A new year is always a chance to begin anew and
do it better this time. May 2015 bring you joy,
peace, good health and all good things.
Happy New Year!
|January - American Goldfinches were everywhere in the garden and at the feeders, still dressed in their winter drab.|
|February - The leucojums, one of my favorite spring bulbs, were blooming.|
|March - I saw and photographed my first Giant Swallowtail butterfly of the year in the garden.|
|April - Many of the amaryllises were in blossom.|
|May - The Eastern Bluebirds were already busy with their first family of chicks for the year. The first of three.|
|June - The Echinaceas were in full flower.|
|July - Dragonflies in many colors were everywhere! They filled the air of the garden in the late afternoons.|
|August - The beautyberries were already ripening and the Northern Mockingbirds had already found them.|
|September - The first of the Rufous Hummingbirds had returned and were happily feeding on the Hamelia blossoms.|
|October - One of my favorite backyard visitors was this little green treefrog.|
|November - The Whooping Cranes were returning to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast, their winter home.|
|December - The Christmas cactus was in bloom, right on time.|
|A colorful male Mallard at rest on the calm waters of a pond. Mallards are among the many species of ducks that frequent our area in winter.|
|I often see them visiting the late blooms that still hang on in the garden here in late December.|
|You can just see them tucked in among the pine needles here. They remained there for at least an hour.|
|Not only were they taking a walk on the fence, but the pellets of poop were proof they had been there for a while.|
|I wondered if perhaps they were looking for a place to pupate, although they did not look quite fully grown.|
|Apparently, they were just enjoying a morning stroll before getting down to the business of eating their way through the milkweed once again, because when I went back to check on them later in the day, they were back on the plant, happily having their lunch.|
|The Cedar Waxwings are back! Just in time for the holidays and what a gift they are. A small flock of the nattily dressed birds have been making their way around the yard, renewing acquaintances with all their favorite trees, this week.|
|I always look forward to seeing that first waxwing in the fall. I know I say this about all my backyard birds, but they really are one of my favorites.|
"He loves her," said Jane, with a tone of admonishment. "That's how he can stand her."And love is at the center of these tales. The love of husbands for wives and wives for husbands, parents for children and children for parents, love between friends, and love between strangers. Love, however silent or poorly expressed, rules these lives.
Olive finished the doughnut, wiped the sugar from her fingers, sat back, and said, "You're starving."
The girl didn't move, only said, "Uh - duh."A perceptive woman to see that we are, indeed, all starving for something and we try to fill our emptiness in different ways, whether with doughnuts or sex or music or walks by the river.
"I'm starving, too," Olive said. The girl looked over at her. "I am," Olive said. "Why do you think I eat every doughnut in sight?"
"You're not starving," Nina said with disgust.
"Sure I am. We all are."
"Wow," Nina said, quietly. "Heavy."
|It's not often that one sees little green treefrogs out enjoying the sun on a December day, but there he was. He lives in a bed where crinums grow and throughout the summer I would often see him sunning himself on one of their broad leaves. Nevertheless, I was just a bit surprised to see him there this week|
|Then I went to sit on the glider on the patio and when I looked up from my seat, this is what I saw - another little green treefrog resting on the metal bar from which the glider swings. The canopy over the glider is above him and he had found a very warm spot just there underneath it.|
|The green anoles - yes, that's what he is even though he appears brown at the moment - were out en force. This is my little patio buddy that I was used to encountering on and around the patio during the summer and fall.|
|At night, even the Mediterranean geckos have been out once again, patrolling the ceilings of my front and back entry porches.|
|The loquat tree has been in bloom all month. I dug this seedling from my daughter's garden six years ago and planted it here. This is the first year that it has bloomed.|
|I have a couple of yellow Esperanzas. This particular one got cut back severely last winter because it had grown too large. I guess I discouraged the poor thing because it has been slow to bloom this year, but finally, here in December, it is putting on its first real flush of blooms.|
|The ever-blooming azaleas are still...well, ever-blooming.|
|As are the cyclamen, of course.|
|And the violas.|
|The 'Radazz' Knockout roses are in bloom again, just in time for Christmas.|
|And several of these late-blooming brugmansia blossoms are still hanging on.|
|There's the Christmas cactus.|
|And the bromeliad.|
|But what would Christmas be without at least one poinsettia. It's so warm here that this one is enjoying the weather outside. I can only hope that by Christmas it will be cold enough that I'll need to bring it inside. I hate those 80 degree F. Christmases!|
|One of my very favorite winter visitors - yes, I have many! - is the little Chipping Sparrow, seen here in a picture from last winter. They are said to be in the area already but I haven't seen any in my yard yet.|
|Although the yard is still pretty quiet, the Yellow-rumped Warblers, affectionately called "Butterbutts," were doing their best to liven things up this week. Their efforts were much appreciated. Wonderful little birds!|