Tag Archives: Iris

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!

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Spring Continues (while I lose my mind)

May has been a crazy month. (I don’t even have my May Box out yet!)  Saver of Bugs graduated from college last weekend (and all that entails).  In addition, for the past three years she has been taking stuff to school without bringing anything back (she spent the summers at school doing research).  Weekend before last, I went up and brought a van load back (turns out it was cheaper for me to make multiple trips rather than rent a truck).  And after graduation, we loaded our van AND my mother’s smallish van/SUV/sport vehicle(?).  Now it’s time for sort, sort, sort, pack, pack, pack.  She’ll be moving to Philly the first week of June (pretty sure).  And she’s disappearing for 5 days to meet up with schoolmates for a last group LARP (small GRRRR).  Someone just shoot me, K?

My poor garden is now a garden of knee-high weeds.  But there were some survivors of the harsh winter.  So I’m taking my pleasure where I can get it.

I had my son cut down the Butterfly Bushes to 18 inches.  Knowing my passion for Preying Mantis's, he collected all the egg cases he found.  I put them in various pots in the driveway near the garden so they wouldn't get crushed underfoot during my weed raids on the garden.

I had my son cut down the Butterfly Bushes to 18 inches. Knowing my passion for Preying Mantis’s, he collected all the egg cases he found. I put them in various pots in the driveway near the garden so they wouldn’t get crushed underfoot during my weed raids on the garden.

My Snow-in-Summer survived the winter and apparently some of the Mantis's have hatched.  There is a wee exoskeleton on one of the flowers.  The flowers are roughly the size of a dime.

My Snow-in-Summer survived the winter and apparently some of the Mantis’s have hatched. There is a wee exoskeleton on one of the flowers. The flowers are roughly the size of a dime.

Pink Catchfly!  This will be a new addition to my garden.  Wilted and partially dead on the clearance rack, I paid $1 for it.  It has bounced back quite nicely!

Pink Catchfly! This will be a new addition to my garden. Wilted and partially dead on the clearance rack, I paid $1 for it. It has bounced back quite nicely!

Star-of-Bethlehem.  You never stop learning with plants. This tough little bulb came with the house and self sows itself around the yard from time to time.  In all the years we have lived here, I never knew it closed up at night.  I'm digging beds for tomatoes on the side of the house and as the sun set behind the trees, the little flowers closed right up!

Star-of-Bethlehem. You never stop learning with plants. This tough little bulb came with the house and self sows itself around the yard from time to time. In all the years we have lived here, I never knew it closed up at night. I’m digging beds for tomatoes on the side of the house, and as the sun set behind the trees, the little flowers closed right up!

Like my Snow-in-Summer, this beautiful Columbine was a bird poop volunteer.  It has self-sowed itself all over my garden in gorgeous clumps of blue.  I look forward to this flower every year and I'm soo glad it survived the winter!

Like my Snow-in-Summer, this beautiful Columbine was a bird poop volunteer. It has self-sowed itself all over my garden in gorgeous clumps of blue. I look forward to this flower every year and I’m soo glad it survived the winter!

My first Iris of the season!  It was difficult to take this guy's photo with the wind blowing it every which way!  I was thrilled to see how well these survived the winter. They were a gift from my next door neighbor.  She was diagnosed with Alzheimers and after the death of her husband, her health declined rapidly and she is now in a facility rarely recognizing anyone and spending most of her days in bed.  It's heart breaking.  But she loved her flowers and I'll always remember her sitting in the grass pulling weeds and snipping spent flowers.

My first Iris of the season! It was difficult to take this guy’s photo with the wind blowing it every which way! I was thrilled to see how well these survived the winter. They were a gift from my next door neighbor. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and after the death of her husband, her health declined rapidly. She is now in a facility, rarely recognizing anyone and spending most of her days in bed. It’s heart breaking. But she loved her flowers and I’ll always remember her sitting in the grass pulling weeds and snipping spent flowers.

Another Iris from my neighbor.  This poor thing got bent down to the ground somehow and was curling up to the sun to bloom.  Both this stem and the previous one are now in a vase in my kitchen perfuming my air with their lovely scent.

Another Iris from my neighbor. This poor thing got bent down to the ground somehow and was curling up to the sun to bloom. Both this stem and the previous one are now in a vase in my kitchen perfuming my air with their lovely scent.

Another garden denizen going about her duties.

Another garden denizen going about her duties.

A gift from crow friends.  A message is winging its way here.

A gift from crow friends. A message is winging its way here.

A lucky shot of our crow friends all together.  We have had a pair making their home here for years.  Late last summer one of the adults went MIA leaving a lone parent to raise 4 young.  I'm not trained enough to be able to tell who's who, so I don't know if this is the parent with a new mate and one of her young from last summer, a parent and two young, or just three of last year's kids.  They are very interesting and intelligent birds.  They are also quite skittish this year so I've been having trouble getting a shot of them together.

A lucky shot of our crow friends all together. We have had a pair making their home here for years. Late last summer one of the adults went MIA leaving a lone parent to raise 4 young. I’m not trained enough to be able to tell who’s who, so I don’t know if this is the parent with a new mate and one of her young from last summer, a parent and two young, or just three of last year’s kids. They are very interesting and intelligent birds. I love watching them work together.  They are also quite skittish this year, so I’ve been having trouble getting a shot of them together.  I will be keeping an eye out to see if any young are brought to the yard this year.

Wish me luck on keeping my sanity over the next couple of weeks.  If life would just pause long enough for me to handle moving crap only!

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.

 

The Spring Equinox (And Spring Has Actually, Finally Shown Her Face)

Hurray for the Spring Equinox!  It’s finally, officially Spring!  The ‘official’ Equinox occurred on Thursday, March 20th,  at 12:57 pm EST.  Our daylight length here where I live – 12 hours 10 minutes.  I love it!

But I knew ahead of time that spring was on its way.  How?  I SAW BEARS!!!  I did, I did!  I was driving back from delivering Saver of Bugs to school when I noticed some black blobs at the bottom of a tree in a fairly open area.  I did a double take and stared.   BEARS!!!   They were very close in size and not all that big so I figure they are last year’s cubs.  Momma must have been in the tree line.  Regretfully, I was driving on a main trucking route at speed.  Stopping for pictures would have put me on foot going back to get pictures at dusk.  Getting smooshed by a truck was not on my agenda.  Or as my son said, “Hit by a truck?! Seriously?!  How about EATEN by a freaking BEAR?!”  🙂

But back to Spring!  The following is a partial reblog from a post I did last year.  I just couldn’t think of anything more I wanted to add to this:

“…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!”

**********

The symbolic rebirth of Mother Earth after a long, hard, cold winter was supposed to be cold and nasty.  So I decided two days ago, with warm beautiful weather as company, to once again go looking for Spring outside.  I also decided it was time to start cleaning up out there and started by bringing the plants out of the garage.

Daffodils, weeks late, finally poking up through the grass!  YAY!

Daffodils, weeks late, finally poking up through the grass! YAY!

More Daffs in the garden!

More Daffs in the garden!

Mini Iris

Mini Iris

Hyacinth

Hyacinth

Buds on my small Amelanchier Laevis.

Buds on my small Amelanchier Laevis.

To save money, I grow a lot of things from seed and shop the clearance racks, especially at Lowe’s.  And life being what it can be not everything has made it into the ground.  The Dump (aka our garage) is too full for a car, so the back of the driveway is a convenient place for plants in pots.  This winter I put plants I knew wouldn’t survive outside in pots in the garage.  Unfortunately,  there were still a lot of pots in the driveway that had to deal with an unusually severe winter.

My mint survived it's winter in the garage and is starting to grow.

My mint survived it’s winter in the garage and is starting to grow.

And my Lemon Balm.

And my Lemon Balm.

The coreopsis on the left was in the garage.  The one on the right is still asleep.  Or dead!

The Coreopsis on the left was in the garage. The one on the right spent the winter in the driveway.  It is still asleep. Or dead!

But my Monarda in the driveway is still alive and awake!

But my Monarda in the driveway is still alive and awake!

So whether you celebrated the Spring Equinox on the actual Equinox or whether you celebrate on the calendar Equinox (the 21st), I wish you a happy beginning to your Spring!

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!

Randomness and Cake-With-All-The-Sh#t-In-It

Just a lot of odds n ends today.  Starting with the fact that I woke up feeling like someone put a knife through my back and shoulder.  I have had this before.  It sucks.  If it gets bad, it will travel down my right arm causing so much pain I won’t be able to use my right hand well.  And I am right-handed.  And I am not happy.  I’ve been sucking Motrin and muscle relaxants, stretching, and trying not to do too much to aggravate the shoulder and neck.  I hope the worst will be over by the time I wake up tomorrow.  And if typing this post causes problems, it will be a real short post.

*****

So last Thursday evening I found out my neighbor, an elderly lady, had decided she didn’t want any of her side gardens any more and had already ripped out the plants from one side of her house and thrown them down the hill into the woods. (sob)  Someone had already taken a weed whacker to a bunch of the plants by the fence between our driveways and finding out that they were the next to go I asked if I could dig some out and keep them.   So Friday night after dinner, while I still had light, I moved some worse for wear Iris’s from her garden to mine.  A couple of the plants had flowers and thus escaped the weed whacker but moving them caused the flowers to pitch over so I cut them and put them in a vase.  Here’s what I will have in a year or two depending on how much damage was done:

I also have Siberian Iris’s blooming in my garden so I tucked a couple of the last ones blooming into the vase with these guys.  I love the scent.  And one of my Siberian Iris’s is our header today.

***** 

My husband made scones for Mother’s Day.  Tea + scone = Breakfast!

***** 

I went to the Farmer’s Market for stuff and decided to treat myself to a plant.  Since my plant isn’t blooming yet, I’m copying a photo off Google for you to look at.

 

plant_dorotheanthus_bellidiformis___mezoo_trailing_red___1_16.jpg

beautifulgardens.shootgardening.co.uk

180 × 183 – Ice plant ‘Mezoo Trailing Red’, Dorotheanthus littlewoodii ‘Mezoo Trailing

*****

This will probably be the last week I get to wear my favorite slippers.  They’re Dearfoams.  It is supposed to get warm this weekend and stay that way for a while.  So I’m giving you a picture of my wonderful, 60% off, bought a red pair and a grey pair, after Christmas specials that I adore like no others.  It’s like having sweaters for my feet.  Oh, and they used to have pompoms on the front.  Really cute.  But between the cats and the washer, they didn’t last long.  They are now cat toys.  But the slippers themselves are awesome.

*****

When I was little we always had a cake that was our Birthday Cake.  For years, for me, it was Special Yellow Jello Cake.  Then in my late teens or early 20’s my mother got a recipe with no name.  We just call it The-Cake-With-All-The-Shit-In-It.  It was an instant success.  It later became the Easter cake as well.  This weekend was my birthday and Mother’s Day and I required this cake.  My mother brought it over Sunday night.  Now, it is slightly smooshed.  For the first time in history the cake fell out of the pan on its head.  Trust me, this did not affect the taste in the least.  So when you look at the picture, imagine it standing tall like any normal Angel Food cake. 🙂  The recipe follows.

  • 1 / Box Angel Food cake mix.  Or if you must, one already made from the store.
  • 1 / 20 oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 1 / 4.7 oz box -cook and serve- vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 / med. jar maraschino cherries
  • 1 / half-pint whipping cream
  1. In a saucepan, empty can of pineapple, juice and all.  Add -DRY- pudding mix straight from the box.  Cook on medium heat until thickened and translucent.  Refrigerate till chilled.
  2. Bake Angel Food cake according to instructions.  Cool.
  3. Drain cherries, quarter and set aside.  Save a few cherries to decorate top of cake.
  4. When cake and mixture are cool, whip whipping cream until peaks form.
  5. Mix whipping cream, pineapple mixture and cherries together.
  6. Cut cake into three layers.  Spread mixture on each layer as you reassemble the cake.  Top with cherries if desired.   Keep cake in refrigerator till ready to eat.  Enjoy!

Mug of the Day

Another one by Marjolein Bastin

*****

Aunt update:  Surgery tomorrow.  Definitely a plate for the wrist.  Maybe a graft.  They won’t know until they get in there.