Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today's Flowers: One for my Home Garden Records

The white camellia in my front yard has one bloom open already which has never happened this early.
All the other buds on the bush are thankfully still fairly small and closed.
Although my neighbor's red camellia was starting to bloom way ahead of schedule, I thought my white camellias would be safe until at least the end of February. After I shot this bloom it was freezing cold that night and the blossom froze and turned brown.
Click for the home of Today's Flowers.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Both Saturday Photohunts: Dark and Fluffy

My next door neighbor's cat Black Jack is very Dark and Fluffy.
The second shot is one I took of him on my deck before I started keeping my back fence shut so the cats wouldn't annoy the backyard birds.
The cat below is also dark and fluffy but I can't remember his or her name.
I sure do have a lot of dark and fluffy cats visiting me, particularly since my city has an ordinance against people letting their cats roam. Click for Sandy's Fluffy Photohunt and/or click here for Gattina's Dark Photohunt.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Nature Notes: Down side of mixed up seasons

The down side of the way our weather is so mixed up this year, with lots of spring like days as well as winter ones, is that the flowers are totally confused.
The helleborus (lenten rose) above is always among the first to bloom in the early spring but not in the middle of winter.
The narcissus are also popping through the leaves.
Usually in the spring when the narcissus pop up I start moving the leaves away, but this year having them emerge in winter they need more not less protection.
Hopefully we are having enough freezing cold weather scattered in between the premature spring like weather to keep the birds from mating too early.
I'm not hearing the calls that I associate more with mating season. I'm sure day length is a factor in birds mating which should prevent that happening too soon.
I am worried about the spring flowers. I have a feeling that early spring blossoms will be a loss this year.
We can have a hard freeze through mid to late April where I live, and often have March flowers that do alright with a mix of weather.
However, it seems like some of the spring flowers are getting ready to bloom MUCH too soon this year.
I would even prefer to have it stay cold for awhile before it warms up again but there's no telling what will happen.
I certainly do seem to talk about the weather a lot.
I used to think of talking about the weather as boring but in reality weather affects all of nature so much, including human beasts.
I apologize for how blurry some of the bird shots are but it has been so overcast and they have been rather animated. Click for the home of nature notes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Today's Flowers: Clivia miniata blooms

I thought I'd post some recent shots of my clivia miniata blooms now that the flower stalk has grown and more of the flowers are open.
This plant is native to southern Africa and is grown indoors where I live.
It can be planted outdoors in USDA zones 9 through 11. Since I live in USDA zone 7, it isn't recommended to be planted outside here. I've had this plant since 2006 and it has given me a lot of pleasure. It hasn't bloomed every year but having something green and healthy inside is fun even when it doesn't bloom.
Click for the home of Today's Flowers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Photohunters: Animal and Bliss

The animal below (male cardinal) finds his bliss in the warm bath after I get the ice out.
Although I have started keeping my backyard fence closed so the feline animals don't interrupt the aviary animals bliss on my deck, the feline animals still find bliss with my front yard bird baths.
Many animals find their bliss in my yard and on my deck.
I used to tell the cats to go home but I don't bother anymore although I do try to make sure the birds have some protected areas, especially in the winter.
Since I encourage birds to make their home in my yard, it's not a surprise that the neighborhood cats also arrive for a little bliss.
One of my neighbors told me he knew I took care of the birds and that I shouldn't worry about their cats because they weren't hunters. His cat below showed his reaction to that naive statement.
For the most part I do think the birds can find their bliss without too much danger from home fed predatory animals.
The animals with jingle collars announce their presence.
The blissful animals that fly have an advantage due to maneuverability.
The animal below seems fairly blissful hanging out with my inanimate bird.
All in all I'd say my yard provides bliss for a variety of animals, and hopefully the hunters don't get too many meals from the prey.
Click for the home of The Saturday Photohunt (Bliss) and/or click here for Saturday Photohunting (Animal).

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nature Notes: Seesaw continues

I turned on my car radio and caught the end of a phrase.
Even without hearing the whole sentence I knew that "the seesaw continues" referred to the weather.
This is definitely the weirdest winter ever where I live in NC.
It's not that we don't have a lot of different kinds of weather most winters.
What makes this winter strange is we are having the temperatures change back and forth three times in one week, and it's been happening for months now.
I seriously doubt we've ever had a stranger winter.
The shots above and below are of a female cardinal. The first shot is a male cardinal. The third shot is of an American Robin and a male cardinal. The fourth shot is a Carolina Chickadee and a female cardinal. The fifth shot is a male cardinal with his mouth full.
Click for the home of Nature notes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Today's Flowers: Camellias

Camellias set their buds in the winter and bloom in early spring.
Unfortunately, this year the back and forth weather has confused my neighbor's camellia and the buds started growing too fast during warmer days only to get burned by the hard freeze.
My white camellia is doing better since its buds haven't started growing too fast yet.
Click for the home of Today's Flowers.