THE PINK AND THE YELLOW – CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pink and Yellow 

Flowers and birds, birds and flowers … and maybe a car or a plow. The Goldfinch, in summer, are brilliant yellow and even in the middle of a drought, we had bushels of pink roses. And of course, we had red skies and pink skies. Not too many in yellow, though.

TRIPLETS – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Threes and Threes


Three is a good number. It’s considered one of the lucky numbers (the other is 7) and somehow, things look very good in sets of three.

 

FUCHSIA STILL GROWING – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 20 – FUCHSIA


Three squirrels were inspecting my deck today. I got the feeling they have NOT forgotten. They are just waiting for me to put the feeders up. I didn’t know that had such good memories.

Meanwhile, the fuchsia are growing and are not being crushed by squirrels and birds.

I have a feeling that none of the critters will forget. We’ll put the feeders up and it will be full throttle ATTACK MODE!

I’m considering filling the 10 pound feeder twice a week and in between, they will have to find other food to eat. They seem to be doing fine. When winter comes, I’ll up the anti, but while food is everywhere, they can forage.

BACKYARD DAYLILIES

FOTD – June 24 – DAYLILIES IN THE BACK


It had to be about 18 or 19 years ago when Owen and a friend came by on Mother’s Day and informed me they were going to build a garden for me.

And they did. The ground near the house is much less full of roots and rocks than the rest of our property, probably because after they dug the hole for the house, they had to add earth. Anything had to be better than what was there before. They planted hollyhocks, zinnias, daisies, and lots of daylilies. Most were “standard” from the woods” and along the road as well as some fancier Chinese daylilies.

The annuals were glorious that summer, but didn’t seed and thus didn’t come back the next year. Nonetheless, for nearly a decade, we had a wild and wonderful collection of hollyhocks and daylilies. It was a glorious combination.

One daylily

Then, one year, the hollyhocks grew, but a few days later, withered and died. They never came back. I’m pretty sure some kind of disease attacked them. All the Chinese daylilies eventually faded away, so now what remains are a lot of standard “by the road and in the woods” daylilies. Which although they are one of our most common wildflowers, they originated in Tibet and were brought here from England — where they weren’t native either.

More daylilies

We can thank England for our beautiful white mute swans and the daylilies. We also grow a lot of ferns. I never remember which ones are which, but in the fall, they turn golden and because they are shade-loving, the whole ground in the woods turns golden. I’ll try to get some pictures this year. I might finally have a lens that will shoot in the dark of the woods.

IT WOULD NOT BE SUMMER WITHOUT FUCHSIA

FOTD – June 25 – Fuchsia


I took pictures of a lot of flowers yesterday. Not just the daylilies, but also the Fuchsia. And a few other things. But let’s do this one flower group at a time.

Fuchsia on the square

I honestly don’t think it would feel like summer without Fuchsia growing on the deck. They make me happy and these days, not so many things make me happy. It has been a grim three and a half years.The bank will not give us a loan, even though we have a flawless 8-year payment record. Because, 60% of our income goes out to pay bills.

“Oh,” said the woman who runs the oil company. “You mean, like everyone else?” So they set us up for a loan that most people — especially now — can’t get.This is how they set up these rules:

  1. Figure out what it actually cost for a retired couple to survive and have a home.
  2. Give them about 60% of that amount and charge them more than $3500/year for each of them to get “free” Medicare.
  3. Raise the costs of Medicare a little bit each year while reducing the benefits,
  4. Don’t give them raises. This is so that each year a retired couple’s fixed income buys less. A lot less in a really bad year.
  5. This is a very bad year.

It has been suggested that we set up a “FundMe” campaign, but I don’t want to. We had to do it once before when the well went dry and I swore I’d never do it again. So we will work with the mortgage bank.

Maybe we caught a break because of the disaster of COVID-19. If they tried to evict every person who has a house and doesn’t have a job or money, there would be millions of unoccupied houses they could not sell

They will have to do things differently.

Pity that hasn’t dribbled down to the computers that gauge whether or not you can afford a relatively small loan, even though you’ve paid every bill you’ve ever been sent for as long as they have been keeping records.

Does it make sense? Not to me. Not, in fact, even to the bankers who were embarrassed to refuse me. They said I had an impeccable record, but the computer said no.

The computer said no. Somehow, I knew it would come to this, that one day, my future would be decided by software. I probably deserve it. I spent years building software and now, it’s running my life.

Go figure, right?

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME MIGHT BE A DAISY OR A DAYLILY – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge:
One Single Flower


I didn’t know exactly which flower it would be. It could have been an orchid or a cactus flower. Or a rose (by any other name) which would smell as sweet as Romeo — or was it Juliet?

But it turned out to be a nearly perfect daylily and a daisy that isn’t a daisy, but actually has some other name which I can’t remember. These days, I can’t remember much of anything.

Nearly perfect lily
The daisy

THE WILDEST GARDEN IN WORCESTER COUNTY – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – June 16
The Wild Garden of  Worcester


When you totally neglect a garden — even if you have a very good reason, like, for example you are trying to not die — eventually it goes completely out of control. Our garden has been barely controlled for years, but this year, it has gone around the bend.

There are still some cultivated plants growing there, but there are flowers I’ve never seen before. We’ve had a lot of wind, so maybe they blew here. Or a bird dropped some seeds.

There are very thorny branches coming up, so think the roses are coming back. I don’t see any buds, but I usually don’t. Just, one day, there are roses. Rather magical.

And here are two more headless catbirds. Enjoy the foliage and feathers.

 

FUCHSIA BLOOMING – MARILYN ARMSTRONG

FOTD – June 7 – FUCHSIA ON THE DECK


Just as well I took pictures yesterday when it was sunny because today we had pretty much every kind of weather minus tornados and a blizzard.

Close up — Looking better without the Doves nesting in them

I woke up to a dark, humid world. The sky was that greenish-gray color that sometimes means tornadoes, but around here usually means very heavy rain. A little sun came out, followed by rain so heavy you could not see out the window. That was followed immediately by some serious hail. Which was followed by winds and more rain until the sun came out.

Poor Owen discovered his driver’s side window wouldn’t work, so he came home covered in ice from the hail, soaking wet, and he had to seal up his window with plastic bags. What a fun day!

But all the plants got watered. We had a waterfall in the front yard which isn’t even hilly.

I took the pictures yesterday and they are perfect for today, wind, rain, hail, humidity and all.

IT IS STILL THE SEASON FOR RHODODENRONS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – May 22 – WHITE RHODODENDRONS

Garry isn’t feeling well and we are going to get our tests tomorrow. Meanwhile, sleeping with restless dogs who want the bed, preferably without you in it does not give you one of your great night’s sleep.

For a while, the Duke and I actually fought for the covers. He wanted the pillow too.

Nonetheless, the flowers are blooming and I have a few hundred pictures of flying squirrels. I just haven’t had time to develop the photos. I had to reinstall Photoshop and all of the filters. My copy of Photoshop is almost 10 years old and it still works, but I wonder for how much longer.

Enjoy the flowers! The end of May is the best time of year for flowers. That’s why they scheduled Memorial Day for this time of year, so we would all have flowers to take to the Cemetary.

World War I ended on 11/11/1911 at 11 in the morning. There aren’t many flowers in this part of the world in November.

PICK ME UP AND WINTER’S DAMAGE – GARRY ARMSTRONG

GARRY SEEKS SPRING IN UXBRIDGE

He hiked up the driveway, initially to bring down the trash can and pick up the mail, but he took a camera. It was a lovely day. There have been some lovely days, but very few last an entire day. Usually, the “good” day lasts part of the morning with sunshine and warmth leaving shortly after lunch. Then comes the afternoon with darkened skies and a lost sun.

The front woods and a lot of broken trees
Note wires. Note trees. Note likely disaster.

The broken branch lying over an electric line has been that way for a week, but apparently, they don’t have time to fix it because it hasn’t broken the line yet. It will. It sill take down the whole neighborhood. Nonetheless, it hasn’t done it yet. It would take them ten minutes to fix it now and it will we a catastrophe soon enough, but they can’t afford the ten minutes. I suppose I can call a third time.

They have records of my first two calls, but no one has bothered to even check on it. Owen has a pole saw, but it’s not long enough to reach the branch, so it will have to be a National Grid truck.

Rhododendrons have taken over for the roses,.
The road with hints of leaves to come
You can see that our Japanese Maple is in full leaf. It’s the first to grow leaves and the last to lose them.
I know there were flowers here, but I’m not sure what they were. I think there may be daffodils trying to bloom.

Called National Grid for the third time. They’ll get right on it. Major storm predicted for tomorrow night. I think we should get the candles ready.

INDOOR GARDEN UNDER LIGHTS – Marilyn Armstrong

INDOOR GARDEN UNDER LIGHTS

So after all these years of working entirely with natural light, I gave in and bought grow lights. When we are having more normal weather — you know, the kind that comes with some hours per day of sunshine? — it works. But in the last two months, it has rained all the time.

It didn’t rain today (it wasn’t sunny either), but we’ve got a heavy 3-day cold, torrential storm waiting to move in overnight. I’m glad I got the lights. Now all I need to do it hardly ever water them.

Greenery under lights!
Greenery before lights


 

AN ARRAY OF PAST FLOWERS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOTD – April 23 – Past Flowers

It’s another grey, cold day. I’m not yearning for flowers as a dedicated gardener. I just long for color. It has been gray and often very dark gray almost all the time since last December. No snow all winter. A little in late autumn and very early December, then nothing until … April?

Solomon’s Seal

I cannot entirely blame climate change for our messy, cold, wet spring because spring is an awful season in New England. Everyone used to call it “Mud Season.” First, you’d get snow that lasted from Thanksgiving until late March or mid-April, then it would melt, often accompanied by torrential rains and a wet basement.

I also comforted myself by pointing out to me that at least we weren’t going to run out of water. Because from May or June through August, there was little or no rain at all.

Lilac

We went one year with not a single rainy day in May to one of two in June, so by August everything was tinder-dry. We were lucky to not have any fires. We did have a pretty big one last month, but they got it put out fast. Afterward, it rained heavily for a few days, which really put the sodden finishing touches on it.

Columbine

We had a ridiculously warm winter with the kind of torrential rain and wind we normally reserve for our so-to-speak spring. Then, it turned cold. Most of the winter was in the fifties and sixties and periodically, the 70s.

As soon as it became “technically” spring, the temperature at night dropped into the 30s and occasionally even colder and even in the middle of the day, it was only in the low 40s. This can be bearable if the sun would shine. I don’t need sun every day, but once in a while would be nice, especially if we got two days in a row without a storm!

Since our flowers are more than a little pathetic, I thought I’d find flowers of the past. Maybe I’ll feel warmer. You think?

Chinese lily

The Flowers

From Child’s Garden of Verses

– – –

All the names I know from nurse:

Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse

Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock

And the Lady Hollyhock

Tiny trees for tiny dames —

These must be fairy names!

Tiny woods below whose boughs

Shady fairies weave a house;

Tiny tree-tops rose or thyme,

Where the braver fairies climb!

Fair are grown-up people’s trees,

But the fairest woods are these;

Where, if I were not so tall,

I should live for good and all.