Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flag Day Floral Fireworks...Wordless Wednesday

This date marks the 240th anniversary of the adoption of the stars and stripes as the United States national flag. On June 14, 1777, the Second Continental Congress resolved that this be our new nation's symbol. Today, our flowers put on quite a show for the grand old flag! Without further comment:

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sexy Bloomers

One of the hardest aspects of moving south when we did was that we had to leave behind so many flowers! In retrospect, I planned poorly, and of course weather did not cooperate, it being February in Ohio and all... So I can only hope that someone else will enjoy our day lilies, our daisies, our fledgling hibiscus, and our knockout rose, not to mention the Rose of Sharon bushes along the back fence. Sigh. But we remain committed to having beauty in our lives and yard, and so we start over.
 First came the bougainvillea from our local hardware...we will try to winter it inside and enjoy it again next year!
It has thrived despite lots of rain, and it gets the attention of hummingbirds.
For nectaring critters, we added these blousey petunias early on, and they continue to prosper!
And what kind of southerner doesn't have an azalea? This one is now planted out front. We hope to plant one a year for the next few years to fill in a vacant bed. This one will tell us if we need to make changes to the bed. So far, so good...
 We added this delightful basket of petunias, as well.
I have spotted a little male ruby-throat checking it out!
 And of course we brought our babygirl geraniums!
 The oh, so sexy Ms. Rita Red
 And our darling Ms. Pinky Two-tone, the original pet geranium!
Actually, hummingbirds like our geraniums, too!
 Our girls make us smile, and they are bustin' out all over these days!
All these lovelies are out front where they get plenty of sun.
 As the resident flora came to life this spring, I saw that we had day-lilies in the ditch above our drive. The first to open was this gaudy thing!
 And now these are opening!!! We are beyond thrilled with them.
 They remind us that new beginnings are hard
But becoming who we are is a beautiful thing.
Out back, the signature feature on our lot is the presence of two beautiful white oaks, probably more than a quarter-century old.
Our lot also has an inordinate amount of rock beds. They are not unattractive when gassed with weed killer (I'm more into whacking and pulling), but really, how many rock beds does one need? So I am determined to convert this one out front into a wildflower garden...sometime...maybe.
As a start, I removed 3 dozen rocks from that little bed...and couldn't notice much of an impact...sigh. But those three dozen rocks served to built this bed, into which went 3 bags of soil and, though only 30 or so had been placed above, 3 dozen assorted impatiens!
Of course our dear Heather D. Sheep came with us to NC, and she has found the perfect summer spot for chillaxing! The soil is settling down nicely, and so are we. Now if I could only invent a true squirrel-proof feeder for my cardinals and titmice and such...

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Moody Mountain Ramble

To say we are moody these days is an understatement. Everyday life is just plain hard work. We continue to struggle with the long wait until surgery. TBH, we thought it might be a situation of "we've got to get you scanned and prepped asap!" But we do understand. There are so many demands, and we have the best surgeon and team for which we could hope. But seeing my wife of more than 26 years unable to walk without a walker and even then walking is iffy...that makes one moody. Our day yesterday was a classic example: we got up, got her in the car, and drove for over an hour to the MRI facility the surgeon needed to do her latest scan. She was on a lot of meds, which was good because she didn't get twitchy and the scan went fine. Once we got home, she crashed for a couple of hours. Then we went from tired and grumpy to celebratory as we partied with family and friends (meaning we ate a lot of bbq...this IS NC, after all) in honor of several high school graduates. But the meds wore off, so we came home and it was early to bed. My Bug, who REFUSES not to do as much as she can, got up early this morning and drove herself to a care facility where she played the piano for her father, her aunt, and her soon to be step-mother so they could sing good ol' hymns to the residents. That's my wife, folks. Tough as a pine knot once you get down to her core. Many a man in a position of authority could learn a thing or two....who am I kidding, an ENCYCLOPEDIA full of stuff...from women with such grit. But this post is not about politics or is about finding beauty and continuing to believe that better days will come and, even if they don't, nature will find a way to persist. Today we drove to our beloved Blue Ridge mountains to check on the progress of the Catawba Rhododendrons up at Craggy Gardens. We were not disappointed!

 Moody mountains majestic
 So lush with all the rain we've had
 Rolling along forever, it seems
Even when wet! As we hoped, the "big three" were already in bloom!
 Let's begin with an Appalachian treasure in and of itself: Rhododendron calendulaceum, the flame azalea!
 So beautiful, even in the rain.
Here mingled with another favorite: Kalmia latifolia, commonly called mountain laurel

 Aside: we also saw several of these beautiful flowering shrubs...arrowwood, probably, but big!

 And a bonus wild turkey, just strolling down the road...
And of course the real show-stealer every June, Rhododendron catawbiense, our beloved Catawba rhododendron!
 They are opening up in a hurry at Craggy, with peak timed as usual for around the second week in June. They will also be on display up on Grandfather and, of course, Roan Mountain.
 They have a short but spectacular season!
 One with which we were in harmony for a time, especially when we lived in Weaverville.
 Now we are close enough that we can visit them again!
Happily, riding in the car, or even driving, causes my Bug no pain. We won't be hiking the Craggy Pinnacle trail anytime soon, but yes, we can visit! All in all, a beautiful day for two souls pining for Appalachian solace.