Perspective – Coming Attractions

I have observed the signs: the date on the calendar, felt the temperature rise, taken notice of longer daylight hours. I am assured Spring is coming soon. I’ve used this beautiful photo of a convolvulus flower and bee in a previous post, but this Sabbath Day seems a good time to revisit it and be reminded of coming attractions.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” ~ I Thessalonians 4:16-17

The Lord will come again.

Perspective – Bugs in the House

I made two mistakes when I picked up a cat food crumb off the carpet. First, the crumb was not a crumb at all! As I neared the kitchen trash can the piece of kibble began to move. I looked at what I held in my palm and instinctively threw it on the floor, a stink bug. I picked the bug up with a tissue, wrapped it like a mummy, and deposited it in the trashcan.

What was my second mistake?

Stink bugs are detestable but also awesome at the same time; the indestructible insect somehow unwrapped itself and climbed out of the trash can. I didn’t make the same mistake. I threw the stinker away again and sealed the trash bag. Victory!

I don’t like stink bugs, but I love ladybird beetles. They also find their way into the house in the winter, but are welcome guests. I found one on my tomato sprouts and was so enamored I took a dozen photographs of her as she traversed the top of the party cups. Sweet!

Pheathers – Spring-Cleaning

An ‘oddball‘ place to find a piece of Easter Grass.

The days are lengthening, the temperature is rising, the gardens are beginning to thaw, time to clean the birdhouses before birds begin nesting again. We removed the bottom of the birdhouse and discarded the debris left by the previous occupants. Two of the birdhouses were rather empty, causing me to wonder if birds have already begun renovating and tossed out the twigs inside. One house was still full of sticks and a small nest. We spotted a single sprig of Easter basket filler woven into the dried grass.

We rehung the birdhouses with new strips of leathers. The knots harden and don’t loosen up once they are wet by rain. Although they might hold up another year I like to change them when we clean the houses. The three birdhouses are ready for new life. I might add another one on a tripod near my back window as I have in the past. Birdhouses 101 advises to place houses at least five feet above the ground and keep each house twenty-five feet away from the others.

“Make yourselves nests of pleasant thoughts. None of us knows what fairy palaces we may build of beautiful thought-proof against all adversity. Bright fancies, satisfied memories, noble histories, faithful sayings, treasure houses of precious and restful thoughts, which care cannot disturb, nor pain make gloomy, nor poverty take away from us. ~ John Ruskin

This post is part of Weekly Photo Challenge hosted by Traveling at Wit’s End: Feathered Friends.

Photo Challenge & Pressed Flowers – A Departure From the Norm

I found a great weather vane last weekend, but didn’t have a camera with me. I drove back to the location on Monday, and NO, realized I had forgotten the camera. I will try again before next Wednesday, but for this week’s vane, I’m going to fall back on an old cliche: necessity is the mother of invention. Before you is that invention, a weather vane created with pressed flowers.

The flowers have been between the pages of books, in a dark closet, for 8 – 10 months. A few have faded, but I was surprised by the vivid color some blossoms and leaves retained. The flower names, bottom to top are: Alyssum, Pentis, Blue Lobelia, Marigold Florets, Johnny-Jump-Ups, white filler flower, (can’t remember the name) a Chasteberry leaf, separated for the pole, and some vine sprigs forming the vane.

The sweet bluebird was created from two petals of a beautiful blue Delphinium. A perfect fold in the petal created the bird’s wing, the darker discoloration at the tip resembles a beak. The tail was cut with small manicure/embroidery scissors into a bow shape. A small dot with a sharpie was all that I needed for the eye. While writing this post I suddenly realized my little bird almost resembles a fish. Perhaps my next pressed flower scene will be underwater. 😁

The letters…hmmm…a bit of a mystery??? No…I didn’t form them from vines. Trying to find and place curving pieces of stem and vine would have been a nightmare. Instead, I photographed the flower composition and used Ribbet to place the letters depicting north, south, east and west.

Thanks to these bloggers for taking part in last week’s challenge:
Dunrobin Hall Vane – Exploring Colour
Allendale and the Topper Site
Flying with wind – Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Pressed Flowers – The Oddities of Pressing and Forced Tulip Update

Today I found an oak leaf with a beautiful section of skeletonized vein. The lacy leaf reminded me it’s time to take a walk in the woods and meadows to search for aged leaves and other oddities that will be good for flower-pressing.

When all the Autumn leaves disappeared this year I spotted a large hornet’s nest in a tree near our home. Every time I drove into my neighborhood my eyes were drawn to the nest. I have pressed hornet’s nest paper in the past and was hoping to have a chance to do so once again, but the nest hung on. I could see it was deteriorating and had little hope it would be usable when it fell.

This weekend, after another heavy rain, it slipped off the branch and hit the road. I saw it in time to collect it and just might be able to salvage some of the hornet-made paper to press. I don’t need to worry about eggs inside. I know only the queen survives and hibernates in bark or other crevices until it is warm enough to start a new nest. According to Pets on Mom.me, the hornet queen never returns to the old nest. I’m hoping to discover a way to slice the egg cell paper also, and will try to press that too; I love the pattern the hornets create.

Here’s a quick update on the tulip bulbs we forced. The bulbs in water and river rock are outpacing the bulbs planted in the shallow container of soil. I’ll update on bloom quality when they open up. My grandson was amazed when he visited a few days after planting the bulbs and saw how fast they had grown.

Pheathers – Phriday Pheathers/Bird Cam Time

It’s time to watch nesting hawks, cahows, hummingbirds, eagles, owls, etc.

PANAMA BIRD FEEDER LIVE CAM

You can find many more links on the Cornell Lab Live Cam pages across the top bar.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Cams

HUMMINGBIRD NEST LIVE CAM

Explore Live Cams also has many links to live animal and bird cams.

Explore Live Cams

ISAIAH AND MRS JEFFERSON – EAGLE CAM AT DOLLYWOOD

CAUTION: You might find yourself addicted to these amazing cam sites. ❤

Perspective – Throwback Thursday/Books & Cereal

New Bikes and Dolls – Christmas 1963 (I’m on the right)

According to Days of the Year, today is World Book Day. Since today is also Throwback Thursday I thought I would think back and list my favorite books of childhood and preteen years. I read many other books too, but these are the tales I know I read more than once. Did you read any of these as a child?

Little House Books by Laura Ingalls
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Heidi by Joanna Spyri
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Tales from the Arabian Nights (compilations)
Red, Green, Yellow Fairy Books (compilation)
All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman (This is an adult book that I adored as a child)
The Secret Garden by France Hodgson Burnett
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Charlie Cockatoo by Keith Moxon
The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore by Laura Lee Hope
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss
What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
Patty Fairfield by Carolyn Wells
Elsie Dinsmore (first four books) by Martha Finley
* Adding Anne of Green Gables…how could I forget my beloved Anne?

March 7th is also Cereal Day. Compiling the book list brought up remembrances from the past; I recalled a cereal commercial from the 1960’s that made my 6 year-old self laugh hysterically. Crispy Critters featured a lion getting stampeded by dozens of cereal animals.

I also remembered Lorenzo the Clown and his stomp dance. When I watched the Youtube video I remembered doing the dance with my sister. It probably was the peak of my dancing career, before the inhibitions of possibly looking silly set in and I became a wallflower.

Researching this post I found The Lorenzo Show was a local Baltimore program. That is probably why when we moved away from Easton, Maryland, I don’t remember ever watching Lorenzo again. I might just try Lorenzo’s stomp with my grandchildren when we have our next sleepover. Fun!

Photo Challenge – Side Roads and Odd Menageries

“Take the back roads instead of the highways.” ~ Minnie Pearl

In late winter, we often find ourselves driving down side roads. All of our tried and true winter activities have usually been visited and we like to try a few voluntary detours off our usual paths. Over the last few weekends we’ve collected quite an assortment of oddities while searching for weather vanes. The selected vane for this week is hard to see against the thick bramble of branches. We think it is an Irish Setter and we wouldn’t be surprised if one is in residence in the home below.

As we were driving I spotted this scare wolf. At first glance I thought it was alive. It took a moment, and the zoom lens on the camera, to see the pole holding him up. My husband thought we had spotted this oddity on past trips.

The farmer who owns this field should consider a scare animal of some type too. I’ve never seen so many wild turkeys in one place. I can imagine the damage they would do to just-seeded crops or sprouts.

This beautiful angel and surroundings are a natural black and white photograph without any tweaking, perfect for Cee’s black and white challenge: tender moments. She is in a graveyard, a monument to a General who died in 1906. The angel’s wing has been lost to erosion or vandalism, but it is no less beautiful for the loss.

A last image of our trips down side roads is this sand plant in South Jersey. The plant is still functioning, but many of it’s buildings are on the verge of falling down in one of our N’orEaster storms. I thought this building a good example of abandoned architecture.

Thanks to these bloggers for taking part in last week’s challenge:
Exploring Colour – Waipapa Point Lighthouse
Geriatri’x’ Fotogallery – Weathercocks
The 59 Club – Wider Than a Mile

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Plants – Update/Pussy Willow Catkins

The pussy willow branches, placed in water and displayed on my mantel, thrived for weeks. The lengths below the water line rooted, and the catkins grew and developed fuzzy yellow pollen. The catkins had a life of their own, dropping from the branches onto the floor, becoming toys for my cat to play with in the middle of the night.

Today I potted one branch up to plant as a tree in the backyard.

The tips are already growing leaves, and I have high hopes I won’t have to buy branches next year to force indoors, but will have a supply of my own to use.

Planting – Clearance Aisle Update/Forcing Tulips

In November I posted on clearance aisle tulip bulbs stored in my refrigerator drawer among the carrots and other vegetables. This weekend, to break up another monotonous winter day with hopes of Spring, my youngest grandson helped me begin to force the bulbs. The tulips are in a mixed-colors package. Although we might speculate about which dreamy colors will unfurl, it’s totally a matter of chance as to color combination.

Forcing Tulip Bulbs for Spring

The health of a few of the bulbs was in question when we saw some greenish mold around the sprouting end. If the bulb also had a spongy feel I tossed it out. We were left with over two dozen to plant. Most of the bulbs already had about a half inch of stem growth. We planted some in soil in deep terracotta pots and others in shallow ceramics.

We covered plastic pots with moss to disguise their unnatural appearance and planted in those. My favorite display is the tall vase with black river rock on the bottom, filled with water to just over the top of the rocks, the tulip bulbs can be watched from start to finish as they develop. Since we did find a bit of mold we removed the brown covering of the bulbs that show through the glass. I learned something today, the outer layer of paper-like husk on a bulb is called a tunic.

“Tunicate bulbs, like tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and ornamental alliums, have a paper-like covering called a tunic that protects the fleshy scales from drying out. “~ Delaware Online

While researching the properties of a tulip bulb I discovered a week-long Tulip Celebration in Lewes, Delaware, April 5th – 14th. Lewes is about a three hour drive from our home. It is also accessible from the Cape May/Lewes Ferry. If you love tulips and are near Delaware at this time, perhaps you’ll find time to celebrate in Lewes and welcome Spring.

Quotes & Prayer – Prayer is the Greater Work/Quotes of Oswald Chambers

“Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work” The Key of the Greater Work: Oswald Chambers

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~Ephesians 6:12

Pheathers – Lion or Lamb

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“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens

Beneath the blue skies of midweek it appeared March might come in cold, but beautiful and clear. I admired the migratory flock of birds dotting my neighbor’s tree. Host to an iridescent mix of grackles, red-wing blackbirds, cowbirds and starlings, the tree was the stage for a twittering cacophony of bird talk.

Unfortunately, winter has not reached its turning point, and March arrived wrapped in a mantle of snowfall. Regardless of its chilly start, I know warmer, radiant weather will eventually ensue and appease my winter-weary mood. March days will soon find me in my garden turning over the soil to once again welcome spring.

Planting – Updates

Do you remember the sea bean pod I found on Cape May’s beaches a few weeks ago? I culled out four of the small trees that sprouted and potted one up to grow to a larger size. The seedling is most likely a black locust tree, but my daydreams find me still wondering if the pod might have made a seaward journey from the tropics via the Gulf stream to Cape May.

The sea bean seeds are a good example of garden wisdom: nick and soak large seeds before planting. The sweet pea seeds I soaked, and also nicked with a nail clipper, have already sprouted outdoors in the winter sown containers, while those not treated are only beginning to swell a bit.

Here’s an inside peek at one of the milk jugs. The arugula seeds are already growing. Also sprouting outdoors is broccoli, mustard spinach and the sweet peas.

For plants that will only grow in warm conditions, such as coleus, I’m having good luck in the basement. A small heater inside a plastic covered light table mimics a greenhouse and the seeds are sprouting well. They will not need to be thinned since I sowed them with the small seed sowing method.

Photo Challenge – Weather Vane Wednesday/Angelic Skies

I found two beautiful angelic weather vanes in a nearby town for this week’s weather vane challenge. They are atop roofs in Wenonah, New Jersey. One was a very well-dressed angel blowing a trumpet. The other a naked cherub who looked a little cold to me in February’s stiff breeze.

A nearby church also had a weather vane on its steeple.

It was knocked askew and didn’t look particularly stable to me.

Perhaps neighborhood vultures roosted on the vane, loosening the apparatus that held it in place. There were once so many vultures in Wenonah during the wintertime the town held festivals with vultures as the theme. I read today the festival is no more due to the vultures leaving…perhaps they are making a comeback this year.

Thanks to these bloggers for taking part in this week’s Weather Vane Wednesday challenge.

Geriatri’x’ FotoGallery – Weather Vanes of the Curonian Lagoon
Exploring Colour – I Saw A Fine Horse
The 59 Club – History of Barbie Doll

The Photo Challenge: Each Wednesday, I post a photograph of a Weather Vane with a short description of where it can be found and any history connected to it. The main focus of the challenge is the photo of the Weather Vane and the location. The challenge can be Wordless if that is what you choose. If you would like others to see your post leave a link to your blog in the comment box. You can also tag the post #weathervaneweds. If you place a link to my post in your post you will create a pingback that will appear in the comment section. The challenge is open all week for comments and posts. Thanks so much for taking part in my challenge.

Many thanks to Cee, of Cee’s Photography, for including this challenge in her listing of WordPress Challenges. If you love challenges take a look at this page and while you are there check out some of Cee’s terrific posts. Thanks Cee!

Plantings – The Joy of Pink/Kammie’s Oddball Challenge

Every year one of my gardening goals is to try one new and unique vegetable or flower. This year I chose pink celery from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

I won’t be at fault if the celery doesn’t grow. Although I’ve never grown celery before, I’m planning to start it three ways. The package says to begin 8 – 12 weeks before the last frost. That time is now. Last night I planted the celery in a milk carton for winter sowing. Tonight I will plant it in flats to grow under lights inside. Lastly, when the soil warms, I will try a few seeds directly in the soil.

Pink Celery…I think it odd enough to be part of Kammie’s Oddball Challenge this week. I can’t wait to show this oddball vegetable to my grand-daughters and their mother…they all love pink!

Pleasures – Warm Day Walkabout/Emerging Spring

We’ve had an up and down week, snow one day, gorgeous sunshine and a taste of springtime the next. A midday walkabout was just what I needed.

A glance upward revealed a blush of Venetian red maple buds against the blue sky.

In my yard I noticed the wisteria pods have been scavenged for food. Spring can’t come quick enough for the hungry animals.

The daffodils are pushing upward. I love the smooth texture of the spring green in contrast to the brown leaves, mosses, and dried grass textures of winter.

I checked on my winter sown containers. Nothing is sprouting as of yet. It’s time for me to take my permanent marker outdoors again and reinforce the labeling of the contents. I don’t want to try and guess what’s growing inside when it’s time to plant.

As always, the first bloom in my garden is this tiny yellow crocus. Every year, it’s a reliable forerunner of all the glorious flowers to come. Am I excited about this taste of spring? Oh Yes!