humans... it really is no fun getting old.

We haven't been to Friday's Ark in some time, nor have the kitties seen their friends at the Carnival of the Cats ... this week at When Cats Attack.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Battle Of The Bulbs

Finally and suddenly... a crocus.
(Click to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility." ~ Albert Einstein

I planted 20 crocus bulbs. OK. Like everything else in my life, I was late. Then they had a layer of mulch and several bouts of cold and snow and rain and I watched and waited and waited. I decided that because I again did the bulb planting too late, thinking our mild winters would make them come up too soon, we would be without spring color. Then I saw three little spikes that looked at least a bit more like crocus leaves than errant grass.. so I left them alone. Yes, I believe this may be the crocus... still, no bloom. Then a couple of weeks ago... suddenly as if a magician walked along and said "abracadabra"... here it was.. a single purple bloom. I never saw the precursor bud. The bloom provided one small speck of color for mankind for four days, until the next round of cold and rain splattered its delicate self all over the sidewalk. As for the rest of them.... nothing.. just a few green spikes that look more stupid the longer they sit there. The yard man is going to think they are crabgrass and pull them up. I am really not very competent with bulbs. Perhaps it would be best if I just did what the instructions said and quit thinking that I know better than nature about this bulb planting thing.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I Don't Think This Fellow Is Going To Catch Too Many Flies

Froggy fountain...Norfolk Botanical Garden
(Click to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

“A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles.” ~ Washington Irving

The botanical garden is full of fountains, small ponds, a good sized lake and a meandering waterway that allows for quiet boat tours of the garden. This little fellow is tucked away in a section with a wide variety of evergreen, flowering trees and niches that pop up revealing statues of wildlife that inhabit the area of the gardens. I love the paths that wind and cross and on days when the garden is less populated by visitors, one can almost become lost in this world of nature with nothing but the sound of chirping birds and crickets, buzzing bees and the gurgling of water. Oh yes, occasionally the scream of the bald eagle family that currently nests in the tall loblolly pines. I have been to the gardens once this spring and plan another mid-week trip soon... almost time for the roses...

I thought this fellow would do nicely for both Moody Monday and Watery Wednesday.
Oh, yes... and since frogs are a favorite of Judy's... this frog is especially for her too.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Golden Sunsets

Pansy mix... Copperfield/Skyline. (Click for larger view) Posted by Picasa

"The beauteous pansies rise
In purple, gold, and blue,
With tints of rainbow hue
Mocking the sunset skies."
~ Thomas John Ouseley, The Angel of the Flowers

The time is short for these lovely flowers as they don't hold up under the hot and humid summers. Soon, they will be unceremoniously ripped from their places and tossed aside. Usually they are replaced by Impatiens, but the same problem exists with them. Both tend not to be at the height of their beauty until just before they are removed. The pansies had a particularly hard winter with all the cold weather and snow and we lost several bunches, but this mixture has been my favorite of all the years. Shades of copper and yellow and apricot along with a few scattered dark maroon red and an occasional purple thrown in. They remind me of the sky at sunset with small fluffy clouds scattering the lingering light of the sun into wild shades of color. Perhaps we have another few weeks with them... a few more sunsets to compare... and enjoy.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Who Thought This Snow Business Was A Good Thing

"Mom's footsteps are too wide for me to walk in..."
(Click pictures to enlarge)

“A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” ~ Carl Reiner

We had ten inches of snow the last weekend in January. Snow plows just don't get to the side streets and any cars moving did nothing but pack the snow down and the minimal thawing only resulted in a re-freezing into ice. I saw dogs out frolicking in the white stuff, sinking in snow drifts up to their chests and then leaping up into the air again in pure excitement. Not Daisy. She just stood there. Only after I made tracks down the sidewalk would she follow, trying to place her feet in the holes. The first time I let her out while the snow was still falling, she seemed shocked.... where did the grass go? What is this stuff that sticks to my fur and makes small hanging ice pellets? I'm wet! I'm wet! Getting her to do her business was a battle... no way did she want to get her backside anywhere near that stuff! No, to Daisy this frozen stuff was even worse than rain!

"I want to go inside... NOW!" Posted by Picasa

This week Carmi is saying "Good-bye to winter" and Daisy has been trying to do that since January. After three days of almost record high temperatures well into the 90's, a front came through with some rain. The promise of thunderstorms didn't materialize or if it did I slept through it, but at least some rain fell helping the pollen count go down, if only a little. Reports are that the pollen count has been over four times higher than average and I believe it. I was looking at the security camera video watching the spider spin his web right in front of the lens and I noticed tiny flying specks. At first I thought they were small flying insects but they came in streams and reminded me more of the snowflakes blowing in the north wind during that snowstorm. It's pollen... coating everything... even working its way into the wood grain areas of the deck boards. The spiders were not immune... the gossamer webs are now visible... yes, bright yellow.

So, in January we had a 25 year snow and now a 25 year pollen event... go figure.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Surely, A Wise Old Owl Must Live Here

Gnarly old tree, waiting for spring... Williamsburg, VA
(Click pictures to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Old trees in their living state are the only things that money cannot command." ~ Walter Savage Landor

I really meant to get this gnarly tree posted before Carmi changed his theme... but it works out fine as this tree looks as if it would love to say "good-bye" to winter. Trees with a perfect upright growth and perfectly shaped limbs are beautiful but sometimes boring; this tree, however conjures up so many different thoughts. It is old, possibly growing here when Colonial Williamsburg was founded. Surely it has seen George Washington walking these streets and Thomas Jefferson as well as others through the years. What trauma produced the distortion of the trunk and the twisted nodes hanging from the main branches; and that split in the trunk at its base.. if only this tree could talk, the inside information it must have about our forefathers.

Here icicles are usually not much.... this is as good as it gets.

"Winter giveth the fields, and the trees so old, their beards of icicles and snow." ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Yesterday it was 93 degrees here... same today.... it is only April isn't it? When it is this hot, it is hard to think about the snow and ice from just two months ago. This icicle is long gone and winter with it; we seem to have skipped Spring and headed straight into Summer. I have planted daylily, butterfly weed, a butterfly bush and seeds for black-eyed Susans, blanket flowers, hollyhocks and columbine. I have transplanted azaleas from the front to the back yard and have put in hydrangeas in the front flowerbed. I've been watching my shade garden peek up through the winter mulch with hosta, columbine, astilbe, fern and a really gorgeous purple and green hydrangea really starting to get going. So far I have thirteen different rosebushes in the rose garden and my roses in the front are about to bloom... I'd say in the next three weeks or so. The new rose garden will take about two to three years to really fill in and I am anxious.. especially about one variety called "Honey Dijon". Yes, a mustard yellow-tan bloom with exceptionally strong spicy scent! Can't wait! But I'll have to anyway.

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Thursday, April 01, 2010

The Real Thing

Japanese maple... from the inside out.
(Click picture to enlarge)
Posted by Picasa

"Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." ~ Abraham Lincoln

I want one of these... Stephen does too. But, who knew there were so many different varieties? Some grow slowly and others sprint to the sky, some stay small and others grow large and complex. The colors are all over the place... green, red, golden, maroon. And the leaf pattern ranges from typical maple shape to fine fronds delicately waving in the breeze. So many to choose from....

A little news... my brother, Stephen is in New York in rehearsals for his debut at the Metropolitan Opera. Hopefully he can get down here for at least a couple of days. The opera? Der fliegende Holländer...The Flying Dutchman.

Carmi's theme for the week is "trees".
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