Thursday, January 31, 2008

Unwelcome Guest

I believe this is a sharp shinned hawk...looking for a snack near my birdfeeder. Soon after I got this photo he took off after a finch over in the privets...I couldn't tell if he got him or not. The day care children have been learning to identify our usual feeder visitors and 5 year old Ian knew this was not one of them! He alerted us in time to grab the camera and binoculars.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

GBBD January 2008 Parte Due

Several hours later and the fog has cleared (mentally and outside) us the other side of winter in Davis.Here are two other blooms I meant to mention. And as long as I'm back I'll include photos, as well, of two blooms mentioned in the first post.
Rosa Flower Girl has one lone bloom...just in time before she gets a bit of a trim this weekend.
And the Leucojum aestivum (summer snowflake, which blooms now, in our mild winters) is just beginning to bloom with maybe 10 blooms spread among the plants all over the yard.
Mentioned in the earlier post but pictured now are cyclamen and pansies.

GBBD January 2008

Venturing out last Saturday to check for storm damage in my yard I also began checking for blooms so I’d have an idea what to photograph on the 15th. A few shrubs needed help to stand up straight…they were leaning to the west from the rain/wind storm of the 4th. Leaves that had been stubbornly hanging on to the mulberry next door were now spread across my little patch of lawn and tucked up in the branches of the mallow, nandina, plumbago and vibernum. I also noticed salvias and chrysanthemums that needed cutting back and pelargoniums that had been blown flat. So I headed out Sunday to make a dent in the cleanup…spending several hours and producing three wheelbarrow loads of branches, leaves and trimmings…some of which went in the compost bin and some bigger branches that went in the street for city pickup on the way to the city composting center.
Today I went out early to try to get a few photos…into what I think of as our usual winter weather…37 degrees and foggy. This winter we’ve had fewer of these days but when I think of winter in Davis this is my image.
So here’s what’s blooming in Davis…mostly common winter bloomers, with the continued addition of a couple of misguided, confused overachievers.

First, the overachievers award goes to this shasta daisy and this hollyhock. I can’t even explain it by saying they are in particularly protected spots. I guess they just didn’t get the memo that it was time to pack it in for the year.

And still blooming…however sparsely!

Solanum rantonneti
Solanum jasminoides
White allysum
Vibernum Spring Bouquet
Tulbaghia fragrans
Iberis sempervirens
Linaria (winter annual)
Snapdragons (yellow…the pink have stopped blooming for some reason)
Pink Abutilon
Bush Mallow
Dwarf Carnation Evermore
Marguarite Comet Pink
And tucked up against the retaining wall, almost looking as if it purposefully inched over there for warmth, is the borage.

Inside, the second stalk on my amaryllis is finishing up.
The Christmas cactus has two blooms and one more bud.
The spathiphyllum has two blooms.
And the poinsettias are still blooming. However, I’m beginning to think of them as cut flowers…because they have no hope of survival. And that may be why I’ve never been really fond of them.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tomatoes in January

I picked the last of the green cherry tomatoes several weeks ago and have kept them under a tea towel with a banana thanks to a suggestion from Yolanda Elizabet . We've been slowly eating them as they ripen and while they may not be the best tomatoes ever they won the taste comparison contest the day care children did with some of our's and some from the store. And the banana really helps...when I took the original banana out (due to developing mold...yuck) the ripening slowed to a halt, picking up again when I put in a new one. Looks like we're coming to an end though...and it will be a while before we're picking new tomatoes.


Having bought my son-in-law a mushroom growing kit for Christmas I couldn't help buying one for myself, too. The first photo is Jan. 9th...cute little mushrooms are looking, the 12th, I realize I need to think about harvesting soon! The kit was set up on Dec. 26th.

Finches Ride Out The Storm

January 4th we awoke to the strongest winds we've had in over a well as pouring rain and no electricity. Much of Davis lost power for anywhere from one to three days...ours was out from 4 AM Friday until 11 Pm. We started the storm behind on year-to-date rain but the several inches that arrived helped push us ahead for the season. We still have a way to go to reach normal for the season (and you need to realize our rain comes in the winter...after March we rarely get anything that counts) but for now we're doing well. About 40 finches rode out the storm in my back the beams of my patio cover and over on the trellis against this wall. The top two rungs must have felt times there were 20 or more house and gold finches huddled there...but none on the lower rungs. However, even in the midst of the worst of the wind they took turns on the feeder out in the open.