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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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

Rural Ramblings

Tonight Ron and I were sitting on the back deck right before dark.  We looked up and saw a most unusually colored deer browsing the  tender weeds at the edge of the clearing.  She was darker than a normal whitetail and had even darker markings that looked like shadows in the dusk.

Sunny barked, and she kept on grazing.  But then I scolded Sunny and told him to stop barking, and she eased back into the woods.

My flowers all died while we were on our last camping trip.  I used to love vegetable and flower gardening, but learned that you can’t garden and camp a lot.  The two are mutually exclusive activities.

That’s okay.  I’ll take the camping.  I can feast my eyes on the breathtaking wild gardens we encounter on our travels.

While we were gone, someone around here shot some more dogs.  It’s a periodic problem around here.  Usually they shoot dogs that roam whose owners won’t keep them home.  But this time they shot two fenced dogs.

We are keeping a close eye on Sunny.

I am having camping withdrawals.  I can’t wait until we are back on the road again.

Green Onions & Blackberry Cobbler

last years green onions produce new shoots

Dying onions produce tender new plants

Since we’ve started planning camping trips most months of the year, my former passion, gardening, has been sadly neglected.  However, I do still grow several Earthbox containers of flowers and herbs.

Last year I planted green onions intending to let them overwinter and go to seed.  As expected, they did go to seed earlier this year and the plants began dying.   I neglected pulling up the old plants until today.  And I got a nice surprise.

ripe and unripe blackberries

Ready to pick ripe blackberries

Not only did the old plants provide me with seed.  But when I pulled them up, I discovered that each one had also produced a new onion sprout.  That was an unexpected bonanza.  So I replanted half of the bulbs and harvested a nice supply of green onions for the kitchen.

Not bad for dead onions!

Then I wandered over to check out the wild blackberry bushes that grow on the margins of our property.   They are still mostly unripe, but, again, I found enough ripe ones to make a cobbler.

I added orange juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, sugar and cornstarch to the blackberries, boiled them briefly, then used sweet vanilla drop biscuits for the crust.  It was superb!

blackberry cobbler

Yum!

I love the way the blackberry season is staggered.   I can enjoy their essence of summer flavor fresh from the bush for a while.

I won’t make blackberry jam or jelly this year because my sister gave me all the blackberry and huckleberry jam that I can use for a while.

Using the berries fresh is more fun anyway.  🙂

with ice cream

....with ice cream