From My Carolina Home

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January in the Garden

January means little to do in the garden outside, but there are plenty of things to do inside.  I am my annual mode of reading my new Farmer’s Almanac, perusing the seed catalogs, and scrounging for gardening magazines at the thrift stores and library magazine exchange.  I already repotted my orchid, and I have needed to repot the African violets for some time. I actually did repot them in larger pots some time ago, but never could find another tray to put them on for watering. So, I put them back in the smaller pots, just a bit deeper and left them for the last year. Now they really are getting so big that I need to do something.  They put on a huge growth spurt after being outside in the warm summer and fall months.  Even now, they are putting out little leaves and still going.

Repotting Violets

While I was out in the thrift stores, I looked for a larger tray that both could sit on, but didn’t find anything. When I came across these deep glass dishes, I figured they could just each have their own.  The moon is full right now, and the warm temperatures this past week made it a perfect time to do a bit of digging in the dirt. I found two pots in the garage, larger than their current pots, and should do nicely for some time to come.

Repotting Violets

You can see under this one how much it has grown, all that stem will produce roots if I plant it deeper than it was before.

Repotting Violets

I did my coffee filter trick in the bottom of the pots too, keeps the dirt in while allowing the water to drain out. I water violets from the bottom, but proper drainage is still important.

Repotting Violets

Back in the house with their new pots, joining the rest of my little indoor garden on the pie safe in the kitchen.

Repotting Violets

I am thrilled that the amaryllis is putting out leaves once again!  This will be the fourth year it has grown and I am of course hoping for a beautiful display of the deep red flowers. It started like this, just a peek of a leaf, making me smile.

Amaryllis 2017

Then a week later it had two leaves.  I gave it a diluted feeding hoping that it has all the nutrients it needs to bloom.

Amaryllis January

Now it has three leaves and the flower bud is showing! The growth is excruciatingly slow, it has taken three weeks to get to this point. But it has been worth the wait every year.

Amaryllis flower bud

We had more visitors in January too, these deer came by before the snow.

Deer visit 3

And a group of Northern Flickers made a stop.

Northern Flicker 2

Thought you’d like to see the dawn view of clouds coming in before the snow. This is the mountain view to the east.

January Dawn 1

And this was over the valley the same morning.

January Dawn 4

I found these interesting wood branches with lichen in the driveway. They fell out of one of the trees that line the paved area. I have to think of something neat to do with them.

Lichen 1

DH put up a grow light for me in the basement workshop, and donated a bit of his workbench space for my annual seed planting fever. He put the light on a timer so I won’t have to remember to turn it on and off, and put a grow bulb in it that glows pink. I am fairly confident that with adequate light, the seeds will do better this year. I am planning get some herbs started soon, and a few other veggies a bit later. I’ll show you that in February.

Just to let you know what will happen in the next few days, tomorrow will begin a neat blog hop which I hope you all will enjoy.  That post will remain the latest one for four days while I have oral surgery again, hopefully the last time.  The previous one really knocked me down for several days, so this hop comes at a good time.  You can come back each day to visit the links to the posts for that day, plus there will be a giveaway to keep the interest up.  I’ll be back on Friday with the giveaway winner.  I may not be answering comments for those days, depends on how many there are and how I feel.  I expect to be parked in front of Netflix for several days while DH makes me soup.  I’ll be looking at my seed catalogs too.

Are you gardening or thinking about your garden?


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December Mountain Living

We had a real cold snap last weekend, and as much as I’d love a white Christmas, it isn’t in the forecast for this year.  Somehow, the cold makes the skies crisp at night, lots of stars out to see.   Occasionally, I have a bout of insomnia, and this particular morning I was glad, as the sunrise over the mountains to the east of ours was spectacular.  Rain was on the way, and dawn brought brilliant color to the sky, seen through the architecture of the bare trees.

December Dawn 1

The wider view was difficult to get the brilliance of the dawn, but you can see the color was most of the horizon over the mountains.

December Dawn 3

Out in the valley, the color there was beautiful as well.  My camera just doesn’t do this justice, I’d need a wide angle lens to show you the true grandeur of this moment.

December Dawn 4

Our avian visitors have been eating us out of birdseed, emptying the feeder in just a few days rather than over a week.  I am thinking some of the other neighbors have stopped filling their feeders for the winter, so these guys are hungry.  We have such a wide variety right now too, titmice and nuthatches, cardinals and chickadees share the feeder, sometimes with 8 or 9 on the feeder at once. I managed to get one shot of seven at once – two chickadees, two nuthatches, and three goldfinches.

December Bird visitors 4

The goldfinches are regular visitors, wearing their duller brown coats for winter.

December Bird visitors 7

A blue jay comes around from time to time.

December Bird visitors 1

But the biggest surprise was seeing a pileated woodpecker gobbling up the suet.  He made short work of a lot of the seed in the feeder too.

December Pileated Woodpecker 1

I could not believe he could land on such a small spot!

December Pileated Woodpecker 2

The crows finished off the pumpkin and DH threw away the shells.  This week I put out the insides of a spaghetti squash and they brought their buddies to polish off the treat.  I think the squirrels got some of it as well.

December Crows 2

December Crows 4

Then these guys showed up.  Robins!!  In winter!

December Robins 4

There were more than a dozen of them, and I got pics of some of the individuals.  They were scattered over the lawn and the meadow, in the trees and down the driveway.

December Robins 3

I couldn’t get a clear picture of the group, and they were gone in an hour.  DH thinks they are migrating south, but I thought they would have done that by now, unless we are near the end of the journey.  It has been too warm through fall so maybe they stayed longer than usual.

December Robins 2

We had doves and towhees stop by in the last few days too, but no pictures, they flew off when they sensed movement.  DH saw a purple finch on the feeder last weekend. The cardinal finally showed up again, I have missed him and his lady.

December Bird visitors 6

The turkeys haven’t been by in more than two weeks, so I think they have moved on for the winter.  I was saving some bread for them, but I think I’ll spread my mixture of bacon fat and peanut butter on the slices and press birdseed into them for the suet feeder.

Are you feeding birds now?  Who is visiting at your place?

 

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