Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring Woes and Wonders

Where does the time go?  When I'm following along on someone's blog, I get so disappointed when days or even a week goes by without some little tidbit to keep me going.   And here I'm doing the same annoying thing!   Sorry!!    I suppose I could use the excuse that I've been busy, which I have, but not that busy.  So, I'll try to do better. 

This time of year is consumed with leaves, leaves and more leaves!!!   I counted them up a few days ago, and I have 17 live oak trees of varying sizes in my yard.  Do you know how many little leaves 17 trees can dump????? 
Trees on the West Side 

Trees on the back 

Trees on the east
And you'll note, I didn't even show the big ones in the front!!!  

 Unlike most deciduous trees, live oaks lose the vast majority of their leaves in the spring, just as the new leaves start to come on.  It is nice to have green leaves through the winter, but sometimes I think it would be nice to have all those leaves fall at one time so they could be raked just ONCE, rather than at least every week.  Right now, the whole yard needs to be cleaned up again, and we raked exactly one week ago. 

I've discovered that my neighbor has a leaf mulcher/grinder and he is willing to let me borrow it!!   That's wonderful news because I'd really like to make use of some of these leaves as compost for my garden beds, and also for the yard.  Over the years, the organic matter in the lawn has diminished and it's looking sad as a result.

I've been doing some fun things, too.  Went to Gainesville for an Audubon Assembly and got to do some birding there at Payne's Prairie.  
Little Blue Heron in breeding plumage
Osprey soaring over pond while fishing 

Bison approaching lake 

In addition to bird life, there are also bison, wild horses, wild pigs, deer and more alligators than you ever want to see in a lifetime!!!   I couldn't even bring myself to photograph them on this trip.  Just seeing them was enough.  (I'm not a fan.)  Oh, what the heck, I'll show you a picture from an earlier trip. 
Two of too MANY to count 

Song Sparrow -- see that dark spot on the breast?

Moor Hen -- lots of these around and they are noisy

Great Blue Heron intend on lunch -- poor light

I haven't mentioned Hubby in a while.  There have been some good days and some tough days, but right now, thank God, he's doing very well and enjoying life somewhat again.   He actually played golf this week for the first time since September 2009!!   Now that was a joyous day all around.  Psychologically it did wonders for him to be back out there again.  He's played since he began caddying at a country club back when he was 14 years old, so golf has been an important part of his life for a very long time.    Please keep saying prayers for his current status to continue and to improve.    Oh, and now he no longer has an excuse to get out of yard work!!  :)

Happy Spring!!   Y'all take care. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Birds and Beds

There are some days when I realize how blessed and lucky I am to have my life.   Those days make me grateful for all the good things I have, the friends I have, the wonderful husband I have, the nice home I have, just generally the comfortable life I have.  Today is one of those days.  I've been working in the yard, trying to bring things back to some semblance of order after several years of neglect.  It's physical labor of the kind I'm not accustomed to any more, and it makes me tired by the end of the day.  But this kind of tired is very pleasant.  I hope all of you can understand that statement and have had the wonderful opportunity to experience that state for yourself. 
These are the makings of work.  I needed to add organic matter to my poor flower bed and needed a jump start.  

After adding compost and peat moss (which has been in the shed for a long time), I transplanted twelve alliums which no longer bloomed because they were in too much shade. 
I then mulched them well with pine straw. I've also fertilized a lot of my plants and hope that we will get rain tonight and tomorrow as predicted so they will get off to a good start.  

I'm trying to clean out my garden house and use up the products that have been sitting in there for a while, like that peat moss which I'd never buy again, and several bags of manure and topsoil and sand.  

After my work was done, I showered and poured myself a glass of wine and took a long break on the patio.  The wildlife activity in the back yard is at fever pitch right now with all the mating activity taking place. 
I'm surprised this yellow rumped warbler is still hanging around.  
Here's Mr. Downey woodpecker at the suet feeder.    And here's Mrs. Downey a bit later. 

We also still have white-throated sparrows here too. 
We have a lot of cardinals in our yard.  They are here year round and I'm sure there will be several nests this year. 
And, of course, no afternoon in the yard would be complete without our resident pests, even if they are cute little suckers. 
We also have flocks of mourning doves that are here year round.  They're very busy too, with lots of chasing and dashing around.   This is just part of them. 
It really is no wonder there's so much activity.  After all, there are seven feeding stations out there including safflower seeds, three feeders of regular mix with added sunflower seeds and other goodies, thistle seeds, a suet feeder, and a platform feeder where I put peanuts and pecans.  Oh, I was about to forget the squirrels' corn feeder!   

Ah, the joys of spring!!!!!  

Y'all take care. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rain and Kites

Well, our hope of some significant rain has finally been realized.  It's pouring outside and looks like there's lots more to come!!   Here of late, the fronts all seem to fall apart before getting to us and we need some rain for the spring.  

I've had wonderful treats the last few days.  We've lived here for over twelve years and this is the first year that I've seen swallow-tailed kites!!   I saw four of them on Sunday afternoon, three yesterday and one this morning.  

Well, I've spent the last two hours trying to find my pictures of the first swallow-tailed kite I ever saw, but with absolutely no luck.  Computers are wonderful, but sometimes they can be very frustrating, too.  I try very hard to keep my photos indexed so they can be found later, and I know what date I'm looking for, but still can't find it.  And I know of no reason why it would have been deleted.    At any rate, here is a link to Greg Lavaty's website where he shows some wonderful pictures of the kites.    Greg Lavaty's Swallow-tailed kites  

I'm really concerned about not finding those photos because that batch also has the last picture I took of my Aunt Pearl before she died, and also the last pictures of my mother before her death.  The only possibility left is that they are still on the desktop computer which crashed and didn't get transferred to a backup at the same time with the rest of the photos.  I'll have to get a technician in to see if he can get it up and running long enough to see if the pictures are there and to retrieve them.

This definitely reminds me that it is way past time for photo books to be compiled and printed so that important pictures are not lost electronically.  

Just so you aren't left with no picture at all, I thought I'd share this one.  Our friend, Mike, came for a visit.  This is how I like to see the guys after dinner.  

Y'all take care.