Category Archives: Mother Nature

“Spring Came Suddenly…”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow via The Bloomsbury Review via Cathy Ruggiero

I love the photo here, and the quote gives me the most wonderful mental picture. :0)

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Break Time Goodies

I took my camera on my way out to see my husband in the shop.

Right now I’m really pleased at the display of twice-blooming deep purple iris we have around the yard. Here are some pictures –

 

 

 

 

 

Here you get a feeling for how they’re blooming much of the way down one side of the driveway. (You can also see the flying pig we made :0)  )

 

Here are a few I cut to bring in today.

 

The orchid my friend, Nora, gave me several years ago is going nuts. I don’t think it has ever bloomed this much. :0)

 

My spinach sprouts on the window sill croaked. :0(    I’ll try again.  Meanwhile, here are the latest celery plant and several spaghetti squash plants ready to transplant into the garden. (The glass on the left is a try at being able to grow romaine lettuce from some bought at the store.

And last, but most important, the reason I went outside in the first place (other than to stretch my legs), is my husband at his reloading station in the shop. I offered him lunch, and he took me up on it.

 

Now that my break is over, I’m back to my ‘important stuff’ list…

 

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A Gazillion Greens

Casa La Strega

This isn’t my photo, but it gives you a glimpse of why I love spring.

We were driving home yesterday from errands. My husband stopped to ask some men what they were working on beside the road. (They were running water to a man’s shop at the top of a hill. ) My husband went on talking about the road work, but all of my senses  were captivated by the rolling hills and valleys at this time of the year.

My spirits lifted as I was unable to count how many different shades of green I was seeing! It was like trying to count hummingbirds. :0)  I stopped at a gazillion…

I felt totally filled by how beautiful the land is between the city of Greenwood and our home about 4 miles outside the square. This time of the year is a feast for the eyes and heart. Soon all will seem to be the same green, with the exception of the evergreens, but now it’s a smorgasbord of greens.

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Playing in the Garden

Delightful Children’s Books

 

I’m very happy that our garden is alive at all right now. Our weather has roller-coastered between hard freezes and a high of 90 today. We also had a timer malfunction on the garden irrigation system, so the plants were really badly overwatered at one point before we figured out the problem and replaced the timer.

 

Now I THINK we’re finished with the hard freezes. Our temperatures are still roller-coaster-y, though. 90 today. 60 tomorrow. 80 the following day….

 

I need to take some sharp scissors to clean up the plants. Some have bad leaves. I did get out a few arrogant weeds today, though. :0)

 

Here you see red lettuce leaves and spinach.

 

As you can see in this, and the next, pictures, some of the celery is doing well. Some has croaked.

 

 

This is the south side of the garden. I’m growing Georgia Sweet Onions in the back, red lettuce and spinach in the middle, and broccoli, cauliflower, and celery in the box closest to you.

 

Romaine lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, and red lettuce in the planters in the north row.

 

Spinach sprouts on the window sill.

 

One celery plant and two spaghetti squash sprouts here.

Hopefully, things will settle down now and my plants can grow in peace.

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“Waterfall”

“Waterfall” – Paul Militaru Photography

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“Delicate White Beauty”

“Delicate White Beauty” – Paul Militaru Photography

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“Dillon Reservoir Wildlife Area 2”

“Dillon Reservoir Wildlife Area 2” – Sergio Dardon

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“Hyacinth”

“Hyacinth” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Blooms

I love spring, with all the plants coming to life again. As I walk around our yard, the combinations of color really lift my spirits.

This color combination of the forsythia and the wisteria really caught my eye this morning. The daffodils are almost gone now, but so much is happening, it’s hard to be sad about that.

 

Here is one group of our twice-blooming deep purple iris. We’re trying to get these planted all the way down at least one side of the driveway. Since our driveway is about 650 feet, it’ll take us awhile.

 

My husband saw these at the store the other day and picked them up. I planted them in a brick planter right outside the garage so he’ll see them each time we come and go. They are happy looking flowers, aren’t they?

 

There’s a pretty sharp contrast between things that are greening up and the leftovers from the winter.

 

 

 

I’m trying to gather the energy to gather up some of the hundreds of small weed trees our wonderful helper, Shane, cut down for us last fall. I’m thinking I’ll try to gather stuff a little bit each day and see if I can make things look a bit neater…

Happy Spring!

 

 

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“Dillon Reservoir Wildlife Area 1”

“Dillon Reservoir Wildlife Area 1” – Sergio Dardon

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“Yellow Tulips 1”

“Yellow Tulips 1” – Paul Militaru Photography

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“Birds Flying”

“Birds Flying” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Woodpeckers

We have a woodpecker family in our back yard. We see them running up the power pole in the back, stopping to survey their domain when they get to the top.  We’ve had a larger one and a smaller one around the deck in the past. Today when I was passing the window, I saw two large ones. I’m assuming it was the mother and the father, but I’m not sure. One stood on the top of the feeder and the other was on the end. You can see one of the woodpeckers here. I went to get my camera, but I only had one woodpecker when I came back.

 

 

I think these are beautiful.

 

Here you can see his nice long beak a bit better.

 

 

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Arkansas, Greenwood, Mother Nature

Sharing Spring – Take 2

I feel sorry that so many people I know – and even more I don’t know – are having snow and even blizzards this week. My heart goes out to them, even though they might be more used to what I call ‘bad weather,’ and not consider the current weather a huge deal, as I would.  I hope that the blizzard doesn’t cause too much havoc.

Here in Greenwood, Arkansas, I’m like a kid at Christmas, anticipating real spring. We’re having a good taste of it, and for that I’m truly grateful.  I just checked on the garden and it’s still doing well, thank goodness. With these overnight freezes, it’s one day at a time around here.

On the inside, I can’t lay down my well-earned moniker, “Serial Seed Killer,” yet, though here is the latest batch of spinach sprouted from seed. These are in pots made of peat, filled with Mel’s Mix, so if they live, I’ll plant them, pots and all, intact, in the garden. Maybe I can add, “Persistent Planter” to my moniker? My husband describes my efforts as, “Even a dead hog finds an acorn now and then.” :0/

 

Also on my window sill is the orchid my good friend, Nora, gave me a couple or three years ago now. I’ve thought it was dead a couple of times, but kept watering it and keeping it in the sun. Lately it bloomed!

 

 

Meanwhile, things are beginning to green up around here.

 

 

 

Everywhere I look, I see something sprouting. I LOVE this time of year!

Hopefully, once this ‘last gasp’ of winter is over, we can ALL think happy thoughts of renewal.

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“Spring Flowers 1”

“Spring Flowers 1” – Paul Militaru Photography

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The Little Garden that Could…

Conscious Life News

Last night, since we still had a really heavy mist going on, I opted to pretend I was in Florida spraying my plants with water before a freeze. I went out this morning to see if I had to start my garden over because all had frozen or what. Happily enough, my little garden looks like it’s going to be okay. Now we have clear skies and sunshine, meaning our temperatures are much more likely to plummet this evening and the next day, too. I’ll cover things up right before dark tonight and tomorrow night.

My sister-in-law in Charlotte had snow last night and this morning, so I’m trying to send some spring in her direction, plus others in the path of the reminder-it’s-still-winter storm.

 

One of our azalea bushes is budding out and starting to bloom.

 

I cut back our forsythia bush severely last fall, tired of it trying to encroach and cover up everything else in the flower beds. I wasn’t sure it would bloom at all.

 

Our tulip tree’s delicate pink and white blooms are gradually changing to light green leaves.

 

Here you can see the change more easily.

 

Here is some phlox leafing out.

 

And a hydrangea bush.

 

The daffodils are fading, but the deep purple twice-blooming iris is still going strong. We’re beginning to see some we planted beside the driveway.

 

Here is the iris bed of ‘new’ colors of iris we bought and planted recently. I’m hoping that I can thin these out at the end of the season and start planting them in different places around the yard.

If you’re having another blast of winter, I hope this gives you hope. I still have no clue whether our early spring will be cut short by the last gasp of winter, killing everything, so I’m trying to get pictures while I can.

Spring is officially here March 20th!

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Redbuds

The Redbud tree is the state tree of Oklahoma, but we love it here in Arkansas, too.  After a long, drab winter, the sight of redbuds in bloom makes your heart swell.  We are lucky to have several growing on our land. Each year we cut down things around them, trying to give them the best chance of healthy growth we can.  I guess you can buy and plant them, but the only ones I ever see grow wild all over the place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“To Cover or not to Cover – THAT is the Question!”

The BQB

My square foot garden veggies made it through the night. I don’t know for sure if it got down to freezing or not, but the sheets were really wet and it was 40 and windy while I uncovered the plants. One of the sheets had almost completely blown off one of the planters, so I’ll change my technique next time. Meanwhile, the dryer is going steadily, trying to get all the sheets dry for tonight.

My husband just got the mail, saying we’re having a ‘heavy mist’ right now. The weather people are saying that it will get colder during the day, raining intermittently – MAYBE  changing to ice or snow! – OH, NOOOOOO!”

I’ve been trying to find out what to do about trying to protect my sweet veggies tonight. If they’re WET, will covering them with dry sheets help or hurt? I’m not looking forward to being outside in the cold wind and rain, trying to cover up the plants – but I will if that’s what I should do.

The articles I’ve found on the net so far are telling me to put hay or mulch all over the plants, but my square foot garden book definitely says not to use them. They will contaminate the Mel’s mix. I have two books by Mel Bartholomew, the creator of square foot gardening, but he just says to wait to plant until after the last frost. (That would be April 10th here, and there are very few veggie plants still  being sold in April, with the exception of tomato plants…

SO- I’ll keep looking on the net to see if I can find out a better answer to my problem. I may just cover them anyway – hoping for the best – and that I don’t drown while trying to secure the sheets!

123RF.com

Fingers crossed that the rain stops and we don’t get ice or snow!

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Garden Update 3/10/2017

It’s 6pm., andI just finished covering up all my new planted veggies in preparation for a possible freeze tonight. This is the first of three or four nights our weatherman suddenly decided (after I checked the next 10 days to be sure a freeze wasn’t predicted) that we’re supposed to have in the coming week.

I took some pictures of the almost finished spring garden I wanted to share with you –

 

I have no clue whether these plants will actually make or not, but it’s a fun experiment. I have the celery plants, plus the spaghetti squash plants that I started inside on the window sill.

 

 

This box has romaine lettuce and spinach.

 

 

 

 

Here you can see the north side of the garden. I have broccoli, cauliflower, romaine lettuce, and spinach.

 

I also have red leaf lettuce. I finally got most of my labels made yesterday.

 

This shows a view of the whole garden looking to the west. There are six table-like raised bed planters, 3 in each row here.

Right now the garden looks like mis-matched wash fell of a laundry line. I spread five king-sized sheets of various colors over the  plants and secured them with clothespins. I hope that this will be enough so help the little plants get through the freezes.

The forecast also is for rain all day tomorrow and tomorrow evening with a freeze again. My plan is to get the sheets off the plants in the morning and dry them in the dryer in preparation for securing them over the plants again tomorrow…

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“Ornamental Flowers 5”

“Ornamental Flowers 5” – Paul Militaru Photography

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“Aquamarine Hyacinth”

“Aquamarine Hyacinth” – Paul Militaru Photography

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“Yellow Begonia’

“Yellow Begonia” – Paul Militaru Photography

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“Spring”

“Spring 3” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Severe Weather – Take 2

Right now there is a pretty stiff wind, dark clouds, etc., but nothing severe. Forecast for this afternoon and tonight, though, is severe weather – again – with damaging winds, rain, possible tornadoes, and flying hair balls. This is our usual weather for April, and then through the hot, hot summer – NOT March.

  **MONDAY IS A WEATHER ALERT DAY**

 

Pet Pals Dog Training

We called our friends, cancelling the usual Monday bowling. We don’t need to be 45 minutes away from home in a large, warehouse-type building with the truck out in the weather, hoping nothing bad happens. I would be much happier in our home, with our animals around us, hoping nothing bad happens. :0)

Our dogs and cats are pretty oblivious to the weather, thankfully. Our sweet pit bull, Bambi, is old and deaf. He doesn’t even hear LOUD thunder. Our schnauzer/cocker spaniel cross, Molly, is her usual happy self, even if we have loud cracks. The cats sleep through everything. I’M the one whose nerves are on end with lots of wind noises, loud cracks and big booms of thunder. I tie up our wind chimes because they drive me nuts in weather like this.

We still have a shutter that blew down during the last severe thunderstorm. We’ve fixed the rest of the minor things that happened, but it has been too windy for my husband to be up on a two-story ladder, trying to keep balanced while trying to put the shutter up again. We think we’ll have to use liquid nails this time because there isn’t much in the brick to “screw-into” anymore. I tried to get my husband to agree that we would hire someone to do this, to no avail. We may have more than the one shutter after tonight…

It’s another good day to stay home and be thankful for our warm, dry house.

If you’re having iffy weather where you are, stay warm and safe.

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Iris and Daffodils

irisanddaff1

I brought these in today. We have deep purple twice-blooming iris and daffodils blooming in the yard right now. Every time I come into the kitchen, my spirits lift.

 

irisanddaff2

Spring is such a wonderful time of the year with the return of beloved flowers that bloom year after year, bringing hope for a new birth of all living things.

 

irisanddaff3

Soon these will be gone, but other sprouts are up, promising more beauty to come.

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“Lavender”

"Lavender" - Paul Militaru Photography

“Lavender” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Storm Aftermath

Protocol Online

Protocol Online

We lucked out, not having much damage from really bad thunderstorms here early this morning.

I was afraid we would have lots of limbs/trees in the driveway, possible roof damage on the house or shop, damage or the whole roof blown off the deck, etc.

Happily enough, our damage was minor.

  • One of the windows in our dining area blew open, carrying half of the stuff on the window sill with it. Apparently, we forgot to LATCH the window the last time we washed it. I had Mel’s Mix all over the floor, a smashed ceramic planter, my spinach sprouts, some of the celery plants, the spaghetti squash sprout, and more. I’ve repotted what I could. I’ll have to start over on the spinach. Happily, the glass table in the dining area was fine, and we had no water damage – just a bunch to clean up on the floor.
  • One of the window shutters fell off from the second floor. We’ll have to wait for a less windy day to try to put that back up.
  • The 50 gallon plastic barrels we had beside the shop had blown all over the place. We rounded them up.
  • The trash cans in the garden had blown over. The fence around the garden kept them from blowing away. I gathered them up and put them to rights.
  • And – finally – we drove down the driveway to do errands and found our robot (all 200 lbs of him) had blown over! We took off his head and the arm that holds hit hat while we labored to stand him up again. It was quite a job. We put the heavy chain back around his neck, and put his arm and head back on. His hat was damaged a bit and his antenna on his head was broken, but other than that, he was fine.

We had to go back up to the house to wash our hands before we could go do our errands. We saw a couple of downed large trees on the way to town, plus a basketball set up that was blown across a yard, but that’s all the damage we saw.

We feel lucky to have had so little problem from a large storm.

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“New Spring Shoots”

Vish Prasad

Vish Prasad

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Sproing!

Spring has definitely sprung here in Greenwood, Arkansas. Accordingly, since a lot of things are blooming, we’re due for a hard freeze both Saturday and Sunday, probably killing everything. :0(

Our daffodils are abloom all over the yard, more lush than I’ve ever seen them.  Here are a few examples –

 

d2

 

 

d3

 

 

sp16

Our tulip tree is abloom, as well.

sp12

d9

We’ve also had several purple iris blooming. Here’s one that’s gorgeous this morning –

 

d13

Mother Nature sometimes has a nasty sense of humor, particularly in Arkansas. I’m hoping that these sweet plants – plus my Georgia Sweet Onion sets – will survive the hard freezes this weekend. If not, we have at least gotten to enjoy them for a bit.

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Spring is Coming!

Joep van Heenen via Akiva Huber

Joep van Rheenen via Akiva Huber

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Official Start of Growing Season in Arkansas 2017

onions2

I just finished working in the garden for the moment. I planted the bunch of Sweet Georgia Onions we bought recently. Here you can see crop rotation, as it is in square foot gardening – You don’t plant the same plant side by side. It would actually be better if I didn’t plant them cat-i-corner to each other, too, so they’re less likely to spread disease or bugs. I keep track of where I’ve planted things so that I don’t plant them in the same squares NEXT time.

You can also see the irrigation system. We have a sprinkler mounted in the center of each box, attached to each other and then attached to the main hose. We have them hooked to an outside above the ground faucet on which we have a timer so that the plants are watered each night during the main season. It isn’t hooked up now, due to possible freeze, so I just watered by hand today.

 

onions3

This is another view of the raised bed garden we finished in the fall. There are six 4′ x 4′ wooden boxes (two rows of three boxes each) mounted on metal support ‘tables.’ We use string to divide each wooden box of Mel’s Mix into 16 squares. I planted the sweet onions in 8 of the 16 squares in this box today.  I can’t describe what a pleasure it is to simply walk into the garden, putting the plants and the implements needed on top of a square, then planting things at chest height, not having to bend over double, till the soil, try to get all the weeds out for planting, then get down on hands and knees to plant, and then finally water.

We decided last year I was definitely too old to do all that anymore. We built the boxes and the supports, then stored them beside the shop under tarps until the spring garden was finished. I went ahead and planted the fall garden on the ground as usual and we installed the new raised bed boxes on the side of the garden that wasn’t being used. When the fall garden finished, we installed the last three boxes.

Today we strung the string on the three newest boxes. I need to mix and add more Mel’s Mix (1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 equal parts of however many compost types you can find. – I used cotton burr, barnyard, and mushroom.) Then the whole garden will be ready to plant when the danger of frost has passed.  In the above picture, you can see the trash cans beside the shop where I keep the components of Mels Mix ready to put together.

Meanwhile, fingers are crossed for these sweet onions, even though our average last frost date is April 10th…

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