Wisteria Saga Continues

My wisteria vine was doing such a fine job.  I was getting to know her so well.  After years of waiting for her to bloom, I did a little reading and realized I had never pruned her.  The year after I pruned her, she bloomed.  Just a few, but they were gorgeous!  The following year, I was ready for a banister full of blooms, until a late frost took care of all the promising buds.

I got her to climb the railing of the steps that lead from our yard to our deck.  She did well as our “privacy keeper”, as our yard is ever so close to the neighbor’s.

She has tried to provide housing for a few of my fine feathered friends – but it’s all about location, location, location.  The leaves and branches appeared to provide protection, but the nest was much too close to the steps and the eggs made a convenient snack for some lucky predator.

Last summer, we decided to finally attach the pool to the main deck with a pool deck, and having a deck on the pool is great.  Traipsing through the yard to climb up the ladder, then climb down the ladder into the pool was getting a bit daunting.

And I could never figure out how to clean the pool without actually getting in, which wasn’t such a bad thing.  Until closing time.  We usually wait until mid September (ie temps in the low 70s or upper 60s) to formally close her down.  Bit chilly in there!  Now with the new deck, I’ll be able to clean without necessarily getting wet!

I’ve never been good about “before” pictures.  However, I did find a couple of shots of the garden areas around the deck that I took back in 2009.  If you look closely, you can see the wisteria climbing up the railing in these shots.

 

 

The construction of the new deck meant new footers had to be poured.  And one of those footers meant the wisteria had to be trimmed – severely.  The workers must have thought I was crazy, I was more worried about the shape they were going to leave the wisteria in than I was about the outcome of the deck project!

One nice thing about the wisteria, she’s very forgiving.  Here’s a look at her today – after all she’s been through, she’s looking pretty healthy.

 

And I promise to get some great pictures once she blooms again!

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Contrast

As I enjoy these gloriously sunny, warm and (mildly, please) humid days of summer, I change the perpetual calendar and realize that only six months from now, we will be in the throes of bitter cold January.  I should get rid of that perpetual calendar!

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a winter surprise

I’m reminded of a recent October snow shower that surprised me, and provided a true test in contrast.  I love to sit out on the deck in the evenings, far into October, so I usually wait to ‘clear the deck’ until at least mid October.

Winter was certainly impatient that year!

 

After the storm

I have to tell you, I’m in a state of disbelief and mourning, and not just for the robin family.

We installed a gazebo over the Memorial Day weekend.  I love this thing – it’s a very large 10’x12′ double canopy that will shade the deck perfectly in the early afternoon.  Up until now, we had to avoid the deck at lunchtime, as the boards get so hot in the sun.  I love eating out in the summer, and this gazebo has a mosquito net that will keep the bees and flies at bay.  I got one with sturdy legs so that it wouldn’t get whipped around in storms.  We built it on the deck and secured it with bungee cords, with the intention of securing it permanently once we decided the location was right.

Well, Sunday afternoon as I was finishing up a weekend filled with weeding, I looked up to realize that black clouds were rolling in.  I quickly put away all my weeding tools and headed inside.  I moved the cars to the back just in time to get in from the impending storm.  As I walked inside, the wind started.  And it got pretty fierce.  And it lifted my gazebo like a child’s umbrella, over the side rails of the deck and into the yard below.  Thank goodness we had it secured with bungee cords.  One set held, and the gazebo just missed crushing the side of our new pool.  It landed with legs in the air, and just missed smashing my car.  I have no idea how we were able to avoid real tragedy, but I have to believe my angels were watching over.

Shortly after the storm passed, my kids ran outside to see the most spectacular double rainbow!

Two Pots ‘o Gold?

We snapped a few pictures, but they truly don’t do justice to the intense colors – I have never seen such vivid colors in rainbow.  There appeared to be more colors below the purple – simply glorious!

So I’m back to wondering how I’m ever going to get the nerve to reinstall the gazebo, if I even should.  I’m investigating ways to secure it to the deck boards.  I’m probably going to have to drill holes through the floorboards and secure it from below.

Sad day on Wisteria Lane

On my way to the car this morning, I strolled past the robin’s nest in my wisteria that now holds 4 eggs!!

At least it held 4 eggs yesterday.

Last night while lying in bed, I thought of the nest.  Thought I should take a picture of the 4 eggs, just in case they hatched soon and I would miss my chance to record them as eggs.  But it was late, too dark for good pictures, it will wait for tomorrow.

And  now the eggs are gone.  The nest was EMPTY when I went out this morning.  I am so sad about this.  I was looking forward to watching the birds hatch and grow.  But I guess my railing was just too exposed, and those bright blue eggs must have been a tasty treat for some unknown predator.  I have no idea what creature would have done this, but our neighborhood has its fair share of large black crows that I’m very suspicious of.  There was no evidence of what visited the bird family, no pawprints on the steps, not even a speck of shell left behind.  Just the nest.

I glanced over at the fence and spotted momma.  She was just watching me look at the nest.  Not sure if birds have emotions, but I imagine she’s pretty sad too.

A purpose for the wisteria

This weekend was filled with all sorts of outside activities – watching Son #2 playing baseball, watching B playing softball,  swimming in the pool (I am so glad we opened it in late April), and building a gazebo.  And I realized that we humans weren’t the only ones so busy.

My wisteria has become the home of a bird family!

We noticed last week that a nest was being built, but I really thought it was too close to our steps that we use every day to get from the deck to the backyard.  We went out on Sunday, removed the nest, and look what I found yesterday morning!

Those robins are very persistent.  Now you must understand, this wisteria is growing up the railing of my deck, which connects the deck to the yard below.  Not the most desolate location for a nest.

We will do our best to give this family some privacy, and hopefully the momma bird will be patient with us for using our steps.  What’s really cool about this location is how close we can get to it.  Other nests have been built under the supports of the deck, but we can’t really see what’s going on in there unless we look through the boards of the deck.  Not a very clear view.  But we will have a close up view of this family.

I’ll keep you posted on our new borders!