Sunday, April 28, 2013

recent photos of spring, from this week

post #135
    Spring still manages to be special with something new every day.  Here are two days from this past week, starting with Friday, April 16, 2013:

These ants are preparing the peonies for those big splashy blooms soon to happen.

Lilacs continue to open up -- and their scent takes over the yard.

The delightfully unexpected: an asparagus stalk within the yarrow -- quite a ways from the asparagus patch!

 catalpa tree buds, for George Ella

A friend gave us two of these bald cypresses, which are deciduous conifers -- just meaning of course fir trees that lose their leaves....  Here are this year's, brand new, and, to me, fascinating.

I also love the light greens of early fern leaves.

another from above photo with my new lens, this time of wood-betony

Both these blossom photos are on the antique apple tree I shared a photo of last week.  Pretty fantastic job, sweet tree!

       Now two photos from TODAY, April 28, 2013, during a road trip to the Pine Mountain Settlement School in Harlan County in eastern Kentucky.  The school is celebrating its centennial this year!  Mist along the mountainside is pretty common there, but there was indeed quite a bit of rain during the weekend.  The building is the chapel, which has an organ in it, where we were treated to an amazing concert by Patricia Griffith, from Frankfort.   Yes, I will add a photo of her during the concert.  The redbuds are still blooming there, even though it is three hours south of where I live.

Thank you, Patricia!  And hats off to all that the school has stood for during its 100 years.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 21st, one day, spring spectacular

post #134
      I have 15 photos to share, in chronological order, starting at 7:30 a.m. today.  And I didn't even have the opportunity yet to get into the woods! ( I plan to take some there for the next post.)  After the week we have shared with Boston, with Texas, with the world, it is glorious to have spring plunging ahead, doing its thing, doing its best to stay on track despite the derailments thrown our way.  
      Well, the first photo is from a week ago, in Frankfort, from the steps of the Capitol.  I was there for a reception hosted by the Kentucky Arts Council for artists in their Derby exhibit in the rotunda, with the governor's wife, Jane Bashear.  It was interesting to talk with her and with the other artists I met from across the state.  However, I would have liked other artists from eastern Kentucky to be in the exhibit as well!

     Now, beginning this day, before the wind, before the sun, looking out my open window:

redbud branches

looking west from the house, mostly poplars in their spring green glory

early dogwood

violets, wild in the "lawn"

apple blossoms, not hurt by last night's light, low frost

These two apple trees have never produced well, so we kind of leave them be whatever they decide to be.  This year they are full of blossoms and lovely, busy attracting bees.

low lying lilac branch, in the late afternoon sun, but still too early in the day for a really good photo

fascinating redbud, with the blossoms growing directly out of the branch

later-in-the-evening lilac - less sunlight toward dusk makes for a richer photo, plus the wind dies down which allows for increased sharpness

This is our "antique" apple tree, with more blossoms than usual this year, down by the barn. It is still looking good even after 45 years!  Would we could all do as well.

a later blooming lilac bush giving a hint of what's to come
     Gotta stop for now, thanks for sharing in this celebration of an April day.   Ann

Monday night -- a friend sent a wonderful redbud poem, and it is in the comments that follow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

finally, signs of spring from flowers to goldfinches

post #133
      What follows are some photos from this favorite time of year.  We are having a late spring in eastern Kentucky, but supposedly some warmer days are coming soon.  I expect a pent-up burst of leaves on the trees and blooms on the flowers during the next two weeks. 

We're not quite to this amount of green yet this year, but VERY CLOSE.

Quaker ladies


same house as above, seen through redbuds

Jason doesn't provide his neighbors with this design every year, but I am fascinated when he does by the art potential of manure spread on a hillside!

a goldfinch going through the change, from winter gray back to summer gold


daffodils, eager and ready show off

early lilacs in our yard


a worm-eating warbler on her nest, on the forest floor -- a rare sight that I captured without knowing how rare it is, at 8:30 p.m.

pink lady's slipper

exactly two years ago, with the sun coming from under early morning clouds!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Well, it's maple syrup instead of spring flowers!

post #132
     What can I say.  I WILL show those spring flowers I keep mentioning, but first it seems more timely to share images of the maple syrup operation I was privileged to visit with my toddler granddaughter on Thursday morning, in southern Vermont.  Did I mention that this wonderful couple also has baby lambs and their moms, all in a small barn?  And that they grow Christmas trees, which sadly I did not have time to see?  It was a beautiful day in so many ways.  And fun, with delicious pea soup for our lunch.  Thank you, Betsy, thank you, Don, thank you, sheep families and all the seeping maple trees.

the sugar house, with wood behind, ready to be used for heating the sap from multiple maple trees
This operation is modern and efficient - taps are hammered into the trees, with tubing attached for the run-off to travel to the metal tub.

checking to see if the sap is running -- after a cold night and a warming day

     Now inside the sugar house. The holding tank is up behind the red bar.  The raw syrup goes first to the left hand tank and then to the one on the right, as it thickens up and the excess water boils off.

     The final filtering is done in the smaller tank, a corner of which is on the left of the photo.  When in operation, these tanks and the fire below have to have someone paying attention all the time to make sure there are no mishaps.  Also, of course, the fire below has to be fed wood in order to maintain an even temperature.

Notice the blue tubing above the stone wall....

The tubing goes along the road, all the way to the driveway (before the last tree seen on the road), where the sugar house is.


  Then walking down the hill over glorious MUD: