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Tangled Branches: Cultivated

happenings in and around my zone 6b gardens in northern Virginia and in central Virginia

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Weather: very pleasant and sunny today, but a bit breezy.

Blooming: spirea and azaleas are the showiest right now.

Chores: started edging the flower beds this morning; chopped down the dead or nearly-dead shrubs - 1 rosemary and 2 viburnums (the stems of one viburnum were still green under the bark, so maybe it will come back); moved some of the wood chips from a willow oak stump to mulch the newly planted trees and shrubs; topped off the lasagna beds I made last year (surprise - most everything planted in these beds survived the winter).

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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Weather: rained most of the day yesterday; today started out sunny, but we had showers and one rumble of thunder this afternoon. Supposed to be cold overnight - there is a frost advisory for Loudoun County, just to the west of us.

Birds: I'm seeing birds I can't identify lately. Just a short time ago, I saw a medium-large sized songbird with a pale yellow belly and gray head, with a bit of russet in the wings. Hmmm, I think it was a Great Crested Flycatcher, but I can't be sure, so don't know whether to report it to eBird or not. Yesterday, I saw something black and white creeping headfirst down a tree like a nuthatch, but it was not a nuthatch. And there is a sparrow (really, I am pretty sure it is a sparrow) that doesn't look like any in the book, nor does it look like any of the birds commonly mistaken for sparrows. But I still haven't seen a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Bought a hummingbird feeder today and put it up in a small oak tree close to the areas the hummingbirds visited last year. Supposed to be insect-proof. We will see. The instructions say not to put the insect-proofing nectar guard tips on until the hummingbirds get used to the feeder.

Blooming: the magenta-orchid 'Herbert' Azalea is blooming nicely now in back. Will try to get pictures tomorrow if the flowers don't freeze tonight. Actually all 3 varieties of Azalea are blooming in back - pink, magenta, and white.

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Weather: gray, rain overnight last night and more expected today

Squirrel update: the caged squirrel returns (again and again)

Birds: have been reading reports of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks at feeders in the area, but I haven't seen one here. What we have here are lots and lots of sparrows - song, white-throated, and chipping.

Flowers: there are new pictures of things in bloom last week

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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Squirrel story: Looked out the window a short time ago to see a squirrel inside the cage of the squirrel-proof Nuttery feeder. He was chewing on each bar of the cage trying to get out, and didn't look like he remembered how he got in (I wish I knew too). So we decided we would give him 15 minutes or so to get out on his own, and then we would go out and cut the bars of the cage with a bolt cutter. I got the camera out but figured there was no hurry since I was sure the squirrel was not going to get out of the cage on his own. Went upstairs to look at some bookkeeping issues on the computer, and came back downstairs and looked out the window. The squirrel was gone!

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Thursday, April 22, 2004

Weather: Warm; but has just turned cloudy. We have had warmer than usual weather since last Saturday, including one day near 90F.

Blooming at home: 2 kinds of Pink Azaleas; Bleeding Hearts; 4 or 5 kinds of Violets; Black Haw Viburnum; Dogwood (just beginning); Redbud; the last of the Narcissus; Muscari; 2 kinds of Anemones; Sweet Woodruff (just starting); Ipheion; 2 kinds of Epimediums; Bridal Wreath Spirea (just beginning)

in addition today I saw Blooming at Walney: near the mill house - Wisteria (old vine trying to take over the world) and Lilacs; in the woods - Spring Beauties, Starry Chickweed, Deerberry, and some of the same things that are blooming here

Chores: cut down 3 cedar trees by the side of the garage yesterday - they had been partially uprooted last winter by a snowstorm on top of very soggy soil; weeded and cleaned up some perennial beds

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Friday, April 16, 2004

Not Gardening: Just got back from running errands, and decided to sit down with a nice cup of tea and read a few blogs before doing anything else. A (mostly) knitting blog I read had an interesting post about books and blogging.
So here's the deal, sort of a chain blog:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the sentence in your journal with these instructions.

The nearest book yielded:

That's the way I like it best. (China Trade, S. J. Rozan)

Not content to do just one book, the second-nearest book yielded:
The tale will not be without its quota of instruction and amusement. (The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura)

But, both of these are books I just picked up today at the used bookstore and just happened to be next to the computer while I was doing this. Haven't started to read either one of them yet.

The book I am actually reading right now is The Monks of War by Desmond Seward

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Saturday, April 10, 2004

Weather: nice, 60s, sunny

A Walk in the Woods: DH and I walked on the Big Rocky Run Trail this afternoon. Saw lots of spring wildflowers including spring beauties, bloodroot, bluets, and - a first for me - a yellow dogtooth violet.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Weather: nice - mostly sunny, warm, even a bit humid

Birds: Lots of birds around lately. This morning I had a new yard bird - chipping sparrow; also saw white-throated and song sparrows.

Chores: didn't do any yard work today - the lawn service came this morning and I don't like to work outside after they have applied that stuff; let it settle for a day or so; supposed to rain tomorrow anyway

And another thing: This might have something to do with not getting the yard work done - I have been enjoying crocheting and knitting instead.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Weather: nice today; yesterday cold and windy; Sunday cold and windy; 3 days straight of rain last week

Chores: cleaned up the area around the rose bushes, and what was my "herb garden". The herb garden area has been completely overrun by the Oenothera I planted from seed (maybe this one) a few years ago. I had no idea this would spread the way it did. I am hoping for a nice display of pink flowers from it this year, but even so I think it has to go - just too aggressive. The surviving herbs across the path are looking nice with the exception of the rosemaries. I sure hope these come back- the two newest ones should be OK, but the oldest one still looks very poorly.

Birds: we have been invaded by grackles and starlings (mostly grackles) - they are emptying the feeders almost as fast as I can fill them. While I was working outside this afternoon, I heard a very loud sound of a woodpecker drumming. Looked up and saw a flicker drumming on the neighbors' chimney cap. Juncos are still here........

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