Sunday, March 29, 2020

Azalea toll

It's been a beautiful day here. We drank coffee on our newly liberated screen porch. It was cool this morning, so the ceiling fan whirring overhead had to go. We sipped as the morning sun Cezanne'ed our yard.

The azaleas along the bank next to the road in our yard have bloomed in waves. It started early last week with the white ones. The pink ones followed. Today, we noticed a couple of the crimson ones. I expect them to be out in force next week.

We're thinking about charging an azalea toll for those passing in front of our house.

On a less upbeat note, I noticed several days ago that one of my beehives had little activity. That's not something a beekeeper wants to see in lat March.

This afternoon, I donned my veil and gloves to have a look. It was empty. When I called my beekeeper buddy, he had several theories, but the bottom line is we now need to get a new batch of bees for that empty hive.

I hope your Sunday has been a good one. Stay safe.

Saturday, March 28, 2020


The thermometer crept past 80 degrees (F) today. It's been beautiful. I needed a few pieces of lumber today, so I called our local hardware store and asked if I could order and pay for our order and then have the yard people load it on my truck without having to get close to anyone.  They could, and they did.

When I got home, Jilda was ready to walk. She was walking ahead with Taz, the wonder Yorkie, when she raised her arm in the HALT gesture that we both use from time to time.

When I looked just in front of her, I saw a chicken snake about five feet long. He and his family live in the barn. His family has lived there for as long as we've been here. They feed on mice, moles, voles, and other small critters.

We gave him a wide berth and shooed the dogs on around the barn so they wouldn't bother him (or her).

When we walked the second lap, it had moved on.

I posted a picture on social media, and the comments ran the gamut from – Ah, he's a friendly fellow, to KILL IT!!!!!!

Our neighbors are members of the "If it crawls, smite it" club. As long as the snake stays here, it will be safe. I can't say what will happen if it goes elsewhere.

Friday, March 27, 2020


Today was convert our greenhouse back into a screen porch. We needed muscle, so I hired a helper. Our great nephew Jordan showed up after lunch, and we dove in.

Not only did we have to remove all the frames and plastic, but we had to move all the citrus trees, ferns, bougainvilleas, and other assorted plants we protect from winter's bite. There is a split-leaf philodendron that in ancient. The plant was a gift from grandmother to her mom when they moved back from Chicago in 1965.

When it got too big for Jilda's mom to manage it, she gave it to us. It's in a large pot and weighs slightly less than Chevy Corvair.

Jordan helped me drags everything off the porch, and then he swept a winter's worth of dead leaves and then cleaned the tables, chairs, and the glider.

He earned his keep today. By the time we were finished, we were both whupped. He walked with me down into the garden to check on the beehives. Last year on this day, I captured my first swarm. I'd been a beekeeper for less than two weeks. Alas, there was no swarm today.

Jordan took the opportunity to rest on the garden bench under the oak tree. I think if I'd left him there, he would have napped. 

The school year has ended for the kids in Alabama. For some kids, that might mean an extended vacay from school. That's not the case. His mom is a stickler about reading, writing, science, and complex mathematics.

When he left here, he had to hit the books. Maybe I should have let him grab a nap.

Thursday, March 26, 2020


I had to take two pictures for the paper today. I took both from a distance. When I returned to the truck, I bathed in hand sanitizer. I hope my camera is not allergic.

On the way home, I noticed that the wisteria was in bloom. Wisteria is one of the most beautiful plants in the south. The blooms are violet and hang down like bunches of grapes. The aroma smells like the grape bubblegum that I loved as a child.

Pulling to the edge of the road, I snapped a few pictures. The light was wonky so I wasn't sure how the photographs would look. But it turns out, they looked OK.

I tried to grow wisteria once. I planted a twig by the side of our house. It spread faster than COVID-19.  Soon we had a canopy of wisteria vines, but not flowers.

After a few years, it decided to grace us with blooms. By then, I'd made up my mind that I needed to admire this beauty from afar.

The plant is beautiful and smells like my childhood, but I cut it ALL down and dug up the roots.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Then the sun rises and dogwoods bloom

The storm that moved through last night got bored here in Empire. Not much to demolish, so it moved off quickly to the east.

This morning as we drank our coffee, a ruby-throated hummingbird dipped in and sipped from the feeders.

When I stepped down to get the morning paper, I noticed that the dogwood in our yard had decided to make its debut. They had been on the cusp for days...taunting us. Na Na Na Boo Boo. But then, today.

I had to walk around to get a good angle. The sun was just rising over the eastern horizon and doing what it does best in the morning – which is to show us that life is a circle going round and round.

There will be dark times, but then the sun rises, and dogwoods bloom.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


The rain moved out early this morning, leaving an azure sky. Don't you love that word? Anyhow, I'd taken a break from writing and went out for a walk. 

My intention was to get a picture of the blooming blueberries with the sky and clouds as a backdrop, but then this pesky raise back swallowtail kept photobombing my pictures. I tried to shoo the little flapper away, but he was persistent, so I decided to take one with him in it.

It was a warm and turbulent day today. The wind chimes on the back deck have worked hard. The long D chime sounded like a church bell. Dong. Dong. Dong.

This evening the atmosphere is churning. One moment the wind out of the south is warm. The next moment, the wind shifts, and it's much cooler coming from the northwest.

Radar shows the worst part going just north of us. My fingers are crossed that it jumps everyone and heads out to an empty sea.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Slow news day

All I have today is an old limb covered with moss. It's Jilda's birthday and we celebrated here. I'm thankful I ordered her gift over a month ago and stored it in the dark part of my closet.

Still keeping our distance. 

Y'all stay safe.

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