About Chuck

I am retired after a career in electronics and in publishing. Today, my wife of 50+ years, Sylvia, and I live in a house on a hill beside a dirt road in rural west Michigan. We enjoy living in this country environment where livestock and wild life out number the human population.

Hangover

 

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Bloomers Are Showing

Standard size daffodils give perspective to the miniature variety

Sylvia reminded me that I had failed to include a photo of the miniature daffodils in my most recent post.  There are some of them in the upper right (not far upper right) of this photo.  To me they look the same, but smaller.  Perhaps Sharkey can see more difference that that.  She does have a well trained eye.  I’ve learned a lot about plant identification by reading her blog.

Miniature daffodils

I had also mentioned that there was only one snow drop blossom in view.  Fortunately, that has changed.

Some of the many snow-drop blossoms

I had a very hard time trying to capture an in-focus image of snow drops.  The ones in the lawn were most difficult and I even went out in the rain to try for better results.  I’m disappointed, but wanted to share what I did get.

These beauties grow out in the yard

It appears I need to read the camera’s instruction manual.  But I’m a guy, and guys don’t do that.  Do we?  Okay, I cheat some times and read instructions.  It’s not as much fun, but is frequently less frustrating.

Personal Update

I had a 6-month follow up with my cancer surgeon (urologist) yesterday.  Nothing disappointing or frustrating in that.  Once again he reported “perfect” test results.  We will continue monitoring.  And praying.

Easter Beauties

Easter afternoon, with camera in hand, I went in search of Easter beauty and here is what I found:

Only one snow drop growing in the shade

There was a single snow drop in sight.  On the others, I could see only green with no hint of blossoms.  As I searched for more, I had this wonderful encounter:

I’d forgotten about this lone crocus

I’d forgotten that a single crocus had survived.  That was until I saw it in all of its beauty growing quietly behind a pole and some mulberry brush.  It certainly brightened my day!

The daffodils are looking great

First there was the one blossom on a single daffodil and a few days later it seems that they are all in bloom.  We had a beautiful day to celebrate Easter.  And today, Monday, it is even nicer.  I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can.  Tomorrow, the forecast high is over 20 degrees cooler.  (It was good while it lasted.)

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.