Winter Flowers Day

December 8, 2010

Today is Winter Flowers Day.  So what kind of flowers do we have blooming right now?

Well, the peacocks are prancing around with flowery looking feathers.  Does that count?

picture of peacock

Peacock's Flowery Feathers

No, I guess not.  Well, how about something that started as flowers?  Like the red berries on evergreen bushes?

picture of heavenly bamboo

Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina domestica)


picture of red berries on holly

Red Berries on Holly Bush

Okay, okay, berries aren’t flowers any more.  Well, sad to say, even my Lenten Rose is drooping in the cold weather, and no blooms there either!

picture of lenten rose plant

Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis)

So that leaves only ONE thing around here that still has a few blooms on it. . . the Camellia bush.  Right before Thanksgiving it was in peak bloom:

picture of camellia winter's star shrub

Camellia 'Winter's Star' in full bloom

However, we’ve had hard frosts since then, and only a few blooms are still hanging on.

Camellia oleifera 'Winter's Star' bloom

So that’s it, for Winter Flowers Day we have only a few ragged-looking blooms left on the Camellia bush.

Happy Winter Flowers Day anyway!

Winter’s Star Camellia

November 3, 2010

Every year around the last part of October my Camellia oleifera ‘Winter’s Star’ starts blooming.

picture of Camellia oleifera Winter's Star

Camellia oleifera 'Winter's Star'

I especially enjoy this because:

  1. It’s blooming when nothing else is,
  2. I love the color of the blooms, and
  3. I always wanted to grow camellias, but couldn’t until moving south.
picture of Camellia oleifera 'Winter's Star' bloom

Camellia oleifera 'Winter's Star'

There aren’t many blooms yet, so the bush doesn’t look too impressive.  Maybe later!

Southern Snowstorm

December 9, 2009

We don’t get a lot of snow here in the southeast, but Saturday morning when we got up, there was a dusting of snow on the ground.  So here are the promised snow pictures!  Those of you in the deep south, eat your heart out, we actually saw snow!

Those of you further north, try not to laugh at the piddling little bit of white stuff we call a snow storm!

Looking out in the backyard, I saw. . .

Snow and poultry in the backyard.

. . . a little snow, a lot of poultry, and one dog carrying around a HUGE stick!

The bottom pasture was dusted with white, instead of the usual all drab brown.

Bottom pasture dusted with snow.

From there Toby and I headed for the woods.  Of course, it too had a bit of snow on the ground, and blown against the tree trunks.

A dusting of snow in the woods.

We always check out the creek when we take a walk in the woods.

Creek with snowy banks.

My other “dog” followed Toby and I into the woods.  He likes to rub up against every twig and tree.

Our cat, Spot, out in the snow.

The real dog, Toby, would rather hike his leg and pee on every twig and tree, but I spared you a picture of that, ha, ha!

The creek floods frequently, and the banks are eroded, so the exposed tree roots held a drift of snow on them.

Snowy Exposed Tree Roots By Creek.

Even the slues looked pretty with snowy banks.

Snowy slough and banks.

By the way, I don’t know if I ever called these little areas of backwater a slue until I met The Farmer.  I thought it was just an “Okie-ism”, but he has it right:

Slue: a place of deep mud or mire (also slew or slough ˈslü)

  1. swamp
  2. an inlet on a river; also : backwater
  3. a creek in a marsh or tide flat

Toby crosses these slues wherever it suits him, sometimes at a narrow place, sometimes through deep water. 

Toby, our American Farm Collie, crossing a snowy slue.

He loves splashing through water wherever he finds it.

The other “dog” that follows me around, however, is not so keen on the water.  He sits on one side of the bank and watches Toby wander.

Spot refuses to cross the water.
“I can’t believe he waded through that freezing cold water!”

In fact, Spot just isn’t any too keen on walking through that frozen stuff called snow.

Spot shaking snow off paw.

He makes faces and shakes his paws frequently.

I’m afraid Toby laughs at Spot’s squeamishness over snow and water and all things wet.

Spot and Toby the Farm Collie by one of the slues in the woods.
“What a wuss! If you want to be a dog, you’ve got to like water!”

Then Toby proceeded to show off a little and went through the water in the slue again.

Toby the farm collie in the middle of a slue of water!
“See? IN the water, you’ve got to get IN the water!”

But Spot wasn’t buying it.  He promptly sat down in some leaves and declared he was NOT going in that water!

Spot sitting in the snowy woods.
“Can he talk to me like that?  I am NOT going in that water!”

By then I figured it was time to head back towards the house.  In the front yard, the holly looked pretty with a little snowy white alongside the green leaves and red berries.

Holly and snow.


Holly, snow and sunshine!

But it was warming up some, and the snow wasn’t going to last much longer.

Holly with ice drop.

It was forming little ice drops on the tips of some of the leaves.

However, in the shade, the camellia bush still had snowy blossoms.

Camellia 'Winter Star' with snowy blossom.

And since the Camellia ‘Winter Star’ bush is in the flower bed by the front door, I was ready to go back inside and end my picture taking for the day.

Friday’s Farm Fotos

November 6, 2009

Another Friday, and I think I’ll share some of the pictures I took around the farm this week to make it another Friday’s Farm Foto’s Day!

This first one is of Samson, our male llama, out in the main pasture grazing.

Male llama, Samson, grazing.

All the animals seem to enjoy the medium length grasses in the main pasture, although the llamas like to browse the taller weeds along the fenceline too.

However, they don’t stay there all the time.  They have a routine, and part of the day the sheep and llamas and goat are in the back yard.  This particular picture is of one of our shyer Shetland sheep, Valrhona.

Shetland Sheep: our ewe, Valhrona.

Of course, our farm collie, Toby, can be found in the backyard almost any time, along with some chickens, plus the peacocks and peahens in their pen.

Toby, American Working Farmcollie

The signs of fall are everywhere, but when the sun shines just right on some of the trees along the edges of the bottom pasture, the leaves glint and make it look like the trees are full of white blossoms. I did a double take the first time I saw it. After all, it’s not time for trees to be in bloom!

Bbottom Pasture at Kings Keep Farm

Except, of course, the camellia is still blooming. Some of the blossoms look pretty ragged, but I don’t think this Grandaddy Long Legs minds.

Grandaddy Long Legs on Camellia bloom.

Did you know that these critters, also called harvestmen, aren’t really spiders?  They may look like one, but the biggest difference is that spiders have two body segments, whereas a Granddaddy Long Legs has an oval body that is only ONE segment. They also do not produce silk or a web, so turns out they are not true spiders.

The ferns back in the woods are still nice and green, but then, they stay pretty green all winter.

Ferns in woods on Kings Keep Farm.

The creeks and sloughs are full of colored leaves that have fallen from the trees.

Colored leaves floating on water.

Meanwhile, when the sun warms things up, there’s usually at least one little turtle on the long floating in the pond.

Small turtle on log in pond.

However, they are still very shy, and don’t let people get very close before they plop back down into the water and disappear.

And while our lone wandering white rooster is still AWOL, it seems we may have missed a couple of younger chickens that are roosters.  I looked out our dining room window yesterday and saw at least two roosters fighting.

Roosters fighting.

There was a third one nearby that acted like it might join the fray, but since it never did, I’m not sure if we have 2 or 3 young roosters running loose.

This morning I looked out to see a bunch of squirrels running up and down the fence posts.  This one peered inside a rotten post. . .

Squirrel looking in rotten fence post.

I think he’s wondering if he put any nuts in there.  Maybe I should tell him he’s looking in the wrong direction.

Cause there are some big nuts inside the house!

Friday’s Farm Fotos

October 30, 2009

It’s been a while since I posted some miscellaneous photos.  So here we are, a snapshot in time, pictures from today around the farm.

First I went out and fed the chickens.

Chickens eating.

It’s still kind of drizzly out.  We seem to be having a monsoon season here, and I must say, I’m getting a little tired of it.  The chickens don’t seem to pay much attention, however, nor do the guineas.  Here’s a couple of keets from two different age groups. . .

Two Guinea Keets Of Different Ages

They’re starting to look more like adults, and a whole lot less like babies.

The mutant chimera chick was getting a share of the grain.  It’s still looks strange.

The Chimera Chicken Bird Chick

Noticeable in his absence, however, is the lone white rooster running around in the pastures.  We caught his compatriots a few nights back and put them in a pen by themselves.   He was roosting in a catalpa tree by the sheep shed with some other chickens.  The Farmer got hold of him, but did not KEEP hold of him and the rooster escaped.  I guess the rooster figures he doesn’t want anywhere near us in case we try catching him again!

Out in the main pasture I can see some of the trees in the neighbor’s yard have turned color.

Tree with red leaves.

The colder, rainy weather has brought down a lot of leaves.  Most of which are boring brown, like these in another neighbor’s driveway:

Fallen leaves in neighbor's driveway.

In spite of fall being here, there is still lots of green grass and grazing.  Keira and Cinnamon like to spend a big part of their day in the main pasture, munching up on the grass.  Samson is also out there, but doesn’t seem to worry about being so close by these days.  I’m hoping Keira is already carrying a cria.

Llama And Goat

The dogs were out playing this morning, but as soon as they saw me with the camera they stopped.  They were more interested in what I was doing.

Maremma Neffie and American Working Farmcollie Toby

Neffie is the white dog, our Maremma.  Toby is an American Working Farmcollie, though I think he’d rather play than work.

Walking back to the house I noticed there are still berries on the Tea Viburnum.

Tea Viburnum (Viburnum setigerum) in autumn.

The camellia bush still has a lot of blooms and even buds, along with numerous visiting bees (or hornets or whatever they happen to bee).

Camellia ( Winter's Star Camellia ) and bee.

And now I BEE-lieve that’s enough pictures for today!