Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunshine and flying squirrels

Finally!  Some of that sunshine we’ve all been craving.  Some blue sky.  Even some color!  As in wildflower and daffodil color. 

 I came across these beauties in the woods the other day.  The flowers are aster-like, and sort of dandelion-like as well.  I don't know what they're called, but I've only seen them in this one location. 

 Just look at the way the sunlight makes those pine needles glow!


A couple of days ago, we stopped by my brother's place in the holler for a little while.  He asked my hubby and me if we’d like to see some flying squirrels.
There’s an old dead cedar tree near his barn, and he had noticed that it was home to the little critters.  He had also discovered that if he tapped on the base of the tree with a stick, the sound would startle some of the flying squirrels out of their den—even in daytime.  (Flying squirrels don’t typically come out in daytime because they are nocturnal creatures.)  

When he pecked on the tree, out scampered four furry flying squirrels.  They darted up the tree, but three of them quickly darted back.  The fourth one, however, stayed put.  He and I were soon engaged in a staring contest.  I just happened to have my camera, so I quickly snapped several pictures.  Most of them were blurry, but a couple of them were clear enough to show what big eyes flying squirrels have.
 
Just below Squirrelly is the doorway to his humble abode. 


I think this one might have literally been blinded by the sunlight.  Or maybe he just thought I was an odd-looking creature.

What do you think? Are flying squirrels cute or do they look too-rodent like?  I think they’re kind of cute. 


Saturday, February 25, 2012

So tired of splashing through the mud and the muck!

I'm tired of wading mud when I take my daily walks, and I'm sick of the dogs tracking it on the porch. 
I'm beyond ready for some sunshine and bright fun-lovin' color; redbuds, dogwoods, tulips, green grass, blue sky, even dandelions would look good right now. 

There is much to appreciate in a quiet winter landscape, as evidenced by these pics I've taken the past couple of weeks, but Mother Nature's mononchromatic color scheme is becoming a bit monotonous. 

Bring on spring...and lots of color, I say!  

These little fellers are trying, but when 70-degree days are followed by 30-degree days, well...

...it hurts. 

This pastoral scene is lovely in a peaceful sort of way...

... and the creek runs deep and green, cleaner than usual this time of year. 

Daisy always has to go fetch something out of the water whether we've thrown something in or not. I think she's trying to teach Lula to do the same. 

 Water and cold make some really interesting sculptures...

...and wintertime makes for some pretty drives.
The clifflines are more visible...and  therefore, more interesting this time of year. 
 The hint of green in this landscape is nice, but...
...some bold, bright color would be a welcome sight. 

 Wouldn't it? 


Friday, February 10, 2012

"The Oldest Seed House in America"

I don’t see much evidence to support that snow advisory we’ve been warned about every few minutes for the past two days, but I’m playing it safe and staying home tonight. 

We are being so lazy around the Bicknell household; Chelsea’s sprawled on one couch, Robin on another-- me and Black Betty have each claimed a recliner, and Joplin is curled in the floor on a rug. 

We can at least pretend to be snowed in.

Tonight seems like the perfect time to study some seed catalogs.    

I did a Google search for heirloom seeds a couple of weeks ago and came across a website for the D. Landreth Seed Company.  The site claimed that it is “The Oldest Seed House in America,” which specializes in heirloom and vintage seeds.  They say they are struggling to stay afloat these days, so they have to charge $5 each for their catalogs. 

I ordered two.

Because? 

a)      They looked beautifully and artfully done on the Landreth website.

b)      It would be a shame for the oldest seed house in the country to close.

c)       I’m trying to avoid planting genetically-altered seeds. 

The catalogs came in promptly, and I thought they were well worth the price.  Filled with lovely vintage ads from decades past, glossy new photos of vegetables and flowers, interesting tidbits of history about some of the origins of these plants and growing advice, the catalog is as educational as it is beautiful. 

I learned that the founder of the business introduced the Zinnia to the United States from Mexico back in 1798. 

Who knew?  I can barely imagine summer without a few zinnias lining the edge of the vegetable garden.


I’m thinking this small American company is definitely worthy of our support, even if we do no more than look at their catalog on a potentially snowy--definitely lazy (yawn)--winter night.

Click on the blue highlighted link to order one for yourself!