Tag Archives: Crocus

My First Spring Flowers

As you may have noted from my last posting, the weather this winter has been erratic to say the least.  My crabapple bush tried to bloom last month, two months early, and the buds got frozen out.  So that bush is a bust.  And the wild raspberries in my yard are trying to go for it too.  So there will be a lot less flowers and fruit this year and probably some dead plants as well. If it doesn’t get cold enough to put them to sleep they either freeze to death or use up their food stores and starve to death before spring is properly sprung.

I’m happy to say that it appears my bulbs have weathered this nonsense well (no pun intended) and are beginning their annual show. (Except for the daffys, which are early.)

Peaking through the leaves I haven’t raked off yet.

A purple crocus peaking as well.

My mini irises.

Even if they’re early, I still love my daffys!

My first ‘bouquet’ of daffys! I love their smell. It’s the scent of spring.

 

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Spring Is Working Its Way Forward

We were somewhat concerned about whether any plants would survive this winter.  Not because it was too cold, but because it was too warm.  The plants were fooled into thinking it was April in December.  My crabapple bush even bloomed.  And my daffodils were up waaay too early.  I still don’t know the fate of my shrubs and perennials, but my bulbs survived!  Unfortunately, before I could get pics of my crocus and small iris a rain storm blew through and flattened them. Fortunately I have pics from last year that never got posted! 😀  Enjoy the beginning of spring!

Lone crocus survivor from this year.

Lone crocus survivor from this year.

Small bulbous iris.

Small bulbous iris.

Bulbous iris colony.

Bulbous iris colony.

Beautiful crocus!

Beautiful crocus!

Beautiful white!

Beautiful white!

Hope your spring is treating you well!

1st Laundry On The Line, Blooming Crocus, And A Beautiful Sunset

My bed on the line for the first time this year!  You should smell my bedroom!  I can't wait to snuggle down in surrounded by that wonderful smell!

My bed on the line for the first time this year! You should smell my bedroom! I can’t wait to snuggle down in, surrounded by that wonderful smell!

 

My crocus are blooming.  Finally!

My crocus are blooming. Finally!

Some white ones I was glad to see survived.

Some white ones I was glad to see survived.

And some mini iris's!

And some mini irises!

At 7 p.m. the moon was plainly visible high in the sky.  A very blue sky.  Our days are now 13 hrs. and 3 min. long

At 7 p.m. the moon was plainly visible high in the sky. A very blue sky. Our days are now 13 hrs. and 3 min. long

And to end my day, as I was pulling my bed off the line, I got to view this wonderful sunset through the trees.

And to end my day, as I was pulling my bed off the line, I got to view this wonderful sunset through the trees.

 

Spring Is ‘Working On It”

Spring is having a hard time here.  Cold, cold, cold!  I tried to remove all the leaves and dead things from the planters outside three days ago (54 degrees out) and found out that while there is mud in the yard, the planters are still frozen solid. *sigh*  But there are a few bits of spring struggling forward.

While we still have no Red-Winged Blackbirds and the Juncos haven’t left, the crows have returned.  Last year we lost one of the parents that comes here every year to have their babies.   Just one parent was left raising 4 little ones.  I don’t know how to tell the males from females, so I don’t know who survived.  But one arrived here with a larger, obviously younger bird.  Jet black and full-bodied, he/she is full of life.  The question?  Is this a new mate or one of the children who survived the winter?

This is the older bird.  I have not been able to get a picture of the younger bird.  He/she is very observent.  The least little movement is noticed. Like me sneaking to a window to try to get a picture.  Even though my windows on the back of the house are second story.

This is the older bird. I have not been able to get a picture of the younger bird. He/she is very observant. The least little movement is noticed. Like me sneaking to a window to try to get a picture. Even though my windows on the back of the house are second story.

While I was doing some yard work, I was thrilled to find that the spring flowers are coming up.  Sort of.

One lone crocus.  Hopefully the warm weather will inspire more.

One lone crocus. Hopefully the warm weather will inspire more.

Look what I found when I cut down my Japanese Blood Grass!  A wee columbine of a type I thought had died.  Evidently a seed took root!  This columbine is short with red flowers.  Can't wait!

Look what I found when I cut down my Japanese Blood Grass! A wee columbine of a type I thought had died. Evidently a seed took root! This columbine is short with red flowers. Can’t wait!  (OOOOooooo, can you see the hyacinth peeking next to the columbine?)

And in looking out my kitchen window I finally saw a sure sign that spring truly is on the way.

The American Goldfinches are finally turning yellow!

The American Goldfinches are finally turning yellow!

But then the day before yesterday…

Surprise!  I woke up to snow again!

Surprise! I woke up to snow again!

And I leave you with a very spring like mug that I’m drinking tea from while dreaming of flowers!

100_6035

 

March Madness And Spring Fever. No, I’m Not Talking About Basketball Or Big Retail Sales

Random Thoughts

As for all the spring funks that seem to be going around, a conversation with a ‘found’ relative that joined us for Easter Sunday snapped something back into my brain. (A lot of dusty file cabinets in there.)  Once Upon A Time Long, Long Ago… when I was working horses and gardening and nature loving on a daily basis and was in tune with the seasons, this part of spring was expected and accepted. It was known as March Madness (and had nothing at all to do with basketball) or Spring Fever (and had nothing at all to do with big retail sales). This really hit me in the face since I have been struggling for several weeks now.

Between the lengthening days, more noticeable now, and the dramatic swings in the weather (that barometric pressure going up and down affects your body), animals and people alike are restless, moody, depressed and ecstatic all at the same time. Life can swoop from awful to wonderful from one step to another. It is just that time of year.

Those believing in Fairies say the upheaval is the passing of seasons from one Fairy Queen to the next.

Greek mythology talks of Demeter (in brief, Goddess of the Harvest), cursing the world and taking life from all growing things; when her daughter Persephone is taken to the underworld by Hades.  The deal to bring Persephone back is that for 4 months of the year she must return to the underworld.  During that time Demeter grieves and nothing grows.  Persephone’s return marks the beginning of spring.

Pagans and Witches have celebrated Ostara for hundreds of years (It’s the precursor to the Christian holiday of Easter).  This holiday is celebrated on the Spring Equinox when the hours of day and night are equal.  It is a celebration of rebirth as the world awakens from its winter sleep and “life” begins anew.

It’s all about Change.  From our seasonal sleep we are thrust fairly abruptly into our “awakening”.  There is a primal need, often unacknowledged by us humans, to take advantage of the cycle of growth, resulting in “March Madness” or “Spring Fever”.  When I was working on the farms, allowances were made for man and animal alike. “This too shall pass.” (Or in some cases, “Aw hell, it’s spring again.”)  In this “modern” civilization we forget that we, too, are creatures of Mother Earth and thus subject, to a certain extent, to her whims. We may forget our “roots” but our bodies don’t. We need to be patient with ourselves and others right now.  Acknowledge and accept the unsettled feelings as part of life’s cycles.  Remember that with this huge burst of Mother’s Earth’s creative energies, things are bound to be unstable for a while.  Just hold on tight!

Life At Our House

Saver went LARPing this weekend.  I’m currently sitting here waiting for a text message or Skype bloop announcing her return.

This weekend was spent with Spider Bait’s last high school play.  *sigh*

While doing some sorting and when I was running around the store and some unintentional site jumps on the computer, I kept coming up against Prayer shawls, wraps, and stoles. As I mentioned above, the past few weeks have not been fun for me and having something semi-quick to make (I’m slower than dirt) would help save my sanity and make me feel as if something was getting accomplished.  And it just so happened I had 5 skeins of yarn that have been sitting around for several years waiting to be made into something.  They were clearancing them out and the colors were beautiful.  So now they’re a shawl.  I just wish the photos did the colors justice.

It's roughly 22" wide by 67" long.

It’s roughly 22″ wide by 67″ long.

Shells to cover up my nasty ends.

Shells to cover up my nasty ends.

A close-up in the sun.  Imagine the colors a bit more brilliant.

A close-up in the sun. Imagine the colors a bit more brilliant.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

While Saver was home on Spring Break she combined her 5 gallon fish tank and her 2 gallon fish tank into a 10 gallon fish tank.

I wasn't fast enough to get a picture of the 5 before she started tearing it down.  So here is a picture of the amount of plants that came out of it.  That's a 1 gallon ice cream container.

I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture of the 5 before she started tearing it down. So here is a picture of the amount of plants that came out of it. That’s a 1 gallon ice cream container.

The 2 gallon before tear down.  It's a jungle in there.

The 2 gallon before tear down. It’s a jungle in there.

Ta-Da!

Ta-Da!

Fish are HARD to photograph!  They refuse to sit still!  Here are some of the ‘clearer’ pics:

A Glo-Light Tetra peeking out.

A Glo-Light Tetra peeking out.

Otocinclus.  "Oto" for short. Cute little algae-eater.

Otocinclus. “Oto” for short. Cute little algae-eater.

A Cardinal Tetra on the left and hanging out in the plant is a Kuhli Loach.  A slender eel-like fish.  Can you see him?

A Cardinal Tetra on the left and hanging out in the plant is a Kuhli Loach. A slender eel-like fish. Can you see him?

And, of course, a must have at our house.  A Corydoras Catfish.

And, of course, a must have at our house. A Corydoras Catfish.

And since my tanks are as overgrown as Saver’s, I really should do some Spring Cleaning myself!

Out In The Yard

Spring is finally showing itself!

Rhubarb is peeking!

Rhubarb is peeking!

More crocus!

More crocus!

I’m going to leave you with a quote from Robert Frost:

“I’m not confused, I’m just well mixed.”

Night!

(Squee!  Saver arrived safely back at school as I was checking this after I posted it.  NOW I can go to bed!)

It’s Been A Year?! ‘Crystals’ Are Done, Saver’s Back At School, New Pet

Random Thoughts

Did you know that today is my one year anniversary here at WordPress?  I didn’t till I opened this up and got the “Happy Anniversary” notice.  I was just determined to ‘do something normal’.  A whole year already!  I managed 57 posts this year, a wee bit more than one a week.

I’ve actually learned a couple of things from doing this.  There’s the obvious; I’m more technologically literate than I was a year ago.  I still have much more to learn about using this site, but I haven’t had to scream for help in quite some time.

I’ve learned to edit myself better before I even begin typing.  You wouldn’t believe the pages upon pages that I’ve rambled through this year.  Most stuff never even made it here.  And did I mention the hours ‘n hours?

What surprised me, though, was finding out that I enjoyed this.  Well, most of the time.  And I found I enjoyed opening up my stats page and finding out that people from all over the world pop in to visit.  Who knew?

So here’s to another year in the trenches.  And perhaps a goal of 100 posts minimum to keep me moving?  Fingers crossed!

**********

Brief bitch:  As I mentioned above, I wound up here just to ‘do something normal’.  The past couple of weeks have been ‘not fun’.  I haven’t even been reading my favorite blogs.  Okay, I take half of that back.  Saver was home for a week, which was wonderful but busy.  The week after that sucked topped off with a lot of ‘no sleep’.  So I’m forcing myself to put myself first.  Which is why I’m here.   And I have to put sleep up on the list too.  Lack of it totally fucks with my life.  Pardon the french.  Bitch over.

**********

Oh, and I’m nearly 3 weeks behind on my Simple Abundance.  Aaargh!

**********

Here are a couple of sayings to get started back up:

“Gather the crumbs of happiness, and they will make you a loaf of contentment.”  — Unknown

“Minds are like parachutes:  they only function when open.”  — Lord Thomas Dewar

Life At Our House

Only one more week till the play is over with!  Yes!  I love going to see the plays, I just don’t like the 3 months of daily practices.

Here are a few pictures of my trip taking Saver back to school.  I love how the snow on the ground highlights the naked trees.  It almost looks like the hills have a beard!

We'll start with the obligatory 'mom driving the car'.

We’ll start with the obligatory ‘mom driving the car’.  With her mouth open, again.

Out the side window.

Out the side window.

Between the hills.

Between the hills.

Coming over the top.

Coming over the top.

Plane trails and the sunset on my way home.

Plane trails and the sunset on my way home.

More of the sunset.  You have no idea how many shots I took to get these as I was doing them one handed, driving at speed, in traffic and over potholes.

More of the sunset. You have no idea how many shots I took to get these as I was doing them one-handed, driving at speed, in traffic and over potholes.

Fur Babies and Other Friends

Here's Jake waiting for the bus to bring Spider Bait home.  Which he doesn't always because of the play.  Jake waits till both the High School and Elementary buses go by before coming back in.  He's still holding on despite the cancer and being anemic from the constant bleeding of the tumor.  Hugs, Jake.

Here’s Jake waiting for the bus to bring Spider Bait home. Which doesn’t always because of the play. Jake waits till both the High School and Elementary buses go by before coming back in. He’s still holding on despite the cancer and being anemic from the constant bleeding of the tumor. Hugs, Jake.

There is a new addition to the Fur Baby family.  Say ‘Hello!’ to Stitch!

Yum!  Sunflower seeds!

Yum! Sunflower seeds!

I was at the pet store talking to one of the employees.  They all know me up there.  And Stitch was hanging out in front of the glass showing off and stretching and just being totally laid back.  He caught my eye first because I’ve never seen a white hamster with black eyes in person before and second because of his attitude.  I used to raise hamsters back when there were only two kinds available: Golden and Long-haired Golden’s (no we won’t discuss my age).  Attitude is very important in a hamster.

But, I really didn’t need another Fur Baby.  I’m behind in keeping up with what I’ve got.  The woman I was talking with was also impressed with his attitude since she had just put him out that day, but reminded me I had said I didn’t need another Fur Baby so I should take a pass.  “He’ll find a home, the other two hamsters I put out with him are already gone.”  So I passed.

Fast forward 5? 7? days.  I’m out with Saver for the shopping trip before return to college and we stop at the pet shop.  Guess who was still there?  One of the other employees there said they sometimes have trouble with selling the white ones.  Which I don’t get, but, whatever.  I won’t tell you how long I wandered hem hawing around.  It should have an easy “No” because of money.  But I had all the cage crap at home and when I was rooting through papers and boxes for Spider Bait’s Eagle project I had found an old birthday card that had a gift certificate for that pet store.  And it was still good.  Look closely at my picture up top.  See the big, black letters that spell ‘SUCKER’?

I’m happy to say he’s adorable and coming along nicely.

Hi!

Hi!

I really love my ball!

I really love my ball!

Out In The Yard

My first crocus of the year.

My first crocus of the year.

My first 'mini' Iris.  (cristata? damn, I should look that up.)

My first ‘mini’ Iris this year. (cristata? damn, I should look that up.)

And this is what I saw when I looked out the window a couple of nights later.  Blasted snow!

And this is what I saw when I looked out the window a couple of nights later. Blasted snow!

Crystals

So the ‘crystals’ / rocks are done.  My brain’s fried so I just didn’t think the pictures through very well.  I forgot the penny for size comparison.  And I forgot that the tumbled pictures were laid out differently than the original picture so there are ‘extras’ in the final shot.  *sigh*  And there was no way I was going to take the time to reset and retake the pictures.  The stones were too slippery and not playing nice with each other.  And it’s getting late.

Note that a number of the stones did not take a polish.  They needed to be ground longer, but I only had one packet of each type of grit.  And it’s also possible that the polish I had wasn’t supposed to be used on the 2 green Chrysoprase stones.  There are number of different polishes used by the pros.  Here we are:

Polishing done.

Polishing done.

Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

Original photo with rough stones.  Note the two green chrysoprase, one on top and one on the bottom.

I couldn't lay this out exactly because the stones wouldn't lean on each other.  The stones on the right are ones I couldn't figure out or were buried under the others in the original shot.  Yeah, don't you just love pre-planning? :)

I couldn’t lay this out exactly because the stones wouldn’t lean on each other. The stones on the right are ones I couldn’t figure out or were buried under the others in the original shot. Yeah, don’t you just love pre-planning? 🙂  And, OH!, see the wee little purple tipped stone at the bottom?  That’s the ‘special’ gemstone in the packet.  An Amethyst.  It might fit on a pinky ring…

Mugs

I’m drinking from a favorite tonight that I’ve posted before.  I don’t know if I mentioned it the first time, but this is a mug from my BFF.

Such a cheerful mug.

Such a cheerful mug.

Night everybody!

How Could I Forget The Iditarod? The Last Great Race On Earth

Random Thoughts

 How could I forget the Iditarod?  I have followed this annual dog sled race off and on since it began in 1973.  More on than off, but college, small kids, and cable TV issues interfered here and there.  Thank heavens for the internet.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Iditarod, The Last Great Race on Earth, here are some quickie facts:

  •  The Iditarod is run from Anchorage, Alaska (Which is actually the ceremonial start.  The official start is in Willow just outside Anchorage.) to Nome, Alaska.  The Iditarod is around 1000 miles.  It differs a little between the Northern Route (run in even years) and the Southern Route (run in odd years).
  •  More than 50 mushers enter each year.  Only experienced mushers can participate and must have completed three smaller races in order to qualify.  No one convicted of animal neglect is allowed to participate.  If the Iditarod Trail Committee feels a musher is unfit they will not be allowed to compete.  This holds true during the race.  Last year one musher was pulled because it was felt that a cut he got on his hand was too severe to allow him to continue.
  •  There are 26 checkpoints on the Northern Route and 27 checkpoints on the Southern Route.  All mushers must check in to these checkpoints in order.
  •  All mushers start the race with 16 dogs on the tow line.  With 66 teams this year that’s 1,056 dogs on the trail.  They must finish the race with no less than 6 dogs.
  •  Mushers are allowed to drop dogs at the various checkpoints but must check in with all the same dogs they left the previous checkpoint with.  If you lose a dog out on the trail, you’re done.  One musher has had to scratch so far this year because a dog got loose when a team in front of him stopped suddenly causing his dogs to bunch into a ball.  The dog got loose as he was untangling the lines and, spooked because of the mess, took off.  The owner has flown in to help catch her as she has been seen hanging around a nearby town.  It is the dog’s third Iditarod.  It has been reported that another dog is loose, but no word on whether it has been caught or if the musher has had to scratch yet.
  •  Vet checks are required for the dogs before the race and are also inspected when a musher stops to rest at the checkpoints.  Like with human athletes, no performance enhancing drugs are allowed.
  •  During the race the mushers are required to take one 24 hour layover anywhere on the trail, one 8 hour layover along the Yukon River (a difficult and often nasty portion of the race), and one 8 hour layover at White Mountain, just before the last hard haul into Nome.
  •  Dogs burn about 5,000 calories a day.  This along with the need for regular hydration means that the mushers must stop regularly along the trail to feed and water their dogs.  This entails building a fire and melting snow for water.  The mushers are required to carry a pot that holds no less than three gallons of water, but it still takes a serious chunk of time to get the dogs fed and watered.  Did you know you can burn snow?  You have to add water to the pot to avoid this.
  • The fastest winning time is 8 days, 18 hours, 46 min., 39 sec.
  •  In Nome, at the start of the race, a lantern known as the “Widow’s Lamp” is lit and hung on the Burled Arch. This lantern remains lit until the last musher arrives safely in Nome, which takes anywhere from 13 days to thirty.

Well, so much for a few facts.  I love this race and could go on and on.  Here are some links if you want to get caught up (the race will probably end on Tuesday).

The official website:  http://iditarod.com/race/?vid=22246   I like to read the news stories here as they often include local cultural and historical facts.  They also have some videos you can watch even if you haven’t paid to be an Insider.  The ones I recommend are “Run Dogs Run” just to see a bunch of dogs doing their thing and “DeeDee and Her Wild Ride” to hear one veteran woman musher’s account of a bad day.  I can’t get a link to each individual video so you have to scroll through the Insider Videos to get them.  DeeDee is under Trail Stories.

The second site is the Anchorage Daily News http://www.adn.com/iditarod/#   The articles are good as well, but I really love the daily photo montages.  Usually around 35 photos of life during the race that day.

I would really love to see Martin Buser win his 5th Iditarod, but his dogs caught a bug and aren’t moving as well.  Mitch Seavey was the first into Unalakleet today.  It was a comment on how bad the travel was that both he and Aaron Burmeister were running single leaders on their teams coming into Unalakleet. “What’s that?” you say.  When the going gets tough, the mushers put their tough guy lone wolf type leader on a single lead out in front of the rest of the dogs.  This is the dog that gets the job done and prefers doing it alone.  “Quit” isn’t in their vocabulary.  They not only help “marshal the troops”, so to speak, they also have to have an instinct for the trail.  Knowing the best line of travel and where the trail is in a white out situation is invaluable to the whole team.  It takes a lot out of them being out in front on their own, but when it’s nasty, that’s where they prefer to be.  A good lead dog is priceless.

Life At Our House

Yay!  Saver is home for Spring Break this year.  A special treat as there is a good chance she won’t be home for the summer again.

Play practice is continuing for Spider Bait.  He is playing John in “Peter Pan” this year.

Out In The Yard

Small Iris coming up.

Small Iris coming up.

The crocus are coming!

The crocus are coming!

Hyacinths are peeking!

Hyacinths are peeking!

A wee bonus of a volunteer Columbine.  I just hope it isn't anticipating spring's arrival.

A wee bonus of a volunteer Columbine. I just hope it isn’t anticipating spring’s arrival.

Crystals

They look pretty much the same as last time, so no comparison shots.  I can tell you trying to set this picture up was a bear because they are all nice and smooth and didn’t want to play nice with each other.  They are now in the polish cycle and should be out on Friday.  WooHoo!

This is what they look like when you open the tumbler.

This is what they look like when you open the tumbler.

Nice and clean.  Polish here we come!

Nice and clean. Polish here we come!

Mugs

Nuthatch

Nuthatch

Other side.  Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday

Other side. Lenox Winter Greetings Everyday

Hope everyone had a good weekend!