May 7th, 2012

caillebotte_the orangerie


The wind blusters, whipping the young leaves and swaying the pines. It's warm and dry today, and blustery wind is not what we want. Even this early in the season, a fire could get a foothold where the grass has begun to dry out, and it could spread quickly. In fact the wind accelerates the drying of the grass, so each hour becomes a greater threat.

The next few days are expected to be even warmer, so the fields will probably be turning brown by the weekend. There is unlikely to be any more rain this season. It looks like summer will be coming on early. I'm nowhere near done pulling up foxtails, either, so my back yard will soon be a hazard for the feral cats.

One patch of the yard has very few foxtails, though. It's where several square feet are covered in bluebells. There was a patch of bluebells there last year, too, but it was smaller and they grew less dense. Perhaps the bluebells will continue to spread, and a few years hence will have crowded out the foxtails. That would please me very much.

The poppies, though, are not good at crowding out other plants. They are probably at their peak now, and there are only about thirty or forty blossoms. I recall a few years ago I had over a hundred poppies blooming at once for more than a week. Each year they diminish, and are more apt to be choked by weedy plants, including the ubiquitous foxtails. The foxtails are exotic, which may be why the exotic bluebells are good at pushing them back but the native poppies aren't. Native California plants have never fared well in competition with European and Asian invaders.

At least I haven't seen any Scotch Broom attempting to colonize the yard this year. That is a deep-rooted plant even when it's small, and is a huge bother to dig up. Also good news is that the lamb's ear which has been colonizing the yard for a couple of years is thriving. It's one of the few opportunistic exotics I welcome— a tidy little plant with pretty flowers. There are several dozen of them growing this year, and they should bloom within a few weeks. I intend to give them some water, even though they do seem to be fairly drought tolerant. The spring rains gave them a good start, so all I have to do is make sure they get what they need to produce plenty of blossoms.

Time to feed the feral cats, and then myself. I don't expect that the furnace will be coming on at all tonight, as long as I close the windows before it gets below seventy degrees outside. That might not be until nightfall. It will be a good evening for listening to the crickets.