Tag Archives: columbine

THE STORK HAS LANDED

Well, not exactly. But there are certainly lots of bird families in our back yard. We have had a bluebird box for many years, and for many years pairs of bluebirds would use it for their home to raise a brood of fledglings. For some reason,  for some time the box was not sufficiently attractive to bluebirds that inspected it in the early spring. This year that trend has been reversed, and a pair is now in a relay to keep their new hatchlings fed with insects. They started out with a clutch of six beautiful blue eggs. We’re not sure how many babies there are.

Bluebird box occupied for the first time in years

Bluebird box occupied for the first time in years

They are not the only birds, probably attracted by water in our fountains and birdbaths in the surrounding desert environment. Lesser goldfinch are feasting on niger thistle seeds. House finches have nested under one of the eaves. They try to crowd out the goldfinches on the feeder. A pair of mourning doves often sit on the garden wall. A pair of ladder back woodpeckers drill on a post that once supported our bat house. Black-chinned hummingbirds are at the feeders, and they will soon be joined by broadtails. A pair of barn swallows are scoping out a place next to our front door to build their nest under an overhang. We hope that our hawk and owl friends will visit our fountain, as well. Unfortunately we no longer see night hawks at dusk, perhaps because of the serious drought we have had for at least six years.

Hawk and owl in a water standoff

Hawk and owl in a water standoff

In the meantime, the herb garden is filled with flowers, some of them already fading. Our not-so-wild flowers are in full bloom. Columbines, wine cups, penstemons, buckwheat, paintbrush, gay feather, mallows, and many others make the courtyard look like a meadow. All in all, a great foreground for the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the east and the Jemez Mountains in the west. It is a wonderful time of year, and a wonderful place to be.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains across the trail

Sangre de Cristo Mountains across the trail

Sunset over the Jemez Mountains

Sunset over the Jemez Mountains

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SPRING INTERLUDE

Sometimes even the most dedicated cook – which is not me – feels like doing something out of the kitchen. That’s especially true when the weather has warmed up enough that you can sit outside but not so hot that you can’t. That’s right now around here. What makes it even better is that my dear spouse’s garden is bursting with flowers. My wife is a fan of irises. They are at their full blooming season and there are plenty of those in an amazing breadth of color. Susan also likes clematis and wild flowers. The columbines, primroses, wood roses, paintbrush, and penstemons have yet to hit their peak, so we can enjoy them all for another while. I hope you enjoy these images of the garden.

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STOP COOKING AND SMELL THE FLOWERS

Spring has finally come. Or is it summer already? The last big snow storm on the Sangre de Cristos melted a few days ago, and now there is only a tiny sliver of white on the highest peak. Today, the temperature is in the 80s, and tomorrow it is supposed to be over 90.

The western bluebirds and Say’s phoebes have built their nests while the purple house finches are looking for their space. Piñon jays have appeared in great flocks, the first time that has happened in years, perhaps because of the years-long drought and the early spring rains we have had. The spotted towhees are back with their distinctive cheerful sound, and the ravens are brooding in a huge nest built of sticks (too big to be called twigs) in a juniper on the bank of the arroyo. Black-chinned hummingbirds have arrived at the feeders, but it is too early for the more aggressive broad-tails.  It has been a joy to watch the migrants traveling through our yard on their trip up north. Lizards are sunning themselves on the patio wall.

Apricots and peaches put on an early show and then promptly froze, so again there won’t be fruit from the trees in our yard. Lilacs and daffodils have finished their performance, and now the irises and columbines are at their peak with the peonies bowing down as their huge flowers overwhelm the slender stems. The native plants have also begun to color the landscape: evening primroses (both yellow and white varieties), yuccas and their accompanying hawk moths, paintbrush, buckwheat, and Artemisia. The color should start to come in waves now until the winter frost with chollas, fern bushes, desert willows, sacred daturas, desert four-o’clocks, sunflowers, cow pen daisies, and asters joining in at just the appropriate time.

With all of this gong on, it has become harder to cook and to make images in the kitchen, so I decided to take a break and wander around my wife’s beautiful garden. I hope you will forgive this lapse, and I also hope that you enjoy this little break from cooking.

Enjoy your summer ahead.

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