Thursday, April 30, 2009

phenological events April 2009

phenological events

April 2009

1st- frogs seen growing beards
3rd- garden bonfire
8th- spot broccoli starts
12th - amphibian eggs in pools
15th- ruby-crowned kinglet
warbler migration begins
18th- caddis fly hatch on river
19th- toads in garden
wasps start building nests
21st- mayapples appear

the yellows

Photobucket There is yellow along the riverrim. It takes the form of forsythia....

and there are marsh marigolds, daffodils and dandelions, colts foot,wood sorrels...buttercups and yellow violets..all the springtime yellows.


Several different spring wood warblers wear yellow.


One of the things I like most about living in the woods--the spring wood warbler migration--is starting to happen. In the eastern USA, our forests have the greatest diversity of wood warblers in the country.

They are the foliage gleaners... You have to look closely to see them. Can you see them in the first and second photos? They blend in with all the yellow, but they are there.


Once you spot them, it is difficult to know what species they are. So many of the springtime warblers look alike. For instance, is this a Nashville Warbler, or a Connecticut Warbler?


Note the white eye ring, lack of wing bars, and the length of the tail...which one do you think it is?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

timing indicators


The forsythia tell me that I need to plant my peas.(done)

They are an indicator plant for me.... phenology indicators....


The lilacs give a lot of information. When the first leaves show up, it is time to plant the potatoes (done). One must also factor in the moon...(planting above ground crops on a waxing moon, and below ground crops on a waning moon)

When these lilacs finally bloom, it will be time to plant the beans, corn and squash. This will be about the same time that the blossoms fall off the apple trees. There are many signs to watch for, look around and notice.


The mayapples open their umbrellas for the rains, I watch for the insects to take cover under them. The wasps and other insects are cold blooded, and their development and building habits are closely related to temperature. They tell me when it is safe to put the tomatoes out of the greenhouse and into the garden.


We had a nice bonfire going the other evening, but we were chased in by the rains that doused it. The lightning and thunder were spectacular. There was one giant strike that shook the china on the hutch! --the chickens are gleaning up the crumbs after the bonfire...

Friday, April 17, 2009

brain test too

I found this on Valerie's blog this morning...and had to play. I was surprised at how spot on the answers were!

I have my own comments in italics below:

cyndy, your hemispheric dominance is equally divided between left and right brain, while you show a moderate preference for auditory versus visual learning, signs of a balanced and flexible person.

well, thank you...(?)I think...

Your balance gives you the enviable capacity to be verbal and literate while retaining a certain "flair" and individuality. You are logical and compliant but only to a degree. You are organized without being compulsive, goal-directed without being driven, and a "thinking" individual without being excessively so.

Thank goodness for that, (why do I feel like the other shoe is about to fall....)

The one problem you might have is that your learning might not be as efficient as you would like. At times you will work from the specific to the general, while at other times you'll work from the general to the specific. Sometimes you will be logical in your approach while at other times random. Since you cannot always control the choice, you may experience frustrations not normally felt by persons with a more defined and directed learning style.

Wait a minute, you mean I'm not in control of that??? I thought I was in control of that...does this mean I'm a controlling person with a controlling personality????

You may also minimally experience conflicts associated with auditory processing. You will be systematic and sequential in your processing of information, you will most often focus on a single dimension of the problem or material, and you will be more reflective, i.e., "taking the data in" as opposed to "devouring" it.

Ahem, pardon me...but I LIKE "taking the data in and processing it...and being reflective"...I don't experience any conflicts I???

Overall, you should feel content with your life and yourself. You are, perhaps, a little too critical of yourself - and of others - while maintaining an "openness" which is redeeming. Indecisiveness is a problem and your creativity is not in keeping with your potential. Being a pragmatist, you downplay this aspect of yourself and focus on the more immediate, the more obvious and the more functional.

I can't make up my mind if this is right or not...I'm still sitting at the base of that fig excuse me whilst I go make something functional for myself...


and my hellebores are blooming...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

walk with me wed- greenhouse walks


"If you are looking for me, I'll be in the greenhouse".
My Brassicas are needing attention. Brassicas- rape, kale, broccoli..


See these little curly leaves? They are the secondary leaves. They are telling me that they are ready for transplanting..actually, they are screaming at me!


Each morning, I'm up at sunrise, taking the flats from inside (where it is not freezing) and transporting them out to the greenhouse. And each evening, they are taken inside again. It has been a cold spring, and I've had problems trying to harden off my seedlings. There has been some damping off.Warmer air with good circulation can improve the, I'm transporting the transplants...I am a slave to my brassicas.


On my trips to and fro, I make it a point to say hello to the daffs, which are always so cheerful and in fine spirit, despite the chilly winds we have had.

I'll have to make up a good batch of chamomile tea, as I recall, watering the plants with chamomile tea can be helpful in preventing the spread of damping off.

For those of you who pay attention to phenology notes, you will be interested to know that the ruby-crowned-kinglet arrived today...which is exactly the day he arrived in the year 2000. He moves so fast, I cannot capture him with my camera. Since poetry month is halfway over, I decided to write him a haiku:

flicking tiny wings
show me your scarlet jewel cap
ruby crown kinglet

Sunday, April 12, 2009

egg hunt


While most people were searching for Easter Eggs, I went hunting for a different kind.




You can usually find them in the vernal pools...


they are the eggs of the amphibians.


the ecological indicators....biphasic...creatures that spend their youth under water breathing through gills, and then emerge ...metamorphasize...and breath air through lungs. the dark ones are wood frog eggs I believe, but I'm not so sure what the white ones are.


the actual size...about a fourth of an inch.


I even found a few that had already hatched, and were hitching a ride on litter- in the form of a plastic milk jug.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

tie a string around your finger so you won't forget


I've decided the only way to remember how to Andean ply without checking a reference, is to practice the winding method. Also, tying the starting strand to my little pinkie finger reminds me which path to take.


As the yarn comes off the cop, my middle finger and thumb start to experience a peculiar sort of claustrophobia. I resist the urge to grab scissors and free them. And I discover that I can answer the telephone, drink my coffee and even throw a log on the fire all whilst winding singles on. ...(and yes it is still that cold)


When the wound yarn is slipped to the wrist, I still find it amazing that there are not any tangles, and it slips effortlessly off itself and into plied yarn to be wound again, this time back onto the spindle.


Just as all was going well, I hit a thin spot in my twist- GAH!- snap! Now what? I enlist the help of a seltzer bottle and begin again.


No worries, it's all good. Hopefully now, I've had enough practice to be able to remember the process without checking a reference the next time I need to wind Andean style. I just need to remember to tie a string around my finger.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

april showers on some flowers


Over the past few weeks, there has been lots of cleaning up and raking off in the garden. The garden measures 50'x75' and it is on a slope with raised beds that are stepped. It is hard to get a good perspective for taking a photograph that shows the size. This older photo was taken from the top of the slope. I'm standing in the Asparagus bed, near the rhubarb and the currants...looking out to the river and the hen house in the background, you might be able to tell that it is built into the hillside.


I've been waiting for a rainy day to burn some of my garden debris. You may be wondering, "Why burn instead of compost?"

While it is true that I compost most everything (weeds- leaves- chicken and rabbit manure- grass clippings- kitchen veggie waste and egg shells)...I do have my limits. I never compost the spent plants from the garden. I usually pull the entire finished plant (tomato, corn, bean, broccoli etc. etc.) and pile them up for burning. Burning will kill off any disease or spores and pathogens that some plants can carry. If a compost pile does not get hot enough, some of these pathogens will survive. If you then spread the compost and till it in, you would contaminate your soil. So burning these old plants is one way of keeping things clean.


Yesterday, the skies opened and it rained. Heavy, buckets of rain. I made a quick courtesy call to my local Comm center to inform them of my plans...and then set fire to the debris pile just as it was starting to sprinkle..a gentle rain.


The piles flared up quickly, but then smoldered as the rain started to fall steadily.

As I raked in the rain, the flowers kept catching my eyes. The color has started...


Now that things are cleaned up, the garden looks fresh and ready for planting season. Soon it will be time to turn the winter rye under. Green manure...the best kind there is.

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