Spring!

I visited Commons Ford Ranch Metropolitan Park today.   There are some short trails that go down by Lake Austin, through a bit of woods, and around a beautiful, recently re-established prairie with native grasses and flowers.  I saw about 10 different species of birds, including my first Eastern Bluebird.  The bluebonnets are everywhere.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the yard.

Today is the 7 year anniversary of starting this Sheila365 photoblog!  I’ve enjoyed it.  I hope you have too.

Big day at the ranch today.  I saw so many different species of birds.   Even so, I missed a few of the regulars, but, hey, I can’t stand in front of that window ALL DAY.  🙂

  • House Finch male (M) & female (F)
  • Orange Crowned Warbler
  • Northern Cardinal M&F
  • Downy Woodpecker M
  • House Sparrow M&F
  • Red Winged Blackbird M&F
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • White Winged Dove
  • Blue Jay
  • Chipping Sparrow
  • Yellow Rumped Warbler
  • Carolina Wren
  • Red Bellied Woodpecker M&F
  • Northern Mockingbird
  • European Starling M
  • American Robin
  • Lesser Goldfinch M&F
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Black Crested Titmouse

I got some ok bird photos, but I’ll share a few of the garden, instead.

About 8 or 9 years ago, a neighbor gave me a dozen or so purple iris cuttings when she was thinning out her beds.   I’ve had them in the ground since then but rarely have they bloomed.   A year or so ago I moved them to a few different beds that get much more direct sunlight.  This year I’m thrilled to see them in bloom!  I love these short-lived flowers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We have bluebonnets coming up in the front and back yards.   Nothing says central texas like these beautiful wildflowers.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Monte’s got baby salad greens planted.  Fresh lettuce every night!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I simply love spring.  Oh, wait, we have 2 weeks to go before spring.   I can’t wait!

Nectar macro.

A macro view of the nectar oozing out of some lilies that I brought home the other day.   If I was a bee I’d be pretty excited about it.  🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sooo, in the process of googling what that part of the lily is, I found waaaay too much information.   But I’ll summarize by saying that I believe the central prong-like thing sticking out is the pistil, and the end of it is its lady-part, called the stigma, and the nectar it is oozing is there to catch bits of pollen from the worker bees as they fly in and out.   There you go – botany lesson of the day.

Late bloomer.

I planted a 2-gallon sized Pride of Barbados shrub yesterday.   It’s a bit late in the season, but I’m hoping that planting it now will give it a good month or so to acclimate to its new home before the cold weather hits.  That should make for a good winter’s nap before spring.  We’ll see.  If this one doesn’t pan out, Monte’s starting a few from seed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Quittin’ time.

To celebrate the end of my last day of work, at 5pm last night I popped the cork on a bottle of Dom Pérignon Vintage 1993 that I received upon my promotion to the executive ranks.  (woo hoo!)    I kept putting off opening it until an appropriately auspicious occasion.

IMG_0578Well, here we are 15 years later – and this was to be the occasion.   Conventional wisdom says that good champagne shouldn’t be saved or aged.   I didn’t really know that at the time.   Over the years we have joked that this bottle of champagne, which has taken up space in our refrigerator on its side all these years, was going to be flat and vinegary when we eventually opened it.  So, i was fully expecting that.  We even had a backup bottle of bubbly on ice, just in case.  But, low and behold, there was a resounding pop when the cork came off, and no shortage of fizz and bubbles!  And it tasted good, like… a very special bottle of champagne.    🙂   I take that to be a good omen on the closing of one chapter of my life, and the start of the next.

Cheers!

IMG_0582

I would also like to thank Teri & Jim for this absolutely stunning orchid that they sent me today.   You guys are the best!   It’s gorgeous, thank you!IMG_0576

 

 

Love-ly day.

Tulips!   I had a very nice Valentine’s Day.  We went to the lake for the afternoon, and enjoyed a great sail up the lake a ways.  Kevin, Kurt, Marty & Sue joined us on our boat, and Lori & Joe sailed along on Camelot.

And to cap off the day we had a delicious dinner at Andiamo.  They were serving a special 4 course dinner with wine flight, and it was wonderful.

Now, I’m trying to get psyched up for Monday…
IMG_9919

Friday frames.

I’m trying really hard to focus on work.  After next Friday, I’m off for the rest of the year (!)    But, when I get a chance, I pick up the new camera to take a few shots.  I’ll share a few.

Possumhaw holly out back has donned its Christmas red and green.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A little wren flitting in the vines along the fence – I think it’s a Carolina Wren, from its coloring.  One of the first shots taken with my telephoto lens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And a picture of the bouquet of flowers from Thanksgiving, still hanging in there – vivid pink lilies and white hydrangeas.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA