Allow me to introduce the newest member of our family. This is “Fidgit,” a two-year-old Welsh Pembroke corgi. (The breeder’s name, not ours. Oh and she also has one of those long official kennel names, but we’ll never use that.)
Our beloved longhaired dachshund, Geneva, died in March, and the house was just too quiet without the pitter patter of little doggie feet.
You might notice that Fidgit is a little damp. That’s because she is a great lover of the water. This was the first time she’d ever been on a beach, and she ran right in!
We asked the breeder about this, and after she stopped laughing, she said that Fidgit’s grandmother also loves the water.
She is also fond of rolling on the legs of dead spider crabs.
Running through the waves is another favorite activity. We love to watch her do this. It’s so interesting that she would have this affinity for the beach and salt water (and crab legs) never having been to the shore until now. Better late than never!
So far, she’s fitting right in to our life. Geneva is irreplaceable, but it feels wonderful to have a joyful canine presence in the house again.
As I was walking and driving around our neighborhood this week, I was struck by the stunning display of the magnolias. Once again, I snapped these quickly with my iPod. No time to run home and grab my camera.
This magnolia, with larger, burgundy-colored blooms, is the only one of its kind around here. It lost a major limb during superstorm Sandy, but it seems to be hanging in there. You can see where the branch tore off. I hope it survives. The flowers are single. Probably an old cultivar.
This pink one is common, but that doesn’t mean it’s not amazing. Look at how full it is. It almost hides the house, doesn’t it?
And finally, the white, fragrant beauty at the end of the street. It’s the first to bloom and it’s kind of winding down now, but you can still smell it when you walk by.
The dogwoods will be next, and I’m ready!
There it is, right beside the flats of pansies. The arsenal of chemicals that home gardeners will unleash on the environment. I love those “Wild West” themed commercials that make spraying your dandelions the manly thing to do. The man whose dandelion dies the quickest wins the shootout at the suburban driveway.
Whatever happened to pulling? Or burning? Or, heaven forbid, ignoring?
And that wasp and hornet killer. Are you sure it’s not going to kill beneficial insects like bees and dragonflies? How many people store this stuff properly, as per the instructions on the container, and how much of it ends up leaking and forgotten on a shelf in a shed or basement?
The name “Home Defense” is absurd. If you have a serious problem on the level of defending your home from truly dangerous invaders, you should be calling a professional. It’s much more effective, and safer for you, too.
When it comes to your lawn, do you fall for that “4-step” hype when all it takes to grow turf is really good soil? These products are energy-intensive to manufacture, hazardous to the environment, and do nothing to enhance soil quality. In fact, lawn chemicals kill beneficial organisms, creating grass that is a chemically-dependent desert.
Most people don’t care about that, I guess, but a few of us do. Please consider alternatives before you spray.
The truck arrives to remove the seed-filled mover
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how a red squirrel adapted to the giant earth mover that’s been marring what little remains of our view since before Christmas. He or she doesn’t hang around here during the summer, but there’s evidence left behind.
Last week, a man came to take the machine away, but there was a problem: it wouldn’t start. He came to our house to ask if we had an outdoor electrical outlet he could use to start the thing, but alas, our older house does not have such a modern convenience. I took the opportunity to ask him whether he had found anything in the cab, and he replied that it was “full of seeds and corn,” a testament to the squirrel’s determination and hard work over the winter.
Oh, and here’s the monster garage that eclipses our salt pond view. It is so big, a reporter doing a profile of our neighborhood mistakenly wrote that it was a house!
Last weekend, my friend and I hiked the Tuckerman Ravine trail on Mt. Washington, (in the state of New Hampshire for readers who are outside the US). We were blessed with perfect weather, albeit wintry. There was complete snow cover, and crampons were a must. My kind of day. Pardon the less than stellar quality of the photos. I was lazy and used my iPod.
I had done this trail eight years ago and guess what? I didn’t remember what a slog it was – 1,850 feet straight up. For more information on the ravine, click here.
When we reached the base of the ravine about two and a half hours later, there were many hikers, skiers (and dogs of various descriptions), all enjoying the sunshine and getting ready to climb or skin up the ravine so they could ski or otherwise slide down. It was chilly in the wind though, so we stayed just long enough to refuel and take it all in.
On the way back down, the snow was much softer and when I stopped to listen, all I could hear was the dripping of ice and snow melting from the trees. It is spring in the mountains – kind of.
Here’s HerbDoc with some garden tool chat:
Before I run outside to the garden and get them all dirty, here are two of the several tools that I couldn’t resist ordering after a late winter presentation on hand tools.
The first is a Hori-Hori which is also referred to as a soil knife or a weeding knife. The word “hori” means to dig in Japanese. It’s a heavy, serrated multi-purpose steel knife which is sharp on both sides and has a pointed end.
The knife was originally used for carefully removing Sansui, or foraged vegetables, from the mountains in Japan. Modern gardeners use it for cutting roots, transplanting, removing plants and splitting perennials. Its first chore in my garden will be the long overdue process of dividing and transplanting the daylilies!
I love the fact that it has an orange handle to alert me to its whereabouts and a leather holster to store it away.
The second one is a Ho-Mi, a Korean hand plow that has been used for over 5000 years in digging, cultivating and furrowing the earth. It has a triangular head with a sharp point and a curved arm around to the handle. The curve adds leverage to pull weeds, to scoop up plants for transplanting or to make holes for transplants.
This one is supposed to be great for folks with bad wrists and can be used instead of a trowel. Maybe I’ll paint the handle on this one orange too so I don’t lose it in the garden!
This is such a common sight, it’s almost a part of our modern landscape. This wayward bag is in our neighbor’s crabapple tree. We are so close to the water that it could easily blow into the salt pond and end up being consumed by an unsuspecting fish or turtle. I even see them incorporated into osprey nests.
Once again, the issue of plastic grocery bags has surfaced in the Rhode Island legislature, and people are debating the merits of banning them. I don’t understand what the big deal is. They’re not necessary and they hurt the environment. Other countries, and my former home province of Quebec have banned them.
I’ve been bringing reusable bags to the store for years. I keep a bunch in my car. My husband never remembers to bring his … or maybe he doesn’t want to be seen carrying pretty little reusables.
Considering these bags take a thousand years to decompose in a landfill, I think we need to stop using them, and the sooner the better. Here is an interesting website dedicated to their eradication.
Do you use plastic grocery bags? Do you think it’s an important environmental issue, or do you wish I would just shut up already? I think, regardless of how we feel now, their days are definitely numbered.
The phalaenopsis in the above photo is one of my favorites. I don’t know its name, but it was given to me by a Master Gardener friend named Earl, so that what I call it.
Before I dash out the door for work in the morning, I glance around at my houseplants. They are especially lovely in the morning sun. Here are a few pictures I snapped before leaving them for the day. Below is a humble spider plant (a rescue) transformed by the sun. It’s really all about the light, isn’t it?
And here is Epipremnum aureum, commonly known as “money plant.” A friend gave it to us when we moved here several years ago. It’s happy in its east-facing kitchen window.
Mini phal “Timothy Christopher” is sparkly this morning.
And finally, another fetching mini phal whose name escapes me. I bought this one for $4.99 at Trader Joe’s. So tropical-looking. If I could pollinate it, I would.
Thanks to all the readers and friends who sent their condolences after the death of my beloved “Geneva.” I miss her terribly, especially in the morning.
Please forgive me if I have been remiss in posting this week. My beloved companion, Geneva, died a few days ago, just days before her 17th birthday.
I am dedicating this post to the Best Dog Ever, my irreplaceable canine soul mate.
I will post again soon, I promise. I just need a few days. Thanks for understanding.
Last winter we had almost no snow; just a few inches, if that. This year we experienced our first real winter in years. Our last snowfall was a couple of days ago – about three inches – in late March!
Being the outlier that I am, I enjoy the bracing air. I also welcome the snow for its soil-protecting properties. I’ll take cold over hot any day. You can always bundle up, but you can only take off so many clothes…….
I planted this Lavender “Hidcote” last summer. I’m not sure if it made it through the winter. Hard to tell with that silver foliage.
The rhododendron is in bud now, and won’t mind a light dusting, I’m sure.
Perched on their southeast-facing windowsill above the kitchen sink, my mini orchids are enjoying the stronger sunlight. From left to right: sophronitis cernua, ascocentrum pumilum, bulbophylum tingibarinum, epidendrum porpax, and mini phalaenopsis “Timothy Christopher.” A cheery little group in every season.