I've been known to have brain fog at times, which I'm told is commonly referred to as "fibro fog" and affects most people who have fibromyalgia. It's like your thoughts just can't maneuver their way through your brain and you're left searching for things that you know are "in there" but have gone into hiding. I know we all suffer from not being able to come up with names or words from time to time, but this is different. Trust me.
I wasn't in a fog yesterday though until I stepped outside. WOW. The fog that had developed overnight was of the pea soup variety. We'd had some freezing rain as well, so driving conditions were dangerous. I was scheduled to work and just as I was about to walk out the door, my phone rang and it was Renee, telling me that our boss had gotten ill and the morning patients were being canceled. WHEW!
The temperatures rose throughout the day, and with the snow on the ground, this created conditions that just made the fog worse. The official high for the day was 50° but our thermometer made it up to 54°. Since it was so warm, I grabbed the camera and headed outside.
Fog has a way of muting the colors to the point that the world appears to be in black and white. Any color you do encounter seems to be super-saturated and grabs your attention. Our Scotch Heather (Calluna vulgaris 'Robert Chapman') sure does that. This is one plant that is a kaleidescope of color through several seasons and right now it is a deep, deep scarlet that is impossible to capture in a photo. I could just sit and look at it for minutes on end.
While I was out there wandering around, I was joined by Jack...
He clambered up on the Morrow Honeysuckle, a favorite of all the kitties. It gives them an overall view of the garden and its ragged bark is perfect for claw sharpening. Being a tough native is a good thing, because they have shredded its bark in several places. Though it's on the list of invasive plant species for Ohio, we didn't plant it. It was already growing in the back corner of the property when we moved here and it's a rampant grower that we prune back hard every spring so as to keep it under control. The bees love it when it's in bloom.
There are lots of attractions in this garden for the cats. The small pond provides them with water to drink. The split rail fencing is another good spot for sharpening claws and practicing their balancing acts. And catnip grows there. Meow.
The cement bench is a favorite napping spot and gives good access to the Maiden Grass (Miscanthis sinensis 'Gracillimus'). It's a multi-purpose plant for me because it provides structure in the way of height and grace as well as winter interest. The cats like to munch on it, in spite of its sharp-edged foliage, and its swaying in the breezes makes for good play opportunities.
Robin, over at Robin's Nesting Place in Indiana, reported bluebirds being back, so I cleaned out the bluebird house last week. A family of wrens had a nest there last summer because we put the house up too late for the bluebirds. We'd not seen any bluebirds around here until last spring, so had not made any special provisions for them. Believe me, once we saw them, we ran right out and got a bluebird house and it's ready to go for them this year.
On the south side of our property, we have a short row of spiraea shrubs (Spiraea x vanhouttei). Last year, they were loaded with praying mantis egg cases - twenty or so. Yesterday, I counted 36. Some of those were leftover empty cases from last year (they turn black), but most of them were new. Looks like we'll have lots of praying mantids again this summer!
I walked back towards the house, past the half-tree where I planted a little fairy garden in what was left of the part we lost to a storm several years ago. Jack followed along and played lookout, just in case any dangerous looking creatures were out and about that we needed protection from.
The lamium planted there continues to grow, which I find amazing.
The Creeping Veronica (Veronica 'Blue Reflection') - also still green - has spilled out over its original boundaries and should look really pretty when it's blooming in blue late in the spring. This is a wonderful groundcover that spreads fairly quickly if it's happy in its location. I have it in mostly shade, right along with the lamium, some columbine, and English ivy.
Winding its way nicely up the remaining half of the oak tree, the ivy is wearing its winter colors and makes a nice contrast against the oak bark and the lichens growing on it.
With the rain and warm temperatures, most of the snow was gone this morning and we're now under a flood watch. I don't think there's immediate danger of that for us, but we are keeping an eye on the sump pump in our basement. We do not want another disaster like we had last August.
Just a few minutes ago, I went outside to see if any of the spring bulbs were coming up as they are doing in other zone 5 locations across the blogosphere and though I didn't expect to find anything...
Giant Mixed Crocus - These very same crocuses didn't come up until March 6th last spring!
(Galanthus nivalus plenus)
These were blooming on March 14th last year.