Metatalktail Hour: Bloomin' April! April 20, 2019 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Good Saturday evening, MetaFilter! This week, bagel wants to know what you see blooming in your area and what animals you've been spotting!

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, and we'd love to hear everything that's up with you! And send me ideas for future metatalktails!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 4:03 PM (118 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Oh, that's an easy one. There is a mouse (or possibly even rat) in my place. So that's fun!

Also, after two people in a week told me One Piece is one of their favorite animes, I'm now on the second episode. I had to pause the first episode many times to carefully read and translate phrases from Spanish, because for some reason the subtitles were only in Spanish or Portuguese for the first one. But it was actually kind of fun to watch like that!
posted by limeonaire at 4:10 PM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I spotted my first ruby-throated humming bird at the feeder on Tuesday and now I have a couple hanging around and dive-bombing each other. I'm just south of DC, so I'm way behind the curve in spotting the early ones.
posted by peeedro at 4:12 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

All the cherries and magnolias and redbuds are in full bloom, and the whole town is suddenly lovely. I've seen robins and starlings aplenty, and I heard a red-winged blackbird but didn't see him the other day.

A friend left us her dog this weekend while she visits family, so her dog and my dog have been playing nonstop and chewing on each other's faces with wild abandon. The pup is a total sweetheart and thinks she's a lap dog, even though she's greyhound sized (if not shaped).
posted by coppermoss at 4:21 PM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I had beast of wild turkey bust out of the underbrush right in front of me yesterday and just about give me a heart attack.

Then a hawk came swooshing right over my head through the aerial trail made by the absence of trees on the human trail, and I could hear his wings whistling in the wind.

Then this morning, for some reason a flock of geese were circling right over my house honking away for about half an hour. Weird.

In my further quarter-hog adventures, today I'm making Marcella Hazan's pork braised in milk, and red cabbage and walnut salad, and green beans. I'm cleaning my house while it cooks and it smells delicious in here!
posted by HotToddy at 4:38 PM on April 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

I have daffodils and iris at the edge of my patio. Birds, squirrels and chipmunks are feasting on the food I put out. I have seed, suet, peanut, and dried meal worms. It's so wonderful to watch the behaviors of these flying flowers. I've seen cardinals, mockingbirds, chickadees, Eastern towhees, Carolina chickadees, song sparrows, house finches, and more. It's delightful!

Following my mother's death, my husband and I are in the process of moving cross country, back to my home state. I'm flying to Nevada on Tuesday to help him pack up and we'll fly back here in mid-May.

I've been binge-watching Star Trek: Discovery and getting mom's condo ready to move into.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 4:40 PM on April 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

I went to the botanical garden a couple of weeks ago not expecting to see anything yet, but witch hazel, irises, windflowers and lenten roses were all blooming. I had never heard of the last two before, so in addition to admiring the prettiness, I got to learn something! Around home and work, I've seen silver maple flowers and trembling aspen catkins. So nice to have a bit of colour around!
posted by as_night_falls at 4:41 PM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I forgot to add that I've installed 3 new toilets and now have to have part of the yard dug up to replace some root-bound sewage pipes. So much outlay! But the good news is that we own the condo outright. No more mortgage or rent for the rest of our lives.
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 4:42 PM on April 20, 2019 [9 favorites]

Almost NOTHING is blooming here yet, the late-season frost and snow scared off even the forsythia! But I can see buds on the trees so hope is in sight.

I am nursing a springtime cold and as a result of this I fell down on the Easter planning and had to dispatch my husband to Target for Easter basket supplies and to the grocery store for Easter Feast supplies. I sent him with hyper-detailed grocery instructions. Because normally we buy the same sorts of ingredients on a weekly basis and he knows those, and when I'm doing the shopping for a Feast I can just write things like "proscuitto" and I know I mean 4 oz. of the diced proscuitto in the deli section. But when he's shopping for the fancy, unusual things, he doesn't know what any of those are. Took me close to an hour to get the list detailed enough that I was confident he could find everything, and he did!

Anyway, tomorrow we'll have ham, funeral potatoes, green beans amandine with a dijon dressing, spring peas 3 ways with a cream sauce, balsamic strawberries, and potato rolls. With olive oil cake and key lime pie for dessert. Usually I make mashed potatoes but literally all of my children are currently refusing to eat mashed potatoes so I was like, "fuck it, I'm making the funeral potatoes because I love them and I only ever make them once a year and if nobody's going to eat the potatoes I might as well make my favorite potatoes, which they also will not eat, but make me happy." My sister-in-law also loves them but my brother (who cooks in their house) refuses to make them because he thinks they're gross, so I'll save a big portion to send to her house.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:44 PM on April 20, 2019 [9 favorites]

What's blooming in my area? Apparently most everything. The pollen count in metro Atlanta last week reached 6575. My eyes are watering and my throat is sore. And to add to the fun, we got 5.35" of rain on Friday, so even more things will be blooming once the sun comes out again.

On the way to work the other day I had to slam on brakes to avoid hitting a raccoon, and this morning on the way to the grocery store I spotted an armadillo next to the road.

I'm catching up with Kaguya-sama: Love is war and enjoying it, and trying to stay up to date with the remake of Fruits Basket. I'm also super excited that Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu got an anime adaptation, along with Helpful Fox Senko-san.
posted by ralan at 4:55 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Oh I did specify I wanted 3 individual yukon gold potatoes (just enough to make and mash them for the ham soup I make with the ham bone, I usually use leftover mashed potatoes to thicken the stock), and he brought me three POUNDS of yukon gold potatoes, but oh well. I guess we'll have a lot of potatoes next week!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 4:58 PM on April 20, 2019 [7 favorites]

Everything is in bloom- EVERYTHING. What's really surprised me is the new blackberry is already in bloom. It's kinda amazing how the seasons out here turn on a dime. It feels like it was still winter two weeks ago. The bugs have returned which is how you truly know it's spring. I Finally ripped out the old back bed in favor of some new seeds and a big thank you to elsietheeel who sent me a lovely bee house in December that I can finally put out. I have named it the Excelsior bee hotel! My favorite thing in the back that is flowering has to be This Scarlet Pimpernel which I just had no idea even grows out here or that it was a weed. Its a weed with pretensions! Dad's doing better thank god, and so is mom. Everything seems to be doing ok, knock wood. Yom Tov.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:02 PM on April 20, 2019 [8 favorites]

...please, what are funeral potatoes? In my neck of the woods, funeral potatoes would be scalloped, but not called funeral potatoes.
posted by coppermoss at 5:05 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

The carpenter bees are making a move on our shed, and they mean business. I don't really mind them so much. I've gotten used to the divebombing.

Speaking of "greenery," it's 4/20 and there's a drum circle at the cafe near my house, so there's plenty of greenery going around the neighborhood today.
posted by duffell at 5:12 PM on April 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

Whatever it is that's in bloom, it's making me sneeze constantly.
posted by octothorpe at 5:15 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Around here, the pine trees are so fecund it affects the weather. (Photos may induce allergic reactions.)

Also a wasp is building a nest in my mailbox. And only a couple weeks after I replaced the old, broken one. It has been making me wonder whether wasps prefer shiny white mailboxes to dingy black mailboxes, or if the timing is just a coincidence. Anyway, this means I have to figure out how to remove a wasp nest with the least risk before the mail is delivered on Monday.
posted by ardgedee at 5:19 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

You really can’t have too many potatoes.
posted by bookmammal at 5:26 PM on April 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Fungus is blooming here - Sydney is ever so slowly heading towards winter, not that you'd know it in the daytime as it's still getting into the high twenties.

We are back from Fiji, a wonderful trip. The only problem with taking so much time off work is that the prospect of heading back to the office grows increasingly unappealing.

After gorging myself at buffets for most of my holiday, I've been eating salad and vegetables with reckless abandon. I'm still several days off a run, courtesy of an infected blister I got from too-tight flippers (it's a hard life...), but the antibiotic tablets and cream seem to be clearing it up.

4 pics from my amazing scuba and snorkeling experiences. Sigh. It was so great.
posted by smoke at 5:34 PM on April 20, 2019 [9 favorites]

The barn swallows are back--a solid eight spotted today, flitting around in the rafters--which means covering everything in the lower part of the barn. But they are delightful, and old sheets wash up just fine. The local eagles are back, with fair visibility from the road as I drive by, as the trees haven't fully leafed out yet. Eaglets! The neighbor lost all three bee hives this winter, but he's working on getting a new hive up and running. The barn cat has gone full indoor/outdoor, and has declared herself queen of the refrigerator top, and though I have a sufficiency of cats, it's nice to have one that just decides to hang out.

The hazelnuts are beginning to show tiny leaves, and maybe this will be the year I get more than empty shells. I replanted some volunteer hazelnuts to replace the lost bushes and mulched out the row, and oh, yes, I remember those shoveling muscles now... Last weekend, I bought loofah seeds on a whim, and not only did they germinate at lightning speed, they look like tiny Audrey Twos already. They want to grow. My peppers are looking insanely happy (shoutout to wenestvedt: 9/18 habanadas have germinated). I look at all of my little plants and wonder that 20 years ago, I was pleased to keep a single basil plant alive.

Other joys: Listening to Lizzo's "Exactly How I Feel" and feeling the comfort of the sun, at last.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:58 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Forsythia (white and yellow), daffodils, tulips, Japanese magnolias, hyacinths, hydrangeas, and last but not least to me, dandelions.

The other night, I was walking late when a cloud of brown dust blew down from a treetop, smelling strongly of camphor. I don't know what that might have been. (It was close to a dentists' office, but that can't have been where it came from; it was locked up for the night.)
posted by Countess Elena at 5:59 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

spring peas 3 ways with a cream sauce

Please elaborate -- I love creamed peas! But I've only had them the Yankee way, cooked with milk and a little bit of onion.

Dogwood -- my favorite thing in the world -- is in bloom in D.C. I had hoped to take my birthday off and go to the Arboretum, but there's plenty in the 'hood.
posted by jgirl at 6:00 PM on April 20, 2019

My girlfriend and I are camping in her backyard tonight, to test out her new sleeping pad and bag.

I told her about once when I was backpacking in the Rockies in Colorado, I woke one morning to find a really pissed off porcupine inside the vestibule to my tent. I had hung my food - they just wanted a shelter, and apparently didn't mind my snoring.

The sound you think porcupines make is not the sound you think they make. Also, porcupine quills don't do anything nice to your rainfly, no matter how diligent you are about removing them.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:03 PM on April 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Palo verde! So many palo verde flowers. And some ocotillo. The Gambel's quail are out and about too, but too quick for me to snap a picture.

After many weeks of no real exercise, I'm trying to get back into it (hence the bike ride and flower pictures today) now that it looks like I'm going to have to push my defense back to August. It's nice that I won't have to work myself to utter exhaustion for the next few weeks, but I was really looking forward to not having it hanging over me this summer. Oh well. At least I get to ride and wrestle again!
posted by egregious theorem at 6:03 PM on April 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

The apple trees have started showing blooms, now that the cherries are done. Poppies are in full force along with paper whites. I've gotten really into foraging for edible plants and started an Instagram account to catalog everything I'm finding so I can remember it all and note where I found it. PM me if you want the link :)
posted by ananci at 6:17 PM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

We’re just back from two days of college tours in Atlanta for my HS junior daughter. It was cold and super wet; ralan, was it really FIVE inches plus? Wow. Everything seems to be blooming in Atlanta. It’s a remarkably beautiful city and we very much enjoyed our trip.

Here in Baltimore, I was pleased to see that our first azaleas started to bloom while we were gone. One of the least-deserved awards I’ve ever “won” is that our house was chosen as the 2013 “azalea house of the year” for our large suburb. Voted on by the local garden club before it disbanded due to, er, age-based attrition. We were the last winners ever announced by the club and I guess we’re the winners in perpetuity until/if the garden club gets reinstated. It’s all due to the house’s former owner, who planted azaleas in great quantity long before we ever moved in. We just had the sense to not get rid of them. I have whatever is the opposite of a green thumb, so I take a perverse delight in knowing that an actual gardening award is on my mantel.

Dogwoods are at their peak and we have the first tulips out, too. Good times.
posted by cheapskatebay at 6:53 PM on April 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

Our daffodils, tulips, and bluebells are blooming. On a walk yesterday, I also found some of those tiny daisies that proliferate through grassy fields and picked a few to make into cover art for my digital mixtape.

We've gotten to know some of the cats who regularly visit the yard (including the surprise that it was, in fact, two black cats who visited periodically, rather than one who practically lived in our yard). Have no idea if it's one squirrel who lives here or a new one everyday, but enjoy it/them all the same. We recently had three crows and a Stellar's Jay move in nearby. I always get excited when I see any animal, but an actual metallic bluebird just puts me over the top. And I've been seeing it several times a week for the last month. So awesome.

And I want to find Salal flowers, (photo art project) but I'm not sure where to find them in or near West Seattle. Or when they bloom, for that matter. So that'll be an interesting project. (Anyone seen any? In Burien? South Seattle?)
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:00 PM on April 20, 2019 [4 favorites]

Oh, and funeral potatoes in general, for those curious. (Not Eyebrows specific recipe, though.)
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:02 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here in Cincinnati, we call funeral potatoes "party potatoes": basically, cheesy hash browns. I usually make them for Easter (and Christmas and pretty much any occasion my son asks for them) but this year I'm making potatoes dauphinoise because dammit, half-and-half and Gruyere!

EVERYTHING is blooming here, which my allergies can definitely attest to. Went to the clinic today because my left ear is super clogged and things are sloshing around in there and my ear pops every time I yawn. Super annoying. As a matter of fact, the tulips at the zoo are about halfway spent but we went to enjoy them today despite the rain.
posted by cooker girl at 7:06 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

"Please elaborate -- I love creamed peas! But I've only had them the Yankee way, cooked with milk and a little bit of onion."

Creamy spring peas with pancetta is the recipe I'm using. My kids call them "three peas" because of the three kinds of peas and I kind-of like that! (and now I always write it on my menu as 3Ps)

And yeah, Margalo Epps has the funeral potatoes right! (We actually call them Arlene's potatoes after my great-aunt who used to bring them to every family occasion.) Hers uses frozen ore ida diced hashbrowns as the base. I make and eat exactly two "hotdish" dishes (despite my impeccable midwestern cred): funeral potatoes, and a curried casserole made with leftover thanksgiving turkey and apples.

Funeral potatoes are like objectively terrible for you, since they use potatoes as an excuse for delivering a LOT of delicious dairy fats, but I've been eating them at like every family event since I was tiny so they are a guilty pleasure. One of the key points of funeral potatoes is that they can be made ahead and just popped in the oven with the roast to cook and served in their cooking dish, so you don't have to mess around with the potatoes on a holiday with a zillion dishes. Or you can make them at home and bring them to the host's house (and pop them in the oven with the roast). Now that Arlene is too frail to cook, my mom has a really nice garlic mashed potato recipe that you can make in a 9x13 baking dish and pop in the oven with the roast that is considerably healthier and honors the potatoes instead of drowning them in dairy, and we usually have that. But I still love the funeral potatoes and like to make them every once in a while!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 7:15 PM on April 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

Everything! I harvested half a pound of fresh chamomile today to dry for tea and baking. My lavender has exploded, borage is raining down, hundreds of peas, my roses are about to burst open by the hundreds and the calendula that I planted from seed is shooting up out of the ground. My garden is the most gorgeous it has ever been. Also, after harvesting most of the chamomile, my chickens got a veritable bounty of earwigs for lunch.

In not great news, it looks like one of our sweet doggies might have a not good type of cancer. We are seeing a specialist this week. Husband is so sad it hurts. I can't believe this year.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:24 PM on April 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

I make a strange but tasty dish I call the 3Ps consisting of potato salad mixed with green peas and pimiento cheese. I am a very lazy "cook".
posted by a humble nudibranch at 7:24 PM on April 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I reseeded 1/3 of our lawn two weeks ago... I would have liked to do the whole back, but I'm pretty certain the kids would have had nowhere to play for the next few months if I had. My wife and i have been trying to decide if we were seeing old lawn finally digging itself back to the surface, or if it was new seed poking through...

Good news: the seed took! We have actual new grass poking out of the ground after just two weeks! We'll be seeding and filling in when we find spots that didn't take - I'm sure... but for now, I'm just glad that I didn't kill 1/3 of our lawn.

Pool cover comes off next weekend in preparation for the summer. Hopefully our pool lasts another year (1968 spartan... you cannot get the parts for it any more, so the liner is a wee bit fragile...) five years is all I want out of that pool... I won't get it - but I'll pretend that it can give me five years...
posted by Nanukthedog at 8:05 PM on April 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

My street has the blossom trees blossoming. I have no idea what kind of trees they are. Little white flowers. The way my neighborhood gets covered with spiderwebs I like to imagine they’re spider trees.

After one of the recent video game threads I remembered I had wishlisted Darkest Dungeon on the Switch, and past-me left enough future-money on my account to buy that, so I did.
It is a really relentless and punishing game experience, and it’s disheartening to lose your best characters to a particularly bad fight. I haven’t even gone on any long quests yet, and it’s a meatgrinder. I’m starting to get a feel for which characters synergize with which others, but there are still lots of things I haven’t figured out.
I will likely sink many more hours into it.

By contrast, Diablo III (which I also just bought) is cake. I guess necromancers are overpowered in every game, though. That might have something to do with it.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:22 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

Daffodils are partly wrapped up, although many of the jonquils are still in fine shape. I did a couple of different Colorblends tulip mixes in my front bed and was pretty pleased with the results. Down in the woods, trout lilies, the bleeding hearts from someone's abandoned cottage garden, ground ivy, star of Bethlehem, most of the fruit trees are about done but the chickasaw plums and the pie cherries are still in bloom, and the dogwood is starting to bloom. The wisteria is also starting to bloom but it's kind of underperforming this year because it's being overtaken by the hardy kiwi that it shares the pergola with. I'm going to recruit my daughter to hack viciously at the kiwi because she enjoys a good vicious hacking. Some pictures from a few days ago. The dark-eyed juncos have moved north, and the catbirds have come back. I've got a pair of fish crows that I'm trying to make friends with. I set out a shiny metal dog bowl back behind the garden within sight of the tree where I think they're setting up house and I drop a handful of corn or some peanuts in there around lunchtime.
posted by drlith at 8:34 PM on April 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

He isn’t quite a eunuch but that’s
what he calls himself, this old
two-beat codger on this spring
afternoon picking up the winter’s
crop of twigs and bark from the lawn
to make it “look nicer” and to supply
the house with kindling next winter
for himself or his heirs, meanwhile coughing
and gasping, cursing the pain in his back,
thinking always of the days when
each year after the run-off he was in
the woods with the early trout lilies
and violets and with his ax, saw,
and canthook, doing a man’s work
that has no connection with sex at all.
--Hayden Carruth
posted by drlith at 8:36 PM on April 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

The cherry blossoms are good and done, but they were very pretty while they lasted. On my morning running route there's a little park full of cherry trees; immediately across from it is a doctor's? chiropractor's? office with a full-size, possibly real skeleton visible inside. It changes orientation and position now and then, whether of its own volition or with living-human assistance I couldn't say. Throughout the week of the cherry blossoms, it was standing facing the window so as not to miss the view.

I also saw the first wisteria blooming this morning, strands of big luscious lavender teardrops, like lilac that's decided to let down its hair and go out on the town. (My husband's family name, like a lot of Japanese surnames--thanks, Fujiwara family--includes the character for wisteria, so I feel newly connected to it.)
posted by huimangm at 11:02 PM on April 20, 2019 [6 favorites]

I went to Jardin des Plantes with a friend yesterday and there were yellow and orange poppies looking lovely. Walked a lot more than normal and paying for it today, but it’s ok, tomorrow is a bank holiday! It was 27c/80f here, super hot compared to last week.
posted by ellieBOA at 11:41 PM on April 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

The yellow bird of paradise in my backyard exploded with flowers just this week - bright yellow blooms with long red wispy 'eyelashes.' The tree (really it's a shrub pruned to grow like a tree) is a bit of a disappointment, casting just a tiny patch of shade on my patio - but as the temps begin to heat up, this little tree produces dozens of huge flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies! (I'm not sure of the best way to link to personal pictures, so the link goes to my Instagram)
posted by kbar1 at 1:37 AM on April 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I'd say, we have a few dandelions. And magpies. And the neighbor's dog that yaps constantly, no I can't see it, it's behind his house...
(But we did watch around ten thousand cranes gathering at a lake the other week)
posted by Namlit at 2:28 AM on April 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I unfortunately work in the garden center on weekends. Of course everything is blooming. Which means my face is in the middle of the plant pollen sex orgy.

For the last three weeks I am literally overdosing on all the allergy meds. I've even resorted to an occasional steroid to mute the histamine response.

Talking to customers is difficult since I break out in coughing fits if I have to hold a continued conversation. Sleep is interrupted by coughing attacks.

Looking forward to the oppressive heat of summer and reduced amount of pollen.

The fuzzy butts are shedding their winter fur. Grass is greening. Spring flowers in the yard have bloomed out and new summer flowers are getting set.

I've seen all the outdoor critters this year except the copperheads who usually show up. Maybe they didn't like our 30 inch rain hurricane flooding....
posted by mightshould at 2:53 AM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

I saw my first blooming Siberian quill this week in Minnesota... and that’s it. But last night I planted a 20 foot long row of asaparagus, and doing that plus hauling the dirt to fill the raised bed means I am SORE.

I was so excited to use my new hatchback to haul bags of compost home from Home Depot, and a random guy in the parking lot convinced me that my little Nissan Leaf suspension could not handle as much dirt weight as I thought it could. I was like, “I have a hatchback! Look how much space is left!” And he said, “Look at your wheels, don’t kill your car.” So I had to return a couple hundred points of dirt. The Home Depot clerk followed me out to my car to see what the hell I was doing, and he said, “Wow, you really were ambitious.”

So thanks, random parking lot man. My car lives to haul a more moderate amount of dirt again.
posted by Maarika at 4:45 AM on April 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

Maarika: Count the seatbelts in your car; that's the number of adults your car can carry. Multiply by 200. Deduct your weight. The remainder is the amount of soil you can carry, assuming you are willing to also put bags of dirt in the front passenger seat. Or, to be boring, you can check the owner's manual, since it publishes those figures.
posted by ardgedee at 4:50 AM on April 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

I need to weed-n-feed my minuscule lawn desperately. But, the bag says not to apply 1) Until avg. daily temps are in the mid-50s or higher, 2) When there is chance of rain for 24 hours after application. Well, rain seems to be a almost daily threat right now, and temps have been all over the board. Up near 70 one day, never getting out of the low 40s the next. Meanwhile, the dandelions and thistle are having the time of their lives across the lawn.

BTW...Is there any functional difference between Scott's Spring weed-n-feed product and Scott's Fall weed-n-feed? I have a bag of the fall stuff in the garage, and it sure would be handy to use it instead of having to buy a spring-specific bag. But, if it actually makes a difference which bag you use, I'd like to avoid putting down an ineffective treatment.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:57 AM on April 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Nothing is blooming here! Except my African violet, which I fertilized with a plant fertilizer stick a few weeks ago, which revived it quite nicely.

Wednesday was nice, sunny and in the high 50's, so I went out and raked the late-fallen oak leaves out of the tiny front flower beds on either side of the door. I probably would have put it off, but we had a power failure at 9:30 a.m., and I got bored, so I went out and did some yard work, and chatted with the next door neighbors, who came up from out of state to do some early yard clean up at their camp. We heard but did not see a busy wood pecker, somewhere in the thick woods on the hill above.

Was happy to see that my chives had come back, even tho' they were in a big pot, I'd just assumed they would die out unless they were in the ground. Not so! I will plant other herbs around them, maybe some basil or thyme.

Got two big Hefty bags stuffed with wet sandy leaves, as our dooryard is on a slope from the road to the house, and is mostly sand, and planted a mix of flower seeds, most in the area to the right of the door, where the sun hits in the afternoon, and Forget-Me-Nots under the lilac tree, where it's dappled sunlight, and also where I hang my hummingbird feeder from a shepherd's hook.

We still have snow patches lingering in the ditches, and in the woods where the sun doesn't get through. The lake is still frozen. This is what it looked like on Wednesday. The water is breaching the 4-foot-high retaining wall, and will eventually recede and reveal a small sandy beach below. Maybe by June 1st?

Thursday was wet, cold, and miserable. Friday was warmer, but rain moved in again overnight, and into Saturday. By Saturday afternoon, we were being drenched with heavy rain. The grocery store was crowded, but we made it home before the real rain moved in. The foot ramp to the beach was pushed into its channel, and the side railings look like they've collapsed in on themselves. No fixing it until the water recedes (we don't have to fix it, the landlord is very handy and built it a few years ago, no doubt he will fix it when it's stopped flooding). Waiting for "ice out," which means you can traverse the lake from one side to the other in a boat. It's usually the 3rd week of April, and there is still ice on the lake, but it should be melted soon! I can't wait to see the open water, and the water birds that will come, one year we had a Great Blue Heron that loved to stand on the dock, have seen a muskrat, various ducks, and loons.

Yesterday morning, Mr. Mon Dieu and I took advantage of a duo massage special that we'd seen advertised on the bulletin board at the laundromat. It was deep tissue massage, and both massage therapists were wonderful! He liked it so much, he wants to go back once a month, which no doubt will help with his arthritis and tense muscles around his hip implants. The joys of osteoarthritis from being a former dancer.

I decided against making a huge dinner for two people, and instead am making a lobster salad with a basil mayonnaise, recipe here. I got two 1-lb. lobsters, steamed them, and chilled them in ice water, and then removed the meat.

I also made some cheese straws, using puff pastry, with a mix of cheddar and parmesan cheese, twisted and then baked, super easy. Served Bellinis with them, while I did some other food prep.

Dessert is going to be chocolate cloud cake, a flourless torte that gets some lift by mixing in beaten egg whites. Appetizer will be seared scallops over asparagus puree, followed by the lobster salad, with some leftover lemon orzo pasta salad. Supper last night was beef carpaccio with said pasta salad. I subbed in goat cheese crumbles for the feta in the pasta salad, and used whatever pine nuts I had from a bag of Fisher pine nuts, found in the baking aisle. Mr. Mon Dieu said it was one of the best pasta salads he's ever had, and I agree.

Made some adzuki bean sprouts this week, looks like most of them are sprouted, and will put them in the fridge today. I might put a few on top of the leafy green portion of the lobster salad, if I like them. I haven't sprouted beans since I was in grade school, where we had to put a bean between a wet paper towel and a glass jar, so we could watch it sprout and grow.

The only thing I saw growing, besides my chives, was the tiger lilies, which have started to sprout. There are buds on all the trees, but the ground still looks brown, with dead leaves everywhere, although that should change after this weekend, with all the rain. Many parts of the state are under a flood watch or warning, with some of the Northern rivers having huge ice jams. We are on a hill, so we don't get flooded, as the water is diverted away from the house and comes out in tubing dug into the ground, and runs into the channel under that foot ramp.

After several months of oatmeal and turkey sandwiches, and measuring my carbs, etc., I am looking forward to a fancy meal, no baking, no carving, no millions of pots that need to be washed, just a little assembly and sitting down to eat without being exhausted.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:05 AM on April 21, 2019 [10 favorites]

Thorzdad, look at the chemical percentages, that should tell you (nitrogen, etc.), but something is better than nothing!
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 5:24 AM on April 21, 2019

Most of my perennials are coming back up (and my columbine is spreading like crazy and needs to be culled), plus tulips I forgot I planted last year! At this point, I've completely forgotten what color they are, so it'll be a nice surprise when they blossom.

For some reason, my peony is always behind the others in my neighborhood. Most of them have their first leafy stalks about a foot tall by now... I was getting worried about mine, but after cleaning up the leftover leaves and whatnot from the fall, there were a few nublets popping up. I think the tea rose next to it (planted over my deceased cat) might be on its way out, along with a tiny azalea bush in the front that won't die, but has been toeing the line for the past couple of years.

I also have a crapton of Bishop's Weed (terrible, terrible stuff) along the side of the house that is going to be solarized this year in an attempt to kill it, as it's spreading to the front, and that's a bad thing.

Today I'm getting together with my family for Easter. It's actually pretty rare they invite me for smaller holidays. My brother lives with them so normally just those 3 do something and I hear about it after the fact. Even though I live 20 minutes away. I think it's divorce guilt or something. Anyway -- I'm making Hasselback potato gratin (with an Italian cheese blend instead of gruyere because the store didn't have it) and a peach cobbler to take over. They're making steak and lobster tails. Not traditional, but should be yummy. Plus the weather today is supposed to be perfect (75 and sunny), so that's a bonus.
posted by Fig at 5:30 AM on April 21, 2019 [8 favorites]

I’m visiting family in the Greater Chicagoland Metropolitan Area for Easter and everything is a little bit ahead of home. My relatives’ beautiful patch of land is full of daffodils in full flower. Masquerading as the Easter bunny this morning, I also got to see some hyacinths and crocuses just starting to bloom. Back at home, we left plants with many shoots and buds but no flowers yet; we will see when we get home tonight what progress they’ve made!

Said Easter bunny brought Little eirias a book of unicorn comics by Dana Simpson, and she is already almost finished with it. Aw. I was really into Ozy and Millie as a young adult, and it was a special kind of joy to (1) see Simpson’s newer work in print in a Target, of all places, and (2) watch my kid enjoy her work as much as I did.
posted by eirias at 5:46 AM on April 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

Right now it's forsythia, daffodils, crocus, and dogwood trees, so it's all pink and yellow with some dots of yellow.

I'm not so patiently waiting for the state Deep Cut Gardens butterfly garden to bloom because I love wandering through with all the butterflies and fat, clumsy, furry bees. I once saw two bees accidentally bump into each other and fall I to the flower bed. It was sooo cute.

Also they should be bringing the larger outdoor bonsai out of their winter locker. They're beautiful.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 5:56 AM on April 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Holy grief these rhododendrons - I always forget how bright they are. Our dogwoods and forsythias are done, but there's still a bunch of redbuds around, which IMO far eclipse the (mostly gone) cherry blossoms in terms of visual intensity. Although the kwanza cherries were pretty great this year.

For me the best part is that everything has leaves again, so big stretches of my commute go from harsh asphalt under dead sticks grasping at an uninviting sky to weird urban bower, almost overnight.
posted by aspersioncast at 6:01 AM on April 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Some pictures from my trip through the Deep Cut Gardens greenhouse.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 6:04 AM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

I am on a whirlwind trip to NY for second seder after some bad health news in my family.

I was reminded that the Hilma af Klint show was still up at the Guggenheim, so since yesterday was shabbos and nobody was expecting me until evening, I dropped my bag at the airport hotel (scenic view of Ditmars Blvd!) and took a car into Manhattan. What a weirdo she was, and what amazing paintings they are, and what a terrible experience that museum is, gosh. I think it was my first time there since the late 90s, but the nausea of climbing that ramp, and the irritation of trying to look at paintings while your body is not level, all came back as I wended my way up.

The funny things that happen in this world. Before my plane was even at the gate I turned airplane mode off and opened instagram to find that an old friend had posted a skyline shot of NY. She lives in Houston and Guatemala, so I shot her a message that basically said ‘?!?!’ and we met up at the museum. First time face to face in more than a decade, it was such a pleasure and so unexpected.

Then, Flushing. I need to write coherently about my family sometime, but this morning it’s not happening. It was also unexpectedly pleasurable to be with them at seder, all singing more or less on key. My dad led the seder since my uncle, whose health is the reason I made last minute plans, was in hospital. We put him on speaker for the opening bracha.

Pancreatic cancer can suck my nonexistent dick.

Anyway now off home where the daffs are done and the grass has greened and the trees are suddenly leafing out.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:39 AM on April 21, 2019 [11 favorites]

cheapskatebay - I think my rain gauge topped out at just under 5.5" for the day. Here is a picture of the rainfall totals (daily on top, then month to date and year to date below) at of 3:13pm on the 19th.

We get a lot of rain in Atlanta - I think in December 2018 we got over a foot of rain for the month, and get more rain per year than "rainy" cities such as Seattle.

Atlanta is a nice place to be a college student. Your daughter will have a fun time if she decides to go to school here.
posted by ralan at 6:42 AM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

I mean, I don't wanna put the cart a hundred zillion miles before the horse, but I'm kinda hoping that love will be blooming around here...eventually I mean. Holy moley.

Also I saw violets in my friend's front yard in Niagara yesterday. It was pouring rain and sad and grey and then bam purple.
posted by wellred at 8:16 AM on April 21, 2019 [10 favorites]

The monsoon rains last night seems to have cleared out whatever was making me sneeze. It's not raining now, just cold and dreary as Spring in Pennsylvania normally is.
posted by octothorpe at 8:46 AM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

So far, identifiable plants in my new to me garden include: two hydrangeas (no idea on colour yet), two Camellia Japonica (red and pink) and there is possibly two fuchsias in the front garden plus two more mystery plants that haven’t grown enough for me to try work out what they are.

I have planted a planter with two types of tumbling tomatoes (red and gold) and two types of strawberries (Elsanta and Cambridge Favourite) and successfully (second attempt) attached a hanging basket bracket to the wall with my new hammer drill 💪🏻💪🏻. One more for the back tomorrow (herbs) and then one on the front for flowers.
posted by halcyonday at 9:56 AM on April 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Also I have successfully grown a pot of cat grass which of course, the ridiculous cats are ignoring in favour of random grass escaping under my fence from next door. Cats!
posted by halcyonday at 10:00 AM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

NYC area: I knew it was spring when I spotted the first daffodils...that hadn't just been stuck in the ground the day before like a bunch of cheap hair plugs.
posted by sexyrobot at 10:36 AM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

We get a lot of rain in Atlanta - I think in December 2018 we got over a foot of rain for the month, and get more rain per year than "rainy" cities such as Seattle.

Most places get more rain than Seattle, actually. It's cloudy days that we have a lot of and possibly number of days with precipitation. Only Alaska has more cloudy days in a year (in the US).
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:42 AM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

It's lovely and warm here in England, and I'm sitting by the window looking out over the city with the smell of my neighbour's wisteria blowing up through the window, and it's absolutely spectacular. I've not seen any migrant birds back yet, but the herring gulls have moved back inland, and I'm glad they're not around me. The pigeons are tumbling in the air outside the window right now, too.
posted by ambrosen at 10:46 AM on April 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

Chocolate eggs and bunnies (and one chocolate snowman) were blooming in our garden this morning. The kid sat on a sunny bench and split one of the bunnies with the ancient woman from upstairs.
posted by pracowity at 11:30 AM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

That wisteria is stunning. I'm in Maine, the ice is out on the lake (a bit warmer that Marie Mon Dieu's lake), The trees have taken on the yellowish-green cast that means they're going to bud soon, but it's still mostly gray, though the mid-April snow has all melted. The robins are back, and I think that was a loon I saw on the lake recently. If it's dry any day soon, I'll turn the leaves and compost into the garden soil. Maybe plant peas.

I always crave Spring and it takes its sweet time. It was warm this morning so I didn't have a fire; that's a sign. The days lengthen pretty quickly, so the weather warms fast. Spring in Ohio, where I grew up, is a lengthy affair, the daffodils bloom, then tulips, etc. It's really pretty. In Maine, we go from leafless tress to spring blooms, to the trees in full leaf in what seems like a week, nice, but a bit rushed.

Sadly, my cousin is in hospice with an infection; he has been ill for a while. He and his wife have had a genuinely happy marriage, and it's sad. The hospice allows the dog to visit, which is great. I am going over in a little while.

Jelly beans will be on sale and I am unlikely to be able to resist. Sweettarts bunnies, peanut butter eggs.
posted by theora55 at 11:37 AM on April 21, 2019 [8 favorites]

SPRINGTIME! I took the week off because of school break and me and my sister and Jim all holed up during the rain and wind and occasionally ventured out for food and/or occasional emergency dental visits (hers not mine, she is fine). In the meantime we've been watching the daffodils and the crocuses come up (I am in MA not VT) and even went to an Easter celebration at a friend's place where we were asked to bring "Apps for 20" which we pulled off and I was very happy.

In wildlife sightings, we drove by the town farm donkeys and waved. We saw a large turkey and a small black cat eying each other in the back yard. And my sister found a little pile of sunflower seeds in her bed which she thought was a bat and you could hear the shrieking from next door. Tough week she's had. I came over and cleaned out the seeds. No other mouse sightings besides that little stash. Also there are more birds here, we've seen ospreys by the shore, a few buzzards perched on a neighbor's chimney (I hope they are okay) and a snowy egret and a few wild swans. In the yard here it's the usual stuff plus the Carolina wren that is sometimes around. Lots of joyful noises. I'll be driving back today for a busier-than-I'd like week and I'm hoping I've got the recharged batteries to handle it.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 11:42 AM on April 21, 2019 [9 favorites]

What's blooming? Apparently me, again. First injectable meds was Friday and it's like I can see in color again. Which makes sense because my blood tests were less than half of what they were last time and I could feel it. My care team is FUCKING AMAZING and they're so good to me.

And in the last year I've felt like I've learned a lot about my depression and how I can manage it better, because I've had to clinically and knowingly dive in and out of it a few times in the last twelve months and it's like it's this known thing I can look at and see how it works and what works to fight it and get out of it.

It's a lot like, oh, quitting smoking multiple times - each time it's easier and less scary or daunting or overwhelming. Or maybe going into chemo - you know it's going to suck but there's hopefully a better path waiting on the other side.

Plant wise pretty much everything is blooming and I'm going bonkers with my field guide trying to identify all the new things. Domestically, right now I have a kale start on my windowsill that's rocketing up and there's an avocado seed in water that's about to pop, and the compost pile I built about a month and a half ago is now finally starting to compost and do its thing.

We have a billion daffodils, lilacs and other related flowering bulbs just exploding everywhere. In the realm of wild plants it also looks like we have wild strawberries all over the place in addition to the non-metaphorical tons of blackberries, blueberries and salal. There's also a whole lot of ferns and fiddleheads popping up. The ferns and groves are recovering from being buried in snow, and if I'm really lucky I might even see some morels or chantrelles around prety soon.

I'm about to start doing some (small) foraging to augment my veggies. There's all kinds of edibles all around me from dandelions to giant horsetail shoots to fiddleheads, and I can't frickin' wait until the berries are going. I'm regretting not freezing more of them from last fall, because I could totally go for a wild berry smoothie or pancakes right now. I'd really like to get to a point where I can go for bike rides and not just have berries for lunch but maybe even put together a nice salad or sandwich or something.

Last night I had a semi-impromptu DJ gig to jump in for someone who couldn't make it. I was supposed to maybe play in the lounge and chill room if I felt like it, but I got moved up front.

I played very, very chill ambient music of all my own original work as the opener to the bar which kind of blew some minds because there were a lot of people there used to seeing me play dance music, so there were people waiting for 10+ minutes for any kind of a rhythm or beat at all, which, nope, not today.

I managed to make it about 45 minutes before getting kicked off, which lasted about 15 minutes longer than I expected. So I can finally check that "kicked off stage" checkbox off of my local bingo card, and it was all in good fun and like "No, yeah, please get the other DJ up here to relieve me because I'm gonna fall asleep and take everyone with me."

And next week I'm supposed to roleplay the act kicking my friend off stage during his DJ set at midnight and taking over, because it's his b-day right after midnight so his SO is arranging this surprise thing, so that should be fun.

What I'm most excited about right now is I now have a pretty solid idea and work flow crystallizing for my next ambient album. My current working idea is four chapters based on the four seasons and solar holidays - spring, summer, fall and winter - with a specific focus on integrating the natural sounds and trying to capture the peace and calm of the Olympic Peninsula.

Each chapter would be 60-90 minutes long. Each chapter is 5-6 tracks. Then each chapter is mixed and DJ'ed into a seamless 60-90 minute flow, and each chapter also mixes into the next. And if I'm really clever, the last track of the last chapter will actually blend into the first track of the first chapter, creating a full one hour loop of blended ambient music representing the sound of the seasons changing.

I've already been recording nature sounds and doing experiments and tests, and it sounds something like this with two tracks mixed together for a long 30 minute block.

I'm getting responses like "Woah, that made me go for a walk." and my personal favorite so far "It sounds like Blade Runner, but nature is prevailing."

I honestly have no idea what I'm doing. I'm working with a bunch of dodgy hand me down gear, and working entirely in free or open source software. I have the cheapest of little 4+2 channel Monoprice mixers and sometimes I have to unplug other things to keep it from being too noisy, and my vintage garage sale synth likes to crash in the middle of a performance if it gets too warm - I'm glad to have it all because it was free and it's just enough.

This is certainly not a job or career or anything. I don't really know music theory or even how to actually play a keyboard, I'm just messing around, because it's a lovely hobby and it's about the closest I'll ever get to being able to put one of my forest walks or long sits into a magic bottle and share it with someone.

And I'm really appreciating that I have all of these pieces together in one place right in the middle of the environment and environmental sounds that I want to try to record.

The act of doing this kind of field recording means I do a lot of intentional sitting and listening - the frogs or stream/water noise I recorded in the above link took, oh, about a dozen half hour takes before I got what I wanted. That's not a short loop, that's actually a 10-12 minute continuous, unedited recording with no dogs barking, no planes flying over, no wind blowing out the microphone, no cars driving by in the distance and so on - so that 15 minutes really represents maybe 8+ hours of sitting around outside listening to frogs and waiting very quietly near by in 15-30 minute recording blocks until I got one without any of those intrusive, unwanted flaws.

It's not unlike birdwatching, it's a lovely excuse to get out into nature, and the work flow and process means you actually must sit down and be very quiet and do a lot of active listening, and that's basically all a win for me because it's stuff I do that's good for me anyway. And if I'm really lucky I'll be able to share some of it.

Hugs to any who want them!
posted by loquacious at 12:21 PM on April 21, 2019 [14 favorites]

Wow, loquacious, that whole thing is just fabulous to read.

I am SO happy you've got a great care team that's treating you well (and SO happy you're out of that recent clinical requirement thing and have the good meds this week), and I am so glad to read about your DJ gig and playing your own stuff, how cool is that, and then so, so delighted to hear about your new project, which sounds utterly amazing and wonderful, and the process - all that recording, all that listening, all that being in nature - that all sounds like the best possible thing.

I am always so happy when the universe is treating you well.

When the fiddleheads are harvestable, have a few nice fiddleheads in butter for me, will you?
posted by kristi at 12:32 PM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

The daffodils are out, and some of my trees are putting forth some effort. The dogwoods over at House the Trilogy are also starting to bloom.

The most recent animal sighting was a fox. Er, and the squirrel we have to evict from the attic of House the Trilogy later this week.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:47 PM on April 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

A guy I fence with mentioned that it’s the time of year when he’s spotting convertibles. I never thought of that as a sign of spring.

I learned what a grackle is after spotting one behind my house and using the Cornell bird identification app.

And I’m teaching myself the names of clouds, so after days of stratus, I think I saw altocumulus today. Or maybe it was stratocumulus. In some pictures, they look very similar. In any case, they were really beautiful.
posted by FencingGal at 1:06 PM on April 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

Everything's in bloom or just past here. Dogwoods, daffodils, and the big yellow bombs on all the pine trees have been tamed every few days by rain and or wind so it hasn't been the worst allergy season ever, amazingly.

The blueberry bushes out back bloomed riotously several weeks ago and are now loaded with may green orbs, awaiting the sun to turn them blue & sweet. That will be nice since late frosts reduced the production that last 2 years.

Anyone know if it's possible to just chop off a branch of a healthy blueberry bush and turn it into a new one?
posted by yoga at 1:06 PM on April 21, 2019

yoga, you can root blueberry bushes. Use a rooting hormone. Be sure to not just dip the cut end into the little jar (contamination) but put a little on piece of paper or something else.
posted by mightshould at 2:03 PM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

Pretty much just daffodils, crocus, and forsythia. The weather hasn't decided whether it wants to be Spring yet or not.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:59 PM on April 21, 2019

A guy I fence with mentioned that it’s the time of year when he’s spotting convertibles. I never thought of that as a sign of spring.

Oh, yeah. I opened the sunroof on my car for the first time last Tuesday. It was very happy-making.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:26 PM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

West Michigan: we got pretty much nothing. I saw a few daffodils today, but a lot more daffodils and tulips that were out of the ground but not blooming yet. About a third of the trees have buds on them, but most are still barren to the naked eye. Most grass has revived itself though.

Birds: most of the usual culprits have been around for a while. Robins came back a couple weeks ago, geese and ducks have been back for about a month. I've also seen red-wing blackbirds, and there's been a profusion of turkey vultures flying around in more rural areas. I also saw a wild turkey soaring over the highway this weekend (no WKRP jokes please).
posted by LionIndex at 4:49 PM on April 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

All the dogwoods, crocus, and daffodils are running riot. Trees are starting to leaf. It's a nice time to be in Boston. My supervisor has been out of town for the past week and my life has been much nicer, though I've accomplished very little for work. There are emails I need to return and papers I need to review and grants I need to finish and yet... it was worth it to take a break last week.

I had two friends and my boyfriend over for a seder last night. The matzoh back soup came out SO WELL and I was very pleased. Everyone had a nice time and though I wasn't with Family, I was with family.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:11 PM on April 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

A guy I fence with mentioned that it’s the time of year when he’s spotting convertibles. I never thought of that as a sign of spring.

Rains too much here in the Spring. Convertibles are useful for about two weeks in the summer.
posted by octothorpe at 5:35 PM on April 21, 2019

My bougainvillea cutting! I can't believe it actually worked.
posted by saladin at 5:36 PM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Midwestern bird enthusiasts: Since moving to Wisconsin in 2014 (and living in MI for the last couple years), I've noticed a bird song that we didn't have back in California, but I don't know what kind of bird it belongs to and haven't really been able to make out which bird is singing it when I hear it, although I suspect it's small. It's a two note song, one high, then one lower. To me, it sounds like a rusty playground see-saw, so I've just called it a see-saw bird. Anyone know what it actually is?
posted by LionIndex at 6:31 PM on April 21, 2019

Is is this one? If so it's a black capped chickadee.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:37 PM on April 21, 2019

Yes, that's it! Thank you!
posted by LionIndex at 6:41 PM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

My iris, jasmine, and nasturtiums are blooming like mad, and the roses are starting. It's the best time of year for my garden, before the rain stops and the nasturtiums dry out. On my walk from the office to the bus I go through a park with several fantastic wisteria trained up over this long arbor, and it's just so lovely.

Ran the dog in the redwoods yesterday, and it was still a bit muddy and I didn't spot any animals.

But we had wild birdlife at the ballgame today -- I had no idea the seagulls at the day games were so crazy aggressive. We were in the upper decks and they were positively Hitchcockian. We gave up in the 7th inning and moved down to the lower stands, in time to see the As come back from a 5-1 deficit and still lose 5-4. Sigh.

Still, it was a lovely day with tons of good food and good people and bright sun. I have had much worse Easters.
posted by suelac at 6:59 PM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Loquacious, your frog sounds thing is amazing!
posted by suelac at 7:00 PM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I spent the weekend finally - late, but at least done - sumping out and topping up 10 containers and 8 pots, but not actually *planting* the plants I prematurely purchased on Saturday. Currently blooming: third-year eggplant (Ping Tung), a huge mound of sage, onion chives, a volunteer milkweed, the 1000 dandelions that came up in my containers, and about 30 feet of climbing/trailing nasturtiums in light and dark orange. Plus the orange and lemon trees are just starting to flower.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:22 PM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

The crabapple tree in the backyard is a floofy magenta dream right now. I have tulips and purple azaleas, there are flowers on the rosemary and kale and strawberries. Tree pollen is making me sneeze my face off, also, but at least I’m not sweeping three dimensional piles of Norway maple pollen off my car every morning anymore!

My divorce is finally done, which is GREAT, but my house purchase is going to fall through on Tuesday because of a low appraisal and I’ve lost a core group of close friends who were on the way to being chosen family, for stressful and boring reasons I won’t get into. I also said in a meeting on Thursday that I had decided never again to work on something because it was disastrous for my mental health, and lo and behold, a huge emergency about that exact thing emerged on Friday morning and guess who was put in charge of managing it. I feel like when something improves in my life everything else collapses. I’m feeling pretty sad and grim.

However, I learned about cascarones from the teachers at my kiddo’s old daycare and made some today, and we had a fun time breaking confetti-filled eggs over each other’s heads. Not all is lost, just some.
posted by centrifugal at 7:29 PM on April 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

The wild plum flowers are gone, alas. My favorite scent -- the store-bought plum trees can't compete. And the Indian paintbrushes and clover are covering the interstates in blankets of scarlet and crimson before the highway maintenance crews mow them down again.
I cut back the Rose of Sharon quite a bit but left the rosebush alone, so now the first Double Delight of the season has bloomed. It's my favorite rose with its gradually-darkening blend of cream and pink and its lovely spicy scent, and these appear all summer.
Great-tailed grackles visited the backyard earlier, impatiently waiting for me to finish mowing. Please, take all the bugs!
And it's the next quarterly clean-up week, so bags of lawn clippings can be left out on the curb. One of the pecan trees was taken down for firewood, so the last twigs and sections are loaded for transport to the public works department.
Allergies -- I have them. Blech. But I am so happy to see the end of frost warnings until next autumn.
posted by TrishaU at 7:40 PM on April 21, 2019 [3 favorites]

Blooming are: Rosemary, oxalis, douglas iris, California poppies, lavender, Scottish broom, and many wildflowers, mostly yellow and purple, that I can't quite identify. Oh, lupine! Purple lupine. I see a fair amount of that.

Fauna-ing: Bunnies, barn cats, great egrets, Blue herons, geese, ducks, robins, phoebes, Western bluebirds, tree swallows, hummingbirds, acorn woodpeckers, scrub jays, crows, ravens, red-tail hawks, Western fence lizards, skinks, whatever frogs are local to me and are currently serenading. Oh, and deer. Previous years have had foxes but I haven't seen any this year.

I am having a weirdly melancholy day and I think maybe it's some sort of introvert hangover; I get these weird feelings after spending time with people where I'm almost terrified to be alone. It goes away in a day or two but it's weird and disorienting in the meantime.
posted by lazuli at 8:35 PM on April 21, 2019 [5 favorites]

Finally spotted the possum, of whom there has been much evidence other than the visual. I didn't realize they're black and white here, or at least this one is. Cool!
posted by aspersioncast at 8:43 PM on April 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

AHHHHH We have cabbage fly maggots. I just lost about ten turnips to them. I only got to eat two! ARG and they attack the roots of all cabbage family crops I'm going to have to check everything in the brassica family tomorrow. ARGGG cabbage fly is the worrrrrsssst!
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 9:01 PM on April 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

You know what gets rid of cabbage fly? Poop. Cover the beds with it. Fox poop is best.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:04 PM on April 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Johnny Wallflower I am going to do violence to your person.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 10:12 PM on April 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

I say we digest him. Slowly.
posted by loquacious at 10:46 PM on April 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I've been working overnight shifts and haven't been outside much, but I got my first driver's license yesterday and now I can drive the long way home through neighborhoods and see all the greenery and flowers that way! This is my first Seattle spring and I feel like we went from having no daylight to tons of daylight very quickly. Being from Arizona, it's also my first experience with daylight savings time and I'm very glad that we're on the verge of doing away with it, winter was miserable with the lack of light.

We have lots of tulips blooming here. I was going to go see the fields in Mt. Vernon last week but didn't have time. :( I'm going to Europe in about a week so I'm hoping they'll still be in bloom at the Keukenhof when I'm in Amsterdam. Last time I was in Amsterdam it was in November and people kept telling me to come back and visit in spring, so I will and I'm looking forward to it!

I'm excited go to morel hunting in the eastern Cascades and stop in Leavenworth and Ellensburg since their climates remind me a lot of Flagstaff. And fiddleheads should start popping up, soon. It's so satisfying to come home with a few pounds for free with fresh fiddleheads rather than paying a lot for them at the market, and I can make my fresh fiddlehead and morel pasta! And by the time I'm back in the States strawberries will be starting and I can make more strawberry and rosepetal jam since all of last year's is gone by now.

As for animals, I keep seeing ducks everywhere. Most likely due to living next to a river. Squirrels and cottontails are out again too. I was on Whidbey Island a few weeks ago and saw a dozen of their feral European bunnies in Langley. My sister was visiting town and had no idea that such a thing as feral bunnies existed and was delighted!
posted by mollywas at 2:11 AM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Here in the center of Amsterdam, the Horse Chestnut tree in the back is is in full bloom - this autumn should be a good conkers season.

The blackbirds started claiming their territory and doing their all-day singing thing. We think we spotted a swift checking out housing and if so we can expect another summer of constant screaming noises in the sky as the swifts populate the eaves of a large school building nearby. It will be a nice contrast to the constant alarm like call of hordes of great tits.

The indoor lily is very happy since we put it into a larger pot and also finally figured out it really hates tapwater. Now it gets a steady diet of rainwater or old tapwater and it is exuberant.

I won't even mention tulips since thats a given here in Holland.
posted by vacapinta at 2:40 AM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thorzdad, it looks like the main difference between the fall formulation and the spring formulation of the Scotts Turfbuider is that the fall has a 28-0-6 nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium ratio (NPK), while the spring is 28-0-3. Additional potassium is often recommended for fall fertilizer applications. The additional potassium in the fall formulation is still not that high in the overall ratio and will not harm your lawn.
posted by drlith at 5:10 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Now the tomatoes (bottom level) and strawberries (two two levels) are up on the bracket.

posted by halcyonday at 5:16 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Re: birds - on Sat. driving around in the Niagara region, my friend and I saw a gigantic bird of prey. We had no idea what it was, not being...shall we say...bird enthusiasts, but when I looked through some guides, I think it was a turkey vulture! That thing was huge. I'm pretty sure we were in Niagara-on-the-Lake at the time, and I think it was over a creek (I was pretty distracted by enormous birb.) It just went back and forth, across the road, slooooowly.
posted by wellred at 5:19 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

The wisteria of London are putting on a stunning show this year in the Easter sunshine, but it's very much bittersweet for me.

Our neighbours (we live in a Victorian conversion, we have the ground floor, basement and crucially the garden, and they have the upper floors), took #wisteriahysteria too far this year, and in an act of literal vandalism, sawed through the trunk of our beautiful mature wisteria while we were away a fortnight ago, because they were for some reason extremely nervous of it. So the husk of our lovely wisteria is sitting on our wall, waiting to be dead enough to be pulled down, just at the point that it ought to be covered in glorious flowers.

I was a horrible mixture of angry and sad when we realised what had happened last week, and spent some time imagining a suitable revenge, but I've decided to rise above it, and I've engaged operation Living Well, in which we really make the most of the garden this summer. Thus our long weekend began with an expensive trip to the garden centre for a host of new, beautiful plants - including two different clematises, some strawberry plants, a fuchsia and no fewer than six lavenders. Mr Boa has purchased a parasol for the patio, and I've purchased a hammock and a stand for a hammock. I'm looking forward to a summer of days in the hammock with a book, long evenings on the patio, and lots of barbecues, to which we will not be inviting our neighbours.
posted by featherboa at 5:23 AM on April 22, 2019 [7 favorites]

The solution to my wasp's nest in a mailbox problem was to wait until last night to coat the inside of the mailbox with wasp spray, and then go back in the morning to rinse it out, remove the nest and debris. It's a sunny day, the mailbox should be clean and dry by the afternoon when the mail is delivered
posted by ardgedee at 6:20 AM on April 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

NYC naturalist-ish checking in.

I was at the NY Botanic Garden yesterday; their daffodills are insane. They have two entire areas set aside for them - a whole hill at one end of the garden and a valley at the other end. We're also at peak bloom for their magnolias. Their cherries were also pretty showy, but I've already got a ticket for the Brooklyn Garden's Sakura fest this coming Saturday and am going to save my cherry viewing for there.

I actually found myself gravitating towards NY gardens' forest and native plants sections anyway instead, mainly to get away from the crowds. They had some trilliums coming up, as well as something called the "Eastern Shooting Star".

Not so big on the flowers in the forest, but it's a prime spot for birding (I ran into a whole team of birders on a walk during my travels). I spotted a few swifts darting around in the native plant section. And then an hour later saw and heard a woodpecker elsewhere in the forest. My telephoto lens still wasn't quite strong enough to get a good photo. But a week prior I saw one in Fort Greene Park on my walk home from the subway; I didn't have any camera for that one, but didn't mind, I just stood there watching him for a while. ...My last Major-Deal ex tipped me off to a different approach to "bird watching" instead of being like "I am specifically looking for this kind of bird in the woods", he was all, "ooh, look, there's a bird! Let's watch it and see what it does." Pigeons, sparrows, starlings, anything. I liked that attitude and have tried to adopt it a little.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:59 AM on April 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

I went for my walk early Easter afternoon in Bakersfield. The stone fruit trees are all past blooming, but the citrus and roses are full on, and since it was the weekend it was citrus rose perfume, then bbq, back and forth for three miles. Roses were the size of large brandy snifters, with every color imaginable. The citrus is everywhere, the bbq, every type of wood and charcoal and creature. It was amazing, the air was clear enough to see the mountains rimming the south end of the San Joaquin Valley, with blue skies and shredding puff clouds.
posted by Oyéah at 10:41 AM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

It's like all the cherry trees blossomed overnight!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:58 AM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I don't know where else to say this, so here goes:

One of my great fears in life is that I'll experience an absolutely perfect opportunity to quote the line I suddenly remembered my Charlemagne, but that I won't think of it until it's too late.
posted by duffell at 5:14 PM on April 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

On Capitol Hill, tulips, bluebells and cherry trees. And we have two bunnies on the property. One came out on the lawn and watched me plant starts in the pots in the Broadway courtyard. O brave bunny!

Plus we are entering the time of peak bird song. Quel symphonic.
posted by y2karl at 5:34 PM on April 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Cherry blossoms! Hummingbirds! There are already ants and the moths will be here any minute now.
posted by bendy at 12:19 AM on April 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

There are things blooming where I am, but I have no idea what they are beyond broad categories like "tree" or "bush". (I am weirdly very much a city boy for someone who grew up hearing the day's soybean prices and ads for crop herbicides on the morning radio.)

Also, I know--I know--I shouldn't be able to see that much of a difference after only two or three gym sessions and it's almost certainly me deluding myself a little, but...I think I'm actually starting to see a little muscle definition. Just a tiny, tiny bit. It's weird, but good weird.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 4:42 AM on April 23, 2019 [3 favorites]

As always, this is a conversation starter, not limiter, and we'd love to hear everything that's up with you!

We had a personal computer in our house growing up, and it had the "After Dark" screen saver software which included the flying toasters screen saver. I was kind of obsessed with the aesthetic of the flying toasters.

Anyway, I saw an original, branded "After Dark" flying toasters necktie for sale on Ebay and I bought it, and today I'm wearing it to work.
posted by duffell at 5:51 AM on April 23, 2019 [10 favorites]

Only related to the topic in a tangential way (our church is a Monarch waystation, has restored prairie habitat, along with several other environmental designations and there's lots of things blooming and new birds and bugs appearing, including several sandhill cranes) but I wanted to brag about it somewhere: Yesterday, I was contacted by a church member to serve on the Board of Trustees as the Secretary. I am really surprised, and quite flattered. I've only been going to my church for 3-4 years, and am not all that involved -- I go to social events regularly, but am not on any committees or anything. So yeah - as long as the congregation doesn't give me a No vote in May, I'll be on the board for the next 3 years.

I actually found out about UU through Metafilter, so I have you folks to thank/blame for this, depending on how it turns out, hahaha.
posted by Fig at 10:58 AM on April 23, 2019 [9 favorites]

...okay, so apparently some results are already visible. I met up with a friend I hadn't seen in a couple of months last night, and he told me that I'd dropped a bunch of weight since last time. It's still a weird feeling, but I'll take it.

Cue the jerkass part of my brain..."OH GOD WHAT IF WE HAVE A TAPEWORM".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:20 AM on April 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

I know it's spring here when a pair of young mockingbirds build a nest in the top of the palm tree adjacent to our patio and start staking their claim to everything within 100 feet. They will usually be very aggressive at first, but if you quietly talk to them they chill out a little.

The cat, however is seen as PUBLIC ENEMY #1, and is subjected to swooping bomb runs if he even sticks a whisker past the patio fence. He is listening to me for now, but I know that he is probably formulating a nefarious plot that will take six weeks, just in time for chicks to fledge and depart for the Northern regions.

We had some pretty intense concentrations of airborne Saharan dust this winter, and the dust brings tiny little Pharoah ants with it, and there are a lot of them. Nothing water or food-like can be left out for five minutes without being swarmed. It's like science fiction. The ant traps are working but it takes a while to get them back under control.

Unlike most years when it goes from 77 to 94 and humid overnight, the late Easter this year seems to have slowed the roll on the season change, so that's really nice. It's been a long, busy season this year.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:30 AM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Crossposted from the most recent Steven Universe thread on FanFare:

I recently came into possession of several dozen Steven Universe postcards. I will send one to anybody who wants one! Just MefiMail me with an address.
posted by duffell at 4:43 PM on April 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Guess who is the newest official food bank volunteer in town?

I was specifically requested by one of the dept leaders last week because they're losing some folks. There's actually a huge waiting list for people who want to volunteer at our food bank because it's actually a lot of fun and a really good team of folks.

Of course I knocked it out of the park and hit the ground running. I was kind of already prepared and expecting they'd ask me if I wanted to volunteer at some point, and I'm really familiar already with how that particular department works because I was paying attention to how they did things. So I got "Easiest training ever!" and a high five from my dept head.

There's also the perk that I can graze, browse and pick and choose my food over the duration of my shift (or do it all at once, whichever), which means I can also help some friends who can't make it due to work obligations out with some free food and veggies and stuff. Today we had a giant mountain of winter/spring kale gleaned from someone's huge garden, among other things.

I'm exhausted but it's the good kind. I still miss my old job and training people and feeding people, but this is nice too and I like feeding people. I don't think there's really anything better on this planet than watching someone hungry get some good food and watch that weight rise off their shoulders.

Meds are still going well, it's sunny out, I just had a nice sandwich, there's an otter foraging in the low tide and some dirty kids doing some nice busking on banjos and ukes and some guy on a twelve string tearing it up.
posted by loquacious at 5:40 PM on April 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

our church is a Monarch waystation

Wow, that takes me back. The church my primary school was attached to had a meadow out back where we used to do nature walks. It was chock-full of milkweed, and certain times of the year you'd see tons of monarchs. In Grade 1 we brought a caterpillar and some milkweed into the classroom, and monitored and sketched it as it formed a chrysalis and became a butterfly that we set free. I'll never forget that moment it "hatched!"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:29 PM on April 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Monarch story! (I think I've told variations of this one before here.)

I grew up near one of the major migratory stops in Southern California and they loved our imported eucalyptus trees, which were all over the local parks. So it was common to see trees just covered and drenched in monarchs.

One day I was out biking around and doing dirty kid stuff and found a bunch of, well, really old people sitting around in a circle doing something... totally strange. Like I stumbled on some weird freaky cult having a strange ritual. It looked so strange from a distance it made the hair stand up on my dirty kid neck and I wasn't sure if I wanted to get any closer or not. For a hot, confusing 15-30 seconds I thought my world was about to get turned inside out and question everything.

My memories of this were like some totally wild scene cut out of the movie Cocoon... which... wait a damn second. No, no, nevermind. Anyway.

As I got closer, I realized they all had plastic buckets in front of them, and each person had a colored marker of some kind in one hand, and a monarch butterfly in the other, and in the buckets under a fine mesh lid were... dozens or hundreds of monarchs. There were people going around with butterfly nets scooping up gobs of monarchs and refilling buckets, tending to the circle like monks and nuns.

The people seated with the colored markers were carefully marking a very tiny, specific cell on the bottom of a monarch wing and then just casually tossing the monarch over their shoulder like they were littering, like it was a gum wrapper or cigarette butt, a colorful candy wrapper, except it flew away every time, like confetti falling upwards from the outside edge of this ring of people sitting in their folding seats and camp chairs.

They were, of course, doing a migration study. Somewhere farther south people were looking for those tiny spots and marks on the wings. Once I did get closer and realize what was going on, the whole scene was just surreally delightful and pleasant.
posted by loquacious at 1:56 AM on April 25, 2019 [6 favorites]

Okay, I know I keep going on about this, but I'm kind of astounded.

See, I put my pants on this morning as usual. Then I went to fasten my belt, thought "That could stand to be a bit tighter; I'll go one hole over"...and there were no more holes.

I've run out of holes on my belt. My muscles are feeling a lot more solid. Things like walking up the hill to my house are getting a lot easier. I'm starting to be able to feel my ribs and cheekbones.

Guys, I have cheekbones.

This is after like a week and a half of going to the gym. What's two or three months going to do? I may have to start eating whole sticks of butter just to slow things down. :P
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:38 AM on April 25, 2019 [3 favorites]

I saw tulips out today for the first time.

(And, as we know, tulips are better than one.)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:48 AM on April 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

I saw tulips out today for the first time.

(And, as we know, tulips are better than one.)

There's a town in Washington called Humptulips. Never could figure out why everyone in town has pollen on their crotch.
posted by duffell at 11:52 AM on April 25, 2019 [5 favorites]

Never could figure out why everyone in town has pollen on their crotch.

Narrator: It was the bees.
posted by loquacious at 12:45 PM on April 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Today I went for a walk in the woods and slipped on a fuckin' fallen tree as I tried to climb over it. The bark peeled away under my weight, and I fell about 4 feet, scraping my arm horribly and tearing a hole in my jeans and underwear through to my hip. On the plus side, the whole forest was leafed out! I'm still used to California forests, so it felt like I was walking through an impossibly lush jungle.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 8:17 PM on April 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, btw, the neighbors tell me our two bunnies are now five or so. JFHC, they are breeding like rabbits! I have yet to see the kits, however.
posted by y2karl at 9:46 PM on April 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

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