Saturday, December 21, 2013

The first day of winter. Finally, the days can start getting longer again. Slowly, minute by minute, the Earth will work its tilt back toward the sun.

I like to lie on my back and look upward. It makes me feel like I'm spinning! Oh yeah, I am spinning! Ha!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

video

It was a foggy morning in Acadia National Park, ME when we visited one day. But Maine is beautiful...and there was beauty everywhere I looked! We spent a couple of nights in Bar Harbor right on the coast, which gave me the waves and smell of the ocean that I crave. I have missed going to the beach....maybe a weekend this fall?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Backyard feeding stations

Not the best picture, since it was taken from inside, but this is what I must deal with daily. The birds must share the seeds with the squirrels. I actually don't mind the sharing, I just dislike the hogging of the feeders by said squirrels. They are flexible and stealthy little rodents, though very cute and fun to watch. So my only option is to spread the seeds and feeders out to various areas of the landscape, hoping no one monopolizes all of the feeding stations. So far, everyone seems happy. I must bring all feeders in at night because of raccoons. They empty everything, even the hummingbird feeders!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Where's the warmth?

Okay, it's now May, and time for warmth and sunshine along with all of the outdoor activities that take place this time of year. But instead, today was cool, overcast, and a chilly breeze kept me from enjoying much time outside. Now don't get me wrong. I'm not a fan of 90's in May. But it barely got out of the 50's, and I do enjoy the 70's for my outdoor time! I'm still hoping the warm air comes soon----but for now, rain is forecast over the next few days. Sigh.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Where's spring?

These two playful red pandas are sure enjoying the snow. Of course, they are adapted to snowy climates. I am certainly glad there are creatures that enjoy the snow, but IT IS TIME FOR SPRING! Here in Virginia, it is about ten degrees cooler than normal for late March, and even my forsythias have frozen in time. Past years these bushes have given me early spring beauty that fills me with the hope of future warmth. This late March they have not bloomed out-there are hints of yellow, but the cold nights are putting the blooms on hold. Should be in the 50's to low 60's over the next couple of days. I need to soak up some sun! Please, please, Sun, send us some of your warmth soon!

P.S. This cute picture was found on tumblr.com with no reference. I assume it is from a zoo. I am sorry for giving no credit. If you own it, I'll be glad to credit you!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lichens alive!

The boulder above, which is near the St. Patty's day moss, has developed layers of lichen now. Moss is beginning to encroach on the lichen. And then, there is the boulder shown left, which has ferns and mountain laurel growing on it along with the moss! I am continually amazed at nature, especially plants. The boulders are weathered granite, I believe, and they are arranged in an interesting rough-and-tumble disarray. So far, I cannot find any pattern to them, except that they are exposed along an embankment above the creek.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Greening the rock

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Today was such a lovely day, with the sun shining and the temperatures in the mid 60's, I could not resist spending most of the day outside. On one of my walks, I discovered that the moss on this rock has increased so much it was beginning to curve over the edge! There were mountain laurel bushes growing up above this view. Anyway, I decided this would be a great "green" picture for St. Patty's,and since it will be raining on the 17th, this moss will be greening up the boulder even more!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Obama Administration just announced it would protect 11 million acres of the Western Arctic, in an area called the National Petroleum Reserve, from drilling. This was probably a trade-off  for the Keystone XL pipeline. We'll see. It's good to see some protection occurring anyway! Say thanks to the President! http://sc.org/Arctic_victory

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Crocuses!

I am always excited when these lovelies work their way through the leaves and other debris to emerge and bloom. They are like a breath of fresh air after being in winter mode for two months or more. Now I am ready to plan my yard for spring. Time to head to the nursery and pick out new plantings for 2013! Tomorrow I will prune my forsythias and bring in many of the cut branches which will bloom inside before the weather warms up enough for the ones outdoors to bloom. Another touch of spring to help keep me positive. These short days are hard...but I've noticed the longer days, a few minutes each day,  giving me a little longer to be outside.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Hungry birds

This winter, hungry birds have kept me busy filling feeders every day. I fill them each morning, and must bring some in at night so as to not find them torn open and emptied by, I'm guessing, raccoons. We do have flying squirrels that come out at night, but in winter? I'm not an expert, so not sure. I have seen the raccoons. I do have grey squirrels during the day, but have a pretty good handle on most of them. Don't worry, they get fed too. This nuthatch was taking his/her turn at the suet. Woodpeckers enjoy it also, but they are harder for me to catch in a picture. This brand new suet block had been out only about 2 hours when the picture was taken. I put some mix seed out, but mostly black-oil sunflower. That is the favorite among my bird clientele. That and the suet. Might have to start making my own!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Our morning walk

 Bo and I have plenty of time to walk in the mornings on weekends - or snow days - and he has become used to me stopping to snap a picture or two. Some days Bo runs off to explore on his own, but this morning he stuck with me.To the left, he is patiently waiting while I picture the creek, and below wondering if I'm still behind him. I know some of you are probably worried about his feet since he wears no booties, but I've inspected his feet, and the pads are tough. I find no cracks and with his short, slick hair, no snowballs either! His body is always warm when I
check him and I've never witnessed him shivering! I will admit that I am amazed at his hardiness! The only parts of Bo that have ever felt cold are his ears, and that was after going outside for about 10 minutes to the barn. So I guess he wasn't out long enough to warm them up from normal exercise. Otherwise, he is a warm puppy! And you know the Peanuts quote, "Happiness is a warm puppy." Bo is a happy boy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Green Rooftops

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/multimedia/chicago/8.html

“At 24.5 acres, Millennium Park is the largest green roof in the world. It covers two parking garages, a railway, and an opera hall.”
Great photo essay at PBS on the green roofs of Chicago.
This is so cool! There are so many things we can do to mitigate our impact on natural Earth. Why waste all of this space with useless nothing? I hope more inspiring ideas follow. You never know where our imaginations can take us!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Trees in the snow

You can easily see tree form in the winter, but when a bit of snow is added, the branching and lines are vivid. It had only snowed about an hour when this picture was taken this afternoon, barely an inch of coverage, but it's a very heavy snow falling on cold, wet, freezing surfaces. Upon returning from the barn, the top of an old red pine fell, spooking Glori, who took off to the open pasture. And currently, our power is out due, I'm sure around here, to a fallen tree. So I expect to see changes along the trail next time I venture out in daylight. I know I'll be brushing snow off my azaleas and nandinas in the morning. Stay warm and dry, everybody!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Let sleeping dogs lie on their backs

This is Bo napping, something he enjoys doing every evening starting around 7 pm. Of course, if food enters the room or if one of his people goes outdoors, naps are abandoned. Yes, he has his own couch (more comfortable than the dog bed purchased at Petsmart), and I'm sure he does this most of the day while his people are at work. Believe me, he works out every morning and afternoon, getting in a one or two mile run twice a day. On weekends, his schedule might include one or two additional workouts depending on the weather. Once the days get long enough, his naps will probably start later as well. The best thing about his naps? They extend throughout the night until morning. He never wakes me up first. Nice.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Community Church

One of the places I always try to find when looking out my window is the neighborhood church. It happens to also be where I attend regularly, and this view shows our recently added steeple. I really like the added structure. All the time I have lived here in Cooper's Cove, the church never had a steeple, and it was one thing the congregation wanted when we made the leap to add on and remodel. Years in the making, it was a good decision. The best part is that we have done this without long-term debt saddled  on future congregations. This is my first steepled picture from home, and I look forward to the seasonal changes and views.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Winter Flowers

I struggle to get out of bed on winter mornings. It is so dark, the bed is warm and cozy, but the room air is cool. Once I'm up, it's all good. Along that line of talk, the short days are kind of dreary, so having winter flowers cheers me up. Starting this past week, my orchid began blooming. There are about four buds yet to open along three stems. The plant adds a cheerful view and the flowers last for weeks, a reward for taking good care of the plant all year long. I also have African violets, peace lillies, and I'm waiting on an amaryllis to bloom. I also own a Thanksgiving cactus, red like the Christmas cactus, but mine always blooms at the earlier holiday. They all brighten my winter and help keep my hands in the dirt until spring!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Another one bites the dust

Discovered this fallen tree on New Year's during my walk. It's a poplar, and I guess the wind toppled it. It was a vigorously growing tree before dormancy set in, so maybe the roots were not significant enough to hold it. But the one root lying along the ground on the right side is impressive! This one leaves a good size opening for sunlight, to the delight, I'm sure, of small tree seedlings that will be competing for that sun this spring.  I know no tree goes to waste in the forest, but I will miss this stately poplar. In my book, trees are the most important of all organisms on Earth.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

As luck would have it

Traditionally, my family has a meal this day which gets our new year off to a good start. I've never truly tested the theory that our lucky meal actually creates any luck for us, but the tradition itself feels proper, as if my year will be balanced, the "feng shui" of my days will flow smoothly from week to week. For this evening's meal, I roasted asparagus, just because I like it and had it on hand. Microwaved half a cabbage (quartered) with salt, pepper, and butter, the standard. I cut up and cooked a couple of pork chops in olive oil with garlic, salt, pepper, celery seed, and basil, then added one of those cooked bags of brown rice and about half a can of black-eyed peas (Lucks, of course!).  That was left on the eye to keep warm. I also made a pan of cornbread-just followed the recipe in my Betty Crocker cookbook. Quite often, this is normally how I cook dinner-what do I have, and what can I do to make it into a meal? This one was very tasty, and I am content that my year has started on a smooth, no doubt lucky, path.