Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Onrushing Storm

Incoming storms up here are just too cool for words, so enjoy the story below

If a Man Falls a Tree in the Pasture....

...will his bull think it was just for him?  If his bull is Roar, then the answer is yes, absolutely.
It's been several years since the black blight claimed all three madrones in the north pasture, and it was time to finally take them down.  This long dead and dried, they make the most excellent firewood as they burn long and hot.  They are also very hard at this point, as evidenced by the one ruined chain for the small chainsaw that ended the tree falling after just one of the three was taken down.  With a promise of  rain bearing down on us anyway, we picked up the small stuff while the cows arrived to take charge of mashing up and breaking up every branch and twig within reach that was still attached to the tree.
Don't forget to click the first pix and see it on the big screen as there is some pretty scenery in there too
 Dale and Big Orange headed towards the target tree.  No, not the gigantic Oregon white oak, the small, dead madrone to the right
 The target
 Dale takes his facing cut
 On to the back cut
 In the real logging world, NOBODY yells 'Timber!!'.  They yell 'WATCH OUT!!!'

 Not bad.  Note the nicely figured bark

 Zenda the steer arrives to take the first shot at the downed tree
 And then Roar arrives to take charge of the downed tree

 This is what you get with Murray Greys.  No fear, none whatsoever, and great curiosity.  Mostly driven by the thought there might be food involved somehow
Roar, bummed that his big scratching post is driving off

Roses For Noses

To me personally, it seems a waste to have a gorgeous flower without fragrance.  I grow a lot of old garden roses for that very reason.  Almost all have a strong, pleasing fragrance.  Besides that, they bloom like crazy, have wonderful, interesting shapes and colours, tend towards the disease-free spectrum (excepting some of the yellow shades descended from 'Austrian Copper') and make lovely, informal bushes that are attractive even when not in bloom.  Yes, most OGR's only bloom once in the spring, but there are many that have two huge bloom cycles throughout the year.  And, 'Celsiana' has already had a small fall flowering for me once.  And this time of year, in the late afternoon, standing anywhere around the stock tank where 'Complicata' and 'Celsiana' are now in nearly full bloom is like being near the fragrance counter at a department store, without the strangely jarring mix of fragrances and salesladies chasing you with a spray bottle.  So, I guess it's nothing like being near the fragrance counter at a department store.  It's just way, WAY better.
 Rosa gallica Versicolour, aka 'Rosa Mundi' or 'Fair Rosamund', dating back to before the 1300's
'Celsiana' damask rose

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fear Me - I Have Super Flowers

Brace yourself - there are 21 pictures in this post.  Click on the first one and view on a big screen for the best enjoyment of pure beauty
 Paeony 'Bowl of Beauty'

 Just for me, tye dye petunias!
 If anyone had asked you if you thought that brown, gold and mauve would be a good colour combo in a flower, would you have said yes?
 Above and below, 'Alchymist' climbing shrub rose.  Powerfully fragrant at all stages of bloom

 Tough and cheerful 'Summer Skies' chaenarrhinum.  Takes everything you throw at it and just keeps on going
 Stock tank corner with two old garden roses, 'Complicata' (below) and 'Celsiana', just getting ready to bloom

 Cricket poses with 'Rosa gallica Versicolour' aka Rosa Mundi, an ancient old garden rose, covered with buds.  All this in spite of never getting any water other than rain and during the construction of the dog room addition, getting severely hacked back, trampled and abused
 Shrub rose 'Savoy Hotel'
 Floribunda rose 'Playboy, above and below, with a friend

 A cute impatiens I ran across at Johnson Brothers Nursery a few weeks ago
 There's that colour combo thing again - who would have thought this attractive in any way just by its description?
 Had to throw in some nice scenic shots of Gem the Border Collie
 Austin climbing rose 'The Impressionist'

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dutch Treat

In the middle of the bearded iris blooming season, the Dutch iris start a show of their own.  The nice thing is that the gophers and voles don't seem to like iris of any kind, which is why I started planting tulips in pots.  Tulips must be like a dessert to gophers and voles around here, because while there are some areas where tulips seem to remain unmolested for years, around here, we must have giant neon underground signs directing the little varmints to our locale

 As usual, I threw in two pictures that have nothing to do with Dutch iris.  The pot above has a brand new, never before seen colour combo for Nemesia, red and white "Cherries ala Mode".  The pot below is probably the coolest one I did this year thus far, and it just keeps getting better.  I'm just so proud that something worked out so nicely

Big Bada BOOM

We rarely get thunder bumpers in this part of Oregon, but when we do, they are awe inspiring.  Yesterday evening, one popped up.  I know this because I was contemplating going out to feed the hounds when the first boomer rolled over the ranch.  I thought it was headed this way, and knew that I would need to peel Gem the BC out of the back of one of the doghouses or crates, so I grabbed the iPad and camera and went out to see.  As it turned out, it just rolled on up the Willamette Valley, northward and just to the east side of I-5 and didn't make landfall here.  I tracked it for awhile on the StormTracker app for the iPad and I must say, the folks in Albany, Lebanon, Canby and points NE sure must have had a show!
Click on the first pic to start the slideshow and definitely see these on a big screen!
 The best shot from yesterday
 Above and below, from this morning.  No thunder, some rain and that magical light that always appears this time of year

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Iris Rainbow

After a hot, sweaty and dirty morning wrangling cows and calves - weigh and worm day, before Bart comes to pick his girls up next week - it was refreshing to see the winds shift around to bring in the cooling ocean breezes inland.  So I grabbed the camera and made the rounds of the iris beds and pots.  My iris expert and fellow cow pal Bonnie probably knows all the names; I don't remember if I even did know them in the first place, except for 'Baboon Butt' (not blooming yet), 'Royal Blue Batik' and 'Supreme Sultan'.  Otherwise, I just call them all 'Gorgeous'
Don't forget to click the first pix to start the show!

 Absolutely gorgeous colour!
 'Supreme Sultan'.  Easy to tell - the biggest blooms on the tallest plants
 NOT 'Supreme Sultan'.  Much smaller and more muted colouring along with some plicata on the falls (yellow dashes on the purple petals)
 I call this pairing 'Dessert'.  As in lemon meringue pie and blueberries with cream
 If you look very, very closely at the outside edges of the falls (the bottom 'lip' petals), you'll see just the faintest dashes of light lavender

 I used to not like this one very much.  Lately, however, the colour has really taken hold of me, and the fragrance is without a doubt the best of the iris I grow
 No, not a novelty iris.  A very happy petunia.  I couldn't resist
Nope, just a party in a pot