Monday, June 10, 2013

when it rains, it pours

Most people knew that a tropical storm was passing south and east of us, but as I don't watch T.V. or read newspapers, I was completely oblivious.  I did notice that we had - and continue to have - days and days of heavy rain.

We've had torrential downpours, during which I throw open all the windows and the doors to catch the fresh air, followed by brief periods of blazing sun, during which I run around, shutting everything to keep the humidity and mugginess out.  Thankfully, we haven't had any problems with a leaking roof or pooling water.  Everything runs downhill into the pond. 

During the brief dry periods, I've rushed outside to take photos.  Pre- and post-rain tends to offer the best light, and I always try to take advantage of that, since the skills needed to manipulate light with camera dials continues to elude me. 

That bush in the corner of our fenced-off garden is a hydrangea.

It's blue, too, which is my favorite hydrangea color.

With all the rain, I've found plenty of mushrooms.  This is a mushroom that looks a bit like a morel...

I found a whole grouping of unusual-looking mushrooms...

 I was hoping they'd have a clever name like "candy corn mushrooms", since that's what they look like.

Alas, while there is a candy corn mushroom, this isn't it.

Oh, the magnolias!

We have several of these deciduous trees with lovely leathery green leaves, but we've had few blossoms.  Maybe the spring weather has just been too rainy.  But I pick them whenever I get a chance.  They're huge!

Here's a nearly CLOSED one, next to a dime for scale.

Since they're so large, I only need one to add a little something on the nightstands.

These flowers close up at night (even the cut ones) and open in the morning, opening progressively wider and wider until they're the size of dinner plates.  It's so beautiful.

The nasturtiums I planted are opening up...

I've had plenty of chances to photograph their beautiful leaves, which hold water droplets so nicely.

The mystery berry bush below my office window is putting out blossoms in preparation for fall berries...

The hostas are sending up stalks...

...which will open into pretty flowers.  I've got other pretty leafy plants coming up, but I'm not quite sure what they are.

We have a series of bushes in the back yard with dark green, waxy-looking leaves.  Five or six of them flank the back driveway and a couple of them are at the base of our patio.  I knew they were going to bloom soon because of all the swollen buds...

I like a wild and natural look, so I took some clippers and spent some time trimming back the leaves of both these bushes and the berry bushes, which hung gracefully over the patio steps.  I carefully trimmed back individual leaves so that there was some draping but a person could still easily pass through.  I don't think my husband was on board with 'graceful draping', because the very next day, I looked up from my computer to see him cutting down huge sections of the bushes with his clippers.  I rushed to the window to stop him, but the damage had already been done.

Chop, chop...


I couldn't believe it.  I know he meant well, but oh, the humanity! 

Anyway, a day or so later the remaining buds opened and it proved to be a gardenia bush.

They're so beautiful, and the smell is amazing.  When the windows are open, the smell drifts in.  They're supposed to bloom all summer long...I hope so!

We've seen a lot of wildlife lately.  Even though only Todd's point-and-click camera has zoom and therefore the quality is fairly poor, I've enjoyed catching these animals in their natural states.  We have a lot of white-tailed deer here...

...but so far we haven't had any trouble with them getting into the garden.

We have a family of red foxes too!  I often see them trotting across our driveway...

...and through the yard of the empty house next door.

When I was going across the side yard, I thought I saw a toad ducking into a big hole.

Since the hole is just outside of my office window, I've been able to pay close attention to it.  Indeed there is a toad living there. 

Oh, isn't he a beauty?  He's a Fowler's Toad (Anaxyrus fowleri).  Fowler's Toads have a prolonged nasal call:  click here

They are known for burrowing into the ground and I think he's got himself a pretty sweet spot there.  I've actually become very fond of him.  Every time I look outside, he's perched on the edge of his hole without a care in the world.  I hope he stays awhile!

Hope you're finding some new life in your neck of the woods.  Have a great week!

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