Saturday, May 28, 2022

Little Bits and Pieces of any Day


Corinne Clematis blossom with her fuzzy underside.

Dug from old ghost towns in Nevada, and packed uncleaned in wooden crates.
A quarter each in backroom of Reno antique shop, 
if we scrummaged through the boxes ourselves.
A lovely reminder of my antiquing days with my mom
when I was in my thirties.

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus)
with wings unfolding for flight,
Winterthur Viburnum buds opening.

Dog walking at the lake formed by Percy Priest Dam

Itea virginica Saturnalia
Female Carpenter Bee
A pair of these gentle giants can be a bit intimidating
when they are protecting the larvae in their chewed out holes.
We accept them and put out leaning 4 x 4's of cedar
which they use after several years of drying out.

Lost the name of this Viticella clematis.

Winterberry, Ilex verticillata
Little Black Ant
Honey Bee

Clematis viorna

Sweet Austin
Zebra Jumping Spider, Salticus scenicus (an European import)

Bottlebrush Grass, Elymus hystrix
Top facing northwest - Bottom facing south
Cool season grass, meaning it grows in spring and fall.
In garden, most of the spring grass will dry and disappear by mid summer.  
The fall growing grass will dry with some disappearing, 
and some standing dry during the winter months.
Some years it fills most of the flower beds, some years not.
This year it is plentiful.
I love this woodland rye grass.

Clematis 'Venosa Violacea' (Viticella Group)

Life has a way of wearing me down into tears lately, so this is all I have to offer.  Until next time...

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Saturday, May 7, 2022

A Date With May


It’s Sunday afternoon, May 1.  

That awful part of the day every week when the next door neighbor drenches his barbecue  briquets with enough lighter fluid to torch the entire block. I look over the fence to see if he’s wearing his gas mask; but alas, he’s sucking in the fumes with his cast iron nose.  I need a break until his dinner is served.

Vic’s at a gun show this weekend, so I’m on my own in the gardens.  Yesterday two large Summersweet shrubs were planted into the area the old Persimmon once occupied.  It wasn’t an easy task, as strong roots crisscross the entire area about 4 to 5 inches down.  My neck's painfully sore today.

It’s so pleasant today, but afternoons most days are in the low 80’s.  I’m wondering whatever happened to the old fashion days of spring residing in the 70’s.  They seem to be going extinct.  After an hour of gardening, I tried talking the guy upstairs into giving me a new body, but he reminded me that today is the first day of the rest of my life, and that's about as new as it's ever going to get.

I’m out of here!

Blue Star, Amsonia Hubrichtii

American Maidenhair Fern, Adiantum pedatum
in large double walled pot with FoxFarm Ocean Forest potting soil

Blue Indigo 'Purple Smoke', Baptisia australis

Top: Grey Owl Juniper, 
Bottom Center: Rudbeckia maxima, Giant Coneflower
Bottom Right: 'Purple Smoke' Blue Indigo

Seed pods of Common Ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius

Maybe a Katydid.  It camouflages well.

Monday afternoon, May 2  — why do I bother?  

My chiropractor tells me my body’s alignment is holding on almost perfectly, even though my morning wake ups are clouded with headaches and my neck aches profusely when without back support.  I think that expression — living dead — works well here.

So… since I ‘m not going to feel any better any time soon, I’m giving that dead looking honeysuckle on the wrought iron arbor a haircut… 

I guess one could say it has the bald look going for it now.  I’m not sure if it struggled from too much shade or not enough nutrients in the soil.  I’ll fertilize it later this week.  Since the Persimmon tree’s removal, shade is no longer an issue.  

Four volunteer Lyreleaf Sages from the front yard pathway have been relocated to the vacated old Persimmon bed.  My body tells me to give it up or else, so I ask Vic to clean up the mess.  Ten seconds of rain then fall.  Ten seconds!  What gives?  It’s back outside to water the back fence line that rests on a slope that's drying out.

Little Black Ant, Monomorium minimum
on a dying May or June Beetle.

Arbor with Honeysuckle

'Polish Spirit' Clematis, A viticella clematis
Grows like a weed if watered regularly.
I read that rabbits like to munch on the leaves,
but it doesn't seem beneficial otherwise.

Backyard fence line pathway with woodpecker box
Looking North

Looking South

Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday… May 3.

A morning like any —beep— other.  Seven O’clock alarm —beep— to take a pill, and eight —beep— o’clock alarm to take —beep— more pills.  Lacey's next be —beep— cause she’s a pest without —beep— food, then Charlotte and Aus —beep— tin because, well, just be —beep— cause.  Dustin's last, as he’s —beep— old, and a pill dispens —beep— er would come in handy.  —beep beep— Oh good grief!  I’m out of —beep— here.

The back deck is my sanctuary after the old dishwasher’s program pad has gone haywire and driving me psycho.  Lunch was to be out here, but I ate it before I made it to the table.    A riot of noises greet me, but the loudest is the Carolina Wren —quite invisible— somewhere in the oak tree next door.

A pair of Carolina Chickadees have an active nest in the chickadee nest box.  I’m not sure about the woodpecker box.  The nest is of fine twigs and what else I’m not sure. I think a second peek is unwise.  It doesn’t have all that weird trash the invasive introduced house sparrow likes to collect, so I’m quite happy.  The birds always seem to be in stealth mode, evading any detection.

Robins splash in the bird baths until almost no water is left, then the Grackles fly in to dirty up the new water.   A big rush of wind through the trees sounds as if a huge ocean wave is crashing onto the beach then receding… over and over again.  Then a huge movement of wind jars the senses right back into reality. 

Clouds hurry across the skies… white, then dark, then white, then dark… it’s like the beginning of a thunderstorm that continues all day and never brings rain. 

Desert after breakfast...don't judge :)

Cumberland Rosemary, Conradina verticillata

It dies in the garden, so I now have it in pots with potting soil.

Hearts-a-Hustin', Euonymus americanus flowers
I never see anything on these to pollinate the flowers,
but it has abundant fruit in the fall.
I read that ants pollinate it, 
so I'm back outside to see if I find any ants on the flowers.

This is either 'Gold Dust' or 'Corky' Daylily
I purchase both, but they were such small plants, 
that only one survived.
I don't know which one  it was.
It struggled for years, until I planted it in a planter of top soil.

Wednesday Evening, May 4 —after the rains the night before.

It’s a bit late for outdoors, but we have a picnic dinner planned 6:00 this early evening.  Darkness falls around 7:30 so we hurriedly set up the chicken tenders from the Publix store, and coleslaw and honey biscuits from the Mrs. Winner’s store, and all those other things that go with it.

It’s a last minute thing after working on a small pathway that connects the main pathway in the front yard to the water faucet.  It had become too unstable after years of the stones sinking sideways into the Christmas fern bed that skirts the American Hornbeam tree.  It had eventually become too askew to attempt using, and was literally disappearing as if being sucked into the depths of fern bed hell to disappear forever.

I never do well on jobs that require me to bend my head; which means, quite frankly, any job I attempt.  I attempt them anyway.  I’ll probably be using a heat pad on my neck and shoulders after dinner for short sessions, in order not to stir up the neuropathy pain.  It’s a precarious balancing act I’m still perfecting.

Anyway… back to the here and now.  It’s a beautiful late afternoon, just on the verge of becoming cool.  The traffic has quieted down, and Robins seem to be everywhere.  It’s delightful.  The new potato salad being tested (ugly taste) is scrapped off the plate to be replace by honey mustard dipping sauce.

A Blue Jay lands on the rim of the bird bath as we are talking, so he knows we are there, lets out a few squawks, takes a few sips and off he goes.  Little blurs of birds are seen as evening is just below the horizon, then I slip into my cozy wool sweater to finish dinner and conversation, as the coolness soon becomes a chill.

Okay!  Time to grab everything and scurry into the house for beautiful warmth.

Charlotte, Sweet Charlotte

Miss Lacey,
looking like an angel.

Thursday…that’s all I can say…it’s just Thursday, May 5

I’m sitting on this unforgiving concrete bench we placed outback under the wrought iron arbor in anticipation of all those lovely coral flowers and pleasant shade from the honeysuckle, the same honeysuckle that now appears to be dead.  I’m searching my little Eden to see what’s photographically possible this beautiful late morning.

Then Kapow!  All hell breaks loose.

A confrontation breaks out among the Robins with youngsters in the back yard.  It’s quite intense with squawking and squabbling and wings flapping violently, until a few hightail it over the back fence.  Peace has been restored once more in this little paradise.

I’m doing nothing today, not even all those regular little chores that seem to take up quite a bit of one’s day.  Breakfast was left over pizza… no comments please… and a cup of Irish Breakfast tea.  I’m battling a not so lovely headache.

The garden, at times, slows down and rests, and all is pleasant.  Sometimes when changes occur, it's that of lavender hued thick ruffled petals of Leatherflower dropping to the ground.  Nothing to us, but everything to the flower.

Swamp Leatherflower, Clematis crispa in the rain garden

Copper Iris,  Iris fulva in the rain garden 

Ford Pickup Truck
Front Bumper Grill Guard
Year Unknown

Varied Carpet Beetle, Anthrenus verbasci
Below, tiny carpet beetle burying its head into the center of the flower. 

Black Damsel Bug, Nabis subcoleoptratus on Fleabane
I could guess the above slightly out of focus bug's rear-end photo, 
by the lower badly out of focus entire bug's body photo.
These are tiny creatures, 
as a fleabane flower is approximately 1" across.
This bug sucks the juices out of it's victims, and is considered beneficial.

I woke up with Friday on my mind — May 6

Several thunderstorms traveled over the house during last night, and all thoughts of yardwork were abandoned at daybreak.  My journal was to end here, but on our way back home from the chiropractor this afternoon, we traveled under a never-ending low hanging black cloud not far into our journey.  All hell then broke loose!

Marble size hail began smashing against the windows with terrifically loud crashes.  It was a shock that took a few seconds to register in my mind what it really was.  After fifteen minutes the hail became more pea size.  The falling rain came in with the wind, and was quite violent at times.

Surprisingly, the only visible damage in the gardens are green leaf bits from the trees, and other small debris from the shrubs.  If not for the pools of standing water, one would think nothing had happened.  Yesterday was 84 degrees F., today is 71, and tomorrow will be 64.  Next week a few days will reach into the low 90’s.  90 degree F. weather is August, not May.

Way past my bedtime.

Philadelphus inodorusScentless Mock Orange

It was a night so beautiful that your soul seemed hardly able 
to bear the prison of the body.

- W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919

Sweet Dreams

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