Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nature Journalling...

You know, sometimes I forget to update this blog, even though I am still recording nature in so many ways :) So I thought that I'd use this opportunity to show off some nature pictures, and some new resources I ran across :)

These little frogs are all over our garden- I think this one was a tree frog- we found it on an old stump and it's feet looked like tree frog feet :) I know next to nothing about North American Amphibians though...

it's windfall time of year here- raspberries are out for the second shot and pawpaws are falling from the tree- WITHOUT being pushed by squirrels!! They are actually delicious! I recommend growing them (two or more) in your garden :)

These caterpillars are mildly poisonous- the side spines sting like mad! I have a photo of him too ;)
There you go- he is only about an inch long, and he is eating a persimmon leaf. Apparently they like orchard fruits :)

I should really learn to make jam with these- there are so many!

and I actually got a number of these this year too :)

Now for some new resources:
An excellent nature notebook resource, the Nature Sketchers blog is a great addition to the Flickr group. I highly recommend checking out the individual artists on there too- most have their own blogs.
In fact, Elizabeth Smith just started her own nature art blog, and it looks to be a fantastic place to find a nature journal :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Flowering Gardens...

Yes it is that time of year again - when the garden is in full bloom, and the spring sights are indeed wonderful to behold :) So once again, a few snapshots from recently :)

Yorkshire rose in bloom. Photo by my husband.

Rosa alba semi-plena or the Yorkshire Rose.

I believe this is the Tudor rose, Rosa damascena versicolor. Photo by my husband.

Close-up of the Tudor rose :)

Sunset over the parking lot :) This was such an amazing sunset, I disregarded the location!


"Mama, take a picture of me! Take a picture of me smelling the iris!". So I did.

Rosa Damascena 'Bifera' or Quatre Saisons rose (Autum damask)

Those who read my art blog will recognise the pinks- I drew those recently LOL

Peony just opening.


and again- they are very photogenic!

Rosa alba 'maxima' OR the Jacobite rose- yes the one my blog is named after :)


A flowering grass from the garden...

A sneak peek into the garden :)

Mama duck and ducklings!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Baby Opossum

We found a baby Opossum in our garden yesterday- I shared the story over on my main blog if you are interested (with photos ;))

The Story of Pinky Part I

The Story of Pinky Part II

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring has Sprung!

Spring is here, and there are so many different places that are now giving advice on vegetable gardening.
Ok people- *I* would have loved this YEARS ago (I believe I have been trying this for 5 years or so at least- my blog being 3 years old this January past - you can SEE that it's been going a while :)
Anyway, I wanted to share some things I run across, and thought I would.
PLUS I want to share what I am doing and WHEN for those new to gardening ;)

Here we are in Zone 7a. That means relatively mild winters. I say relatively because there are LOTS of places in the USA with colder, and a few with milder winters.
Virginia is one of those 'middle' states, with the worst of both worlds. Our winters are just cold enough, and our summers hot and humid. That means we have a tough time growing a lot of things because our climate is just not cut out for it.
Peas (English) have a tough time. It gets hot fairly early on, which means peas tend to die off early. IF you are smart, you will have already planted your peas (about 2-3 weeks ago). They will take a while to germinate in the cold soil BUT as soon as the weather is right, up they come. Last year my peas were excellent :) If only I had planted more...
In the ground now, should be peas, lettuce and spinach, brassicas and some of the cole (Kale etc) crops.
I am a bit late on most of these because the weather decided to rain buckets right at the time I needed to plant. And my soil has a tendency to compact when worked in the rain. I need to work on the compost this year...

Now on to the sharing :)

Two new books:

The Backyard Homestead:

Lots of lovely information about vegetables for gardening AND preserving. Also includes some livestock information :) Love the garden plans- but then I am a garden plan junkie...

The Complete Compost Gardening Guide

A lovely book to supplement the Rodale compost book you should have on your shelf :) Nice pictures- they really illustrate concepts you have previously heard of but probably not seen, a few great (and economical) ideas- some are original, others not so :) I really like the trash can composter idea- great way to test the barrel composters without the cost. THAT one I am going to try :)

Keep an eye open- this year promises to be big on vegetable gardening- about 2 years behind England on the resurgance of this passtime :) That means there should be new books and all sorts out. In the meantime, enjoy the following links :) (I'll add to these as I find them).

The Green Thumb Family

Charles Dowding

(Not So) Urban Hennery

Granny Miller

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Free Herb Magazine

The Essential Herbal magazine is offering a free copy of its sold out edition concerning vegetable gardens :)
dig for victory here and get your own copy!

You might also like to know that Mother Earth News has a "Grow Your Own Food" guide out as well- worth getting :)
Those of us who have been doing this for years are loving the new trend... :D

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nature Notes 19th March

Signs of Spring in my Garden
Orginally uploaded by Spinneretta
Click to enlarge picture

I have been doing numerous nature journal entries, which you can see over on my Main Blog. I thought you might like to see it her :D
This is today's offering- signs of spring in my garden :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Awesome Idea

Well you can tell I like my kids to get outside... and THIS idea is so great!

You have to read this ;)

Friday, March 06, 2009


After 7 years, we finally got a decent snowfall. It would have been much better if it had NOT knocked out our power on the two record breaking coldest nights in March ever!!! (9.3 degrees F and 13 degrees F respectively). Thank goodness for Kerosene heaters!
Anyway, I thought I'd share some pictures of our 8 inches or so. You can click on the pictures for a closer look :)

The birds were attacking the feeder with a vengeance- we actually saw birds at them that we rarely see... including a pine warbler and the blue jays. It was definitely a plus point because with the power out, there was not much else to do but watch them and read books... not that I mind either of those ;)

This one above is the pine warbler (female).

The back garden was covered. When I went out, I discovered my Doc Martens were inadequate- too low!! I resolved to tread in my husband's footprint. His boots were a little higher! M'Lady's boots were way too short while Rebel's wellies were fine. Good job it wasn't super cold though!!

The views from upstairs were amazing... they always are though :) My biggest regret was that certain neighbours thought it was fun to go up and down the road in ATVs and Dirt bikes- and a few in trucks which they liked to try and get stuck in the snow in. Most were too young to have driven in the snow before- like I said, this is the biggest snow in 7 years for us. Locals tell me that we used to get these snows every year, plus a bigger one and a smaller one. If all snows kncocked out power, I say thank goodness for 'climate change' ;)

It really was a rubbishy snow. Powdery and dry, you couldn't sledge, or have snowball fights or build snowmen (though a few people managed the latter by using wetter snow). M'lady tried her sledge, but moved only a few feet. 2 days later the sledging was great- I used our hill and had fun, the kids did a few slides in the front and chickened out from sliding down the hill.

The icicles on the roof were cool. They started out pretty small, but as the days passed and the snow melted only to re-freeze at night, they changed...

...becoming these amazing icicles which dangled long and low enough to see from the living room and front bedroom windows. I found them fascinating- falling on the ice one time as I stared, and watching them melt out of the window. They are ridged and fascinating to see!

And when one fell off yesterday, Rebel grabbed it and brought it in to look at. You can see that they are really quite large! I was not the only one fascinated by them!

The way the snow clung to the trees interested me too...

The front lawn became quite beautiful...

...And the setting sun tinted the snow on the trees pink. That's probably the last of the snow we'll see for at least a year... but given that it has been 4 years since our last snow big enough to play in, and 7 years since a sleddable snow... who knows?

Friday, January 30, 2009


No, I don't mean the fact this is the second of two posts in just two days!!
I just found a book I have been after for AGES online...

Leechdom, Wortcunning and Starcraft of Early England

So why would I want this book, let alone post about it on my nature blog?
Did you notice the name of this book? And the name of my blog? That should give you a clue as to why- not to mention how LONG I have been wanting to read it *grin* (this blog is now 3 years old I believe!)

But I digress- I love old herbals. I have a passion for old herbals. I can't afford them, but I really love them. I still regret the chance we had to get one, once, long ago, that we passed up (it was Theatrum Botanicum by John Parkinson I think. I STILL really regret that!).

You can see some images from a copy here.

The book I have been wanting to read is another such reference- to the old herbal ways :) I just thought I should share ;)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ice Storm

I don't know that you can really call it a storm though. It was more of a steady rain, or drizzle at times. Although disappointing that it was not snow, ice can be just as captivatingly beautiful!

When I got up this morning, it was dark. It shouldn't have been- it was well after the time it is normally light. The sight outside was beautiful- iced trees glistening through the fog. It is not a sight you normally see in England, so ice-storms are one of those American things I enjoy as a novelty- like the huge thunderstorms we get in summer.

I stepped outside to try and get some photos- but it was so dark, my flash kept going off, and the beautiful shots I made were ruined by the light. Suddenly the pale air, and crystalline shine of the ice was reduced to water.

This one above is artificially lightened just to show kind of what it looked like.

I ran out later to take a few, but much of the ice had already melted. the air was filled with the sounds of birds singing, and water dripping off of the trees in a constant stream. It's the sound of a thaw- a sound most gardeners anticipate because it is often the first herald of spring.

This early in the year, I don't think it is a true thaw- just the ice from the freezing rain thawing. None the less, the birds are excited- we refilled the feeders for them, so they have plenty. Now if only I could find my suet cage...

I managed second time around to get a few decent shots of the ice-rimmed plants, especially of the red limbed Rosa virginiana. This is one spectacular winter plant with its red limbs and red hips :) Sounds almost like I am describing a person :D.

The sweetgums in the garden, are forever dropping their gumballs into the garden, this one landed in the middle of the rose bush- I am considering painting it for the latest EDM challenge (#208- draw something out of place).

on the earth, bitter
black frost, and a winding sheet of snow
upon her withered breast, and
deep within me, dread
and ice."
- Jessica MacBeth, excerpt from "Initiation"- Winter Poems