Friday, May 1, 2015

Pussy Willow

The things we grow up with and take for granted!

Recently a visitor to our house asked, while gently petting some pussy willows in a vase on the table in front of her, "What's the deal with these fuzzysticks?"

Who does not know about pussy willows?

Someone who grew up in the urban southwest, that's who. And if we were to visit Arizona we might well ask, "What's the deal with these pricklesticks?" Or something like that. We know very little if anything about the habits of cacti having never been farther southwest than Oklahoma.

A dinner table discussion of the biology of catkins followed. Yes, that is what the buds of salix discolor and some other plants such as poplar and aspen are called. Our in house biologists took on the topic, but we still had a few questions.  This article gives much more information about a traditional harbinger of spring that we typically think of in only that way, and not as the reproductive part of  a common, but beloved native shrub.

Sorry to disappoint, but pussy willows don't turn into live kittens. Thankfully that reality hasn't kept artists from creating charming depictions of that possibility.

Pussy Willow

I know a little pussy, Her coat is silver grey; 
She lives down in the meadow, 
Not very far away. 
Although she is a pussy, 
She'll never be a cat. 
For she's a pussy willow, 
Now what do you think of that?

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Don't Forget to Write

 Thought you would want to know that the West Hill Bear was finally suckered into a trap and given an all expense paid trip to a location at least 70 miles away.

We hear that he was finally lured in with some big juicy strawberries that he probably didn't enjoy much once he found himself in the very unhappy situation of being enclosed in a giant tin can. 

The bad news: no more trash can bedtime snacks for you little bear.

The good news: soon it will be wild strawberry season.

Go. Be wild and free with a clean slate, but don't screw up by forgetting the conditions of your probation. Lay off the trashcans, beehives, bird feeders, and hen houses if you want to remain on the outside. 

You can do it. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner...

At a garbage can near you?

Apparently we have not one, but two ursine visitors.

This is the youngster setting out for his nightly alley buffet dinner.

Why mess around with old dry cookies in a suspicious looking metal tin when you can have your pick of giant Tupperware containers full of nice kitchen waste? 

As another famously brilliant member of his family used to say....

"I'm smarter than the average bear!"

Saturday, April 11, 2015

It's About Time

For some excitement on the West Hill. (It has been a painfully long dry spell for neighborhood intrigue and looky-loo opportunities.)

What could possibly be more exciting than a bear hanging around knocking over bird feeders, looking in patio doors, and upsetting bee hives? 

Absolutely nothing. Except the attempt to trap and relocate that bear.

In addition to living up to their reputation for jonesing for honey,  
bears are huge suckers for cookies. Trite for sure, but according to succesful USDA wildlife trappers, apparently true.

We are eager to see if this works and if it does we will report back.

Come out, come out wherever you are!

Update 4/12/15: No bear this a.m. we checked. Even thought it was still darkish out we got dressed first in case there was one. Otherwise every time we would tell the story we might have to say that we shot a photo of a bear in our pajamas and then someone would have to ask every time, 

"What was the bear doing in your pajamas?".

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Think (Spring) Tank

Three times a year the big thinkers at Bachman's come up with new ideas for their showcase home.

The theme this season is Spring Revival.

C'mon in!


Nicely done, eh?

Open to April 19 if you would like to see for yourself.

And if you time it right you can hit the Gathering of Friends Antique Market too.

Road trip anyone?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Case of the Munchies

One tends to be very hungry before metamorphosis.

That's how it goes. Eat, eat, eat. Grow, grow, grow.

Then something wonderful happens.

This little quilt, just right for a small one to cocoon in, is finished and safely tucked in the 
hope(to be a grandma)chest awaiting some cuddling action.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

At some point cabin fever feels more like being crushed by a cabin cave-in.

We've had a little setback to Spring's arrival, but it is finally in sight.

And we're probably going to make it there without anybody getting hurt.

But it will be a close call.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Season Opener

Honey season that is. Discriminating palates prefer a little smackerel of the sweet bee treat on their daily toast.

When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"
"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"
"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. "It's the same thing," he said.”

“Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. 
Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, 
there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, 
but he didn't know what it was called.”

The bees are so ready to get at the task of making honey they were swarming our bird feeder by the dozens on the warmest and sunniest day of this week.
Odd, we thought. But a little Googling found that in the absence of pollen hungry bees will gather dust from bird seed. 
These bees were at it so vigorously that they were knocking seed out of the feeder and causing it to audibly "ping" off the metal squirrel guard.
The cardinals, titmice, and juncos were sensibly keeping their distance.
We are very happy to see our fuzzy, buzzy little friends take their work seriously as we have serious plans for future honey eating!

Happy Spring!