Monday, January 23, 2012

Bucking and blooming and sprouting

There's no bucksaw in this household, but a crosscut pruning saw with champion-style teeth worked just as well for preparing fallen limbs to be placed at the curb in a week for the City's "large brush collection." Not having a sawbuck or even a sawhorse, I used two plastic stacking chairs as a makeshift substitute. When I went to wipe off stray sawdust, I found that Austin air is dirtier than it has ever been. It does get filthier each year. Soon, we'll be just like industrial towns before the federal clean-air legislation; we'll need to clean everything indoors and out at least four times a year to get rid of the sticky black residue. We continue to enjoy paper white narcissi and related varieties. Montopolis narcissus is almost ready to burst forth, with many, many bud stalks to be seen and more every day. We are enjoying Avalanche and Grand Primo. Everything so far apart from the paper whites are not to be seen most years until after Ice Follies flowers have opened (usually just in time to be stolen on Valentine's Day or its eve). Other blooms visible now are a few lantana flowers in sheltered spots, along with orange calendula, pink oxalis, and yellow and yellow-and-orange asclepias, all in pots. This morning we found caterpillars of gulf fritillary butterflies in the passionvine and of monarch butterflies in the asclepias. We are enjoying various lettuces grown in pots; they're highly ornamental and also very tasty. Other flowers are Little Marvel peas. We were surprised to find volunteer clockvines (thunbergia alata) in one pot. Purplehearts are blooming. So is anemone blanda, and we've seen one bud on a florist's anemone. At least three kinds of species tulips have sent forth leaves. It's too soon to tell what other spring bulbs are making an appearance. We have no good maps and the squirrels move everything anyhow.


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