Monday, April 22, 2013

"Rough Winds Do Shake The Darling Buds"...Of April

Ornamental crabapple in bloom.
Rounding up my week with photos taken over several days.
These are probably the last from my Canon Powershot
About a year ago one of the cats pushed the camera off my untidy desk [go figure!] and a tiny piece was chipped off the battery compartment door. Canon no longer serviced that model or supplied parts, so I've used the camera for the past year with a heavy piece of scotch tape holding the battery door in place--removing and renewing tape each time the batteries needed changed.
This stop-gap measure hasn't been very effective recently--the plastic bits are too worn for any amount of tape to hold the door tightly enough to maintain battery contact.

My new camera arrived on Wednesday.
On Thursday I drove to Wal Mart to purchase a memory card and a padded carry bag.
I am now, typically, balking at the learning curve involved in familiarizing myself with the camera which, according to the instruction booklet, will do many astonishing things.
Tomorrow I will need to quit dithering, or I shall miss the wonderful daily changes of springtime!

Close-up of the crabapple blossoms.

Rosa 'Wise Portia' after pruning.

I've spent time weeding, pruning and generally fussing about in the flower strips this week.
We experienced several days when afternoon temperatures soared into the mid 80's F with gusty warm winds which shook blossoms from the trees and strewed the maple 'seed wings' across the driveway.
On one of those days I washed the heavy curtains from the bow window and pegged them on the clothesline. I usually stand facing down the valley to pin out the wash [I'm sure I don't know why!]
The wind was blowing from the south--up the valley--and before I thought what might happen a gust of wind drove the wire line weighted with curtains into the side of my face, knocking my glasses askew.
I yelped in startled pain, caught a curtain as it tried to turn into a parachute.
I had a sense of Mary Poppins sailing aloft and hovering over our garden, not with an umbrella, but with my living-room drapes!

The old bird house in the back yard is home to a pair of bluebirds this spring.
Gina and I were enjoying the sun in the carport one afternoon when she spotted Bobby McGee the cat taking an unhealthy interest from his perch on a branch of the tree.
We began barricading the birdhouse with sticks, then J. brought out a roll of wire and encircled the trunk of the tree.
Bobby has prowled about. The birds have flitted nervously in and out of the house, never going very far. [There are four eggs in the nest.]
J. has bellowed at Bobby whenever he sees him lurking in the vicinity.
We can only hope that the bluebirds will raise their young and see them fledged without tragic interference from the cats.

Green-gold light early on Wednesday morning, looking south down the Big Creek Valley.
As I turned from taking this photo, a hummingbird whizzed past my head.
I rummaged out the nectar feeder, then we decided it would be dashed from its hook or the syrup spilled by the wild wind.
It was Saturday before we hung it out and I haven't seen the 'hummer' again.

Clematis vines clambering up the trellis.
I noticed today that the first one has opened--incentive to take out the new camera in the morning.

Cats are always inspired by windy days.
The three boy 'kittens' raced about the front yard, pounced at each other, tore up and down trees.
I sat on the porch with my coffee watching them.
The large bumblebees which the locals call 'wood bees' are out in full force.
They buzz around the porch in the morning sunshine, zooming in to hover disconcertingly close.
It is an odd thing to be stared down by a bee!
They seem not to have beligerant intentions!

Bobby McGee, always the most adventurous of the kittens, has dicovered that he can climb the grape arbor near the clothesline and leap onto the roof of the garage.

Bobby paraded across the roof, peered down at me, raced back up to the peak.

On his way back to the ground, Bobby stops to inspect the honeysuckle vine which rampages over the grape arbor.

Rain moved in during Thursday night, a pelting, cold rain.
Temperatures had dropped 30 degrees in the space of a few hours.

During a lull in the rain, I pulled on my boots and walked down to the mailbox, the old camera in my pocket. I wanted a photo of the dogwood before the blooms were dashed to pieces by the wind and wet.
I set the camera for 'macro' but had to hold the wind-lashed branch with one hand and manage the camera with the other.
The resulting photos are not well-defined.

Late in the afternoon the sun came out, the sky cleared, but the wind continued to bluster.

Petals lay scattered in the grass beneath the crabapple tree.

Fragile dry branches were snapped from the tall maples.
I gathered them to break up for fire starters.

I have been weeding in the peony/iris bed which borders part of the upper garden.
When Devin and I enlarged this strip around the two original peonies, he carried some soil from the back pasture to build up the level above the stones.  The soil seems heavier and coarser than the garden soil.
This is a difficult area to work as roots from a nearby tree reach into it. Last summer I tucked plants of creeping thyme around the stone steps--none of them survived.

The sweet spicey scent of the viburnum fills the dooryard.
It is far sweeter than the odor which has come up the valley on the wind these past days.
A neighboring field has been spread with 'fertilizer' from an area chicken farm.
I won't attempt to describe the reek--the wind has generously carried it for a mile in either
direction from the field!

Spring when it finally arrives, is an impetuous and head-long season.
Flowers bloom and quickly fade, weeds take over;  the list of tasks that need to be done 'right now' is exhausting even to contemplate.
The venerable old apple tree in full bloom today will be fading, changed by tomorrow---and I didn't take a photo of it in its full glory!
Instead I used my outdoor time to grub weeds from the lower perennial strip--digging out the stalks of wild onion that proliferate, wrenching at clumps of invasive, thick-rooted grass.
The tasks will never be all ticked off the list. Some will be abandoned, others will take priority.
There has to be time to 'smell the roses,' to watch the sunrise, to sit on the front porch in the early morning and listen to the mockingbird, time to watch the boy cats tumble in the grass.
Each day is precious.


  1. How lovely to see how your spring garden looks. The tree blossom is so pretty and I laughed to see the "boys" (little hooligans!) enjoying themselves about the place. I hope the bluebirds manage to raise their young despite them.

    I know just how you feel about the new camera. I still have 90% of the gismos on mine never used (or even known about!)

    We had a fabulously warm sunny spring day on Saturday, and yesterday it rained and today looks set for similar . . .

  2. Each day is precious indeed. You have reminded me to value and enjoy every day, despite the foul weather and the dull chores to be done.
    Have a great day!

  3. Yes, each day is precious. It looks like you've had lots to fill your days too.

    Enjoy learning your new camera.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  4. What wonderful shots ...had to smile at Bobby and the honeysuckle inspection. My camera needs replacing but like you I hang onto the one I love ...not sure how long I have still before we will be parted. lol.

  5. Loved your pictures, how funny your kitties are. Mine hates the wind and just hunkers down when it comes and we've had more than a bit of it this year.
    I have a newish camera that I carry in my purse and an oldie that eats batteries that I carry in my backpack. I always but a camera with as few features as possible.

  6. I wonder why these new techies feel the urge to make everything new and improved with lots of features most of us never use. Am I being cynical when I suspect it is just to increase the price. I have to say I love the comfort of familiarity in most things. Your surroundings are so beautiful and change with the weather and every type of light. Scruffy loves our new home. He can race non-stop from one end to the other, sometimes making a diversion through the kitchen where he forgets the polished floor and skitters across the linoleum at full speed. Then looks like that is exactly what he intended to do when we laugh at his antics.

  7. Good luck with the new camera! I love the dogwood and crab apple blossoms - stunning.

  8. Loved the rainy shot.