Thursday, December 20, 2012

Our First Measurable Snow in over 300 Days!

By the time the snow was showing last night, it was dark, but I could see the snow was quite lovely. It wasn't so lovely for those who were trying to drive in it, though.  There were a number of accidents in our state, and one person that I know of died in one. My heart and sympathy goes out to the families having to deal with that, and damaged vehicles.

The night photos I took didn't turn out so well.  I did post a couple on Facebook.  I was excited for it to get light enough this morning to see the loveliness.  Folks in towns around us got up to 8 inches, but we got a little over 4 inches.  I am pleased, and hope it sticks around awhile, a nice blanket for the plants.

I took a number of photos from inside the house, sticking my camera out the door.

The next couple I took from inside the back door.

When Larry was getting ready to go out to shovel, I asked him if he would do the front walk soon, so Heidi and I could go out and take some photos.  He was sweet and did it first.

Heidi loves the snow once it is finished falling.

I told Heidi to go "get" Larry, when she saw him.  We sometimes run her by sending her back and forth between us.

The sky sure was a pretty blue this morning.

Can you see Heidi running back to me?  We sure had fun out there!

The common milkweed plants got pretty scrawny, but still, I don't mind their skinny stems poking through the snow.  (Run, Heidi, run!)

We're approaching the east front bed.

It sure looks different from the last post I did!

I always love the little coneflower and other seedheads with their little snow caps.

Now, we're looking west again.  I don't think I've mentioned that I quit trying to take photos without any cars in them.  I decided that seeing cars and the neighbors' houses are part of living on a corner lot.

Heidi does a good job staying out of the flower beds, including the big space of the new area in front of the house.  Maybe it's because it's so full that she doesn't know where to walk.

I love snow!  I think it is so pretty, especially soon after it has fallen.

I was thinking I should go ahead and trim or else cut back the butterfly bush.  It dies back every year anyway, and starts over from the ground.  It sure has been pushed down by the snow, as have some grasses and other tall plants.   I think the grasses will bounce back up, though, once the snow melts.  I hope it sticks around for awhile, though.

I made 15 medium sized loaves of whole wheat bread today.  When I went to turn the oven light on to see how the first batch was doing, the electricity went off to the outlet it's in, and couldn't be turned back on.  This is the third time for the problem.  It's very frustrating that appliances don't seem to be built to last like they used to be.  I am thankful that we have a convection oven in the microwave.  It sure got a workout today!

I also made a batch of whole wheat oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  I rarely make cookies, but I got brave and used less brown sugar, salt and margarine.  I used a canola oil based margarine.  I suppose those with a taste for white flour and sugar wouldn't like them, but I think they are pretty good, and it's a bonus that my diabetic husband likes them.

God bless you and your families this Christmas and into the new year.  I look forward to having some days off.  I want to get some cooking and cleaning done around here.  Oh, and I am excited that after tomorrow we will start having more light each day!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

East Front Yard

I worked on cleaning out the room we keep toys in for our grandsons much of the day, while listening to the coverage of the horrible event of yesterday.  Early in the afternoon, I needed a break from both, and walked outside for a few minutes. I thought Heidi was in the basement, and maybe she was, but she heard the door, and when I saw her looking out at me, I grabbed my camera, and let her come out.  It was in the 40s, cooler than it has been lately.

After taking some photos for a new header photo, I decided to focus on the east area of the front yard.

The mums are finished for the season, and a number of plants have new growth at their bases, including some daylilies, yarrow, and hellebores.

The plant in front is a money plant.  It's a biennial, that will bloom next year.  I sure like the color of the leaves.  Behind it is a hellebore.  I thinned the irises in this area, and there are some small new ones taking advantage of room to grow.

I wonder if we should be covering the bicycle for the winter.  I don't think we have in the past.  Poor thing!  I bought it from a garage sale a few years ago.  The people who sold it to me knew I wasn't going to try to get in working order, and didn't seem to mind my plans for it.

I don't remember which plants normally have new growth this time of year.  These are the orange blooming poppies coming up amid the thin leaves of something I planted as a bulb a number of years ago.  Those are aster seed heads next to the poppies.

I'm thinking the pine leaf penstemon is pretty much evergreen.

Continuing to travel to the right around the bed, the kniphofia has green under the tannish finished leaves.

There are some bare spots that I planted seeds in this fall.  I am hoping they all grow.  Some are prairie larkspur, and I'll have to look again to see what else I planted.

These are money plant seedlings.  I am assuming they will put on growth next season, and then bloom the next year, assuming I let them grow where they are.

Here's where I planted some prairie larkspur.  I can't tell what the seedlings are that are coming up, but I was thinking they needed the cold of winter to germinate in the spring.  The hellebore plants sure look good, even though we didn't have as much rain as they prefer this summer.  We watered, but they did get dry at times.  Oh, and I hope the Indian grass I planted near the bicycle this fall took hold and survives the winter.

I divided the large clump of Indian grass, and put the other half here, to the right of the daylily.  The drumstick alliums are up, and I'm thinking they usually are up in the fall.

Some of the sedum type plants I planted in the basket are not winter hearty, but I hope the ones that are do OK in this spot.

I like my tall plants.

I like rattlesnake masters in all seasons.

I am excited for spring to get here, and to see what all comes up in the bare spots.

I like hibiscus seed pods.

Here's the view from the porch I like to include.

I used sage from the herb garden for Thanksgiving turkey.  I don't remember if one can cook with miniature sage.  Do you know?  I'll have to check.

I'll need to give the lavender a trim this spring.

Heidi did a good job staying in the yard.  I normally tie her to a long leash in the yard, because she tends to wander off when she gets a chance, but the grass was still damp from the almost inch of rain we were blessed with last night.

I also took some other photos in the yard, and when I did, I noticed a hellebore on the east side of the house with a couple buds, and a fully opened bloom!  I went back to the front, and saw these buds on the first hellebore plant that was shown in this post.  I hope they still bloom in the spring!  We really have had a mild fall so far.

joigos[nrgu  LOL, I am editing this.  Our son and grandsons Facetimed me, and I thought I was ready to publish this, but see I wasn't.  I always type some letters after the last photo, to make sure I will have room later to write a closing.  Sometimes in the past, I wasn't able to write under the last photo.

Well, I have been doing a lot of crying and praying for the families of the murdered children and educators, and for the family of the shooter.  I don't understand why anyone should feel they have the right to own those kinds of weapons.  Do people who collect guns also collect the ammunition for them?  I'll never understand that. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

December in the West Front Yard

We've had a mild fall so far, but I have not been able to garden much, due to muscle strain in my lower back.  I started physical therapy yesterday, so hopefully I will be fully healed for spring gardening.  Tuesday, the day I saw my PA, one of the days my pain was what I called 8 out of 10, at almost supper time, I looked outside, and loved the way the light was illuminating parts of the yard.  Heidi ran over, hoping we were heading out, so I picked up my camera, and went out with her.  Since I haven't posted in awhile, I decided to focus on the west front yard.

I started out taking a number of photos with wider views so I can put a more current one as my header photo.  I always try to include Heidi and the fire hydrant.

I am enjoying the fall colors on the plants.

This switchgrass is 'Heavy Metal'.  We'll head to the east to see the rest of the area in front of the fence.  I am keeping the different "rabbit barriers" down, hoping they stay put through the winter.

The brown grass on the left is little bluestem.  The tall plants on the right are Riddel's goldenrod.

Here's a closer view of the goldenrod.

The bushy plants on the right are asters.

Here's a longer view back to the west.

Now, we are heading into the area on the other side of the fence.

I look forward to seeing the gray headed coneflowers and other tall plants stick up through the snow this winter.

Turning to the east, wild quinine is one of my favorite plants. 

Looking back to the west and southish, the path is next to the gray headed coneflower that has green at the base.  The plant in front leaning to the left is zig zag goldenrod.  I am pleased that it is spreading a bit.

This is the view a few steps to the west on the path.

I used to not like grasses in my flower beds, but am having fun discovering different grasses, mostly native ones.  Little bluestem, which I already showed in front of the fence, is one of my favorites.

The strawberries under the bench grew pretty well this summer, providing some nice sized berries in June.

My eyes were drawn to this gray headed coneflower bloom, performing during one of the last of the mild fall days.

I'll close with a view from the porch.

We had a good Thanksgiving at our house with our daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons.  My parents came over for awhile, too, but had to leave before it got dark out.  We have Larry's side figured out for when we are getting together for Christmas, so things are falling into place.  Now, we need to figure out what to get everyone for Christmas.  I am looking forward to the end of the month, when the days will start getting longer.

I haven't been reading many blogs.  Using my time well is challenging for me.  Sometimes I think I may give up blogging, but I'm not ready to make a decision. Maybe I will find a way to budget my time so that I am able to keep up with all the things I'd like to.  I have been sorting through books and other items in the house and giving them away in order to have less clutter.  Oh, and I did take some to a local used bookstore and was given good credit for the ones they wanted.  I left the rest for them to put outside their door to give away.  I didn't realize the books they have out there are the ones they didn't want to sell when folks took their books there.

Well, I hope you have a good Christmas, in case I don't get another post in before then.