Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Month in Photos

I really enjoy going back over photos I've taken--they tell the story of what I've been up to and where I've been, and jumpstart stories and memories...

I have been trying to get a really good candid shot of Sister Girl. She's been with us almost a year and daily I can't get over the change in her. She's gone from a frightened emaciated shell of a dog to a vocal, mind of her own, almost chubby girl. Her coat that was once dull and missing in patches is now shiny and slick (we never guessed she would have chocolate highlights!). Her eyes still sometimes show her painful past but they are so full of love more often than not. She has never shied away from a stranger and loves being the center of attention in groups.
I've considered taking her for training as a therapy dog and maybe someday we will do that. Until then, she is very established in our family pack.

There is a part of one of the gardens that I've not touched in the almost 13 years we've lived her. I've fenced it in and have watched to see what grows. One group of plants I haven't seen in awhile are the native columbine. I've not been in the gardens for the last couple of years so they've been on their own. I love their fern like foliage and star burst flowers. I've never seen the tiny yellow stamens dancing on the breeze.

I haven't seen this penstemon in years either. She's growing behind the columbine. I've been very lucky in that the deer haven't found her so she's quietly going to seed ensuring next year she will have company. I used to grow plants like these when we lived in Clear Lake outside of Houston. What a fond memory to go with such pretty flowers.

I took a trip out to the sanctuary with Lillie not long ago. Since the weather was cool, the residents were available for admiring and even enjoyed Lillie running back and forth behind me... we could only guess what they were thinking about a little blonde girl running around and what size meal they would consider her. (Not the Lemurs-they're vegetarians.)

When I took this photo, Lillie had just run away from me while I was trying to get one more Easter photo. We were at Daddy's place and we all put out our best effort to get past the wind's obnoxiousness and enjoy the moment. If the eggs hadn't had so much candy in them I'm sure they would have been blown against the pasture fence nixing all of the 'Easter Bunny's' hard work!! One perfect moment with so much magic and grace and bliss... It was a trying Easter with emotions from one end of the spectrum. But we got through it and are all better because of it. Next time it won't be as hard and the next might be a little easier...

Out in the back yard, I've begun to fight the grass and put the raised garden back into production. I've neglected it for several years and am finally back to wanting to be outside with my hands in the dirt. Upon getting rid of all of the grasses, I had to cut back the native mustang grape vines that had almost completely encircled the top of the fence that protects my garden from at least deer (bunnies and dogs have found their way in). We now have an agreement--any stray arms that are disrespectful get whacked.
So one day while I was threading wayward growth into the range fencing, I happened upon a little finch nest about nose high. I sneaked a peak and saw one tiny egg. Two days later, I saw three and the following day there were 4. I never thought to get my camera out early on, but when I did, I had to hold grape leaves back with one hand while holding the camera above my head and hope I got a good photo.

And finally, being outside can bring many gifts, and in the spring where storms brew in a moment, migrating raptors are right up near the top of my list of amazing experiences for me. We saw these guys, maybe 30 at a time, sail over the house. Some were so high they were specks, and others were so close you could almost see individual feathers. After the third group passed over, I finally got my bird book out and discovered they were Mississippi Kites The storms had either flushed them up from the south or they were just pushed inland by the circling storms. Not that we got any of the rain, but they made my day anyway.

I've been in the gardens far more than I have in years. I've relished getting back in touch with the deer, birds, and most definitely the earth. I've also mourned the loss of the finch nest and eggs by forces unknown and wonder what the house finch couple will do now--return and begin another family or have they deemed the grapevine too dangerous. Against all odds, the lone tomato plant has one little tomato on it and I hope that means the rest of the garden is just waiting--for dirt, mulch and love. Mostly though, I have had the time to get myself back together and that's probably my greatest feat.

Stay tuned...