Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Spring Tour Through the Twilight Zone

Today, I will take you traveling through another dimension, a dimension where Binghamton, NY (where Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling grew up) doesn't have snow on the ground at the end of March as it should, but rather has forsythias and bradford pears blooming.  A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are drawn by daffodils, grape hyacinth, flowering cherries and tulips.  Yes, it is a spring tour of Rod Serling's Binghamton:  a trip through a floral Twilight Zone.

 (with apologies to the Season 2 intro to the Twilight Zone programs).
Off of Riverside Drive, about 1/2 mile from where Rod Serling grew up.

Near West Middle School which Rod Serling attended (then called West Junior High) where he was taught by the remarkable Helen Foley.
Another view of West Middle School (whitish building to the left) taken near their athletic field.
And one more photo taken on Rod Serling's west side of Binghamton.

This spring is so unreal, with plants blooming a good three weeks or so ahead of "schedule"- I wish that Rod Serling had been alive to experience it. It would have a great episode of The Twilight Zone.

Have you had an early spring, too?  Has it seemed a bit Twilight-Zoney?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring Rewound

The past four years, spouse and I have vacationed in March, traveling from our home in upstate NY to the South - three times by car, one time by the Auto Train that connects Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL.

Usually it is a trip designed to counter winter weariness.  (one year, when we left, it was one below zero.  Last year, we left in a snow and freezing rain storm.)  A 10 hour or so drive and we see the trees blooming.  My solar panels unfold.  I drink in the warmth and discard winter coat in favor of shorts.

Ahhhhhhh.  A few days of bliss.  And then, we have to return to - the dreary bare trees.  Some years there still has been snow on the ground.

But not this year.  We left on March 18 with trees starting to bud out here.  We arrived in Charleston, SC to find their plants a good 2-3 weeks ahead (about the same as us).  It was a totally incredible experience, full of azaleas, rhodies, and dogwood.  Even as we drove north and spring started its rewind, we found flowering trees everywhere.

Including at home. We arrived yesterday evening, in light drizzle/sleet/ice pellets.  But to my delight, I saw....and keep in mind this is the Binghamton, NY area, on March 29:
And one of my late primroses.

Cherry trees, Bradford Pears and forsythia were in bloom throughout our neighborhood.  The crabapples are getting ready to bloom just down the street.

For the first time (and maybe the last time!) spring hadn't rewound completely by the time we were back in upstate New York.  We were left with a little chunk of spring to savor.

That was partially thanks to our area getting up into the 80's last week.

But then, nature played a cruel trick.  It got down to 21 Tuesday morning (16 at my son's house).  We may lose a portion of our area apple crop, which would be a terrible loss for local farmers.

And now, the forecast for tomorrow morning includes snow.  But as far as I am concerned, everything is shouting "spring"!

Tomorrow, I will share with you what we found when we drove around Binghamton today.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Sunsets

I have always loved sunsets, but in the past few years I have gotten out of the habit of watching them.  In fact, in the last week I realized that I had not watched a sunset in years, despite the fact that there is a nice place to watch sunsets just a block or so from my house.

Part of that may be because the weather patterns where I live (upstate NY) result in a lot of cloudy days.  Why bother?

I decided to do something about that in the past 10 days and decided to share some sunsets of the past 10 days with you.
Sunset at the base of the Ravenel Bridge, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. (Mount Pleasant is a suburb of Charleston and the 4th largest city in South Carolina.)
Shem Creek (right after sunset), also in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

And finally, a sunset last night in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia on the campus of the former Storer College.

Do you ever have the time to stop to watch a good sunset?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Best of AM - Forgotten Bookmarks

This is a post about a "used" bookstore in Oneonta, NY, about an hour from where I live.  I first wrote this in August of 2009.  Some two and one half years after this original post, I still follow them on Twitter - the man who runs this store is one "awesome dude".   I hope to visit the store one day.


Forgotten Bookmarks

Have you ever taken a book out of the library or bought a used book at a library book sale and found an interesting piece of paper someone had used as a bookmark? I have but never anything more interesting than a gas receipt, or a mundane shopping list.

Not the person at Forgotten Bookmarks who has devoted a blog to all those "forgotten bookmarks" There is another upcoming blog also, devoted specifically to recipes found on these forgotten bookmarks.

The author's introduction "I work at a used and rare bookstore, and I buy books from people everyday. These are the personal, funny, heartbreaking and weird things I find in those books." To me the best part is doing a job you love and being able to connect with other people with your discoveries and observations. I've had a secret dream of working in a bookstore for a long time but the older I get, the less literary I seem to be -and I was never that literary to begin with. I love to read, but not the classics. I love to handle old books because they are a link to our past.

This site is a must for bookworms, students of history, and people who love to handle the past. Thank you, Blogs of Note, for directing me to this site.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Requiem for Spring?

As I am out of town right now I don't know exactly how cold it got in Binghamton, New York this morning but it looks like it got down to at least 21 degrees.  I do know some parts of upstate NY got as far down as 13 above zero.

Was spring killed by a hard freeze?

We had forsythia, daffodils, and other spring flowers in bloom, a good 3 weeks (or more) ahead of 'schedule".  Other spring flowers had buds.  Did they die?

At least it didn't snow. 

Even here in Raleigh, NC, it is 43 degrees.  Brrrr.

What a strange winter (and now spring) it has been.  But according to the weatherpeople, we can expect these types of extremes for the years to come.  And, in all honesty, I've enjoyed almost every bit of this particular extreme.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Things Special Edition - Ugly Sweet Potatoes and Collards

In upstate New York, our downtown Binghamton, NY Farmers Market doesn't open until mid-June (although some open a little sooner).

This summer, construction is supposed to begin on an enclosed regional Farmers Market in Otsiningo Park (just outside of Binghamton, off I-81).  One of the regional farmers markets studied was the one in Asheville, North Carolina.

The state of North Carolina's Department of Agriculture runs several regional Farmers Markets, including one in their capital, Raleigh.  This is what the market looked like earlier this week when we visited it.  What a pleasure it was to find local produce at the end of March.  Granted, some was greenhouse and some was from last year, but it is way beyond anything you can find in upstate New York.

Collards and "Pointed Cabbage".

We bought some of these "ugly" sweet potatoes (they were shriveled). We don't know what type they were, heirloom or otherwise, but we will let you know what they taste like.

Here, a booth with turnips and rutabagas.

Other booths had plants - perennials and herbs, flowers, trees.  Raleigh is in zone 7b, as opposed to our zone

 5b, so we did a lot of sighing over perennials such as camillas which would not have a chance of surviving one of our winters (even in our recently deceased mild winter, it still got to 2 above zero.)

A nearby building featured dairy, wine, meat and other local products. We bought some dried beans.   There was also a LOT of candy - do North Carolineans have a big sweet tooth? 

Another nearby building had a seafood restaurant (fried, of course).

I can only hope our regional farmers market, once open, is something close to what we found in Raleigh.

I'm doing my "spring things" today rather than Wednesday, because I may not have internet access for most of the rest of the week.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Civil War Sunday -Faces of the H.L. Hunley

If at first you don't succeed, travel 840 miles and try, try again.

Yesterday, I blogged that (after an attempt last year where we got so lost that we gave up) we had visited Charleston, SC again and made another attempt to tour the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley.

Success!  This time we found it and we took the public tour.

I wanted to show you three aspects of the story of this marvelous submarine,which was built using cutting edge technology - cutting edge in 1864, that is.  A crew of 8 operated this marvel of technology, hand cranking it through the waves. Submerged, it could wait on the floor of Charleston Harbor for up to two hours.  Light was provided by candles.  The first two crews that manned the Hunley (including H.L. Hunley himself, who basically financed the missions) died in accidents before the ship saw battle action.  Would the third time be the charm? 

These are reconstructions of the faces of the 8 crew members.  The full name of two of the crew members isn't known.  They were all volunteers.  Their mission:  to help break the Federal blockade of Charleston.  Look upon these faces well.  Would you have had the courage to serve aboard that tiny sub?  (These were all grown men, by the way - one about 19, one in his 40's with 4 daughters.  They were NOT young teens, as one rumor states.)

(The public isn't allowed to take pictures of the Hunley, a Confederate submarine which successfully sunk a large Federal ship, the Housatonic, on February 17, 1864.  So, I can't share that with you except to say it lies in a tank, quite rusted, and very fragile. )

After the successful sinking, the Hunley flashed a blue magnesium:  meaning "Mission successful, coming back in".

It never arrived-that is, until the 21st century.

When the Hunley was finally found, at the bottom of Charleston Harbor, the skeletons of the 8 men were found still at their posts, as if nothing had happened.  (What did happen?  One theory is the crew members were overcome by carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, and embarked on their Eternal Patrol.)

All three crews are buried in Magnolia Cemetery in Charleston, which is the second aspect of today's story.
(Grave of H.L. Hunley).

But the story isn't quite done yet.

Driving through Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina (a suburb of Charleston), we found this historical marker - the house is no longer there but here is where the crew was lodged before their fateful voyage.

That is the third and final aspect of today's story.

Next week, a story of one of the crew on that fateful night, and his link to the Battle of Shiloh (whose 150th anniversary is coming up early next month).

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Civil War Sunday - Special Edition -The H.L. Hunley is Found!

Well, yes, the Hunley was found in Charleston Harbor back several years ago....I mean I finally found it.

Several months ago, I had posted about the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley, now being restored in North Charleston, South Carolina, and how I was unable to find it last year.

I came back to Charleston this year - one of the main reasons (besides having fallen in love with Charleston) was to try to find the Hunley. Thanks to a local bloggerspouse and I found it.  We took the tour and also visited Magnolia Cemetery, where the three crews which died (long and wonderful story) on the Hunley are buried.

I just wanted to give a shout out to the blogger who helped me out with my mission to find the H.L. Hunley.

And I hope the weather holds up (chance of thunderstorms today) for the rest of today's activities.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Sand Gnats

On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry gave his famous (for Americans) "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech in front of the Virginia Convention.

If Patrick Henry had given that speech in Charleston, SC, I think he would have worked in sand gnats.  I don't know if anyone would prefer death to being a dinner plate for low country sand gnats, but some people might think about it for a few minutes.

Although that famous speech wasn't given here in Charleston, a lot of Revolutionary War history was made in the Charleston area.  One famous building related to this period, built in 1770-1771, was the Old Exchange Building and Provost Dungeon.  It's still there:  very much there, having survived the Revolution, the Civil War, the Earthquake of 1886 and the Hurricane of 1938.  They knew how to build 'in those days'.  (I recommend you read, on the website, just how the building was built. It was a technique perfected by the ancient Romans.)

We were on our way to an antebellum home when, for some reason, this building beckoned.  I love history and, although my major interest right now is the Civil War, I've also visited various sites related to our Revolutionary War.  I was not disappointed.

Part of the the original sea wall of Charleston was found during excavations made during renovations in the 1970's.

The varied history of this building involves pirates, one of whom was hung at nearby White Point Garden (the Battery).

The Declaration of Independence was read to the citizens of Charleston in 1776 from the balcony of the building. (As an irony, slaves were sold next door for a time.)

Still later came the imprisonment of patriots during the British occupation of Charleston. We stood on the very bricks where they lay chained to the wall for some two years, some 25 of them.  Not all made it out alive.  One, patriot Isaac Hayne, executed by the British for treason against the Crown, spent his last night in this building. 
For all that time, gunpowder was hidden, successfully, by the patriots just a few feet away from where the prisoners lay chained.  The British never decided to investigate a locked room to see what was in there.

After the war, the Constitution was ratified by South Carolina in this building.

In 1791, President George Washington attended a reception and ball in his honor in the building.  In the room below, Washington, then 59 years old, spent the night dancing with (it is said) some 260 Charleston women, some of whom swooned (it is said) from the experience.

The building was restored and reopened to the public in 1981.

Besides a lot of Revolutionary War history, there is a very nice Civil War exhibit within the building. 

One day, if I ever visit Charleston again, I might get to that other house....

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Perfect Cup of Camellia

Did you know that tea (the tea plant, of that lovely cup of green or black tea you might drink for health or enjoyment reasons) is grown in only one place in the United States?

Did you know that a tea plant (Camellia sinensis var. sinesis, meaning "Chinese Camellia") can live up to 400 years and still be productive?  Did you know that green, black and oolong tea all come from the same plant - that it is the processing after harvesting that determines which of the three types that the harvest will end up as?

On Wadmalaw Island, a relatively undeveloped island (and kept that way on purpose by the proud natives) in Charleston County, South Carolina lies this country's only tea plantation, the Charleston Tea Plantation, home of  American Classic Tea.

We were greeted by a woman who spoke with a distinct accent from "the other side of the pond" - what a perfect touch.

These are the tea plants, which are only now waking up from their winter dormancy.  In late fall and early winter, they bloom (small white flowers with yellow centers, smaller than your normal camellia flower) and then go dormant.  The first harvest will be given away at a special "First Flush" festival (they hope to get Willie Nelson for the 2012 festival), and then about 8 more harvests will be taken at 20 day intervals.
 The tea plants are propagated right at the plantation, in special climate controlled greenhouses.  Tea plants are very particular about the exact conditions they grow in, including when they are young.

Charleston has all the needed conditions for growth:  heat, humidity and drainage.

Most tea is grown on hillsides, we were told, for drainage not because they must grow on hills.  Since the American Classics plantation is flat, machines can be used to harvest.

At the end of the tour is:  tea time!  All the tea we could drink, both iced (sweet and unsweet) and hot. 

Just down the road is a distillery that makes sweet tea vodka from that same tea, but that is a post for another day.....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Things - A Bloom Grows in Brooklyn

Flowers in Brooklyn?  (one of the five boroughs of my native New York City). Why not?

Most people who have visited New York City  have only been to Manhattan and they have little idea what can be found in the other four boroughs.

Take it from me, a native of New York City - you are missing out if you don't venture out of Manhattan.

Fortunately, I still have family (and a childhood best friend) in Brooklyn (my Dad was a native of Brooklyn) and, back in February, I visited them.

Brooklyn is not a borough of skyscrapers (although there are some tall buildings downtown - and yes, there is a separate downtown in Brooklyn) but a lot of it is residential.  Many people live in apartment buildings but still more live in attached one family houses.

Brooklyn used to be a separate city and, as far as I'm concerned, it still is one.  Some parts (must be honest) are very ratty (in more ways than one) but there are some very nice places, too.

We walked around a neighborhood called Marine Park, in Brooklyn, and to my delight, I found these flowering cabbages.  They had survived the mild winter and were quite healthy.

Trees grow in Brooklyn, too.  Yes, indeed.  I was told once that there are more trees in Brooklyn than there are in Kansas.

And one final picture of trees, taken along Ocean Parkway, a main parkway also in Brooklyn.
 Remember:  not all of New York City is a concrete jungle.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Bridge Too Far

I am not a novice when it comes to walking on bridges.  I've walked the Brooklyn Bridge (between the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn), the Rainbow Bridge (between Niagara Falls, NY and Niagara Falls, Ontario and the Alexandra Bridge between Ottawa, Ontario and Hull, Quebec, among others.

But today I met my match.

My head hangs in shame.  My arthritic right knee and a steep (to my knee, that is) incline did me in.  (memo to self:  lose weight).  I had the physical fitness otherwise and the will.  And the morning was beautiful and sunny.

I did not complete the walking of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge that spans the Cooper River between Charleston, South Carolina and Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina-if you count the long approaches on both sides.
I did do about 3.2 miles (round trip) and I did a bunch of walking afterwards (on flatter paths).  But the bridge defeated me, mere days before the Cooper River Bridge Run where participants will do a lot more than the bridge.

The entire round trip, I figure, would have been about 5.4 miles.

 The approach to the bridge from the Mt. Pleasant side.

This is a very popular bridge.  On this Tuesday morning, there were a variety of walkers and bikers:  mothers with strollers, college students, senior citizens.

One of the many sights from the bridge is the U.S.S. Yorktown at Patriots Point.
After we finished our walk we still had parking time left (you have to prepay, estimating how much time you will need) so we took a walk on the 1250 ft. Mount Pleasant Pier.  Not only was there walking, fishing, and a very nice playground, but there were benches and porch type swings  Here is some detail from a swing.
Hopefully my knee will be better tomorrow, and I will be off to more adventures. (Tomorrow's Spring Things will not be a Charleston post but I promise, you will get to see some of the many flower pictures I've been taking another time.)  Sadly, one of the places I was thinking of visiting, Folly Beach County park, is closed, having been dealt heavy blows by nature - including the same Hurricane Irene that did in parts of upstate NY - but there is so much to do in Charleston, one could spend months here and not run out of things to do.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Adventures in Construction Land

I love travel because of the unexpected.  And sometimes, the very humorous.

Spouse and I. over the past two days, traveled (by car) from the Binghamton, NY area to the Charleston, SC area.  Our heads are still spinning from the road, but by tomorrow we should be recovered and all set to explore the Low Country.

So what did we find just outside our motel? 

Road construction.

But not just any road construction.

We are in "Construction Land". And not only that, it even has its own website.

At the end of the construction area - yes, there a sign telling us we are leaving Construction Land.

So what is happening at South Carolina's newest "theme park"?  A lot of improvements for the boulevard we are staying near.  The project should be finished by December and one hopes it doesn't impact local businesses - quite a number, from the looks of it - too much.  (We did manage to get to the Harris-Teeter supermarket after a couple of attempts at figuring out how to enter the shopping plaza, and picked up 4 cases of Cheerwine, some crab cakes and a container of she-crab soup for dinner.  Earlier, I had bought some Goo Goo Clusters for dessert.)

You  gotta love people who can joke about road construction.

That was our warm welcome to the Charleston area.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Civil War Sunday-The Battle of Charleston Reenactment 2010

 (The above is actually from the 2009 event but I liked it, so hope you enjoy.)
I am continuing a blog post from last Sunday.  Last March, I visited a Civil War reenactment near Charleston, South Carolina.  As I blogged last week, this doesn't commemorate one battle but rather several different skirmishes over the course of the war.

I don't know any Civil War reenactors personally so this may be a common thing, but what struck me about the group participating in this (according to the program) is that the reenactors have formed a Northern regiment, and a Southern regiment, and all members are able to "play" both roles.  I would give them some actual credit, but I apparently lost my program (in our September flood).  If anyone knows any of these reenactors, I would love to hear more about them so I can give their organization proper credit.

As I've blogged before, there is a lot more to a reenactment than people running around with guns and pretending to fight each other. (Those fights can be dangerous, by the way, especially the ones on horseback). There is a very big educational element, and the reenactors in this met with spectators afterwards.

Some of these are not in "order". My uploading function has been balky recently.

First, the assembling. (Federals, and then Confederates.)

 Almost time for battle...and then it begins.

Time for the cavalry.

It's time for the soldiers on horseback.

And time for some hand to hand fighting.

There is also an educational component to the reenactments.  Last week I blogged about a Gullah educator and her activities.  Today, a view of the medical tent treating the casualties.

If you are in the Charleston area next weekend, please stop by.  You might just find me just never know where you may find me ramblin'.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Civil War Saturday-St. Patrick's Day Special Edition

A short post today, because a fellow blogger has basically done my work. (Thank you, Carolina HeartStrings). 

I normally don't have Civil War Saturdays but I couldn't resist after reading her post.

I enjoy originality and new views of events and people and  this take on the Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley by a South Carolina blogger fits right into that catgory.  I have blogged about the Hunley before, but not quite like this.

On this St. Patrick's Day, it is fitting to consider the contribution of Irish immigrants to the Civil War.  The Carolina HeartStrings post discusses the Irish crew members of this submarine. The Scots contributed also- I have blogged about a local Civil War hero in our Binghamton, New York community, David Ireland, who was an immigrant from Scotland.  Indeed, immigrants from various countries played many parts in our War Between the States.  It wasn't just natives of North and South.

But the Irish contributed more than their share.

At this point, I would also like to expand a little on something else the Carolina HeartStrings blog discussed - the fact that citizens of the Northern and Southern states, even to this day, name this war that occurred from 1861-1865 differently.  I call it the "Civil War", remaining true to my New York (Northern United States) roots.  There is a very nice discussion of the different naming of this war online.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention another link in the blog post I am discussing, a very nice discussion of some of the treasures (treasures of history, that is) recovered from the Hunley, that are not normally shown to the public.  One of these treasures mentions a battle in Tennessee whose anniversary is coming up next month.  A terrible battle - and one that I will blog about in the coming weeks.

Note, starting Monday, I will be taking time off here and there so I hope you enjoy my "best of AM" posts.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Westover Blooms after the Flood

For all the times we had one or two feet of snow on the ground on March 16....

For all the times we sat and stared at the Weather Channel and saw other people getting spring, but not us....

For the time (I think it was March 19 of last year) we were on the road in Southeast Virginia, saw a church sign announcing "Spring is God's Postcard" and thought our postcard had been Returned to Sender, Address Unknown...

For all the misery the weather caused upstate NY last year, including towns flooded and destroyed by Hurricane (well, maybe by then Tropical Storm) Irene and our area flooded by Tropical Storm Lee following in Irene's wake, including a lot of my neighborhood, Westover (near Johnson City, NY), we've been given a gift.  Along with much of the Northeast, we have been given the gift of early spring, some plants coming out a month ahead of schedule.

Is all forgiven?

No.  You can't forgive the weather, because there is no malice. The weather acts as it will. But sometimes, after a flood, the sun finally comes out and shines a rainbow down.

This year our spring postcard was delivered early.  Late this afternoon I took a walk around Westover and found this...

A crocus....

Yellow daffodils planted in the front of our Y, which had flooded in September (and is just about back to normal now after cleaning up from that and a fire the following month....)
...more crocuses...

..a bush buds out
And, at my house, I found my crocuses (about the last in the neighborhood!) had finally opened.

Now - we must hold our breath.  Because weather can be fickle.  It's easy to forget it is still winter.

And then what?

But in the meantime, I an drinking in every drop of spring.

Zombies and St. Patricks Day

Zombie mashups are the order of the day.

The father of the Little Women beomes a werewolf in one mashup.  Jane Austin wrote about them in another.  Not only was Abraham Lincoln a vampire hunter, but St. Patrick was really trying to rid the Emerald Isle of....zombies.

Yes.  St. Patrick's Day (tomorrow) is a zombie holiday, which may come as a surprise to the good residents of Ireland, and certain American cities such as Savannah, GA.  But I digress.)

Here's the true story of St. Patrick, as revealed by author Dan DeWitt.

Note that in a lot of modern zombie literature, zombies are not quite the traditional Voudon zombies.  Rather, they originate  from some type of virus (natural or man made by terrorists or others).  The first victims get the virus, die and reanimate as mindless, vicious creatures who have an insatiable hunger for living human flesh.  So their first act once reanimated is to attack the nearest living humans.  Once bitten, the next human victim gets the virus, dies, reanimates.  Repeat the process, many times. 

The plague spreads rapidly, with the government unable to fight it, usually ending up in a total destruction of civilization.  Of course, civilization doesn't fall until  there are many thrilling battles, explosions and so forth, with the zombies always winning.  These are a totally different enemy and can only, killed...(re-killed?) in one particular way.  Of course it takes a while to figure it out and by the time the remaining humans do, it's too late.

The destruction of civilization? That is generally known as the "Zombie Apocalypse".

Zombies show up a lot nowadays in video games and popular literature and movies.  I especially love a local cable commercial, where Ricky Gervais refuses a Facebook friending invitation, and is suddenly plunged into a zombie apocalypse.  As he's running down the street being chased by zombies, soldiers and a helicopter, he is trying to accept the friend invite, saying he was "only kidding".

It really looks good in HD.  Although, just so you know, Time-Warner, it's starting to get a wee bit stale.

But St Patrick's Day and zombies?

Sure enough,..

Here are zombies in a St. Patrick's Day parade.

And you can even purchase a Celtic Zombie Pride greeting card.

I find zombies fascinating.  At least until the real zombie apocalypse hits. (and if it does, Ace has the products you need.).  You'll never think of St. Patrick's Day in the same way after a zombie apocalypse.  No one appreciated the job he did on the Emerald Isle, and now the zombies have regrouped.  And soon, they will be after our green beer.

Which brings the question, how did a holiday celebrating a saint evolve (or devolve?) into a secular holiday featuring shamrocks, corned beef and cabbage (we are having ours tonight) and green beer (no)?

In the meantime, remember to accept all Facebook "friend" invitations.  Especially tomorrow, on St Patrick's Day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day March 2012- The Winter of our Content

Like so many gardeners living in the Northeast, we have been full of wonder over our mild winter.  Normally, our area of upstate NY (Binghamton area) gets 80 inches or more of snow.  This's been hardly noticeable.  And spring is a good month ahead of schedule.

In some years, my Garden Bloggers Bloom Day (thank you again, May Dreams Gardens, for sponsoring this monthly event) would have consisted of pictures of 1 or 2 feet of snow on our yard.  But not this year.  Our high today was 73 at the house.  Yesterday was 63,  Monday was warm, and this warmth will continue for at least another week.  These aren't records.  But the day after day warmth - that is the big news.

Crocuses have been popping and blooming in local yards everywhere:  except in my northern exposure front yard.

I thought today would be a day of embarrassment.  I had pictures of my African violets and my Christmas cactus all ready to go.  But when I got home from work tonight, a surprise awaited.
One primrose had flowers opening.
And then I saw open buds on a second primrose.

In my lawn, crocuses had popped up and were getting ready to flower.

In the front of our house, an evergreen hedge is 'blooming'.

On the side of my house, a lilac is budding out.  Now I'll have to hold my breath that the cold weather doesn't come back. 

And what about other Binghamton area yards?  On my way home tonight, I saw an andromeda in bloom (right side of picture).
And, in another yard, a mystery plant.
And finally, another patch of crocuses.

What will happen between now and May?  I hope only good things.

If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, are you having an early spring too?

And, regardless of where you live, happy GBBD!