Photo Challenge – Slithering Orange

It was one of those idyllic sunshine days in April. I was with several of my family members on Easter weekend walking along the Chesapeake Bay in Elk Neck State Forest.

The girls were making sand castles with small shells and sticks, the guys were watching the sun on the water, I was looking for pieces of driftwood.  My husband eventually joined me and we walked further up the beach.

“There’s a snake.” my husband suddenly said. He dislikes snakes much more than I do, but let me tell you, when you hear the word snake, and don’t see it, you become very aware of the surroundings and your shoulders instinctively raise up toward your ears just a bit. It was a little eerie when I finally saw it lying motionless among the gnarled roots and pieces of debris. I wondered how long it had been watching us.

The Northern Water Snake species is harmless. It was probably an older snake. Its back was dark and the orange bands on the bottom of its body were faint.  The bands are brighter and much more pronounced when the snakes are young.

We went our way and I suppose he eventually went back to his den when the sun went down. The orange banding on the water snake is my entry in Traveling at Wit’s End Photo Challenge – Orange


Plants – Forced Tulip Update

An update on the forced tulip bulbs: the gathering of bulbs bloomed in shades of red, pink and yellow; they bring joy into the house as they herald Spring.

The bulbs grew well in water, but those in sunlight are greener than the bunch on the kitchen table

Next year I plan to grow another package of forced bulbs in water, and when they begin to bloom transfer them to vases.

I found after blooming it was very easy to take the entire plant out of  water and place in a new receptacle. You are only limited by your imagination on how many unique places you can find to place these flowering bulbs.

The forced bulbs in potting soil grew best in a deep pot. The bulbs planted in shallow soil did very poorly, as the above photo demonstrates.

Will I force tulip bulbs in the bottom of my refrigerator again? Oh Yes!

You can read more on how to force Spring-blooming bulbs here: Bargains in the Clearance Aisle.

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.