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."

Archive for the ‘weather’ Category

Snowy Day

It started out just the way it always does.

There was the sudden appearance on the long range forecast of the big Snowflake icon…and shortly after that, a Winter Storm Watch was posted.     It was far too warm to snow, it seemed, though the temperature seemed to be teetering back and forth and every now and then, we’d look out the office windows and see that the rain was “thicker”.     And then there were wildly swirling snowflakes the size of our heads.

About that time someone heard the forecast about heavy bands of snow sweeping along the Connecticut coast in our direction with the possibility of four inches of heavy snow by 4 pm and a quiet murmur of panic sounded as the usual suspects began to fret about being able to get home safely.   As darkness fell – earlier under the storm’s cloak – and the Storm Watch upgraded to a Warning, our temperature began to climb.   It was heavy rain through which we made our ways home.

And rain that continued on into the evening, spattering the windows as the howling winds began to mount.   Even in the face of that, there was the possibility that we might…only might…wake up to a world of white.  In bed at a reasonable (for me, anyway) hour and snuggling for a bit with Mister Purrypants, I listened to the rain, loud on the windows, on the roof, on the side of the house, not unlike many nights here on Cape Cod, actually.

I did sleep – it’s actually a comforting sound when one’s accustomed to it, I find – but it wasn’t a quiet night and I was attuned enough to the sounds of the storm that I could tell when the temperature would drop and the rain on the windows would start to freeze and sound harder on impact, no longer quite a liquid.   And then it would change back again.   Then, somewhere around 5 or so, I woke to silence, the sounds of the world muffled…and I managed to raise myself up enough for a glimpse out the window, at a world of snow.

There wasn’t much of it, it seemed, but it was still snowing and it was early enough I could comfortably nestle myself back into the covers for a while more.   At least until the Catsby came bounding in, having discovered my momentary wakefulness and capitalizing on it for a bowl refill before I could settle in.

Very shortly, the precious silence was taken over with plow sounds on the nearby highway, in the courthouse parking lot…and then past the front of our place.   Pavement scraping.  Back-up beepers.   The radio chimed in low with the long list of school closings or delayed openings.  And then came the text that our own office opening was going to be delayed a few hours, owing to the slushy, icy snowy conditions out there.

Fortunately, nothing pre-empts The Catdude’s favorite shows and the birds were singing up a storm of their own as the snowstorm began to wind down.

There’s something about this shot below I’m especially fond of.  I think it’s the way our street remains only a tire track at the early hour this was taken and only barely visible through the trees.   I guess what I love about the snow is the way it changes how everything looks.   The dreary dull of this season is blanketed and everything is soft and undisturbed and unspoiled and new looking.

As seems to be the theme so far this year, we didn’t get much snow, certainly not as much as so many other places, most of which were already trying to figure out what to do with the snows from the last couple of storm.

And while it would’ve been sweet to have the whole day off from a bigger storm, I was content that there was time to take a few pictures, to cook a nice hot breakfast and have an extra cup of coffee before getting out there into the workday.  (After all, as Practical Gardener is keen to remind me, a day’s work is a day’s pay.)

This poor bush (is it a privet? I’ll look more closely later on.) was certainly done no service being planted under the eaves of our office building where it must bear this icy run-off, but it certainly was pretty covered in ice and glittering in the sun.

Naturally, once the storm had passed, our temperature dropped back down into the 20s,  but it was still a pretty day with some nice warm sunshine.  Two of us were brave enough to do our usual lunchtime walking, though slushy and potentially slippery conditions kept our lap count down a bit.

Here’s the view out my office window just before leaving to come home this evening.

With the snowy, ice-laden landscape reminding us that all of February still stretched out before us, it’s always cool to be able to see that our days are lengthening and before we know it, Spring will be here.


On A Cold Winter’s Night

10:30 P.M.

12 midnight.

1:00 A.M.

2:00 A.M.

3:00 A.M.

4:00 A.M.

5:00 A.M.

6:00 A.M.

My Own Tomorrow

Purple-Aster-begins

Well,  after such a long absence, at least I know enough to return with a handful of pretty posies to delight and distract you.

Check out the purple aster, recently begun blooming in the driveway fence garden.   It was one of the most recent additions, hopefully one we’ll enjoy for many autumns to come.  Not far away, some tiny pink anemone flowers have appeared on the plant division my friend Gail gifted me from her garden last spring.  Thanks, Gail!

Anemone

Sorry to be gone from here so long.  I’m afraid I tripped and fell into a pit of Mucky Meh-ness.   It turns out the anniversary I wished to commemorate early in the month is followed by another and while that second one is no longer celebrated, it still lurks there on the calendar page and last week lept out to drag me into some  shadowy territory full of recriminations, second guessing, self-loathing and knot-tying.  Bleah.  No fun.  Can’t recommend it.

Thanks goodness for the flowers and The Catsby and a few good friends.  I’m better now and have come out the far side of it with an answer or two, but as always, loads more questions for pondering and writing about.   But at least it seems like a healthier assortment of questions than before.

Autumn-Marigolds-1

The container gardens on the deck continue the cool-season blooming they’d begun earlier in the month.

Cosmos

The dwarf cosmos are especially prolific now, which is fun.   Their flowers, like their taller cousins, only last a day or two, but as long as I remember to deadhead them regularly, they’ll keep churning out these lovely blossoms until frost puts them to bed in a few weeks.

June’s seemingly endless rains put me badly behind schedule for seeding in the bachelor buttons this year, which means the first of them are only just blooming for the first time this week.   Sadly, this means a shorter season for one of my favorite flowers,  but still, even just a few of them will be a delightful addition to Fall, when so many things are done blooming.  Hopefully they’ll get to do their thing for a while before the season draws to a close.

Bachelor-Button-blue

The nasturtiums are blooming pretty heavily now, too, as we build toward a big finish.  It doesn’t look like the canna lily will bloom this year.   I expect it will be happier next year if I actually plant it in the ground when spring comes, rather than try to keep it in the container on the deck, as I did this year.   It makes a lovely foliage plant, too, but I do miss it not blooming this year.   Ah, well.

Nasturtiums

Catsby-with-New-Begonia-Mon

Here’s a new addition to the houseplant collection.  Not even that new, really, since this spotted-leaf begonia (I believe it’s a begonia, but to be honest, I’m unsure) was gifted me by a friend in town (thanks, Bev!!) in June.

To give you some sense of how enthusiastic this new addition is, it was only two leaves and a few inches high back then and you can see it’s climbing toward the three foot mark now as September slides toward October.

This plant looks quite similar to the monster begonia in Patrick‘s collection, so I’ve written him for advice and guidance about how to protect The Purrmeister and myself from this invader, or if we ought to simply abandon the Nest to this fast-growing, but pretty specimen while we are still able.

In other gardening adventures, the summer brought the surprise of an unexpected cluster of vines growing in the garden near the stoop on the southern side of the house, which eventually produced these two small pumpkin-y gourds.

Their appearance solved the mystery of where the vines came from, resembling as they do the harvest time decorations from last autumn, the remains of which were swept off into the garden as the winter turned to spring.

Accidental-Vine-Crops

Catsby-Lounges

Our catwalks continue, though I’ve been experimenting with our going out to explore at different times of day lately, in an attempt to have time for a good long wander without being out after dark.   Earlier this week, we had a mid-day ramble around the yard and we took advantage of some patio furniture cushions for a bit of lounging in the cool September sunshine.

We’ve been blessed with a lot of sunshine this September, which has been lovely.  Of course, the other side of that coin has been a long string of weather forecasts which promised rain that never materialized.   But at least there was nice weather for running around to thirsty gardens with hoses and watering cans once it was suddenly apparent the precipitation wasn’t coming each day.  Finally this past Sunday, it did rain, gently at first and then pretty heavily as the day wore on.   It was pretty lovely, actually, and the gardens couldn’t look any happier now.

CC-Bay-in-the-Rain

I sing the body electric. I glory in the glow of rebirth.

Creating my own tomorrow, when I shall embody the earth.

As I pulled myself from the recent doldrums, I was amused to discover that the remake of the classic 80’s film, FAME, had opened in cinemas this past weekend.  I loved the original movie and the TV Show that followed.  I never imagined I had quite the level of talent the kids in those stories had, and certainly didn’t have their ambition, but I was still inspired enough to have some hope, to work with the gifts I did have, to get excited about music and dance and Shakespeare and acting…and in the process, to try to find inside myself the person I wanted to be.

Pretty-Phlox

I’ve never tired of the movie soundtrack and have continued to find inspiration in it over the years.   After all, we are “always proving who we are, always reaching for that rising star…”, aren’t we?  So as I find myself once more discovering myself, getting to know who I am and what sort of person I want to be, it seemed right to revisit this particular inspiration.

I didn’t imagine it might make me feel the same way I had in my late teens.   Ha ha.   Candlesticks as microphones while dancing on coffee tables.  Re-imagining one’s freshman dorm-room window as the balcony of the Casa RosadaDancing in the dark where no one could see with a Walkman on.  Hmmm,  perhaps I didn’t want to fully revisit the madcap energy of such youthful exuberant folly.  Good god, I could break a hip.

Of course part of the attraction of FAME for me was that it had at least a minor storyline about Monty, a gay character with whom I could identify, if silently so at the time.  (Please, how cute was Paul McCrane?)  Not many movies in those days had such a character, and fewer still found him alive at the film’s conclusion (But let’s save discussion of how disappointed I was that they completely unsexed him for the TV adaptation for another time, though, shall we?).

Pink-Aster-Honeybee

I was intrigued to see if the new version of the movie could, in any way, compare to something that had been so important to the Younger Me.   Although I was dubious about how it might inspire me (is it really possible for anyone to recapture the feelings of infinite possibility that exist when one is so young?), I had a feeling I was going to enjoy myself.   After all, Debbie Allen is involved in the new version and nobody is FAME if she’s not.   Maybe I would come out of the cinema humming “I’m gonna learn how to fly…” after all.

Turkey-Vulture-Flight

How funny that, before I even got to the theater, I should found myself singing that.   An afternoon walk found me fascinated by a pair of turkey vultures in the marsh, reveling in their gift of flight.  Flapping their massive wings to take them up high enough to catch the air currents off the bay, then swooping and soaring and spiraling and looping…all the things I would totally be doing if I could fly.   What a treat, and so much so that I happily missed the late afternoon movie matinee I’d been planning to attend.

It’s true, a bald eagle or red-tailed hawk or even a great blue heron might’ve made a prettier picture.   Beauty is not particularly counted among the turkey vulture’s gifts, most would agree.   But that can’t take away from the pure pleasure these birds seemed to be taking, or the soaring spirit they passed along to me with their example.

I did get to a later showing of the movie and I thought it was pretty great.   It was a better movie for not trying to be a complete remake of the original, I thought.   A couple of favorite tunes from the original are reprised here, and a variety of scenes echo the original, but most of the music was new, to me, at least.   The names have changed, but overall, the story is the same:   talented kids, bright futures, working for their dreams.  If there was a gay character in this remake he was a stealth gay.   Perhaps there are enough other places gay kids can look in these enlightened days for inspiration (thank goodness for Curt from GLEE, eh?).

Predictably, the new FAME is a little slicker than the original, but I have a feeling it’ll inspire a new generation of shiny young kids to look inside themselves to see what they have to offer and maybe reach for a dream or two.   For me, it was fun to re-visit the hallways of the fictionalized High School for the Performing Arts and to be sent back to some fun old memories of my earlier days (I may have to seek out the TV show on DVD), reminding me now to celebrate the Me Yet To Come.

Rainbow-Dahlia