Monday, January 26, 2015

Rainbow, but no camera

This morning I head out on an errand about 10:00 am.  There was rain and sunshine at the same time which is not usual for this time of year.  I always look for a rainbow in those conditions, but I didn't see one.  As I backed out of the drive I could see all the shiny wet trees and shrubs reflecting an almost blinding sheen as the sun shone on the rain.  A raindrop in an evergreen bush flashed different colors as my car moved up the drive.  The scene was pretty. 
Then about two miles up the road, I DID see a rainbow.  I wondered if I should go back and get my camera, but I continued on my way.  I passed a guy on a tractor and yelled, "Did you see the rainbow?"
"The rainbow!"
I don't know if he heard me.  I pointed out my window to the left as I came to a field that provided a wide view of the whole rainbow.  It was lovely.  I followed it along and sure wished I had my camera with me.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Try a new food?

One of the suggestions ds made for my list of things to do this year was "try a new food."  Does this protein smoothie count?  I've never had one before.
I really was looking for something that had a probiotic for dh since he doesn't want to eat yogurt.  In the local store, there weren't any smoothies with probiotics, so I thought a protein smoothie might be something to try since he's probably not getting enough of that either.  I gave it a swallow to see what it tasted like.  I like the banana, orange, pineapple, coconut flavor, but I do not like the gritty texture.
I don't know--is soy protein supposed to be good for you?  Some people are eschewing soy because it's a mostly genetically modified crop here in the US, some because of the way it is subsidized by the government, and some because soy supposedly acts as an estrogen in the body. 
Hopefully this isn't the only "new food" I try this year. 
When I bought this smoothie, I saw a young athlete (grocery shopping with his mother--oh, the nostalgia) perusing the smoothies.  I pointed out the coupon dispenser ($1 off the Naked brand!) and I asked if there was any chance these smoothies might make me taller.  "I don't know.  It might work!"  Oh for the idealism of youth!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fence lines and physical limits

I have found fence lines hard to keep clean.  Privet, crepe myrtle seedlings, poison ivy, trumpet creeper, and honeysuckle all like to come up right under the fence or climb the fence.  Even trees reach over the fence line.  Over the last several days, I've been trimming back some of the Leyland cypress limbs that have reached over into the neighbor's yard.  The property has been abandoned for a while, and someone came by to mow the yard last week.  I want to trim the limbs back at least far enough so someone can get a mower close to the fence.
I stood on the step ladder to get one limb with the bow saw.  I actually made two cuts--the first to take the weight of the limb off and the second cut about even with the fence.  I lopped quite a few smaller limbs and threw them over the fence back into my yard

or drug them to my burn pile.

I filled the wheelbarrow with the smallest limbs, honeysuckle, and the section of the larger branch.

By the time I had finished, I was quite tired.  There are still more limbs that need to be cut; there is the fence on the other side of the yard with all its issues.  And this is pruning season for the apple and pear and quite a few ornamentals.  How much can just one woman do?  I have my physical limits.  I don't know if I'm up to all this.
Anyway, I decided to go ahead and burn today the branches I had cut, along with the Christmas tree I had taken down earlier this month.

I made a fire with some intense heat and a lot of white smoke.  It felt good to get rid of the cut branches.
I usually sit in the office and while away some time on the computer when I take a break from outdoor chores.  Then I get to look out the window and watch the other occupants of my backyard.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


My first recollections of nandina were of a scraggly, leggy specimen growing in poor soil.  I thought I didn't like nandina.  Later, however, when I began doing a paper route in an "old money" section of a large town, I saw some beautiful specimens of nandina whose rich red and green looked strikingly handsome against the white houses. 
My sister gave me a bit of her nandina, and it looks pretty by the northwest steps of my house.  I caught the last rays of evening sun shining on the berries yesterday.  I do like nandina.

Friday, January 16, 2015

A very rough afternoon

Yesterday, was a rough day for darling husband.  Fortunately, no broken bones--just abrasions and lots of soreness. 
I can see the side airbags deployed; that's good to know.

I think I'll post this well known poem in darling husband's honor.
I was sittin’ there mindin’ my business,
Sort of lettin’ my mind go slack,
When in walked a nurse with a bright sunny smile,
And a gown with a split down the back.
“Take shower,” she said, “and get ready,
And then you jump into the sack.”
And what she was really talking about,
Was that gown with the split down the back.
“They are going to make some tests,” she told me,
And now I’ll be stretched on a rack,
With nothing twixt me and the cruel cold world,
But that gown with the split down the back.
It barely reaches my knees in the front,
At the sides there is also a lack—
But the greatest shortcoming of all,
Is that bloomin’ ole split in the back.
Whoever designed this garment,
For humor, must have had a great knack,
But I fail to see anything funny,
About a gown with a split down the back.
It won’t cover my knees,
It flaps in the breeze,
And I sure don’t dare sneeze—
I’d much rather they give me a sack,
Than a gown with a split down the back.
I hear them comin’ to get me,
The wheels goin’ clickety clack,
I’ll ride through the halls on a gurney,
In a gown with a split down the back.
When I get to Heaven, it will make me no odds,
If my robe is white, red, or black,
But one thing I’ll ask
Is “Please, please give me one
With no split down the back.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


This morning we woke up to an icy glaze on the trees, bushes, and grass.  Some of the roads had icy patches too, but thankfully darling husband made it safely home.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Critters outside and in

Today when I went to put the washer on a second rinse, I was quite startled to see a tree frog sitting right there on the edge of the washer.  Hmmm, what to do with this critter?  I didn't think I wanted him springing about in random times and places inside the house.  As I stepped away to get my camera, I heard a little smacking sound that let me know he had leaped onto another surface.  I hoped that I would be able to find him when I got back.  He had jumped to an empty cardboard box.  After a very brief photo session and a mild game of chase, I transported him outside.  I released him next to the foundation of the house and wished him luck.
The birds do a better job of staying outside where they belong.  Doesn't this cardinal look handsome?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Post amendment

My scythe post didn't not have the facts accurately; I've tried to correct them.  I put in a few links to pictures, and article, and a video as well.

The rest of the bird pics

Here are the other pics I wanted to post yesterday.
The temperature did not rise above freezing, so the birds had a hard time finding water.  I have left the water in the buckets that had tadpoles in it in summer.  The birds were checking that out.  I don't know if there was even enough thawed for a beak full, so I filled a dish with water for them.  You can see a blue jay checked for water in the bucket in the morning and a female cardinal in the afternoon.


Can you see the eastern phoebe in the dogwood tree?
I marveled that it found any live insects to eat, but I did see it dive to the ground several times.  Here it is on the crepe myrtle, feathers fluffed.
The brown thrasher live up to its name and thrashed the leaves looking for insects.
Today is a little warmer.  Hopefully the birds will have it a little easier today.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Even the birds are cold

The local forecast said that it would be "unseasonably cold" today.  I chuckled.  What season is colder than winter?
I mostly stayed inside today... ...and watched the outside critters through the window.
This bluebird had her feathers fluffed up, making her look like a little round ball.
(I'm still borrowing darling son's laptop; and it is having problems, so I won't be able to post the other bird pictures right now.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

More roasted turnips

This time I did take a picture. 
We are expecting some artic air to pour into our area tonight, so I figured I would go ahead and harvest all the turnips that I wanted for this season.  I left some in the ground.  Sometimes I let them flower in the spring because the bees and other beneficial insects really love the blooms.  Some people mow over them in early spring and harvest more of the greens that resprout.
I roasted some of the small ones with some carrots.  I did not add any broccoli this time. (We were eating turnip greens with this meal).  I also dialed back the oven to 400 because I read that the smoking point of olive oil was just over that.  I liked the results.  (It's a good thing because I ended up eating the portion I had dished out for darling husband.  Some people...)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Challenges of being highly sensitive

Apparently some people are more highly sensitive to sensory input than others.  I was reading a mom-blog that mentioned this.  I followed her link to the self-test and was not surprised at all to fit the description of highly sensitive.  One thing I've learned is that even though I'm highly sensitive to sensory input, that does not necessarily translate into being sensitive to how my words affect another person's feelings.  I do try to make a conscious effort to work on that.
Sometimes being a HSP can seem like a curse.  Just little chores can seem like ordeals.  I had to mail a couple of packages, and I went to the USPS website to see if I could figure out what to do (since I'm highly sensitive to a postal worker frowning disapproval at me!).  Yes, it bugged me and exasperated me to see "addressing and labeling" instructions on preparing a package for shipment which specifically stated to use capital letters and to not use commas or periods when the illustration right beside the instructions had--you guessed it--a period, a comma, and lowercase letters!  (Close enough for government work, as they say.  It will likely get there either way.)
All's well that ends well, though.  The lady at the post office had a sweet demeanor, and she sent my packages on their way.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


The "red bird" is a much loved, much photographed winter sight.  I am seeing quite a few this year.  They seem to love the crepe myrtle seeds.  Here is a shot from my window yesterday (an overcast day).

What's your favorite winter bird?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Purging the old

It seems life comes at me so fast I can hardly keep up.  I've tried to reflect on the past year and consider what I'd like to do this year.  Sometimes it seems I barely keep up with the day-to-day requirements, much less accomplish bigger projects.  Still, January seems to be a good time to purge the old, and today I burned the quince and some limbs of the goldenrain tree that Caleb had cut down.  I also cut down a red cedar topiary and burned part of it.  I had some misgivings about having the goldenrain tree cut.  I had gotten it from the Arbor Day Foundation.  It has pretty yellow blooms which the bees love.  But, it had some sort of disease, I think; it never recovered from the heavy pruning we gave it; it can be invasive; and it was starting to crowd the dogwood as well as shade the clothesline. 
Out with the old.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Hope this year brings good things for you.

The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
                                                                                Numbers 6:24-26