Monday, May 24, 2010

Strange May


Yesterday, Sunday, the weather acted as it used to in May...in the 1950's, 60's and 70's.  We had several inches of 'corn snow' which is not a hard ice ball like hail, but a ball of solid, yet friable, snow, along with a humdinger of a thunderstorm that was centered right over us for over an hour. 

I had gone over to the Arrowhead Resort, which is a hotel with a nice restaurant and spa facilities, to have lunch with a friend at the restaurant, Bin 189.  It's a little expensive, but the food is wonderful and, hey, we all need a little treat now and then, right?  The photo above is a bit of Lake Arrowhead looking down from the hotel. 

This is a photo of the pool...the unheated pool.  We couldn't believe that people were swimming in it!   (This picture is blurry on purpose because it has people in it).  We also watched some teens jump into Lake Arrowhead, whose water is still COLD.  Those teens got out of the water so fast it was like watching a movie in fast-forward, lol.

The snow melted quickly and by today just a few patches were left here and there, like the ones on my studio porch (which still needs a winter cleanup), below. 


 

And there were a few patches left in my studio garden.  Odd to see snow on the ground and the Dogwood trees in blossom.   




Glynda, the good witch that guards my studio, is glad to see that the snow is almost gone.  I'm sure she knows, though, that the weatherman is predicting more snow for Wednesday and Thursday.  Strange May...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Favorite Flower



The above picture is one of some of this year's lilac blooms.  We had a 'Dogwood Winter' a couple of weeks ago and it froze most of the blooms and the leaves on the lilacs.  A few, like the one above, were sheltered enough that some of their blooms managed to survive, but most had their buds and leaves killed by the unseasonable cold.  They'll put out new leaves but, sadly, no new flower buds. 

And tonight?  I just heard on the news that we are expecting snow flurries!

Here are some blooms of years past...



The photo above is of a pink lilac that the man at the nursery assured me would be hardy up here "because it's from Canada."  It was in bloom when I planted it, and made lots more blooms, but it didn't make it through the following winter.  I think that nursery man didn't know his lilacs (or knew a sucker when he saw one).

And wouldn't you know that the only lilac I've planted here would croak.  I'm going to have a look round and see where I can plant some more reliable ones.  My six year old great-great niece wants to plant them with me.  We'll do that either this spring or the next, now that she's old enough to really remember planting them.  And of course I'll take lots of pictures.



These lilacs below are really more the color of the buds when they're open, a gorgeous deep purple-maroon, but the camera didn't pick it up.  They're one of my favorites, and they have the strongest scent of any of the lilacs that I have.












The two pictures above are of hardy pink and white lilacs.  I don't know the species name.  I've asked some of the nursery people up here if they know, but they can only generalize at best.  

I don't really care about the proper names of them, I just want them to keep on growing and thriving and blooming for many years to come!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some Friday Florals

I found this growing beside a stream near the UCLA Conference Center in Lake Arrowhead, but I have no idea what kind of flora it is.  Maybe some kind of berry bush?  

And this, below, is a Columbine that's growing in my back garden.
  


This is a Money Plant.  It grows wild all over up here in the spring.  This one is unusual because it is more of a red-violet color than the usual lavender or purple color.  And I have no idea why Blogger is making everything align exactly where I don't want it.  Maybe it's just having a case of Spring Fever! 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pleasure and Drudgery

This past week has been a mix of pleasures and drudgery. Spring is so glorious up here, despite a hard freeze about a week or so ago that nipped the lilacs and dogwoods. It didn't harm my apple trees, thank goodness. But I noticed a disturbing thing while walking among them; no bees. Not a one. I'm hoping that they went back into hibernation and will be back out soon. I haven't found any little bee bodies, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

I've been out taking lots more photogaphs. The past winter was generous with snow and rain and the wildflowers are, for up here, very prolific this year. Not a lot of flowers yet at my altitude, but lower down the mountain they're all over. A few more days like today, warm and sunny, and they should pop out up here, too. Such a pleasure to be out in beautiful spring weather!

I've also forced myself to spend time (every second seemed like an hour) backing up files on my computer, weeding out unwanted photographs to free up space on my hard drive, and prepping canvases. Ugh...I detest doing stuff like that! Pure drudgery. But, at least it's done with for a while and that is such a good feeling!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mrs. and Mr. Mallard

I've been seeing this female Mallard for about a week now, floating around on the creek.  Yesterday she was joined by a male.

I just hope they're not planning on having a family on the banks of this stretch of the creek.  There are so many Raccoons and feral cats around I don't think any duck babies would have a chance of making it.   Hopefully they'll move on soon.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Into the Quiet

I've been out rambling the past few days, driving and hiking all over these mountains, seeing what Spring has to offer and taking photographs. Rambling with my dogs, with no set destination in mind, is my favorite thing to do. In the Spring and Autumn, everything else comes second.

But rambling is made all the sweeter because I know I have the quiet haven of my cottage to come back to. I'm so grateful for the space and quiet I have, because space and quiet are very much in short supply in Southern California, even in the mountains.

I can hear, quite clearly, the voice of the creek because I have all of the windows open. (Well, this time of year I can hear it even with the windows closed, swollen as it is with snow melt). Even though it's after 8 p.m. it is 51 degrees F outside! That's pretty warm for an early May evening, but the cats begged me to make a fire in at least one of the fireplaces, so I made one in the living room, which necessitated opening the windows. The warmth from the fire is tempered by a breeze dancing her way through my cottage every now and then, bringing with her a gift of cool air scented with damp earth, water, the sharp resin of pine and the sweetness of apple blossom.

Going into the quiet, being so still that sometimes I feel I've almost disappeared into it...that's another favorite thing of mine.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday Sunsets

I have a gazillion photos of sunsets, so I thought I'd start posting one every Sunday. 

Spring is still being very moody, warm one day, freezing temperatures and snow the next.  Spring has always been capricious, but this one has been more than that, it has been absolutely crazy.   So I've been kept busy covering cold tender plants, then uncovering them, then covering them again, and so on...

Weather is crazy, the animals are behaving badly and people are acting like they're insane.  (More about insane people in a later post).

I think the line from Bob Dylan's 'Things Have Changed' sums it up perfectly: "People are crazy and times are strange."
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