Saturday, February 23, 2008

My favorite miniature narcissus is blooming

This is Little Gem miniature daffodil. It usually blooms for several weeks in February, surviving snow, rain, and sometimes hot weather too. It, with the old fashioned violets which start in late December or January and bloom for a couple of months, start the season for my flowering lawn.

Little Gem has a beautiful shape and poise to the flower. Even the dried, dead flower is an elegant shape. It is small, only about 10 inches tall.

The ones on the South side started approximately mid-Feb this year, while the East side ones started as those were finishing. Now, Mar21st, the first day of spring, they are almost done, only a last few flowers.

Jenny, another early narcissus on the East side, is getting nearly finished. The Jack Snipes on the South Side are blooming now (Mar 21), and the East side flowering lawn ones are starting.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Missing Valentine

Valentine in the laundry room - photoshopped
This was Valentine. Today I am missing her and Lovey and Claudia and Lisa and Fussy - and all the other dear loving cats who have lived with me over the years. They gave me someone to love, and they loved me back, and purred in my ears at night, and licked my face to wake me up in the morning. They were there. Today I still have Cheesecake, though he is old and frail, and Pandora and Bob.

Living alone over the years, one learns to take care of oneself emotionally. To buy the roses and chocolates, if necessary. To read books instead of talking with anyone in the evenings. To do projects, or garden, or design things on the weekends. Or sometimes just read more books.... an average of a book a day, until I went back to school a few years ago. To think about things - like animal intelligence and emotions. To carry upstairs my own firewood, and home my own groceries. To build my own fires.

But the cats made it possible. They still do.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

There's no such thing as "normal" weather here...

More than 20 years ago, shortly after moving here to my grandfather's house, I heard from a local orchard owner, in a gardening class "More years than not, we have spring here in January & February, and winter in March and April." And more years than not, in the years since, that has been true. This year is the exception that points up the truth of the rule.

It is snowing. Again. Twice last week I walked home from work (early) at night in the snow because the buses had stopped running. Others who depended on cars had had to leave lots earlier, or not get home, because it required chains to go downhill from here (2500ft). This is my only day off this weekend. It was not supposed to snow today, just rain. It is supposed to snow tomorrow.

That's the other rule I learned during my years of working outdoors here: "If they say it will snow at this elevation, usually it won't. If they say it won't, often it will." That's been true both ways several times in the last 2 weeks.

But the "no such thing as normal weather" you ask? Well, you might think of "average" weather as normal. But here, average is made up of an El Niño year, and a La Niña year, and several drought years. There is no year in which we have weather equal to the average of all those.

In a drought year, we have lots of beautiful days in January & February, gardening weather. (We can't dig in our red clay soil when it's too wet, unless we want red clay bricks.) This year, we did have a couple of chilly sunny weeks before the snow started.

The year I moved here, it was too wet to garden every day off I had from mid-February though May (El Niño). The year my sister died in March, after I got back here, all of April was cold, snowy, hailing, not just the first few weeks. The apple trees didn't bloom until May, a month late.

No such thing as normal weather. But I miss my favorite days of the year, gardening weather in January & February.

This picture has been Photoshopped, but only to bring out what the eye can see that the camera doesn't; the brilliance of the Geranium blooming on the windowsill against the snow outside; the texture of the screen, pixellating the image; and the color of the trees in the snowy landscape.

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