Sun finally shows up after long absence

It’s an absolutely beautiful day here on the shoulders of the Northern California Sierra mountains.

Unlike yesterday, and last week, and the week before, and the week before that and

The Chinese lantern tree, really just a sapling still, is blooming for the first time this year.

– well, you catch my drift – the sun is out, there are no clouds, and by 10 o’clock this morning I’d opened every window in the house to let in the still-cool-but-rapidly-warming fresh air.

A walk outside with Finny filled my nose with the scent of lush greenery and, delightfully, flowers. The garden beds around the house are bursting with growth and blossoms, the earth beneath them moist from weeks of on-again, off-again rainshowers and, most recently, thunderstorms. The heather, some butter-colored daylilies, the roses andazaleas, the Chinese lantern tree and even our two Japanese maples are in bloom, along with many others that only Mr Wren, the master gardener, knows the names of.

We have two pairs of black-headed grosbeaks visiting our sunflower-seed feeders (one hanging outside the kitchen window, the other outside my den window) and, I’m guessing, nesting nearby. Both genders sing, which is a bit unusual, but fortunately they share a pretty song. And the tiny Bewick’s wrens that have made our garden their home for many years now fill the early morning and dusk hours with their exquisite singing. This sunshine must feel so good to them.

I watched a little nuthatch work sunflower seeds through openings in the bottom of

It's not a great photo, but here are one of the pairs of black-headed grosbeaks, chowing down as the sun sets. The male is on the left side of the feeder, and the female on the right. With them are a couple of house finches. Usually, the grosbeaks chase them off, so it was nice to see them sharing for a change.

the kitchen window feeder this morning; he did the job clinging upside-down, as nuthatches are wont to do. Once he had a seed in his narrow beak, he fluttered up to a wooden crosspiece on the arbor, where he went about cracking it. Nuthatches are primarily insect-eaters, so they have a short, very thin, pointy beak, perfect for sticking into cracks and hidey-holes. To eat the sunflower seed, though, this little fellow had to peck at the hard outer shell furiously until it broke. It took a number of tries, but he did it, and after eating the tender seed, he zipped back down to the feeder – and his gravity-defying position – for another. I was enthralled.

Although I’m a cool-weather person (and the rare Californian) who enjoys rain, I have to admit I’ve been getting pretty tired of it lately. We’ve had very few sunshiney days this spring. So few, in fact, that our raised beds haven’t yet been built and our vegetable gardens, which I was so looking forward to, haven’t been planted. And it’s been downright cold; yesterday I built yet another late-season fire in the woodstove to warm the house up. The last time I can remember doing that in May was in 1998, the first spring we lived in this house and, yes, another El Nino year.

Only Mr Wren knows the real name of these, but I call them "butter lilies." Fits, doesn't it?

If it stays clear and sunny, we’ll get busy on the gardens again, finally, but it means that my tomatoes, eggplants and beans (all my favorites) will produce very late in the season. Last year was also an odd growing season with lots of cool, overcast days. By the time my roma tomatoes finally started ripening, it was mid-fall and the weather was turning chilly. The plants ended up dying, still loaded with unripened, green fruit.

So while it’s had an iffy start, I hope this summer will be more normal, with plenty of bright, warm days. Even then, though, I’ll be lucky if my tomatoes ripen before autumn arrives.

Today’s sun and fresh air was so nice, I got all jazzed up and cleaned the house, reaching up to the ceilings with my broom to sweep down all those cobwebs I couldn’t see before in the gray gloom. I vacuumed and dusted and mopped and window-washed, singing along to Simon & Garfunkle’s Greatest Hits on my iTouch. It was fun – I haven’t really listened to that album in years, but I knew all the words to all the songs.  I guess I’m showing my age.

When I went up to the mailbox around noon, there was an envelope in it from the veterinarian. I opened it – and found a sympathy card for Logan’s passing, signed by the vet, her techs and the office staff, each with a short note of condolence. I was so surprised and touched, I started blubbering.

Finally, I stepped on the scale this morning and was pleased to see that I’ve dropped a couple more pounds. This was a triumph! I’ve been stuck at 170 for several weeks in spite of being very careful of what I eat, so I was getting a little frustrated. It’s funny, though. Even though I was stuck, my clothes were still getting a looser and my waist (I have a waist again!) a bit more defined. I can’t tell you how much that pleases me. It makes the effort – the daily mindfulness – so worthwhile. I’ve got a ways to go before I’ll need smaller clothing sizes again, but that’s all right. It’s just nice to know that I’m getting there. I’m really going to enjoy being slim, and as I resume walking and some resistance exercise, being more strong and fit, too.

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone.

2 thoughts on “Sun finally shows up after long absence

  1. I love seeing everything bloom out in the spring. Unfortunately, my allergies don’t share my enthusiasm. I love the birds that we have around our house as well. I watched the Purple Martins flying and playing Saturday evening.
    Congrats on getting unstuck on the scales. I bet you won’t complain about having to buy some new clothes because you have to will you?


  2. Nope. You won’t hear a single word of complaint about that from me, Terry. I don’t particularly like shopping for new clothes, but I do love wearing them … ;o)


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