Friday, October 28, 2011

Beautiful Colors

Fall is beautiful on the hill and elsewhere this year.  It was lousy last year.  I've noticed when it is not wonderful one year, it more than makes up for the following year.  Not only is it beautiful, but it looks like it there is going to be color for a long time.  Some things are really bright right now and some things are still mostly green.  

Today I drove to Ruston and back.  The pale golden leaves of the muscadine vines were really showing in the trees along the roadside.  The individual leaves are about four inches across and shaped like a rounded heart with jagged edges.  They look like ornaments scattered across the trees.  We have them here at Kalorama, but they are not draped across pine trees like they are on the roadside, so they don't catch the eye among all the other colors.  I do love this time of the year at Kalorama.  Everything is golden and glowing with the sun shining through.  

Here are a few pictures taken this week. 

Cocculus carolinus, Carolina moonseed

Camellia sinensis, Tea (yes, this is the plant whose leaves give us that wonderful Southern iced tea.  The blooms are about the size of a quarter.)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Virginia creeper.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

His Eye is on the Sparrow

If the Creator of the universe cares enough about the humble birds to care for them, why would He care any less about us? God provides for the birds' needs; as He loves us even more, we can count on Him to provide for us as well. Matthew 6:26. NAS

Around here, some parts of the bottom of the bottom of the food chain are doing very well.

Yesterday evening I was tending a brush pile fire which is sort of a captive audience-type task.  The bugs joined me in this endeavor. I don’t remember a time when the gnats have been this numerous.  You notice I am not saying the gnats are bad.  Their presence always reminds me that hungry birds, especially hummingbirds, should be getting plenty to eat.  In this case, between the gnats, mosquitoes, and eventually the flies that joined us, my thoughts drifted to the Bible verse above.  Then, the words to the old hymn, His Eye is on the Sparrow came to mind.  And as time wore on, I thought it would be great if one of those sparrows would drop by and perch on my shoulder and gobble bugs.  Before I was done, I was thinking I wouldn’t mind if a big old stinky cattle egret would come hang around with me and scarf some of the flies.  Gnats may be too small for cattle egrets.

It has been a hard year for plants and animals and humans.  As annoying as the bugs are, it is nice to see prosperity on some level, even if it makes hanging around outside mighty uncomfortable.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Upon My Mother's Rock

Rocks, especially the kind you can pick up in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, have been a part of my life from the beginning. My mother gardened with rocks, and her mother did as well. They lined their flower beds with them, paved their paths, propped up bird baths, and used them as garden sculpture. They both gardened on a hillside, and rocks were used for retaining those hillsides. A newly planted shrub or perennial always had a few rocks placed at the base of the plant to discourage armadillos or dogs from digging them up. When our parents, and then our grandparents passed away, it was the rocks that I and my siblings were most eager to haul to our own gardens. Lots of these rocks were large. Playing around them as a child they were pedestals to stand on and maybe get a head above the rest, or reach that bottom limb of a tree to climb even higher. They were also places for critters to hide. Of course, I was always admonished to use a hoe or similar tool to turn over a rock, a habit I adhere to this day. One small retaining wall became a haven for box turtles, and therefore became a regular stop when making a “perimeter check” of my backyard. The rock in the picture was one of my mother’s prized rocks because it had moss growing on it. It also had a piece of resurrection fern growing among the moss up until a couple of years ago. Got to see if I can get that going again. All that green dressing made it highly desirable in my eyes, too, so it was one of the first ones I carted off. It is a big one. I am sure my husband did some major heating pad time after moving it. We hauled it to our first home in South Louisiana, and a couple more after that before bringing it to Morehouse Parish. Of course it came to Kalorama when we moved here, and when I set up the fountain as it is now, it got the place of honor to the right of the statue, “Katy.” The moss and resurrection fern was much remarked on by visitors. And then the other day I noticed a small garter snake sprawled over the rock, gazing out over the water. A fine perch, indeed, though highly exposed, as is often the case when one elevates themselves above the others. I was happy to see it enjoying my mother’s rock.