Friday, April 20, 2012

Views from the back yard

I think we've reached the point where we feel like we're back in control of the yard. It's always so discouraging to look out at the end of winter on mole hills, downed branches and twigs, overgrowth from last year, and mostly bare trees and shrubs. A few weeks of nice weather and some diligent work takes care of most of that.

The apple trees are leafing out, but there seem to be many fewer blossoms than last year.

There is still a lot to do, including getting the vegetable garden prepped, and it will all get done in the fullness of time. Or not. Our current chilly and rainy spell has slowed us down, but that rain is badly needed, so we're not complaining. We'll be back out there soon enough, digging, tilling, planting, and weeding.

The shrubbery section of the yard.

The chilly weather has also slowed down the trees. Last April the leaves seemed to appear overnight as a result of the unusually warm spring we had. This year the leaves are on a more normal time schedule. I'm hopeful that after this rainy spell we'll get some nice, warm and sunny days. Hopeful.


  1. Our apples are absolutely covered in blossom. Here's hoping...We had hail yesterday, but not enough to do damage.

  2. It's funny how American English distinguishes "hail" from "sleet" but British English doesn't. What you are calling "hail" — tiny ice pellets — we call "sleet" or "ice pellets". Hailstones are much larger than ice pellets, and fall from a different type of cloud.

    French makes the same distinction as American English: "sleet" is grésil and "hail" is grêle. Grésil is what you have in a giboulée in late winter or early spring. Hailstones (grêlons) fall during violent thunderstorms in summertime and are much more damaging. American readers will think we're having hailstorms in France now, but should be reassured that we are not.

    Are there real hailstorms in Great Britain? In Australia? I don't know, but there certainly are in North America and in France.

  3. I'm not used to seeing yards without bikes or footballs or skateboards laying around. I want some of that!

  4. Ken

    When there are dents or dings on a car , that's when you know you've been hit by those hailstones . You can have sleet also in November - at least I encountered them a few times when I was commuting - hence my distaste and apprehension to drive long distances.

  5. A few years ago there were quite a few cars with those dings and dents in them around this part of the Loire Valley. We had a few large hailstones fall on us one day in July in 2006 or 2007. Just a minute ago we had a giboulée, with ice pellets. They weren't large enough to damage cars or windows, but they might damage delicate blossoms on fruit trees.

  6. Walt,

    We've had some very dry weather here also. In fact we haven't had any significant rain for at least a month. Were it not for our irrigation system, we would have a brown lawn here at Casa Tipton-Kelly instead of a lush green carpet surrounding our abode.

  7. susan, our trees have "on" years and "off" years; this must be an "off" year for them. Last year was "on." Very "on."

    mark, I grew up in yards like that. I'm the oldest of 8 kids.

    ron, we don't irrigate, except for certain flowers and the vegetable garden. The lawn (such as it is) has to fend for itself.


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