After the Storm

Cotoneaster fruit after yesterday’s winter storm, the bush to the east of the garden shed. We got quite a lot of snow, here. March typically has more snowfall than February. Because it’s warmer, I think.

old memories
surface when the silent snow falls

Copyright © 2018-03-05
Lizl Bennefeld
Fargo, N.D. USA


Variations on a Theme: Insects in Flowers, One Summer Day

Photographs of flowers in the wildflower garden on 10 July 2017.

WordPress: Daily Photo Challenge on 24 January 2018: Variations on a Theme.

Blue wild flax, work day

In the midst of the day’s work on the workshop in the back yard, I took out some time to play with the dogs and take photographs in the (now fading) wildflower garden. The night temperatures are pretty low, and there’s been relatively little rain. Rain and thunderstorms figure in the forecast quite often, but actual storms and precipitation just aren’t making it to our town very often.

I spent a lot of the day at the top of a tall ladder. There was wind, and so I have ended up with a sinus headache. The hot tea will take effect, soon, and I’ll be able to get back to sleep. (That is, soon after I heat the water and steep the tea.)

The first week of my four-week poetry workshop approaches, and I have to decide which of the haiku I’ve written, I should send to the instructor. Between my aunt Marion’s funeral and burial on Monday and acting as carpenter’s assistant, the week has been quite scattered. This coming week, I have to go in for a blood panel, and then an appointment with my doctor. Nine-month check-up on the progress with the type 2 diabetes. One needs the lab results to know for certain, but I think it’s going great.

Also, I am supposed to make appointments with eye and foot doctors. I am not ready for any new adventures, right now, and so I am not making those appointments yet. The past twelve months have held quite enough events as it is.

Now that Mother is no longer acting as gate-keeper for contacts with the broader family on my father’s side, I have gotten a couple of email addresses. I’ve gotten a response to the one email I sent out, this week, and a new-to-me cousin on the west coast is favorable to the notion of making and maintaining contact. By token of which, we are now “Friends” on Facebook. I still don’t have emails for the cousins that I met at the funeral on Monday. Hopefully, information on those will be forthcoming. Two of them are people that I met in 1969, when I stayed with the family for a week, and I also met the widow of the third cousin and their offspring, Monday. Lovely people!

Tuesday’s Garden

The garden flowers got off to a slow start, this morning. The temperature was quite chilly when I first took the dogs out to the back yard. By the second outing, there were butterflies, and at the third time outside, the blue wild flax flowers had appeared. As I was photographing what I think is a wild sunflower, a butterfly flew in to land on it, and so one frame shows the butterfly sitting there. Too bad that I was getting a close-up of the flower, and did not get the entire butterfly into the picture.

There were many of the same sort of butterflies in the back yard during the day. The Scampers thought it was great fun, chasing them from one dandelion to the next. Fortunately, they only caught crickets—the huge ones—which they carry around in their mouths until they find good places to set them down and bat them around. When they do that outside in the grass, the crickets most often get away. When they “catch and release” in the woodworking shop, the crickets are more likely to get stepped on.


Morning visit to the garden

Hoverfly with blue wild flax: The bright light of the morning sun did not lend itself to photographing the hoverfly, but it’s always fun to see them work their way through the wildflowers at the beginning of our day.

The California Poppies are scarcer, now, since the plants have started dying off with the changing season and cooler night temperatures. Plains coreopsis, wild flax, and poppies are pretty much what’s there, along with a couple stalwart wild sunflowers.

And these are a few of the photos I took of blue wild flax flowers, today.

We haven’t had the massive smoke in the air from wildfires to the north, which changes the way the sunlight interacts with the flax colors. Also, I suspect that the soil is different enough in this new garden bed that it will take a few years of building it up. Probably has something to do with the colors. I found that with the wild violets, white in the garden and blue throughout the lawn.

I am going to look through posts from previous years to find a couple of good flower art pieces, next time I get near the computer.

Summer’s Dryness

That part of summer has arrived when rain is irregular, the sun is strong, there are patches of brown grass in the yard, and the chewing insects are eating the leaves and petals in the wildflower garden. I do still have the section of silt-textured dirt along the south side of the house to turn over and mix with the spent coffee grounds and peat moss to add organic materials. Right now, there are none, and nothing grows there but in a few spots where I tried adding the coffee grounds some months ago. And then it was evident that I needed to do more with it.

So, I have reserved most of the 1/4 lb. package of annual blue wild flax seed, which I will try to get planted, assuming I prepare that stretch of dirt. In previous years the stuff reseeded and bloomed into November on its own in the old plot. I think it is not too late, getting it into the dirt at the beginning of August, here in North Dakota.

In the meanwhile, some photographs from the past two to four days of the California Poppies.


A tired week

The week has been too warm and too humid, with attending off-and-on rain showers. I’ve turned the desktop computer on (but not the printer) and will not unplug everything again until/unless there is a thunderstorm in the immediate area.

In the meanwhile, the puppies and I have gotten outside occasionally for short time periods to walk around and remember that we are mobile creatures, all of us. I am happy for the Tough camera that I bought (Olympus), which is droppable and waterproof. Yes, the wet is that wet.

Coming Inside, Now

The Scampers and I leave tracks from the back step into the living room until the sun’s been out long enough to dry the grass in the back yard.

Things are … scattered at this point, disorganized and relatively low key, but comfortable.

Here are some of the photographs from the last time that the Scampers and I went outside. Not that long ago.


The end of the week and gardening

The reports of the Nile Virus on the news broadcasts sounded daunting. Since I can’t use insect repellents or insecticides, I may be spending more time indoors than I had planned on, timing my gardening around pest-free conditions. I expect that may involve being out on a breezy, dry day in long skirts/long-sleeve shirt and work gloves. I still have to improve the soil along the front and sides of the house, where nothing grows, now, but for the tulips in the spring. I’ve the “aged” used coffee grounds and the peat moss. I have only to dig out half a foot of soil all the way around (in sections), mix the barren dirt with the additives, and smooth it out, again. Then I can water the soil and tamp down the seeds. I’ve only the annual flax seeds, and only two ounces of those, and so I may have to order more for summer and autumn blooming.

The new garden is in shade more than I’d planned on, by the backyard fence. It catches tree and house shadows before 9:00 a.m. and late in the afternoon until dark. So, I must pick wildflower mixtures next year that fit better with that.

Gardening and such

Last week got a bit hectic, comings and goings, rain, errands to run, and stuff to do. I do now have more flowers in my garden. Most of them are yellow and orange (sweet clover, dandelions, wallflowers and California poppies). I can now see tiny wild flax stems emerging, and I’m looking forward to some flowers developing within the next month or so.

These last four photographs are from Sunday’s backyard outing with the Scampers.

With the warmer weather, my energy level has gone down. Fortunately, so have the pollen levels. The tree pollen that bothers me is now out of season. I think I’m good, now, until ragweed becomes prevalent. (No trips to the ER, this spring!)

I have purchased copies of the poster-size photo montages that were created for my parents’ memorial services and hope to get frames for them. Not all to be hung up around the house, but finding a place to hang one at a time and rotate through the seven of them. I have looked through the book Writing to Heal the Soul. I decided that writing an occasional poem is/has been adequate and happens spontaneously…I think I’m good.

a pair of blue wild flax flowers from last year's garden
Blue Wild Flax

Retrospective July 2015

Now that the old garden is no more, and seeds for fall planting have been ordered from American Meadows, I am sitting in the front room with my computer, reviewing the flower photos from 2015. The above pictures are from 24 July 2015.

Al bought low fencing which, combined with the taller stuff from the previous garden, appears to be keeping the dogs out. The ground is turned and waiting for seeds and final raking before winter sets in.

The day is cloudy, gloomy with a forecast of rain. I have finished reading Modesitt’s Solar Express, again. Another of the “reread often” selection. Must remember to order a paper version, so that if the digital library ever fails, I will have an outgassed edition to hand.

Next up is Crosstalk by Connie Willis.

Gloomy Monday

I got some puppy pictures, this morning, also, but must wait on them until I finally have breakfast lunch.