Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Here You Could Smell The Earth Day

Today was one of those days when you could smell the spring rain.  I guess not everyone knows what I mean when I say that, but  if you do then you know exactly how delicious an aroma it is.  This picture of my pink trout lilies was taken yesterday.  The whole garden was just waiting for this nice gentle Spring rain.

What a difference in less than 24 hours.  Spring ephemerals really grow at an amazing rate.  Rain  worked like magic.  Grass that looked brown yesterday was bright green this morning. Early this morning I watched the tree swallows  swooping around the garden doing their best to break up a  ruffled grouse tryst that was going on in the bushes just beyond the garden.   I hope the happy couple found a more private spot to continue.

Behold my first two daffodil flowers.  I thought they were going to have short stems, but the rain is doing wonders.   With such color and scent, wet as they are, they are perfect for Earth Day!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Seeds To Soil

By the calender we are late in planting peas.  Bitter cold and severe frosts have found us recently so in that respect it is good that we have waited.  Yesterday the first egg masses were visible in the pond.  They were few in number but they were present.  Taking that as a sign, the decision to plant the peas today was made.  These four rows of seed took my entire day.  First, the bed required weeding.  We use the hand pull weeds one at a time system hoping to remove the entire plant and that takes time.  A chopping pass with the four tined stone fork deeply loosened the soil.  A wheelbarrow load of sifted compost was prepared and spread on the bed.  Another application  of the stone fork  mixed the compost in and readied the soil for seed.  A Warren pattern hoe cut the furrows.  Several trips with the watering cans moistened the seeds before they were covered with soil.  The chicken wire was hung down the center and the exterior fence was placed.  Those tasks required the entire day.

Neither of us have been happy with the quality of our close-up photographs.  We needed a device if the quality of our photos was to improve.  A Joby gorillapod tripod seemed worth a shot.  The first one delivered was topped by a 3/8" threaded affair that was not compatible with our camera.  Thinking that something was missing from our package, we sent it back.  The illustration on the box of the second order showed how to unscrew the large threaded ring thereby exposing the threads that mated with a camera.  Internet shopping is our only option in many cases since our rural location features few Main Street stores.  You never get to speak to a knowledgeable salesperson on line so one must learn by discovery.  We now have a workable tripod and it is excellent.  The only outstanding question is whether or not we will be billed for returning the first tripod.

This photo of emerging blood root plants was taken with the new tripod.  Its stable platform allows for sharp focus on these plants that are still at ground level.  A tightly wrapped tapered leaf protects the flower bud as it pushes through the soil and forest floor litter.  We may see open flowers here tomorrow.

The tripod was purchased to aid in capturing the magic of arbutus flowers.  The camera follows its own mind when deciding what to focus on but this picture is amazing.  The really great news is that ants were seen on the buds while we were there.  Last year the flowers opened early before the pollinators were active and no seed was produced.  Our later start this year may solve that problem.  These buds sure look like they plan to open soon.  At least three visits each day are made so as not to miss a moment of open flowers.  That may be a factor in why it took all day to plant the peas.