Archive for the 'Landscapes' Category

Beautiful Morning in June

June 30th, 2010

Sometimes you wake up very early, and can really enjoy watching the world come alive. The temperature was in the fifties, and as the sun rose I saw wisps of fog rising from the pond. I walked around with the dog, taking in the sights and as the sun came up it highlighted the mist rising all around.

The yellow lab was fascinated and wanted to jump in the water…   he sat down eventually and relaxed.   I’d like to think he was enjoying it too.

It was calm, and yet the mist was slowly stirring in circles, moving above the surface of the water, drifting across and towards one end, moving as wisps and pushed by something gentle and unseen…

It’s one of those days I love to share with everyone… but only I was awake.  Like many things, it didn’t last. Within a half hour, the air had warmed and the magic was gone. I can share it here with you however, and it’s a perfect day because today is my Mother’s birthday.   Let’s just say she has a few decades on me yet.   I can’t think of a more beautiful day and picture to wish her a Happy Birthday.   If you can think of someone you’ve always known, that puts you at ease and who always offers love and kindness…   that’s her.

One of these days I’ll put her picture here.   Probably with flowers and gardens.  And I’ll share a few stories too.  In fact she still digs and plants with greater endurance than folks half her age. Our challenge is getting her to slow down.   I should know better…    Happy Birthday Mom!  :)

Days Around the Pond

June 19th, 2010

Morning around the landscape- the sun rises slowly, painting the trees with color and bringing the world alive.   I like wandering around, checking up on things, enjoying that fresh cup of coffee…

… and then almost spilling it as I turn the corner to find a little beastie looking for his own breakfast!  This black rat snake was only a few feet long- they get a lot bigger (6+ feet), and really they do a lot of good with rodents and such.  But I wouldn’t mind if they did it a little further away!  Hmmm… no eggs yet for the chickens, but this guy will be around and I’ll have to watch them.  Ron had a cool post about catching a big one eating his chickens’ eggs, and Sage managed to interrupt lunch.     This one quietly slithered away…

I see the pond in the afternoons and think of fishing more.  For some reason it looks nice undisturbed.  There is life there… in fact it’s teeming with critters.  Bass, bluegill, catfish, grass carp, koi… bull frogs, snakes (water snakes!), and various turtles.  Glad this isn’t further south or I’d wonder about ‘gators.   The heron comes every now and then, looking for his breakfast too.  The occasional geese and ducks.  Swallows and martins swooping low over the water… bats flying around in the evening.  And sometimes a kingfisher makes an appearance, chattering as he swoops over the water near the trees.  They don’t stay long- this isn’t a river, and the fish are probably too big. 

The way the wind and sunlight dance across the water is something I never tire of seeing.  It’s not even two acres in size, but the water speaks of rivers and oceans…  

Across the pond I check up on the “orchard” of apple and pear trees.  They’re only a few years old, growing slowly, but perhaps one day will be gnarled and heavy with fruit. 

We had an apple or two last year… they grew small and the squirrels ate them.  This year just growth, which is fine with me.  There’s time yet, although I doubt I’ll be here to see the mature trees.    That’s okay… something about the hope that they will live on and provide healthful food and maybe a restful site for someone is enough.

One of my favorite wild plants is Elderberry.  I’ve planted a couple of dozen around the property over the years.   The boy and I made the rounds one afternoon and found this elderberry in full bloom.  This flower head was huge!  I enjoy the plant both for the unique flavor and the healthful jam, jelly and syrup it can provide.  Research has shown the juice from the blue-black berries have anti-viral properties and can be used to shorten colds and ward off flu.  I don’t know about all that, but it sounds good and I keep it around.  If I feel like I’m getting sick I pull out the elderberry jelly and syrup and a few days regimen seems to help.   It sure tastes good… and it’s fun to make a batch in late summer.

I had really planned to cut a few flower heads and try to start some elderflower wine or some other creative undertaking.    Alas the days drifted too quickly into one another and there are only berries forming now. 

In late afternoon the sunlight shines on the far side of the pond.   It’s the south side, although the land slopes down to the north.  The shoreline is covered in taller grass that I have not cut this year.  Now there are blackberry vines and woody trees starting to grow… which means I need to get busy!  I let the pond vegetation grow because it dissuades canada geese from hanging around.  The geese prefer ponds and grass like golf courses and parks.  This is a more natural place, and the life around the pond is indeed wild.   So I cut only a couple of times a year and it keeps things in shape.

The trees are everything to the landscape, and really make a difference in contrasts between sun and shade.  A few more have died in recent years, and the view is becoming more open.  But the trees remaining are growing taller and wider, so maybe the balance is the same.

And the wild blackberries are almost ready!  They look wonderful but are fairly small. There’s a blueberry/blackberry farm not too far away and they have these enormous juicy berries for picking.   I’ll still try the wild ones… something about enjoying that part of our natural world I guess, or maybe I like that they don’t cost anything… except for a few scratches here and there :)  Do you pick berries?

And then the night. I was out a few days ago and the fireflies were everywhere… it was nearly dark, and the little little twinkling lights were dancing across the landscape on the slopes to the pond- it really was beautiful.   I went out with a camera to get a picture.   I could barely see, but when I set the camera shutter to stay open longer and catch the fireflies, the picture ended up looking like daytime with strange tint…  

 Fireflies, lightning bugs… how many can you see?  There’s a cat on the prowl too…

The garden is coming along too… and the chickens new home.  Yes, I’m still working on finishing that coop!   Enjoy the day…

April Sunset in Missouri

April 16th, 2010

Virga at Dawn

April 13th, 2010

The weather has been so nice the past week that it’s hard to keep up with all the changes. Everyday there’s something new around the property, or in the garden. I love walking around outside before the sun comes up, in that peaceful, subdued light of dawn.

Yesterday the air was perfectly calm, and as I walked outside I looked up to see the most beautiful clouds!  I believe these are Virga cloud formations, denoting the fall of moisture or ice crystals from the clouds, drifting downward slowly but evaporating before reaching the ground. I’ve seen it a few times before, but not at dawn as the sun rose.

I wasn’t sure what I was seeing at first, but then realized that the precipitation was very slowly falling in the calm morning air.  It was neat to see… here’s a closer look:

As I turned around to look behind me, the same weather phenomenon was taking place from all around the area.   This cloud line was marked by small lines of moisture in a vertical fashion.    You just never know what you might see when you really take a good look.

Later in the day I saw a bird flash past the eave of the house and realized that the barn swallows have returned!  What a journey they make across two continents. They’re three days earlier than last year, and about a week later than the years previous. 

I went out to say hello :) and it was a solitary bird zooming all around the house.   Later in the day two more swallows had joined the first, chasing each other around as they decide who gets which of three nest sites on the house.    I enjoy watching them fly and really appreciate that they eat insects.

And this morning the little chickies moved to a bigger home.  The little cardboard box was getting too crowded for them, and they were hopping out while trying to explore a little more.   I was going to put together a bigger cardboard box, but then realized that the wire kennel I use for the labrador retriever would make a perfect brooder for these guys for a few more weeks.   I just taped a little carboard around the bottom half to keep their scratchings in.   

They’ve grown about twice their size of a week ago, and run around flapping wings and dive-bomging each other.   Even though they bash each other out of the way for food or water, they seem to get along pretty well so far.  I think there’s two roosters in the mix, but I won’t know for sure for a while yet. 

I keep them on a little glassed in porch area that is naturally heated by the sun during the day.  At night I’ve been using a 250 watt lamp a couple feet away.  Now they’re old enough where it’s not as critical to keep really warm all day and night, but I keep them out of drafts and the temperature from 75-85 degrees.   The new brooder cage has a rock for the birds and the waterer to sit on, and a little log for a mini-roost.  They still like to sleep snuggled up on the floor, and when it gets really warm they sprawl out in every direction.     I’ve got 2-4 weeks to get a coop built before they get really big!

Misty Morning

March 18th, 2010

Misty, and almost ghostly this morning, with thick fog all around.


Everything is heavy and wet, with droplets in the air… the kind you breathe in thickly.  I almost expect to hear the deep, resonant “Whooooounh…” of a foghorn at sea…

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