Those Russell Girls: April 2007

Those Russell Girls

Monday, April 23, 2007


Ryan's girlfriend, Casey. She's pretty and smart too! Ryan is being silly in picture, but it's good of her.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Update on Ryan

Thought you all might like to see a grownup Ryan. This was made in March, during a 2 week leave. I can't seem to get a picture of him in his uniform; he doesn't wear it more that he absolutely has to! He called Donna about 4:00 am Thursday and said the ship, Eisenhower, is heading back to the states. They are due in Norfolk sometime in May. That is great news! It made me nervous knowing he was in the Persian Gulf, even if he was way offshore in a huge ship.

I'll send a picture of his girlfriend, Casey; I can't seem to send but one picture at a time. (That's better than no picture which was the case until I downloaded Picasa!)
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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Aftermath

Same flower bed after the freeze and snow! I've pretty much decided that we might as well just let Nature have her way; our puny efforts to prevent any effects are mostly useless. Most all the work I did, trying to save plants from the cold, was in vain. I spent hours last Wednesday cutting pine and boxwood branches, covering many of my flowering plants, then came home late Thursday night and covered more with old bedsheets (looked like a family of ghosts had moved in!). It did no good! In some cases, it did more harm than good. I could've saved myself a sore back and had the same result!

I think the Chipping sparrows were already nesting before the cold came; they stayed on my deck eating from the feeder most all day Saturday. I still haven't seen the Hummingbird, who visited on April 4, or any hummingbirds. The Bluebirds keep going from box to box, but haven't settled on one yet. They took some grass into one box a few days ago, but they're still undecided. I had a "first" about 3 weeks ago: a Tree swallow was checking out one of my Bluebird boxes. I know they nest in boxes, but I've actually never seen a Tree swallow here. I guess it moved on - haven't seen it again. The Goldfinches are getting their bright yellow plumage. White-throated sparrows are still singing in the field in front of the house. Flickers are very active - don't know where they're planning to nest, but everytime I go out the driveway, they fly up in front of me. My yard's resident male Brown thrasher, who had arrived on March 31, seems to have weathered the storm, but haven't seen his mate yet.

Thank goodness for the firewood from the trees that had to be cut in Don's yard; I've stayed toasty warm! Minerva is grateful too! Since she is still lying around in the house and sleeping most of the time, I know that winter is not through with us yet. When spring finally comes, she will want to be outside pretty much all the time.
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April Snow

This is what the same flower bed looked like on Saturday morning, April 7.
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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Before the Big Freeze!

This is how my flower bed looked last week, before the freezing temps hit! Believe me, it doesn't look like this now! It looks sad, sorry, and pitiful! It's hard not to get depressed about the damage to my "babies", but I'm trying to remember that many farmers have lost their crops for the year and some apple farmers are in danger of losing their trees. To say that nature is cruel seems pretty silly, but this spring has been kind of a cruel joke! Much of March was so warm that all kinds of plants budded out much earlier than usual, and were therefore, very vulnerable to the extreme cold we're having (20 this morning, 15 yesterday morning with 2-3 inches snow, and more cold predicted tonight). It looks as though I've lost all my Bleeding hearts, Astilbes, Lilies, some Daylilies, some Hostas, Liliacs, Clematis for this year - hopefully not permanently. Some survivors seem to be Candytuft, Phlox, Geraniums, Irises (maybe!) Bluets, Aunt Jimmie's Spiderwort, some Columbines. Don't know what the Roses will do - foliage is dead, but hope they will put out new and bloom. Gardeners must be crazy!
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Hummingbirds and Cold Weather

I couldn't help being excited Wednesday, April 4, to be the first in my area to have a Ruby-throated hummingbird visit my feeder, nearly 2 weeks earlier than my previous earliest visitor. My excitement was tempered with anxiety though, since I had been hearing for days of a very cold snap coming. And the cold did come : 25 Friday morning, 15 Saturday morning (with 2-3 inches snow!), and 20 Sunday morning. Despite my efforts to keep at least one unfrozen feeder out at all times, I have not seen "my" hummer again. I can only hope he found a feeder somewhere else and hung out there.
When I mentioned to someone on Friday that I'd seen a H'bird and was worried about him, she said "that's why I haven't put my feeders out; I don't want to attract them!". I'll admit that I don't know a lot about it, but I don't think this is how it works. I don't think our feeders cause the birds to leave their wintering grounds and come to our area. But, since they have done so, (I think) our feeders just might save their lives by providing food when nothing else is available. Anyway, good luck, little buddy!