I’ve heard them for days. The male Eastern Bluebirds are on the march which means, in spite of the snow, spring isn’t far away. I caught one checking out our bluebird house when the dogs and I took a wintry stroll. The scouts are out and hunting so if you haven’t already, check your bluebird houses. Those boys want them clean and tidy. We’ve made a supreme effort to house our bluebirds. They have very specific requirements, and in spite of our efforts, the sparrows sometimes beat them to the punch. When they do, I pull out their nests. You may need to do this several times over the spring and summer months, and like the nest below, even in winter. For the last five years, I do have bluebirds nesting–sometimes in houses and sometimes in trees. Now, their mating calls and songs fill the air. It’s a joyous if raucous noise. Bluebirds were almost extinct, but because people care, they now thrive in many areas.
It may be cold, but I ventured outside anyway. It didn’t feel as cold as it is. It’s frigid today, but just look at those temperatures for the rest of the week. Happy, happy, joy, joy.
I needed Oklahoma’s blue skies, and there is nothing like snow sparkling in full sun. This is Bear’s fifth snow day of the year, and she’s enjoying it just as much as number one. I wonder if she’ll remember the joy when she’s in school a few extra days in May. Probably.
A couple of days ago, I caught these male Cardinals stacked up like a Catholic conclave. Soon, those same males will be fighting for territory and their female girlfriends. We also have a beautiful woodpecker who’s been visiting the bird feeder. I’m working on getting a good shot of him, but he’s skittish. Bill is so good about filling the bird feeder especially when there’s snow on the ground. All the plants I grew for seeds and berries were stripped bare by February. It’s been a hard winter everywhere. Who would expect so much snow in Oklahoma? Not I.
I walked down the hill and looked over the back garden. It still needs cutting back and cleaning out. I don’t have as many deadlines this week so I hope to get to it in a day or so. I can’t wait for that tired feeling that comes from gardening my heart out. I bet you feel the same way. Tired muscles and a happy heart are just what we all need after such a long and dreary winter. I hear birdsong outside my kitchen window. Spring will come. It always does.
I walked down to the lake and the dock. They are so pretty in the snow. There’s signs of life here too. The ducks and geese are playing in the portion of the lake that isn’t frozen. That’s got to make you smile.
Although the dock is pretty, I won’t be going out on it. Those boards are slippery in the snow. I can enjoy it from here. Look at how the shadows play upon the snow.
I don’t want to bore you with too many pictures, but here’s the house from down near the dock. I live on a steep hill so all of my pictures would be crooked if I didn’t straighten them a little. I see I have much work to do once this stuff melts.
I then walked back up the hill and by the Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia) I planted so many years ago. In spite of the cold, it is still thriving. Like many of the evergreen plants in the garden, it is sporting burned leaves, but it will recover.
Maddie, Tap and I walked around the garden, past the garage border. It’s all cleaned out and ready for seeds and plants. I wish I’d sprinkled the poppy seeds out here before the snow. Maybe I’ll do it now anyway. We walked down the path to the potager, greenhouse and cold frame. I need to move the blue juniper. It was there first, but will get too big, and I need the space for the cold frame so that I will remember to water the plants inside. I am terrible about forgetting.
We took a break and went inside the greenhouse where it’s so humid and warm that condensation dripped on my head a couple of times. I loved every minute of it. I watered the plants and took a couple of pictures. The first one didn’t turn out because my camera lens steamed up in the temperature exchange. You can tell we are getting more sunlight. The tropical plants like the coleus, elephant ears and alternantheras are taking off and growing so much I keep needing to pinch them back. I’ve started all I can. The greenhouse is basically full. I placed an order with Rosy Dawn Gardens for a few more lime green coleus to add to the mix. I hope the dahlias on the floor have been warm enough. Bill and I decided after this winter we are insulating the bottom walls of the greenhouse. We have room between the walls and tables to place insulation. Otherwise, we can’t afford to heat it with propane so high.
The coleus should be here mid-March. They will go into the greenhouse until the weather is more conducive to tropical plants.
Finally, the pups and I headed back to the front of the house. Cabins look so pretty in the snow, don’t you think? Thanks for going with us on our walk. What does your world look like today?
I am so envious of those little Cardinals… we have goldfinch here but never the cardinals. You are so lucky.
I’m sorry you don’t get Cardinals. They are our bright spots in winter.
I am glad you were able to enjoy the winter, it sure beats complaining about it. I wanted to let you know I’ve been enjoying your container garden series in Va. Gardener magazine.
Thank you Les and thanks for letting me know they’re in Virginia too. 😀
Plants in green house looks so beautiful.
Gardener on Sherlock Street
Very pretty. I don’t remember seeing photos of your gardens in snow before. Love how all the structures show out better and there’s the promise of a new growing season.
Lovely photos, Dee! Thank you for taking us along on this walk. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many male cardinals at once–love this photo! Everything always looks so much prettier with a fresh coat of white, but I think we’re all ready to see bare soil once again. Let’s hope the weather forecasters are right this time–even we might see a day in the 60’s next week; I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Hi Rose! I love that photo too. Couldn’t believe I caught all of them stacked up like that. They use the arbor as a staging area. I keep hoping the weather will settle down, but better this, than the dreaded late freeze. I don’t want another one of those.
Love this post Dee! I immediately went out and clean out my bluebird house (yes, there was an old nest) and got an old toothbrush and worked on the walls and floor. Should I bring it in and wash it out? Love, love, love the picture of the cardinals too!
Hi Laurie, I don’t go to the trouble of actually washing the nests. I’m afraid the birds would reject it because it’s wet. I just pull out the nests and dust it out. Thank you for the kinds words and for still reading after all these years.
You and I are quite close. Reading your fb posts tells me when weather is headed my way, usually just a few hours later. I am so excited for the coming warmer weather and spring planting!
I’m so glad. I like watching the weather move about the country. If the Pacific Northwest is getting a storm for example I know it will be here soon too. Fun stuff.
Kathy from Cold Climate Gardening
Go ahead and sprinkle those poppy seeds. Henry Mitchell says they like to be sprinkled on snow–it helps them germinate.
Love that photo of Cardinals, fabulous composition. Spring must be just around the corner for you! It is knocking on the window here in the uk, thank goodness. Not that we have the torrid time that you have had in the US, we have had a nice mild winter so far.
Interesting that your Magnolia Grandiflora has coped well with low temperatures. Mine got through minus twelve a couple of years ago, without any problem. maybe they are tougher than we think ?
It is so exciting to see Spring in spite of the snowy weather. Thank you so much for stopping by.
Gorgeous pictures, Dee. I wish we had bluebirds here – I would put up a bluebird house in a heartbeat if we did.
Victoria, I didn’t realize you don’t have bluebirds. I know your Robin is different also, more diminutive, and cute. How interesting. It took years to bring the bluebirds back from near extinction. I’m glad backyard birders did their part. Still trying to get a closeup of Mr. Bluebird.
Love your cardinals. I see some along my red dirt road but I guess I need more trees. I have 8 bluebird nesting boxes(all cleaned out) and see a lot of activity. Have seen so many robins.
Your article in March Oklahoma Living was so good. Thanks.
Thank you! I don’t know why we have so many Cardinals, but the sight of them in winter makes my heart flutter. Because you don’t have so many trees, you have more Bluebirds. It’s not a bad trade. I have yet to see a single robin. I love the robins so much, and they usually begin to hang out in greater numbers here in late March. Thanks for walking with me.
We have had some blue bird checking out the house last week here in Henryetta. I hope they stay. And I so enjoy watching the cardinals that have been hanging outside my window by the wood pile.
Michelle, if they don’t stay, just keep cleaning out the house. They may eventually raised a brood this year. It took me three years before I saw Bluebirds fledging here, but they’ve returned every spring since then.
Bore me, bore me with your pictures please. Love them all. Our power has been out for six hours and I do not have a generator for my “greenhouse.” Fear I have lost all my plants.
Oh Ann!! I am so sorry. We lost our power twice this year. I have electric heat and a backup propane system, but it’s been pricey for coleus. However, I hope to make it up from all the plants I don’t buy this year. Oh, again, I’m so very sorry. That sucks.
It’s so great to see the progress of your plants in your greenhouse. I’m terribly jealous of your forecast. Ours is for warmer weather at the end of the week, too, but not that nice! Great photos, Dee!
Well now, they’re saying snow for tomorrow so don’t get too jealous yet. 🙂 Thanks for coming with me on my walkabout.
My yard looks much the same here in OKC, covered in snow/ice and really pretty. The evergreens make the garden this time of year. Love your little blue bird sighting. I’ve not had them here..my birdhouse is always full of small birds and this year I really do need to put up more. Your greenhouse is wonderful…it’s on my wish list!! Your home is beautiful in the midst of the snow! Stay warm!
Thank you so much Sonia. I wanted a greenhouse from the time I first saw one. They are a nice respite from the snow and ice.
I finally gave up my Bluebird house. The fight against the sparrows was futile. They are so prevalent in my yard. But it was wonderful for a year or two to be able to watch the building of the nest, then how attentive the male is while she is sitting on the nest. And those little babies. Oh my.
The fledglings really are something, aren’t they? I can understand why you gave up. It took three years before I saw the first bluebird, and I was really frustrated taking out the sparrows’ nests.
Lisa at Greenbow
It looks and feels much like this here. Looking forward to the warm up. I did see your goldfinch. I am jealous of your bluebirds. They don’t have a chance around here with all the house sparrows. UGH. I fight them but they seem to win. That is why they have been so successful in our country. Your greenhouse made me warm just seeing all your plants lined up there. Try to stay warm.
Yes, it’s sad the Europeans brought over sparrows. I wish they hadn’t. Ugh indeed.
Haven’t noticed any bluebirds but redbirds or cardinals have been plentiful
Hey Tim, I’m glad you’re getting Cardinals. Maybe your area is too woody for bluebirds. They do like that open meadow.
Hi Miss Dee!
The blue birds are what keep me looking so forward to spring. I think these last two years ours have roosted even through the winter. I have seen him out on a sunny day a week or so ago. You are lucky that you get to hear them.
Mine I rarely hear. Good luck to both of us on increasing our little families!
Yes, indeed. How fortunate that yours have stayed. It seems like Oklahoma birds do stay within the state most of the time just moving about north to south.
Rose Marie B
I loved taking a walk with you today. The bird pics are delightful! Hubs’ favorite bird is the cardinal and I’m such a sucker for bluebirds. I hope you have lots of successful hatches this year.
Thank you Rose. I love birds, and they all look so pretty against this snow. I’m going to try to catch Mr. Bluebird with my telephoto lens. It’s a monster to carry though.~~Dee
Thanks for another lovely post and beautiful photography, Dee! Your greenhouse is filling up well!
All the best in 2014!