Blog

mid April 2014

Despite bright sunshine all day, my birthday was cold, starting at minus 8C and not rising above plus 3C. However, there are snowdrops, crocuses, miniature irises and chinodoxa blooming in the garden.

The cankered maple tree on the back fence was felled by Brian’s crew on 17 April, doing surprisingly little damage, apart from an area where the soil was rather trodden down.

Two days later, it was warm enough to work out doors in light sweaters. I started repotting the lilies to their summer quarters. The dahlia bed in front of the deck is not a good place to overwinter them because some have rotted.

Late March 2014

Vernal solstice was followed by snow and low temperatures, decidedly un-spring like.

25 March After a cold start, temperatures crept up to zero – really warm compared with recent days. By evening Happy God’s head showed above the snow, after being buried in snow for weeks.

The picotee 2013 Amaryllis which was been cosseted since October finally unfurled its blooms: three on one stem and four on the other, only one remaining as a bud. Probably worth waiting for….

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early March 2014

Still under more than a foot of frozen snow and overnight temperatures reaching minus 20C – this winter has been tooooo long.

5 March sunny start, minus 15C with light snow falling; conditions must have been just right for the falling snowflakes to look like spangles, catching the sunlight as they fell. Also sparkling on top of the previously fallen snow, so just these flakes had just the right crystal structure. Difficult to photograph but he tried:

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Yesterday the 2012 Amaryllis started to break bud so I brought it up to the dining room windowsill where it is opening two blooms. The expensive prepared bulb bought last fall has two flower stems but the buds look puny and a long way from opening yet.

8 March A couple of the squirrels are now sufficiently light and hungry to have managed the leap from the larch tree to crash land on the bird feeders. Richard had four attempts at lopping pieces off the lowest branch to prevent this, but we seem to have stymied them for now. The 2012 Amaryllis has three flowers buds, one almost open.

January 2014

Happy New Year!

Off to a good start: bright sunshine although minus 18C so all is sparkly with yesterday’s powder snow blowing around. First birds were both Carolina Wrens and the Northern Flicker, along with a smart red fox checking for fallen seed under the feeders.

Winter Solstice 2013

Rather than have all the celebrations concentrated around Christmas Eve, Day and Boxing Day we’ve decided to spread things out a little and start by celebrating the Solstice which has always seemed just as important to us – the year turns and so on. So it’ll be the smoked salmon and trifle on Saturday rather than Christmas Eve this year.

20 December A flock of American Robins arrived early this morning as the snow was starting, to finish off the rowan berries remaining on the tree at the front of the house.

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21 – 22 December The sun set and rose again so all’s well with the world.

A weekend of blowing snow periodically turning to ice pellets with quite deep snow – the water main marker is almost buried – and the upper couple of inches is frozen crisp. As a result of truly horrible conditions, a large showing of birds: all the regulars (although less chickadees) including an unusual number of wood peckers; Downy, Hairy, Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker and a couple of brief appearances of the Red-bellied. The last particularly interesting as not seen since the spring. Both Carolina Wrens have survived so far.

30 December After plus 1C two days ago, temperatures are plummeting again from minus 13 C at 7.30am to minus 15C at 9.30am and continuing down per forecast. Early morning sightings of Northern (Yellow-shafted) Flicker and both Carolina Wrens.

early December 2013

Last year we had multiple cardinals mid-December; this year we are up to three females and two males already. But no sightings of the sapsucker since 27 Nov.

5 December Four female cardinals plus one male this morning!

Mid November

The regular pair of Cardinals is in evidence along with a lone female, tolerated by the female of the pair, but not the male.

1 December two males as well as two females this morning.

25 November – third day of temperature remaining below zero, plenty of bird activity in the garden, mostly the usual suspects but including the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker which first showed up Friday so this is its fourth day here – surely it must depart soon?

27 November After a heavy fall of wet snow overnight, the Sapsucker was here again this morning. Not observed again by us in November – we hope it is on its way south.

mid October 2013

Still warm weather – no hint of overnight frosts, Carolina Wren “alarm clock” still waking us at first light which admittedly is getting later.

Past few days have seen flocks of White-throated Sparrows and juncoes all over the garden. As well, small flocks (6 – 8) of cardinals, evenly divided male/female have appeared, tolerating one another around the feeders.

Dahlias still blooming well, Canna lilies looking a bit dried out but still flowering. All lilies transferred to plastic pots for winter and their dry terracotta pots put in storage but pots with dahlias etc all still flowering so will be dealt with later. Bulbs just arrived but a bit warm for planting – don’t want them “waking up” and starting to shoot…..

30 September

Apart from a damp weekend immediately following the last post, the weather has continued sunny and warm – beautiful days starting cool and often misty followed by warm sunshine. A terrific start to retirement!

What seems like another two (at least) red squirrel juveniles have appeared – smaller than the last batch and favouring the cedar at the opposite end of the roof. Can’t help wondering how many small holes there are up there…..

So warm and dry that we are having to start watering the garden again; spending time digging out buckthorn and maple saplings, plus general trimming back and tidying – not the usual chilly job but a pleasure to be working outdoors.

Kinglets passing through with lots of Yellow-rumped Warblers plus some other warbler species with Fox and White-throated Sparrows. Juncoes have arrived but not much in evidence yet.

20 September

Back from Kenauk just one week, past five days have been glorious – sunny and clear. Yesterday and today very warm in the afternoon, so lunches on the deck, probably not many more opportunities this year.

A couple of late Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the garden this afternoon, taking nectar from the canna lilies. Dahlia Thomas Edison has two wonderful flowers on it at last – deep purple. All the other dahlias still blooming well.