Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"Bad Mommy" does it again....

...with all the Holiday-ing, guess whose little birthday may seem unappreciated!!! Not the case!
Good thing you have an adoring, lovely wife to make up for these parental "lapses". Glad you like your gift, too. Have a wonderful day, Sweetheart.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I keep forgetting...

...the Bleeding Heart plants are beginning to stir (see the pinkish shoots above). This is an older plant and it is spreading. I have a family tradition to keep a Bleeding Heart and some mint outside the back door of every house We've had over the years (2).

Virginia Blue Bells..

just coming up in the cold yard. These are imports (gifts) from Big Garden Next Door, but they adapted well to the new location and spread. More on these as they mature...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

More Early Lupine

This grouping is brand new this year and should be interesting as it developes. Lupine: my garden obsession!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

There is so much happening!

I want to update more than once daily! Here, we see progress in the "yellowing" of the feathers of the American Goldfinch feeding client. Tho officially Spring now, we have back slided to February-feeling temperatures. But the Goldfinches are warming up the day with their bright colors.

Lupines! One of my favorites!

I have several plants in the yard that come back each year. I'm always on the look-out for the
pretty little leaf formations to peep out of the grey, matted cover. I planted some new seeds last season, some are working! Am excited to see what color they will be.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Woodpecker Paradise...

...so, previously, before the Starling attacks, I had a male Downy Woodpecker at the feeder. Today, his mate (i guess) came. This isn't her. A pair of Hairy Woodpeckers joined the party today. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get his photo---tomorrow, tomorrow... anyway, the Hairys
are definitely larger than the little Downys; different stripe pattern, too. Goodness, it's the crappiest photo yet: lots of reflections and blurring--but you can see her little mustache on top of her bill.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Be-Speckled Eating Machines...

Here's one more (the last, I promise) of the Dynamic Duo, chipping away lustily at the peanut and suet seed block they don't even need. Other birds, like the nuthatch and the woodpeckers, that suffer from reduced habitat, need the extra help, especially if they are just passing through.
Early migration is under way.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Starlings are God's Miracles too....

...sigh...I guess. They look like giant monsters as they shred the suet cake with their strong, pincher-like beaks; they carry off large broken chunks of suet and seed, furtively, to some distant limb. Here, Heckle and Jeckle (yes, i know they were crows) are actually arguing with one another about who gets the free food; what I object to is that starlings are perfectly happy and able to get down on the lawn and root out those delicious (for them) and troublesome (for me) grubs! So I tapped on the window and they left for a while.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Crocus-time....

These are from Big Garden Next-Door; the rabbit ate mine, as usual. Somehow, it doesn't nibble their's. I don't grow crocuses much, since it's always a disappointment.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Feat Demonstrated and A New Portrait...

Yesterday I spent some time in the Wacky World of my 5-year old niece. She illustrated the difficult trick she calls "hand to foot". I predict that once the weather improves and she is let out into the relative freedom of her backyard, with the help of her friends, this maneuver will be elegantly refined and transformed into the ever-popular "cart-wheel".
Then, she arranged a setting for an informal portrait she calls "me and my monkeys". She is 5 years, 4 months and 11 days at this point. And, when she feels like it, she can read.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Goldfinches slowly transform...

The males turn from winter-drab to summer yellow-dazzle; but it's not "pretty". For a time, their feathers are dabbled and dotty with patches of yellow showing through. Soon there will come a day when some dapper golden guy will land on the perch in full dress uniform for the summer. When will that be? We'll find out.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I "heart" the Wall Street Journal....


I need to read it for work, but I like it for other things...like today: goodness, the markets are dull (tho positive) these days; I'm tired and just plain mad about this healthcare mess-making and all the shell games. So, today there's also a neat little piece on snowdrop flowers. How timely, mine are in bloom. So, during a break I went outside and cut a few and learned I have three varieties--maybe even a Mrs. MacNamera (lower right). Not sure about the other two.
And next time I buy some bulbs, I'll notice what variety I have. There's always something to learn!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The woodpecker is back...

this was yesterday. He's less than five feet from me; as I work at my computer I can actually hear him pecking away at the feeder and the suet cake. Very strong little bird, the downy is the smallest of the woodpeckers we see around here. As ever, click on the picture for more detail.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Mother daylilies...

like the pink one
and this beautiful red one...

have baby sprouts in my daylily nursery, in the sunny grow window. These were the first two, a few days ago; at last count I have eight.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Sunshine and Snowbirds...

...speaking of favorite birds: collateral blessings along with the marriage of our blond kid to the glowing l'il pearl--wonderful new family and treasured friends B and R. Now, B and R are no dumbies: when Chicago-land starts thinking "snow", they start thinking "plane tickets" and "sunnier areas". So we don't get to see them much in the winter, which makes the winter even more wintery. Imagine how happy we were to get this box of lemony sunshine the other day.
Thank you's were sent, and now I'm thinking "lemon bars or pie".

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dark Gold Light




I believe it was last Monday, a thick overcast covered the sky, only to break near sunset. The sun shone with an inky-gold glow that was unusual and eerie. So naturally, I had to run outside and take a few shots.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I knew I could get a better shot of him...

...the downy woodpecker decided he likes this tasty mix of suet, seeds and peanut butter. Like a fudge shop at a tourist attraction--lots of takers. Plus, I got some "bonus birds": a couple of nuthatches (that's more like nature meant it to be) and a goldfinch at the seed feeder. Do I sit around all day and watch the bird feeder? Kinda, since it is hanging inches from the window, just behind my 'puter and (lucky me) I work from home.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Blurrrrr

The male downy woodpecker makes a hasty escape from the feeder. I'll see him again; I'll get a better photo....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Nothing coming up yet...

...a few days back, I planted those day lily seeds in peat pots in the grow-window. I'm sproutless, so far. But it's likely too soon. Anyway, this is just an excuse to put up some nice bright colorful photos in a way that is "relevant", as they used to say in the 1960's.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's Here!

The Official First Flower of the Growing Season 2010--the chilly, bloodless snow-drop tentatively peeps up, through the crust of bird-seed hulls next to the feeder. The flower needs the chill--in fact, if the temperature is too warm, the flower will not last long.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This is encouraging and bright!

You can see that the 'goldie on the left is beginning to "yellow up" around the throat; the crown of his head is darkening, too. Won't be long before the (males) birds have their jazzy, snappy little bright yellow suits on again. Fashion Update!!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Seems to be only the one nuthatch....

...but it is a regular visitor to the suet block. It's going to be cute to watch the tiny bird gradually chow the entire block as the days go by!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hollyhock remembered: Something without snow in it....

...or platinum skies or brown stubble or water-logged muddy flower beds. According to the "garden plan", I should be out there every afternoon, trimming and pruning bushes enthusiastically (working up a sweat). Ha! Have you seen my yard? it looks like Siberia--or at
least Really Cold, MN. Plus, all the other Granny/gardening/photo blogs are full of snow and ice and mud--except those in Australia.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time to get started...


...last summer, I diligently hybridized every daylily plant from my yard and the famed "big garden next door"; hundreds of seeds resulted. These were placed in labelled envelopes in a big plastic container behind the ketchup in my 'fridge. The other day, I started planting some of the seeds in peat pots; they await germination on a sunny "grow window" on the south side of the house....more to follow.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The nuthatch...

...always welcome at the feeder; bright, energetic, optimistic and entertaining. At the seed feeder downstairs, it moves around so fast that it is difficult to photograph; with the new suet block hung out of reach of squirrels, the bird stays long enough for a portrait.

Haha--another kind of mask

One of our home grown potatoes seemed to smile at me as it was readied for cook pot.