Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hodgepodge of Spring 2014

We've had a very cool spring. We didn't have much snow this winter but our last snow storm blanketed us with wet snow which was very welcome.
The birds came in to eat since everything else was covered in snow.

Then we were teased with some fresh warm spring days followed by lots of cool days. It was still the right conditions to awaken the plants in the earth so they pushed through...

Daffodils nodding in the wind were gorgeous both outside and in!

This spicebush puts out a wonderful scent so I planted it near our bedroom window. The berries will taste like Allspice. I know the fragrance was heavenly and comforting. I planted these bushes last spring and I'm delighted they took hold and flowered this year. This link explains how one can use the berries, bark and leaves for all sorts of bodily remedies. It was called fever bush by the Native Americans and they used it for breaking fevers and removing toxins from the body. Fascinating. I think I'll try making a tea from it when it matures.

This little bush is also very fragrant.It is a Crandall Clove Currant (Ribes Odoratum Crandall) which is an old American variety. It too fruits which are similar to black currants but larger and with a more mild flavor. It too is outside our bedroom window so we'll have sweet smells to lull us to sleep for years to come.

A single snowdrop bloomed this spring. There were many plants that came up but only one blossomed. I will investigate why.

My absolute favorite flower, the garden floozies, peonies! They have grown significantly since this picture and I'll be sending one soon of them in full bloom. Eight of them survived and are strong. Can't wait.

We inherited two very old, very large standard lilacs in the yard which are sublime. This little bush is a French lilac given to me by a wonderful fellow Master Gardener. It's fragrance is sweeter and different somehow - just lovely. It was loaded with blossoms this year.
As you can see in the right corner, Buddy has been following me around the yard with his newest tug-of-war rope. His other two have disappeared and I've searched the yard. I'm not sure if he took them to his friends house (our nearest neighbor with two dogs that he visits every morning) or he lost them somewhere. Anyway, he isn't subtle, he just plain wants to play 'rope'!

This rope is more difficult to find in the grass but he's happy to be able to play 'rope' again. He drags it all over the ranch.

Apple blossoms on a cool cloudy day. The promise spring holds in such visions.

Delectable asparagus. Can't get enough of it. I've been making lunch sandwiches with fresh bread, sliced turkey with a fresh-out-of-the-ground asparagus tucked into the folded over turkey, along with a little mayo and fresh lettuce. OMG! It is simple but fabulous. Who would have thought raw asparagus could be delicious. Oh yes. and mixed into Orzo with a little lemon and Parmesan and salt/pepper... heaven on earth.

They turn green when cooked and taste the same as green asparagus.

And of course my bed (tank!) of garlic so I don't have to buy it from China. I LOVE garlic so this is looking mighty fine around now. I dry some and freeze alot to take us through the winter.

The plum thicket in full bloom and survived the snow. Since the blossoms didn't freeze this year, I'm hoping to get a great crop of plums for jam this year. Wild plum jam is my very favorite flavor so this is looking good for me. The thicket is also home to cardinals and wild turkeys.

And then there are the spring they are...for now...some still coming...

This year the Orioles are in our yard in force. I have been trying for five years to draw them in. Last year we had some with the jam and 1/2 oranges but this year along with the jam, I put out orange suet block and peanut butter in a pb holder. Wow, we have so many that it is mesmerizing to watch them. They are so beautiful and to mix them with the red cardinals, black and red woodpeckers, yellow finches, pink house finches and bluebirds - OMG - it is amazing. Nature in all its glory.

You can see the peanut butter feeder here. Several birds use it but the Orioles are the champions of hooking onto the feeder and indulging.

And lastly, I just have to share this video. Our friends have a wood duck house in their backyard which is on a lake. Mike has rigged up a camera in the house to watch as the eggs are laid and the ducklings emerge. After a short time they climb the 'ladder' inside the house to the opening and then they fledged...what a sight. Audrey took the video of them jumping like little kamikaze. I saw them in the house Friday but missed the big event when they left the nest yesterday. Mike sent a video and I just have to share it. Enjoy! It's not something you would see everyday...unless you have a wood duck house and live on a lake.

Make the most of your spring wherever you are.