Archive for May 2013
It’s amazing how fast the plant life in the river bottom is rebounding after the fire almost a month ago.
Of our well-loved trees, the black walnut has a lot of new growth; the liquidambar — not so much. In fact, nothing that we can see. I’m afraid it’s not going to make it. We’re watering all of the scorched trees heavily. Some will make it, some won’t. We’ll replace the ones that don’t, when we’re sure which ones they are.
But in the river bottom, the willows are sprouting from the roots.
Everywhere you look, there is new green growth.
Not all of it is willow. This is a common riverside plant, with pungent-smelling leaves. Billy’s mother used to use it in her chicken house, to repel insects.
Willows are tough, for all their delicate appearance. This one survived two disasters; first, being cut down by PG&E, and then the fire.
Across on the island, an unknown plant continues to grow incredibly fast. I thought it might be bamboo, but its pale color doesn’t seem right. It has an almost ghostly appearance, behind the blackened trees.
As long as there’s enough water coming down to keep the water table up, the river will continue to heal. It’s a drought year, though; we can only hope there’s enough water to keep the flow up. We had a couple of hopeful fisherpersons (of the female variety) a week or so ago, asking permission to park so they could go down to the river. That was fine . . . but I’m not sure I would want to eat anything that came out of that river right now.
Oh, yes . . . there was a big roadrunner on the lawn this morning. There hasn’t been one around for months, at least not to be seen. This was a fine proud fellow. I hope he hangs around.
This was going to be a blog post about the regrowth in the burn area — but my camera battery was low. So here is a picture from Peggy’s garden. It shows what happens if you let the unlovely “choke” in your artichoke become a lovely flower.
It’s almost enough to make you want to let all of your artichokes bloom. But they taste pretty darned good, too!
I didn’t blog yesterday; not because I forgot, but because friend and neighbor Peggy called to see if I wanted to come to her house and pick some of her blackberries. Of course I did.
Marion got there, too, and we picked up and down the long rows. It was cool in the late afternoon, and the best kind of picking weather.
Of course, I brought my camera. I was a little surprised to see the pink blackberry blossoms; the wild blackberries in the river bottom have white flowers.
There were plenty of blackberries. These were far from the largest, but this was the best picture.
The pink flowers reminded me of wild roses, and I commented that blackberries were members of the rose family, after all. This led to a discussion as to whether strawberries were, too. I wasn’t sure, so today I looked it up. The rose family is a remarkable one; we’d find it hard to get along without it. Its edible members include apples, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, blackberries, almonds, the less familiar loquats and quince — and strawberries. That’s without the wild roses and garden roses, whose hips are also edible and full of Vitamin C.
Wow. But I guess Mother Nature likes to keep us sharp; many of these have seeds which contain cyanide compounds.
Well, I baked a pound cake this morning. Tonight, when we have it with blackberries and whipped cream, we’ll think lovingly of the great Family of the Rose.
I didn’t post yesterday; I was busy and just forgot. Shopping doesn’t make an interesting entry, anyway.
My little Sea Breeze Lavalette is off of the blocking board and done. It seems that many people who post their finished work on Ravelry, the knitting/crochet site, post an artsy picture of their finished work. I decided to try draping mine on an elderberry bush.
It was early enough in the season that I didn’t risk any drips of elderberry juice. Elderberries make a good dye — but purple spots aren’t wanted here.
I liked the way the colors in the shawl placed themselves. Sometimes, in a variegated yarn like this, the colors will come together in a large ugly splotch. This is called pooling. This very cooperative yarn didn’t pool at all.
You can see an error I made in blocking, at the tip of the shawlette. This can be reblocked and fixed, but I won’t bother yet. I just want to enjoy actually finishing a shawl — even if it is a small one.
A boarder just came in to warn us about a couple of large dogs roaming the property. They just seem to be chasing squirrels, but we’ll keep an eye on them. She said they weren’t pit bulls, but might have been crosses. With three completely unprovoked pit bull attacks (that we know of) in the last couple of months — four if you count the one at the rodeo — we’ll be watching dogs. In none of those attacks were the dogs starving, in a pack, or being sicced on by their owners. They just wandered in and went for the first living thing they saw. Not good breed promotion, to say the least.
I noticed a new daylily yesterday, and went out to immortalize it before it was gone. It was already late in the day, and it was due to start wilting. It was a beauty — palest lemon yellow with deeper throat and edges. But when I took its picture, I got a bonus; a lacewing.
I’ve always been fond of these lovely little insects. They’re common, but always worth a second look. This is a green lacewing, with a pale green body, green-veined transparent wings, and golden eyes. These tiny bugs are not only beautiful, but useful. The larvae, which look like miniature alligators, dine on aphids. This adult, though, would eat mostly nectar. I wanted to get close enough to show the metallic golden eyes, but I brushed the petals and the lacewing was gone.
It’s been surprisingly quiet around here today. It’s perfect riding weather — which I took advantage of myself — yet there aren’t all that many people around. Perhaps they’re out of town on this long weekend. Anyway, Duffy and I had a very good ride again, and this time went out onto the preserve. If the grass was still green, it would feel like springtime; it’s that pleasant.
Friend and boarder Lori B. happened to be here when I went out to ride Duffy, so she got some pictures. Here are a few of the best.
Before I saddled up, Duffy had a resigned expression. I’m sure he was thinking, “Oh no! Not again!”
I wanted a picture of Duffy gaiting, and that’s not easy to catch. Here he’s just doing a nice walk.
Even fifty pounds lighter than a couple of years ago, I still fill up that saddle pretty much . . . sigh. At least I can ride it now, though it’s built for a slim person.
Here he is gaiting, but not a good clean foxtrot. It’s a little pacey, but three feet are touching the ground, so it’s not a true pace. It felt pretty good.
I’ve always thought of Duffy as a rather homely horse, but in summer coat and under saddle he looks pretty darned good. And it was a beautiful day for a ride; just look at that blue sky. The temperature was still in the seventies.
And I’m seventy years old, and still in the saddle. Life is good.
I love taking pictures of the daylilies, but the most exquisite flower of the summer blooms on the homely cactus.
Of course, it has to have its backlit picture, too.
It’s been fairly quiet around here. We’re OK with that. Our lives have been entirely too full of incident in the last few weeks. Someone did report to us that there were some police in the river bottom, making a sweep. We’ve seen probable homeless people headed out to the island. Only half of it burned; but when the camps get started again, sooner or later they’ll get the rest. Almost every fire has started in a homeless camp. The exceptions I can think of offhand — one started by lightning, and one by a teenage girl who was mad at her mother. I’m not sure how burning the river was supposed to help with that.
Well, the weather’s perfect, and there’s a three day weekend coming up. The place will be busy, and I hope everyone has a good time.