Showing posts with label lazy man's plant identification guide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lazy man's plant identification guide. Show all posts

Friday, April 21

Just Like Snow White

Except I'm not cleaning. Or singing.

Jase picked these. No clue what they are, but he had fun putting them in.
But the doors are open, the birds are singing, and it is gorgeous! I could probably whip up some dancing. We're smack in one of my favorite parts of the year - where the days aren't terribly hot, the mornings are still cool and breezy, and the mosquitoes don't come out this early yet.

That cat, however, is not my favorite right now. Several of our screens bear the mark of his wrath (or perhaps general displeasure) and I'm pretty sure the bugs will find those very spots every time we try to open the windows this year.

The Littles (still thinking up a good moniker for them - they've requested something else) and I went to the market yesterday and picked out some plants for the earth boxes. We didn't go in with a plan other than Find Something That Makes You Smile. They did.

Hibiscus! Em was absolutely smitten with the blooms, so we got one that has a ton of buds. I'm guessing it won't be able to live in this box long-term, but it'll be lovely here in the meantime. (We're getting mulch. It's a work in progress.)

Zorak is home today, which means the time-honored plan of Not Doing School. Of course, it's also going to be a day that somewhat violates the spirit of that plan -- they're not going to spend the day "hanging out with Dad", but rather, "working outside with Dad". All time well spent, though, so there is that, right? Plus, they get to sleep in. Nobody really complains. Much.

May is coming! None of us is looking forward to the heat, but the kids are starting to get antsy - finals week at the college is the first week of May, the water park opens the end of May, anatomy class ends in May, kayak weather... more time for hiking... so many good things are coming. They're ready.

I just need to get through this weekend and present a hospitable venue for the cookout. Then I can relax and look forward to the good things, too. If I lose focus between now and Sunday, though, it's likely to turn into a, "Hey, can you help us lug this wood to the bonfire and get the clothes off the line?" party. That wouldn't be fun for anyone.

I hear rustling and ambling. I've camped out near the watering hole (coffee pot) so I'll be sure to catch people as they awake. Time to get my Snow White on and whip this place into inviting shape! (Although, yes, I realize the visual is more reminiscent of Marlon Perkins than Snow White. That's probably a more accurate visualization all the way around, but I don't want to think up a new intro.)

This needs something else, but we're waiting for inspiration. Native, volunteer ferns, though. They look almost intentional!
 Be encouraged!
~ Dy

Thursday, July 3

Seasons in the Sun

We're learning to love Summer. Just a little bit.

There's always something historic to see, like the Observation Tower at Mt. Cheaha, built by the CCC in 1934, and painstakingly maintained by a team so that it can remain open and accessible to the public today:

Or to find, like the wildlife hiding in plain sight...

Or do... like playing in the water. This is probably the thing I appreciate the very most about living in Alabama - the water. Every place has history. Not every place has water.

The kids don't really take this for granted - they pick up trash along the way, leave the area cleaner than we found it, and they're respectful of the terrain and the things that live here. But they have no idea how good they've got it - this is normal for them. How cool is that? I was 20 before I got to swim to the base of a waterfall.

Still can't identify most of the plants that catch my eye, but that won't stop me from trying. It's all about getting experience by continuing to try until you get it right.

And then we headed out, and up. Funny, it didn't seem very far on the way in...

(I wrote this several days ago, but didn't post it. No idea why, but I'm going to blame the heat. Or maybe old age - I think I went off on rabbit trails to identify that flower and then suddenly, they wanted food again. That happens more than I'd like to admit.)

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, May 4

Terrifyingly Awesome

We took the kids to the Botanical Gardens a week or so back, and I saw this thing. It's a beast of a tree. The thing is, it look gorgeous, delicate, and inviting (from a distance). But then I saw the title plate at the base of the tree.

Dragon? What dragon? Why's it a dragon? Zorak pointed out why it's a dragon. Ohhh....

Did you see it? Yes, lovely little orange erm, shaped, fruits. But beside those, look closely.

Crikey! Now *that's* a protective hedge. I'm thinking we'll plant them below the bedroom windows. Kind of makes the traditional holly bush look a little puny, doesn't it? Yep, then we'd have dragons, in addition to our half-a-moat! It's shaping up to be a regular little castle, around here!

Kiss those babies! (and, uh, keep them out of the dragon beds!)

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 10

Tree, again...

Well, none of the berry shots turned out. That's not terribly helpful. Here's a long shot of the tree, with the boys standing beside it, for scale.

Kiss those babies!

Mobile Blogging

Nevermind. Shortly after I wrote this, they showed up! Please look below to see if you have any idea what these berries are! I'm off to send more pictures (probably sideways) of the berries themselves.

I never feel as old as when I'm trying to do something new with technology. *sigh*

Trying to upload some pictures for the Lazy Man's Plant Identification. The boys came running up a few weeks ago with berries. Bless them, the first thing out of their mouths was, "Look what we found! We didn't eat any!" They just might survive growing up out here.

We got pictures, but they're on my phone. I have a pretty cool phone that could blow up small parts of Russia with the proper combinations. Sadly, I'm feeling pretty good when I can answer an incoming call with the thing.

Been trying to set up the mobile blog and claim it and so forth. Blogger Help looked clear cut. I thought I'd done everything I needed to do... and yet, there are no pictures of mystery trees on here, now. Anywhere.

Somehwere, someone has just received anonymous texts with images of leaves and tree bark, instructions to "kiss those babies". And quite possibly there's been an explosion just outside a small town in Siberia. I'll keep working on it.

Kiss those babies!

The Bark from the Berries Below.

And, still sideways (I wish I could remember which direction to hold the phone to make them upright!)

This shows the bark...

Kiss those babies!

Look! Berries!

Well, it worked. It's also on its side, and I have no idea how to change that...

This tree grows in the lower meadow. It's tall and thin, and is covered in berries. There's not a stitch of red on it, so we ruled out chokeberries.

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, October 14


Well, Ernie and KathyJo swear it's a mushroom. I'm inclined to think Josh is on to something, personally. Either way, I figure if we lock the doors and clean the air filters, we should have all our bases covered. Thanks for playing, guys!

Today we began week 10 of the school year. Ten-ish, anyway. Of the previous nine weeks, we've taken three off. That sounds so bad. I can hear NEA members puckering in their seats from here. And yet, the boys have worked up to the nine-week point in a couple of subjects, and worked beyond the nine-week point in all the rest. Heh. Yeah. I love this lifestyle.

So this morning, we sat on the balcony, re-working our plans that will take us through Christmas break. The boys opted to adjust some of their goals to reflect the progress they've made. We sorted, sifted, printed, and planned. Then they got to work. I got sucked into the Tanglewood site. *sigh* There ought to be something I could take for that. Really.

We're off to the library, where we won't find anything and I will return with a bigger Amazon list. (It is SO easy to justify book purchases when you know you'll use each book through five children. So, so easy. I'm going to owe Zorak big-time for this.) But it'll be nice to hit the library again. And, they've fired the wacky library lady and replaced her with someone from an organization we refer to as "The Northern Alabama Branch of the Illuminati" - so I want to be sure to stay on top of the library sale, as they'll be culling all the good books soon, and I don't want to miss out on those buys!

Kiss those babies!

Oh, help.





Zorak found these near the cedar tree the other day, while we were picking apples. I'd gladly post the apple picking pictures, but we really want to know what these are. I don't even know how to begin Googling this...
The closed pods are bigger than a golf ball, slightly smaller than a tennis ball. The opened (exploded? bloomed? erupted?) pods are about 4 1/2" across.
I have no idea if they smell.
And, as with the other weird-ass things we find around here, no, I did not touch it.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 29

Can't Win Them All

Well, it looks like these babies are good for animal feed, and not much else. *sigh* Thanks to this site, we've figured out that this is C. cordiformis, which has a bitter kernel. The boys were looking forward to gathering and drying them. (I was kind of hoping to be able to bake with them.)
Maybe planting a couple of pecan trees would be a good consolation? Is it weird to console our kids with new trees? Well, they'll like it, regardless. They're cool that way.
Kiss those babies!

OK, folks, what is this?

This is a clipping of the fruit we found yesterday. For a size perspective - click on it (I hope it's clickable) and note the average 10yo standing beside the apple tree. The tops of the apple tree and the mystery tree. (Edited to add: the fruits are each about the size of a small marble. Definitely unripe, and seem to have seeds inside, not a stone. Maybe that'll help.)

The top of that tree is absolutely laden with berries/fruit...
And here's the trunk, to show you the bark of the tree...
Do we have something edible? (Please say yes.)
Kiss those babies!

Sunday, September 7

More From the Non-Agrarians

OK, so I, the Non-Farmer, came to terms with the sooty blotch and the flyspeck. But this... I'm not handling this well, at all. I don't know what it is, for certain. For now, I'm just calling it the Plague of Apple Death. Is it Cedar Apple Rust? Gah. It's hideous, whatever it is. (Please don't ask me if it's soft. I can tell you now I did not touch it. I'm not going to touch it. I didn't even want to stand under it to take the picture.)

Look at that a little more closely. Ew. That's all one can really say. Ew.

I fear my hopes of hot apple pies, baked apples, and fresh applesauce have been dashed for the year. If that IS Cedar Apple Rust, then those dreams are dashed for the future, as well, because I asked Zorak today if we can cut down the cedar tree, and as it turns out, he loves that cedar tree. He loves it so much, his voice rose an octave as he told me he loves it. That's a lotta love. You know, for a tree.

So, in an effort to comfort myself, I rounded up any children who weren't sleeping, and made them help me pick the pears. Before some kind of mildewy-gut-rot gets to them, too.

For one neglected, 45ft. tall tree, I can't complain about this year's harvest. Heck, two years ago, we didn't even know what kind of a tree this is! So, we've been pruning and hacking and praying. This is the first year we've had fruit from it.

This shot was taken about halfway through the picking. We got about that much, again, and then Zorak made us stop. It probably had something to do with the fact that I have no idea what we're going to do with all these pears. Or perhaps it was when I mentioned that after you pick them, you have to let them ripen for a week or two. There are another couple dozen pears still on the tree, but I suspect they'll remain there until the boys and I figure out what to do with them and where to put them.

Oh, well, it was fun. And it took my mind off all those apple pies I'm not going to be able to make this year. *sigh* For a while it did, anyway. By the way, I'm really enjoying Picasa's new functions and upgrades. Hopefully, this collage will be a clickable link, because it's really neat-o full-size! (Whoa, and was it HUGE! Edited to tame the beast a bit... edited again to apologize - now it's a manageable size, but it's no longer clickable. No clue what the problem is. Probably operator error of some kind... *sheepish grin*)
Kiss those babies!

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, June 18

Feral Flora

We have a jungle out there.
Ivies (both decorative and nasty), oaks, fruits, ferns, saplings...
stuff we have no clue what to call...
but do you see it?

Right... there. Yes, that's berries.
Feral berries, right smack in the middle of the jungle.

And not just a random one or two, either. The forest floor is full of them!

I don't know if they'll make it to maturity, but if they do, we're going berry picking later this summer. That's just too exciting to pass up! And I'm out of jam, too!

Kiss those babies!
(I apologize for the fuzzy shots - I had Jase in the sling, and he was not terribly thrilled with the fauna in the woods... darned skeeters.)

Thursday, May 22

No Title Today

Can't think of one. However, is there anything more relaxing than a canopy of Dogwood leaves?Saw the periodontist yesterday. He said the underlying tooth is surprisingly intact, structurally, and thinks a new crown can be reset on it. He referred me to a new dentist when I expressed my concerns with the one who had originally referred me to the perio. (The upside of getting a dental referral from a periodontist is that he sees the work of all the dentists around, and can steer you in a direction that may fit well with your needs! I *really* hope this pans out!) I showed him the concrete-like slab my last dentist put in, and he said this new guy does fantastic restorative work. Say a prayer, please? I go in today at 1:30.

I've accomplished diddly-squat around here, lately, other than treading water and barely keeping up with feeding and cleaning. This weekend, I'm locking the children outside with little satchels of snacks, bottles of water, and a GPS so that I can finish up:

* the couch (the book I mentioned last week did seem to help, at least with pointing out what an idiot I am, and where I've gone wrong thus far - so, that's good),

* the covers for the barstools (my initial plan hasn't worked so well - they're a PITB to get off to wash, and so, they don't get washed -- ew),

* hopefully the new curtains for our room (because the current blankets-on-nails motif is just soooo early "Broke Undergrad"),

* and curtain trim for EmBaby's room (she's had Thomas curtains this whole time -- not imperative to correct, but would be nice, I'm sure).

Hopefully, we can also borrow a tiller and get some seed planted, as well as put the two little hostas in the ground before they go into total shock and die back completely. I still have to go talk to the neighbors about keeping their chickens in check for a couple of weeks, so the seeds (both lawn and garden) can take root instead of becoming chicken feed. Not looking forward to that, but I think I've just made it bigger in my head than it needs to be. I *will* suck it up and take care of that before Saturday. (Hold me accountable!)

And, as you can see, Smidge is still into both baseball, and posing for pictures (he actually scrambled to get his glove when he saw me stalking him with the camera!)...

Kiss those babies!

Friday, March 21

What Is This Beauty?

I thought last year it was apple, because of the blossoms. But then, that's why I have to post here for help. Obviously, I don't know an apple blossom from a horse apple. Soooo... Help me out, here.

This is the tree. I circled it in red, and marked the 3' height on the cedar stave in the fence beside it, just to give you an idea of how Eiffel Tower-ish this thing is. I imagine it's either something that grows wild, or, if it's a domesticated plant, it's been neglected for a long, long time. It does bear fruit - there was some left on it from last year's late frost - but I didn't get a good photo of those. (Click on the photo to see a larger image.)
The bark is tight - would this be called "tight scales"?
The leaves - oh, look at that vibrant green of new leaves! They grow in clusters, as you can see here...
And these are the blossoms. Such a brilliant white, and in large clusters of many blooms. They're not terribly hardy, and when the wind kicks up, it looks like it's snowing.
So, fellow readers, any ideas what this tree may be?

Sunday, February 10

Busy Weekend

It's been a great weekend for productivity here at the Forever Home. Zorak hauled the carcasses of dead appliances down to the Recycle Guy, so the carport-that-wants-to-be-a-fire is looking a bit more, well, a bit less terrifying.

I cleaned the kitchen pantry, then sorted, organized and inventoried the food storage shelf (yes, "shelf", singular. We're not good Mormons, Catholics, or survivalists... just slackin' Protestants). I am tickled, though, to see that we've nearly met our first goal! I was hoping to get to a two-month supply, and we're just about there! We need to flesh it out a bit, as there are some things I've completely forgotten to store - like pasta, and (gah, this is embarrassing to even admit) water. Yes. Yes, I know. Der. However, I'd only begun this project in September, so I'm quite happy with the results, and we've been able to accomplish it without any appreciable increase in our grocery bill.

We have the back yard staked out for a fence! We have the new garden boundaries marked, as well, and we have the spot for the chicken coop laid out. Now, if only we can decide just how we want to design the coop, we might make some progress on it! I tried to talk KathyJo into coming down with her crew so we could turn the menfolk loose down there, but she's not budging. Pfft. You'd think she's enjoying the snow or something. ;-)

Oh, hey, and while we marked out the back yard boundaries, the house spoke to us again (shhh, you're the only ones we tell about this stuff - the neighbors might think we're nuts... but, then again, that could come in handy...) Anyway, there's a door off the kitchen that leads out back. We don't use it because, like so many other things on this place, it's scary-dangerous. The first step is over a foot down, and if you misstep, you'll tumble down a painful, brick-edged, gauntlet. The little iron railings have long rusted away, so if you mistakenly attempt to grab hold of one, you'll only increase the likelihood that you'll be impaled before you hit bottom. As of yesterday, that door is now marked for a small landing and wooden steps that'll lead into the back yard. (Not only will it be lovely and functional, but then the children won't have to traipse through our bedroom to get to the back yard. WOOHOO!)

Zorak eyeballed my hammock trees for a tree house. He even measured them. I don't want to sound territorial, here, and I would do anything for my children, but I worked for two full summers to clear enough briars and poison ivy to get *to* those trees, so I could hang a hammock. Not so they could build a tree house. A hammock, darnit. I've never had a hammock. I'd like a hammock. I WANT a hammock. Besides, there are eighty bazillion suitable tree house trees on the property, but not so many suitable hammock sites. *ahem* Um, so, that particular piece of land is currently in limbo. (It'll probably end up being a tree house. Maybe I can sling my hammock beneath the deck?)

We ran out of propane on Saturday morning. Gah. I hate this little tank. (Riiiiight. Because it couldn't have anything to do with the fact that I'm the one who forgets to check it? OK, let me rephrase that: I hate that I forget to check that little tank.) If you ask for a delivery Not On Your Delivery Day, they hit you with fees: "Should've Checked Your Tank, Stoopid" fees, which add up to several hundred dollars. Plus, you pay a higher price for the gas, itself, at an "off route" price. We called to find out just what the "off route" price is, and see about scheduling a delivery, but the emergency delivery guy never called back, so Zorak hooked up a little tank and we'll use that until Monday.

I had to smile. That brought back memories of our first home together, when we were often too poor to afford the 100 gallon minimum delivery. (And that was when it was $1.75/gal., too.) He'd use the small tanks to limp us along, getting them refilled at the gas station (back when gas stations still did that sort of thing) on his way home from work, switching the tanks out, until we could save enough money to get a real delivery. I'm glad we're not *there* anymore, and that if the guy had called back, we could have had a full tank. However, I'm also so thankful Zorak is the guy he is and does such a good job of providing what we need. (Now, if he could just find me a mental supplement, or a personal secretary, or *something* so I won't forget to check the darned tank next time!)

I have no idea what we'll be doing today. Zorak stayed up far too late last night drafting fence panel designs, so I'm sure we'll be ready to make some headway on those shortly. And the carport-that-wants-to-be-a-bonfire is much less creepy now that it's all cleared out and semi-functional. I was hoping to get some sewing done, but that's not looking like it's going to happen. That's okay. There's plenty to do in the meantime, and when the time comes, I'll be ready!

ACK, and they're heading outside without me! I'd better go.

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, July 17

Psst, Ernie...

A little bird told me you might like these.
And, actually, if anyone can tell me what these are, or how in the world I'd go about identifying them, I'd be much obliged.

My favorite is the white one in the bottom right corner. It's so very different from any of the other (literally dozens) of kinds of fungi we have on the property.

And, um, while we're discussing fungi... any idea how to keep the numbers to a minimum in the regularly populated areas of the property? At least until the small ones stop wanting to eat everything they find.

Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 30

More Surprises

Me-Tae says these are Tiger Lilies. I'm glad she knew, because I had no idea. Just looked out the back window one day to find a huge orange pouf on the end of a tall, tall stalk. There are a dozen or so in the front yard, too. They're wider than my hand. And they're much more vibrant than the picture lets on.
I wish they had a scent. Don't they look like they ought to smell delicious? Yeah. But there's nothing.

Am I supposed to deadhead these things to keep them flowering? (And yeah, she suggested watering them. Said hers just glowed after she gave them a little water.)

You know, I am *never* going to be able to find all these bulbs to pull up this fall. The house, the meadows, the woods, even the rock hole that's filled with trash - none of it overwhelms me quite so much as this little patch of earth between the upper and lower drives.

Kiss those babies! And take time to smell the... well, not the lilies. But we give everything a quick sniff. You never know when you'll be pleasantly surprised, right?

Wednesday, April 4

Funny, What's Important

I'd intended today, after...
working in the garden, doing my math and Latin, setting up the school room (yes, finally - but no pictures yet, it looks hideously cramped at the moment), running numbers and investment options for the finances, wading through miles of laundry, listening to stories, reading stories, taking a walk around the property to see it through Little Eyes, attending baseball practice, preparing supper, reading more stories, tending to the character training (for me and them, right?), writing letters, and finalizing lesson plans for the rest of the week,
to blog about the various knocks and dings being dished out this week to stay-at-home moms and homeschoolers.

But you know,

I was too busy

enjoying my life

to really be bothered.

I suppose that's enough, in itself.

Kiss those babies!

*Garden note: I actually know what those are all pictures of!! WOOHOO!
The first is an iris. I'm so excited to have an iris!
The second is a tulip. It's pretty beat up from the storm, but it is one of THREE now. Each one a different color, and each one on a different side of the tree. :-D
The third... oh, this is my favorite. See the heart? That's the leaf of the redbud. They grow wild out here! The flowers are a gorgeous purple, growing all down the branches, and then the tree erupts in hearts! Isn't that beautiful?
And that final one is the elusive North American Smidge. While not difficult to find, Smidges are often quite difficult to photograph. They move quickly and make very little noise, so you have to shoot fast.