Scenes from a Spring Paradise in Florida

Hope's front door

Hope’s front door

After hearing me moan and groan about our cold, wet, dreary weather, my sister Hope sent me a visual spring tonic.  It is hard to express how powerfully seeing these photos taken in her yard impacted me.  There is hope!  There is beauty!  There is glorious life just one state south of here… and it’s headed my way.  Really!  It is!  🙂

Bee on azalea

Bee on azalea

These photos are a treasured gift.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Bee on Japanese plum flower

Bee on Japanese plum flower

Sulfur butterfly and orange

Sulfur butterfly and orange

Another shot

Another shot

Here he (she?) poses on an azalea flower

Here he (she?) poses on an azalea flower

Mama cardinal.  Hope said she raised a little brood of one in a nest in the azalea bush.

Mama cardinal. Hope said she raised a little brood of one in a nest in the azalea bush.

Here's papa cardinal.

Here’s papa cardinal.

Another little visitor

Another little visitor

This is the baby cardinal that the mama raised in the azalea bush!

I think this is my all time favorite.  She sent this one to me a while back.

I think this is my all time favorite. She sent this one to me a while back.

There are 5 birds in this picture.  Can you spot them all?

There are 5 birds in this picture. Can you spot them all?

This one was taken a couple of months ago, while it was still winter.

This one was taken a couple of months ago, while it was still winter.

Horse hair on fence.  Her rainy days sure are prettier than mine!  :)

Horse hair on fence. Her rainy days sure are prettier than mine! 🙂

Pear blossom

Pear blossom

Squirrel in the Fig Tree & Hummingbirds

After working in the garden late this afternoon, I decided to pick figs and make fig preserves this evening.  But most of the figs were partially eaten, and the uneaten ones were not ripe enough to pick.  What a disappointment!

If it were birds, I wouldn’t have minded too much.  But later I was sitting on the deck and noticed the fig tree moving.  I didn’t think that a bird would cause that much motion, so I watched for a few minutes… and then I saw the squirrel.   After he helped himself to what he wanted in the tree, he jumped to the ground and ate the partially eaten figs that I had discarded.

Since I didn’t have enough figs to even think of making preserves, I decided to play with an orange marmalade recipe.  I LOVE orange marmalade.  And figs go well with oranges.  So I’m planning to cut up my few figs and add them to the marmalade recipe and see how it turns out.  I bet it will be good!

Two hummingbirds have discovered the feeder I put up yesterday.  They have entertained us on and off all day.  It always amazes me how such exquisitely beautiful little birds can be so contentious in asserting proprietary rights to the feeder.  It’s like watching a tiny WWI airborne dogfight!

I also started more fall vegetable seeds in little plastic cups this evening.  I used to have good luck direct seeding almost everything.  But this year it is so hot that it is impossible to keep the garden soil evenly moist.

 

 

 

Figs are Ripening

Figs ripening. The darker one to the left is at the peak of sweetness.

The figs are almost ripe!  I wanted to wait until they were at their peak of sweetness before picking them.  But the birds are getting to them, so I picked a small bowlful for myself today, even though they would be better later.  They are still delicious, though.  Most of them should be at the peak of perfection in a few days.

I do NOT begrudge the birds!  I have been mourning at how few of them I see and hear lately.  So they are welcome to feast on a few of them.  I do wish they would eat a whole fig instead of pecking at several of them though!

For the birds 🙂

Also, we got the most wonderful rain today.  A warm, soft, misty sprinkle that lasted for hours and thoroughly soaked the ground.  We probably got less than an inch, but every drop of it soaked in and the plants look positively jubilant to me!

Our days continue in the 90’s.  In fact. they have been in the 90’s since May with only a handful of days in the high 80’s.  But we have been amazingly blessed with cloud cover that keeps the sun from blistering us.  And we’ve had showers pretty often, too.

Happy grass!

We are classified in a moderate drought on the weather maps, but having been through an exceptional drought a few years back, this looks like Eden to me.  I feel deeply for the people who are undergoing brutal heat and exceptional drought this year.  My sister in Texas says her grass is brown, dead, and crunches when she walks on it.

Wish I could share some of our beautiful rain with her.

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