Friday, April 30, 2010

Tomorrow, It Begins Again

Tomorrow is Kentucky Derby Day, when millions of eyes will be focused on Churchill Downs in Kentucky. The premier three year olds in the country will compete.

But, in New York State, many Thoroughbreds, who cannot compete at the upper levels will also be running. And, trainers and owners will be deciding that, for some of them, the time has come to find them a second career.

Tomorrow is the first day of the new season for the volunteers of the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program's Trainer's Listings. We will be on the backside of the track, talking to trainers and owners, taking pictures and descriptions of these horses. Last year, we helped to place over 92 horses. This year, we want to make it more. It's a hard job. The backside is huge, and we go into the year knowing that there will be some who slip through the cracks.

But, over all, it is so rewarding and I'm very excited to be going back. Most of the people on the backside really want to find their horses good homes. They're very grateful for this outlet, that gives their horses nationwide publicity. Horses have gone to Florida, Georgia, Colorado and many other states. And people everywhere that have one, sing the praises of these Finger Lakes Thoroughbreds.

How could they not, with creatures like these?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Give Up!

I have been trying all day to post a video of Leon and Rachael, with absolutely no luck. Google is just not cooperating. So here, in consolation are some pictures I took today.

The crabapple tree is in full bloom. I'm fond of this tree in the Spring, when it flowers, and in the fall when the deer come for the crabapples that fall to the ground. Any other time of the year, it's kind of a miserable looking thing, that starts to lose it's leaves as early as late August.

I received the first batch of the too many flowers that I ordered this year. This is the new garden, with some plantings done. This garden will also hold the six new Day Lilies that I ordered, and that were supposed to deliver today, but haven't yet. The garden won't look like much for a couple of years, though I do intend to fill in with some annuals temporarily.

Closeup of part of it. This iris was there. It was so healthy looking there at the end of the downspout that I just left it. Depending on whether or not it flowers this year, I may move it in the fall. There's also some mums that I moved from another garden where they were being overwhelmed. The tiny plant in front is a butterfly blue Scabiosa and the taller plant in back is a winterglory bergenia. I have no experience at all with either of these flowers, so we'll see how they grow.

It's so easy to download and post videos from my digital camera. Seems to be a lot harder to do it from my little Flip video camera that I bought a bit ago. That's kind of backwards, if you ask me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hosta's Tale

The hostas in my shade garden are FINALLY up, sort of. I'm still waiting, and hoping on one, and another only shot up two stalks, but, it's a start. Every year those hostas do this to me. I sweat and stew about whether or not I have lost them over the winter. This year, it looks like I did.

The new hostas that were given to me by a friend are doing great.

The hostas along the south wall look wonderful

But, the poor hostas that have been in the shade garden for a few years now just don't flourish.

Looks like asparagus, doesn't it?

And, this poor thing is back to what it was when I bought it, and, it was my first. Sorry for the blurry picture.

I usually have a pretty green thumb, and, hostas are supposed to be easy. But, I must be doing something wrong. Sigh.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Woods Walk

Maybe the last, unfortunately. The poison ivy is up, and there's a lot of it. I managed to skirt it this time, and I'll try next weekend to get back there, but, I am kind of doubtful.

I found two new invasive species this time.

Garlic Mustard

Japanese Bayberry

The garlic mustard is everywhere around here, but, has not invaded the deep woods. I think that the flower of the bayberry is beautiful, but I'm thankful that I only found the one plant.

I got an identification on the mystery plant, thanks to a friend on a horse related bulletin board, of all places. This plant is called "Harbinger of Spring." I dearly want to see it in bloom, and it is the main reason that I'm going to try to find a poison ivy free way back there next weekend. You can't see them very well, but the second picture shows a slope just covered with them.

The trilliums are in full bloom

The coltsfoot is starting to go to seed.

And, while on one of my first trips back into the woods, I found one little bloom of early saxifarge, it's now everywhere.

The devil weed is growing with great abandon (another invasive plant)

What I thought might be wild iris looks like it's probably reeds of some sort.

The "killing field" where the hunter left his plastic gloves is now covered with horsetails.

And, the Lady's lilies of the valley should be blooming very soon.

I did find a new mystery flower with quite distinctive leaves.

I got my best yet picture of the swan (come to think of it, that's an invasive animal species, itself)

And, I found a new trail that took me the closest to the shoreline of the bay that I have been. Unfortunately, there's a dropoff there, so I wasn't able to get right down to the shore.

Burrow in the base of a tree along that trail.

I wanted to see if the sweet woodruff was in bloom (it wasn't) and, as it's not on a trail, I had to bushwack my way back up to my house in order to check on it. It was a hard climb, and I had to stop and rest a lot. But, I got a reward for doing so because, deep in the woods, I found this flight feather from a yellow shafted flicker.

I was really hoping that my memory of the poison ivy in the woods was exaggerated. But, I'm afraid it wasn't. The stuff is rampant. I so wanted to continue to watch the woods as it developed during the course of the year. But, I spent a good deal of time this weekend searching out manicured trails in areas around me. I figure that, at least, I can make a point to visit those trails, hopefully on a weekly basis, and see what grows in woods very much like mine.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Out of My Rear Window 4/25/10

It's cloudy here today, but the promised rain has not yet materialized. We really need it. I had to water my shade garden this week, unheard of in April around here. See that big black thing by the barn? That's a pond frame. My neighbor tore his pond out a couple of years ago and, when I mentioned that I was thinking about putting one in, he offered me his. Not only that but, his son offered to dig the hole. Now to decide where to put it.

I'm giving myself a true Sunday day of rest today. I've been working hard all week, and my back is telling me to ease off. It's a good day to curl up with a good book.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

It's a Beautiful Morning

Mr. Tom, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, a Tufted Titmouse and assorted squirrels were all taking advantage of it to get their breakfast.

The crabapple is almost ready to burst into full bloom.

I have the new garden almost finished. I'm waiting to put some good dirt and some composted cow manure in until my shipment of day lilies arrives, hopefully, next week.

The violets are in full bloom.

Though the true daffodils are mostly finished, the jonquils are still going strong.

Today I have to go out and dig a small, emergency garden. I stopped and talked to my neighbor when I was out taking pictures. He told me that he's going to dig up, and throw away, some of the daffys and jonquils that were in the garden that he tore up last year. He missed some, and they still came up. They were planted by his wife, who died a few years ago. I want some of those flowers for my garden, as a memory of her. She was a dear friend.

I know that this isn't a good time to dig them up, but I have no choice. I'll take a lot of earth with them, and try and put them, as undisturbed as possible, into the ground for now. Then, I'll hope for the best.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Uh, it's a BIRD feeder

OK, ok, I know that raccoons are varmints, get in your garbage and carry nasty diseases, but, doggone it, they're so cute. This is the fellow that's been hanging around my bird feeder this Spring. Who can resist that cute face, and those clever hands?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lake Ontario in Spring

I've mentioned, before, that I'm drawn to water. Good thing I live in a region that has so much of it then, eh? I like to go down to Lake Ontario, just to watch and listen. The sheer power of this lake just draws me closer and closer. But, don't worry, even if I fall in, I'm a good swimmer (and too smart to actually get close enough to fall in).

Just listen to the sound. Elemental.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ladie's Lounge

Yesterday was a bright, sunny day, and the girls enjoyed it by sunning themselves on the front porch.




Leon, in the meantime, has finally learned how to fit himself in the heated bed, and he spent the day in splendid solitude in the living room.

The human in the place, did the wash, worked in the garden, delivered more excess flowers and shopped for garden equipment. Hmmmm, something tells me my cats have it made.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Homestead

Last week, when I found the homestead again, I took pictures of it from the top of the ridge that I had walked back in on. This time, I stood on that ridge, and really wanted to get an up close look. It's way back in the woods, I'm clumsy and it was a decent incline, so I was a bit nervous. But, I had my cell phone with me, so I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did, because it was worth it.

The first discovery I made was on the slope itself. Apparently, our lady was a real flower lover, because I found that it was covered with lilies of the valley coming up.

The daffy's were there, but, when I got close, I found that they were so root bound after all these years, that there weren't all that many blooms. I may, since they aren't a native plant, go back there, if I can, and take some for my own garden. I'd like to have a part of the homestead in my own yard.

There's an area full of grass. I wonder if they actually had a lawn back there?

Besides the homestead, itself, I found the remains of a barn.

I "think" that this is a plow, though I can't figure out what that handle thing would be to the left.

Wagon Axle

The house, itself, is so small. It's hard to tell, because only the basement is left, but, I would bet it wasn't more than a living area, a kitchen area and a sleeping area. With only the basement remaining, that's just a guess.

There was also this structure, built right on the outside of the wall. I am not at all sure what it is. Remnants of a chimney, perhaps?

The outdoor fireplace is gorgeous. It look like, with a new grate, you could go right back to cooking on it.

I decided to see if I could find an easier way out. I thought that, if the head of the trail was still there, there must be remnants of it here in the woods. I walked up towards the head of the valley, an easy walk. I didn't find any trail remnants, but I did run right into one of the old logging trails that are back there. I used that to get back to the trails that I had been on before. Now, I know an easier way to make a visit.

I think I like this lady who lived in the woods and her husband. He built to last, and she created a place of beauty. I hope that their lives were long and happy.