April showers bring May flowers, but ... Feb 13, 2015

... this is only the second week in February!  The days are growing longer, which is most welcome, and the air feels spring-like.  Pollen has been falling for several weeks now (ACH-oooo!), as you can see below in the wheelbarrow half full of rain water.  What you see is a combination pollen and Incense Cedar male flowers. Unfortunately, I seem to be allergic to cedar!  I wish I would've known that BEFORE I moved into a home located in a cedar forest!  Oh well, I'm coping.  Here in NorCal, where record high temperatures are being set, flowers and trees are in full bloom.  One can only hope that a bone-chilling cold front doesn't sweep down from Alaska in a couple of weeks.  That would be very unkind, especially to fruit trees.  

Perhaps you know that back-to-back storms hit our area a week ago, dumping 5-8" of rain between Friday and Monday (2/6-2/9), and we needed all of it to help alleviate the active, ongoing drought.  I took the above picture after the first storm, but before the second rainstorm hit.  The second one added that much more to fill the wheelbarrow nearly to the rim. 

The storms also brought high winds, big noisy gusty winds, that knocked twigs, branches and limbs from our cedar and Douglas fir trees.  And also knocked out our power last Friday for over five hours.  But by Wednesday, the ground was dry enough for us to go on "stick patrol," and clean up the mess.  It looked like a Category 1 hurricane had hit ... and it took us the better part of a day to corral all the debris into three piles.  Jimmy is considering whether to burn it all, if we ever get an "ok to burn" day, or parcel it into our yard waste bin, tho that's only picked up every other week.  It might take us two months to get rid of it all, and in the meantime, we'd have more stuff that needed to be hauled away. 

I have two of these flowering shrubs in my yard, one in front and this one in the back.  It blooms only in winter with the most fragrant of delicate pink flowers (close up, below).  This year both shrubs are loaded with blooms, and emitting a very heady scent -- I just wish I could remember what it's called.

Since it might as well be spring, I hung my new decorative glass bird feeder (below), and my other feeders and filled them with fresh seed.  When Jimmy was buzzed by a hummingbird, I filled that feeder with juice and hung it.  We have had FLOCKS of birds already.  One morning this fella (above) showed up.  I'd never seen it before. This is a Varied Thrush, quite the looker.  Even more amazing -- it showed up the same morning as it's cousins, (the Robins), and a Spotted Towhee.  All of them sport similar colors, but in different configurations, and they all hop/scratch around on the ground, or in the Robin's case, they go "Bob-bob-bobbing along!"

Just look at this beautiful tree below.  We spotted it on our way to the Canal trail the other day.  All over NorCal, we see trees aglow with either white or pink blossoms   I could hear the bees from ten feet away. 

Here's Jimmy on the scenic Canal trail that we enjoy; in spite of knee issues (Jimmy), we love hiking on this relatively flat path.  Slap-dab in the middle of the picture, is downtown Nevada City ... you can see a hazy white building if you enlarge the picture. 

I wish these were in my yard, but they're next door.  The deer don't seem to eat them, so maybe I'll plant half a dozen bulbs and have my own daffodils next year.

I think we're going to hit the road next week, for a shortie.  Where to?


  1. What a lovely shrub! Hope somebody tells you what it is..... Our big flock of winter-colors goldfinches is beginning to dwindle, guess they are on the move again. So much fun to watch them feed, busy-busy little birdies.

  2. The first time I saw a varied thrush, I was thrilled. They are so handsome.

    1. It was really neat to see one in my backyard!

  3. you look like you are having a wonderfull time. i am interested in what kind of bikes you are riding. couldnt figure out how to look for that info....biking has quite a few entries.....i hope to read them all....but not tonight! any suggestions?

    1. Hello, Holly! We bought our new bikes in Montana, a year-and-a-half ago, and we really like them. Here's a photo:
      We're hoping to get out on the American River Bike Trail soon. What kind of bike do you have?

  4. When the redbuds bloom in the midst of that gorgeous spring green in the Mother Lode it is quite the breathtaking sight. Any chance you two could drop down for a day trip to Daffodil Hill? It is really pretty. Worth the drive if you don't have anything else to do like pileup brush.


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