January Happenings

We finally got snow in 2019.  It seems more like winter now!

img_4748

Today we trimmed the chinquapin oak tree on the left.  Each year we have cut off a few lower branches and this may be the last year to do that.  We will see.  We like to keep some privacy, but don’t want to deal with the mosquitoes in the shade when changing the birdbath water or mowing the lawn under the low branches.

img_4750

Shadows on the snow

img_4738

Female northern cardinal on a snowy day.

img_4742

While I was putting together this post I saw this picture and remembered that we were going to prune back the left side of this American plum tree that is crowding into our yew bushes.  So we just went out and cut that off now.  We keep fighting for sunlight.

img_4744

On the last warm day, before the cold and snow, Dan turned the compost pile and mixed up all the very wet stuff, very dry stuff and kitchen scraps, so that it will keep decomposing as soon as we get a little more warmth.

img_4693

We smeared some peanut butter on a knot on the crabapple tree and the squirrel is working on it.

img_4701

This morning we watched hundreds of Canadian geese on the open waters on Lake Katherine.  We watched one group after another taking off and flying to the east.

img_4734

Several groups were landing on the grass nearby for their morning munch.

img_4682

A week ago Dan surprised me with a bouquet of roses and chrysanthemums.  We rarely buy flowers at the store these days, but it was a nice treat for January!

IMG_4688.JPG

Also, this is the time of year when vendors from work send holiday gifts.  We got one box of chocolates around Thanksgiving and two this week.  I had to take a picture of the beautiful way it was wrapped.

IMG_4689.JPG

I sure love chocolate!

Spring Variety and the Great NW

The bio-diversity in our yard and the beauty of spring make us happy!

IMG_3738

Chestnut-sided Warbler.  I looked out the window and saw a different looking bird and I could hear a bird call that was new to me.  The little warbler was flitting around the Chinquapin oak tree.

IMG_3749

I zoomed in, but had trouble getting a clear picture of the warbler.

IMG_3754

This shot is a little blurry, but shows the clear markings on the bird so I could identify it.

IMG_3732

While I was scanning the trees for better shots of the warbler I spotted the chipmunk in the crabapple tree.  Cute!

IMG_3788

Here is the drain pipe where the chipmunk runs to hide when I come out into the yard.

IMG_3764

Next to the drain is a little garden where I have planted some romaine lettuce and parsley.  I just love the blue fescue grass that is like a crazy hairdo.  The pink prairie phlox – phlox pilosa – is pretty now.  Other plants are butterfly weed, dragon’s blood sedum, and lady’s mantle.

IMG_3790

I think I got most of the vegetables planted.  Thank you Dan for digging the grass out of the beds!  The seeds have been watered.  Now we just need sun and rain to get things going.

IMG_3768

If you zoom in from the last picture you can see our little meadow, where we let the grass grow and have a few native flowers and a tiny hickory tree.  We keep expanding it or shrinking it each year.

IMG_3777

Looking across the garden another way you can see the giant rhubarb patch.  It looks like it is time to make some rhubarb sauce!

IMG_3787

Sage is blooming.  It might be ‘May Night’ or some other cultivar.

IMG_3784

Plum pudding huechera and Korean feather reed grass Calamagrostis brachytricha.

IMG_3635

Lupine in Spokane, WA.  We took a trip to the state of Washington last week for a wedding and enjoyed all the lupine in Beth and Todd’s garden.

IMG_3655

The wedding was outside and the marmots kept us entertained while waiting for the main event.

IMG_3711

We drove from Spokane to Seattle and stopped at a rest area for this gorgeous view.

IMG_3714

In Seattle this pink climbing rose was blooming outside Tim and Andrea’s place.  I don’t have roses in my yard, so maybe I have forgotten how nice they are, but this was one of the most beautiful roses I have seen.

Slugs:  I was asked about slugs in the garden.  This used to be a big issue for us and I tried various solutions.  I just realized that I no longer really have this problem.  I think the reason is that the little brown snake lives in our yard, probably attracted by our open compost pile full of insects and worms.  The snake probably roams at night and takes care of the slugs!

Valentine Rose

Every Saturday morning Dan and I go to the Dunkin’ Donuts in Worth, IL, for coffee, tea and conversation.  This week the staff surprised us on Valentine’s Day with a beautiful red rose.  While we were sitting there I did not see them giving roses to anyone else.  Maybe it is because we are a couple that comes there each week.  When we went out to the car I hid it in my jacket to protect it from the blowing snow and wind chill of -4F.  Thank you Dunkin’ Donuts!

Garden 02 14 15 015

Valentine’s Day Rose

Garden 02 14 15 017

Rose next to Ojiisan and Obaasan, the apple picking grandparents that came to me from my mother.

Garden 02 14 15 004

Outside some moss started to brighten up as the snow melted.  I think the specks of wood are from the maple tree being sawed down and spewing saw dust everywhere.

Garden 02 14 15 007

In the backyard I could see squirrel foot prints coming down from the crabapple tree trunk and hopping over to the oak tree.  The morning shadows are from the yew bushes.

Garden 02 14 15 011

Up in the crabapple tree the robin tasted a few crabapples and then flew away.  It was fun to see a robin in the yard again.

I wish you could smell the wonderful fragrance of the rose today!