Wednesday, May 02, 2012
Bits and Pieces on May 1st
It's May 1st. My larkspur just started to bloom, while the lanceleafed coreopsis and Missouri evening primrose started blooming a couple days ago. Helen Jane's rose is almost done. Looking back to photos from last year, my flower gardens seem to be about 2-3 weeks ahead of spring, 2011.
I finished weeding out the backyard buffalo grass over the weekend. We plugged it last summer, during the beginning of "the heat," and the plugs were still healthy and strong. It looked better than the buffalo grass in the front, which we didn't get to until August, but it had some areas where a particularly vicious mix of little barley, undead Bermuda grass, and annual brome (Japanese, I think, but maybe downy) were attempting to completely take over. Here is a photo, showing how much it has filled in...but how much it still needs to fill in, too. Hopefully the predicted heat, combined with our recent rains, will take care of that, now that I've got the competition out of the way.
In the vegetable garden, the 2 Brandywine tomatoes that Greg took a chance on (planting in mid-March) are looking "full and fluffy" and have started to flower. At least we should get a couple tomatoes this year! The first 6 broccoli plants are ready to harvest...although the harvester is not ready to deal with them, yet! The broccoli is a full month ahead of last year.
I've been trying to get out for walks along the trails this week, to see what's blooming. The boys, of course, accompany me. Blue, especially, enjoys a quick cool down in the pool of the draw every time we head back towards the house.
Once Blue has cooled himself down in this pool (which in MUCH less appealing than it looks in the above photo), he quite frankly reeks! Being a young and energetic German shepherd, he is likely to wander off and get himself into trouble if I leave him out unattended. So I rarely do so. I've taken to hosing him down when we get back to the house, but it only helps to a certain degree. Consequently every walk is now followed by a period of uncertainty in which I have to measure the total certainty of wet-stinky-dog-in-the-house versus the near certainty of young-idiot-dog-doing-something-like-visiting-the-neighbors'-horses-to-bark-at-them-in-the-hopes-of-getting-them-to-run. In farm country, this latter behavior is grounds for rapid termination and therefore it's not to be taken lightly. Usually near certainty wins out over total certainty before said dog is completely dry...so my house has taken on a definite eau de wet, muddy dog. It is not a pleasant perfume, but Blue's enjoyment of his regular "bath" is so deep that I feel unwilling to deprive him of this relatively harmless ritual. (And, truthfully, I'm not sure I could stop it, short of stopping the walks altogether.)
Moving on to a less odoriferous topic, I've seen my first snake of the season - a young garter snake in the back yard. The dogs and cats didn't even notice it! In fact, I was afraid Becker was going to lie down on top of it, but he ended up a foot away. Then I had a hard time keeping Blue from stepping on it while he plagued his big brother, trying to get him to play a bit more actively.
(If you look carefully in the middle of the photo, you'll see a dark line leading away from the big shepherd - that's the snake, trying to "get the heck out of Dodge!")
This morning I saw my first hummingbird of the year, so I've put up the feeders and I'm hoping that we'll have a pair nest in the yard again this summer. Since their nests are tiny and well camouflaged, I've never actually found one, but we've had a pair stay around all summer for the last several years, leading me to assume they are nesting somewhere nearby.
On a similar note, Greg reported that most of the nest boxes are occupied, including one that has a bluebird incubating eggs in it, but I'll have to post more about those later...after I've done a little more observing and maybe taken a couple photos. The blooming and breeding season of 2012 is certainly off to a rip-roaring start this year - now I've got to see if I can possibly keep up!