Category Archives: rhododendron

Soon, Soon, Soon

Soon my rhodos will bloom and put a smile on my face, like they did last May when I took this photo.

But right now, the poor thing is suffering from yet another load of snow.  I took the broom after I snapped a photo of the snow covering, and swept off some of the clumps of snow.

Speaking of sweeping off snow, early this morning the heat pump made feeble noises as it tried to come on. While I stood there in my housecoat, waiting for the dogs to do their morning ablutions and other things, I swept about six inches of snow off the top of the heat pump. The feebly struggling motor suddenly blasted into action and blew the last load of snow up the sleeve of my housecoat. OH! BRRRR!  NOW I WAS FULLY AWAKE!

The little Toyota truck, 25 years old now, is still going strong, but before its next trip we will need to do a “search and rescue” mission for it. I think it’s under there someplace. Good thing it’s bright red. Yes, I think I see it there.

More snow is on the way, but today is supposed to be the last day of it and then, if we aren’t completely snowed in, we can try to get back to normal.

Three Strikes, You’re Out

About 20+ years ago one of my neighbours had planted several small rhodos outside his fence next to the road. On my way home from work, I noticed one of the small plants lying on the side of the road, where deer had pulled it out of the ground. The deer problem was bad around here. If you wanted to grow anything, you had to have a fence around it.

Since the frontage was out of the neighbours’ line of vision, and they might not know their pIant was uprooted, I stopped, picked up the rhodo, and brought it to their door.

“The deer must have pulled out your rhodo. Thought you might want to  replant it.”

“Oh, thanks. Yeah, those darned deer. Just set it over there,” the neighbour said, and pointed to a shady spot near the door.

A few days later, another of the rhodos was pulled out and the scenario was repeated (I stopped, delivered the poor plant so it could be saved).

This time I was met with a sigh as they took the plant from my hand.

The third time I passed by and saw a rhodo uprooted, I stopped and knocked on the door. The neighbour’s adult son answered.

“Sorry, but the deer keep pulling out your rhodos. They don’t seem to like eating them but they don’t know that until after they pull on the leaves and uproot the plant.” I handed over the foot-high shrub.

The son took the plant from me. “Thanks,” he muttered, and flung it into the shrubbery a few feet from the house.

I noticed that the two or three rhodos left on the neighbours’ frontage were drying up and dying. I had tried three times to save the ones that had been uprooted, but when I saw that they didn’t really care about them, I changed my attitude.

“Okay,” I thought. “Three strikes, and  you’re out.”

The fourth time I drove by and saw rhodos in trouble, there were two of them lying on the ground, several feet from where they had been planted, looking limp and near death’s door.

I took them home, stuck them in the ground, and gave them a drink of water.

Today, the neighbour has no rhodos on his frontage, but in the photo below, you can see the two I rescued. They have been happy for over 20 years.

 

Survivors

You may remember that I had to leave the baby robins to their fate the day they left the nest and were not to be seen anymore. I hoped that the parents were keeping them hidden and were feeding them someplace out of sight of the crows who still fly regular “search and destroy” missions over our property.

I had almost given up on the young ones, but just a few days ago, I spotted them – well, two of the three, anyway. The third one most likely didn’t make it.

Here is one checking out the birdbath. Do you see the second bird? Look on the ground to the top right of the birdbath. Not bad for camouflage.

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“It doesn’t look very deep, but for now I’m safe on the ‘landing’ in the middle. Now, to test the waters….”

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 “Nice! Not too deep, not too cold. Ju-u-u-u-st right. Splash a little under the armpits. You never know who you’re going to meet.”

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“Okay, buddy! Your turn. In you go! Go ahead! You’ll feel a lot better after you have a bath.”

013I still worry about the crows catching one of the survivors, but with every day that goes by, the baby robins get bigger and stronger and a little bit smarter. With any luck they’ll continue to be survivors.

 

 

Snacks, Sadly

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Just outside my bedroom window is a rhododendron that has a little history of its own. Twenty-two years ago, my neighbour planted several small rhodos in front of his fence on the road frontage. Our soil is very sandy here and when the deer came along to nibble on the leaves, they would invariably pull out the whole plant. The scenario goes like this: I’m arriving home and across from my driveway I see a rhodo uprooted, lying there dying of thirst and heatstroke on my neighbour’s frontage. I get out of the car, pick up the rhodo and go knock on the neighbour’s door. I present him with his casualty, he thanks me, and I go on down my driveway.

Next time I come home from town, the scene is repeated. The deer have nipped the newly planted rhodo and pulled it right out of the sandy soil. I get out of the car, pick up the rhodo and go knock on the neighbour’s door. I present him with his casualty, he thanks me, and I go on down my driveway.

The third time this happened, I brought the rhodo to his door and his son was visiting. He took the rhodo from me, grumbled, “Thanks,” and tossed the plant to the side of the house.

I felt bad for the poor rhodo. I’m sure it died.

Next time one of the neighbour’s rhodos was pulled out of the ground, I picked it up, put it in my car, and drove the rest of the way down our long driveway. I planted it in front of my bedroom window and watched it grow for twenty-two years. Sadly, none of the neighbour’s rhodos survived. My rescued rhodo thrived.

Here is what it looked like last spring.

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A couple of weeks ago my husband discovered a robin’s nest inside the foliage of the rhodo, and today I upset the parents long enough to steal a photo of their home and children.

 

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Now for the sad part. Every year the robins try to raise their chicks in our yard because we have a lot of trees and shrubs. Every year I have to watch as the crows steal the eggs or worse yet, the chicks once they’re hatched.

crowThis year, the crows have been hanging around as usual, even nesting in some of the tall fir trees next door, just waiting for the robins to hatch so they can snatch the babies to feed to their ugly nasty children. I would agree that everything has to eat, so the crows should be forgiven, but crows will eat anything, they’re scavengers, so they don’t have to eat robin babies.

The other sad thing is that this year the sharp-shinned hawks have been nesting in a grove of trees nearby and they also love to kill small birds. It upsets me, but I can accept this as they are limited in what they can find to eat. They’re not scavengers.

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 Still, I hate to think that these poor baby robins will most likely become snacks. It has been several years since a robin has been able to bring off a hatch here and have chicks survive. One couple even nested three times last year in an attempt to raise babies. Only the crows were happy.