A Kansas Thunderstorm

There is no sweeter music than a Kansas thunderstorm...as long as it's not accompanied by hail or tornadoes, of course! We had one of those gentle rain/low-rumbling distant thunder storms today, May 9, and I captured it on this video:
video
Only yesterday I was out on the deck working. Makes a lovely office when there's no rain.



A big pile of dirt

May 8, and we're still working on the front entry, trying to get all the rocks out of the dirt, and dig the bed down to a reasonable depth so water can drain and the mulch won't float away. It seems to be one of those things that has to get worse before it can get better. But we're getting there. If we hold the camera in the right place, you'd never even know the spot wasn't finished.
 The goal is to get this flower cart parked in the entry garden on the mulch so it won't have to be moved when we mow.
 Look how wonderfully the Japanese Magnolia has adapted to its new home! We are so thrilled about that, and can see that it will be a great spot for it—creating a screen that will hide the utilities on the side of the house...and the neighbors' trash can.
 The front porch pots are doing well and provide a colorful welcome to visitors.

Flowers!

Mid-April and finally we feel like we can get our flowers in the pots without too much danger of frost. Things are greening up so beautifully, and we're loving having windows open, birds singing, geese squawking, and life all joy!
We always go back to our small town when they have their flat sale. Stone Creek Nursery, Hesston, KS is the best!


The first pots of summer

I am SOOO eager to get the rest of the flowerpots planted, but it's a little early, even for Kansas. Even though it was 84 degrees yesterday and 75 today, we have cooler weather on the way and I'll likely need to bring these pots inside at night for a few days. Typical, fickle spring in Kansas.

April Fool?

No, it's not snow, but it sure looked like it. Our ornamental pear tree tried to play an April Fool's joke on us and scattered tiny petals all over the yard. They gathered in the paths of the checkerboard patio and looked for all the world like frost or snow. But we knew better once the thermometer hit 84 degrees!

Moving the Magnolia

March 23, and this Japanese Magnolia in our front entry garden has grown too large for its "britches." It not only blocked the view to our front porch and hid the brickwork on our house, but it also sheltered a tangle of grasses and old flowers that always get out of hand by the end of summer.



We really like the bush (we're calling it a tree, after how difficult it was to move!) and didn't want to get rid of it, so we trimmed it back by half, and after three hard days of digging and loosening roots to no avail, Ken called in my Dad and his pickup. They were able to pull the magnolia out and spare enough roots (we hope) that it should come back nicely at the corner of the house and will serve as a screen there to hide the meters on the side of the house.

Update March 25: The magnolia seems to like its new spot in the yard—it popped some new blooms today! (There's quite a hole where it used to be, but it won't be long before we have it filled in and get that area looking nice again.)

Spring in Kansas...at least for now


This mallard pair has been hanging around, even coming up on our front porch. We suspect they're looking for a place to nest. We wouldn't mind letting them be our guests for a few weeks. I got to watch baby ducks hatch and immediately follow their mother to a nearby lake a few years ago, and it was a delightful thing to witness!

We've been reveling in the blossoming of the Bradford pear tree in our backyard. Such a beautiful time of year here in Kansas (even though we know there could still be snow, ice, and all kinds of "winter" still to come before spring really settles in to stay.

Almost spring?

The last day of February and while we are more than ready for spring and working in the yard, we are also enjoying this beautiful snow while it's here. The photo below was taken long after sunset, yet the snow illumined the entire neighborhood. It's really beautiful to look out on, and I love the patterns the snow has created on the table and in the trees.

Mid-December gloom chasers


The days have grown terribly short, but that makes it all the more comforting to start turning on lights about 5:30 each evening. The Christmas tree lights go on when we get up and stay on until we turn in for the night. Good ways to chase away the gloom of mid-December. Of course, once all our kids and grandkids start arriving next week, there will be no talk of gloom!
Another little day-brightener has been the last begonia blooms from the summer pots we brought in. Such cheery little spots around the house when outside everything is brown and drab. We still have two pots of coleus that we brought in and I hope to baby through until summer.

First snow


I'm a bit behind in posting these photos, but we did have our first official snow November 15. Very pretty with leaves still on the trees. We're hoping for a white Christmas, but not so white the kids can't all get here as planned!



Autumn...here and gone

This was the last glimpse of our autumn color, which didn't last nearly long enough. We've had FREEZING weather for almost a week straight now. There are still leaves on many of the trees, but mostly they are brown and wilted. Snow in the forecast. The brave squirrel below had the audacity to knock on our back door two days in a row. I think he wanted to sit by the fire, but we'll never know. We ignored him (except for taking the usual daily ration of peanuts to him and his buddies at their trees).
And this one did some ice skating on the bird bath the first morning it froze.

Copycat

My mother-in-law has amazing taste and I always love the way she decorates her home. The gorgeous bowl above is something she "threw together" a couple of years ago and I've always wanted to copy it. Found a similar bowl at a garage sale for $2 (minus the birds, alas) and made a similar arrangement inspired by Mom's for our front porch. Hoping to find a wreath like hers when they go on sale after the holidays. 

Saying goodbye to October

Our first freeze of fall is forecast for tonight, Halloween night, so we've been doing some rearranging in the garden, moving flowerpots closer to the house, pulling out some of the coleus that's overgrown or spent, and soaking in every last drop of enjoyment from the garden. The dahlia's in the pot above have been a pleasant surprise. We bought them in a discount package at Walmart Summer 2013 and never got them planted. They sat in their plastic bag in the garage over the winter and instead of throwing them away this spring, I decided to tuck them in a pot of coleus, just to see what would happen. They bloomed late—not until late August—but they've been so pretty. I think I'll plant a much bigger pot of them next year!
We planted a new clematis, Huldine, last night. It's a white flowering variety, so now we have something growing on each of the deck's front poles (assuming this one makes it through the winter).
An autumn wreath on the front door. Sometimes it seems a waste to put up fall decorations when they'll only be replaced by Christmas ones in a few short weeks, but I do love the looks of fall decor.
We found some great solar LED lights for under the deck rail and so far, they work great! Just the perfect amount of light to cast a soft glow over the deck.