Sunday, March 20, 2011

Two gloomy Sundays before the first day of spring

It had been several weeks since I visited Aussie and her posse because of precipitation in all its forms...fog, rain, sleet, frozen rain, snow, name it. But when I got out there two Sundays ago (albeit kind of late in the day), it might as well have been raining because it was so darn gloomy.

The lingering snow from the past couple weeks had melted and had been carried swiftly down the creek, flattening the grass growing along the banks. It's amazing what just one foot of moving water can do. I remember one time driving past a golf course one day after a flash flood and didn't figure out until much later that all the pumpkins decorating the green were not placed there intentionally. The flash flood had found a stand of them somewhere and carried them onto the golf course and left them all shiny bright in what looked like a planned Halloween display.

After a big storm or snow melting period, I look for things that get carried down the stream. My catch of the day was this big bundle of electrical wire.

I kept thinking of the Japanese tsunami that had happened two days before because one foot of rushing water is something. So is several feet. But a tsunami? A wall of water thirty feet high? Incredible. That footage of a port city that was there and then seven minutes later gone, I can't get that image out of my thoughts. The visual is so surreal, it's right up there with the 9/11 image of an airplane parked in the middle of the World Trade Center. I might have been out in Kansas looking to see if spring was happening yet... but the tsunami in Japan was what was really occupying my mind.

The "Hello Yellow" candy lily was a hesitant spot of green hiding behind its dried up old self.

A few seeds from that plant are starting to germinate in my bathroom window...

The Zizia aptera was coming up. I was excited to see that because I had planted these plants so late in the year. Zizia is a native wildflower that is a host plant for the Black Swallowtail caterpillar (you can't have butterflies if you don't feed the caterpillars).

The flower is a dainty and sparse umbel of bright yellow but the fragrance is incredible. Incredible. When I brought three little plants back from the Powell Gardens plant sale last spring, they scented up the car.

The surprise lilies were doing a very good job of coming up (the daffodils, however, were still sleeping in).

It looked like the forsythia waaaaay back there was just starting to turn yellow, or at least thinking about it.

When I was out there last Sunday, all the plants still looked about the same (the daffodils were putting more effort into coming up though). The woods looked the same too...just dried out brown wherever you looked.

Aussie, her posse and I crossed the bridge leading to that very steep hill.

This is the view from where we had just been. Lots of nothingness. And lots of nothingness in front of us. But on that day I decided to persevere and find those elusive property markers I'd been looking for for over a year.

Up the hill and over and down and across yet another creek, I finally saw the markers in the distance and also got to see something a little bit unusual for what was going on in the woods that day. The trees in that area wore lichen polka dots on them. Kind of took me by surprise. That polka dot on the bottom there almost looks like a peace sign. And as Meg pointed out, the tree behind it is actually making a peace sign!

Throughout all this hiking, there was the sound of cows in the background. Lots and lots of moooooOOOooooos. I had tried to take a picture of the calves the month before but before I could get out of the car, they had all turned their backs or did something to make them decidedly unphotogenic. :-/

Spring's happening but it's rather a somber one....despite dogs, polka-dotted trees, mooing cows and peace signs.

And then it snowed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gardening with dogs

Some digging needed to be done.

Tilly (in the front there) was the one who got it all started.

Everyone had excellent form.

Go, Tilly, go!

Elvis started to slack off and roll around in the dead leaves. Tilly had to take a break and go over and ask her dad what the heck was going a nice way of course, because she is a very good puppy daughter.

Aussie got in there and started digging her own hole.

And finally Tilly got hold of what was giving them so much trouble underground.

An irrigation system. I had no idea there was a network of soaker hoses connected under all that dirt.

The daylilies and irises probably benefited from all that um, aeration too.

Okay, Aussie. If you keep digging you're going to make it to China in no time. I think it's time to stop...

...and take a water break.

Last November, Pix and her Mr. Pix brought me some little sassafras treelets from their hacienda. Tilly helped me dig the hole for them.

Once I covered the hole with mulch and convinced Tilly that her job was done, she ran on over to be with her brother and father and two aunts. Work time was now over. Play time was on!

Aussie continued to supervise absolutely everything of course.

Sassafras trees are supposed to be very difficult to transplant but the ones that Tilly and Aussie helped me get into the ground are alive and as of Sunday, sprouting new buds.

Those dogs might be a little too enthusiastic with their digging but I just look at it (this time) as a lot of help from some extra green thumbs....or paws.....or something. And regarding the irrigation system, I never would have known about it unless some motivated pup pulled part of it out of the ground.

(By the way-no moles or mice or snakes or any sort of underground varmint were hurt or discovered in this weekend excavation.....surprisingly.)