Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Sings

" If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. "

~ Anne Bradstreet

A redwinged blackbird fluffs his wings and chirrs in the silver maple.

A male house sparrow sings in the same tree.

Mr. and Mrs. House Sparrow go house hunting.

The bright red buds of the silver maple open. Posted by Picasa

Last week brought glorious sunshine, warmer temperatures
and bees to the diminutive snowdrop blooms.

This week brought snow on Wednesday morning...

....and bright sunshine in the afternoon. Posted by Picasa

"First a howling blizzard woke us,
then the rain came down to soak us,

and now before the eye can focus...

~ Lilja Rogers

(it wasn't actually a howling blizzard, just a dusting, and the soaking rain came the day before the snow).

The purples by the house were warmer...

...and the snow melted away from them quickly, but I didn't catch them open that afternoon. I hoped to catch them today but the wind was bitter and the sun didn't warm the air enough to entice those little blooms to open. Posted by Picasa

I hope the warm sunshine returns soon

to open those pretty petals.

They're with us so briefly

and we've waited so long.

We love to see those lovely yellow stamens when the blooms are not tightly wrapped around them. Posted by Picasa

One lonely little bright yellow Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis) has appeared from seeds given to me by my friend, Liz last summer. It would've been lovely to have them all make seedlings but I'm happy just to have one.

Speaking of yellow, the male goldfinches are beginning to don their summer finery and chickadees are even more friendly lately.

Grackles are back with the redwings and cowbirds.

The cats are loving the sunshine!
Cleo gives herself a morning bath....

...then dozes, soaking up the warm rays.
(this was last week before Old Man Winter crept back for a rematch). Posted by Picasa

I call this photo "Enthusiasm".
Inside the house this small piece of cactus, which broke off the main plant, has been living in a glass of water for months, but that didn't stop it from blooming.
(I can't throw pieces of plants away. Someone will want that! Now I must plant the poor thing in some dirt).

"The sun streams through the window pane
My heart begins to sing,
A certain stirring in the air and suddenly it's Spring!"

~Kathleen Gillum

Ready to sing now?

"What a day for a daydream
what a day for a daydreamin' boy
And I'm lost in a daydream
dreamin' bout my bundle of joy

And even if time ain't really on my side
it's one of those days for takin' a walk outside.
I'm blowin' the day to take a walk in the sun
and fall on my face on somebody's new-mowed lawn."

~ Lovin' Spoonful

Monday, March 15, 2010

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - March '10

Mid March in our upstate NY garden is a rather dismal affair.
The gardens have just emerged from their snowy winter mulch and are looking bedraggled and much in need of tidying. 

The roses are still enclosed in their winter collars and covered with compost. That will come off soon. There are tiny snowdrops blooming in this garden.....

...but they kept their sweet little buds closed on this cloudy day. Perhaps they'll open tomorrow if the sun decides to shine down on us. Last week's beautiful spring-like weather dissolved into a cloudy, drizzly weekend with heavy, bough-breaking winds which took us right back to winter. That's the way March is...and April can be the same.

I noticed buds on these daffodils today. I think it'll be a while yet before they open as it seems very early for them yet.

Just around the corner the daffodil shoots are still just peeking through. Posted by Picasa

And down in the Fence Garden they're even smaller.

But inside we still have bright colors to fortify our souls.

I finally found a couple of Cylamens

This glorious pink,

And a smaller plant with rosy red blooms. They start out a bright rosy red and fade to a lighter shade.
Notice that the begonias in the background are still going strong. They've bloomed all winter!

These two Oxalis plants (aka Shamrocks) are new as well.  Posted by Picasa
With their shamrock shaped leaves they make a pretty display for Saint Patrick's Day.

I particularly love the purple. Both the dainty flowers and those beautiful leaves close at night. The 3-lobed leaves droop down...a phenomenon I haven't seen before. Posted by Picasa

About six weeks after I planted these Paperwhites they finally stopped looking like little ducks and began to shoot up, but alas, there are no blooms! They're duds! They were new bulbs this year. I wonder if they weren't cooled properly before being boxed. I'll plant them in the ground later on and just let them do their thing. Perhaps they'll bloom in a future spring.

The bright bouquet of daffodils is still beautiful, thanks to being kept on our unheated, covered side porch. I've used them to decorate the church for 3 Sundays!

Hannah takes a break from watching the birds to give herself a bath.

To see what's blooming for gardeners near and far, or just to satisfy your color craving (especially if you're living in a snowy region), visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens whose bright idea it was to start Bloom Day back in February 2007.

Happy Bloom Day everyone! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A Glimpse of Spring!

We interrupt our regular programming (namely day 2 of a winter snowstorm which I had planned to post) to bring you signs of spring!
This week we've had the most glorious foretaste of the approaching change of season, with bright sunshine, blue skies and temperatures reaching into the 50's (approx. 12ÂșC). The chill wind persists, but how refreshing it feels to stroll outside with fewer layers of clothing and breathe the warmer air. I can't wait to be able to open the doors and windows to let the fresh air into the house!

Look what I found in the garden yesterday - the first snowdrops opening their tiny blooms! What a wonderful surprise!

If you look very carefully you'll see them close to the wall behind Tink...hardly noticeable unless you're really looking for them. I wasn't expecting to see them yet. They're about a week earlier than last year. A few more are hidden behind the the circular wire rose covers. We'll be taking those off soon to let the roses see the light of day.

This is what I went out to photograph...daffodil shoots!

Another sure sign of spring is the cats coming out of the barn to warm up in the sunshine. Tink was enjoying a good sunbake in the garden.  Posted by Picasa

And Jodi (Bloomingwriter), guess what I saw at the feeders yesterday morning and again this morning? Yes, they're here...the red-winged blackbirds! We know spring is near when these beauties arrive, don't we?

A bluejay startles the redwing and gives hubby and I a chuckle.

Lately Mr. Cardinal comes more often for his share of the seed,

and Mrs. C has been around more too.
We never cease to be thrilled by their brilliant colors.

We're seeing the wild turkeys feeding early in the mornings in the fields across the road, cleaning up the left over corn and scratching in the hedgerow. Posted by Picasa

The males are strutting and displaying, fanning their tail feathers for the ladies' affections. 

There are over 30 turkeys in this group, which is one of several.

A starling sits in the budding Silver Maple in the early morning sunshine.

Hannah is trying to avoid walking on the snow. As you can see, there's still plenty of snow left on the ground, but we've had considerable melting these past few days. Posted by Picasa 

Sheba goes exploring over the bank...

We've hardly seen Peige out of the barn all winter.

Phoebe hasn't ventured out much either, but today most of the barn cats were down near the house, enjoying some exercise.

It won't be long until the goldfinches change to their bright summer finery. Posted by Picasa

They've made quite a mess on top of the feeder. Looks like I have some spring cleaning to do!

I definitely see the yellow looking a little brighter on this pretty boy.

Busy little nuthatch visits the seed and suet feeders regularly. There are a pair but I rarely see them together.

Chickadees like the suet too.

Sandy of Four Winds Photo Journal, I've been trying to capture the iridescent colors of the starlings again ever since you mentioned it, and do you think I can? No! Here they are in the afternoon sunshine which is the best time to capture the colors...but I couldn't do it! I'll keep trying :) Posted by Picasa

Doesn't a sunny bouquet of daffodils gladden the heart?

It's not quite here yet, but it sure feels like spring here in upstate NY this week! I hope all you snowbound northerners are feeling sunshine on your shoulders too!