One gardener's observations, discoveries and random thoughts whilst simultaneously worshipping and dallying in a Cape Cod garden. "A garden," said Ralph Waldo Emerson, "is like those pernicious machineries which catch a man's coatskirt or his hand, and draw in his arm, his leg and his whole body to irresistable destruction."

brilliant-amaryllis1

How nice it is to have such a big and showy blossom to brighten up the winter pages of this gardening blog.   The amaryllis was even more spectacular in this morning sunshine.  Since it has been so snowy and cold, I think you’ll happily indulge me sharing more than just one shot of it.  By evening the second blossom had fully opened, but I’ll wait ’til morning to get a few more shots of that.

amaryllis-front-window

Having posted so recently, I don’t necessarily have lots to say.   But I do have a few photos I haven’t shared with you yet and a few miscellaneous things to tell you about.

Last summer I discovered a great host of wonderful blogs and bloggers out here in the Internet.   One of them, Large Tony, was a particularly bittersweet discovery.   Tony’s posts were a joy to read:  smart, funny, sensitive, dirty, honest, sexy.  Lots of other adjectives, too.   He mostly made me smile, and often laugh right out loud (but never LOL) but every now and then brought a tear to my eye with stories of life with his Granny, or his courtship with the Attorney.

The bittersweet part came in realizing that he had already made the decision to stop blogging at summer’s end as his fourth year came to a close.  As August turned to September, Tony bid us all, and the internet, a fond adieu. 

Or so it seemed.  This week, however, I happened to click on the old link to Tony’s blog, in hopes of some update or perhaps news of a book deal or something.   And there it was, the announcement of a whole new blog for this next chapter in Tony’s life, called West of Mayberry.   It’s nice to have Tony’s voice around again…and I wanted to make sure you all knew.  

Surf on over and check him out, won’t you?

yellow-dingy

cold-sparrowIn other news, my friend Heather recently reminded me that the impending start of February doesn’t mean only more snow and cold.  

 The turning of the calendar page will bring us that much closer to the 2009 Great Backyard Bird Count, in which I do hope to participate this year.

The GBBC is a joint project sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audobon.  For four days, February 13 – 16, we are all invited to do some bird watching.   You can do it for just 15 minutes, or you can count as many birds as you can during the whole period, filling out an online survey report for each session/location.

This is an important effort, as the tallied results will provide valuable information about changes in migration patterns, the impact of winter weather and diseases on local bird populations and the different human landscapes which attract different species of birds, and plenty of other things, too.   If you have the time and inclination, you should try to participate.  

You can find all the information you need at the Great Backyard Bird Count website.

cloud-bank-first-encounter

trees-and-skyHere’s an interesting sidebar to the harsh winter conditions of our discontent.   In the last week, two different ivory gulls have been sighted in the Cape Cod area.  

Ivory gulls, which are the similarly-fated neighbors of polar bears, are generally only found in and on the pack ice of the Arctic Circle, so seeing one here is highly unusual and, as you might guess, local birders are all a-twitter.  Heh

I shall definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for them on subsequent winter beach visits.   This time of year, winter storms often blow birds from other areas off course and I did hear that a number of dovekies (they look like tiny penguins, something I discovered a few years back when one memorably appeared outside work during the Christmas party we were hosting…) were found recently in the Provincetown area.

On a winter’s day around here, you never know quite what you’ll get.

cloudbank-two 

NOTE:  I had intended that the original post would end there…but then I had some troubles with my internet connection (it seems my cable modem may be dying a slow death…oh, yay…) and my time online last evening was brought to a premature and frustrating close.   Grrr.  

Still, I’m back now and I was at least happy – after restoring service this morning – to discover that the whole post draft had not been lost.   And as it turns out, now I have a new photo of the amaryllis from this morning, with TWO blooms.    Beauty, eh?

amaryllis-two

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Comments on: "January This and January That" (11)

  1. Our county just held a bird counting weekend shortly after New Year’s. That last shot of the double amaryllis is a beaut! Enjoy the weekend!

    The same folks also sponsor an annual Christmas bird count, for which I’ve never quite gotten my act together.

  2. Hey – Beautiful Amaryllis! And I feel priviledged to be mentioned in your blog. Good for you for promoting the bird count!

    And I appreciate the tip about the GBBC. Word to your Mom, too. (heh, always wanted to say that…wonder if I did it right…)

  3. Wow! That amaryllis looks like frozen fireworks. Just beautiful. I discovered Tony’s new blog, too. So glad to see him back.

    Wait ’til you see if with *three* flowers, Birdie! I was real happy to discover Tony’s return.

  4. That amaryllis is just spectacular! Definitely need to get myself some blooming plants.

    Thanks for the heads up on Large Tony! I was missing his blog too.

    Having pretty flowers inside this time of year simply *can’t* be underrated!

  5. That is one beautiful Amaryllis!

  6. Short comment before bed: “cloudbank-two” looks great, thank you so much for the link to mayberry.largetony.com, I was a little sad too + spectacular amaryllis (I have some amaryllis waiting in the dark by myself).

  7. The amaryllis is gorgeous! Especially with two full blooms.
    Love the photo of the row boat in the frosty water. I also, like Martin, really like the cloud bank photos.

    Good news about Tony! Thanks for sharing. I read LargeTony for a while, but it was one of the ones I dropped when my blogroll got too big. I’ll have to check out his new effort. You know, now that I have all this free time to read blogs. ;)

    Glad you’re still keeping your sense of humor, Jav! That rowboat was actually a tiny dingy…I wish there’d been something more nearby for contrast to help reference its size. I also liked that it was yellow on such a cold day.

  8. The color is so welcome after the grey skies and snowy scene painted outside my window every day. It looks like the orchid is blooming here, but you know how long they take to open up – it could be March before it does, lol.

    Actually, I’ve not grown an orchid before – look forward to seeing pictures of yours when its blooming, tho, Torn! Stay warm!

  9. Wow! Nice bloom. Hey, shouldn’t that renegade boat be in drydock?

  10. You are welcome to come birdwatch and/or count our chickens any time you’d like.

    Why, thank you, yer Troutiness. I’ll admit I don’t know just what sort of birding opportunities Trout Towers might have to offer. Are your chickens actual, or just a figure a speech? ; )

  11. I’ve probably got a lifetime of study before I can consider myself up on more than a handful of birds, but the Cornell website has come to my rescue so many times. It’s a great resource, and the backyard count a great project! The Audubon folks say my county has the most birds of any in the country. It’s a cool fact, but tells me there’s so much I still need to learn!

    I sure appreciate their resources, too…and I think it’d be fun to be involved in the count this year. The more I learn about Nature, the more I realize how little I know!

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