Thursday, December 28, 2006



It was cold enough last night to bring my Christmas arrangements inside so the vases did not freeze. I leave them outside most of the time because Rascal is really into flower “rearranging” which usually results in spilled water and broken pottery. And, sure enough, it was cold.

I remember one of my kids coming in off the bus one morning, grabbing my hand and taking me to a bush at the end of the sidewalk and exclaiming, “It be a frost!” She came from an island off South Carolina where, apparently, they had never had any frost! She was so excited to see the bushes and grass all covered with “white cold hairy things” that she picked up some of it to try to bring it to school. Of course it melted in seconds on the bus, and the other kids all laughed at her, but it still did not kill her excitement.
So there I was, freezing my butt on bus duty, when this little child came running up and pulled me to the end of the sidewalk. What, I wondered, will she do when it snows? To be honest, I did not care if I got yelled at for not being exactly at my post, I thought it was more important to share her amazement at seeing her first frost.
I thought about the thick layers of ice on the windows of our cottage in the Poconos and how I loved to look at the sun shining thru the patterns. I never outgrew my fascination with the patterns found in nature. I decided not to even try to explain how that looked. Maybe someday she will be where it is cold enough to see it.
So this morning there was a heavy frost here at Possum Lane. The barn roofs were white. Anna commented how beautiful the bushes were as the sun came up.

The ground level birdbath had a light cover of ice.
The newly planted pansies looked mighty cold but I know that by this afternoon they will be perfect once again. See the picture at the end of this post.
I went out to check on Aunt Alice. She was still beautiful with her blooms tucked under the leaves protecting her from frostbite.
The tall camellias beside the carport were still blooming happily. They have been showing off for well over a month now. See all the old blooms on the ground? The wind.
As I came back to the house, I noticed the shamrocks flowering in the little greenhouse. It was 55 degrees in there.
The geraniums and impatiens were blooming also. I know the pictures aren’t all that good, but the Plexiglas was a bit steamed up. Sorry. I wanted to share the moment anyway.
I know people think my “greenhouse” is a silly thing, it is so small. It has been called an eyesore by some. But I love to see the flowers inside there all winter long, especially when it is too cold for the camellias to be showing off out in the yard. Or when it is covered in snow… now that will make a fun picture!
The pansies about 2 hours later - the temp at about 58 degrees.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


a poem, of sorts, with apologies to lots of folks.

A Christmas Poem, sort of…

T’was the day before Christmas
And all thru the house,
Few creatures were stirring,
Just Rascal and Mouse.

The stockings were hung
Though no chimney was there
In hopes that St Nicholas
Or someone would care.

The kitties were snuggled
Asleep in their beds
While visions of tuna fish
Danced in their heads.

When out on the lawn
There arose such a clatter
We all jumped to see
Now what was the matter?

A coon or a possum?
A dog or a fox?
Was there an invader
Inside the cat’s box?

Who is it, a giant?
A man or an elf?
My thoughts made me laugh
In spite of myself.

The cats went in hiding
Behind the big chair.
Their fur was still flying
On currents of air

“Now Rascal and Snuffy,
Be good little boys.
Come on out of hiding
And play with your toys.”

But the noise it continued
More thuds then a shout
Even Spook was in hiding
And would not come out.

I ran to the driveway
To see what was the matter
What was the source
Of the thuds and the clatter?

I watched as my neighbor
Unloaded some wood
In our once upon quiet
Tranquil neighborhood.

I calmed down the critters
To put them to bed
Telling them they were safe
“Rascal, get off my head.”

“He won’t scare away Santa
You’ll all be all right
It takes more than that
To give Santa a fright!”

“He’ll be here I promise,
Curl up and sleep tight.
Merry Christmas to all
And to you a good night!”

Thursday, December 14, 2006


the Fog

Once again we have had a beautiful foggy morning. But this one seemed so cold! The cold and dampness seemed to seep right into my bones. Of course, I did NOT have to be out in it – but I just love the way the world looks in the fog, so I did have to be out in it.

And so I will share it with you!

The camellias have recovered some from the 20ยบ temps the other day. Well, some of them.

It was berry foggy out by the road.

Even Buddha seems to enjoy a bit of fog.

The Possum tree looks so different. It is an old mulberry surrounded by persimmon trees. The possums just love these trees.

See the gum balls?

Aunt Alice has started to bloom. She is a spring camellia. The last nor'easter pretty well blew all the blooms off the fall camellias.

The birds like the pyracantha. Mine is a bright red, many are orange

Friday, December 08, 2006


The December wind...

Well, there was no frost today, but there was plenty of wind. We had sustained winds at around 25 to 30 with gusts in the 40mph range. With the temps in the 20s, that made for a chilly morning!

That meant the birds stayed away from the feeders. Well, the feeders were swinging so hard I don’t see how anybody would have been able to get a bite anyway!

Of course, some of the windows were so covered with condensation, the cats could not see out even if the birds had been there.

That meant there was nothing to do but sleep.

Hadji is a light sleeper so he had to see why his mommy was walking around HIS bedroom and disturbing him.

Snuff, however, sleeps thru everything. Unless you want him to….

The jays did not even come to get their morning ration of peanuts.

St Francis has a frozen birdbath. That is the first solid freezing this year.

Debutante, so beautiful yesterday, has dropped her bruised flowers to the ground. But see the buds? Just give her a chance, some sunshine, and uh, would you mind losing that wind?

Thursday, December 07, 2006


But wait ‘til tomorrow!

In response to the emails about the camellias… this is the red one seen back-to yesterday.

It is considered a Spring variety of camellia sasanqua – if the fall days are warm enough – or if we have a warm spell in the winter – it only takes a few days of above freezing and a bit of sunshine – this little beauty bursts into bloom. One of my favorite pictures of it has the leaves covered with snow and the bright red flowers are blooming away in spite of everything. An amazing plant! I should not call it little, however – it is up to the rooftop of the carport. It was a “volunteer” – it came from seed here in the yard.

Debutante is a camellia japonica, in full peony form. Debutante is an award winning camellia as are most of the named camellias, and was planted about 18 years ago. She is well over 8 feet tall now and very compact. The blooms bruise easily, but the plant is hardy to zero degrees as long as the temps do not stay there for a prolonged period of time. Debutante will bloom sporadically on warm days and then spring into full bloom in March. This camellia was a gift from a dear friend, Sabra Kimball, gone but never forgotten.

Yule Tide is a sasanqua. It takes a lot of heavy frost and bitter cold to bruise these blooms. Normally it is still blooming on Christmas. Yule Tide, I have been told is over 8 feet tall. Yule Tide outgrew her original space (next to the tall red one by the carport) and blocked the drive beside the house so we moved her out front. It is dangerous to move large camellias, and they must be severely pruned to about a third of their size when you do move them – so can you imagine how big Yule Tide would be now if we had just kept her in her original space? Yule Tide was my first “house-gift” when I moved here 20 years ago. Thank you, Sabra.

Many of my camellias do not even show any color until late in the spring - end of March, early April. The camellia on the left is Red Emperor, a japonica, now taller than my little barn – about 12 feet tall. The other camellias in this area are all late bloomers getting very little sun.