Tag: Spring (page 2 of 4)

Winter and Spring doing their thing

I’m up just for a short while. It’s tiring being up, but also tiring being in bed, though it feels good to stay there, my mind wanders far from it and forces me up now and then. Whatever that means!

So I was looking at Accuweather’s 15-day Outlook, and it seems to me it’s going to be a frustrating early Spring. Last Normal Freeze is March 15. Temps between here and there look fine, as all things go with keeping temps above freezing.

March 17th though, they are forecasting freezing temps, and frosty temps the next couple of days after that, hovering right around there for lows at night. Grrrr.

We are still 10-days away from that, so we shall see.

Otherwise we currently have Sun that’s going away, with light cloud cover coming in, well actually it’s sliding in as overcast, that’s the edge, I see clear blue to the east and those white fingers reaching out that direction and just plain old overcast behind it back towards the other directions. Possible Thunder Storms later this afternoon, and rain and temperatures falling down to the be at the most 49 tomorrow. Today it’s supposed to get into the high-60’s. So that’s a big temperature change coming our way, again. Up and down, it’s that way most winters, but seems more uppy and downy this year.

Frank’s off to Savannah again today. He’ll be back tomorrow night. Bad timing, but could have been worse if my illness waited until today to hit instead of yesterday! In any case, I AM feeling better than I did earlier this morning when I posted. I posted that and went pretty directly back to bed. I’m getting towards starving feelings now, so that’s a good sign, and figure that a nice 2-egg scramble on cast iron pan in butter with sea salt sounds devine.

I must take it easy though, with three chiluns full of energy, I can’t smash every bit of my energy now, so I must post this and make that egg and rest again.

So Spring is coming, trees are still putting out their buds and such. Our Weeping Willow is still greening up and our other trees are getting close to opening buds … but not yet. Other’s trees have bloomed, but only here and there. The Cacophony of Spring’s Triumphal Entrance is still a ways away. I am glad it’s not here now, with me under the weather, I want to be out there when it’s time, drinking it in getting my hands nice and dirty.

So I am guessing it’d be best to bide my time and wait until April. We have lots of indoor painting to do anyhow. So if I can get some energy back this week it’ll be painting time. I love painting! Really, I do! [plus there’s decontruction and figuring out what to deconstruct and where and what and moving things and re-constructing to do!]

It Snowing! Happy March!

In Georgia it’s usually Springtime in the South, by the time March 1 rolls around. Sure it can get down to freezing at night, and some days be chilly, but not that bad.

It’s snowing right now. OK, thick Flurries.

It’s snow though. It’s snowing. March 1, 2005 10 AM and it’s snowing in Georgia.

I took some pictures with the digital. I’ll see how they turned out a bit later. It’s not easy taking pictures with a digital, of something like this. It’s nice to get fast pictures on the computer without having to develop film and print it out first, but lets be real, sometimes a photographer just wants a normal camera to use. πŸ˜‰

My camera has a backlog of film to be developed and needs new batteries, so it’s out of commission for now. πŸ™

So is March coming in like a Lamb or a Lion?

That doesn’t apply down South, overall. This is not lamby nor lion like, so it’s not even something I can pretend to rate, as I would based on a mild balmy day, or a wild windy stormy day. This is just heavy clouds over cold air levels, dumping it’s load in a fuzzy nice way. This is way better than the rain we had the last two days. It’s nice to walk out in 30 degree snow filled air weather. It FEELS warmer. It’s nice. πŸ™‚

So we’ve had a weird winter again. Snow in March. Add it to the vaults. It’s NOT an environmental problem, mind you. Just another wacky weather event. They are around all the time. Years and years before vehicles traveled with gasoline as fuel. πŸ™‚

It’s a cool day

Today it’s been cool and overcast, a bit gusty at times, and then rain started this afternoon. It “feels” chillier than it really is, due to all those conditions. This is normal, as hotter temps have the same thing making it usually “feel hotter”. Drier hot days don’t feel “as hot”, just as some cooler days don’t “feel as cool” due to humidity or sun, or such, it’s a visa versa thing. Weather on the extremes and middles of many connected things similar yet not, similar named result, yet totally different.

I’m just blabbing about this to post something, not important, just that it’s cool and yucky out and I’m trying out some things that posting may help show whether something is working or not. πŸ™‚

I’m getting chilled by just sitting here, so I’ve got to get up and move around. I see a neighbor behind us has smoke pouring from their chimney. All winter long that wasn’t very normal to see from their house. We on the other hand had a fire going if it was cold for a few days and kept it going as needed. So here I am, I said I’m a bit chilled sitting here. That’s just normal for it being a non-sunny day and the temps in the 40’s and rain outside. Not a fire thing, just a get up thing.

I guess some people didn’t make fires during the colder part of the “winter season” so they feel that today is a good day to have a fireplace fire burning — romaticism and all that.

For me, I could build one, but I’ve done it for warmth for two winters in a row. I love building them, but seeing as it’s not COLD cold in here, why build one? Are they romatic-like? Sure, but maybe a bit more utilitarian for me now than they used to be. Also, the wood is all wet. Who wants to struggle with that, I’ve done that in the really cold-rated days this year, it’s neither warming nor romatic kindling making stuff πŸ˜‰

Temps here are going to be in the high 30’s tonight, accuweather says. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, and dim, similar temps as today, but on the lower side of the mid-30’s tomorrow night. Tuesday we are supposed to see some sun, that will be welcomed with open arms. But that night and the two following will be right at the freezing mark, or thereabouts. Temps then in the daytime being around 53 and 49 as is predicted on two of them … with some sun, it’ll be manageable. So we are now just to the point of being 15-days from the “last normal freeze” date. I’m watching the weather predictions heavily, well, just watching and writing down a few degree infos here and there to compare. The plants are definitely into the Spring Fling, and the birds are getting noticeably interested in it too. We are due for a bit of a late winter, I guess, since it’s been so mild most of the season. So let’s just say, I’m very ready for Spring. Might as well, I’ve had Spring Allergies for a couple of weeks, with it building up to higher than mid-point counts the last week. Let’s just get going so we can get it over with. πŸ™‚ And start planting safely too. πŸ™‚

Spring! Signs everywhere!

It’s a lovely day so far. It’s supposed to be up to around 61 degrees F. The sun is shining. Spring is in the air.

I forgot to post this exciting news the other day. Victoria were on the deck the other day sorting through some Thyme I’d cut out of my herb garden (hair cuts for Thyme plants). I heard an odd sound, an odd bird sound, garbly trilly odd. I didn’t have my glasses on so I couldn’t tell if there was something over this or that way making the noise, in trees or something. She pointed to the east. I squinted my eyes, Ah there it is!

A huge V of geese flying due North at a nice clippy pace. The first sign of Spring Migration!

It was a euphoric site and had me on high excitement levels for quite awhile.

In other news, the Weeping Willow tree is looking very dotty green. It’s fronds are long yet, not at all, but she’s a-puttin them out and from a distance you can see those green things coming out. It’s beautiful. I fear she’s too early though. We have a few weeks to go before the probably “last freeze”. In fact, in the next 15-days forcast Accuweather is calling for many nights down to 32, 31, 29. It’s not that which will be a problem, most likely, but it’s the fact that in the last couple of days they did have “ice storm” maybes in the forcast. They’ve gone away from the forcast, but could come back.

In the greater Atlanta area there are many trees starting to bloom. Cherry trees, or something like them, not the kind we have (ours bloom into March or so –Y. Cherries) and a few others. Maybe they aren’t cherry trees, but they look like the K. kind (I can’t recall the names to spell them out, so figure out the Y and K please yourselves πŸ˜‰ )

Today I saw a Bluebird looking at the nest box. I need to relocate that box. Last year it was nothing but bad stuff for them there. As well, today there were E. Starlings on the fence by the bird box. They were bothering the Bluebirds, of course. Going out I just have to clap and yell a second or two and the Starlings fly away, but the Bluebirds stay. πŸ™‚ I can’t watch them every moment of the day though πŸ™

So I need to get a pole to mount the box on in another place in the yard. Frank, mark that down. πŸ™‚ You are the pole buyer. πŸ˜‰

I would also like a new big bird feeder … mine fell over in a storm last year and started to crumble, not worth the fixing. So I have no nice feeder. I also would like a few more Hummer Feeders, through different things all but one is broke now. Just my nice one is around for now. It’s delicate, blown glass shaped like a long tubular flower. It’s a piece of art really. It’s not a “filler-er-up” many times in a month type. I like the feeders that have many stations on them. So this artsy one is not for that, it’s a one-at-a-timer.

We were in Bass Pro Outlet last night, they have some nice single Hummer Feeders … made out of all kinds of glass bottles and copper and such twisted around them to hold them up, very pretty decorations on them, big old decorative Hummer Feeders all in themselves! But single feeders — pricey too. $19 and up. πŸ™

I’m doing some work on my “herb garden” here and there. I really want to get it in good shape, get more plants in it, and a nice brick border, or a short picket fence around it. It’s a battle keeping the creeping weedy grasses out of it. So the Mantis needs to come out of the garage and do some work for me. Edging first, then cultivation between “rows” to loosen the dirt, get rid of little springy weeds, then I get get in there and do the hefty stuff easier, tidying up and hopefully getting a mulch to put on the dirt, and as I said before, more plants. I have Bee Balm and 3 kinds of Thyme, and Chives that are perennials that are doing alright. I also have two other plants in there that are not “herbs” but are nice butterfly attracters. Purple Cone Flower, and a Giant — I forget it’s name. Both die back to the ground in the winter. The herbs don’t die back, the Thyme keeps plugging away winter long, and the chives scale back but don’t go away, same with the Bee Balm.

I may only have 2 types of Thyme now. I recall that one of the 3 is “Wooly Thyme” and may be under some weeds in the corner, or vanished … or may come back in some small way that I can work with. I also have English Thyme and German Thyme. My English is more leggy and loose –mild smell; the German is more bushy and thick–more smell to it too.

The Peonies out front have continued to put up their first shoots out of the ground. They should be super duper huge this year, and I need to put out supports for them for sure. Frank, take note– I need stakes and garden string! πŸ™‚

Cloudy Weather

The ice melted away on Sunday and Monday. By Monday morning there was just some left in places like “roof valleys” and Northern exposed places where it had piled up, and little stuff that was gone by noon that day.

The temps have been higher than freezing, but it’s been mostly all cloudy, just a bit of sun peaking through yesterday afternoon for a small time. So with the temps in the 40’s, that makes things chilly still in the house, with no fireplaces going.

Frank is getting more wood for us this afternoon. He’ll be out the next few days and the temps are supposed to be around 38/39 tonight through Thurday morning. Cloudy, rain, etc. That is cold in the house, with no sun. So since Frank will be running around all day those days, we can’t “duck out” and go to B&N, for instance, so I will need to be building fires in the fireplace again. πŸ™

Well that’s not so bad, just that I would LOVE to see the SUN again. I am really one that needs that sun every day. Not alot, just that the HOUSE needs it at the south to get warm, and then I need to see it as well and get my fill, stand in it and bask like a cat for a bit. Then I can avoid it the rest of the day and be fine. It’s nice to see the brightness though, out the kitchen windows and know that it’s there. Heavy clouds make things so “dull”. Add chilly temps to it and it’s harder to “deal with”. Like it’s no fun going out in the yard to the chickens when they aren’t laying eggs, and it’s cloudy and chilly, and they need fed and watered. I mean, give me eggs and that’s a bit of brightness πŸ˜‰ But no eggs, and cloudy, chilly, yuck.

So that’s the thing, no eggs still. πŸ™

We went out and got a bunch of food from the store yesterday … so today it’s get things in order there day. Not so easy when it’s dull in the kitchen, and I am fighting off a migraine. It’s not that bad, just an annoying grating one that is more so sickly than painfull.

I do suffer from these often, as I have since my teen years. I just deal with them. Sometimes they are more often, other times not very often at all. I know that I love the sun more — to sit on the deck and shut my eyes and bask in it when I have a migraine. So since I can’t … sigh.

A cold day with clear blue sunny skies is wonderfull and it’s been awhile since we’ve had that. Ice days in the past have had the day after cold and clear and that’s lovely to see. But we had just cloudy, cloudy, cloudy this time. πŸ™

Happy February! Spring is closer!

Cold Day – thinking ahead

On days like today we keep a electric space heater running in the “family room” which is the “basement” just a walkout space, a slab as otherwise known. On the main floor, over a crawlspace, we have to keep a fire going in the “dining room” which is what “is supposed to be the Living Room but we made an actual ‘dining room’ “since it’s too small for an effective ‘family/living room’ though we did use it as that for most of the years we’ve been in this house.

Days like today are the odd ones, most days are more mild in the Winter. It never got above freezing today, in fact didn’t even get withing a few degrees of that special temperature. Add the gusty winds into the mix, and it was in the teens or lower, single digits, all day, as “feels like” temperatures.

I wore socks and long boots, and a knit pant for warmth under my very long big tiered “western” denim skirt (which we got for $20 at some western shop last year … it was a much higher priced item originally), and a thin wool turtleneck longsleeve sweater. I’ve been alright all day like this. Not really cold, just cold hands on and off, but easily fixable. My feet, amazingly, have not gotten cold. πŸ™‚ That’s the deal killer for me. Oft times even wearing boots I do get cold feet.

I’m not complaining about today then!

I went out one time this morning. I put on my long lined raincoat, which is like a Spring Coat, sort of, and felt fine going out to the hens to check on them, etc. I came back inside and realized my face was the only cold thing, it felt like my sinuses were frozen entirely. πŸ™‚ Yes, that cold. Cold enough to do that, but that snippy cold didn’t feel so cold otherwise. Kind of like, very cold is like that. Dress for it and it only affects your nose and sinuses if left unprotected.

So even that though didn’t make my feet cold. I hate having cold feet. It’s misery of miseries.

Frank was telling me about a radio guy, Steak Shapiro, about when he got cold feet at a football game, as Frank had heard it on the radio today or yesterday or something. It was funny. Kind of like he turns into a totally different person. Yeah, I know about that firsthand, myself! I have the reverse in hot weather. Above 75 and I melt fast and become a totally different person.

So it’s important to have warm feet. Sometime in the last week or so there was a “cold” day and my feet got really cold. I had to go get in bed for a long time. Even then, they didn’t get warm enough. So finally Frank took us out to Barnes and Noble to read and be warm for the evening. I had to get my feet warm first though. If I have cold feet in shoes, then the shoes HURT horribly. Frank says he doesn’t experience that. Hmph. Figures. I do. It feels like any shoe I put on is pinching my toes, too tight, even if they aren’t, which none of my shoes really do anyway.

I had to fill the tub with hot water and soak my feet before getting ready to leave. I could have done that before, but really, having cold feet turns off your mind as to all the possible ways to get out of that predicament. Only the “lets go out” speech from hubby turned out that answer in my brain. Oh yeah, soak them!

Ah, it was so nice. It took awhile to get them there, but eventually they were warm. I dried them off and hopped in bed again to be sure to keep them warm for a bit, then put on socks under the covers and my boots. That did it. I was fine.

It’s funny how cold feet get. Just that once they are cold, they are cold. It’s a horrible cycle. In the summer my feet can’t get too hot. Only my neck and head can. It’s really my neck, the thermostat at the base of the head in the back. It’s the place that regulates temps. So that place though doesn’t make my feet warm in the Winter. Funny how it is. Cold feet make me nuts. Shut me down. But it doesn’t mean my whole body is cold. Just my feet is enough.

In the Hot Summer, it’s my neck that has to be fooled into being cooler to not freak my body out. If I can’t have ice or a cold bag or can of something on there, I go wacko, get mean easy, etc. My cold feet thing is that I can get mean easy, but it’s more or less that I can’t handle stress as easy, and I can’t function right. In Summer I can handle NO stress at all. It’s like I live for cool evening breezes, and on some days, there are none of those.

So here I sit in a chilly house, fine and warm, next to a fireplace fire, and I’m thinking of the miseries of Summer. πŸ™„

I say that cold can be dealt with, there are ways to get warm. But heat cannot always be dealt with. Put clothing on to keep warm, layers, wool, silk. You can have silk and other things on for wearing in the heat, but they don’t KEEP you cool when it’s 80 degrees. They only feel alright on your skin and your brain whigs out from the heat.

So Summer, Air Conditioning is a friend. But became a foe in our home when my allergies went through the roof in 2003. Turned it off and things cleared up. 😯

So since then we’ve lived au’naturel. It’s fine, like today, if we used the air system, it’d be a useless Heat Pump, and that doesn’t work once near freezing, it can’t pull any heat out of the air. So we’ve learned to live in a cooler house during the Winter and it’s mostly fine. Cloudy days are the worst when it’s cooler. What’s cold in this house? Inside, below 50 is cool. 60 is really nice.

Autumn, and Spring, are lovely in a natural air house. Nighttime in the Summer can be grand, but some nights are just stagnant and worse than that. Mostly though, in Georgia, Summer is hot, but nights are cooler, cool enough to be what gets one through the day, just to live for the night. πŸ™‚

Those days are coming. It’s January. It’ll just be another month before some of the Spring flowers begin to come out. Trees will start to swell their buds, and the air will sing with the coming of Spring. That pulse can be felt in January, yes even on such a cold January day. πŸ™‚

We are an Early Spring region. A Long Growing Season region. A very temperate climate. Well, except for Summer. See the lovely year round stuff keeps us Georgians happy to put up with Summer, for the lovely Spring, Wondrous Winter, and Awesome Autumn. Summer is bad and good. Thunderstorms are great. Melting hot days are not. But those nights are worth it. Ceiling fans are useful, but not worth a dime on those hot stagnant nights.

Oh what a wierd post this is. I had no objective to write this stuff, it just flowed out. You know how opposites attract, and extremes compare, etc. πŸ˜‰

Well anyhow, cold days like this are nice to sleep in on. And that we did today. We did miss church, and that’s easier to do on such a cold day, since staying in the house at all means we need to burn a fire. Besides that I’m sniffly allergic these last couple of days, and that’s miserable to go anywhere like that. Cold cold and baths for everyone didn’t happen on Saturday night, and Sunday morning was too cold and we’d just have had 20 minutes to get ready and go …

So day of this and we are tuckered out and just stayed home with the homefires burning. Nice, but we do miss going to church on such times.

December is Here

Happy December! I find it funny to say that and then to say that today is warmer than the last day of November, so much so that on that day I wrote about how “chilly” things were.

All day yesterday I was chilly, so it was in the house. Last night it wasn’t so much as chilly, but not that noticeable, since I was SOOO very tired. At any rate I knew it might rain, and “felt it in my bones” or rather “in every bit of me” as I seem to be a total “human barometer” –plus I knew via the internet weather site I have on the side-bar here that it was supposed to rain maybe.

I awoke in the middle of the night, with the TV still on and right then it [DSS] started to brake-up, so I knew it was raining, and then I awoke more-so and heard it outside, then realised how “warm” it seemed to be. I was too warm in bed, acually, when the night before I was “cold” on night mostly, just warming up before morning enough to not feel chilled totally in my toes. Weird, yes, just the way it is for me.

So I got up and the bathroom was warm, just enough so to say “no shock” to do anything there πŸ˜‰ as it is when it’s COLD out. What a change it was, from mid-day that day to mid-night, totally opposite temps and airy things. No sunlight to warm the back of the house yesterday means that the front that came through had balmy air in it and it transformed the inside air to be nice and comfy — just a few notches up the temp scale is all the differents in the world, and the moisture helps too, of course.

But really it’s so talkable about since it’s that the house and me and the other family members were so chilly on Tuesday, last day of November and that night it became Spring again. This is so since we have NO A/C or Heat running at all for over a year. We have experience with nature out side as the “olden-days” folks did in their houses. I know others in the US live without A/C or Heat, but it’s just that this house, built in 1997, is not tight, like many modern houses are. It’s built crumby, IMO, and no air- system going makes that very apparent.

It’s the last month of the year. Just a few weeks until “Winter” is here on the calendar. Christmas is less than a month away, just 25 days and it’s here! And it’s Spring-y and it’ll be cold again, and then warm again, and just like the South as usual. Up and down, and then Spring and Summer again in full. Winter here is soft. It’s hard for a week at a time, or a day here and there. But balmy and nice most of the time.

Early and late growing seasons … with mild winters. Ice or Snow a few times on average makes it “just enough” for a nice Winter feeling. Then it’s time for Baseball Season and planting gardens. πŸ™‚

Happy December to y’all! We have it mild, others have it hot, others have it cold, wet, dry, icy, snowy, sunny, dark, cloudy … but we all live where it’s December πŸ˜‰

Strider and Dixie


Photos of two cats
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2nd Nesting of 2004

The Bluebirds did make a second nest, and laid 4 beautiful blue eggs. I didn’t take any photos this time. They look just like photos of the first nest this year, minus one egg πŸ˜‰

It’s near time for this clutch to hatch. If I recall correctly (which I highly think I am doing so) she laid the fourth egg on a Friday and began sitting that day, which would mean: this week – Day 12 on Wednesday, so hatching by Saturday, most likely, Lord willing.

Since their first clutch failed this year, I’m very hopeful that this one will be 100% successful.

It rained today

It’s not rained for a few days, always threatening at some point in the day at least once though. Today it finally rained. Relief, sort of. It was hot and muggy early today, a sure sign it SHOULD rain. After it rained, during as well, it cooled down, but not too soon of course it was muggy-ish again πŸ™

I checked the Bluebird box today. The eggs are all fine and warm. I have to check my data to see when brooding started. Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird have been around and are faithfully doing their respective jobs πŸ™‚

Time Flies — hatching due soon!

The Eastern Bluebirds are due to become new parents this week, sometime between Tues and Fri or so, give or take, 12 to 14 days incubation. That began on April 9 or 10, so it won’t be long now! I’m amazed at how fast this month has gone.

The Starlings haven’t been bothering the nest box, but the worst part of it all happens, generally, near the end of incubation, or after hatching, before fledging occurs. We had babies disappear once. That’s enough to show how delicate a balance there is in nature. Baby birds disappearing before they could have possibly fledged is heartbreaking. So diligence in watching the nest is important, but can’t cover every instance of possible danger.

I checked the nest a few days ago, when Mrs. Bluebird left the box for some food or a “rest” from sitting for a few moments. All five eggs looked nice and were warm and cozy in the nice nest Mama Bluebird built. (The nest in the pictures below squishes shorter when incubation starts, due to the weight of the whole situation, so it looks more compact now.)

As soon as I have confirmation on hatching, any, I’ll be sure to report it here!

Liberty Apple Blossoms

Here is the best photo I took with the digital camera on April 9, 2004, IMO. It’s a closeup portrait of blossoms on a Liberty Apple Tree. It’s a semi-swarf tree, we have two of them, originally planted in March 1998 as small bareroot trees in the front yard, and moved to their present location in the backyard, near the Bluebird Nestbox, a couple of years ago, when we put in a bunch of other trees.

Portrait of Liberty Blossoms, April 9, 2004, NE Georgia.

This photo is incredible as a desktop, so check back for a version that will satisfy your own monitor soon! It’ll be available to download by Friday, if not before.

UPDATE: It’s Saturday 12:32pm eastern; I obviously don’t have the desktop available for download. I won’t promise when that’ll be now, but it’ll be ASAP. πŸ™‚

Brrr II and birds

It’s early, and cold. We kept the fire going late last night, so it’d warm the house longer, and also make it easier to get it going in the morning. Good thing. When it’s down below freezing, it gets cold in here FAST. There’s a certain edge of chilliness that can’t be shaken from the main floor of the house unless a good fire is in the fireplace, or if the temperature outside goes up in the 60’s or higher with a couple of Sunny days to boot.

We aren’t using our air system at all this past Autumn and then Winter/Spring so far. It needs cleaned out and so we just decided to go with the flow for now. Natural with supplemental windows open or shut just enough, fires when needed, curtains or shades up or down when sun wanted or not. It’s worked out, but definitely showed us that we need a better thing than this silly fireplace. A stove would be a better deal.

Well, for a cold morning, the birds outside are still acting like Spring is here, which it is, just colder a bit today. There were a pair of twitterpated House Finches on the deck a while ago, and I just chased off a bunch of European Starlings which were bothering the Easter Bluebird couple. This is a nice arrangement. I watch out for them, and when I see Starlings hanging out by the Bluebird’s nesting box, I go outside and clap and yell “Shoo!” and the Starlings fly away. The Bluebirds stay. πŸ™‚

Today the Bluebirds were in one of the Apple Trees near the nest box, and Mr. Bluebird was very excited, flapping his wings wildly, while Mrs. Bluebird just sat there a few feet away on another branch.

There is activity in the nest box. They’ve been watching over it all along since last breeding season. I cleaned it out for them last week. There was a big Daring Jumping Spider living in it. They seemed to be thankful for my getting it out, as they now have a small circle of dried grass materials on the bottom of the box … a sure sign that they are thinking of building soon. From Mr. Bluebirds behaviour this morning, I suspect we’ll see lots more of that twitterpated flapping of wings over on the South side of the backyard now.

Brrr!

It’s chilly, only supposed to get to 57 degrees F. today. Much colder than it’s been for awhile.

It was officially Spring on Saturday (March 20th). We had our officialy recognized “Last Freeze Date” on March 15th. Yesterday afternoon it became chilly, as a front was coming through … which is introducing this chilly air. The house became “Too Cold” to live in overnight, so I finally broke down this morning, cleaned the overly filled up ashes out of the fireplace from the last cold spell, and started a fire, mid-morning. Oh, the cheery flames takes the edge off the late fingers of winter penetrating into our wonderful Southern Spring.

Tonight, temperatures are supposed to be around freezing and down to the upper 20’s in some areas around here. My poor Hostas, they are unfurling their leaves, so I’ll need to cover them. I’m not sure about other plants, onions and lettuce … lettuce may need covered, and the cauliflower I planted this past weekend.

We bought tomato plants on Saturday at the feed store. They’ll stay in the garage until a safer day to plant.

I’ll probably trim my chives, lest I lose the nice growth they’ve made the past couple of weeks. Good for cooking already. The Thyme will be fine. But what about the flowering Yoshino Cherry Trees … and all the other trees that have leafed out already? We shall see what happens, I can only protect a few things.

I hope this cold won’t get that cold too fast over night, that’ll give everything a better chance of surviving if it’s mostly only near dawn, but whatever happens is what will happen.

Birds around, and the gardening I’m doing

I thought it’d be nice to write about the birds and behaviour I’ve been noticing of late.

Our big Cedar Feeder, installed on a pole in the yard for a few years, fell over on a day that was compassed by many large gust of wind, and the day after as well, if I recall rightly. (It’s been a very windy March as well!)

The feeder rests on the deck now, until I figure out what to do with it, it needs some ajustment and repairs. So since my feeder is down-and-out, I decided to bring the birds in closer … I decided this on the “snow day” we had this year. The birds were out searching for food that day, so I sprinkled seed on the deck railings that were covered with snow. Some birdies came. The day the snow melted the seeds slowly sank to sit on the actual railing, very neatly. That day and the next, the birds really came to eat.

It’s been a treat to have the birds so close up. Mostly we’ve had Chipping Sparrows, House Finches, and Savannah Sparrows eating. An occassional visit by a Northern Cardinal or a Northern Cardinal Family is a bright event. They don’t seem to hang out long with this set-up though. That could partly be a result of this being straight “wild bird feed” and not the stuff I usually do– mix in a heavy portion of Black Oil Sunflower Seeds. In the “old days” the Cardinals would come and eat in the feeder often.

The Eastern Bluebirds are around, as usual, but becoming twitterpated. Guarding their nestbox vigilantly oft times, but not building a nest as of yet. European Starlings bother them sometimes, and the Bluebirds valiantly defend their spot. Spring is a wonderul time to witness how courageous and bold Bluebirds are.

Eastern Pheobe’s are about as well. Both these and the Bluebirds do not ever come to the feeder. Starlings either (if they did, I’d chase them off, as I do Brownheaded Cowbirds.)

Off and on a Red-winged Blackbird will show up.

All in all we haven’t had a large variety of birds, but we have had many Chipping Sparrows, and seeing them up-close makes me appreciate them more. I can see differences in them at this short distance, see them going from winter to breeding phase, and also see the first winter birds, actually distinguishing them from the other Chipping Sparrows. πŸ™‚

Oh, we’ve had some butterbutts too, the nickname for Yellow-rumped Warbler’s. They should be around more soon, as well as American Goldfinches (I did see one coming into breeding color last week, and one drab one, but not at my “feeder”).

This is the year of the Robin, I must announce. In our yard, and the yards around us, we see more American Robins this year than we ever have anywhere in Georgia. (we’ve been here since late 1996). Their bulbous bellies plod around the yard, they are here at morning twilight, 25, or more, easily in view at a time, but they are so busy running here and there and lobbily flying over there and back … there are a lot of them, and counting isn’t something one gets too serious over.

Bluejay’s are around across the street, but occasionally we’ll have one in the back yard for a few mintues. They are my second favorite bird, second to the Eastern Bluebird. Is it because they are both blue? Yes and no. It’s so much more than that. I do love blue though!

I’m hoping we’ll see some Blue Grosbeaks this year. Last year we saw one male, once. πŸ™ Years previous have had regular visitors. Also Indigo Buntings, but I’ve not seen one since 2002 probably.

I did see a Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female) last year, and have a picture or so of her on my photo log. I have never seen a male of that bird in person though.

Well, Spring is springing up around here, so more birds will be coming through on their migrations soon. I look forward to the first Ruby-throat Hummingbirds (already have their feeders out and filled) of 2004.

Peonies and Hosta have spiky thick shoots coming out of the ground, still close to the ground, but definitely out. My Purple Coneflower plants in the herb garden are sending up leaves, and other plants are doing things too. Pussy Willow has STILL not bloomed though. One of these days.

We were at Home Depot this evening, just looking, and the herbs and veggies they have out are nice, inviting, and I hope to get several new herbs in my garden this year, and lots of tomatoes, and do some potatoes, and sweet potatoes as well. The green beans of course, and some kind of peas, perhaps. Baby delicate peas I can stand. Sugar Snap Peas in stir fry are good too. I’ve not grown them yet though. This Spring has lots of things going on in the garden, bird nest box, and in our home as well. πŸ™‚

Lion and Lamb

Tradtion says that if March comes in like a Lion it’ll go out like a Lamb, visa versa.

That’s what I learned as a small child in Pennsylvania.

It’s not a useful saying in The South though. In any case, March 1 and 2 have been blustery, windy, but nice days. Lots of wind gusts and high breezes, warm temperatures. Clouds and sun. We may have some showers today, it’s rather overcast now, but a high overcast, not that low oppressive type.

If you’ve seen my eggreport you know that we have eggs being laid now. Just the fourth day in a row now. For us it’s a true herald of Spring. Last year, our new pullet Leghorns began laying in March. This year, our Wyandottes (brand spanking new hens, not pullets anymore!) started off the second to last day of February, and the first Leghorn hen laid today.

Our Weeping Willow tree is putting out green leaves, won’t be very long before it’s flushed out full. That’s a sight I love.

All the other trees are getting their buds ready, won’t be long there either. Peonies have magenta nubs coming up from the ground, some other perenials are showing their growth as well.

My herbs, I transplanted some from my regular garden into my small herb garden. I’m filling it in piece by piece, and hope to do a lot of work on it this Spring. Well, my Chives are starting to take off just the last couple of days since I’ve moved them. It’s the weather, the time to do it. I moved them by disturbing them the least I could, I transferred them as large chunks of earth and roots, into loose-soil filled holes. This is their second seaons on growth. I bought them as a 4″ pot Spring 2003, and divided them into three parts. I decided to do that as an economical way to get three distinct plants going, but not expecting them to be huge for quite awhile. Start small, wait for full development in time.

As for time, I also have a few varieties of Thyme. I transferred my German Thyme from the regular garden as well. So now there are Wooley, English and German varieties. They were all new small pots of herbs in Spring 2003. I expect them to take off better this year. All the herbs that survived the winter kept growing some during the winter. I also have Curled Parsely, still in the regular garden — it’s supposed to be an annual, but stayed small and green all winter, and is super green and growing in size now the last week. I ‘m debating on moving it or not. I think I may leave it be. I have my lettuce right next to it. I’m doing things this year that I haven’t done the past few that I’ve gardened with purpose.

I’ve wanted to do lettuce, but didn’t do any. Finally I have four little leaf lettuce plants out there. They were planted yesterday, and should be ready in 5 weeks. It’s not as cool as maybe they’d prefer, this week anyhow, but we shall see what happens. I have six Walla Walla onions set. 110 days, maybe they’ll work, maybe they won’t. I have to be careful and figure out what to feed them, so that they’ll stay sweet. High maintenance? Maybe. I *usually* garden au naturel, not feeding, just planing and watering as needed, and treating for worms (started that last year) if need be. I intend to figure out what to plant where for best pest deterent stuff naturally, and to figure out what’s good to follow in the same spot next year. Right now, I’m just winging it. The way I do too much πŸ˜‰

I want to get some pole beans started soon, and be sure to plant some more in stages, to have beans sooner and later, and see what’s the best, and all that in terms of planting when, etc.

Tomatoes, I want to find plants that are heirloom, not starting them from seed myself (I just like some things in plants better than fooling with seed) I’ll put them in a different place than I did last year. Whatever tomotoes I find to plant.

I’m going to put some veggies next to the deck too, where I’ve let scraps go to rot over the years (and had tomato and canteloupe and onion sprout themselves nicely). So I’ll see what I can do about a narrow garden that can be tied to the deck for trailing beans and such. (easy pickin too!)

I’ll be throwing sunflower seeds out in some places to get flushes of them, in stages if I can do that. I’ve grown to really love them. I just use the bird seed I buy for the birdies, black oil sunflowers. Maybe I’ll get fancy and get something special in a packet to try as well. (the birds always plant some sunflowers themseleves around the feeders, as well as millet) Last year I accidentally spilled a bunch of sunflower seeds around the big feeder in the back yard, and it was a circle of wonder not so long later.

Out front I scattered extra under the feeder, to get more flowers than we had the year before. I’ve got to get some feeders cleaned and fixed now. Our big backyard one fell over a couple of weeks ago in a wind storm. I’ll be trying to install it on the railing of the deck instead now, once I get some areas re-nailed. It’s done-for on the post in the ground.

Well, that’s a slight garden/weather update, I feel like I’ve written some of this before, but I sure couldn’t find where … not that I looked very hard, mind you. So if there’s duplication of data, please don’t fret.

Weather is warming soon!

In viewing the weather for the next 15 days, tonights cold will end the coldest for awhile. Most every day hence for the 15 day forcast is highs in the 50’s and 60’s, nay, even to the high 60’s some days. Wow! Spring is near. There is one day, the 25th I think it is, that snow is forecast off and on that night, with temps down to 32. Besides that, all nights are in the higher 30’s or more. It’ll change, for certain, before the 15 days plays out, that’s for sure. Even so, this forecast is a nice one to ponder, due to the “balmy” temperatures it speak to my heart with πŸ˜‰

Thinking of Spring’s approach

Springtime is coming. It’s been a shorter winter than usual here. It’s chilly still, but the temperatures are not going near freezing for the past several days, and forcasted not to most of the next 15 days. Just two below freezings, the rest in the mid 30’s or higher for lows.

We have a normal “last freeze” date of March 15th. It’s fast approaching, just, practically speaking, a month away now. By April’s beginning the garden will need to be started, and if anything is planted sooner, it needs to be watched, so delicate stuff should wait until April.

Trees will be coming into flowing life again soon. We’ll need to spray the Apple and Willow trees for prevention of Fireblight, which is our dastardly viscious enemy here in this Georgia backyard. There are some very young trees that need to be trimmed as well, before they come out of dormancy. The list will grow. All these outdoorsy things will demand high attention.

So I better get some of this indoor stuff under better control. Ugh. πŸ™

I’m so looking forward to Pussy Willow blooms, wildflowers, Maple tree flowers (yes, they do flower, check one out close-up), Dogwood blooms, Yoshino Cherry blossoms, White/Pink Apple Blossoms, green willow growth, baby apples, and nests being built in trees and nest box.

Not the allergies that come with the whole deal though. πŸ˜‰

Little Flock in our yard

Victoria called me to her room a bit ago, said there was a red-headed bird, like a woodpecker that she was looking at. I asked her if it was on a tree, and she said “No, it’s on the grass”.

So I went in there and lo and behold, it wasn’t a woodpecker … it was 25+ American Robins looking for worms in our front yard. This is the biggest batch of them that I have seen this year (so this isn’t particularly scientific data). I counted, definitely, 25 and there were more coming in when I stopped counting, not too many more.

So what this means in terms of Spring? We have rain forecasted for today through tomorrow, off and on. The radar is showing quite a large mass of rain heading NE, so whether it actually hits us or not … we are forecasted a high temp of 53 today, and tomorrow a high of 60 degrees F. πŸ™‚ No sun though, not much at the least.

Dear Victoria was happy to learn the real name of the bird, and didn’t bat an eye when I remarked that there were so many of them, not just one. It seems one bird, twenty-five birds, nah, same thing practically speaking πŸ˜†

It’s still early in the day. Must be a morning thing, she DOES know what a Robin looks like, and has ID’d them fine in the past.

Well, if she feels remotely like I do, she’s not in top form … πŸ™

Mild Weather and trees

We’ve hit another mild spell in the weather. It was in the high 50’s to low 60’s on Monday (I say today, since I’ve yet to fall asleep πŸ™‚ ) Tomorrow (really “Today” Tuesday) it’s supposed to reach 63 degrees F. The low overnight tonigh should be down to 38, and that is so much nicer than 32 or thereabouts. It will be similar to this through Thursday, then back in the 40’s for highs, which if sunny out, are mild enough generally, in the back yard especially, where we get full sun all day. Our property is diagonally positioned so the sun rises at our back (when looking out the back door) left corner of the property (we have a straight-lined rectangular property.)

Our trees are all still too young to give any shade that amounts to much of anything. (We planted them in the front and back in Spring 2002) Our property was treeless, minus the one “weed tree” (what I called it before I knew what it was) that is on our SW property line at the point that our backyard fence meets the back of the front yard just behind the garage. It looked like an overgrown weird tree. I saw no glory in it that first year, then the second year as well. The third year we had a landscape designer come out to survey the property and draw up a plan. He asked some questions about it’s habits (that weedy tree) and he said it was a honey locust … that it had little white flowers in the Spring and a high fragrance … right? We said “No”. So well it was a Locust tree of some kind, but not a honey. So we thought.

After that, that tree grew more and more and finally turned into a lovely mid to late afternoon shade tree. Giving shade at the front West corner of the backyard. That hot sun plus that tree at least give a small space for the children to play in on afternoons.

We were in official drought the whole time we lived here, until 2003. In early 2003 we had enough rain. That weed tree BLOSSOMED! Whoa! It was the smell that made me notice it, never had it blossomed in our time living there. Tell tale things I’d learned before that blossom time were met with actual visual truth during the summer. The blossoms fertilized, green leather strips of seed pods were being formed and grew to long lengths. Autumn brought change to leaves, and the leaves all fell, and the seed pods began to dry out.

We had found traces of old seed pods in the yard the previous years, old ones from before we saw the house first in September of 1997. The mystery was solved, this tree DID produce them. It was a hard few years of drought. So the good rain we finally got gave good results. Enough good life to make a joyful blossoming tree. We had super thick pods on it this Autumn, and a few windy days blew them all off minus a few. Believe me, a decent blossom makes for massive pods which if not disposed of will be everywhere thickly for a long time.

It’s a tree I can appreciate, it grows fairly fast. And does give great shade, though it’s not a straight up and down tree, it usually has a few “trees” that sort of grow together in a clump, in it’s natural setting. It, of course, has thorns, big thorns. But it’s a great shader.

We planted 3 apple trees in March of 1998, and moved them Spring of 2003 before they started to blossom. We also planted several maple trees, Autumn Flame, October Glory, and Japanese Bloodgood. We had some sticks that we planted from “Arbor Day Foundation” (I call them sticks, they look like that, bare root sticks) Well one of them, only one, began to grow very well in 2002 so we moved it to nearer to the house, not knowing what it was, since I lost all ID of the seedlings. Well, all those are suppose to flower, but not so far. This tree is is incredible though, it was many inches shorter than me in Spring 2003 and is taller than me by several inches now. It has thorns too. It’s a nice thick, full tree.

We also now have two Paperbark Maples and a Weeping Willow. I checked several of these trees today, and the buds are getting rather prominent. We still have half of January, all of February, and half of March to get through before it’s nominally safe for the trees to start blooming. But there is no controling nature. So many mild spells are hopefully not going to spoil a beautiful spring KABOOM bloom this year.

I enjoy the temps warming though. This month is going fast, it’s the 13th already, and since it’s been rather sunny and not so bitter it seems like Spring is truly around the corner, but it’s really way to early even so. I’m still looking for nasty weather in the forcasts. I just checked and we have some below freezing temperature forcast for over a week away, no snow or anything though.

That’s what things are like mid-January. Just really odd.

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