Monday, February 25, 2013

Catching Up With February

It's been almost a month since my last post, the longest I've ever gone between posts as a matter of fact.  The main reason for this was my bum left knee, first the limited ability to do things in the garden due to the torn cartilage, and then the recovery from surgery on the 12th to repair the tear.  I spent a few days on crutches, then back to using a cane, but for the past week I've been getting around for the most part without any walking aid at all.  I'm actually planning on working on the yard tomorrow, it feels that good.

The weather this month has been really unpredictable, 70's one week, 50's the next, rainy then sunny and we even had graupel (precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water are collected and freeze on a falling snowflake, forming a 2-5 mm ball of rime) on the 20th.  It fell for about 10-15 minutes, blanketing everything in white, and it was late enough in the day that there was still some on the ground in the morning.
Our dog, Wrigley, doesn't know what to make of all the white stuff.

Birding action has continued and I found these cool triple tube feeders at Wal-Mart on clearance for $5 each, so I snapped up a couple; they make feeding less of a chore, as they hold enough seed to last 2-3 days. 

I also used the last of the salvaged newel posts and a plastic pot tray to make another platform feeder.

A new bird was added to the list, bringing the total to 19 species; the new one is a female Pyrrhuloxia, Cardinalis sinuatus, a member of the cardinal family only found in parts of AZ, NM and TX.
The gray beak distinguishes the Pyrrhuloxia from its' more common cousin.

I got this shot of a male Anna's Hummingbird at the feeder from about 10' away.

Despite the unsettled, if not downright weird weather, some things continue to bloom or are starting to do so.
Amaryllis 'Minerva' bloomed again, this time a single stalk with seven blossoms.
Snapdragons have bloomed almost all winter.

My neighbor's sunflowers make me wish I'd planted sooner.
The Anna apple is already in bloom.
Some plants from last year self-seeded and others are being propagated from cuttings.

Petunias that self-seeded.
Rosemary did as well.
Blue Moon and Climbing America rose cuttings.
Stapelia gigantea and Orbeopsis malananthus cuttings.
Despite losing about a third of the Eureka lemon to the freeze last month, it's showing signs of recovery and there's hope for the future, although this year's crop may fail, as it was just beginning to bloom when the freeze hit and I'm not sure if it will bloom at all now.

Finally, I found a listing for free used brick and wound up with lots of other goodies as well, including a bunch of garden stakes, 2 bags of diatomaceous earth and a mason bee block that should have 80-100 bees in it.  Mason bees don't build hives or produce honey, but they are excellent pollinators and are non-aggressive, as they don't have a stinger.

Bee block hanging on my shed, facing south so that they will emerge sooner to pollinate the gardens.