Sunday, February 22, 2009

A few signs of spring

Despite a brief, but nasty snow storm that complicated our travel plans on Saturday, this has not been a bad weekend. Today the sun is shining brightly, and despite the cold, some signs that spring is coming are making themselves known.

Earlier this week while walking Toby, three bluebirds flew out of our only surviving bluebird box. What an incentive to get the other ones repaired and put back up! I love bluebirds. The flash of blue you see when they fly by is unlike any other, and their song is so, so sweet.

Even more amazing is what we saw this morning while crossing the bridge over the Wabash river near our home. It was a pair of bald eagles! The large size of the birds and the male's white head made identifying the eagles unmistakable. We know there are nests in the area, and only a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine saw an eagle flying over the river about 8 miles from here. How exciting to know that some of these majestic birds have made this part of Indiana their home!

I also spied some daffodils starting to come up in front of the house. So far there are only a few green leaves, but it won't be long before there will be crocus blooming and the daffodils will follow closely behind.

These signs of spring help a lot to keep me going through the dreary winter I dread every year. My seeds arrived on Friday from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, and I finished off my wish list at Menard's today. I picked up a pack of Trinity Sweet Corn which grows to only 5' tall and will hopefully grow in the garden boxes. I also picked up a pack of Sweet Basil and some extra seed starting supplies. In a couple of weeks I'll get busy sowing seeds to start under the plant lights, and then it will really feel like the end of winter. I prefer these signs of spring to a groundhog's shadow any day!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

What a beautiful weekend it has been. I sure hate to see it end. We have enjoyed temperatures in the 40-s and 50's and ample sunshine--pretty nice for Indiana in February. Of course the nice weather made me think about gardening and how it really is time to finish up my seed ordering. Soon it will be time to get some of the plants started under lights. I decided to place my next order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. This will be my first order from this company that specializes in rare and heirloom seeds. Their catalog is fascinating to read. They have a large variety of seeds of every category. Each offering includes a good description of the plant's traits, growing habits, and taste, and a brief history of its origins. Reading the descriptions makes you want to grow nearly everything they offer. I primarily was shopping for heirloom tomatoes, and I finally settled on three varieties. First is Dutchman which is a very old pink skinned tomato that is said to produce fruit up to 3 lbs or more and to be very sweet. Next I chose Rose which is also an old variety that produces large fruit. The catalog claims that many prefer its flavor over Brandywine, which is arguably one of the most favored of all tomato varieties. Finally, I ordered Plum Lemon. This seed originally came from Moscow and the plant produces 3" fruits that look amazingly like lemons but are quite sweet. There were dozens more I would have liked to ordered to try out, but I'm trying very hard not to get as carried away as I have in the past, preferring to strive for quality over quantity. Next on the list were melons. I chose Minnesota Midget and Thai Golden Round. Both are small varieties I have never tried. Finally, I selected Detroit Dark Red beets, Lungo Bianco Zucchini, and Pink Beauty radishes. If you are interested in old varieties or simply unique varieties of seed, you really need to check out Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds of Mansfield, Missouri. I ordered on-line. Their web address is and their web site is quite easy to navigate. Another selling point of this company is that shipping is only $3.00, no matter how many seeds you order.

On to another subject, I am happy to report that our kitten's check-up at the vet went very well. He tested negative for feline leukemia (hurrah!) and by all accounts is a healthy little fellow about 3-4 months old. He grows friendlier every day and is starting to feel like a member of our family. I really didn't plan on getting another cat, but it always happens that cats adopt people, not the other way around. I think kitty is here to stay. Even our dog, Toby, and the other two cats seem to have accepted him as a member of the family. Hopefully soon we will have settled upon a suitable name for him!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tracks in the Snow

While walking Toby yesterday, I noticed a lot of interesting animal and bird tracks in the snow. Some were so intricate they were almost like works of art. Today I rushed home after work so I could get some photos while the light was still good. Here is a sample of some of the photos. It fascinates me to see the path of the birds, rabbits, and other critters exploring our yard. I hope you will enjoy taking a look at them, too.

In case you've been wondering how the kitten has been doing, here's proof a picture is worth a thousand words. He still doesn't have a name, but you can tell he is feeling right at home.