Tag Archives: garden

Snow Drop Dazzle

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Photo moment. I created Belly Biology programs when I worked in a marine science center and Olympic National Park in Washington state. Get on your belly and discover flora and fauna under the dock or off the trail. Snow drop is the first bulb to bloom besides wild crocus and buttercups. This is the first of a batch sent me from a friend where I used to live. They grew in my yard and I missed them so she dug some of hers and mailed bulbs. It’s in its second year. The first year none bloomed but they grew blades. Chipmunks and squirrels eat most of my bulbs so this survivor makes me springy happy!

This puts a smile on my face!

Weekly photo challenge: smile

Every garden has a story

Pajamas, tea, camera, and an early garden walk on the final morning of March. I ignored  garden chores last fall while I began  recovering from illness. Even so, gardens in spring remind us that we can count on life’s continuation and renewed beginnings.  Here’s to health and moving forward.

 

Wild onions, Egyptian walking onions, chives, possibly shallots, possibly garlic. Mysteries. Enough plants to divide and sell starts at farmer’s market.

 

Rhubarb, strawberries, currents, Jacob’s Coat for rose jelly and rosehips. Enough strawberries to sell at farmers market and transplant to create the strawberry farm on the new property.

 

Puppy puppy puppy! In the cycle of life old dogs die and new ones emerge. A few weeks ago she could sneak through the fence and get into compost. Times was on my side and she’s too big now. Outside the potage garden Mojo (Mojita), 15 weeks old, believes she has no limit to pruning decorative shells from a flowerbed or sitting on flowers. Yet. I don’t recall how I trained previous German Shepherds to stay out of unprotected beds but I’m sure she will learn. If you have tips for this training, please, please comment below!

 

Comfrey, cat mint, and garden central around the septic tank cover where Bergamot remains mulch out weeds and iris’ emerge. I intended to move them both away from the tank cover last year but health prevented progress. This year, after iris’ bloom, I will design and construct an organized wheel of herbs, vegetables, and flowers in the garden center. We bought adjoining property with a 2500 square foot garden and an orchard, ready to take on more growing responsibility. The little 30X20 garden next to the deck gets a makeover from all purpose food garden to potage garden. I’ll share plans and progress as I go into those projects.

Every garden has a story to tell. It’s a happy place for inspiration no matter what stage it’s in with me.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Story

Variations on a Theme: Beach Stones

 

 

Found art on Ediz Hook, Port Angeles, WA

 

News Years Day 2018 gathering stepping stones on Island Bar, Salmon River, near Riggins, Idaho

 

Stepping stone garden path in Cascade, Idaho. A small urban park for relaxing

I’ve been collecting beach rocks, as flat as I can find them, for years. Some already surround small gardens or make stepping places out of mud at the bottom of deck steps. Some are waiting to be placed in just the right spot or pathway in new gardens.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Variations on a Theme

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relax is all headspace

Not long ago on a cool November day I stopped in a small town for coffee on my way home from a trip to The City. Well, really, I missed the coffee house, an old house alongside the highway, upscaled into a relaxing place to sit with coffee or tea. When I turned around at an intersection down the road a ways I noticed this almost secret garden between buildings. Just enough space to invite anyone to sit and relax, slightly removed from the street scene. Mind you, this is a small town with a highway running through it. The noisiest thing you might encounter here is a logging truck passing through.

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I asked 4 people in the hardware store and 2 in the coffee shop about who created it and is it a memorial for the lady painted on the sign.  No one knew. And they all live here. It’s a real place but you can easily remember or create in your mind such images of relaxing spaces. Relaxing is all in your head. Right? I’m inspired to put some of these garden elements into my home landscape.

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Relax is a state of mind.

Our minds think in images. Whatever images help you relax, that’s what you need to see in your mind’s eye until nothing else is there. Nothing. Think of it. No. Don’t think of it. If you can really think of NOTHING you are really relaxed. No THINGS are in your awareness.

Try this. Slowly push all the air you can out of your lungs, visualizing negative thoughts or images leaving your muscles and blood vessels as you exhale. Then slowly pull new oxygen into your lungs, visualizing light and new energy entering into every cell in your body. Make an image in your mind’s eye of a place where you feel relaxed, keep your focus on it and let it move you deeper within the relaxing space. Repeat. Repeat. Stay there as long as you feel comfortable and slowly come back when you are ready. You don’t have to be any place special or private to do this relaxation exercise. Just let yourself relax often during your day. If even for a moment and inside your own mind.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Relax

 

 

Pollinator Partners

 

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Celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20 – 26, 2016!

I registered my gardens in the Million Pollinator Gardens Challenge. I’m on the map now as “Syringa Hill Farm” at Glendale, Idaho. Registering my garden means simply that I am one in a million gardeners who grows one or more plants that attract pollinators like butterflies, honey bees, bumble bees, bats, humming birds, lizards or any of a number of animals that pollinate flowers. I have several gardens, each a little different from the others. What blooms at my place has to withstand serious summer heat, winter cold and snow, and attacks from rodents that live underground and above ground, and occasionally range cattle and deer when they can get over or through the fence. Wildflowers do well! Having 8 acres, I used to garden on the deck before we fenced out range cattle and deer. Deer tracks in wet soil beneath our new Autumn Blaze maple a few mornings ago warn me that I still need to put up deer net to extend my fence higher than they want to jump.

Just some of the stable plants that I can grow easily here, and on which I’ve seen pollinators include:

bright geraniums

verbena

herbs: comfrey, cat nip and cat mint, sweet marjoram, thyme, oregano, sage, borage

mustard

arugula

squash

any garden food that blooms when I let it go to seed

“Pinks” and Jacob’s Coat roses

lavender

sunflowers

elderberry

wild cherry

How wonderful! As I’m writing this two black chinned humming birds are exploring potted flowers on my deck. I didn’t bring out my camera and the cat is on her harness nearby so I have to keep my eye on the situation. One way I assure more birds in my gardens is to keep the cat tethered. She has a long enough lead but I have to find strategic places to let her enjoy the outdoors considering our predators, including her, and the food chain when we live with wildlife! Just perfect!

You can register your garden here or  here to join the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge, too. Do it! You get to display their enchanting logo on your blog and help spread the word about making pollinator friendly gardens and farms. Even one sole flower counts.

You can find out more about growing pollinator gardens and get lovely posters and wall paper and education materials at the websites below.

*Pollinators Home Page: US Fish and Wildlife Service  https://www.fws.gov/pollinators/Index.html

*Million Pollinators Garden website      http://millionpollinatorgardens.org/

*U. S. Forest Service: posters, wall paper, and many resources about wildflowers, native plants, ethnobotany and much more. Gorgeous posters of wildflowers, ferns, bees, grasslands, forests, and other pollinator partners. You can get some free and others you can download the pdf. and print them yourself.           http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/features/posters.shtml 

There are many more websites if you just google “pollinator partners”. Please send me a photo of a flower or garden you grow or find that attracts pollinators. Use the comments below to post them. And please register your garden in the challenge! I’d love to see it! You don’t have to garden in the US to register. My badge is way down at the bottom of my right sidebar. Scroll down to see it.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Partners

 

Summer Solstice

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Watercolor printed on tiles by Lauren McCarter

Summer Solstice by Carrie Richards

This was when the whole world measured time
This is when the light would turn around

This is where the past would come undone
and the spinning earth will mark a new beginning
Let’s go back in time, to when it all began

To the breaking of new dawns
Where moments bright with fire, would light the chanting song
Where pagans worshipped sun, and danced among the trees Wore strange masks of covered straw, and blessed cold ash with awe Wreaths hung upon the door against all spirit’s, dire
and when the winter’s grasp let go, the sun reversed the pyre
This was when the whole world measured time
This is when the light would turn around So that spring arrives, and seeds will sprout and grow
Oh, radiant sun, stretch the day, shorten night
Return earth’s darkness into light
This is where the light will turn around
And this was where the past has comes undone

 

Lauren McCarter is a watercolor artist living in Boise, Idaho. She generously gifted this art piece to me at a time when I needed a boost. Thank you, Lauren!

 

Dear Spinning Planet

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Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail feeding on Comfrey

Dear Spinning Planet,

Thanks for turning me upside down these couple of weeks. All in all, it’s good to go topsy-turvy now and then and look at the  nature of life from the flip side. It gives me an angle to see that I am only a small part of nature. I’m not alone in going upside down to find my provisions. Misery and providence, isn’t that the point Mr. Hugo wanted to make?

So my kid’s in jail and I won’t go her bail and she gets herself out soon enough – yet again. And it’s the blame game – yet again.

So 4 friends die or have memorials in as many days and I can’t get to all of them. I feel like a refugee trying to keep my balance as they all fall down.

So my van gets clobbered by a hit and run driver after one of the memorials.

So my old rescue dog gets attacked by a pack of 3 pit bulls and when I give her permission she clobbers them well enough to give a slight window of time so their owner can pull the lead dog away with many bites to his arms. And the gang follows the leader. We make our get away escaping the unrealized massacre.

So he apologizes lavishly yet denies that more than one dog was attacking and we will let the judge hear us and decide. And that’s a big disruption in my schedule. And it’s what a multitude of residents and dog owners ask me to go through. And I will.

And I discover I belong with a local, national, and international community  that supports me in more abundance than I would have felt had I not tumbled over in this short avalanche of unfortunate events.

Now, tell me, Spinning Planet, that you will relax for a while and steady the current just for me so I can regain my harmony and shift my attention to the butterflies who have arrived in my gardens and the mule deer in my back yard who gave birth to twins just here and now. I still have strength to peer through disorder and flow with nature. And I remember that I am only a small thing, all in all.

Very sincerely yours,

me

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Central Bumble Bee on Comfrey
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Mama mule deer with twins to the right of the pine trees

 

About Eastern Tiger Swallow Tail

About comfrey here and here

About bumble bees and other pollinators here and  here 

About mule deer

 

 

 

 

Blossom time

I have only wildflowers and no fruit trees blooming this spring so when I saw these cherry blossoms photographed by Incahootswithmuddyboots I felt inspired to give it a go at painting them with watercolor. This is my 4th completed watercolor painting and the only one that is not landscape. I made it on a small 4X4 paper. I think I’d rather go big like the kites I painted (acrylic) when I tried to imitate Georgia O’Keefe’ blooms. Did you know she painted the same subjects in many different ways for years on years? That’s the way to study technique. Check out the many cheery spring blossoms on Incahootswithmuddyboots’ post.

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Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms from Incahootswithmuddyboots Zunday Zen

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Work in progress. I can see now that I should have referenced the image on screen instead of this poor print of it.
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Deepening the hues and learning about layering transparent watercolors over other hues to see them blend. 

 

 

Life imitates art

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American Gothic Tree Planters

Last summer 2 grandsons and a neighbor helped us plant a maple tree for shade. I want to see how the tree and the boys grow, how we all change over years, so I took some baseline photos with help. The youngsters did most of the work, of course. Working with them is always fun. We thought we looked a little like the American Gothic painting even in the dorky glasses we tried on.

american-gothic

Here’s the original art that inspired us.

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We all know who really did most of the heavy work here. 
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What family was cropped out of the original painting? (Ah! a story idea!)

This is my second post for this week’s photo challenge: “Life imitates art.”. The idea is to find inspiration in a piece of art, and go further: imitate it. You can see more amusing American Gothic remakes here.

My first post for this photo challenge is here.

Grid

This was the first day out of the nest for this fledgling wren last June. The large grid keeps range cows outside my garden. The mesh raises the height, keeping deer from jumping over the fence or poking their noses through to get into the goods. Birds never ever get stuck in the net. They always find their way under or over it. Takes some a little longer than others.

More fledgling photos of sibling wren and barred owl.

Weekly photo challenge:  GRID.

Blessed by Dionysus

Zinfandel grape start

My son gave me starts of his Zinfandel and Shiraz grapes last March. I popped the twigs into soil and kept them well watered. It takes months before my grape starts usually show leaves so I am happy to see this much growth this season.

Shiraz with white grapes

Using filtered sun along the deck rail, I sheltered the twigs from the strongest Idaho summer heat. The white table grapes I started last summer grew enough to give shade this summer and even produced sweet fruit. See what I mean when you look in the back ground in this photo. Shiraz starts are small but healthy in the foreground pot while white table grapes vine among the rail posts in the background between the south sun and the pot.

Shiraz grape starts Genoa Basil and Verbena mark north and south. Two tiny Shiraz starts mark east and west. I’m not sure this is true companion planting, but they all seem friendly enough living together. I wanted the pot to look pretty and tasty while waiting for the twigs to sprout leaves.

Zinfandel grape start 2

The Zinfandel start is so big now, I moved it into morning sun. Only one of three twigs produced leaves so far. Happy Genoa Basil and a first year Milkweed keep this grape company. I had to move the Milkweed here after one of our German Shepherds, Ozette, dug in its pot to hide her ball. She’s attracted to some deck pots more than others.

Zinfandel grape shadow closejpgI love the dancing shadow the new Zinfandel casts when I have my first cup of coffee.

lizard molting

This morning I sat with a “Western Fence Lizard” hiding in the shade of the Zinfandel planter. I wonder what it was named before fences came to the West. It looked like it was growing a new tail. I’ve seen plenty of them do that here. But look closer. It’s molting! What a sleek new dark mantle it’s putting on for autumn.

white grapes full shot

I planted 4 white grape starts last summer below the deck, hoping they would eventually grow tall enough to shade our deck and the two lower rows of south facing windows. A year later it looks like I can start constructing the arbor.

hidden grapes

I’m thrilled to find sweet grapes in the first year!

white grape twigs in sunflowers

Here’s a great example of non-companion planting. These white grape twigs were planted last spring. Look closely on the left and you’ll see the stump of a huge volunteer Mammoth Sunflower. This spot is directly beneath my bird feeder dishes; you can see them in a previous photo on the deck rail. Here’s proof that certain plants cannot grow near Sunflowers or in soil where sunflower seed husks have accumulated. Why not? 

grape on camel bells

Grape vines will be fun to arrange among camel bells and hanging plants. Notice the smokey mountains in the background? This is a relatively smoke free morning considering the wildfires in our region.

Dionysus

I feel like I’ve been blessed by Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine (agriculture), and Greek Theater. The annual Greek festival in his honor held contests for early playwrights. This mask lives in my garden. I’m using it this week for a mask making workshop for the Greek Tragedy I am directing this fall for children’s theater. Yeah, some kid gets to die on stage! He’s gonna love that!

Many of the best plants in my garden, like these grape varieties, aren’t planned. And they turn out the best! Like artichokes, but that’s food for a future post.

Mullein Meal

Landscaping to attract nature is not particularly challenging when you live in an ecotone where forest meets field in rural Idaho. Ecotones, the spaces where two environments transition into each other, are rich in diversity. These areas provide for more wild life than either zone on its own. Native Mullein grows readily in disturbed ground here and when this set planted themselves in my new vegetable garden I wanted to see how they would flourish. The fence is about 5 feeet tall so you can see how large these mulleins grew in top soil we brought up from the riverside. I didn’t expect to see this White-headed Woodpecker searching for insects that inhabit the flower stems. It worked over these plants for several days, as well as a stand of them along our gravel road.

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Designing my yard and garden to attract interesting birds and pollinators in the Rockies means promoting plants that attract these animals while resisting damage from deer, ground rodents, range cattle, and drought. Mullein is a sound choice that does all that and it’s a intriguing flower to watch develop. It’s super easy to grow and you’ll see it spring up in dry fields like a weed. These pictured grew as volunteers, but I have dug up the first year plants, the leaf sets, and successfully transplanted them. They build flower stalks their second year. This a fabulous plant for children’s gardens where they can feel the soft fuzzy leaves. Plus mullein is a wonder plant for respiratory problems and many other health issues. I dry the leaves in fall and make tea when my allergies attack.

If you don’t have access to the plant where you live, contact me and I’ll send you some seeds free. If you can find the plant try getting seeds from the flower stem and planting them in fall or transplant a first year root.

Pecking Order

Crowded out of the nest, the usual sibling pecking order of fledglings, this little house wren found it’s first perch in the garden below. It surveyed its world outside the nest and later with a parent’s coaching, flew to refuge beneath a set of 4 large mullein, and then into the Elderberry bush to its new home. Three more fledglings left the nest a couple of days later. Or did this little birdy run away from the nest? Children have a way of knowing when to leave home whether by their own push or that of another. Hovering around Summer Solstice days, I just lost count of the new fledglings of many kinds of birds at our feeder. But I took all the new baby photos I could and you can see them in a future post.

wren 2 wren 3 wren 4

wren 1

pebble mosaic

waymarker croppedOutside the Pompeii exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, we came upon this pebble mosaic. Titled “Men come and go like the waves of the sea”, it was created by http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=20000305&slug=4008351 based on a portion of Chief Seattle’s famous http://www.chiefseattle.com/history/chiefseattle/speech/speech.htm. Though the authenticity of the speech is  http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1985/spring/chief-seattle.html, the intent is sound and haunting.

I looked for information about this stone mural and found that it’s  a noted waymark.  Waymarking is something like geocaching, or constructing cairns to mark your way or to celebrate a location. It depends on locating by latitude and longitude, which you can do with a hand held GPS or with a zip code on line . It looks like fun and there maybe way more waymarks in places I’ve been or where I regularly visit. You can learn about waymarking FAQ about waymarks http://www.waymarking.com/help/faq.aspx?f=1  and   http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM2VXZ.

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The artist in me couldn’t leave this art technique alone. I looked for more samples by the Jean Louise Johanson and found none on line. And of course I looked for instructions for crafting my own pebble mosaic designs with river stones and found objects. I got this! In summer I’m in the river almost every day, I could just bring home more stones in small amounts after each dip. Better yet to get a passel of my grandkids together and make a gathering and designing party. My new garden begs for paths and stepping stones. If you want to see amazing stone mosaics around the world and get construction instructions, look  http://www.inspirationgreen.com/pebble-mosiacs-underfoot.html.  My way is to start with a small manageable project, one that is portable and not overwhelming to complete.

Today marks my 4th post in the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge. I just post a photo and story, or any sort of writing, every day for 5 days and nominate another blogger each day to participate. Anyone can join, you don’t need an invitation. Find out more about how to join the ChalIenge in any of my 3 previous posts, linked below. Today I nominate https://thestorytellersabode.wordpress.com/ to participate in the Challenge. Time is not of the essence in this Challenge until you start your first day. I was nominate by https://dpw67.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/becker-vineyards-feb/ the night before I left on vacation and I didn’t start my Challenge until a few weeks later. My first 3 day’s posts are https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/metamorphs/https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2015/04/22/clay-faces/, and https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/glass-garden/

Nuthatch houses

As I walked to the back of the house to get a wheelbarrow today I heard a familiar yank-yank call from one of three birdhouses attached to the east wall. A tiny Red-breasted Nuthatch was examining the little house made from a small tree trunk. I went back into the house for my point & shoot and it flew to another birdhouse on the side of the garage.

nuthatch at birdhouse

My Olympus FE-20 is conveniently small and flat, fits neatly in a pocket. But it has no view finder. It’s nearly impossible to see the image on the screen so I maximized the telephoto and pointed and shot, hoping for the best.

nuthatch on bird house roof

The Nuthatch checked out each of the 5 bird houses on the garage wall but I wasn’t able to get pictures of it at each one. See the towering Ponderosa Pine on the north side behind our home? That’s where the Nuthatch spends most of its time. It’s been pecking all around our house to get at bugs for more than a month.

5 birdhouses on garage

Three more bird houses are attached beneath the balcony at the back of our house, facing north. Maybe the Nuthatch pecked at the opening to get at insects inside, or maybe to get a better entrance for caching its food supply within. Maybe it was another animal, though. Red-breasted Nuthatches would rather burrow up to 8 inches into a dead tree than inhabit a birdhouse. We’ll see about this one.

pecked hole in bird house

The bird flitted to the big Elderberry bush east of the garage ocassionally. It kept calling its yank-yank and another echoed its call from the woods at the creek. I slipped my little camera into the chest pocket of my overalls and went about my business in the sunny garden on the south of the house, spreading a bale of damp decaying straw over strawberries, grapes, herbs, and bare ground to prevent early growth and inhibit weeds.

nuthatch in elderberry

More about the bird

You can find out more about the Red-breasted Nuthatch from http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/red-breasted_nuthatch/lifehistory.

About the bird houses

The birdhouses were made by a man who lives on the Sol Duc River near Forks, Washington on the North Olympic Peninsula. He builds them, his sister paints them, and they set them in an unattended kiosk by the highway with a lock box to drop in your $5. I’ve collected them and given many as gifts over the years.

Twilight Symmetry

Hands in spotlight

Life

Edith Wharton

Life, like a marble block, is given to all,
A blank, inchoate mass of years and days,
Whence one with ardent chisel swift essays
Some shape of strength or symmetry to call;
One shatters it in bits to mend a wall;
One in a craftier hand the chisel lays,
And one, to wake the mirth in Lesbia’s gaze,
Carves it apace in toys fantastical.

But least is he who, with enchanted eyes
Filled with high visions of fair shapes to be,
Muses which god he shall immortalize
In the proud Parian’s perpetuity,
Till twilight warns him from the punctual skies
That the night cometh wherein none shall see.

Weekly photo challenge:  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/symmetry/

I made this photograph yesterday after my stream walk as I strolled up hill on my south acres. I used Adobe CS4 to adjust hue and saturation, then cropped it and used render>spotlight in the filter menu to give it an eery evening mood as if using a flashlight to look for twilght deer or spirits. The 2 stone chairs (plastic of some kind) provide resting and meditating seats behind 2 Grosso Lavender plants left from years ago when I started a small lavender farm. These two produced 8 small starts that are now in their nursery edging my new garden.

Winter sunflowers

If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.- Napoleon Bonaparte 

Many world cultures have recognized the power of the sun. I don’t claim the sun as my religion but I choose to live where I can see the sun and blue skies more than grey clouds. It’s my blog name, Sky Blue Daze. On this winter day, shadowed by snow clouds and fog, oily black seeds grown from last summer’s sun feed American Gold Finches.

I dried sunflowers at the end of summer and today I attached some to a wild cherry branch near my bird feeder. Even while I was twisting a pipe cleaner around a twig to secure a stem, an early bird began eating from a seed head I had placed above me! The cherry branch attached to the deck rail provides a perch, attracting and keeping birds longer at the feeder. Evening Gross Beaks have dominated the feeder for about a week and I wanted to provide the finches and Oregon Juncos another chance to get some seeds. The Juncos prefer seeds on the ground so I cleared snow off the deck and scatter seeds there. They fluttered to the branches of sunflower heads anyway, checked them out, then left them for the finches.

I know the birds get wild seeds. I like that I grew the sunflowers from the sun, the universal giver of life, and now I can share them with animals this winter. It’s a way I can participate in nature.

More about the cherry branch with Buddha is in this post. https://skybluedaze.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/no-mistake/

This post uses the Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadowed. It’s not my best idea for the theme, but while we live shadowed from seeing the sun, it’s my shot for the week. Once I had the sunflowers on the branch the response from the birds urged me to sit calmly on a wet deck chair and photography them. The birds don’t stick around for much movement from the photographer. I hope to get better at getting close to wildlife and making some interesting images. For more about this week’s theme and to see how other bloggers used “shadowed” click here. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/shadowed/

New Roots

macro new buds
New buds are starting to branch from this stem. Even so, it needs to be pinched off to shape the plant and promote root development.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “New.”

New Roots

I rather feel like there’s nothing new in the universe. But I’m not certain. Everything is connected or one thing leads to another, or so I’ve seen. Take this little Rosemary start for example. It began about 20 years ago when I bought a small plant in a 4 inch pot in Port Angeles (PA). I repotted it into a larger pot and brought it with me when we moved to Idaho in 1998. It nearly died of a white fungus while it was indoors for a frigid Rocky Mountain winter. I pruned more than half the plant to remove the fungus and let it live if it would. It lived indeed! It thrived from the pruning and when we moved back to PA in 2003 I planted it in our yard and left it alone. Plants do pretty well if left alone, the right plants at least.

yellow flowers over grown
One of my “little gardens”, a sidewalk runs through it. Gone for 2 summer months, this is the result of leaving plants alone. Sheers and a mug of Scotch soon fix it all.

That plant reproduced itself into 4 more plants and they all grew to be about 3 feet high and pretty wide. I found their starts in the soil at the base of the first one, propagated by a natural process called “mounding” in which a branch gets laid down and partly covered with soil. New roots develop and you can just snip the branch off from the original and plant the new start. When I moved back to my Idaho home in 2013 I had 4 big Rosemary bushes growing in my Port Angeles yard. The fifth had been killed by a peninsula winter.

That home has renters now so last fall I started 3 new little Rosemaries from trimmings when I pruned one of the large herbs to clear the sidewalk for safe passage. I popped the little cuttings into small pots of plain old potting soil, kept them damp at the risk of causing rot, and sure enough they began to show new leaves. When new leaves appear you know the roots are developing. I pinch off new growth and use it for aromatic flavors in the kitchen. Even little herbs do their jobs just fine. Removing new growth promotes root development and it prevents the plant from getting spindly, making it bushy.

tall rosemary start
New growth ready to be pinched off. Plants DO grow in winter.

The idea that plants are dormant in winter is not precise. I keep these starts in a sunny south facing window and they are producing abundant new growth. They are beginning to branch out so by late spring when it’s safe to put them outside, they will be nice little herbs to move into larger pots. Look at all the new white branches stemming from the brown trunk.

macro many branches

lop sided plant start
This start needs shaping. Obviously new roots are developing.

If plant life is so well connected, new roots emerging from old stems, how can our human lives not be interconnected, too? I’m not just talking about genetics here. I am rooted in the Pacific Northwest and have restarted myself more times than I can recall. We can nurture our own roots and use them not to anchor us to one place or one idea, but to set us out on new paths. We can nurture new roots in people we encounter, too, without even knowing it. Some people say I am the most grounded, rooted, person they know. If that’s so, it’s because I have learned that I can regenerate myself when I need to and I’m not afraid to take that risk. Well, a little afraid but brave. My daughter calls me spunctuous, a word she created. She asked if it’s OK to make up words. Of course it is.

sidewalk garden

Triumph!

Triumph!

Big bright summer sunflowers!
Big bright summer sunflowers!

Triumph is the color of summer sunflowers in river bottom topsoil given me by friendly neighbors.

dog in creek
Sweet Jane wades in our creek her  first week home in March at 93 pounds.

Triumph is Sweet Jane, the German Shepherd we adopted after 15 months in the “no kill’ shelter. She’s getting old, has thyroid issues, skin allergies, and forever ear infections. She lost weight from 140 pounds when her previous owner surrendered her to 71 pounds with good care. That she is alive and in a loving home is triumph for this animal. And she really is sweet!

Dog in river.
Sweet Jane wades in the mouth of the Elwha River.

Triumph is freeing the Elwha River from 2 dams that prevented historic 100 pound salmon from spawning. Sweet Jane romps in the briny water and on the sand spits created by the river.

2 dogs in van
2 dog car alarm – Sweet Jane and Ozette.

Triumph is just getting up in the morning for many people. I like this post about Triumph.

https://thestoryofmylifebyterismile.wordpress.com/2014/11/28/triumph-wordpress-101photo/

Two

An exercise in photographing things in doubles.

double sets of chairs
Conversations inside and out.

Come sit with me in the garden, in the field, under a pine, at the boundary markers.  I like to place chairs and hammocks at different places on my property, inviting conversations for two.

Jamestown pole 2 sided

Jamestown totem pole front

The Jamestown S’Klallam tribe built several new totem poles in recent years. This one is double sided. The top hat structure indicates wealth in giving potlatches. Thuderbird faces north and south, the bay and the mountains. You can barely see the edge of it’s wing facing the camera. Beneath Thunderbird is Beaver, holding its tail. The Jamestown people bought their land on Washington’s North Olympic Peninsuala instead of letting it become a reservation. They have a village, casino, fire station, seafood store, gas station with deli and convenience store, medical facility, and cultural center. This totem pole is at the fire station.