Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Woolly Bullies

This is the magic time...when every day is sunny and the temperature is in the 70s, when the trees are leafing out and the azaleas are all ablaze, when we have birds and butterflies but no mosquitoes yet.  Todd and I sit by the pond after supper and watch for frogs.  Windows are open and bouquets grace every available surface.


Squirrels are sunning themselves on branches...

Birds are singing...

Our woodchuck, Irving, is frolicking at the edge of the woods in the late afternoon sun...

Turtles are getting every bit of warmth possible...

Cats are sniffing the breeze at every chance.

In short...magic!

Progress is being made on the fence...

...and even though I'm running behind on many things and was unable to pull together an Easter craft in time to mail out, I did manage a pretty Easter cake.

One item of interest:  when walking around the property last week, I noticed these fuzzy things on one of our hemlock trees.

I'd remembered reading about woolly something-or-other in my Master Gardener class, and when I looked it up, sure enough:  we have woolly adelgids.  They're an invasive pest that feeds on the starch reserves of trees.  They'll kill all of our hemlocks in a few years if we don't take action now.  Spraying horticultural soap or insecticidal oils on the branches will smother the adelgids without killing any other insect that might be living there.  We also need to treat the soil around the trees.  Hopefully we've caught them in time and our beautiful hemlocks will continue to thrive.

Have a great week!


Monday, March 21, 2016

Don't Fence Me In

A little section of side yard just off the master bedroom is fenced in.  I have to tell you, it was a fantastic idea.  The former owner poured concrete for a small patio and put up a little white picket fence.  Carolina jessamine vines over it in the spring, and it's full of hostas and ferns in the summer.  Just perfect.


Except...that strange storm last year, the one that cracked 5 of our big trees and necessitated their cutting down, also tore up the fence.  Fence came down, deer came in, and the hostas were no more.   What a mess!


 Now that it's spring and warmer weather, it's time to fix the fence.  First, Todd pulled out the old fence slats, carefully removing them from the encircling vines.

Next, we used a big, unwieldy drill for the new holes. 

 The perfectionist.

It won't be done until next weekend.  Todd wants to build the fence higher and a pergola somewhere - I'm a little fuzzy on the details - so I'm not sure what the final look will be.

Meanwhile, I spread mulch for days.  Bosewichte loved helping.

A great helper with the groundcover I bought!  A steal...14 pots of creeping thyme, normally $7 each, on clearance at Lowe's for $1 each.  I had a huge patch of this in our Indiana yard and loved to see it bloom in the spring.  It's great groundcover.

Everything is so GREEN!

The camellias are about done for the year, so I'm out almost daily, getting the very last ones for bouquets, along with the azaleas.

We've has some beautiful sunsets...

...and some great Scrabble nights by the pond.

It's been so busy that I've barely had time to do any crafting, but I did sew a quick 12" quilt block in summer colors.

I embroidered a few butterflies for practice.

Somehow they looked good together, so I'm going to display them side by side, somewhere around here.

My quilting class through Anderson University's LLI is starting again.  I had to choose colors for a lap quilt, and was inspired to choose spring colors.  I don't normally like purple, but somehow these seemed to go together.  I want to get out of my color comfort zone, too, so these are perfect.

Hopefully they come together well.  It's a quilt-as-you-go quilt, so all the pieces are already cut out and ready to go.  Each block will be sandwiched together, backing and batting included, and quilted in one fell swoop. Then you simply sew the quilted blocks together and voila, you have a quilt!  Fingers crossed that it goes well.

Happy spring! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Wild Kingdom

The warm weather has really brought out the animals! 

Little anoles are everywhere, warming themselves in the sun.

The pond is full of turtles and ducks again.  Geese come in at dusk and add to the cacophony of sound!

This red-tailed hawk is having a quick drink at the pond's edge.

We hear frogs and toads all the time now.  This southern toad hopped right by my feet the other night when Todd and I were playing Scrabble by the water.  Don't his eyes look like beautiful amber rings?

Birds are absolutely everywhere, but I was delighted to catch one of my favorites in a gardenia bush this morning...the towhee!

And then the usual suspects...

 The unusually warm weather has really caused rapid plant budding.  This tree went from this... this... just a few days!  Buds, buds everywhere.

The weather has pushed our azaleas into a bit of a premature bloom.  The front bushes are absolutely frothy with flowers.  The others are starting to bud and will all be going soon.

The camellias are still going strong.  Which means, of course:  more bouquets.

Todd mowed down the leaves in the back yard.  It's dirt now, but soon the ivy will take over and we'll have green again.

Nights are balmy now.  Bring on the board games!

Have a great week!