Flowery Prose

Growing words….


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Alberta Snapshot: Rochfort Railway Bridge.

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From the archives (if you follow my blog There is a Light, you might recognize this one.  I’m hoping to get all of the images from TIAL moved over within the next few weeks, which means some of the upcoming content on Flowery Prose will not be entirely new to everyone).  This photograph was taken on 24 April of last year.

 

105 kilometres (65 miles) northwest of Edmonton, Alberta lies the hamlet of Rochfort Bridge. This railway bridge nearby is cited as the longest wooden trestle in North America. It measures 736 metres (2, 414 feet) long and 33.5 metres (110 feet) tall, and was built in 1914.  The Paddle River and Highway 43 pass beneath it.

 

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Finally got out last night and cleaned up all the garbage that had blown into the flowerbeds over the winter and earlier this spring.  Found about a million cigarette butts (I’ve since written a letter to the property manager so she can hopefully put up a notice - with all the dry grass, dead leaves and wood chips, it’s just irresponsible and obnoxious) and part of a broken window.  I’ll be picking glass out of that one area forever….

I haven’t lifted the leaf litter yet because I want the ladybugs hiding in it to feel safe and warm for a few more days yet – there is more snow in the forecast for the end of this week. (Grrrrr…).  It’s a bit early to do a full on clean up just yet, although if I have time tonight I may cut back the dried stalks from some of the perennials (I don’t do that task in the fall so things are looking a bit weird right now).  Lots of little bits of green in the garden now, popping up everywhere, and there are scilla and anemones blooming alongside the crocuses and chionodoxa.  I’m so happy to see them!

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Tuesday tulip tiptoe.

Tulip - 8 April 2014

Just a grocery-store tulip, but it makes me smile all the same.  I don’t grow tulips anymore – my soil runs on the heavy clay side and the bulbs were simply rotting underground.  I keep amending, though, so maybe in a few years’ time, I’ll be able to try again….

I was out for a walk near my workplace a few days ago and in the yard of a nearby elementary school, the students had planted hundreds of tulips, which were all peeking up out of the soil.  What a great project to get the kids involved in!

Do you grow tulips?  Which ones are your favourites?


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Crocus and sunshine.

To celebrate the passing of winter and the blissful appearance of bright sunshine and blooming crocus, I’m going to permit myself to undertake an elaborate happy dance and some ebullient shouting.  But I’ll spare you that particular photograph….  ;)

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Not a robin.

I may be the only person in Alberta (Canada?  North America?) to have failed to see a robin so far this spring…my hubby says there was one looking for something in the grass beneath the Schubert chokecherry in front of our window the other day, but of course, I was at work at the time and missed it.

This northern flicker we spotted yesterday sure made me smile, though – as did the sight of the dry! patch of grass the little one was digging around in.

Northern flicker - 6 April 2014

Have a very happy Monday! 


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New windows, garlic greens, and other things.

Sooooo…I’m waiting patiently (okay, maybe not so patiently – who am I kidding, really?) for the snow to melt here and in the meantime things are happening on my windowsill.

I mean, REALLY happening.  A couple of weeks ago, maintenance staff arrived with new windows for our apartment building.  It was definitely cause for celebration, as our previous windows were at least two decades old – probably more like three –  and we were having issues with ice building up between the panes (especially as one of them had a small hole in it).  The hardware wasn’t working smoothly anymore, either.  Of course, once the new windows were installed, I couldn’t bear the sight of the chipped windowsill, and we had some imperfections on the wall from when we had blinds put up a few years ago, so out came the filler and the paint.  I’m extremely pleased with the results – but now I think the whole place needs new paint!  UGH.

The African violets are certainly happy with the new windows and the sunshine.  These two bloom frequently, every 2 to 3 months or so.  I have a couple of others as well, but the one looks to be on its last legs and the other hasn’t bloomed in about a year.

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African violet - 11 March 2014

And there’s a leaf cutting I started a couple of months ago.  I wish I could say it is from the plant that is dying, but it’s not – I didn’t have the forethought to take a cutting and now the mother plant is so far gone I don’t think it would be useful to try.  It’s too bad – the pale pink flowers were so pretty and delicate, almost sugary-looking.

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African violet pink

I keep buying cacti – with my watering habits (“when I remember to, which is often nearly too late”), they seem to thrive.  I was all excited when I brought this Mammillaria spinosissima home, thinking I had a new-to-me species until my hubby reminded me I already had one. (My excuse is that the “red head” on my established one has long grown out).  I don’t know how he remembered this and I didn’t – I honestly thought he wasn’t paying attention.  Good thing I don’t buy designer shoes or handbags – he’d call me on them every time.  ;)

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And I’ve been growing garlic greens!  I planted a LOT of garlic in my community garden bed last fall, both bulbils and bulbs, but I still had some bulbils left and I really wanted to use them up, so I popped them into a pot and voila!  Fresh greens in less than two weeks. It’s been so nice to use them in cooking.

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I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!  What home and garden projects have you been working on lately?

 


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Jura Creek Walk.

With my work schedule, free weekends are in short supply around here – it’s fortunate the mountains are a short drive west and the daylight hours have increased, so we can get out for some exploring during the week.  A couple of Tuesdays ago (before spring came along and all the nasty weather with it), my hubby and I headed out to Jura Creek, just outside of the town of Exshaw.  It’s about an hour’s drive west of Calgary on scenic highway 1 A – or you could do as we did and take the faster route via Highway 1, turning off at Bow Valley Provincial Park.

The day we went there was a strong Chinook wind and it was so warm you could smell the fragrance of the junipers and the spruce trees and the earthy odour of the thawing ground.  The path leading up to the creek bed was a muddy mess (memo to self:  buy some rain boots already, you need them for gardening anyway).   Once we got to the creek, the first few metres in front of the canyon were dry and bare.  We tried to determine whether or not the area had gotten damaged in the floods of last June and it’s a safe bet it was:  the sides and bottom of the gravel bar had obviously been pushed around by heavy machinery, but there was no sign of broken trees or other debris littering the banks.

For anyone looking for a good workout, Jura Creek doesn’t offer any sort of challenge; the creek bed is pretty much level and it was an easy walk through the canyon.  The scenery is marvellous, though!

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View of the dry creek bed, looking back from the canyon mouth.  The trailhead lies south, about a kilometre away (to the left of the scene in the photo).

IMG_8638Plenty of snow cover here.  You can see how narrow the walls of the canyon are in spots. 

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The creek on the other side of the canyon.  We found open water in some areas.

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Lots of moss.

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Trees budding in the snow.

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I did use ice cleats on my boots, but there was actually a fair amount of snow cover and they were only really necessary in a few spots, mostly when we exited the canyon and headed further along the creek.

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Wonder what is in that cave?  On second thought….

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Back through the canyon.

IMG_8662That’s a serious slab of rock just balancing there. 

I read somewhere that you can hike above the canyon, but I don’t know where that trailhead begins.  It would be interesting to see it from above.

No outdoor adventures planned for this week – the weather is not co-operating whatsoever!  Tomorrow night our community garden group and the local horticultural society are presenting an information session about raised bed gardening, and I’ll venture out for that - it should be interesting.  What are you up to this week?

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