Sunday, April 3, 2016

Weekend Snapshots

1.  Spring has truly arrived, and more and more flowers appear in the garden every day.  I am thankful to have my iPhone in my pocket most of the time to capture the images as I see them.

'Pink Perfection' is the only spring-flowering camellia that I have.  I prefer the fall/winter flowering sasanqua varieties ... they're a bit more predictable and less susceptible to unpredictable spring weather.  

Pink Perfection looked to be poised for a spectacular number of flowers, till Friday's gale-force winds knocked off most of the big, fat buds.  There they are, on the ground.  :(

 The Dogwood tree at the center of my Hybrid Tea Garden in the front yard is just beginning to open its flowers.  It's going to be spectacular by the middle of next week. 

I saw the single-flowered form of Kerria japonica at a garden on tour last spring.  Mentioned it to a friend, who happened to have a plant that she wasn't going to use.  It is now growing on the shady west end of one of my front yard rose borders.  (This flower is about the size of a quarter.)

As I was weeding and pruning last week, I noticed this tiny, perfect bud on 'Dr. E. M. Mills".  This bud, and many others that have also formed already throughout the garden, hold the promise of a spectacular rose season to come ... in about eight weeks!

2.  Mrs. Wren is now sitting on her eggs in the flowerpot nest in my greenhouse.  I think she has five eggs.  I noticed her camped on the nest, when I carefully peeked at it on Friday afternoon.  A quick Google search told me that wrens incubate their eggs for 12-16 days.  In two weeks, give or take a day or two, the babies should hatch.

3.  Winnie likes to think of herself as a guard dog.  She watches for 'intruders' and then she barks and growls to sound as fierce as she can.  In this case, it was our daughter coming home this morning from working an overnight shift.  As you can see, Ruby trusts that Winnie has the situation handled.

4.  Today is chilly and windy ... a stark contrast to the warm weather that we had here for the past few days.  My husband had planned to work outside today, and that's exactly what he did ... cutting and securing timbers between the fence posts to form the back border of the Rambler Fence.  He deals better with cold and wind than I do.

Ruby is in her window, watching the progress.

5.  I have been keeping myself occupied inside today, where it's warm, making big pots of soup for dinner tonight and to restock the freezer with quick, healthy weeknight dinners for the next few weeks.  

Cauliflower Potato soup, as seen before I whirled it smooth with the hand blender.
Recipe is HERE.

Black Bean and Pumpkin soup is ugly but incredibly yummy and LOADED with fiber and other good-for-you stuff!

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup

32 ounces chicken broth
3 cans 15-1/2 ounce cans of black beans (rinsed and roughly pureed in blender with some of the chicken broth)
1 16-ounce can of pumpkin puree
1 can tomatoes w/ chilis (like Rotel original)
1-1/2 cup finely chopped onion
4 finely chopped cloves of garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 rounded tablespoon ground Cumin
6-8 strips cooked bacon, finely chopped.

I dump all the ingredients into my favorite soup pot, and simmer gently for about half an hour.  Serve as is, or add a sprinkling of grated cheese and/or a blob of sour cream.


  1. Yum, I made my chicken soup today, mostly because I am sick, but these two soups look delicious!

    1. These soups freeze really well, too!

      It was a soup kind of day ... take care of yourself and feel better.

  2. So many pretty flowers. It was cold but sunny today. I stay inside and rested a bit more but did cook dinner!

    1. It was a good day for staying indoors and being warm! Glad to hear that you rested, and I hope that you are back to your old self soon.

  3. A lovely look at your bloomers. That really was some wind last evening! My camellia is blooming the best it ever has. Luckily the squirrels have not eaten too many blossoms. I sprinkled cayenne pepper around the base of the shrub and my squirrels seem to remember! Your soups look terrific. And little Winnie makes me laugh--so bold! ♥

    1. I have heard of squirrels eating camellia buds, but have never had it happen to mine ... that I know about.

  4. Oh! I hate when weather takes it tolls on flowers and buds.
    There's nothing blooming here yet, which I suppose is for the best since we had 50 miles an hour winds yesterday!
    LOVE the photo of Winnie watching out for her family and of Ruby, letting her.
    Your soup looks yummy to me!
    I'm gonna have to make some!

    1. Weather and the like is all part of gardening. Sad to see buds on the ground ... but thrilled to see healthy sprouts of hosta and Lily of the Valley among the fallen buds.

      Both soups are SO good, and they freeze well. These two pots of soup each yielded four meals for the two of us, for fast, healthy dinners during the week.

  5. Replies
    1. This dogwood is one of the few garden-type things that we have here from before we owned the place. I love it!

  6. What a lovely camellia, too bad it lost so many buds. Love the dogwood bloom and I do hope you'll post a photo of it in full bloom.

    How sweet that little wren looks.

    I loved seeing guard dog Winnie.

    Soups look good and comforting.

    Have a wonderful week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Mrs. Wren is so tolerant, but I don't want to push her patience too far by trying to get any more photos of her than necessary.

      Winnie has such a huge personality, for a tiny little critter. We laugh and say that her barking is like her version of morning exercises.

  7. Thanks for sharing photos of your beautiful yard. I look forward to our yard being picture-worthy someday. :)

    1. Your yard will be beautiful before you know it. One day, I should gather some pics and show you what this place looked like when we bought it ... can you say, "overgrown with invasives"?

  8. Sigh....I so wish I could grow Camellias.....

    1. I wish you could, too. You would love them. I doubt even the supposedly-more cold-hardy varieties could stand up to your Kansas winters.

  9. I wish I could grow them toooooo. How I love them! Especially love their waxy leaves. Am not a good soup maker. I tend to keep adding cream and wine to them to the point where I have huge vats of beur blanc with vegetables :)


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