Grit Blogs > Rosedale Garden

Spring Trips and spring arrives in Alabama

This past weekend was beautiful but windy, however Influenza B decided to pay a visit and I was sick and didn't get to enjoy working out in the yard. 

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The heralds of spring, the ruby-throated hummingbirds are on the way back to our gardens.   According to the latest migrationmaps, on March 19, ruby-throated hummers are at the top of my state.  

When feeding hummingbirds don’t use the red dye stuff you find in the store. It’s very simple to make your own.  Use one part sugar and four parts of very hot to boiling water.  Mix well, cool and fill feeders.  It’s important to change out feeders frequently, especially during hot weather. If the water becomes cloudy it’s past time to change it.  At the first of the spring until I start seeing hummingbirds at my feeder, I’ll use 1/8 C sugar and ½ water.  As I have more birds, I’ll start putting more feeders out. 

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One interesting fact about migration, hummers will travel 25 mph hour while migrating from Mexico across the gulf and up the panhandle.  It’s an amazing feat for something that only weighs a few ounces. They don’t ride on the backs of migrating geese as some wise tails have it.  The wings will flap 55 times a second.  The average lifespan of a hummingbird is around four years.        

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My daffodils, star magnolias, saucer magnolias, lenten rose, anemone and plum trees are in bloom.  The star magnolias were hit by a freeze and aren’t as nice as last year.  The one at the corner of the house was only blooming up the side nearest the house and I thought the other side wasn't going to bloom because of the freeze damage, but it came out nicely during the warm temperatures this past weekend.  The magnolia blooms will bite the dust in the next few days when temperatures get back down into the twenties. No wonder the flu has hit our area hard   

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I’d wanted to see a local Nature Conservancy nature preserve for years called The Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve.  A local couple Jim and Faye Lacefield started buying property in the hills and hollers south of Tuscumbia and it now a Nature Conservancy project .  They built trails, bridges, outhouses and have graciously opened it up to the public during daylight hours. Knee surgeries, replacements, ankle injuries or something else had prevented me from making the trip.  Two weekends ago, the trout lilies were at their peak and a wildflower walk had a large number of folks showing up.  I almost didn’t make it up the last large hill as I got overheated even though temperatures were only in the 70’s.  Little did I know, the flu was making its introduction.  So much for taking the flu shot.

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The farmers are getting ready to start planting corn, but first need to get through one rainy and cold spell.   Weather folks are predicting freezing rain Friday morning.

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I’ve been visiting the local areas where bald eagles are nesting and overwintering and have made several dry runs getting pictures of everything but eagles.  A hacking program several years ago by the State Conservation Department introduced the eagle back to the area.  I finally hit pay dirt Tuesday when I visited a nesting area just minutes from downtown Florence and was able to photograph the nesting pair in a tree near the nest with one of last years hatchlings circling overhead.  At least two young could be heard in the nest.  Watching the female above the nest with the other two circling was a magnificent sight.  I kept wondering why in the world would Ben Franklin want the turkey as our national bird instead of the Bald eagle?

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I kept trying to figure out what that little stick thing was below the top eagle, then I remember one had gotten the call of nature while taking the picture.  I remember at the time that I hope I didn't get that.