Monthly Archives: May 2014

“As the day gives way to the night…”

As the day gives way to night,
I miss you having by my side,
My heart is singing the song to say,
I miss you more than words can say.

Author Unknown

The above quote is so appropriate for Lucy, especially on a warm spring night. We have a love seat glider rocker in the porch and we would sit together listening to the world winding down, watching the sunlight become twilight and seeing the solar lights around the gardens alight.

Tonight was one of those warm spring nights we have hoped for since the first frost last autumn. An irate robin seemingly complained about something for several minutes. In the distance, a small dog was incessantly yapping, probably upset at being let outside at a time when the odds of becoming coyote kibble increased significantly. Living in a city of 85,000 people does not make my backyard immune to human made noises. One of the truly annoying sounds wafting through this evening was from a small four-cylinder car (probably running on three cylinders by the sound of it) with a glass pack muffler. I believe the drive felt the noisy exhaust made the car sound mightier. To me, it sounded like a flatulent mosquito.

Even with the brief noise interruptions, the night is starting peacefully. Strong breezes have become calm, the humidity is slowly creeping up as the temperature heads in the opposite direction. Rain is predicted for tomorrow, and it should be enough to water the Wave petunias, gomphrena, double impatiens, and black and blue salvia planted late this afternoon. Black and blue salvia attracts hummingbirds, and there have been reports of ruby-throated hummingbirds spotted in the Twin Cities. I am worried the salvia may attract Miley Cyrus, but I doubt she reads this blog, and she is not in my Facebook friends list.

A peaceful night is always a welcomed way to spend an evening. Daytime summer activities like walks and bicycle rides are increasing in frequency and duration. Now that the Twins are doing somewhat better as of late, perhaps attending a game is in order. The nights are getting warmer and it is time to be with friends around a bonfire while we solve Corporate America’s problems, lament the local sports teams, discuss philosophy and spirituality, reminisce and laugh a lot.

I hope you enjoy a peaceful night wherever you are. If you are lucky to have a special someone near you, give that person a really long and meaningful hug. Here’s hoping I won’t be awakened by some caterwauling person twerking with a raccoon in my backyard. Maybe I’ll move the salvia indoors tonight.


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May showers bring June flowers?

The precipitation falling from the sky is not frozen, and this area needs the rain. Instead of hearing about red flag warnings and the ever incessant prattling about drought, the “weathertainment” spots mention the cool and wet weather. The calendar shows it is nearing the middle of May but the weather is reminiscent of late early April.

Spring seems to be staying even if it is acting like someone returning to work after a long vacation. It is easing into the swing of things, not putting out 100% effort and taking breaks whenever possible. Eventually the weather will cooperate, or we will jump directly into summer. Perhaps summer will have its bags packed and be ready to go.

Even though the temperature is cool, the plants are trying to make up for lost time. My ostrich fern went from a lump on the ground to over two feet tall in three days; ferns have been on Earth for over 700 million years and have a number of adaptations to stay competitive in a changing ecosystem. Green replaced brown as the predominate garden color in under a week. Rebirth is moving forward at a “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” pace.

Spring cleaning is also briskly moving forward. Birds are either refurbishing, re-purposing or dismantling last year’s nests. Amur maples and some varieties of oaks do not drop their dead leaves until spring. Several days of strong winds solved that problem quickly. We two-legged animals also spring clean. A number of cities, Bloomington, MN included, hold city-wide clean up events allowing the citizenry a chance to set out large items for pick up. Several days and nights of vehicles pulling trailers brimming with scrap ensue with most cast-offs disappearing before the garbage trucks arrive. One person’s trash is another person’s recycling bonanza.

It may still be cooler than normal, but the sun is radiating more energy and the longer days have caused avian and human wardrobe changes. Goldfinches are brilliant yellow rather than a rusty tan color. Humans shed heavier clothes and dress in flashier colors. Even the creatures that do not shed fur or feathers participate in a ritual of finding a mate. Vocalizations and dances carefully choreographed to attract maximum attention occasionally irritate the humans cohabitating in the region. Of course, if the creatures viewed human behavior in a nightclub, they would be irritated, too.

Enjoy the sights and the change of seasons. Give your special someone a meaningful hug. If you’re in a committed relationship, perhaps some song and dance is in your future? Just make sure you paid your health insurance premium first.

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April, we hardly knew ye

The weather in April was unusual. “April showers bring May flowers” is normally appropriate, but the first half of the month saw snow showers rather than rain showers. Colder than normal temperatures, more cloud cover than average, and more snow than average conspired to delay gardening chores by two to three weeks. April 2014 became the second wettest April since official records started in 1872. The calendar shows today as May 1 but the weather seems like March 1. However, the trend towards warmer weather starts the middle of next week, and the recent heavy rains and sloppy snow flurries eliminated soil frost with a minimum of flooding.

A two-week delay shortens the USDA Growing Zone 4 growing season by over 10%. Early spring bulbs are making up for lost time with surprising growth spurts during the few sunny and warm days available last month. Flowering shrubs are not as lucky. My forsythia bush is finally starting to bloom, three weeks late. This may mean it will not rebloom again in late September. Maple and pine tree pollen increased dramatically, but the rain helped keep the levels more tolerable to people suffering allergies. All the lilac bushes may bloom at the same time even though the normal bloom times of the three different varieties ensured continuous blooms from early April until mid July. It is still too early to tell what garden plants survived the winter, but it appears both of my prickly pear cacti may now be interesting composting material.

This area has also seen a bumper crop of potholes and orange construction barrels. Some of the potholes are deep enough to have a bumper crop of loose automobile parts and shredded tires strewn about them. A several inch deep pothole causes tire, wheel and steering component damage. When that pothole fills with water, it is well camouflaged. Another big worry is the extra moisture created more breeding grounds for mosquitoes. It has been too windy for the Mosquito Control District helicopters to drop the bacteria laced pellets that disrupts mosquito larvae development. Perhaps the cold weather delayed the hatching season accordingly.

Give your special someone a meaningful hug when you get a chance. A hug brightens up the darkest of times, and if your weather is as cold as it is here, it warms up a shivering person. To the recently departed month of April, I hope the door didn’t smack your backside too hard when you left, and try to avoid the potholes.

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