Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spring Crawls Up the Hill

 Until today, nothing new has bloomed in our yard since the Spring Whitlow Grass that arrived a few weeks ago.  Downtown along Main Street the tulips in front of various shops have been blooming for a couple of weeks.  We've only around 100' above the downtown elevation, but we are in the shade of tall firs and pines.  So today, three of our tulips fully bloomed, and there are a couple dozen more waiting in line.

 Our Dandelions are doing great, possibly the best in the neighborhood.  I suspect they are liking the canine excrement and renal outpourings diluted by the recent rains.  And for the last couple of days they've been attracting hundreds of Painted Lady butterflies.
 Today while photographing this activity I enjoyed watching one of our cats lunge at butterflies a dozen or more times with ever catching one.
 I think I'll enjoy this show of Dandelions and butterflies for a couple more days, then cut down the Dandelions before they go to seed. It seems that most people are at war with Dandelions, but I need to have a little fun before succumbing to the neighborhood standard.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

R. I. P. Dandelion

I stumbled across Hallie Bateman's clever and sensitive eulogy to the Crayola (r) color "Dandelion." The illustrated eulogy appeared in the New York Times, but I found it while surfing through my subscription to Austin Kleon's weekly newsletter on April 14.  I haven't blogged as much as I'd like to in recent months, but the Dandelions are making their appearance in my yard (above and below) and Bateman's piece has fired me up again.
I read that this color will be replaced by a new hue in the Blue family, and maybe it will be formally announced before I finish with this post.  Besides arousing my protective spirit toward dandelions, this news launched some serious net surfing during which I found that Crayola currently produces 120 colors.  Their common box sizes contain 8, 16, 32, 48, 64, or 120 crayons.  I'm not sure why they didn't continue the geometric series they started by having a box of 128.  A box of 120 is cool, though, as 120 has many factors.  I was visualizing the possibilities for box shapes: 2 x 60, 3 x 40, 4 x 30, 5 x 24, 6 x 20, 8 x 15, and 10 x 12.  And that's only the rectangular boxes.  Imagine other possibilities such as triangular, parallelogram and hexagonal boxes!
My net search also included Prismacolor pencils.  I read some histories and found that Prismacolor is no longer made by Berol, and that they currently produce 150 colors.
Since I had my camera in hand to get some shots of my dandelions, I walked around the yard a bit to see what else was brewing.  One of our yellow tulips (above) is about to bloom. We've tried to eradicate the tulips several times in order to plant something different.  However, they keep coming back.  I admire that, so I think this time around we'll leave them alone.  We do have at least 6 varieties that display an amazing array of bright colors.  Maybe we'll see them in a couple of weeks. The forecast for the coming week is cool and rainy, so it'll be a while before the other colors are revealed.
Companions to our tulips are these Hyacinths.  This name applies to quite a variety of flowers, some that are not even in the same family as the ones above, Amaryllidaceae.  Lily relatives.
Last, I'm gathering notes for a possible book on my educational experiences.  One of my strongest memories from 1st grade is that my teacher posed the question: What comes after yellow?  Back then I said "that's a stupid question" or words to that effect.  If I were a first grader today, I might answer "a funeral."