Friday, April 24, 2009

First Poppy of the Season

I am always happy to see the return of one of my favorite flowers in the whole world....the humble Poppy.

This beautiful Salmon colored Iceland poppy is the first to bloom. The fun thing is that it was also the last poppy of the season in my garden last fall. You can see how it looked back then in the post Icey Iceland Poppy. There is also information there about the variety and seed source.

A close-up of the intricate center. I love all Poppies, but this one is a favorite for it's delicate look and lovely pastel color.


"As for marigolds, poppies, hollyhocks, and valorous sunflowers, we shall never have a garden without them, both for their own sake, and for the sake of old-fashioned folks, who used to love them. "

Henry Ward Beecher

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter


Saturday, April 4, 2009

A Not-So-Pleasant Pheasant Sighting

The male pheasant is a beautiful and colorful bird, and we often enjoy watching them on the hillside near our house. I've tried without success to get a photo of them, because they are so cautious and scare very easily. So I was quite surprised to look out the window a couple mornings ago and see one in my flower bed!

I have a a bird feeder hanging on a tree branch above this bed and apparently some seed had fallen unto the ground. This rooster and two hens were just a-scratching away there! They did damage to some newly emerging tulip bulbs I planted there last fall. You can see some of the broken foliage in this zoomed shot, just to the right of Mr. Pheasant. (A side note: These particular flower beds are formed with natural basalt rock we have here in GREAT abundance. I guess you could say we are taking advantage of our natural resources.)

Here, Mr. Pheasant has sensed my presence in the window, and is standing at attention, ready to take flight. The females had wisely disappeared by now. I'm glad to have at least gotten a photo of this elusive creature, and I don't think the tulips are so badly damaged as to not bloom, though they may be a little raggedy. In the mean time, I will be moving the bird feeder, to hopefully avoid this happening again. The Ringneck Pheasant is named for the white ring around it's neck, but I confess I may have had some other impulses regarding the term ring neck. (Ha) On a happier note....if you click to enlarge the photo, you can see some soon-to-bloom daffodils, to the left of the fencepost.


A few Pheasant Facts :

* Roosters will range in weight from 3.5 to 4 lbs

* Hens will range in weight from 2 to 2.5 lbs

* A typical rooster accumulates a harem of three to seven hens

* After hatching, pheasant chicks immediately begin growing flight feathers, and are capable of short flights at 2 weeks

* Pheasants do not migrate, they stay relatively local all year long

* On flat ground, a ringneck pheasant can run at speeds of 8-10mph

* Pheasants can fly up to 48mph

* Pheasants main predators include: Fox, Raccoon and Skunk (as chicks) and Man, Fox, Hawks and Owls

* Pheasants eat berries, seeds, young shoots and insects and prefer open country with
brushy cover

* Through most of the growing season, pheasants can survive on the moisture they
consume in insects and the morning dew on vegetation

* During the summer, insects comprise considerably more of the chick's diet and weed seeds
more of the adult's diet

* Pheasants are in the Phasianidae family and are cousins of Quail and Partridge

* The spring ratio of hens to roosters is usually about 3:1

* 30% annual survival rate and only 2-3% of population lives to age 3, whether they're hunted or not

* Pheasants, a native to China, were brought across the Pacific in 1881 by Judge Owen Nickerson Denny in an initial batch of 30 (with 26 surviving the journey)