Meanwhile . . .

The first daffodil has ventured forth into bloom.  But why is it staring at the ground.  Perhaps it’s lonely?

Our first daffodil of 2014

It won’t be lonely for long, there are many more that should be in blossom by week’s end.  We’ve still got a lot of work to do out there in the flower gardens.

And in the vegetable garden life is returning.  I showed you rhubarb recently.  Today, I noticed that garlic is also shooting up.

One of three giant garlic plants that I saw today

I tried to hide as many weeds as possible in the photos.  Unfortunately, they seem to thrive.  No matter what.

There’s probably a parable in there, don’t you think?  It takes work to get the good things to grow in our lives.  Unwanted stuff seems to flourish.  My maternal grandma always told me, “Pull the weeds while they’re small.”  She meant that for a parable too.  She was a wonderful woman.  (And she loved cats.)

What a Difference

Some of you may remember the song, “What a Difference a Day Makes.”  That certainly is true.  Especially this morning.  As I looked out the office window the snowy scene of yesterday had transformed into an Emerald Eden.  Wow!

Compare this to the photo of the same scene that was taken and posted yesterday.

The psalmist wrote: “weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”  A new day can certainly bring a whole different perspective?  I’m sure that’s why the wise ones tell us to “sleep on it.”

Overnight Express

Yesterday, spring ruled.  Snow banks had dissolved.  The landscape was quickly greening–you could almost see an hour-by-hour change.  Then . . .

Overnight temps dropped, the wind blew and this happened.

Hey! What happened last night?  When I appeared with camera in hand, one angry looking robin flew away.  He had the look of one who has been insulted and deeply offended by this change.

Was it the blood moon that brought this?  Perhaps it’s because today is April 15?

If it was the latter, is that related to the fact that I had to go in for a blood draw today?  The roads were not good driving into town.  They were much improved on the return trip.  However that people at the walk-in care center in Hastings are all super good.  Jessica didn’t stab me today, it was Kelly’s turn to play Dracula.  However, because Jessica is my “good luck lab tech,” she touched the vial for me.  Okay Jessica got that reputation because she’s done all the other post surgical blood tests.  And they’ve all been as close to perfect as it gets.  It’s been six months since the cancer surgery and I’m hoping for another good report.  Perhaps then I can have my follow-on monitoring done closer to home.

Hope spring eternal.  Even on an April 15.

Signs of life

I love to see those early signs of life in the gardens.  I’m feeling a little sad that we have no crocus or hyacinth to point the way into spring for us.  Surely, that must be done for next year.  Right?

We have snow drops, which we may actually see in another week or so.  Because they are planted on the west side of the barn in a shady spot, they do not come up early.

A couple of years ago Sylvia planted some hollyhocks in “Granny’s Garden.”  It is a sunny flower garden beside the house that was given that name by our granddaughter.  They are flourishing.

Hollyhocks enjoy the sun in this southeast facing garden.

Meanwhile, beside the driveway in the upper walk-out garden, the daffodils are showing signs of life.

How much longer before Daffy shows us her petty-coat and skirt?

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of the catnip.  Our best crop came from an area that was disturbed by a (yet unfinished) construction project.  I managed to transplant some and it has taken hold.

Nellie is going to love this!

I harvested a single leaf and took it to Nellie, who became excited about her gift.  She rewarded me with lots of “kitty kisses” on the finger and thumb, which I used to carry it to her.  I’m happy for her, but even happier for us human folk

Yes! Rhubarb coming up. How long until we can make the first pie?

Did you know that another name for rhubarb is “pie plant?”  Great name for it.

Lots of garden work coming up this year.  I’m ready.

Now that it’s over

Now that winter is over, that is . . .  It was a hard, tough winter for all God’s creatures–at least it was in this part of the world.  Take the deer, for instance.

This shot from March shows how the bold deer have nibbled away at the cedars that flank this end of our house.

They have eaten on cedars that surround our house.

We had a hungry deer population this winter.  Can you see how much more they have eaten of the cedar beside the basement door?

At the bottom of the lawn, they also went after the yews.

In the past 14 years, this is the only time the deer have eaten this much of our yews.

The sad part of this story is that everything looks so dead this spring.  They say that spring will arrive late and be slow in doing so.  But on the positive side of the ledger, the slow warming trend allowed much of the snow melt to sink into the ground and we weren’t faced with severe flooding as we have seen in past years.  It also resulted in fewer problem areas along the secondary (dirt) road that we live beside.

Rejoice the sun is shining and green is peeking.  More on that next time.


For 19 years, Sylvia and I lived just a few minutes drive from Storrs, home of the University of Connecticut.  During that time the sports department hired Geno Auriemma as head coach of women’s basketball.  And a legend began.

In 1995, we were aware that the UConn women were in the NCAA final four.  Sylvia and I walked into a small restaurant about 20 miles from our home.  We were looking for a good place to eat, and this was a scouting trip.  Oh yes it was.

We were seated opposite each other in a booth.  At one end of the room someone had setup a TV set.  The championship game was just starting.  Soon Sylvia and I were seated on the same side of the booth so we could both watch the action.

When we left that restaurant, UConn women had won their first national championship.  Sylvia and I were UConn fans.  It wasn’t hard to follow the Huskies the next season.  Every game was televised, either nationally or state-wide on Public TV.

Last night UConn finished a perfect (40-0) season and the women lifted the university’s ninth national championship in women’s basketball trophy.  Wow!

Photo courtesy of ESPN

And so it came about that I watched my first basketball game of the season, which was also the last game of the season.  It also reminded me of why I had been such an avid fan when we lived in Connecticut.

Photo courtesy Hartford Courant

Yesterday was a great day.  Yes, UConn won, but the best part of yesterday is that our younger son, Scott, celebrated another birthday.

The sun is shining and the weather is good.  Ah yes, life is good!

Nellie’s Tower

My friend, Bob, posted a photo of his three cats napping on a (for lack of a better description) kitty tower.  I liked the looks of it and inquired about details in an e-mail to him.  His response included a link to the online store where he had purchased his tower.

I followed the link, checked out the options and placed an order.  It arrived on Tuesday just before lunch time.  The bulky 59-pound package was not something I could easily carry, so I rolled it over obstacles and pushed it across the floors.

Soon, I had the parts laid out and had begun assembly.  It went together easily.  For now, I’ve left off the highest level.  The photo shows why.

Assembled and in place

The big question would this appeal to Nellie as much as it did to me.  It didn’t take long to discover the answer.

“I like it.”

Then she discovered her favorite part of her tower.  From there she can watch me in my recliner, and she can see what’s happening in her kitchen.  (That’s where her food bowl is, and a gal must keep an eye on that.  Right?

Queen of all she surveys

Life is good.

We Interrupt . . .

How long has it been since you’ve heard the words, “We interrupt this program to . . . ?”  Perhaps I date myself by even asking the question.

On a recent afternoon, I had finished several chores and settled in front of the TV for some “down time.”  I tried watching something (I don’t remember what it was), but a drama began to unroll on the police scanner that resides beside my recliner.

Soon the TV was turned off as my attention was devoted to two or three officers plus the canine unit as they tracked down a fugitive.  They would spot their target as he fled through swamps and fence rows.  However, they would soon lose sight of the bad boy.

Then, the canine handler reported that the dog was on the scent.  It still took another 10 or 15 minutes to apprehend the fugitive.  But eventually the canine unit reported his capture.  I hear such things frequently, but never, well almost never, hear how they end.

Today it was a reckless driver on the Interstate.  A motorist had called 911 to report the driver and was on the line with central dispatch.  (That phone call does not go out on the radio–only the discussion between the dispatcher and the officers.)  As I listened, an officer was closing the distance to the suspect.  Dispatch reported that the vehicles registered owner had a couple of DUI convictions.  The caller reported that the vehicle had taken an exit, and turned north at the end of the ramp.  The patrolling officer was soon at the exit and turned north.  He soon reported, “I see it headed west and it’s all over the road.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure what probably happened next.  We’ll never know.  That doesn’t get reported over the 2-way.

A new door

The big barn door that we use the most, has been a problem.  Frost, ice, drifted snow can make it very difficult to slide the door open.  I’ve wanted to do something about it.  And finally did.

Stage one complete

The contractor lives on our road, but on the other side of the Interstate (no bridge on our secondary, dirt road).  He had to frame in a new doorway–the original doorway was too wide for a standard size door.

Stage two — Finishing touches

The final step was to install new steel on the wall and trim around the door.  The new overhead door works like a dream.  And it looks good too. :cool:

Job completed.

Perhaps, if I save $$ for a few more years, I can replace the other door.  Maybe even install an opener.  Nah!  No need for those frills.