Fantastic Forms Down by the Water

 

Huge tree kept from toppling into the lake by rocky supports.

Precarious twins

Precarious twins

It’s still sweltering here.  Far too hot to do anything energetic.  So I’ve meandered around amusing myself by searching out intriguing and unusual natural formations.

Many of the trees at waters’ edge just about have the supporting earth washed away.  It looks like the Army Corps of Engineers has put rocks around some of the more precarious ones to help support them.  But every time a jet ski flies by, strong waves crash relentlessly against them, taking a bit more of the red clay support.  And leaving even more fantastic forms behind.

This one can't last long.  It looks like grandaddy long-legs spider legs are holding it up.

This one can’t last long. It looks like grandaddy long-legs spider legs are holding it up.

We have had nice, strong breezes today as the ever-threatened, seldom-materialized thunderstorms pass us by.

One thing this trip has taught us is not to ever camp in South Carolina in the summertime again!

Ron brought home superb Mexican take-out for dinner this evening.

I’m still drawing plans for a camper van.  I am so itching to tackle that project!  Hopefully next year!

Clutching at the disappearing earth

Clutching at the disappearing earth

Interlocking roots

Interlocking roots

Odd trees on the swamp side

Odd trees on the swamp side

Trumpet flower vine hidden in underbrush

Trumpet flower vine hidden in underbrush

Growing at water's edge.  I used to know their name, but have forgotten and am too lazy to look them up.  :)

Growing at water’s edge. I used to know their name, but have forgotten and am too lazy to look them up. 🙂

Sunlight  glinting on water

Sunlight glinting on water

Thunderclouds passing over

Thunderclouds passing over

 

 

 

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Reveling in Spring!

Wild dogwood tree in our back yard

Wild dogwood tree in our back yard

It’s planting time!

Wild birdsfoot violets in the front yard

Wild birdsfoot violets in the front yard

I haven’t had a garden the past couple of years, and this year the urge is irresistible.  I’m starting with a micro garden in Earth Boxes.  Later I’ll get the raised beds cleaned up, reinstall the irrigation system, and plant them, too.

I also got pink caladiums and pink and white oriental lilies planted in a 3′ x 3′ planter.  Almost everything I plant has to be in raised beds as our ground is solid clay and white quartz rocks.

The trip to Coleman Lake tamed the cabin fever monster, so now we are back to our original travel plan for this year.  Camp within an hour of home for a week once a month and get all of our bills except the mortgage paid off in October!

Wild Stars of Bethlehem after an encounter with the lawn mower

Wild Stars of Bethlehem after an encounter with the lawn mower

We are planning to meet up with friend Peggy for 3 days in late April at a state park in NE Georgia.

I’m planning to get the Casita washed and shined next week as Peggy has never seen it.  🙂

I have lots more planting to do.  The seeds I started a few weeks ago should be ready to go into the ground next week.

This is the most heady, glorious season of the year!

Wild crabapple blossom

Wild crabapple blossom

Dianthus in Earth Box by the back door

Dianthus in Earth Box by the back door

Earth Boxes with radicchio, peppers and patio tomatoes. I have a total of 10 Earth Boxes.

Earth Boxes with radicchio, peppers and patio tomatoes. I have a total of 10 Earth Boxes.

I planted pink and purple impatiens around the hosta pot.

I planted pink and purple impatiens around the hosta pot.

 

 

 

This poor hosta has been in the same big pot for several years, and faithfully comes back each spring.  Maybe this fall I'll remember to divide it.  :)

This poor hosta has been in the same big pot for several years, and faithfully comes back each spring. Maybe this fall I’ll remember to divide it. 🙂

 

The square foot gardens-to-be

The square foot gardens-to-be

 

Surviving Winter

Hope springs eternal.

Hope springs eternal. 🙂

I was really getting a bad case of cabin fever, and felt increasingly morose about the endless winter.  This one has been so bad, and it has really worn on me.

The only green in our yard is a very healthy crop of field garlic.

The only green in our yard is a very healthy crop of field garlic.

So I went shopping for some clumping onion seeds.  I already had most of the seeds for my spring vegetable garden, so all I needed was the onions.  But entering the garden department was like walking into a Garden of Hope.

Spring WILL come.  Eventually!

I also got some bulbs — caladium and oriental lilies for a sunny spot out front, and lilies of the valley which will share a shady spot with impatiens and hosta.

Field garlic closeup

Field garlic closeup

My N2A card for the Nook came today.  Unfortunately, I ordered the wrong one and will have to exchange it.  By mail, that may be another two weeks.

I had been planning to move my blog to my own domain, but have run into problems with it.  My web host inexplicably set up separate accounts for the domain registration and hosting.  I wanted them merged into one account, as has always been the case with every other web host I’ve had in the past.

I was on Live Chat with the customer representative, Geeshma, when I realized she had no clue what she was doing, so canceled the Chat and initiated a written Customer Service request instead.  Guess who answered that?

Yep, Geeshma.

Once there were birds -- and there will be again!

Once there were birds — and there will be again!

Somehow, the accounts were finally merged, but the email address I use for family stopped working. So I contacted Sales this time, hoping to find someone who spoke English as a first language.  No joy.  It looks to me like the people who started that business have sold it to someone in another country… I’m guessing Pakistan.

Anyway, I contacted them about the email problem.  No one had a clue but they would turn it over to  their “engineers” who would contact me in 3 or 4 hours.

The next day… still no answer from them.  So  I got royally fed up with their unbelievable incompetence and moved my domain to a new host.

Hours after I moved my domain,  I got a letter telling me that the problem with my email was that the domain was hosted on another server.   So their “engineers” had figured out my problem.  I won’t comment on that.  😀

I ran a DNS check, and found that the mail records had been hopelessly corrupted.  So I lost that email address forever.

But you know what?  I’ve got new hosting.  And I’ve created a new family email address.  And I’ll move the blog to my domain whenever I feel up to jumping into it.

And spring is coming, it will be warm again and there will be clear blue skies with puffy little white clouds, trees with spring-green leaves, blooming flowers — and golden sunshine — in just a few weeks!

sunny-original

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Leaving Clark Creek

Mimosa flowers.  Looks like a cotton candy tree.

Mimosa flowers. Looks like a cotton candy tree.

The thunderstorms won.  We left the campground a day early.

Mimosa tree

Mimosa tree

We learned more about which campgrounds work for us and which ones don’t.

Clark Creek would have been ideal if we had a boat or kayaks.  But we have neither.

We also discovered that we get terribly bored if we camp where there are no trails to explore.  We (and the dogs) need places to wander and discover new things.

Another natural valentine

Another natural valentine

So we are home now.  We’ll ride out the thunderstorms here instead of in the Casita in a campground.  🙂

And mushrooms

And mushrooms

....which I was too lazy to bother to try to identify..  :)

….which I was too lazy to bother to try to identify.. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Last Day at Ann’s

Ann took this photo of me trying to get a shot of a wasp's nest!

Ann took this photo of me trying to get a shot of a wasp’s nest!

Today is our last day here at Ann and Cecil’s place.

This is the picture I was shooting in the header photo.  Ann came out with a can of wasp spray as soon as I told her about it!

This is the picture I was shooting in the header photo. Ann followed soon after with a can of wasp spray!

Cecil drove a friend to a doctor’s appointment in Gainesville.  Ann was exhausted from spending too much time in the kitchen lately.  Ron went to town and wandered around there for a while.  So I took the opportunity to hunt down photo subjects.

We also did our own dinners tonight.  I grilled seasoned zucchini squash and sauteed chicken tenders, onions, peppers and garlic for an easy one-dish meal.

A fuzzy photo of a male chameleon courting the ladies.

A fuzzy photo of a male chameleon courting the ladies.

Since I don’t have any exciting adventures to share today, I’ll just post photos again.  🙂

This lady wasn't impressed!

This lady wasn’t impressed!

Cecil wasn't sure whether this was Fred or Joe.  :D

Cecil wasn’t sure whether this was Fred or Joe. 😀

Cecil has gopher tortoises on his property, and I thought this was one of their holes.  But Cecil said it was probably an armadillo hole.

Cecil has gopher tortoises on his property, and I thought this was one of their holes. But Cecil said it was probably an armadillo hole.

Tender, tasty baby bullbrier leaves

Tender, tasty baby bullbrier leaves

Florida is for bugs.  :(

Florida is for bugs. 😦

Cool tree skeleton

Cool tree skeleton

Discrimination.  :)

Discrimination. 🙂

Evidence the raccoons are eating the apple snails.

Evidence the raccoons are eating the apple snails.

Field of oxalis

Field of oxalis

Baby wild muscadine grape leaves

Baby wild muscadine grape leaves

Greenbriers will keep putting on tender, tasty shoots until midsummer

Greenbriers will keep putting on tender, tasty shoots until midsummer

Leatherleaf florist's ferns

Leatherleaf florist’s ferns

Closeup of the beautiful shamrock-like oxalis

Closeup of the beautiful shamrock-like oxalis

Maturing poke salad.  At this point it is dangerously poisonous.

Maturing poke salad. At this point it is dangerously poisonous.

The requisite Sheba-in-the-pond photo.  :)

The requisite Sheba-in-the-pond photo. 🙂

Turtles in the pond

Turtles in the pond

A carpet of Virginia creeper

A carpet of Virginia creeper

Scenes from a Spring Paradise in Florida

Hope's front door

Hope’s front door

After hearing me moan and groan about our cold, wet, dreary weather, my sister Hope sent me a visual spring tonic.  It is hard to express how powerfully seeing these photos taken in her yard impacted me.  There is hope!  There is beauty!  There is glorious life just one state south of here… and it’s headed my way.  Really!  It is!  🙂

Bee on azalea

Bee on azalea

These photos are a treasured gift.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Bee on Japanese plum flower

Bee on Japanese plum flower

Sulfur butterfly and orange

Sulfur butterfly and orange

Another shot

Another shot

Here he (she?) poses on an azalea flower

Here he (she?) poses on an azalea flower

Mama cardinal.  Hope said she raised a little brood of one in a nest in the azalea bush.

Mama cardinal. Hope said she raised a little brood of one in a nest in the azalea bush.

Here's papa cardinal.

Here’s papa cardinal.

Another little visitor

Another little visitor

This is the baby cardinal that the mama raised in the azalea bush!

I think this is my all time favorite.  She sent this one to me a while back.

I think this is my all time favorite. She sent this one to me a while back.

There are 5 birds in this picture.  Can you spot them all?

There are 5 birds in this picture. Can you spot them all?

This one was taken a couple of months ago, while it was still winter.

This one was taken a couple of months ago, while it was still winter.

Horse hair on fence.  Her rainy days sure are prettier than mine!  :)

Horse hair on fence. Her rainy days sure are prettier than mine! 🙂

Pear blossom

Pear blossom

Camping at Mom’s Place

Casita-scale birthday flower arrangement from Hope

We left Ann’s house after lunch and moved to Mom’s place a mile down the road.

My sister Hope greeted me with a birthday card and a beautiful birthday bouquet just the right size for the camper.  So the removable coffee shelf that Rob built for me has yet another use — flower table!

Mom had visited a friend in the hospital before we got here this morning, then stopped by the furniture store on her way home and bought herself a new mattress.  So Cecil and Ron picked it up for her this afternoon to save delivery charges.

Magnolias high up in the tree

Magnolia closeup taken last year when we were here

 

The magnolias are blooming.  But they are so high up in the tree, it was difficult to get a good photo of them.  So I’ll post a photo taken today, along with a closeup taken last May when we were here for Mom’s birthday.

I kept the dogs in the pen when we first got to Mom’s.  But later this afternoon I relented and let them out.  They headed for the cool dirt underneath the trailer.  Sheba, of course, started digging a cool spot to lie in until I scolded her and put a stop to her project.

There is bare sand covered with fallen leaves underneath the live oak trees, so a hole on the edges of Mom’s property isn’t the disaster it would be elsewhere.  Especially a little hole.  🙂

I’m not digging, Mom. Honest!

Sunny with a leaf hanging from his muzzle

Half a tea ball makes a perfect sink strainer

Parked at Mom’s place

 

I had been looking for a strainer for the camper’s sink, but hadn’t found a store that carried them.  But while we were grocery shopping, I found a mesh tea ball that I thought might work.

I got it home, took the two halves apart, and it just happened to be the perfect size!  No more coffee grounds in the gray water tank now!

 

Sweet Wildflower Tonic

Stars of Bethlehem

I was feeling down today so took a walk to lift my spirits.  As usual, the stunning natural beauty that surrounds our property was the tonic that my spirit needed.

I first learned to identify Star of Bethlehem when I seriously studied wild edible plants.  I knew them then as poisonous plants to be avoided.  But now, I see them as little white gems of exquisite beauty.

I learned to identify Venus Looking Glass one year as I puzzled over the  weeds

Venus looking glass. On edit — these are misidentified. A blog reader gave me the correct ID. They are common vetch. Still gorgeous, though. 🙂

with purple flowers that ran rampant in my square foot gardens in early spring.  Now I treasure them as a gift before vegetable garden planting season begins. (On edit, I misidentified these flowers.  See photo caption.)

Little bluets delight me.  They are so small that they are easily missed unless your eyes are open to the tiny wonders under your feet.

I am not sure what the little purple flowers on tall stalks are.  They have always grown everywhere I’ve lived since I was a child, but it occurs to me that I have neglected to learn their name.   I will do a search and try to discover their secret.

Sweet little bluets, almost hidden underfoot

And dandelions.  When I lived in condos and apartments and houses in town, they were an eyesore and a blot on unbroken green, manicured lawns.  Then, in my edible plant studies, I discovered what a marvel they truly are.  Since then I have been fascinated by their intricate, enduring beauty.

I think age has also softened my perspective on what a wonder these precious little weeds are.

I need to learn this little treasure’s name. [on edit, a commenter has identified these as toadflax, possibly blue toadflax. Thanks, Kara!]

The greatly underappreciated, marvelous little dandelion

The endlessly fascinating little puffball that promises the next generation of dandelions. 🙂

Spring Garden and Woods

Ron digging chickweed out of our square foot gardens

I really can’t say I am ready to get back into gardening again.  Camping and travel remain my dearest loves.  But the season beckons.

We will probably not go anywhere this month, but do plan to meet up with my sister from Texas at Mom’s place in May.  Taxes hit us hard enough this month to wipe out this month’s travel budget.

Spring in the woods is irresistible, though.  I am posting way too many photos today, but wanted to share the glory of spring in the northwest Georgia hills.

On edit…. I did get an identification on the strange red growths on the leaves pictured below.  Click here for the explanation.

Blooming dogwood branch

Dogwood flowers

The back side of dogwood blooms

Wild Indian Strawberry flower opening

This is really odd. It looks like some kind of plant that is a leaf parasite. I have not noticed this before.

A closeup of the leaf parasite (?)

Some leaves have a lot of them.

These litter the forest floor. I think they are maple seeds, but am not sure.

Tiny flowers on a shrub in our yard.

Onion flowers are blooming in an Earth Box

A violet bloom emerging in the woods

Soft moss makes me wish that I was barefoot. 🙂

Unknown flowering tree. I just noticed that if you expand this photo and look at the leaves near the bottom left corner, you can see some of those strange red growths (fungi?) that are pictured above. (On edit -- it's a black cherry tree.)

Unusual green and white wildflower. On edit, a blog reader identified this flower as a Star of Bethlehem. Thanks, Evan!

Wild crabapple blossom

Baby plums on our Japanese plum trees

Tatted Bouquet

A tatted bouquet

I liked the little tatted flower in my previous post well enough to make an expanded version — with more clover “leaves” and flowers.

The red and blue flowers are from Lyn Morton’s Tatting Patterns.  I didn’t use the part that surrounds the flowers because I really don’t like making the chain flowers and having to mess with those tiny joining picots.  Also, I have a hard time forming the chains properly, and they don’t want to lie flat.

I enjoy making rings for petals a lot more.

In fact, I did the little yellow flower while I was riding my exercise bicycle this evening.  It kept me from getting bored, which usually happens when I ride the bike.

It also tends to make it hard to form even picots!  🙂