Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bulbs, Bears and the Ice Storm

Lady Derby, Heirloom Hyacinth, 1875

Oh, happy day! The sun is shining!

A thin layer of ice melts from the garden. Hyacinth do their level best to shake off the last remnants of winter, providing a wee bit of spring color.

General Kohler Heirloom Hyacinth. (1878)
Find rare Hyacinth at Old House Gardens.

Cat's not happy. With good reason.

I love cats, hate litter boxes.

On the last sunshine-y day (which feels like a lifetime ago) I put his litter box outdoors in celebration of spring. Transforming him into a full on outdoor cat.

He woke me at dawn to inform me that I had absolutely jumped the gun on the switching of seasons. And, it is waaaaay too chilly to expect him to do his business outdoors.

It's been cold.

Really cold.

When I went to pick up my eggs, heat lamps were warming Bob's designer chickens.

Plentiful color, indoors, though, which always brightens my day.

I force Tulips every year, because it works wonders on my mood when I wake to grey skies and April showers snowstorms. (Store bulbs for 6 weeks, in a paper bag, in the refrigerator. It's just that easy.)

Did you know that cut Tulips continue to grow in the vase? 
Yes, indeedy, they do. And, they don't last very long as cut flowers 
because they need energy from the bulb for best blossoms.

That's a cat in the background. Pete likes my Tulips, too!

I grew these bulbs next to my computer so, during the work week, I could watch them quietly move from bud to blossom.

On the home front, it was another week of waiting...

Waiting with baited breath for the sun to warm our bones, for the blessings of spring to boost our spirits.

Meanwhile, back on the windowsill..

We've got pumpkins!

And Tomato plants. Rosemary, Hollyhocks. Percolating nicely in the sunny window.

Buckets and buckets of happy Tulips...

And, a bear problem.

Yup. Bears.

I'm a member of the High Uinta Backcountry Horsemen. (Which is pretty much all women so I don't know why they call it that.)

Actually, I'm a brand new member and I wouldn't have become a member at all if I had attended a meeting before I paid my dues.

The first meeting was all about defending yourself against bear attacks. 

Apparently, they have counted 45 black bears on the trails we were planning to ride.

The forest service calls them opportunistic predators. 

Meaning... they're not plotting to heist your picnic type basket. They're planning to eat you for dinner.

We participate in search and rescue on horseback.
It's downright amazing how many tourists get lost in these woods.
Seriously? Since when did berry-eating black bears gravitate to the carniverous side?

During the lively discussion re: defending yourself in a bear attack: You need to stand your ground and fight back. (Yeah. Like that's ever gonna happen...) I snatched the last cookie from the tray and hightailed it outta there.

"Kate!" Calls the woman in charge. "You need to know this stuff," she says.

"I already know what to do," I replied. (And, I'll bet you know, too.)

Best way to prevent a bear attack is to go ride somewhere else.

Or, if you must be out on that trail...  Make darn sure you're riding the faster horse!  :)

Tulip growth is affected by gravity and light. Flowers will curve upwards and bend toward the sun. In the garden, Tulips and Daffodils are BFFs. In the vase, not so much.

  • Plant Daffodils to surround your precious Tulip bulbs ~ critters can't smell your Tulips and therefore won't eat them.
  • Cut Daffodil stems emit a sap-like substance that can kill cut Tulips, if placed in the same vase. 

Happy Gardening!
 ~ kate

PS: Folks have been asking about the Hyacinth. They are all heirlooms, available at Old House Gardens because I'm doing my part to prevent these stunning flowers from disappearing from our world. Old House did not compensate me, in any way, for plugging their terrific cause and company.


Janie said...

Your indoor flowers look beautiful, although the outside daffodils look a bit chilled. And poor kitty! No wonder he wants to come in.
We've been riding in the Uintas for years and we've never seen an actual bear. We've seen bear claw marks on trees and bear poop, (some very fresh) but the actual bears have never hung around to be seen.
If our horses saw a bear, I doubt we could count on galloping away to safety, since the horses would more likely spin on a dime, dump us, and take off on their own!

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Janie -- Have not been as lucky as you. I've encountered bears twice on my horse -- both times in northern Wyoming, and that's exactly what happened. Sable, my horse, spun around so quickly, I was hanging sideways off the saddle, managed to stay on while she raced in the other direction. :-) I was joking around on the blog but I was curious and that's why I went to the meeting. To figure out what's the correct way to handle it. I think they're crazy, saying stand your ground. How in the world could I get a 1,500 pound horse to stand still when she encounters a bear? And, why would we want to? That's the one time I'm delighted that Sable can run so darn fast. :)