Monday, January 14, 2013

Early Arrivals

It's raining, and the cats are passing the time by watching sodden squirrels and chipmunks scurry around in the leaves, just out of their reach.

Rain is not out of character for January, but 65 degrees F sure is.  I've been astounded at the warm temperatures in South Carolina.  We've had a few light frosts and chilly nights, but no daytime temperature so far has been below 45 degrees F.  And, of course, the local flora is reacting to it.

This bush is changing by the day, ready to put forth some sort of bloom sometime soon.

This tall bush - name unknown - is getting ready to bloom white.

The tangled vine that covers our side arch and fence - honeysuckle?  Jasmine? - is budding out.

This wasn't here last week...

The berries on this bush are turning...

This small tree - dogwood? Cherry? - is starting to bud out, too.

I noticed some tightly-furled buds on some bushy growth by our front door.

Several days later, the buds opened up.

Flowers!  In January!  They're Helleborus, the Lenten Rose. 

The neighbor's shrubs are all blooming...

...and so are ours.

Our camilla (?) bush is starting to bloom nicely.  Well, actually, it's been blooming the whole time we've been here. 

What's really delightful is that the buds eventually fall to the ground, still as good as new.

I pick them up and float them in shallow dishes of water.

They make a beautiful addition to my desk.

While out and about, I've seen daffodils and other bulbs coming up.  I don't know if this is normal for South Carolina, but it seems awfully early.  Still, I'm going to enjoy it!

I haven't posted much about knitting or baking because I've been so busy.  Not having a working oven for 6 weeks caused a delay as well.  But now, at least, I can post a few recent knitting projects.

I knitted this sweater for my sister-in-law's Christmas.

The arms seemed too long, but she assures me that they're perfect.  It's got a stranded-knitting yoke...

And, if you'll notice, the motif is small birds.  She loves birds, so I thought it would be a good pun intended!

I also knitted a cup cozy for a friend.  I've always been suspicious of the utility of these types of things, but I read up on it and apparently they really do keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.  I had a small bit of beautiful yarn, just enough to knit one.  The bottom fits smoothly over the bottom of a standard-size coffee cup...

...and an i-cord strap fits snugly over an attached button on the side.

I hope to have time to knit - and bake - more in the coming weeks!

Have a great week!

P.S.  The Marine Biology Department at the University of Oregon was able to identify last week's mystery creature as a salpHere's a link to read more about it!

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