Monday, February 10, 2014

More Signs of Spring

After a week of average temps for this time of year, the next 10 day forecast is for upper 70's to upper 80's, so we're back to above normal temps again, but I'm not complaining when so much of the rest of the country is buried under a blanket of snow.  It would be nice if we'd get some rain, as we haven't had measurable rainfall in nearly 50 days and this is supposed to be one of our rainy seasons.  Despite the lack of rain, I'm enjoying the weather immensely, especially when I look back at last year when it we were having below average temps and freeze warnings.  And I'm not the only one enjoying this beautiful weather, as I found a couple of "critters" out and about yesterday.

This moth blends into the background so well.

The fruit trees are enjoying it as well, with the lemon in full bloom and loaded with dozens of fruits from pea-sized to lime-sized, as well as a few from last year that haven't ripened yet.  The Anna apple has it's first blossoms and the peach has a bud about to open.

Clusters of fruit like this are all over the Eureka Lemon Tree

The first Anna apple blossoms of the season

A Babcock peach bud about to burst open.

Since the birds have been so thoughtful in seeding sunflowers all over the yard, I decided to see if I could transplant some to a more desirable location.  I haven't had any success in transplanting sunflowers in the past, so this time I decided to try something different; instead of immediately replanting them, I put them in a jar of water for a week.  This gave them some time to recover from the shock of being moved and allowed me to see if they would survive.  A couple of days ago, I replanted them, putting them in the sunflower bed I made recently.  A couple of the smaller ones look like they didn't make it, but the majority of them look like they'll be okay.

Black oil sunflower transplants.

In the "promising future" category we have Stock, which looks like it will be providing a lot of seeds in a few weeks, plus Stapelia asterias and Stapelia kwebensis, which both have developed flower buds. Time will tell as to whether they bloom or not, as I've had other Stapeliads that developed buds that failed to bloom.

Dozens of Stock seed pods waiting to ripen.

Stapelia asterias flower bud.

One of several flower buds on Stapelia kwebensis.

File this one under the "helpful hints" category: I recently saw an employee of a juice bar getting ready to throw out a tray of wheat grass and asked if I could have it, to which he not only agreed, but told me I was welcome to them any time, as they throw 2-3 away each day.  I took the tray home, cut out all the wheat grass and was left with a great plastic tray with a mesh bottom.  Since it was rather flimsy, I made a quick frame out of 2" x 2" and screwed the tray to it.  Now I have a great tray for holding succulent cuttings that allows me to water them without worrying about them getting wet feet and makes it easy to move the whole lot into the sun during the day, and under the porch at night for protection from the cold.  As an added bonus, all the wheat grass went into the compost pile, so nothing was wasted.  I know I'll be checking in with them whenever I'm in the area to get more of those trays.

Completed tray; note the cross bars for support in the middle.


  1. You are gifted, my friend. I would love to see all of your yard.

  2. Jennie, right now the back yard is a mess, but since I've got the front more or less tamed again, this week I'll be working in the back. I need to level out the spot for the greenhouse I'm going to build.