Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pansies On Parade

Colorful pansies.... (Click to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

"We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us." ~ Albert Einstein

Carmi's theme this week is "colorful" and at this time of year the color is really coming back outside. The pear trees, redbuds and the glorious tulip magnolias are blooming as are the forsythia. The grass seems to turn more green overnight and one of our small evergreens which takes on a beautiful bronze color for winter has lost it in just days and now sports that lighter, brighter green of spring. The daffodils are outdoing themselves and soon, for those who planted on time unlike myself, the tulips will be springing up.

Then there are the pansies. Around here, the pansy is a winter flower planted in late fall. It seems to weather our usual cold quite nicely. This year with all the unusual snow, they had a much harder time and really are just now coming into their own. It seems a shame that just when they reach the height of their beauty, they are taken up and replaced with the summer impatiens. Oh, well. We have a few more weeks to enjoy at least.

I think I will sneak on over to the Color Carnival as well and get in under the wire for this week.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's Red & Black & Gray All Over?

Grand Canary Island, July 2009
(Click to enlarge)
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"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." ~ Albert Einstein

When my brother performed in the Grand Canary Islands, he spent some time walking around and taking in the magnificent mix of architectural styles. This isn't a particularly restful place, as it is a prominent vacation area and Stephen reports that the noise and the lights at all hours of the night make New York City look like a sleepy little rural town. But the ornate detail on the buildings is amazing. I don't know what type of establishment this was... a store perhaps... the name suggests either a nightclub or some sort of restaurant. One thing is for certain, no one could miss this place with the bright facade and the deep contrasting black trim.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Can't Get Enough Of Those Daffodils

Too late for crocus....the daffodil will have to do.
(Click picture to enlarge)
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"Today is the day when bold kites fly,
When cumulus clouds roar across the sky.
When robins return, when children cheer,
When light rain beckons spring to appear.

Today is the day when daffodils bloom,
Which children pick to fill the room,
Today is the day when grasses green,
When leaves burst forth for spring to be seen.
~ Robert McCracken, Spring

I planted twenty crocus bulbs in early March.... too much snow the end of January and frozen ground and... well, just laziness on my part. It isn't easy getting old with the knees and the lack of grace in getting up and down off the ground. That pesky ground gets farther away with each passing year and the knees don't care if the ground is soft... they revolt at the idea of being crawled upon. I try to work when the fewest number of neighbors are around to see... in my bleach spattered sweat pants and sweat shirt with the darker fanny area (because the bleach from pressure washing the old house did not get back there), it is not a pretty sight. I have all of Stephen's shrubs that we got him for Christmas planted. All eight of the rose bushes I planted in November have new growth. Now I just need to see if the butterfly bushes come up. Soon I will get my shipment of the two wisteria vines to plant and train up and onto the trellis area of the sunroom. Also, a few more roses for the rose garden and then some bedding perennials from the seeds I planted in starter boxes this weekend.

As for the crocus, I see two spikes coming up through the mulch... but two out of twenty is a bit sparse. Perhaps next year. The daffodils are doing well though. Isn't it amazing what variety they show... frilly, bicolor, tricolor, simple, complex, pinks, yellows, oranges, white. Now, if those tulips do half as well.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Daring Daffodil

The first daffodil.. (Click picture to enlarge) Posted by Picasa

That come before the swallow dares, and take
The winds of March with beauty."
~ William Shakespeare

In this neck of the woods the weather has morphed from winter into summer... at least for the last couple of weeks. We have had several days in the mid to upper 70's along with rain and just a bit of wind. Beware the ides of March, however... today it is cold with the high only around 49 and with more wind, I think it is the back side of that Nor'easter. My crocus have never come up, but the daffodil have been peeking through the ground since Christmas and began to bud back in February when we had all our snow. Now, they are opening, a full two weeks earlier than I expected and just in time for more freezing night temperatures. Ah... Spring in the mid-Atlantic... never a dull moment. Now we wait to see if what we planted in the fall takes hold for the spring. Can you say... anticipation?

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

If The Birds Can't Get To The Beach, Bring The Beach To The Birds

Brown Thrasher, Toxostoma rufum
(Click picture to enlarge)
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"The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings." ~ J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens)

The brown thrasher is a moderately large bird that loves to remain earthbound and prefers rustling through the underbrush to flying out into the open space. They don't often make trips to the feeders but when one graces our patio, he heads straight for the suet but is quick to disappear if I make any sudden move to a camera. I can hear them in the brush and their song reminds me of a mockingbird although it is more melodious and really more variable than said mockingbird.

At one point during our construction they delivered a dump truckload of light sand.. for the mortar and for lining the floor of the crawlspace. I was taking pictures of the days work and sitting at the edge of where the doors were to be when I saw this pair. They had ventured out of the woods and on to the top of the great white sand pile. The sun was shining and it was hot and a bit humid... the perfect time for a romp.... a sand bath. They scratched and pecked and fluttered and rolled in the sand; in some pictures turning into a smudged blur surrounded by wild sprays of sand captured in a still frame and in focus. They kept at it for several minutes with joyous abandon, not caring that their feathers were all out of place, just enjoying the warmth of the sand. All too soon they hopped down the small hill and back into the brush.

Moral: If a bird's too shy to go to the beach, he still expects that someone will bring the beach to him. Glad to oblige.

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

In Like A Lion

Grand Canary Island, June 2009
(Click picture to enlarge)
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Up from the sea, the wild north wind is blowing
Under the sky's gray arch;
Smiling I watch the shaken elm boughs, knowing
It is the wind of March.
~ William Wordsworth, Written in March

March really came in with a roar this year... snow then rain, then more snow and more rain.... finally ending up with almost 1.5 inches already this month. Another in the long line of Nor'easters we have had this winter. The wind was again, amazingly strong and with my room facing northwest... well, it howled and creaked and the screens shook as the rain pounded the windows.... all night for two nights. Today, still windy but the sky was clear, the barometric pressure is on the way up and the sun was out, even if it was still cold. The mourning doves lined up, perched along the back fence hunkered down against the wind. I decided to clean the french door windows and was opening the door when a large fluttering of wings swooped around the side of the house and right up to the door, then back over the hot tub and out to the back fence. It was our hawk... today was a hunting day, but no luck. The hapless doves managed to escape... this time.

As for the picture, it comes from a warmer place, Grand Canary Island. No, I haven't been there but my brother performed there last summer and brought me a horde of pictures to work with... yes, I must live life in exotic settings through his pictures. I love the look in the lion's eye and it is my contribution to Carmi's weekly theme... monochrome.

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