Wednesday, April 9, 2014

You Know It Must Be Spring When:

You know it must be Spring when the birds begin migrating. The Canada geese head north, honking all the way. Did you know that they honk--talk--to the leader at the head of the V to keep him encouraged? And that he only leads for so long; that he will fall back to the end and let the next goose lead? So the geese leave and the grackles move in. Those noisy, greedy, pushy bullies at  the bird feeders that run off all of the other birds. The only things good about them: their beautiful iridescent blue/green heads and they leave early after they have raised their last clutch. I don't have a photograph because I didn't want to waste mega pixels.

So while everyone is parading their gorgeous spring flowers, I have my own heralds of the season.

It has been a very busy week, thus my usual Sunday post is late.

The cherry trees had lived in the garage long enough. They were starting to bud out, so on a nicer day, we planted them.

With our clay based soil, we need to do a lot amending, so the Head Gardener adds Eco Complete and compost as recommend by the the family arborist, Heather. Then as recommended by the nurseryman he adds a root stimulator. The brand name that we have used before is Mike or Myke, but we chose the organic this time. It gives the root system a big boost.

The inspectors show up to make sure that the work is up to code, looking for any worms, grubs or bugs that might damage the little trees.

Snow is really picky. She doesn't mind having her picture taken now that her feathers have fully grown out. Last year she was so severely picked on, literally that she was a bloody mess and has had to live alone. Her nemeses died this week, so perhaps she can join the flock again. We never understood why they hated her so much. She is the sweetest one of the flock. The trees are in. It has been rather cool, so while they have a few buds, they are still quiet. Can't wait to see their beautiful pink flowers. Hopefully we will not have a repeat of last spring when everything froze in April. They are semi dwarf and will bear a semi sweet cherry, a cross between a bing and sour pie cherry. The other challenge will be to keep the birds from eating the cherries.

Another major accomplishment was to get the front pasture seeded. It is pretty weedy and has a couple of varieties of grasses. So Ralph and his big John Deere seeded it with a prairie grass mixture. It hasn't started to germinate yet. It needs warm days and Spring just isn't cooperating. 

You know it must be Spring when the skies are blue and the pastures are green. Just beginning to turn green, the hay pasture gets a bit of trim as the boys graze. They have been contained in the corral all winter and are really enjoying munching the new grass. Soon it will be too rich for them and it will have grow to make hay.

Inside, the seedlings are growing, but they certainly are not nursery beauties. We planted tomatoes in yogurt containers. As the tomatoes grow, hubby has put his coffee holders that he has saved from his coffee shop visits. They seem to help the young stems stay straight. The cabbages in the back are really leggy, needing the extra support. Once it gets a little warmer, the seedlings will go out in the hen house/potting shed to grow and harden off.

Yesterday we planted the eastern red bud in the front circle. My hope is that it will have a long happy life amidst the pine trees and aspens; however, from past experience, I can only hope. It has red buds forming, so without frost, it should be beautiful. It does have a rather sloped trunk, so it will have to be staked. I love red buds, so I am really hoping that I can keep this one alive. The garden hasn't fully come alive. Right now the spring bulbs are just beginning to bloom. The day lilies are waking up, and the roses are slowing showing more signs of life. Behind the red bud is a shrub rose planted by another gardener that is weeks away from waking up. I don't trim these back. They are just sorta wild.

You know it must be Spring when the gold fish stored in the garage begin to look like they are dying and then one actually does.

The gold fish were showing signs of stress in their winter container in the garage, so hubby cleaned out the front water garden and put them outside. They are hardy little creatures. We also caught the last of the gold fish that had been farmed out to the neighbor. He moved and the new neighbors are probably going to turn their water feature into a parking space. So we put those 4 fish in the horse tank where I have the water lilies stored. 

The week ended with the little guy's 5th birthday. We drove to Denver Wednesday and brought the boys home for a couple days then took them home Saturday for Nathan's birthday.

My attempt at using camera RAW on my Cannon Rebel. Nice.

I see such beautiful photos on your blogs and sometimes I am brave enough to ask "How'd you do that?" and you are so very kind to share your secrets, so I give it a try. I signed up for an on-line class on photoshop's Elements 11 at Kim Klassen's Cafe. When I bought my new iMac, I also bought the newest photoshop version. It is quite intimidating. I had taken a workshop at the university, but have lost the notes and really when you are learning something so technical you have to practice, practice, practice, and then have really good notes full of step by step instructions. So I have been watching Kim's videos at night, but she also has some free videos that show how to use textures with little fuss. She also  strongly urges that we use camera RAW. UMMM, I really am not so sure about that.  Kim has a wonderful blog if you haven't met her. She gives free textures on Tuesday if you sign up and she has some free video lessons on Elements 11.

This is Lucy with the dogs Bruno and Fritz. The girls love to play dress-up and have their photo taken. I have a small portable photo studio that I took with me. In the before photo you can see that I didn't take time to iron the wrinkles and folds out of my back drop. Lucy is wearing her mother's fairy Halloween costume from a few years ago; it, too, is wrinkled. So the texture hides all of the imperfections. However, this photo texture was done in Picasa with very nice results. So why am I so worried about learning how to Elements 11? Because it gives more flexibility, if I can ever master it. I am retired. What else do I have to do? Beats watching Letterman.

 You know it must be Spring when you would rather be outside working in the garden than blogging, but Spring just won't cooperate. It is a bit chilly right now and I have to see the dentist today. So much for playing outside, but I love spending time with you, too.

So, what are your signs of Spring?  And do you use camera RAW? Do you think I should take the next step?

Have a great week. Thanks for checking in.


  1. Oh I would much rather be outside in this nicer weather, we planted about 5 cherry trees and we can't wait for them to produce. Awe, happy birthday to your grandson, what a cutie pie and I love what you did with that last photo. I wish I had more time to play with my photos, it's really fun to do, just no time.

  2. ;Maybe the flock disapprove of Snow's beauty and are just jealous!! Hope she doesn't have to keep living alone. You are making lots of Spring progress around busy as bees. Have fun, Egretta

  3. You always seem to stay very busy. Lucy is gorgeous with her blue outfit and flowers, and I like the way you've made the older look to the black/white photo. I'm not very good with cameras or photoshop but would be interesting to learn a few new ways to take and use photos. Spring is full of tree blossoms and daffodils in Northern Ireland!

  4. You have so much to do...I don't know how you can keep up with it all my friend! WOW! And I love the photo you worked on. It's one of my favorite things to do when I find time. Enjoy your week! Sweet hugs, Diane

  5. It must be the better weather that makes us want to get out and get on with things you have been very busy. Loved the picture of the hen in the hole they are so inquisitive. Love the black and white photo she is a beautiful child.

  6. Wow what a beautiful picture of Lucy. Yes spring is here, and I realize you have really been enjoying retirement!

  7. Ann Red buds are one of my favorite trees... I really should blog about them.. I just love the purple cluster of flowers that are only unique to Red buds.. Hopefully the winter will give it up and move on so that you can plant your lovely garden and flowers. Love the photo of Lucy she looks as pretty as Mother Nature......Yep I think you can handle your camera RAW..... One day I'll give it a try..

    Have a wonderful Easter!

  8. Your grandkids are adorable! Here's a suggestion for your tomatoes: Take off the coffee holders and fill the cups with soil, leaving just a bit of space under the leaves. The stems will grow roots into the soil. They also don't look like they're getting enough bright light. Their pale color is a sign they aren't producing enough chlorophyll, caused by lack of light. I hope Snow has an easier time of this year. :o)

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