Saturday, February 27, 2010

Badness and forgiveness.

Years ago when Wendie's Hammy was a little puppy, Hammy got a nice new bed. Hammy (unknown to Wendie at the time) completely shredded the new bed and then was so tired he had to go take a nap on his..........old bed.

My sister was unimpressed. She said anyone who has lived with a puppy has the exact same photo...

When puppies do something really, really bad, they're still pretty darn cute so you have to forgive them. But when it comes to Stella...

Let's just say I'm not feeling too guilty about her incarceration. Forgiveness for what she did to the tansu is not going to be an instant thing...even when she puts on her cute "I'm semi-sorry" puppy face.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Snow...and then no snow...

This has been going on for weeks. It kind of snows. Then it doesn't. Yesterday I watched the snow fall and it looked like a Christmas card....until you looked at the ground. Nothing but clear roads and green lawns. On Friday there was an hour of snow that must have been spectacular because some of the descriptions I heard was that the snow looked like falling white caterpillars and at another time during the hour, looking like white veils of curtains. I finally got to a window and saw.....rain. When it snowed this morning, you could hear it fall because it was coming down in ice pellets. But then it turned to real snow, great big pretty flakes of snow. Finally enough white to cover the ground. The outdoor starlings that usually give me a good staredown from the window in my back door moved to perch on the greenhouse window where my computer is and where I usually am. They were facing the wrong direction but I got the message. Time to open that coontina.

When I got outside, once again the yard was transformed. There's that snow again. The whiteness of it always brings out the pretty striations of my elm tree. I'm going to miss that elm when I move away from this house one of these days.

It's pretty every single time I see it, that fresh snow, even if it's just an inch. If I can't get sunshine from the sky, at least I can get brightness from the ground.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bad bird. Bad bad baaaaaad bird.

I've talked about how bad Stella can be before (she even has her own page on Wikipedia). That Stella, she is a bad one. What she did this morning was so bad I had to leave the house and drive to Urban to get some yarn therapy. Baaaad.

When I was up there I stopped to watch some geese swimming in the pond.

What good birds. Their thoughts were not about chewing wood or destroying anything.

And when they saw me, they stopped what they were doing and got the heck out.

But that would not be the behavior of Stella. I forgot she was out of her cage this morning (I let her sleep in the medicine cabinet on weekends because she enjoys it so much). The bathroom door was closed to prevent her escape but at some silent point in time, she jimmied the door open. When I heard her giggle, I knew she was proud of something, she was not in the bathroom, and I knew whatever she had done was going to be bad. Stella makes that giggle sound only when she knows she's making good headway in taking something down. I walked into the bedroom to find this (and she was not easily convinced to stop her project!)...

It just made me sick. She knows the bedroom is off limits....I'm taking a breath now because this whole thing still has me sick and stunned...okay, it's not as if the tansu chest is an antique, it's only 90 years old... I did get there in time before the entire thing was taken down...there are such places as furniture restorers and at least I have most of the tansu left to restore...

Oh Stella...I knew when I picked her name I needed something that sounded good when it was yelled because I knew parrots could be very, very bad. And Stella grew into her name very, very fast. I guess you can say she was just hatched baaaad. If I ever live with another parrot, I'm going to consider the name very carefully...something along the lines of "Sweetness N. Light Scaredawood."





Monday, February 8, 2010

It snows...and then it doesn't...then maybe it snows again...

The snow situation is nothing like what's going on in other parts of the country...but maybe it could be if the snow in this area tried a little harder to be more steady about what it's doing!!! I'm giving it a C+ for effort. It has been snowing though...but then it melts, sometimes at the same time as when it's falling. At some point it must secretly snow during the day or night because there's just a questionable fresh look to the fallen snow every time I look outdoors.

This morning I watched chunks of snow fall from the trees but that doesn't qualify as "snowing," does it? You can see some of the imprints of the snowballs that fell beside these starling tracks.....I just looked out the window, it's snowing again (looks like a C- for effort this time).

With all this half-hearted snowing and then having most of it disappear only to reappear a day or so later or overnight, let's just say it's very humid out there.

I drove out to that land in Kansas yesterday.

There was absolutely no other sound in the area but the fast movement of water in the creek.

And of course while all the melting snow filled the creek, it started to snow...not that it made much difference in the landscape but the humidity was doing something.

I realize it's winter so there shouldn't be that much color but for some reason, the neutral colors just seemed brighter...even beneath an overcast snowy sky.

The brilliant yellow green of this lichen and moss/fungi combo just glowed.

At the other end of the dead log was something I had never seen before. A tree-ear fungus.

They really do look like ears! Like vampire bat ears. >:-)

The cold and the wet of winter fills this fungi with water and when it becomes warmer and drier later in the year...they'll dry up and look completely different.

I'm going to have to remember to check and see if this is their dry form (same log but from several weeks ago when it was not so wet outdoors).

There are lots of dead trees or dead parts of trees on that land so looking for different kinds of fungi was a small adventure yesterday. Not that that was what I was looking for but every visit presents something new and this time, the theme of the day was dead trees and fungus.

The tree fungi actually are very pretty... for being fungus and all.

I pass by this tree a lot. It's the only one I've seen that has this stuff growing on it. The dead or dying tree is completely covered with these white textural patches. It' a pretty dramatic look, winter or summer.

The live trees were very pretty up close too and they all had an individual look to them. This tree had some golden vertical growth lines and a few lichens.

This one had very pretty multi-colored bark which had a slight greenish cast to it.

This one was extremely textural in a geological sort of way. The bark looked like eroded layers of sedimentary rock.

This one looked like powdered gingerbread.

And this one was very, very smooth. I know that this tree is a hickory but I think all the other ones are probably oaks or oak impostors (I could see nothing but "brown" black and/or white oak leaves on the ground beneath them).

It didn't take much for me to find trees in distress though. That patch of white in the middle? That's not snow in the tree, that's snow you can see through a hole in the tree!

And there are a lot of trees out there that look like ents buried upside-down with their heads in the ground. When I see these trees with two trunks, I think of Carol Hummel's underpants trees every single time.

Here is one of her trees in seasonally appropriate long johns...

I have a lot of trees in this upside-down position on that land. I'm going to need a lot of XXXXXXXXXXXXXL underpants if I can't move beyond looking at them like upside-down tree people. Good thing these trees from Sunday had the good sense to wear modesty patches. :-? Gawd.

Trees are a symbol of time and endurance and strength but I know the trees in my Kansas City yard require a lot of maintenance. Things happen. Ice storms, snowstorms, tornadoes and just general rottenness. Those trees on my land in Kansas? Just about every tree out there has a major story to tell about something that happened that shouldn't have if that tree lived in a perfect gardening world. If those trees were cats, those trees I'll be living with eventually are definitely of the stray cat persuasion.

All I can to do this first year is get to know the trees I see most often and find a way to make them sturdier and healthier. I've always loved trees and if I don't see a tree directly outside a window, I find a way to get one there. As for the fungi, I have to admit trying to identify what's growing on a dead or dying tree is pretty fascinating. I just don't want to see them on every tree, you know?