December 30, 2012

Snow Day Antics

THE PUPPIES ARE GETTING BIG. ON THE LEFT, (WEASLEY?), THE BOY, AND ON THE RIGHT, THE GIRL.

After eleven inches of new snow last night, and after some back breaking shoveling, we let the pups out for their first romp in the snow.  Lydia, their mom ran around the race track that we cleared, but the pups soon were shivering and although not eager to return to the house, we brought them back into the warmth.

IT'S A PUPPY RACE WITH MOM

One in the house, they promptly pooped and peed ( sigh - training puppies in winter can be so difficult!), and then went to sleep. Fergus, our male Irish Terrier refuses to have anything to do with the pups, but once they are older, he should feel more like playing with them.

I was surprised to see a Carolina wren snacking on one of our suet feeders this afternoon. 


Today, I spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon working on my tally sheet for Project FeederWatch. I decided to participate in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology 2012-2012 Project which helps scientists learn about winter bird populations. The main goal of Project FeederWatch is to combine the interests of backyard birders with the needs of ornithologists who study bird populations. By making simple standardized counts of the birds in ones back yards and reporting them to the FeederWatch database,FeederWatchers are contributing directly to the scientific understanding of bird populations. All once needs to do is to register with the Cornell Lab, and then dedicate two consecutive days in any given period to watch ones bird feeders and tally up the species and then report them online. Today, I noted 16 species on our feeders and one American Kestrel who was watching birds dine from a nearby Hemlock tree.

A TURKEY REFUSES TO LEAVE THE COOP UNTIL WE SHOVELED A PATH. YEAH, THE BAGS OF GRAIN HELP HIM FEEL MORE LOVED, WELL, NO ONE EVER SAID THAT TURKEYS ARE STUPID.

THE TROPAEOLUM SPECIES LOOK ODD AGAINST THE SNOW, LIKE SUMMER AND WINTER MIXED UP, BUT IT DOESN'T SEEM TO MIND, IN FACT I MIGHT ADMIT THAT THIS SPECIES IS GROWIN BETTER IN THE COLD WEATHER, WHICH DOESN'T SURPRISE ME SINCE MANY OF THESE CHILEAN SPECIES PREFER TO GROW IN TEMPERATURES BELOW 50º F.

In the greenhouse, I patched up some glass which had slid, since tonight temperatures are expected to drop to 11º F. Of course, we almost ran out of gas today. I checked the tank this morning, and the meter  indicated that only 5% was left. After calling our gas company, they wanted to wait until tomorrow, as it was Sunday, and they felt that I might be able to make it through the night. I know from experience that I usually need 7 gallons of gas on a cold, January night, so I hitched up the electric heaters and turned the thermostat down to 38º just in case we ran out.


Thankfully, the gas delivery man on duty today was someone who understands our unique situation, so when we returned from the market at 5:00 PM, we caught him scaling our 8 foot fence with the gas hose. He deserves a few Duncan Donut gift cards this New Years Day! In anticipation of the possibility of running out of gas, I brought in a few treasures from the greenhouse - plants that I felt that I could not possibly live with losing. It's an interesting study, deciding what plants to possibly save from death, and which ones to leave. I decided on only a few new Vireyas. a couple of Rhododendron maddenii  species and two dwarf clivia's from China. Now that the gas is full, I will need to return them in the morning.

GLADIOLUS PRIORII

I found a surprise in the rear of the greenhouse, a wild species of Gladiolus , G. priorii ( syn Homoglossum priorii) which I forgot arrived in a batch of seed from wild collected specimens in South Africa. I only have one growing in a pot of G. alatus. This fall blooming species is always the first of the Gladiolus species to bloom for me, but I find it interesting how irregular many plants are each year. For example, this G. priorii sometimes blooms in October, in other years, in November or even in January. Other plants in the greenhouse are also off. Most of my Australian dendrobiums are in bloom now, or in spike. Dendrobium speciosum typically blooms for me in March but spikes have already emerged. So some things are late while other species are early, all in the same year.



Without Bubblewrap inside the glass of the greenhouse, I will be losing more heat but the light quality will be better. These next few weeks will be the coldest, but by the last week of January it begins to feel like spring, at least under glass as the days become longer, and the sun becomes stronger. The plants will all respond. By February 15 the sun will be so hot that I sometimes have to open the vents for the entire day.


Camellias are starting to bloom earlier this year too.  The anemone form variety is called 'Lipstick'. It's one of the more unusual camellias. I like its compact habit, which makes it a terrific pot plant.



 THERE WAS A TIME WHEN I TRIED TO KEEP CAMELLIAS INDOORS, BUT THE DRY AIR AND HEAT MAKES INDOOR CULTURE PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. AGAINST A BACKDROP OF SNOW, THIS SINGLE RED CAMELLIA IN THE GREENHOUSE MAKES A PERFECT HOLIDAY MOTIF COME TO LIFE.

SPEAKING OF THE HOLIDAYS, IN MY PLANT WINDOW, IT'S ALL ABOUT CONVENTIONAL. YES, RED AMARYLLIS AND PAPERWHITES. 
OH YES, AND GOOD 'OL CAMELLIA 'YULETIDE'

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! (IN CASE I NEVER GET A CHANCE TO POST TOMORROW!)

4 comments :

  1. What a beautiful selection of images for the coldest part of winter. Spring in the last week of January. I like the way you think! Happy New Year!

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  2. THOSE PUPPIES!!! SO freakin' cute!

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  3. hopflower11:41 AM

    Have a Happy Healthy, and Prosperous New Year, Matt! And thanks for all the lovely posts each week throughout the year.

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  4. Haha, The puppies! Snow faced. You're only young once!

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