Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Big Blow

If you live on the east side of the rockies you have probably heard about the big blow last night. The weather men say that there was only one confirmed tornado despite several funnel clouds being sighted. I just wonder what a tornado is if it isn't a funnel cloud. Well anyway... I am not complaining really. I just thought I would show you our result of the big blow.

Our largest healthiest pine tree came down last evening during the big blow. The big blow lasted about one minute maybe. We feel very blessed that it chose to lie down between the houses rather than on top of one of our houses.

If you have read some of my previous posts you know I think of this as the squirrel highway. They pass through this area between our houses to get to our feeders from the wooded lot across the street. The little gray squirrels that came this morning stopped and looked wondering what happened in their little corner of the world.As you can see the tree smashed this section of the chain link fence to smithereens. Most thankfully Luna has decided that she should stay away from this area. She could easily jump over the tree and go traipsing around the neighborhood but she is a good girl (for now) and stays away from the gnarly tree lying on the fence. It was wrought up from the roots. The fence is four feet high and you can see that the root ball is taller than the fence. it also has big roots running under the fence that helped rip and tear.
The big tree that is down nearly brought over the last standing pine. It too will have to be taken down.

As I was saying the tree couldn't have been taken down manually any better. It missed both airconditioners, ours on the left and our neighbors AC on the right.

Could we have been any luckier??











My Dearly Beloved took a picture of me and Luna out by the top of the tree. This is basically what I saw last night when I looked out my office window. Pretty scary when I usually see not much at all. I am 5'6" tall so you can see how tall one side of the branches are. I just wonder how deep the limbs are embedded into the ground. All I can say is Thank you Lord for keeping us all safe. P.S. Thank you for the new gardening opportunity. Nothing like having a new planting area given to you. P.P.S. Does anyone have a big chain saw we could borrow?? Does anyone need firewood?? :/

Seed Thoughts

Back in 2005 I got a wild hair and decided I would have a cutting garden. It was about this time of the year when I started having visions. So I went out to the side lot marked a plot and took all of our left over bird seed bags. I layed them down overlapping them and then put bricks on them so they wouldn't blow away.

Then about April 15th I removed the bags that hadn't disintigrated. The seed bags had done their duty and killed all the tough weedy grass that was in this area. I got the tiller out and gave the area a good going over. n I planted some cosmos seeds as bookends. Then I planted any color or type of zinnia I could get my hands on around here. I didn't order any fancy types I just used what they had in the stores here. Some of them were Giant Violet Queen, Scarlet Flame, Canary Bird, Enchantress, Cactus flowered, Mixed Colors and Giant Double, Mixed Colors. I was hoping that at least some of them would grow. This is what it looked like right after planting. According to my journal it rained two days after I planted the seeds so this plot was blessed. I left room for Mower Man to be able to ride the mower between the fence and the cutting bed. Plus it turned out to be a nice space to walk along the cutting bed to admire the flowers. I put long tall sticks into a tepee shape at both ends and planted some Nasturtium Scarlet Gleam. Well, it was the only thing that didn't grow for me here. But as you can see the Cosmos and Thithonia and Zinnias did grow, like weeds. And speaking of weeds, I didn't have to weed much here. I didn't water it once after the seedlings were a good size and I can say it was the most enjoyable cutting garden I have ever had.The colors were so vibrant. It was a joy to go out there and cut bouquets for different occasions. I had enough colors that I could take the favorit color to friends as hostess bouquets. I had people ask for cuttings for their homes and church functions.

What I liked so well was the fact that all the butterflies and bees enjoyed it immesely. These plants didn't come down with mildew even though I didn't thin them at all. Gee, I am about to talk myself into doing this again. What with all of everyones talk about winter sowing of seeds they brought this project to mind. I don't think I would do winter sowing but I might just get a cutting bed going again this year. It isn't too late to get the seed bags out and mark off an area.


One odd thing did happen in this garden. I had a zinnia that must have had a virus and this is what it looked like. It always intrigues me when a flower dos something out fo the ordinary.

And while this is all lovely we had a bit of wind damage last night. I will be taking pictures and posting tomorrow or so... I hope eveyone else escaped the winds as well off as we did.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pedro and the Bird Cage

Several made comment about our bird in its cage. I thought I would give you a little history about this bird and cage. Which came first, the bird or the cage. Well, actually it was the cage. I saw this in an antiques store. It isn't antique but it is 0ld. I have always wanted a parrot. I think they are facinating creatures. Maybe when we begin to stay home more I will be able to have one. Of course the cages now days are made so much larger and sturdier. This cage is purely ornamental.

Being the garden ornament that it has become it has been moved all over this property inside and out. It began its life with us perched on the front porch. I would decorate it for the seasons and holidays.

One day much to our surpise a Flocked Red Parrot appeared in it. No one I knew would admit to putting the parrot in the cage but it was a delight finding it in there. We have left the fake parrot in the cage ever since.

A funny thing happened one day. A neighbor we know well stopped by to chat. She mentioned the "bird" in the cage. I giggled and told her it was fake. Well, of course right away she said she knew it wasn't real but thought she would tell me that one of the other neighbors that drive by our house often was so upset because we "supposed bird lovers" would leave that poor neglected bird on the front porch in the awful heat we had been having. I about died laughing. We have had more fun telling that story over the years. Just goes to show that your neighbors are probably watching you whether you know it or not. As the years went on the flocking wore off the parrot revealing a bubble gum pink body. UGh I threatened to throw it away but my DB came to the birds rescue. He has kept the parrots feathers preened with various colors of paint. He even replaced his eyes one year. A parrot has to keep an eye on the neighborhood ya know. He has a name too, Pedro.
Pedro gets moved to various places in the garden. He is quite portable with those cute little wheels on one side of the cage. If holes develop in a flower bed the cage is placed there for awhile until I decide what might go in that spot. He keep a mighty keen eye on things in the garden. If you missed him at the Garden Watch you can click here and have a closer look at him.

His latest perch, as of last summer, was on the back of the patio right by the back steps. I found that I could place candles in here during patio parties and have a nice ambiant light.

I don't really like it here though because it blends in to the white siding of the house. So this summer I will either paint the cage a different color or move it. Most likely I will move it because I really like it being white. The curls and swirls of the wire cage show up.

I know it shows up well enough because we got new neighbors and soon after they moved in the lady got up the nerve to ask if Pedro was real. She said her daughter was dieing to come over and "meet" the parrot. She was also very disappointed that he wasn't real. I have always heard that parrots are real characters and Pedro lives up to the reputation.

Pedro will definitely get a sprucing up this spring since he is such a celebrity in the neighborhood. I wouldn't want anyone to think we would mistreat him.

We have to tell everyone where he is if they come by when Pedro is getting a make over. Especially one particular friend that always notices Pedro's where abouts. Hmmm I wonder if she could be the culprit that gifted us with our charming parrot??

Monday, January 28, 2008

GBBC Review



I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Dear Friend and Gardener. I like books of letters. This combined with garden lore, plant discussions, and a round social life is good read. It makes you realize that these great gardens are maintained by real people not just a corporation that hires bodies to do their work.

One passage that made me think was written by Beth on Friday 18 October Too often one's mind is cluttered with problems, eyes on the ground, fussing about a few gaps, or messy bits of planting. ... I came to realize how seldom I take in the enveloping framework of the garden, partly becasue there is quite a lot to see, partly because I may look but do not give myself time to absorb what is happening.

I often don't take time to look around and see what is going on in the garden since I am so busy doing what I feel needs to be accomplished. This makes me think I need to take more time to stop and absorb what I have created and see just what I need to accomplish. If you don't take time to just be in your garden you won't know how it is truly faring. You have to take time to see if all is going the way you want it to. But not only that if you don't just relax and enjoy your garden why have it? A garden should be enjoyed by all even its creator.

In a passage Beth wrote Thursday 12 December ...good gardens need inspired leadership, whith concern for everything involved, both the plants and the people who care for them. She was worried about how her garden and business would be taken care of after she died or was unable to take care of it any more. I think we all have that question in the back of our minds. I have read blogs about some of you that have left behind a beloved garden when you had to move. Who will care for it?? Is all this work for nothing? Why do we drive ourselves to distraction for our lovely spaces when we know that hardly anyone else would want to take care of it as we do.??
We all care so deeply about the garden. I know I would hope that someone would take my garden and keep it going. Oh it wouldn't have to be as it is. I would like to think I would inspire someone to continue to garden on our little plot. As Bethsays on Wednesday 15 January ...gardens themselves need to change, to go forward, to evolve. They cannot be encapsulated in time like a fly in amber.
I think this we all realize. Just think about how your tastes in gardens have changed over the years if you have gardened very long. I know mine have changed a lot. Heck my taste in plants change from year to year sometimes.

Not only are Christopher and Beth gardeners they are lovers of nature. They often speak of the birds and critters that inhabit their gardens. How could anyone not enjoy nature and be a gardener I wonder?
I could pick several more morsels out of this book. It is a good one. I have several passages underlined and ears turned down on several pages. Not only does the garden change but I change from year to year and this book will offer little gems of garden thoughts that I mull over and take time to relishsometime in the future.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lisa's Garden Watch

The only good bird picture I got today was of the bird I have in a cage outside and it isn't real and actually the picture isn't all that good but it will go well with my pitaful list of birds I had at the feeders during a one hour watch that Shirl encouraged us to post this weekend. You can read more about the project she is participating in here.
Carolina Chickadee - 4
Red-breasted Nuthatch - 2
House Sparrow - 50
House Finch - 15
Song Sparrow - 1
White-throated Sparrow - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 8
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 3
Mourning Dove - 3
Northern Cardinal - 4
Gray Squirrel - 3














Out of the Garden IV

We had a most beautiful winter day to be out birding today. The sun was shining and the temps were in the double digits. Just wonderful. To greet us when we arrived in the area where we bird was a small group of Hooded Mergansers. Here you can see a male following behind two females. You can also see where the ice formed when the river was up. The river has obviously fallen a couple of feet.
The Mute Swans were still loafing on the ice in a small pond while American Coots toodled by in the water. The Mute Swans were mostly napping at this time. The one was preening just before tucking its head.I must say the raptors were what gave the most intersting show today. The Bald Eagles appear to be on the nest already. I know the past couple of times we were by the nest they were busy remodeling. Today it appears that the female is on eggs or at least seriously thinking about it as she was scrunched down in the nest and didn't move as we stood there for several minutes observing the nest action. The other Adult was sitting in a tree nearby. The other most interesting thing that we saw was a young Red-tailed Hawk standing in water. I wish it hadn't been so far away. It appeared to be fishing at first. It stood in the waters edge watching the water. I wish you could have seen it high stepping along the water's edge.
It did this for quite awhile. It finally jumped out of the water into the small trees above where it was fishing. It then hopped back into the water and took a quick bath before departing. I can't tell you how exciting this was to me. I had never seen a Red-tailed hawk even take a bath let alone go fishing.
I want to tell you that the sharp pictures my DB took with his new camera. The fuzzy photos I took through the scope with my point and shoot camera which needed its batteries changed. Oh the luck when something great happens.
While we are on a sad note we found one of the tagged (green tag) Ring-billed Gulls dead. No visible sign of injury. Maybe it was too young to make it through the severe cold spell we just endured.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Garden Journals

Carol has a post up about her Garden Journal. She has asked us what type of journal we use and what do we put in it. Well, as you can see my garden journaling started a long time ago. These little booklets were the beginning of my journaling days. In these journals I didn't really get into my gardening as much as I guess I anticipated. Most of what is in these journals are what my children were doing at this time. I believe that is why I started these. I was losing track of days and not knowing who was where when. I was working full time and this helped me keep track of days. I could look back every week or so and remember just what we were doing at a certain time. Life was quite the whirl wind then. A few years later after trying a regular journal a few years I bought these daily journals. They were nice in that they had the date, day, year and a small space to write a few things if you wanted a little detail to remember.

As you can see the format is something like the Garden Journal that Carol uses. I wrote the temps and a few lines about what was going on at that time. Finally a lot was noted about my garden .

This year I decided to add this Gardener's Journal to my record keeping. Carol going on about how easy it was to compare years was one reason why I liked it. The other reason was because my DB has just inherited his Grandfather's Journals. The ones he got were from 1955 -197? Grandfather's Journals are great because not only did he journal about his gardens but he was a great naturalist and he made note of all the happenings around their property. Not only that but everyone loves to look for dates when they are mentioned as when arriving or departing from a visit or helping with garden chores. It is a great read. As Carol also mentioned you can get some insight into a Loved Ones life by reading these journals. I want my Grands to be able to see that I thought them important enough to be noted in my Journal as well as in my heart. It is just so nice to see something concrete so to speak.
Grandfather kept the highs and lows when possible. This New Gardener's Journal has a place for this. Plus I hope to keep track of the garden plus any comings and goings of family, friends plus any other natural happenings in our life.
The Garden Journal that I have kept the past eleven years has been in a hard bound sketch book. No I don't sketch very often in these journals. I like the idea that I can sketch if I am inspired to do so but for the most part I just like the feeling of the book in my hand. I do make good use of most all the pages. Some years I have crammed two years into a book. some years overlap in books. It isn't a very methodical, organized way of garden journaling but it works for me. Actually I know it isn't very good for looking up what I have planted or when. I do enjoy how I do this, it is fun for me.I use the same size since what brought me to this type of journal is this leather cover that I bought said years ago. It keeps my journal clean on the outside. I can leave it out in a light rain and all is well and good after drying it off. I try not to do this but it happens. I also use one of those ribbon book marks that has several colored ribbons, like they sell for marking your bible. These ribbons help me keep track where I have lists say for chores for spring. Or like last year when I was planning a garden party I had a ribbon at where my list for guests, one for decorations I wanted to use, one for chores just related to the party. So you see all those colored ribbons kept me from becoming more frazzled and I felt organized to a certain degree.
Do I write in my garden journal every day?? No. Especially now that I have the big Green Monster of a Garden Journal. I will keep at that with putting the daily temps in and a short note as to what is going on. This sketch journal I will still use for my garden 'thoughts'. Especially this time of year I have all sorts of ideas about the garden. I like to write them down. Explore the thought and then I can relax and watch it unfold. That is if I don't decide it isn't in the works for this year.
A project I have whorling around my mind now is the garden bench I have been talking about making. I just can't make up my mind as to what I want to build. From magazines I have cut out many benches and chairs that are interesting to me and within my skill/tool range. Now I just have to decide what I want to do.
I often put photos of the garden in this journal. This is where it gets a little out of control. These books aren't made for such treatment. I have thought, just about yearly, about changing the style of my journal to a ring bound journal so that the pages would lie flat and not be so bulged and, well I guess I will say it, UGLY. However I just don't like the 'feel' of those journals.
So I guess I will just plug along. Cutting up my garden magazines and filing most of the pictures away but when I get a project in mind I pull out corresponding photos and paste them into my journal where I can mull over them. Draw over them and soak up all the inspiration I need to complete a project.
Oh yes, What do I do with my plant tags?? That is another unruly aspect of this type of journal. I staple them into place at the time of planting and hope for the best. Now this I might try to manage a little different now that I am blogging. I have wanted to know the names of many things since I started blogging. Hmmmm This is another winter dreamin' project. How do you keep track of your garden?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Wildflowers

Elizabeth Joy has asked that once per week we post wildflowers from our area and tell what we know about them. I have looked through my photos and I don't seem to have pictures of wildflowers from my area. I know I used to take them with a regular camera but I guess I haven't taken many with my digital. There are a few in my garden that I have taken with my digital. This suggestion has urged me to look through the many pictures I have taken while on vacation. I thought I might show a few of those.We were at Pawnee Grasslands in Colorado looking for McCowan's Longspur and Mountain Plovers. Well, I can't help but notice the wildflowers here. It is an unforgiving terrain. Wide open, wind-swept spaces. I was shocked to see Cleome growing along the edges of a road. It went on for miles. It appeared that someone seeded along the edges of this road but surely not. In the above picture you can see one of the furry creatures of this habitat...Jack Rabbit. Are rabbits everywhere?? The only other thing I recognized in this area was some kind of Thistle.
Also along the roadside what looked to me like Sharp-pod Morning Glory ipomoea trichocarpa. Like our bind weed it is aggressive.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Luna's 5 Meme

Lytton, who lives with Kate Smudges in Earth Paint and Life up in cold Canada has tagged Luna with a 5 meme. Since I am the Princess's Scribe I will be happy to type in her responses.1) Five Favorite Songs? Well I can tell you that about anything that Three Dog Night sings is a favorite. They are a group that has my virve and I can rock with them most any time.

2) Five Favorite Toys. Now here I am afraid you will think me weird. I don't really like toys. I had a whole basket of toys but I never played with them so my Mom took them to the animal shelter for other dogs. I was quite happy when she did this because that took the pressure off me. She no longer tries to get me to play with toys. They just make me nervous. I don't know what to do with them.I sort of think of Vinny,my little buddy as a toy. He is so much smaller than I and I love to play chase with him. If Vinny starts playing with a toy I take it from him and take it to my room where he can't get it. It just makes me so nervous when he plays with toys.I do like the bong my Mom stuffs treats into. I will work hard to get a treat out of that unforgiving hard piece of rubber.

3) Five Things I Love To Eat. Now this is a question I can sink my teeth into. As you can probably guess since I am a canine I love to eat meat of any sort. Dead or alive. According to my Mom the most disgusting thing I like to eat is baby rabbits. But I figure if the rabbits are stupid enough to make a nest in my garden I can eat those little treats they so kindly put into those fur lined nests.I always look forward to my birthday because I get my very own cupcake thanks to my very best friends. They treat me to my very own. I really do feel like a princess on my birthday. I also like the ice cream that goes along with cake. Of course I don't have to wait for my birthday to have a scoop of ice cream. I really like the after dinner mints that my Mom andDad share with me. Those sweet little York Peppermint patties. Yumm. Popcorn is one of my favorites too. I love it when my Mom and Dad toss a kernel to me. I am getting quite good a catching them. If I happen to miss one I dive right after it just in case M&D might the the wrong idea and think that I didn't want it. I want each and every kernel offered. I don't care if it is salted, unsalted, buttered or any other flavor. I just hate to miss out on what ever is being served. Then after I have that I can always have a doggie treat.

4) Five Favorite Activities. Another of my favorites is being acitve. One of my favorite things to do is to play hide and seek. Even though I am a big white dog I can find places to hide in the garden. Summer, when the leaves are on the shrubs and flowers, is the best time to do this. However I like to play this game all year. Mom laughs at me when I hide in one of my usual places and she can clearly see me. I think it is the thought that counts. We have four parks to choose from for our daily walks. One of my favorite walks is along the Wabash River. It isn't one of my longest walks but it is very scenic. I don't mind shorter walks during summer because I get miserable when it is so hot. At this park you can see the big bridge that goes over the river from the Indiana side to the Illinois side of the river.
Of course I love winter. My thick fur keeps me nice and toasty. I love to get out anyplace and walk during winter. I especially like to go to the big county park where I can run loose when it is so cold and snowy that no one else is there.

Another activity I like to do is help Mom in the garden. When she puts her shoes and hat on I head for the back door. It is my job to keep the rabbits and squirrels at bay. I patrol the fence line to make sure no intruders present themselves.




After a good walk I like to have my tummy rubbed. Actually I like having my tummy rubbed any time.
I mentioned playing chase with Vinny. Well, I will play chase with anyone. My Dad is real good at it.

Of course a girl must have her rest. I like to lie around in the garden and observe nature.

Posing for pictures in the garden, or else where is one of my jobs. I can't say I particularly like this activity but a girl must do what a girl must do to make a living.
I make a pretty lawn ornament. Mom likes me as a lawn ornament. She says I am like a garden fairy. You never know where you will find me in the garden. As big as I am I can disappear in our small garden. It is my secret how I do this. 5) What are 5 Bad Habits. Well, can a Princess really be bad?? YES according to Mom and Dad. I love to roll in anything dead or particularly stinky. I often have to go find my M&D to show them the wonderful slime I find to roll in. If I am particularly lucky I can roll just right and get it smeared all the way down my side and onto my back.
My most recent bad habit I have developed is digging. I learned this from Vinny. Vinny is a Rat Terrier/Jack Russle Mix and he taught me that it is fun to dig after the moles and voles in the garden. Mom says that we will have a battle of the wills or will "nots" this summer over this. I try not to dig but when those little creatures begin moving about I must get in their tunnels and try to capture them. They are tasty morsels you know.

When I get filthy and stinky I have to have a bath. I hate to have a full bath. I don't mind Mom taking the hose to me to get the worst off but when I have to get into the tub and get a real scrubbing I pout. Mom thinks I look like a wooly sheep when I am wet. What do you think? One of my less offensive bad habits is that I like to get paper napkins and shred them. I don't do this very often but if Mom has something particularly good smelling on her hands and uses a napkin and then leaves it within my reach...well, whose fault is that?? And my Dad particularly hates it when I drool. Now I can't help that can I?? When I smell something particularly yummy I drool. Sometimes when I get really excited about going into someone elses home, I smell all those new smells. MMMMMmmmmmm I drool so I can get a better whiff.

My worst habit is collecting fleas. I don't do this very often but every once in a while I sneak a fair collection of fleas into the house. Even I get tired of them pretty quick and want to get rid of them. I'm sorry... I'm a Princess but I have this unruly dog body and mind I have to deal with.

I had fun thinking about all that fun and even my foibles. Mom, MOM...get my brush. I think I have a bit of fur out of place. I must get my fur fluffed for my next photo op. Even though I don't like having my picture taken I must look my best.

Kate tagged most of the dogs I am familiar with but a couple I would love to learn more about are Benny from Posted from Home. Deb would you mind to do this for Benny? Another good read would be by Sherry's Zoo and Garden where Muncie lives. Muncie is a real character. How about it Sherry??

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rabbit of a different sort

I was out in the garden this morning and discovered there is a job I don't have to put on my 'to do' this coming spring.




I won't have to trim/mow the dwarf mondo grass I planted this past summer. The rotten rabbits have been doing this for me as you can see.

I wonder why they chose the mondos I planted in between the bricks that make up the brick pad we put our bench on?? I wonder if they are drawn to the bricks to warm their little toes, then discover a snack awaited them. The rotten little fur balls.
The only rabbit I want in my garden is this Rabbit's Foot Fern. I have the mother plant here in the house. I keep it in the conservatory/terrerarium during winter. It is most happy with these winter accomodations.The piece I had growing on a log in the garden survived until the cold winds came blowing through. I had put a blanket of pine needles and leaves on it hoping it would survive. Oh I guess I knew it wouldn't but I just had to try. The one here in the house is growing by leaps and bounds. You can see its furry little feet creeping over the edge of the planter. This is how this fern propogates itself. It sends out these furry little feet and then the fern frond pops up on it. You can root them in soil or onto a log as I did last summer and off they grow.
These furry looking little feet are one of Mother Natures oddities. I think of this plant almost as a pet. I keep wanting to stroke the furry little tendrils they call foot. Do all of these rabbits feet make me lucky?? I hope so.