Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Bobbing for apples anyone?

I was struck by the waste of an apple harvest which landed in the water at the memorial garden in the Blowing Rock Park. It was amazing how many apples there were rotting in the garden pool and lying on the ground. My attitude about that is that if animals get a harvest before the humans do then it's not wasted; but if neither humans or animals get it and it's not in an area where it will become compost over time, then it seems like a huge waste to me. I guess the insects and other small feeders my get some nutrition but this time of year there aren't so many of them either in cooler climates. I have a similar situation in my neighborhood with plum and cherry trees that drop their harvest which is often not collected. I have to be quick to beat the animals to my pecans in the fall and blueberries in the summer. I have a volunteer cherry tree, for that matter several more small ones, but so far no cherries. I'm keeping an eye out though. I carved a funky pumpkin yesterday. Not one of my better efforts but it will announce to the neighborhood children that I am one of the treaters. My big challenge is to avoid eating all the halloween candy before the children begin to ring my bell tonight. Last year I used a fake pumpkin for my first time ever but since I couldn't find it anywhere, I ended up carving one again this year.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mountain weekend

It was great to get out of town for the weekend and head up to the mountains with Bill. We have always enjoyed going to the mountains together, even before we were romantically involved back in the late 1970s. Amazing that after all these years and with a little thing like being divorced from each other, we can still enjoy going to the mountains together. I had hoped to make it to the MPIP gathering in Texas when it was being planned but due to the combination of finances and not being ready to travel alone it ended up not being realistic for me. Conincidentally it was on Bill's birthday and we ended up going to the Blowing Rock, NC which is in the northern part of the NC mountains. Mother's day weekend we went to Linville Gorge which is in the southern NC mountains so it was nice to hit both ends of the range this year. My mother is from Boone which is in the valley just a few miles below Blowing Rock. I always feel close to my mom in an odd way when I'm in the mountains. She died in 1990 and its hard to believe that's been 16 years. Even more amazing in a way is the fact that her mother is still alive at 102 or so. My grandmother isn't expected to make it much longer but I find it hard to believe. She keeps defying all the odds. Life is so strange. My mother's father was in his 20s when he died, my mother was 65, and her mother has passed the 100 mark. None of it makes any sense. I was encouraged on the way to Blowing Rock with how much better I traveled than the last time we went to the mountains. In general it took a lot less out of me to be in a car for hours at a time. We stopped once to eat but that was it. I think during the other trips I've made since my chronic junk started, I had to stop every hour or so. Progress. On the way home, I didn't travel quite as well. It was fine but I was pretty unsteady when I first got out of the car. I would like to get to the point where I'm secure enough to go on a trip by myself but I'm not there yet. It's more fun with Bill anyway but I mean to go on a trip like the one in Texas which wouldn't be the kind of thing he'd be likely to want to do. I think that it will take time for me to build my confidence back up. I know I'm a wimp and don't feel all that apologetic about it. If I start comparing myself to some of these brave people I've gotten to know through the MPIP, I will always feel like I'm lacking in courage and resilience but everyone is different. I can only do the best I can. At the moment being able to go on moderate hikes with Bill in the mountains is a big accomplishment. Starting in late July and through August I had a set back and could barely walk around the block for a while. I'm back to being able to go on slow hikes which is great. I'm not completely sure that I'm cancer free but I'm more philisophical about it. The little things which keep lighting up aren't enough to concern my doctor and I'm not worried enough to get a second opinion so I need to focus on how fortunate I am. One thing I do know about my melanoma is that it's remarkably slow and my body is good at fighting it. Nodular melanoma is one of the most agressive kinds and mine was very deep but I'm still here. My body is doing something right and has been for a long time or I wouldn't have survived the first dermatologist I saw in the 1980 saying my melanoma was nothing and not even removing and biopsying it. When I think about what it would have been like if he had removed it and I had been diagnosed with melanoma when I was pregnant, I can't be all that angry with him. My prognosis would have been better if I had been diagnosed before it got so deep and spread to a lymph node but I would have had the fears of getting a cancer diagnosis while I was pregnant. Who knows how the stress of that would have affected my ability to reject the cancer. In effect, that's what must have happened. My body rejects the cancer and hopefully will keep doing so.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Baby splashes

I went to my first water class at the YMCA yesterday and was pleased that I was able to stay for the full hour. It was good because much of the class had options. People with more problems did smaller movements. I was always so tired at the end of half hour pool physical therapy that I assumed I would only last for part of the class but it was much less tiring than the one on one physical therapy in the pool. The class yesterday covered a little bit of everything, stretches, strength, and a portion that was theoretically aerobic but I started off slow with the first session so I never got my heart rate up very high. That's okay, baby splashes. Most of the people in the class were much older than me which was fine too. They were very welcoming and several of the elderly women introduced themselves and took me under their wing so to speak. Turns out that quite a few people have had hip replacements and a variety of issues they are recovering from. I'm going to try to go at least twice a week, maybe three times. If I can do that as well as walking I'll be getting about the right amount of exercise for me for the time being. I'm trying not to think to far ahead. Ideally I'd like to be able to swim laps for a half hour, and start jogging again but that's not realistic at the moment. Doesn't mean it won't ever happen but I need to feel good about what I can do and not look to what I want to do. The only down side of my first YMCA class was giving my membership card to the girl at the desk who checks you in. They started with photo member cards in 2005 and my photo was taken in January, a month before my melanoma diagnosis. The girl looked at my card and said, if you're a guest you have to get the member to sign you in. I said, I'm not a guest, I'm a member. She said, that's not you in the photo. I said, yes that's me before I was diagnosed with stage III melanoma and had a groin lymph node dissection. That's me before chronic pain and lymphedema meant I was no longer running every morning and ended up gaining 60 pounds. That's me when I was healthy and happy and I'm sure I do look a lot different now. Bless her heart. I felt sorry for her because she realized that was me. I didn't put it exactly like that but I included all the details and offered to show her additional ID which she didn't need. She realized she'd screwed up and I realized she was a nice young woman doing her job and I wished I wasn't quite so mean. That said, people should be careful about questioning women "of a certain age" about their photo ID's.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Water Fowl

I went on a walk yesterday afternoon at Shelly Lake and the waterfowl were amazing. The standard ducks and Canadian geese were joined by others. I'm always struck, when I stop to look, in the fall by the diversity of waterfowl at the lake. That's one thing to be said for not being able to do the run I had built up to prior to my LND. Back then I would do a warm up walk to the first trail, start jogging, build up to moving a little faster by the time I got to the lake, circle the lake, and slow down by the time I got back onto the street back to my house. As a result, everything I saw at the lake was a quick look in passing. Walking with my camera, I see a lot more. My last P.T. session was in the pool at the rehab center Monday. The plan was for me to try to continue working in the pool at my YMCA on my own or in one of their classes for older adults with P.T. needs. I am going to try to do that this morning. After working every weekend for months as well as during the week, I'm glad to have at least a brief lull in work. This will be my first time at the Y since my LND in March, 2005. It is psycologicaly hard since I've always gone back to the Y after getting in good shape. Sounds crazy but in the past I've had times of getting out of shape and I always did the first bit on my own. In my 30s I went back after I was doing well enough to join step and other aerobics classes. In my 40s, after I'd been running for a while, I went back to work on upper body strength in the gym. I was doing chin ups and working with the equipment because of the goal I had of going on an adult tailored outward bound rockclimbing trip for beginners. The last time I went there was February 2005, a few days before my SNB. It will be a little odd to go there for a pool class described as being for active older adults with physical therapy needs, and/or arthritis. The funny part is that I am probably not going to have the endurance to do the entire class at first. Oh well, I have to start somewhere and this should be a good place for me to start. The other funny thing is these active older adults classes are for people who are 50 and up, although some people who are younger with special needs join them. That's me, special needs and since I will turn 50 in 2007, I'm not exactly a young active adult. That's for damn sure. However, I used to think those would be the kind of classes that I'd do in my my 70s and 80s, not when I hadn't even turned 50. Well, plans change and I am so lucky to not only be reasonably healthy given how things could have gone for me, but I am lucky to have a job that lets me work from home and gives me the flexibility to go to a morning class like this, or to go for a walk. Even if I still commuted to Durham, they have started having lunch break classes at the office. They have a yoga group, a walking group, a discount for the Y near the office. I guess if I'm going to do this here thing I better get ready.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Window Views on a Cold Morning

I can't believe it, it's 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Funny how a hard frost on a late October morning is a surprise in central NC and in Buffalo, NY they recently had two feet of snow. I knew we were likely to get our first frost this week but the forecast was for lows in the high 30s until later this week. This was unexpected and I hope the farmers with crops that needed protection weren't caught off guard. That's my first thought. I'd already decided that I wasn't going to try to get my big potted plants of flowers into the greenhouse. Too heavy for me and I think I'm going to wait until the late winter to decide if I want to do anything in the greenhouse this year. Perhaps by then I'll feel well enough to start seedlings in the greenhouse for a spring crop. I am doing better in some regards but watering, opening and shutting the greenhouse, etc. is more than I want to deal with. Even the garden boxes with volunteers abounding are going to be left on their own. There again opening and shutting the boxes is more than I want to deal with. Fortunately some of the plants should do okay with a few frosty morning until I harvest what I can. I'll probably go ahead and pick some kale today to freeze for when my daughter's home. I wonder if fried green tomatoes would freeze okay. That would really be a treat for my daughter. One of my garden boxes has a tomato plant with a second crop of tomatoes. Yesterday I noticed a half dozen small green tomatoes which were quite a surprise this time of years. I intended to pick them before the first frost but I'm betting one frosty morning hasn't hurt them. They are in a protected area and I'm guessing it stayed warm enough in that box for them to be okay if I pick them today. For now I'm lazy, staying in my warm house peaking out at the birds fluffing themselves up in between bites of breakfast. I'm remembering to enjoy the soft colorful protection which surrounds my house this time of year. Even the deck's flaws will be exposed soon as the vines drop their leaves to show the gaping holes in the wall. Through the years birds have poked through the wall and nested inside. What started as tiny holes which nuthatches would poke their little heads out of are now large sections that have rotted and fallen out. No telling what will be inside there now (I fear rodents). It's a fairly simple thing to pull off the old boards and replace them with new ones according to Bill but the timing is important. It can't be done in the spring when new nests are probably inside with baby birds either hatched or close to hatching. I think winter will probably be the time to do it. Bill said he'd do it for me which I appreciate although I hate to impose. Now that it's so close to the time when the oaks will be changing over to red and dropping their leaves I know I'll miss their protection. It will be good to have the sun light streaming in during the winter but I am so much more exposed in the front during the winter. I have great neighbors but I do like having a green umbrella. At least the back garden is protected year round with the privet and nandina enclosing my secret garden, year round. Funny that my sun garden has year round protection and my front shade garden loses it's privacy when the dogwoods and oaks drop their leaves. I have some bushes in the front which may eventually provide a varieagated leaf border, whose names elude me, that I started from clippings off bushes at my parents house. They may eventually give me a little more protection in the front but they are very slow to get large enough for that. After 12 years they are only waist high but considering the fact that they started as a centerpiece for a party that rooted in the water, they've done quite well. They weren't even intentionaly cut for new plants but it worked out that way.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Paint Throwing

The largest oak tree in front of my house is always one of the last things to change colors so I've been anticipating the red umbrella daily as everything else has changed first. It's still barely noticeable unless I zoom in on the clusters of red leaves which are finally mixing in with the green. When I first glanced up I almost thought a bunch of cardinals were massed on a few branches but then I realized that the oak trees are finally joining the maples, dogwoods, virginia creeper and other increasing signs of fall. It's so funny to me how slight the changes are on my big oak unless I focus in on the few leaves that have changed. It's almost like someone dropped a little paint out of a plane and splattered it on a few leaves or some kind of cosmic paint thrower was having fun. Yesterday it was fun to get outside and snap pics of late flowers and changing oaks at home before Bill picked me up for a walk which was also pleasant. The trail we went to isn't far from my house but is one I haven't been on yet this fall. Everything was so colorful. Maybe one day this coming week I'll go back with my camera. I didn't take it on my Saturday walk since I was walking with my friend. Today is a cold, rainy Sunday which is also pleasant. I hope we have a wet winter this year. There's something so nourishing about rain and snow. I am not interested in sleet or ice but I would love a big fluffy snow this year. Later this week it's finally getting down into the 30s and I may see if my fireplace draws okay. The carolina jasmine and miniature fig vine have grown so much this summer that they have both reached the chimney cover. Not sure if that's the right word for it. It the thingy ma jiggie I had to have put on the chimney so the chimeny birds would stop nesting in my chimney. It has holes so it doesn't affect the smoke getting out. However if the jasmine and fig have covered it that may be a problem. The only way I could tell would be to get on a ladder so I could see if they have actually grown in such a way to create a real obstruction. My balance is dramatically improved now that I am taking the vitamin D supplements but climbing a ladder high enough to see what's going on with the chimney would be too ambitious. For that matter, dragging the ladder to the side of the house is beyond my current strength. The light bulb went off in my brain. When I open the chimney flue if I look up and see daylight then the vines probably aren't creating an obstruction. As dark and rainy as it is today, I guess I'll wait until there is some day light to see. The old brain is pretty slow these days but I can eventually, laboriously get there, given enough time. Tomorrow is my last physical therapy session and it's a pool one. After that, I'm going to try to work going to the YMCA pool into my routine. I pay membership dues for a Y with great facilities that I haven't used in over a year and a half. If the joining fee wasn't so high, I'd have done better to have dropped my membership. As it is, it made sense to hold on to my membership until I saw if I got better enough to use it again. When I was looking through the classes which are free for members, I found a few that might be good for me. They have two pool classes for active older adults with physical therapy needs and, or arthritis. One of the classes is for people with severe restrictions and one is for people with fewer restrictions. I'll have to ask my physical therapist tomorrow if she thinks I should try the one with severe or few restrictions. I guess I could call or email the person who teaches the classes and ask her, since they have an email and phone number for the instructor online. If I said, I'm a 49 year old woman who was active prior to a groin lymph node dissection in March of 2005 and I've had chronic pain and decreasing activity since then, she could probably tell me which of her classes to try first. It would probably be good for me to do something like that on a regular basis, in addition to walking.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Late Bloomers

I went outside to snap pictures of the late bloomers and found all sorts of surprises. Kale, carrots, and broccoli have volunteered from past crops and are growing like crazy. I'll have to pick some kale and freeze it for when my daughter is home Thanksgiving. She loves kale. The wildest part of my outside adventure today was how I practicaly tripped over the birds. I couldn't believe how many there were. Everytime I go outside lately, it seems like they've multiplied. I didn't get any particularly good photographs of the birds, but that hasn't stopped me from posting them yet, so why start now. They seem to know that I'm not a big threat. However, they aren't quite as cooperative as the flowers. Hopefully in time I'll get better at it. I'm still hoping to get a shot of the blue heron at Shelly Lake. Now that would be an accomplishment. I do enjoy the way the cardinal ends up looking like a red leaf or flower. Sometimes from a distance I actually think the cardinals are flowers. Pretty wild how the males are so much more showy than the females. I guess that's true with so many animals in nature. I see more and more color in the trees on a daily basis. I love the way everything is changing. Change has always been something that I like. So odd how I never move, but I love change so much. I always believed that every school year would be better as a child and I still have something of that in me as an adult. New year, new season, new hope. I don't think that I could handle being a pessimist. Even when I try to be pessimistic, it doesn't work for me. I know people who do seem to do well with a fatalistic attitude and sometimes I even try to adopt that attitude to avoid disappointment but it doesn't work for me. Ultimately I have to come back around to being optimistic. Hoping for the best but expecting the worse to avoid disappointment sounds good on paper. I know people who do adopt that as their modus operandis but it doesn't work for me. I have to believe that life will get better and better and if it doesn't work out like that, I believe it will be better than what it is right now. It's not even about it being particularly bad. My life is good in most regards. I don't need or want much more than what I have, but I have to see the changes around the corner as being good ones. At least I've stopped wondering what I'll be when I grow up. I seriously wondered about that until I was in my mid 40s but somewhere along the line I figured out that we don't magically become somebody, and that whoever we are is seldom as simple as the means by which we earn a living. At this point I'm mostly grateful that my employer lets me work from my computer at home and provides me with good health insurance. The perk of being able to take a photo break in the middle of the day is pretty cool, in and of its self. If I still commuted to work, I'd be able to take a break and photograph the birds that hang out around the office building. Sometimes I think it might be better for me if I did go to the office more but everything would be harder. It's hard for me to sit in one place for long periods so it's a great advantage to be able to spread the work day out over the day and evening from the comfort of home.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


I love the reflective quality of water. Sometimes it's a clear image and sometimes it's distorted and almost like finger painting. I love to finger paint. I haven't done that in ages. Maybe I'll give it a try soon. I've been doing a fair amount of reflecting myself. I am well aware of my good fortune at so many levels. Perhaps what I fear more than anything is that I will stop expecting improvement. I have no reason to expect that. I have had quite a bit of improvement. The first thing that started me thinking about expectations today was when I was at physical therapy. This latest round is drawing close to an end. I have another session this Friday in the clinic and next Monday in the pool is the last scheduled appointment. That will be 15 appointments in a little over a month and some things are dramatically improved. The range of motion in my shoulder is so much better that I was able to swim laps this Monday which was huge. The therapist was running a little late so I swam until she got there and was able to swim 2 laps free style. She showed me some new exercises to do in the water and we discussed a routine which would incorporate swimming along with the exercises that would help the left leg lyphedema as well as the issues in my right shoulder. Today was mostly lymphedema massage in the clinic and the therapist is leaning towards not ordering a custom compression garment. My measurements are borderline. Definite improvement, particularly below the knee but not much improvement above the knee. The way we left it is the other therapist who will be working with me in the gym Friday and the pool Monday will be consulted but probably they'll discharge me and see how I do with just running tights and other compression I have on hand to use. When I asked what I should do if it got very bad again, it was encouraging to have the therapist say, don't let it get bad again. If you start to notice more back up with the lymph fluids, call and we'll get you in for a re-evaluation and decide if you need to start wrapping your leg and if we need to order a custom compression garment. I didn't know how it would work with this P.T. since they are at a hospital and only accept people with prescriptions from a doctor. Apparently now that I'm in with them, they can keep my file open and all I need to do is call if I need to come back. That helped me keep the optimism that I've started to regain, in an odd way. I've gotten used to being optimistic and then with each set back I feel like I start all over again, generally from behind where I was before. The good part about today was to realize that I had something in place to take into account changes and new needs and that I can come back before it gets too bad. Then I had to come home and check my mail and everything became muddy again. Not really. I shouldn't let it get to me and I shouldn't have requested the report. I think about so many people much younger than me that are fighting active cancer and comparatively, my anxiety and muddy issues aren't muddy at all. I'm doing quite well. That said, I can't help but wish I hadn't looked at my latest PET/CT report. The NP told me it was normal but in the back of my head it has bugged me that I didn't get a copy of the report. They always give me a copy of the report but this time, they didn't. So I just had to call medical records and request it which was a pain in the butt. Doing it that way means calling, getting them a written request and release, paying the separate company that handles those requests (just a few bucks) and then they mail it. If I was a doctor's office there wouldn't have been a charge and they would have faxed it or sent the CD right away but it's not that easy when you are the patient. The bottom line is no definite evidence of metastatic or recurrent disease. Well that's good except the prior scan didn't have the definite word in there so I didn't like that being added. I have a 1 cm hypodense area on my liver which wasn't there before but without appreciable FDG on the PET part, it's most likely a cyst. I have a tiny nodule in a lobe of my lungs with mildly increased FDG. I have unchanged mild FDG in inguinal region so that's still likely due to surgical changes. I have bilateral mild dependent atelectasis which I've never seen in a report before and when I looked that up online it's apparently more likely in smokers (the chronic kind) and the acute kind can happen when a lung collapses. I stopped smoking in 2001 but maybe it's some late damage. It could indicate bronchitis, etc. That's not that bothersome to me although I wished I'd know about it as that may explain my high CPR level which my rheumatologist is retesting in early November. That's something I'll run by him if it's still high. I have some sub cm lymph nodes in the thorax which showed up but were too small to adequately characterize at this time. That's most of it. A few little things which make sense in terms of tendonitis I know I have don't worry me at all. I am very fortunate and I know it but all of the sudden everything shifts slightly the water moves and it feels muddy to me again. If they had given me the report when I was at my clinic check up and explained it to me, I would be alright about it. Instead I called and was told that it was normal. I had my wound check with the NP after my doctor excised the lipoma and she did have the pathology report for me then but when I asked again if the PET/CT was okay she said, yes everything was normal. I didn't ask her for a copy then and now that I have a copy and don't go back until the spring, I'm not sure how I feel. I will see my dermatologist in November and my rheumatologist in December so depending on the CRP results, I guess I'll decide where to go from there. If that's down, then I'll assume the spike was due to an infection and that will also relieve my mind about my lungs. I don't know how to feel about a cyst on my liver that I didn't have before. Hopefully all will be clear in a good way soon. Either way, one foot in front of the other with beautiful fall scenery to give me a lift.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Long Slow Sunday Walk

I had a very pleasant walk in part because I decided to try something and it worked. What I was trying was to see was is if I could complete what used to be one of my favorite walks. I took my camera so I would automatically go at a very slow pace, pausing along the way to take photographs. I haven't attempted this trail in a very long time. The reason I haven't tried that trail is I knew I'd get about half way to my favorite part and have to turn around or I'd be too tired to get back to my car. It's been like that since the end of June, 2005 when the boring stuff I've talked about far too much hit, several months after my lymph node dissection. I was tired by the time I reached my car but I completed the entire walk which was close to 5 miles round trip. Wooohooo!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Not on Yet

If I've already posted these photos, they are a repriese. I took them this summer and they were in a folder labeled, not on yet, whatever that means. I half recall considering posting them on my blog but I'm too lazy to look back and see if I did. I had a decent appointment with my pain doc Friday. Pretty much a non event. He was pleasant, I was pleasant, he wrote out scripts and said: see you in six months. I said: what happens if I get better and want lower dosages; he said, then call our office and we'll lower the dose. Wow, life is easy when you are in somewhat less pain and your new objective is to get to where you don't need as strong pain meds as opposed to trying to find effective pain management. It hit me, when I left the doctor's office that I am starting to get some improvement from the fourth week of taking the vitamin D prescription, as well as from the physical therapy. What has improved is the new and worsening symptoms so I still need to move past the longer term chronic ones I've had since July of 2005. Improvement is improvement and I'm happy about that. Looking at the photo of my Mandevilla vine on my porch reminds me that I need to think about getting that moved into my greenhouse for the winter. It should be okay with a few frosty mornings but it's not going to tolerate a hard freeze. Funny how relative it is. We're getting all excited in central NC about the first frost warnings of the season being announced for tomorrow morning while Buffalo just had 2 feet of snow. I should think about going out in my garden this afternoon and cutting the late blooming rose I noticed as well as the gerber daisies which are blooming for a last bow to the growing season. I almost hate to cut the late bloomers because it's fun to see a whisper of summer that's giving the dead growth a flash of color. It's also fun when we get a rare late fall dusting of snow to have photographs of the flowers in the snow. I've taken photographs like that is November and also in March when we have the occasional spring snow. We have more sleet than snow and last year we didn't have either to speak of. The birds are mighty busy as if they are anticipating colder weather. I used to feed the birds year round in close to a dozen feeders I had. Now I only feed them if we have snow since they can find a fair amount to eat around my garden year round and I don't mind sharing my blueberries and such with them in the summer and they help clear out the seed heads in the fall. I let the dead seed heads stay in place for the most part and they have become my new bird feeders. There was a time when I was spending almost as much on bird seed and fresh fruit for the birds as I did on groceries for me and my daughter. One year when our roads weren't cleared yet from a big winter storm, at least big for central NC, I walked home from the grocery store with several bags of birdseed in my back pack and two bags of groceries in my arms. My balance was much better back then or I wouldn't have made it home with the icy crust on top of the snow. Even so, a neighbor who spotted me as I was breathing hard and no doubt looked like I was about to collapse, came to my rescue for the last few blocks. Ah memories of my stupid days. These days, if the weather gets the least bit bad, I'll get an emergency bag of birdseed and if I forget, I'll share what I have on hand for me with the birds, if I think they are really in danger of dropping dead in my bushes, which is highly unlikely. The birds tend to have their own strategies for staying alive, I suspect.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Busy Birds

The birds are cracking me up. I practically fall over them in the fall (pun intended). They are so busy and so many different types are here this time of year. Wish I knew all their names. I need more patience or I need to add a more powerful telephoto lens to get better photographs of them. I go back in for my camera after missing a ton of shots and by the time I come back out they have scattered. Good for them. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but birds shouldn't grow to comfortable around humans. We are a dangerous lot although the birds I am trying to photograph are far too small to be prey for humans. They have to steer clear of cats and my neighbors cats do come to my garden in full force.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Growing seasons remembered

At a loss for words. I thought I'd post photos of growing seasons past that I revisited this morning . . .

Monday, October 09, 2006


I have been so preoccupied with the fall leaves starting to change that I almost missed the changes in the hydrangia. My large hydrangea has blue flower balls in the spring and summer. I always notice it when it loses all it's leaves in the winter and has bare stems. The temptation is to cut them back but the problem is the flowers set on the tip and if they are pruned back they don't bloom as much. I've always noticed all of that but somehow either missed the blooms that remain in the fall turning to pink and purple before they turn brown and drop off. I am aware that ph affects the color of hydrangeas flowers and you can actually change a blue to pink or pink to blue by changing the ph, at least for some varieties. What I wasn't aware of though was that a blue could change to pink in the fall and although I've had this bush for over 20 years, I've never noticed that. I've only noticed the blooms that die and drop off. My question is whether this has happened every year and I just missed it with my preoccupation for looking upward to see the changes in the tall trees. The top picture was taken a few days ago, and the second one was taken a few months ago. I guess I'll have to wait for the summer of 2007 to see if the soil ph has changed the bush so much that the next year blooms will be pink and lavender or if they are always pink and lavendar before turning brown and dropping off. We haven't had a frost yet but that is probably not too far off. I checked and the average first freezing temperature in my region is October 24. We are having such a mix of weather at the moment that some things are confused. New flowers and even blooms on trees, that normally begin in the spring, are having a second new beginning. As much as I enjoy the first frost, I'm not in a hurry for it because I'm enjoying a second spring of sorts. Also since the weather is cool enough for the most part to be pleasant and the intermittant warm afternoons are kind of nice too, I can enjoy the changes without being in a huge hurry for a frosty morning. I do so love change. That is one thing I love about where I live. We have constant change most of the time, even within the 4 seasons.