Final Farewell to the Triplets

One last post about the robin nest in our garden.  Three beautiful robins’ egg blue eggs that hatched and grew up in front of our eyes.  We named them the triplets: Winken, Blinken and Nod.  They are gone now.  Grown.  At least old enough to have flown away.  I still catch a glimpse of Nod in the trees now and then and Mom and Dad are still around but all have deserted the nest.  Sure is lonely.  I miss the little ones but it was wonderful watching them grow.  It was too fast – 12 days from hatching to flight.  Here is a record of their time with us:

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Happy Days and remember to “bee” positive!

Getting our Cinco On.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo!

Bueno Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

GrowDammit!

Or, is it getting our Mayo on?  Either way, we had…

Stay tuned because tomorrow night we will have some of the same fixin’s with different proteins.  The spawn abandoned us for May 5th, so we gotta do a May 6th.   Kentucky Derby, Kentucky Schmerby spawn.  Sexto de Mayo?

That sounds all kinds of wrong.

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Update on the Triplets; Winken The Prodigy

So it has been a while since I updated you on the triplets.  They have been growing sooo fast!  Today is day 11 since they hatched and Winken, the biggest of the three (and also the hungriest) has shown his progeny – by flying!  OK not very far but still only 11 days out of the egg!  Here he is sitting proudly if not a little wobbly near the nest:

The others cannot be far behind! Here is a pic from yesterday with all three crowded in the nest.  They are literally sitting on top of one another.  Uncharacteristically, Winken is taking a nap (probably resting up for his solo flight today) and Blinken (left) and Nod, who is usually asleep are the ones crying for dinner.

Dad has really taken a disliking to me and is not above pulling my hair when I get too close.  Here he is looking more disapproving than if I were a prom date with lip piercings and a tattoo!

All in all a very satisfying family affair.

Happy Birding and remember to “bee”  positive!

Oleander: The Plant You Hate To Love

Wikipedia defines Oleander as “an evergreen shrub or small tree in the dogbane family  toxic in all its parts. It is the only species currently classified in the genus Nerium. It is most commonly known as oleander. It is so widely cultivated that no precise region of origin has been identified, though southwest Asia has been suggested. Oleander is one of the most poisonous of commonly grown garden plants.”

So there you have it.  All parts of the plant are poisonous.  And not just a little.  My search on the web reveals that even a dose as small as one leaf ingested can stop the beating heart of a good-sized dog or toddler.  In fact it is named dogbane – can’t really be much clearer than that.

So why am I blogging about Oleander you might ask?  Well, the truth is I love this shrub.  It is definitely a plant for warmer climes hardy only to zone 8 and then with die-back in freezing temperatures.  But for all that it is one tough plant.  It is extremely drought tolerant, blooms all summer long with pink, magenta, or white blooms, doesn’t need pruning and will fill a large sunny to partly shady space of 10′ X 10′ with long graceful evergreen leaves and gorgeous tropical looking flowers.  It doesn’t sucker nor is it invasive here. Down on the Gulf of Mexico, it grows with abandon snubbing its pretty nose at hurricane winds and salty spray alike.

When I first started my gardens six years ago, it is the very first thing I planted on the back wall of our shed.  I choose a soft pink flower but it now blooms both pink and magenta flowers (don’t ask me – I just enjoy them) At that time it was a neglected area in the dog’s yard and never got watered.  Didn’t matter.  Our Oleander just grew and grew.  It is now about 10-12′ tall and I expect at least 4′ more in height and width in the next 2-3 years.  I have since added my cutting garden with plenty of water and fertilizer about 3′ away from the tips of this shrub so it now enjoys better treatment but you really would not know the difference.  It just blooms and grows.

And yes, it is in the dog’s yard.  In fact, I purposely planted it in the dog’s yard because I have lots of flowers and the neighborhood kids love to smell and pick them and even have helped me plant over the years and I didn’t want the kids to be able to reach this plant.  I trust my dogs’ judgement but kids are another story! Our four dogs run past the Oleander bush everyday chasing cars and whatever else dares too close to the back fence.  I have even seen Buck, our Australian Shepherd rolling around on his back under its branches.  Never, not once, has any dog I have ever had or known been even tempted taste the poisonous Oleander.  And my dogs love to eat plants.  They annihilated my Stevia the afternoon I planted it, love to munch on Lantana leaves, are merciless thieves with my tomatoes when they can get to them, and think nothing of grabbing a tasty snack of green grass when out with me in the garden.  So I am careful about what I plant in their side of the yard.  But Oleander was never a worry.  I am told that it smells noxious (I smell nothing) and tastes even worse.  I have trusted my dogs to be sensible (even our big dumb chocolate lab mix who is a legendary chow hound) and they have not let me down.  So I enjoy both my blooms and my babies.  Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Happy Gardening and remember to “bee” positive!

Welcome May: Free Computer Wallpaper with Calendar

May has arrived which means that spring is most decidedly here.  I am offering a free May Calendar Wallpaper of a painting I did that was inspired by this season’s bluebonnets.  It is really a treat to see a field of them next to the road or in an old graveyard. To get the full image go to my Etsy shop, go to http://www.etsy.com/listing/83058348/free-may-computer-wallpaper-download   and follow the directions listed there.

I went out to take my daily photo of the triplets today and dad has gotten really brave.  I know this picture is a little dark but here he is just before dive bombing me for about the tenth time.  He is such a bad-ass.  I try not to use indelicate language when writing but I really could not think of a more descriptive term for this guy.  He still has a rakish tuft on his head but he is decidedly thinner.

Happy May and remember to “bee” positive!