This female house finch has just had a bath and is now looking for a snack on my brussels sprouts plants.
No, it isn’t what the dog threw up, but it sure looks like it could be. It was growing in the bark mulch in my backyard. First time I’ve seen it.
Back in April, Pit from pitsfritztownnews posted a photo of slime mold (also called dog vomit slime mold), and I said that we don’t have it here. He’s in Texas; I’m on Vancouver Island. I’ve added a link to his post at the bottom of the page.
This slime mold is about the size of an adult hand with fingers spread out.
Apparently this fungus frequently comes in bark mulch and grows when the weather is humid. Hot dry weather usually dries it up and it dies. Meanwhile, although it is not meant to be eaten, it won’t kill you and it’s not toxic to pets. It is just to be tolerated and possibly admired for its uniqueness.
Here is Pit’s link:
I needed mulch to keep the weeds down between the shrubs in my yard. A visit to the local poleyard was in order.
The mulch is the chipped up bark of the mostly firs that are peeled to make nice smooth telephone poles.
All the peelings are sorted into mountains. Some are long strands of bark mulch, some are smaller chips of bark, and some are just ratty, junky pieces that aren’t good for much.
My garden needed the smaller chips so we parked the truck and utility trailer at the side of the road between the mulch mountains and waited for the loader to come and help us out.
Here he comes with his scoop in front.
One of those big scoops holds what they call a yard of mulch (we pay by the yard).
I’m always amazed at how little they drop on the way to the trailer.
Here comes our one yard of bark mulch.
When he drops it into the trailer and pats it down with the scoop, the truck shakes like in an earthquake.
It doesn’t seem like a lot until you start unloading it.
While I was waiting for the loader to come, I took a couple of short video clips to show how they take the raw logs and put them into the machine that scores the bark and flips the logs around and around. The power is awe-inspiring. Have you ever tried to juggle a log that size? Look at how the blades cut into the bark without cutting up the wood.
In the second video, you can see the bark mulch shooting out the long pipe to be piled up into those bark mulch mountains. Not much is wasted.
Next time you see bark mulch around a pretty shrub, think about how that log bounced around as it was stripped of its coat. It’s a good thing I can’t talk to the trees or hear what they’re saying, but if I had to guess, I’d bet they’re calling to each other, “Anybody got a coat they can lend me?”
“Naw, they took mine too!”
I hadn’t thought of these beautiful flowers as wolf plants, but the Collins Dictionary definition asserts that the word is 14th century in origin, from the Latin lupīnus, “wolfish,” as it was believed that the plant ravenously exhausted the soil (info from Wikipedia).
Seemingly contradictory is this edited quote, also from Wikipedia: Like other legumes, they are nitrogen fixing plants. This adaptation allows lupins to be tolerant of infertile soils and capable of pioneering change in barren and poor-quality soils.
My sister took these pics in her backyard. What a feast for the eyes.
I had no idea that the seeds of lupines are eaten in many parts of the world. However, when I read on, and learned about bitter tastes and that the seeds were often soaked and toasted or boiled and dried, I thought — too much work — I would probably enjoy them more just as a flower to be admired.
I did a post a while back about Daffy Dolls, the narcissus.
At that time (Feb. 1), only the stems were peeking up above the ground. No hint of flower buds yet.
Now, most of the buds have opened and are looking hopefully towards a beautiful spring. The daffodil is associated with hope and for this reason has become the emblem for the Canadian Cancer Society.
A second batch of daffodils is growing in a shadier location, and they, too, will bloom very soon.
The Daffodil’s Story
I’m named after Narcissus
Who lived so long ago,
He was pursued by misses,
But always told them “No.”
Narcissus was a beauty,
He loved himself so much,
No one was worthy of him,
His motto, “Look, don’t touch.”
One day beside the water,
He gazed into the pond,
And there he saw an image
Of which he was quite fond.
He looked upon perfection,
Desired it then and there,
But couldn’t make connection,
And that he could not bear.
From water to the boy,
Elusive was the image,
As if with him to toy.
It mirrored all his kisses,
Repeated smile and wink,
But touching brought on ripples
Each time he groped the drink.
At last in his frustration,
Narcissus, wanting more,
Fell in to try to catch him
And died there near the shore.
A nymph named Echo called him,
But he did not respond,
She only found a flower
A-floating on the pond.
After weeks and weeks of cold, sunless days of wind, rain, and even some snow, is it any wonder we get desperate as we anticipate spring weather?
I was unreasonably happy when I noticed these daffodil leaves poking through the winter’s mess.
I’m hoping that by the time it’s Easter, the daffodils will bloom and announce that our winter ordeal is over.
Daffodils are tough. They are among the first flowers to put out feelers to gauge the temperature above that layer of fall leaves.
Can I come out yet?
And is the snow gone?
Will I be frozen
While waiting for dawn?
Gather your courage,
My buddies all say,
Be brave together
And we’ll win the day.
First we may shiver,
But then you will see,
The sun will shine longer
For you and for me.
Set up your blossoms
To open in spring,
Yellow and cheerful
Is just the right thing.
We are the bravest
The gutsiest here,
Being the first to bring
Snippets of cheer.
I cheated here and put in a photo of daffodils from another year, but they are the same ones that belong to those green stems in the previous photo.
Daffodils have a special place in my heart. My mother loved flowers and when, as a new Canadian, she learned the name of these flowers, she couldn’t help always mixing up the syllables. To this day I think of them as daffy dolls, her name for them.
Please visit my website if you need more winter reading until spring comes for keeps.
My apologies for a whole series of posts with photos taken as we whizzed past in the truck and trailer, but in this post, I hope to convey a feeling more than to show any particular fantastic photo.
Going through the little town of Keremeos in the South Okanagan, in spite of the chilly fall air, we are always warmed by the festive attitude of the residents. It’s harvest time, and rather than have scarecrows, they have straw people all through the downtown area. I wish I could have done them justice with less blurry shots, but you’ll get the idea of the fun on the streets of this fruit growing town.
Can you find the straw people? Two in this photo.
All seem to be pointing to the fruit markets that line the road farther along.
Did you know that pumpkins are a tasty vegetable when prepared as you would any other squash?
This is pumpkin time, as well as onions, garlic, and winter apple time.
Squashes and cauliflowers, melons and tomatoes.
And if you don’t feel like shopping but just want to stop for a bit and let the kids play in the park, the local quail welcomes you. He’s like the quail version of “Big Bird.” Can you see him there to the left of the big tree with the yellow leaves?
Here is a close up of him – although very blurry – to help you find him.
The Okanagan is full of quail, quite tiny wild chicken-like birds that have so many cute habits it’s a shame to kill them for food (although I must admit, they are SO tasty).
I love quail, dead (on my plate) or alive (in my backyard), but mostly alive.
This “Big Bird” put a long-lasting smile on my face as we drove through Keremeos.
With this title I began to wonder if I should have a picture of a pair of crutches, but it’s not that kind of fall. Now that the equinox has passed, there’s no denying that autumn is here.
Just look at the last of the Wilmuta winter apples.
The last of the walnuts, husks drying on the tree.
And, so sadly, my zinnias, gone to seed.
Emma saw them and was sad too. Only a few mums and rudbeckias left.
But out in the yard, the roses are making a last ditch effort to bloom. This one is called Freedom.
This red one is Europeana.
It’s time for the fall crocuses to do their thing. They’re funny ducks, sporting only leaves in the spring and only flowers in the fall. Anything to be different!
But most depressing are the holly berries, reminding me that deep winter is coming and with it the “C” word.
Beautiful as autumn is,
To me it’s always sad,
It marks the end of summertime,
And all the fun we had.
My attitude I must adjust,
And treasure golden days,
For autumn also brings us joy,
In, oh, so many ways.
*Please visit my webpage. http://www.anneli-purchase.com
Four favourites are growing in my garden (along with many other favourites that have finished blooming).
The hollyhock is amazing me this year with its flowers and the height of its stalk. It must be at least ten feet tall.
The lily doesn’t bloom for long but is so pretty.
And who doesn’t love the sunflowers which, the Captain hopes, will provide seeds to salt and toast? They are a necessity for cracking and chewing and spitting out while waiting for the fish to bite.
One of my special favourites is the snapdragon. My first experience with snapdragons was when I was a very little girl in Germany and my mother showed me how these flowers could open their mouths. They’re not called snapdragons in German but Loewenmaeulchen (little lions’ mouths), and if you press the sides of the flower together, it opens up like a mouth. As a child I was fascinated by this idea of a little lion flower opening its mouth. Of course in Canada they are dragons who open their mouths to snap.
Do you have favourite flowers in your garden?
In the fall of 2014, a blogging friend and I exchanged seeds through the mail. She sent me hollyhock seeds and I sent her poppy seeds. We looked forward to the spring when we would plant each other’s flowers.
I was sorry to hear that the poppy seeds didn’t sprout for her that next year, but her hollyhocks grew for me.
In November of 2015, she died of cancer. I was shocked because she had been such a positive person. I never would have guessed that she would lose that battle.
I planted the hollyhocks in my vegetable garden because I go there every day, rather than in a flower bed I might rarely visit. Year after year, I think of my friend fondly, yet sadly, almost every day when I watch her hollyhocks grow, from the earliest leaves to the huge stalks loaded with flowers. It’s as if she’s saying hello whenever I go out to my garden.
If you would like to visit the blog of Barb Beacham, and browse back in time over some of her posts, here is the link: https://salmonfishingqueen.wordpress.com/
She was a wonderful person and I still miss her. I’m so glad I have her hollyhocks in my garden.