Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Cabin Fever in Mid-January

The Icelandic Sheepdog pack is getting kind of antsy because they've been inside so much lately. They do go out but are actually kind of anxious to come right back in after they've had their potty breaks. We've had lots of rain and some freezing rain but at least we've had no snow although it's very messy now. Of course hope is in the air because the days are starting to get longer, at least that's what is supposed to be happening now. Clicking on photos will enlarge them,

The spring garden catalogs have started arriving; I think I start looking forward to their arrival some time back in November. They help me get through January and February. This may sound strange to non-gardeners, but during my garden walks with the dogs at this time of year I am already looking for signs of spring growth. The witchhazels (Hamamelis sp.) have plenty of flower buds; they are among the earliest flowers. I have four of them and, although they are all different in size, they all have flower buds this winter,

I bought three different kinds of cornelian cherries (Cornus mas) which are scattered around in the north forest. I'm pretty sure they will eventually do well there because they are a species of dogwood like the red and yellow twig dogwoods which are common here.  Two have been kind of picky eaters, alive and green in the summer, but puny nevertheless. The third one has several flower buds on it. At least I will get to see what those few flowers look like. When I lived in Royal Oak I would visit the cemetery in the late winter because there were very old, large witchhazels and cornelian cherries. I wonder if anyone else enjoyed them as much as I did. For winter dinner parties I would often have a bouquet of them on the table.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday, January 13, 2017

Although there will be some hoops I'll have to go through and I'm unfamiliar with the process, I'm excited about an upcoming opportunity.

The sunrise this morning was a good sign. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

January Winter

So far Lake Huron near me has not frozen over which means water continues to evaporate forming dense clouds of condensation. As those clouds move away from the lake the water in them falls as lake effect rain or snow - but not here, usually farther south or west. There was a time I wanted Ed Duff to come up and paint my clouds but, I've rationalized, the clouds are here and ever changing so I guess I don't need paintings of them. His cloud paintings are awesome, however. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

The other day large islands of ice out in the deep water 
were current-floating south.  

Yesterday we had about 8 inches of snow which Rick plowed immediately, followed by very strong winds and rain leaving very little snow behind.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Frigid Friday (January 6, 2017)

It would be so much simpler if we could hibernate during January and February, wouldn't it? It's just too frikkin' cold to leave the warm, toasty house now. Clicking on photos enlarges them.

Because it almost looks like it's a black and white and "old style" photo, I love the colors of this shot. It's actually taken a little later than the three below after the sun had risen a bit more.

The dogs are reluctant to go out and stay out now. Pretty smart actually. I like to go out with them but this morning we didn't stay out long - maybe five-ten minutes. I could feel the cold on my face. Good books and some favorite DVDs keep me occupied. There are chores to do outside but they'll probably wait for March or April now.

When the dogs raced outside this morning, they surprised the Bald Eagle who was sitting in a large north forest tree. I should have looked first! He circled and then flew off to the south probably to his favorite cove 1/2 mile south of me.

On my last visit to the doctor, my blood pressure was high so I've abandoned coffee completely and now drink sleepy-time, non-caffeinated teas and they seem to be working. I figured that if the caffeine was one of the causes of the high scores, then beverages designed to lull one would do the opposite; it seems to be working.

A lifetime ago I donated two Royal Oak Farmers Market cyclamens to sit in the two windows of Fritatta, my favorite brunch restaurant in Clawson, Michigan. They did well but were tossed when they stopped flowering. I rescued this one and it has continued to produce wonderful flowers with very little care ever since. It must be at least five or six years old.

My all time favorite daylily called Autumn Orange by Langhammer  does a spectacular job for me and seems to breed true. At the end of November I rescued a few seeds and planted them. I don't know if the winter sun will make them strong enough to survive in my office window, we'll see what happens.

I got my very first Hostas from Smith, my west neighbor and that got me hooked. Now I know that those Hostas are a species (wild?) from Japan - Hosta ventricosa. He had two kinds of H. ventricosa, the original one and a mutation that produces variegated leaves in the spring but gradually turn to solid green by summer. I had to get four new tires because my old ones were losing air and pressure. After dropping off my car in Deckerville, I walked to a nearby cafe for breakfast - definitely NOT Fritatta. On the way I spied several dried and dormant H. ventricosa plants planted along the side of a building. Although the leaves were gone and the seed heads looked pretty bedraggled, I picked a few pods and put them in my coat pocket. I recently planted those tissue paper thin black seeds and they promptly germinated. What fun! They're crowded now but I do think they'll make it and I can plant them out come spring.

The catalogs have started arriving - perfect planning on the part of gardening companies. I look forward to perusing those catalogs over and over and over. After many decades of buying small plants, I now tend to try an buy plants as large as possible now - so I can enjoy them.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Merry New Year

I've never understood "why" people celebrate the end of a year and the arrival of a new one,

These three shots show the amazing view from my front porch this calm New Year's morning. Clicking on photos will enlarge them,

Well, indeed, I did survive another year with not too much wear and tear on the old body. Isn't it absolutely amazing that our weak, fleshy body has hearts, livers, kidneys, lungs, brains, bones, etc. that can function as long as they do. Of course they do wear out, some organs sooner than others but the miracle is that they last as long as they do - really.

In the few minutes it took to write that, the sun, always faithful, came up. It is no wonder that remote ancestors worshiped the sun - our source of life. Imagine that. Nuclear radiation providing the source of energy for most life here on the planet, I was thinking of the life that exists in the deep ocean trenches but in reality, if the earth wasn't warmed in part by the sun, our planet would be frozen solid so even that life, perhaps, would not exist even though they get their energy from geologic activity, in short as Micawber would say, from heated deep sea vents,

On the way yesterday to Port Sanilac I stopped at a closed for the winter out look park and took this photo. (I did not see the Edison line over head but it's still a good shot.)

Mornings are a delight that perhaps some people don't realize they are missing. The beginning of the day!! Things are still possible in the morning. The optimistic part of the day, I think.

Later this morning a hawk (perhaps a Merlin or pigeon hawk?) attached a medium sized bird (perhaps a woodpecker but it looked like a mourning dove) at one of my suet feeders and took it to the ground. That excited the dogs and me. When I opened the sliding door both took off. I am not opposed to hawks thinning out my goldfinches but I'd like them to leave the woodpeckers alone. Still, that is the circle of life so - - -.

Later I saw seven swans (a swimming) out in Lake Huron. Honest! My camera does not have a telephoto lens but, if you look carefully you can tell they are swans. Some had heads and necks submerged browsing. Good omens today.

A very brave or foolhardy Colchicum emerged from under the snow today!
January! Maybe that helps to shorten the winter.

And yet, Still.

Of course, politically speaking, this was a really bad year and I am dreading the coming year. The man obviously doesn't even know that he's in way over his head. However, this kind of thing has happened over and over throughout human history so none of us should really be surprised, should we. The only constant is change.

Be well and be safe this year, please.