Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
April into May is definitely the month for iris and the Siberians are about to put on a show along with the taller crested purple iris that we moved from our house in town. Below, if you look close, you can see the frilly patch that is the crest.
*Wild Flowers of North Carolina by William S. Justice and C. Ritchie Bell, UNC Press 1987
Monday, April 28, 2008
Up close. I wish you could smell it.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
One more garden delight, a Siberian iris that opened yesterday for the first time. Got this one from my Papa's garden.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The mountains, rivers, grasses, trees, and forests are
always emanating a subtle, precious light, day and night, always emanating a subtle, precious sound, demonstrating and expounding to all people the unsurpassed ultimate truth.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
I stirred up a toad while I weeded and mulched around the Swiss chard I planted last fall, he hid between the rows and I tried not to scare him too much. We've got a little bunny living in the yard too, so far it's only eating clover and chickweed outside the veggie garden, I'm hopeful that the rabbit wire is really small enough that he can't squeeze through.
From front to back this is beets, carrots, red and toscano kale, tatsoi, cilantro, radishes, lettuce and peas at the back, you can see some onions on the left and the shed with all our rain buckets in the background.
Wish it would rain, its getting dry again. I stepped my peppers and eggplants up from small to larger pots today, will set them out in a couple of weeks. Next week I'm going to plant tomatoes, yippee, only about 10 weeks now till the first red ripe one.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
As always it was stunning out there. In the early morning light with hardly another boat on the lake, the water was placid, the air was cool and the sky was bright and clear. The tops of the big pine trees along the shore were brushy with new needles and yellow candles, sharp against the blue sky. I was wearing yellowish glasses that rendered the new leaves on the trees an electric chartreuse.
Yellow throated warblers were singing their "sweet, sweet, little more sweet" song from the tops of all those pines but we saw nary a one despite our searching. We did get a great look at a red-headed woodpecker and saw the usual raft of cormorants, ring-billed gulls, a couple of osprey and a dozen great blue herons. Eagles evaded us this time out but I know they're still there.
We like to paddle the boats back into a cove and just drift, looking up into the trees and willows. Good thing we didn't need to get out of the boats as there was no beach to pull out on anywhere.
We paddled about an hour and a half and then loaded up and headed home. It's a process, loading the boats, driving to the lake, unloading, paddling, reloading, coming home and unloading again! Probably about 2 hours in loading and driving each time but its worth it to be out there on the water.
I love to swim and I feel that way about the swimming too. Got to drive to the pool, change, swim, shower, dress and drive back home, but it's worth it to get that aqua therapy. In fact- anything I do that gets me next to water is worth whatever it takes because the water so feeds my soul.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
The rain is good, but I'm looking forward to some sunshine tomorrow- hope it comes.
My bro said today he saw all of the 7 warblers that nest on our land, back for another season. The Pine Warbler, here all year, Louisiana Waterthrush, the first to return, Yellow-Throated, Common Yellow Throat, Ovenbird, Northern Parula and Hooded all showed up in the past week or two. The Prairie Warbler nests on neighboring land where a clear cut was made a couple of years ago. It is the last to return and we haven't heard its rising stair step twitter yet.
In the next few weeks we'll eagerly don our binoculars and head out on early mornings to see what we can spot passing through- I'll get distracted from tasks outside by a call from the forest and grab my binoculars to try and hunt down the new comer who may be a stranger. The list on my front page shows all the things we've seen regularly in migration, its a pretty good list and I look forward to possibly adding something new.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Have you ever seen such curly writing?
In the auditorium groups of young girls danced on stage. Dressed in traditional costumes they used the angled arm movements familiar from various Asian and eastern traditions, while dancing to Asian pop music. The people in the audience sat in rapt attention to the activity on stage, young men lingered near the doorway and on the fringes. There was lots of smoking going on outside the building, I decided they couldn't read the signs posted everywhere stating it was a tobacco free campus, hopefully someone will police the grounds for ciggy butts before they leave today.
This little one had a piece of long white fabric at her feet and she kicked it up as she danced
Everyone was very welcoming, warm and friendly. I spoke to one man I thought I knew but didn't, we then engaged in a long conversation. Later I spoke to a man I did know but he didn't think he knew me and didn't speak much English- so we engaged an interpreter. It was an eye opening and beautiful experience and I was glad to be able to take part in it.
Now I'm sitting here blogging when I should be working- so ta-ta for now.
Friday, April 11, 2008
I spotted this little guy down at the creek when I went for a walk late this afternoon- it looks like he has the pine needle in his mouth but I think he is actually resting his chin on it. Good to see the water still swirling down the creek.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Todays harvest with a few french breakfast radishes for fun
Monday, April 7, 2008
By the second week of my recovery the weather had cleared and I spent the next 5 weeks in a wonderful state of rest and relaxation. I took daily walks, hired a young man to help me get the garden planted; since I wasn't allowed to lift anything, and spent the remainder of the time bird and nature watching . It was grand really, to have permission to do nothing but what I wanted for 6 weeks.
Not the case this year with all my new obligations, but I'm hopeful that the cold weather is passing and the next weeks will bring warm and sunny days as we expect and deserve in the month of April.
I heard my first Northern Parula warbler of the season singing on my walk to work this morning. I joke that the Parula is my nemesis in birdwatching- a distinct call makes me search for this bird that loves to hang out in the highest tops of the poplar trees and it's so small that it can easily sequester behind leaves and be VERY hard to spot. He is worth the search though, a very pretty little fellow with yellow breast, orange-brown collar, and blue grey back.
The forest is filling with a green and pastel haze that will soon obliterate the long views I've been enjoying since October, green-up time is coming fast.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
A trio of pink trees. On the left a weeping redbud, in the center the "Prairie Fire" crab apple we planted last year and in the distance, the Tulip Magnolia already touted repeatedly in this blog. You can also see a magnificent Japanese maple on the right- bright lime green and if you look closely you can see the terracotta nest pot that's been taken over by chickadees. Also you can see the tulips and daffodils scattered about.
Here is a close up of that Japanese maple in bloom last week
Here's what happens to a ripe cabbage that gets 3 inches of water in a single week. Think I'll be cooking a favorite dish for dinner; shredded cabbage with sliced apples and chicken sausage, a bit of onion and caraway, red wine vinegar and pinch of sugar, altogether in the skillet- delicious, beautiful and easy.
Friday, April 4, 2008
- I love plants and want to learn more
- I can walk to work-incredible considering where I live
- The folks that run the place are nice and laidback
- I'm getting paid two thirds in cash and one third in plants :-)
- I only have to work there one day a week (usually)
So far I have worked 5 days over 4 weeks, every one of those days has been freezing cold and the last one was also raining. I have been completely exhausted at the end of these days and frozen, had to come home and take hot baths and naps to recover. Keep wondering if I am too old for this kind of physical labor though I'm only packing plants for shipping, no real heavy lifting. But I'm not going to whimp out, I will stick it out. It's April and it must get warmer right? I'll get stronger right?
So to encourage myself I went over there today with Mr. D and picked out my free plants for my first months work- and then some- now I am an indentured servant, but that will keep me showing up for work. The hard part is choosing. We picked:
- Chamaecyparis Obtusa "Wells Special" fantastic evergreen with architectural qualities and bluish foliage
- Acer Palmatum "Orangeola" weeping cut leaf Japanese Maple that is red in spring, greenish in summer and bright orange in fall- oh boy
- Corylopsis Sinensis- Chinese Winterhazel- pendulous yellow fragrant blooms in March-have always wanted one of these- spreading 10x10 feet
- Prunus Hally Jolivette-small cherry tree (12 feet) that blooms spring and fall - white flowers with dark pink centers- will plant below my study window
- 2 spring blooming camellias, white "Sudie Blanchard" and red "Royal Velvet"
So to my three part-time jobs add digging holes for these new plants and keeping them watered through the summer so they don't die!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
The creek is up again from the rain and I’m hopeful that the big carp that live in University Lake will reappear to spawn here in the headwaters of Morgan. We’ve not seen them in a couple of years as its been too dry or maybe too much debris in the creek downstream from storms kept them from being able to swim up.
The Canada geese are back at the pond, they’ll give it a go one more year, despite the turtles eating their babies every time. They lay completely flat, their long necks out in front, they even manage to flatten their big bodies out, he in the water, she on the nest, to try and hide from me as I walk past.
Mama goose, flat on the nest
The first asparagus appeared this week, just a couple per day, soon we’ll be inundated- yumm. Lettuce are almost big enough to pick, a few radishes are looking right as well, spring veggie season begins…
The green umbrellas of the May apples are up and I search in vein for morels, I know they are out there but never seem able to find any. Some trees are beginning to leaf out, the redbuds are open, casting a pink haze across the woods and the dogwoods are just beginning- still green and not completely open yet.
Tulips started blooming this week to join the daffodils. Lilac, iris, and poppies are showing buds. The loropetalum in its hot pink fringed finery outshines every other thing in the garden right now, but the tulip tree is still putting on a show and the crabapple is about to do the same.
Tulip magnolia with ginger scented blooms
I’ve been ridiculously busy, after not working for 10 months I accepted three part-time jobs simultaneously and am now working about 30 hours per week. This is not helping me get all my house and garden chores done, nor leaving me time to write or blog or anything else. What was I thinking- and just as spring is coming on. I’m doing my best to juggle it all, but forgive me if you don’t see as many dispatches as usual from me here.
Check this out- I’ve got a monthly column now in the Chapel Hill News called “In Season”, the first one ran in March and the next will be out in a couple of weeks, click above if you care to read it.