Saturday, May 25, 2019

Around the Place

Weeding, weeding, weeding. . . It's a pleasure to be out in the morning before things heat up.

Sitting on the bench under the willow would be nice but there's something elemental about sitting in the dirt and getting up close and personal with nature.

Well, not too close. The Arum Dracunculus smells of carrion . . . 

And the leaves of the Spider Plant (Tradescantia) can cause a rash.  

Better perhaps to observe from  a distance.

This is the second time I've found this Box Turtle burying herself in the mulch. Both times, after she's moved on, I've looked to see if she might have laid some eggs but nothing showed up. It's possible the resident blacksnake has a taste for eggs -- John removed him/her from the chicken house a few days ago.

The Japanese iris are blooming now.

It's always a treat to see these elegant flowers.

They're just outside the little greenhouse, in easy reach of the hose as they love moisture.

As I was snapping their pictures, I heard a thump inside the greenhouse and went to investigate, As I suspected, it was the blacksnake and it was totally discombobulated by my sudden appearance. It exited through the holes for the hoses between the solar panel and the hot water heater.

I'll be back, it said.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Rose Is A Rose Is A Rose

In the course of the forty-four years we've lived here, I've planted and lost a discouraging number of roses -- floribundas, David Austins, antique,  climbing, Peace, Jacob's Coat, Nymph's Thigh, Tudor, Cherokee, Fairy, Sweetheart--the list is long and distinguished.

But this little rose endures. It was a gift from my neighbor Louise, rooted from a bush in her front yard. For forty-four years it has thriven, while the parent bush is gone. (Perhaps Louise dug it up and took it with her when they moved from what is now Justin and Claui's house -- I don't remember.)

Another survivor is this climbing rose at the greenhouse door. It's only been around fifteen or twenty years and is at last blooming well. 

I only hope the deer don't find it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019


This could have ended badly for our resident blacksnake.

We count on him or her to keep down the rodent population and to deter copperheads.

While Layla was definitely interested, she was also a bit intimidated.

The snake was in defense mode but really just wanted to get away.

John, who took these pictures, was able to get Layla inside so that Big Black could ooze away back to his/her job.  I hated to miss the action but was in the house with Josie and didn't want to bring her out in case Layla attacked the snake.  

Which, thanks to John, didn't happen.

Country living. . .

Monday, May 20, 2019

Looking Closer

Carolina Geranium/Carolina Cranesbill?
Yesterday morning I weeded till the heat drove me inside. I was stuck by how pretty the tiny (smaller than my little fingernail) weed flowers are. And I realized I wasn't sure of some of the names of these plants I've pulled up year after year.  The picture above, for example. A Google search tells me it's (probably) Carolina Geranium or Carolina Cranesbill.  But is it really?

Creeping Charlie/Ground Ivy

I'm reasonably sure about these next two . . .

Chickweed is abundant. And nice in salads when it's young. But by the time it flowers, it's no longer young.
Yellow Wood Sorrel/Oxalis

In the past I've tended to think of this yellow one as clover because of the shape of the leaves. Wrong! Yellow Clover has a flower that looks like (surprise) clover. This is Oxalis -- like shamrocks.

This little blue bloomer has me stumped -- I can't find it in my wild flower book, nor on Mr. Google. Maybe one of you can identify it.


I think this pink one is indeed Smartweed -- at least that's what a neighbor called it years ago.  

And the one below is Blue-eyed Grass -- which is actually a tiny, tiny wild iris. And it's really blue--I photographed it when the sun was on it and the color is washed out. "Never mind," I thought when I saw the picture on my laptop, "I'll go out later when the sun is off that area and get a better picture." 

But I'd forgotten that the little flowers close in the afternoon. So you'll just have to imagine a rich, clear blue.

The Blue-eyed Grass is non-invasive and rare enough that I don't pull it up. But the others, pretty flowers and all, got pulled up and set aside to enrich the chickens' diet. I know there'll be more.

It was nice to spend a morning outside, looking close and paying attention. Balm for the soul in these perilous and contentious times. 

Blue-eyed Grass

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A Perfect Birthday Party

The above is maybe my favorite picture of the even one hundred I took.  And of course that's Josie's hand  reaching for the first slice-- she knows how good the icing tastes. The rest of the pictures are in more or less chronological order.

It was a fine day. Claui and her folks worked like mad,  providing rainbow themed décor, rainbow veggies with hummus, rainbow chips, a rainbow of fruits on skewers, and rainbow veggie pizza.

Josie had a great time. She was perfectly at ease as more and more people arrived, enjoyed having Happy Birthday sung to her, and had a fine time interacting with the other kids. And opening presents. And eating pizza and fruit and cake.

It was a lovely gathering of all ages--friends and family and neighbors.  

And the cake was a hit.