Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When hummingbirds attack...

OK, not really. But wow are the hummingbirds I've been hosting quite friendly. Or aggressive -- I'm not sure which! Unfortunately, I ran out of nectar yesterday AND forgot to pick up more today. So I have some angry hummingbirds stalking my patio, wondering when I am going to refill their feeder.

I've been trying to capture the hummingbirds with the Nikon. It's pretty challenging! Sometimes I end up with an empty frame, or a frame with just a bird tail in it. Other times, you can barely focus on the blur of hummingbird. I've had a few "almost" great photos. I either need a faster camera or slower hummingbirds!

^^ blurry. That could have been a great photo!

^^ This one's my favorite so far.
^^ Belly flop?

^^ I also like this one because it's capturing the motion!

Monday, May 23, 2011


What a night last night. And what a day today. Unless you live under a rock, you should know by now that Joplin, Missouri, was leveled by a devastating tornado Sunday night. As of this evening, the death toll was 116 -- making it the deadliest tornado in United States history since 1953.

Here in McDonald County, 40-odd miles southeast of Joplin, we were under a tornado warning for about three hours. Somehow, we missed the hail, high winds and tornadoes and only got rain, thunder and lightning. We are now flooded in (again) with more rain on the way. But it doesn't seem right to complain, when we are safe and sheltered here with food, water, electricity. Internet and television, even! (Although my local channels disappeared around 5 p.m. today and I missed the House season finale. Again, can't complain -- that's what reruns are for!)

I was in Joplin Saturday afternoon to stock up on paper for scrapbooking night at church and a few things for my upcoming "grrrls Hangover weekend." (Inside joke; we are NOT planning on having actual hangovers, just seeing the movie.) It's hard to believe that many of the places I drove by on Range Line Road are gone -- Home Depot, Academy Sports and WalMart. The hospital where a friend's baby was born 5 (or was it 6!?) years ago is the one that took a direct hit. Several people I know have lost everything, while others are fine with minimal property damage. Facebook has been quite amazing, with people checking up on each other, tracking down friends via other people's pages, and pages set up to coordinate recovery efforts.

If you can help via services or money, do it! If not, keep the Joplin people in your prayers, as well as the search and rescue folks, law enforcement officers and medical personnel etc. who are out there trying to find more survivors despite some downright nasty weather. God bless them all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More blooms

I was all set to brag about a fan letter I received at the Connection magazine office in tonight's blog. Yesterday, the art director let me know that there was a letter addressed to me at the office in care of the magazine, so I stopped in the office today, very curious to see who it was from and which story it was about. And if it was actually fan mail -- or perhaps hate mail from an angry reader.

Unfortunately, it was for a different story. I had humble pie for lunch. Oh, well!

It's chilly today, and we had some rain, but there was a short window of sunshine. Baxter and I took full advantage of it and took a walk. I even remembered to bring the camera and snapped a few photos. Gotta love the Ozarks!

This is the first coneflower that's "bloomed" in my garden. It's a little bit early in the season, or at least that's what I told myself -- it's kind of a sad, scraggly little thing:

Sad, huh?
The Cosmos is coming up awesome. This is the first year I've planted it -- and I am definitely planting even more next year! Here's what the mature seedlings look like:

I've also solved the mystery of "what IS that?" from this spring. I had about four plants sprout up in the garden & could not figure out what they were. I hadn't seen this plant sprout in my garden before, and I hadn't planted anything new in the fall. Now that the flowers have bloomed, I figured out it was a bachelor's button! I planted those seeds eons ago and they have finally thrived. Crazy plants.

And, finally, the clematis is flourishing this year! I cannot wait for it to bloom. With my luck, it will explode with blooms when I am on my Memorial Day weekend getaway!

Monday, May 16, 2011

May Flowers

(Disclaimer: these gorgeous pink flowers are long-gone. Hopefully, there will be another round of flowers from this azalea bush soon!)

April showers bring May flowers. So very true, as usual. The garden is exploding with green and goodness. We had a ton of rain, and then some hot weather, which made everything pop. Now it's been unseasonably cold -- but I can't complain too much, as we will be sailing into hot, humid weather very soon.

My days lately have been spent in front of the computer, typing away on gardening articles, a top-secret copywriting assignment for a Chicago design firm, and articles for the July issue of Connection magazine. And since I have a short attention span/tolerance for sitting at my corner desk for more than an hour at a time, there's also sunny breaks on the patio or out in the yard. I throw the ball around for Baxter in-between weeding out the flowerbeds.

Since I spend so much time on the computer and writing, the blog has gone on the back burner. I am considering making it more of a picture-a-day posting with "real" blogs here and there when life does take me out of the hollow and into the real world. There are a lot of exciting things coming up on the calendar: trips, projects, goals and adventures.

These seedlings are now thriving in the garden, along with some cosmos! I'm not quite sure if the bee balm will survive -- much less thrive. Time will tell, I suppose. The ornamental kale is all in containers and is growing a bit slowly. Hopefully they will be...well...ornamental by fall! I need to update my flower photos and document how well things are doing -- as well as what's not thriving. Happy gardening!