Tag Archive | apricot blossoms

The Forest

The mysterious little anemone on the forest floor last month turns out to be what I thought it was, Indian paintbrush. I experienced a little time warp back then, thinking It can’t be paintbrush, it’s way too early. Then I remembered, it’s late April when it blooms, not when it emerges. And it’s scarlet flowers coincide regularly with the arrival of the first hummingbirds, usually around April 24.
The little buckwheats I mentioned the other day. Though this juniper forest doesn’t get ‘carpeted with flowers’ as some wetter ecosystems do in spring, I’m grateful for its delicate gems tucked and scattered about the forest floor.
I’m grateful for this early morning light on The Survivor, and that Stellar was able to walk all the way down there yesterday. This amazing ancient juniper was cut deeply with a saw, probably 70-100 years ago. Whether the tree was down first, or fell as a result of the attempted murder, the sawyers gave up and the tree survives. I’m grateful for this inspiration to never give up.
I’m grateful to walk through the forest in all different lights at all different times of day, and occasionally stumble upon the perfect slant of sun to light a tree’s face without shadows.
I’m grateful for even a little bit of snow today, and for a lot of apricot blossoms, and for the magical beauty of the two juxtaposed.
I’m grateful for the distinctive song of the Western Meadowlark, and for hearing a new sound from one this evening, perhaps an alarm call, which startled the heck out of me as we walked past at dusk. I had just put my hand in my coat pocket and touched my phone when this loud stuttering whistle went off. I pulled my phone out to see if it was some signal from it! In short order I realized it had to be a bird, and Stellar was off with his nose to the ground so I looked for a ground nest before I spied the meadowlark on the fencepost straight ahead. Checking the field guide later I learned that indeed meadowlarks build their nests on the ground. We’ll have to be more careful walking through there from now on. I’m grateful for filters which can turn a pretty bad photo into an impressionistic ‘sketch.’

So Much

I’m grateful for the first wild asparagus of the season! I look forward to several harvests from this secret patch, and more from elsewhere.
I’m grateful for apricot blossoms! They opened between this morning and this afternoon, like little popcorns at the tips of twigs.

Today I’m grateful for so much. I’m grateful that I woke up after a long night’s sleep feeling like a million bucks. All vestiges of vaccine aftereffects are gone. I’m grateful that Stellar had a good day outside, too. I had energy all day to play in the dirt, amending soil in the raised beds, setting up irrigation hoses, and basking in awareness of this precious wild world of which I am a part, observing all the new sprouts and blossoms, listening to the phoebes, robins, finches and other birds, breathing fresh mountain air under a cloudless bluebird sky. I’m grateful that the conditions of this life I’ve come to in this moment allow me to spend a Sunday in bliss in this garden.

Three Days Under the Crabapple Tree

Way back in April, honeybee in Tulipa tarda.
Drama in the dandelions
Grape hyacinths keep on blooming despite a deep freeze, and bees keep coming.
Excitement in the tulips
What exactly is going on here in the apricot tree?
Big bees and little bees. Bombus griseocollis?
Anthophora, a digger bee. For awhile, the apricot tree was ‘the bee tree.’ Thankfully, its bloom survived an 11 degree night, perfect timing, and looks like another bountiful apricot crop this year.
Bombus huntii are prolific this spring, thank goodness.

Bee sightings ramped up over the past month, from crocuses and grape hyacinths to dandelions and tulips, to blooming fruit trees. First the apricot, then the wild plum, then the crabapple. A butterfly I haven’t seen much in the past is also prevalent in the past week, the Anise swallowtail. Hummingbirds have also come to the fruit trees, but so fast I haven’t been able to catch one with the camera.

Unperturbed by the presence of two catahoulas in the yard, and a wild woman with a camera, this doe continues to browse where she pleases in the yard.

Despite the lockdown, or perhaps because of it, I am busier than ever outside in the garden. I can’t tell you where my days go, except to say that they are filled with as much color, light, love and joy as I can manage between sunup and bedtime, most of it outside in the garden. Work is of course diminished, as is almost everyone’s in this dire time, but I am doing my best to make the most of extra hours in the day. Fortunately my body is in better shape than it’s been for years, thanks to physical therapy and a healthier attitude, and I’m able to work more in the yard than now than ever before. I’m so tired by the end of the day that I just don’t sit down and post the pictures I’ve taken. Off to bed now, with more thoughts and images to come. Wishing for everyone to lay low, look close to home for joy and beauty, and stay well during this continuing pandemic. Please don’t be impatient and too quick to seek the old normal, which I hope never comes back. The planet and all its non-human inhabitants has appreciated the break from our reckless pace.

…through all kinds of windy weather

The crabapple tree in bud. I planted this sweet tree beside the grave of Little Doctor Vincent, one of the most amazing cats I've ever known.

The crabapple tree in bud. I planted this sweet tree beside the grave of Little Doctor Vincent, one of the most amazing cats I’ve ever known.

A lot has happened in the garden in the past few weeks. Many days were cold and windy, overcast or outright snowing. Little popcorn snowballs blustering in with a dark cloud, pounding down and coating everything quickly, and melting in an hour. The bees kept largely to themselves on days like that. The past few days have really felt like spring, though; waves of purple mustard splash across the ‘dobies between Delta and Hotchkiss, along the roadside from Hotchkiss up to Crawford. Sandhill cranes have all but completed their migration through here, just a stray spiral or vee of them now and then. Snow covers the mountain tops; all the summer brown fields and ‘dobie hills are green, lush or barely brushed. Soon the surprise of some of those rare wildflowers that bloom only once a decade or two may pop up in swaths of white or blue.

Forsythia in bloom a week ago one morning in a brief spring snow. I planted this forsythia in remembrance of my mother long before she died, knowing this day would come: she'd be gone and it's blossoms would remind me of her and eastern Easters.

Forsythia in bloom a week ago in a brief spring snow. I planted this forsythia in remembrance of my mother long before she died, knowing this day would come: she’d be gone and its blossoms would remind me of her.

Everything is full of promise, lifting my spirits with inordinate optimism. The river is muddy with snowmelt and the redtail hawk is sitting in her nest above the Smith Fork. Yesterday I watched her soar out of sight, circling slowly up and up, smaller with each revolution, a glint, a speck, a recollection. The bees, the bees are out around the grape hyacinths, blue and white; after snow two days ago the first little yellow tulips opened, their buds like almonds finally pushed up from underground and flowers spreading like the sun.

Tall coral tulips have been cross-pollinated with the splashy red short ones to produce a unique hybrid.

Tall coral tulips have been cross-pollinated with the splashy red short ones to produce a unique hybrid.

Blooming Veronica creeps across a sandstone slab.

Blooming Veronica creeps across a sandstone slab.

The years unroll, one season following another. Truer words were never sung. The golden currant is full of small bright green new leaves. All the columbines are up with their rounds of feathery foliage, daylily spikes are four to six inches tall. More Veronica blooms have opened, and Nepeta is taking over everywhere. Chicory keeps spreading its rosettes farther into the path. This garden gives me great delight. I broke back the Basin Wild Rye last evening and pulled a patch of bur buttercup, that precious nasty weed I took such care to spare the first year I saw it, decades ago. Some almond blossoms are already open up against the stucco house, the apricot’s about to burst; the first dandelion has bloomed and Nepeta is taking over everywhere.

Apricot buds ripening...

Apricot buds ripening…

...unfolding...

…unfolding…

...opening!

…opening!

The bee tree today is as thick with bees and flies and tiny undecipherable lives in the later stage of these clusters. I must come back with the camera when it’s less breezy.

The bee tree today is as thick with bees and flies and tiny undecipherable lives in the later stage of these clusters. I must come back with the camera when it’s less breezy.

I baked a halibut filet on top of some tender tarragon shoots the other night. Winter arugula is already sending up flower stalks in the covered garden, still feeding me several salads a week, and baby spinach will soon be ready to eat. Down at the pond a leopard frog emerged a few weeks ago. I’ve spooked it three or four times, and it spooked me when it splashed from the curly rush through the water, in one smooth arc, to bury itself in silt.

The resident leopard frog hides at the edge of the pond. I first spooked her weeks ago finger-combing the rushes, and still she sits there every day.

The resident leopard frog hides at the edge of the pond. I first spooked her weeks ago finger-combing the rushes, and still she sits there every day.

Sneaking up on her to catch a shot ~ such camouflage!

Sneaking up on her to catch a shot ~ such camouflage!

Another frog watches over European pasqueflower and iris shoots by the bottle wall.

Another frog watches over European pasqueflower and iris shoots by the bottle wall.

A greenbottle fly on grape hyacinth.

A greenbottle fly on grape hyacinth.

And a honeybee drinking deep in another.

And a honeybee drinking deep in another.

Though they've been blooming about a week today's the first time I've seen a bee at the white ones.

Though they’ve been blooming about a week today’s the first time I’ve seen a bee at the white ones.

From the songs in each of our individual heads, our unique threads, our song lines, springs the meaning in our lives.

The last cat, Brat Farrar, struggles through a health crisis, striving, like me, for balance.

The last cat, Brat Farrar, struggles through a health crisis, striving, like me, for balance.