Sunday, March 30, 2014

Signs of Spring through the Mud

It's coming back to us why we usually come home to Washington State in mid-April to late April.  We were fortunate to come home to the warmest day so far this year and lots of sunshine.  That was last Monday.  Since then, it has rained every single day - often ALL day.  This morning we got a little break so I went out for a walk to see what might be looking like Spring.
I didn't have to go far to find the Forsythia in full bloom,
and even salmon berry bushes.

Iris and lilies are all poking out of the ground.
Pairs of ducks on the lake - hooded Mergansers here, but lots of Buffleheads too.

There is a small lake at the end of the strawberry patch,
But I don't wait for the ground to dry out to start the garden!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tripping across the U.S.A. (again)

Twice a year, Ron and I drive across the country.  Usually we take the "short" way - or what we call the "Northern Route".  However, last year when we were driving two cars, we ran into snow, sleet, ice, wind, and overall miserable driving conditions.  Since we were leaving about two weeks earlier this year and the weather forecast looked a bit formidable for the I-90 corridor, we decided to take the "southern route".  This one takes us all the way across the southern tier of states on I-20 and I-10, and then straight up I-5.  The overall trip is about 500 miles further this way, but we can be pretty sure if we see snow it will only be for a few miles in the Siskiyous in northern California and Oregon.
It's coming back to us why we avoid this route. 
Palo Verde trees are in bloom and beautiful in Arizona.
The dessert is at its most vibrant.
So a lot of the trip is much more interesting on the southern route at this time of year.
Love the rock formations of Arizona.
We smelt this coming for about 5 miles before we got to it in California.
Now this is dedication to protecting a crop!
Many different crops for hundreds of miles in Southern California, from citrus, to nuts, to row crops.
Pistachios, and much more!
We've missed all the California agriculture.  I love to see things growing, and California is the growing capital of the country.  Forty years ago, I took an Environmental Studies course, and the underlying theme then was how limiting a factor water was and would increasingly be in the future.
The future is here.  We saw signs all over California about water, and the last wheel line we saw was somewhere in Alabama.  
 We saw our first white mountain when we were a little south of Redding, and Mt Shasta was gorgeous as we went further north.
I have been missing mountains!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spring Sights in the 'Hood

The sun is setting much further to the North now, so we are looking directly out at the setting sun.  Every day is different, always beautiful.

Both osprey and vultures were soaring above the freshly tilled fields.  The osprey has a new nest started on top of the light pole just outside our door.
The Bradford pear trees suddenly popped into bloom this week.
Our neighbor, Nancy, has a whole row of them along the road.
The one I planted a few years ago isn't so huge yet, but it is in full bloom for the first time this year.
Red bud trees,
and Dogwood, blooming at the same time, but no azaleas yet.  I've seen them bloom in early February, so they are late this year.  Usually they bloom with the Dogwood and the redbud trees are long done blooming by then. 
Even daffodils are later this year.  It's been beautiful and warm since we arrived last week, but it sounds like the winter was colder than normal around here.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Welcome to my Open House World

I have to admit that when I was a real estate broker, I drug my feet when it came to doing open houses.  Most people in our area didn't use open houses as a way to look at available properties, and sitting for four hours on a Saturday or  Sunday with no one showing up seemed like a monumental waste of time. 
When we spent some time in SW Florida this winter, we observed the open house world there, and realized that a lot of people spent their weekends driving around looking at open houses.  Lots of buyers down there during "the season" when folks from the wintery north decide maybe they should BUY a place in the sunbelt.  Renting gets more expensive every year, and a lot of the people looking at open houses were looking for a rental for the 2015 season.
So in an attempt to leave no stone unturned in our attempts to help the folks sell their house here on Lake Eufaula, we are holding both their house and ours open every weekend in March.  We know people in this area haven't gotten accustomed to viewing open houses, but maybe things have changed here too.
The weather is cooperating - gorgeous sunshine - the houses look great, the lake is beautiful and calm, and we're home anyway, so bring on the buyers!
See the link to details on the houses:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Back to Spring in Georgia

While we've enjoyed the sunshine and warmth in SW Florida for the past three months, it feels really good to be back to Georgia and the cooler temperatures and signs of Spring all around.  For a native Pacific NW person, it seems kind of unnatural to be in perpetual summer with sunshine every day.  In Florida, trees always have leaves, the grass is always green, and there is always something in bloom.  Here and in the Pacific NW, there is the joy of watching nature awaken after its winter sleep.  Every day we find something new that has been given a new birth.
The first sign of spring was the tilled fields.
The Camelia almost doesn't count, as it sometimes blooms through the winter.

But daffodils and forsythia are definite signs of spring.
Hyacinth with their wonderful smells greeted us in one flower bed.
We also saw red bud trees and many trees full of white blooms along the road as we neared the house.
It was also exciting to see the folks' new dock completed.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Orchids, Orchids, Orchids

For anyone who loves flowers like I do, orchids are right at the top of the list of favorites.  They come in a variety of colors and shapes and are often very fragrant.  So I couldn't resist when I saw the signs that said "Orchid Show - Friday and Saturday" a few blocks from the house.
Of course, they had a competition, with lots of ribbons, but they also had a section for people selling plants.
It's hard to choose a favorite

They ranged in price from $8 to $35 - I picked 3 even though I wonder how I'm going to keep them alive.  I just couldn't resist.