In like a lamb and out like a lion

Spring?  The phrase is supposed to be in like a lion and out like a lamb for March, but hey – this year has been anything but normal. Yes folks, it’s snowing today – not unusual for some of your locales, but very much so here.

Above is Narcissus Pink Pride today. As soon as I saw this on the computer, I went inside for a flashlight and camp lantern to try to get a bit of light into the shot – but in the few moments that took, this flower had hit the ground. Below is a shot of Pink Pride last weekend.

Scilla Siberica today, big fluffy snowflakes are weighing these down.

Scilla Siberica last weekend

Narcissus Dickcissel today

Last weekend, a happier Narcissus Dickcissel

Ruby Swiss Chard

Calibrachoa

Last weekend, a hawk. I’d been thinking I hadn’t seen many hawks. Predator birds. Also heard the screech owls move back in. Predator bird. Haven’t seen ANY hummingbirds at the feeders, unusual for me. Hoping the snow of St Patty’s Day simply sent them to lower elevations for a bit (Cornell notes they “eat smaller birds”, sigh).

This weekend, really big wet snowflakes, sadly empty feeders.

This post is participating in Sundays in My City – stop by to see what others are doing in their neck of the woods.

Hope Springs Eternal

It’s a rainy, dreary Sunday – indulging myself in indoor hobbies and this morning it’s gardening.

I’ve mentioned Winter Sowing seeds before (here and here), something I’ve been a fan of for years – it works.

   

My efforts are well underway. Some of the milk jugs had snow inside them (last weekend’s storm), but this week the seedlings are taking off as though that blast of chill startled them awake.

   

Knautia  on the left and closely Planted Pam’s Choice Foxglove on the right. The foxglove seed is at least 8 years old, so I didn’t expect such great germination. It’s a biennial – doesn’t bloom its first year, just sets a base of leaves that look like most weeds. Will have to mark where I plant them (and give away oodles).

The knautia are hardy here and have pretty neat seed heads (above is the knautia in maroon and lavender with seed heads), so I’ve planted white plus that wonderful deep maroon and lavender.

   

Short Blue and White Columbine on left. I’d run out of the larger milk containers I prefer for sowing. The smaller ones work but will have to be planted out sooner (and watched for overheating more closely).

     

Today’s efforts are centered on the “warm weather” seeds – eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. Many folks winter sow everything, but for these I like bottom heat and pushing them to get to a nice size for planting out. My new growing season is shorter than the previous home and I want to grab every moment. I’m pre-germinating the seed (detailed instructions here) then I’ll move it to the “root trainers” on a heat mat under shoplights. There’s a phrase “hope springs eternal” – last time I filled the four root trainer trays and got heavy into indoor seed starting – I lost almost all of them to damping off (I think the well water must really have those spores, never had such an issue previously). But, I’ve got a plan – we’ll see if it works. Today’s efforts also include mailing a few gift seed packets off and starting more herbs in jugs.

   

The beds during last week’s snowstorm and today (time to get the weed wacker out). The lowest bed is where I planted most previous year’s potted bulbs. They get a bit stressed in ‘too hot’ pots over the summer, so I’m taking what lived and nursing them with good soil plus bulb fertilizer. Hope to then get them in the ground to naturalize once they go dormant in a few months.

I’m also giving a go at Lavender cuttings  (and a few others) in the milk jugs. My endeavors will yield  either abundance of plant material or lots of food for the compost bins. Fingers crossed for the former.

This post is participating in Sundays in My City at Unknown Mami. 

Chasing clouds

Have been playing with capturing clouds and sunsets – no Photoshopping, straight from camera.

The above was camera in “sunset” mode – most of those come out too dark, I’m not a fan of the “pre-sets”.

I do well when I have an anchor in the composition (the hummingbird or telephone pole) but hope to make inroads in composition where I don’t (they’re interesting but you feel something missing). Photography class on the “to do” list for someday.

Have also been about town – next weekend is our town Christmas party, Dec 2nd from 5 to 8pm all the shops offer appetizers and snacks, there’s music throughout, a Santa parade, a roasted chestnut cart and more. Then, additional events on Saturday and Sunday to keep the spirit rolling.  I wrote about last year’s Holiday event here. Really folks – that beautiful handcrafted felted wool bag is only $40.00 at The Independent. I added a few other shots from her shop. She started on Etsy as the first one selling kits for making toddler clothes with designer fabrics and patterns within, she also creates jewelry (Linda Trent Jewelry). Her local shop comprises work from many artisan crafters in the area. It’s worth a stop.

   

This post is participating in Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City – be sure to stop by to see what others around the globe are up to.

Daffodil Dilemmas

 

Narcissus Bell Song

So, after deleting the blurred and the horrible, here I sit with 188 pictures of Ironstone’s gardens and their daffodils (it’s a good time to visit folks). What to do, what to do. Work and life has interfered with my ability to keep up with Sundays in my City as much as I’d like. From this hoard I could compose a few posts and be set for the near-term. I’d like to post a picture of one of each of the different daffodil types that I captured. Although my new(ish) home is not yet landscaped, my gardening obsession is fed by growing things in pots. Gardeners have differing passions; there are some whose excesses are triggered by the genus narcissus. 

Narcissus Modern Art

A friend in the Santa Cruz Mountains was one of these addicts. At the time, I didn’t appreciate her fixation or her insistence that nothing would grow for her throughout the summer. She’d scour the web and gardening catalogs for different varieties, backpack her toddler and go planting them across her hillsides. Now that I live in a similar environment with scorching dry summers and hungry foraging wildlife – I understand. Poisonous spring bulbs like narcissus are so rewarding in the face of all those summer disasters. I haven’t given up my attempts to grow something, anything, over the summer. But each spring in my mountain home finds me more determined to be crawling the hillsides populating my environment with the beautiful bulbs that actually adore the climate here.

Narcissus Flower Record

No worries, working on a satellite, the passages of time involved in uploading too many photos is not something I’ll undertake. Even so, my dilemmas around how to post pictures I want to share are difficult to resolve. What makes the most sense is what WordPress calls the static page – pages you see on the header bar other than home and these blog entries. I’d sprinkle this post with a few photos and link to a gallery on that page. Come fall I’d have a record on which to base my orders and something other gardeners can peruse. The issue I believe with static pages is that search engines don’t seem to find them. WordPress static pages don’t have categories or tags. Someone looking for a photo of narcissus Modern Art, may not be able to find mine. Yet I don’t want to do multiple posts on narcissus and, without effort to the contrary, this post will turn into a dissertation. Imperfect as it is, I’ll just do one post with all the individual photos. See previous post, Differing Daffodils, to view a sampling of what’s available.

Narcissus Dick Wilden

As far as suppliers, the big box stores offer reliable performers in varying tones. You should be able to find yellow, white and pink varieties easily. However, if you’re bitten by the addiction, you may want to check out Dutch Gardens, John Scheepers or Van Engelen Inc (the wholesale side of Scheepers, they tell me their website will be updated mid May with the fall catalog out in June). I’ve also heard good things about Brent and Becky’s bulbs, but I’ve not used them. Some websites take fall offerings down until the season for ordering; you have to wait for mark your calendar to check daffodils in late summer.

Professor Einstein seemed to be a favorite of the folks at Ironstone – it was everywhere you turn. It’s in the truck bed – so big, bright and clean – looks as though it can’t be real. Certainly striking. As we get a lot of rain through daffodil season, mid size height and smaller blooms enable the flowers to recover more easily from the battering. Thinking I may have to fill two pots for a protected front porch spot as Einstein is certainly a punch of cheer for those dreary days.

Ironstone Vineyard's Daffodils

Narcissus Kedron

The other thing you won’t be able to tell from the photographs is the substantial size (they are huge) of Holland Sensation and Mareika.  These may be perfect for a few places on the hillside as their size will make them more visible from a distance. However, the first order I’m placing is for Kedron as that orange on orange is a nice counterpoint to the yellows, whites and pinks I have. 

Just so you know daffodil is the common name for narcissus; some folks use the name jonquil for the same flower.

This post is participating in the Gallery of Favorites at Alea’s Leftovers.

Narcissus Pink Charm

Differing Daffodils

What to plant for spring color? Narcissus – So Many Choices! Photos taken at Ironstone, Murphys California. (plant bulbs in fall). 

Narcissus Accent

 

Narcissus Actaia

 

Narcissus Barrett Browning

 

Narcissus Bell Song

Narcissus Canaliculata

Narcissus Cassata

Narcissus Cheerfulness

Narcissus Cotinga

Narcissus Delnashaugh

Narcissus Dick Wilden

Narcissus Flower Drift

Narcissus Flower Record

Narcissus Grand Soleil D’Or

Narcissus Holland Sensation

Narcissus Ice King

Narcissus Jack Snipe

Narcissus Jetfire

Narcissus Kedron

Narcissus Kokopelli

Narcissus Loch Hope

Narcissus Mareika

Narcissus Matador

Narcissus Minnow

Narcissus Modern Art

Narcissus Mon Cherie

Narcissus Orange Petals

Narcissus Orangery

Narcissus Pink Charm

Narcissus Pipit

Narcissus Precocious

Narcissus Professor Einstein

Narcissus Rip Van Winkle

Narcissus Slim White Man

Narcissus Suzy

Narcissus Tahiti

Narcissus Tete a Tete

Narcissus Thalia

Narcissus Toto

Narcissus Verona

Narcissus Westward

Narcissus Winston Churchill

Well, I’d posted a few daffodil posts back to back and never linked this one out to my friends, so, I’m pulling it up to link to Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My City and Alea at premeditated Leftovers Gallery of Favorites.

Capricious Mother Nature

Mother Nature pulled a fast one on us this weekend. Murphy’s Irish Days is usually a day of joy, crafts, parade and fun. This year she decided to descend on us in a whirlwind of snow cold and wind. The evening before our morning parade, chains were required south of town, an extremely unusual occurrence. Power went out Friday night, as it’s wont to do with stormy weather. Our lovely fair day was overcast, cold and subject to sleeting rain.

I’ve missed Unknown Mami’s Sundays in My Citythe last few weeks and had planned a cheery update on our fantastic joyful happenings at Irish days. This blog party’s premise is attractive and some talented regulars participate. Alas (great word alas, every time I think of it I hear Dumbledore, “alas ..” when he got the icky Bertie Bott Jelly Bean) t’was not to be. Just couldn’t force myself to join many the hardy souls who braved the weather for the parade (that was blessed with a break in the rain) and events.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve continued to play with images of clouds, sunsets and, when the opportunity presents itself, rainbows.

I’d also considered a bit of a dissertation on my regular jaunt to Sonora, think the children’s song  “over the mountains and through the woods”. Eighteen miles of scenic, curvy mountain roads and a bridge across New Melone reservoir is all it takes. This was my destination Friday; I swung through a rest stop to get the image of a small portion of the drive. You can see below that although cloudy, you’d never guess the severity of the storm that would hit a few hours later.

A surprise of rain and hail at my last stop gave way to dense snow flurries halfway home. A few moments later and I may have hit the chain requirement or had to park at the top of my steep driveway and shovel it out. White out conditions descended.

Sadly, this was also the weekend for Ironstone’s Daffodil Days. Here’s the progression of what happened to a pot of mine from snow last night to melt this morning. If I’d tried to spend the day in town today, believe I’d have fared about as well.

 

UPDATE SUNDAY MORNING – FIRST DAY OF SPRING! This is what the above pot looks like Sunday morning – and the National Weather Service is still showing I should be in the mid forties with only rain (talk about being off on predictions). They are forecasting snow this evening around 4,000ft – I’m at 2,500 and the snow hasn’t let up for a moment. Thicker, deeper and heavier than Friday and above pics. Oh oh, power flickering, not good – would really like to have a Sunday with power, heat and water …..

This post is participating in the linky parties noted below.

Radiant Sun and Ravishing Beauty, my town

Following the meandering stream through my lovely mountain town is my theme for this week’s Sundays in my City (tiny town) post.  We’ve been blessed with an unusual series of balmy winter days radiant with sunshine and temperatures of 60’s. This is truly a joy and to be enjoyed out of doors, cameras in hand.

For those of you who don’t know much of Murphys or Calaveras county, you should know that Mark Twain immortalized us in his short story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County“, which was also the title of his very first book.  Towns in the county are adorned with frogs and each year the County Fair holds a frog jump contest to the delight of both children and adults. The large fiberglass frogs are a real to do – with a waiting list and contests for “theme”.  At some point, I may post only a collection of those, but this week I’m only sharing the one by our library. Your photo journey begins in our park and continues through some untamed areas around town.

Murphys is pretty much a volunteer run town – with different non-profit groups of residents overseeing our library, Murphys Community Park which I’ve featured in the slideshow, the school fields and so much more. The Murphys Business Association and Calaveras Winegrape Alliance also host many of the best events we offer.  The park gazebo in the summer is host to Friday Music in the Park where we enjoy Cajun or other bands, while one of our non-profits mans the snack and beverage fundraisers and children and adults dance, nosh, visit and delight in the wonderful dusk of summer in Murphys.

My tour of our glistening stream through town would not be complete without the punch of those red berries that splatter our landscape in the winter months or that exquisite small gazebo I’ve been lusting after since I first saw it near the library in a private garden.

 

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The way the slideshow works, any picture (including those badges that I link to) shows up in it, so for this post I’ll simply provide links to the parties:

Sundays in My City