Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Yesterday, I sat at this window and probaby spent too much time, just ruminating on the beauty of nature and the joy it brings. I think it must have given God a great deal of pleasure to design this world we live in, making it so lovely that it can cause us to forget what we're supposed to be doing and just sit and gaze upon it. If a backyard in Irving, Texas, can cause that response, just imagine what a Rocky Mountain vista, or a helicopter flight over Maui, or a trip through Grand Canyon could produce. Still, since I'm not likely to ever again have the opportunity to drink in one of those sights, I'm content to sit at my window and contemplate the beauty on the other side of the glass. Indeed, I'm grateful for the opportunity.

It was one of those green and gold days, fresh, warm and bursting with life. Just how much life, I was soon to discover. As I sat looking out at the swelling buds on the iris, and the white froth of bloom on the spirea, I caught a movement beneath the shrubbery. Thinking it was the neighbor's cat, back for another attempt to catch some hapless creature that had come to feast at my feeders, I reached for my sprinkler remote control. But no! It wasn't the cat! It was a large gray possum!

Now, that's a completely different story. Not only do I not mind his presence, I welcome it. He doesn't bother birds, squirrels, or me. He does, however, root around and dig up grubs that would cause damage in my yard. Yes, he leaves a few holes, but I can kick the dirt back in with the toe of my shoe, and there's no permanent damage. The little holes are shallow, and in fact they probably help to loosen and aerate the soil.

I reached for my ever-ready camera, and got a couple of shots of him as he bumbled along through a flowerbed. They're a bit hazy, as they were shot through the windowpane, but he's clearly visible.

Today is another beautiful day, just as pretty as yesterday. The temperature is a pleasant 81, with a balmy breeze causing the trees to sway slowly in their new, soft green dresses, like young girls in a gentle minuet. I just love this time of year.

I haven't seen the possum today, but I suspect he/she is around. Actually, I think it may be a female. You can't tell it in the pictures but it was one portly possum, especially around the middle, so there may be little possums soon. I hope so. I will definitely keep the camera charged up and ready, should that little parade appear. Not likely, though. Possums are mostly nocturnal - yesterday's appearance was a bit rare - and I doubt that a mama possum would bring her babies out in broad daylight.

I may get to see them, however. I have a night vision scope, and often am treated to things that I wouldn't be able to see otherwise. Just can't photograph them, unfortunately.

Well, I'm off to buy more impatiens. I finally found a nursery that has some in the color I want, so need to go get them. I'll take little Toye Starr along, the nurseries never seem to mind, and she loves to go with me.

Peace, friends.

Monday, March 9, 2009


I guess it's officially Spring around here. Flowers are blooming, and small critters are appearing. I love it! There are squirrels everywhere out in the yard, and birds of every description. I even had a lovely little squadron of goldfinches that passed through a couple of weeks ago. They found my nijer thistle feeder, and just about stripped it. They were still more green/gray than gold in their winter plumage, but a few were showing the bright gold feathers of summer. They fed, and moved on. Wherever they are right now, I'm sure by now they look like drops of sunshine in the trees.

As I was brushing my teeth this morning, preparing to go forth and meet the world, in the mirror I could see what appeared to be a large piece of lint, dangling from a corner of the a/c vent over my head. I turned around and reached up with a tissue to wipe it away, and realized the lint was green and had eyes. It's a little gecko, chameleon, whatever he is. I had zillions of the babies around here last year, I guess this is one that managed to evade the birds.


Apparently he has been hanging out in the attic, subsisting on small spiders and the like (I hope) and decided to crawl into the a/c duct and seek his fortune. If I reach toward him, he pulls back out of sight, but soon sticks his head out again when I leave him alone. He appears to be about 5-6" long. At one point, not only were his head and shoulders out, but the tip of his tail was visible as well, so I was able to determine his size.

I'm not quite sure what to do about him - nothing, I guess. He has made it on his own this long, I suppose he can continue to do so without my help. I'm concerned about his need for water, though. That will soon bring him down into the bathroom, where Starr's water bowl is on the floor. She's confined to my bedroom and bathroom when I leave the house, and would certainly spot him. I'm not sure what, if anything, she'd do to him, but I'd hate for her to hurt him. She wouldn't "attack" him, but she'd try to play with him, I have no doubt. Of course he can run into tiny spaces where she can't get him, but I'd really rather he wasn't camped in my bedroom. I'm afraid I'll step on him at night, and while he might survive Starr's attentions, he'd never survive that!

The irises are starting to bloom. Rapture's Edge has opened two huge flowers, with more buds below. Purple Streaker has set some buds, is about a week away from opening. A tiny purple miniature, whose name I think is Hottentot, has burst forth in one end of the rose island, lovely purple bloom on a short 8" stem! Delightful! Roses and irises are good companions, and I do have a mixture of them in the rose island.


Halloween Halo is trying again, after getting her first effort frost-nipped a couple of weeks ago. Lady Friend, the gorgeous red thing, is budding out in the front yard. Harvest of Memories will open soon, and will probably do it again this fall. She usually does. I love those remontants - rebloomers - you get a lot of bang for your buck with them.

The grass is greening up nicely, would actually be acceptable if it didn't get any better, but it will. The white, weeping spirea is showing color, will be gorgeous in a few days. The Little Princess spirea, which is more shrubby and blooms a lovely pink, is just starting to leaf out. It usually blooms about the time the white one finishes. I'm always amazed at how two shrubs from the same family can have such vastly different growth habits. The white sends out long, droopy canes and the flowers emerge along almost the entire length of the canes. The pink doesn't make long canes, and the flowers appear in little flat-topped clusters all over the top and along the sides of the bush. Both are beautiful.

The roses are covered with tender red/green leaves, after being pruned within an inch of their lives a couple of months ago. Of course, those tender leaves looked like a sign that read "Eat Here" to the aphids, and they arrived in hordes. Not to worry, I bought ladybugs from John, and released them one evening after first running each sprinkler zone for about a minute, just enough to wet foliage. The next morning, I checked the rose bushes, and not a single aphid could be found, but a lot of ladybugs were sitting around picking their teeth. Sure beats chemicals!

I just watered the neighbor's cat again. Dumb cat, he never learns. He knows there are lots of birds and squirrels in my yard, and at least once a day he heaves his big old overfed belly over the fence and tries to look sleek and menacing as he prowls through my shrubbery. If I see him, all it takes is a click of my sprinkler remote to turn on the appropriate zone, and then I get treated to the spectacle of a cat losing all his dignity as he scrambles to get back over the fence before he's completely soaked. Miserable wretch.

Never a dull moment around here, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Be blessed, friends!.

P.S. I just went into my bathroom, and my gecko friend was sitting on Starr's water bowl, just as I had feared he would do. I brought my dipnet from the pond, managed to scoop him up without any difficulty, and he is now patrolling my flowerbeds, outdoors, where all good little lizards belong. End of story.