Monday, April 20, 2009

Strange finds in unexpected places.

When we first moved here, we noticed lots of round-ish rocks, which we later found out were "geodes." They are generally hollow inside, and contain crystals of calcite, amethyst, or other minerals. In fact, there's a house not far from here where the entire central chimney and front porch structure are made from geodes. We're using them for landscaping all around the house.

Well, one of these has been on the back deck since we moved in. Just the other day, I noticed (and Barry photographed) something unusual on the surface of the geode.

A bit of research (isn't Wikipedia wonderful?) shows that it's a fossil trilobite, a little marine creature much like a modern horseshoe crab. There are over 20,000 species of trilobites and they range in age from 250 to 500 million years old.

A bit more research and I sort of figured that our little trilobite died and was laid down in the sediment at the bottom of the Ordovician ocean about 450 million years ago. At that time, most of the US and Canada were submerged under a shallow, warm ocean somewhere near where the equator was then.

You never know what's out there until you open your eyes, I guess.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hummers are back!

Well, at least ONE is back. Barry and I were sitting out on the back deck looking at the garden and the bluebirds nesting in the cleveland pear tree when all of a sudden there was a "whizzzzz" just near where the hummingbird feeders were last year. Sure enough, it was a little (or is that redundant?) hummingbird who REMEMBERED where the feeders were.

So in a jiffy I came in and, following Barry's expert culinary guidance, made my first batch of hummingbird food. Four cups water, one cup sugar, boil and simmer, and put into the feeder when cool.

If you have a feeder DO NOT USE RED FOOD COLORING. It harms the bird's liver and can actually kill them. The feeder, being red, is what attracts them. Other red flowers will do the same.

The window boxes are done, with red and blue petunias and white alyssum, and Barry planted red salvia and red impatiens around the bird bath as well. The early garden is all in and we've already had a few servings of spinach, chard and lettuce.

Now, Spring can officially begin!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A freeze scare...

We've been spending a great deal of time watching the weather reports -- the other day it was 76 and sunny, and I got the front lawn mowed. Sunburn was a real possibility, but the lawn looks great.

Last night, with the peach tree budded out and the strawberries beginning to bud, we were supposed to have a hard freeze. Luckily, temps only got down to 32 -- which is WAY cold for this time of year here. And we actually had SNOW on Monday -- a whole 1/4 inch!

Everything looks OK today, and it is warming up slowly.

Last week, we had a round of severe weather, with an EF1 tornado touching down in Casey County, about 30 miles south of here -- it was only a little one but it did over $1,000,000 in damage, destroyed 2 barns, killed 2 horses, and one woman's heart attack was directly related to the storm. Luckily again, all we got here was lightning (enough so that we didn't need any of the lights on in the house), and a wind-driven, pelting rain, for about 3 hours.

SO many people down here are "sick of winter" -- I wonder how they'd survive in Maine!

This weekend, it's a spring tradition here, the Spring Meet at Keeneland Race Course. We're going up to Lexington for Friday and Saturday's races. On Friday, Maker's Mark, our favorite Kentucky bourbon (Barry and I are both MM Ambassadors) is hosting the Maker's Mile, with a purse of $300,000 (divided among the top 5 finishing horses), and on Saturday, it's the Bluegrass Stakes -- one of the most important preparation races for the Kentucky Derby.

Hopefully, I'll win enough at the races to pay my income tax bill!