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IT’S BACK! Spring that is … but not until 11:57 CDST this morning.

Yes, spring will officially start today at 11:57 am in the Central Time Zone. But it would probably be best if you kept your winter clothing handy for a few more days … or possibly weeks. I’m playing the part of a skeptic this year.

THE ORCHID-A-DAY for the first day of spring: DSC09306

Taken at the M.B.G. 2014 Orchid Show

But the big spring question of the day is … DID THE SWALLOWS RETURN TO SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO YESTERDAY?


It has long been legend that each spring on the Feast of Saint Joseph, (March 19) the swallows that nest in the nooks and crannies of the old mission of San Juan (which dates back to the 1700s) return to the old mission from their winter nesting grounds in Argentina. They don’t spend the summer, and some will travel as far north as the Arctic Circle before heading back to winter in Argentina.

So, did they show up?Swallows Return

The faithful say that they did. But realists conceded that the number of birds has been decreasing each year. The reason … too many humans building too many structures that replace the old buildings where the birds used to build their mud nests. So, folks, if you want to keep your legends working, quit using brooms to knock down those ugly globs of mud they keep building on your homes and other buildings.

THE ORIGAMI BIRD OF THE DAY PROJECT: And what else could I fold for  today besides a swallow?




Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it is the last day of chill winds, snow, ice, runny noses and cold feet. But, just the thought of the start of spring is enough to warm the cockles of my heart. To celebrate I went to check out the Annual Orchid Show at the Missouri Botanical Gardens yesterday. This year the show celebrated the orchids of South America where it is still summer. It was quite fantastic, and I actually took a month of photos. So to celebrate the arrival of spring, I plan to start these daily doses of fun, fancy and hyperbole with one of the photos I took . Like this …DSC09305Don’t expect me to provide the specific horticultural identities for the plants though. I have a hard enough time carrying my camera around.

Then, I’ll give you my daily update. Like yesterday was totally bright and sunny, but the winds were blowing so hard I thought for sure I would end up in OZ. This brought down a lot of the winter damaged tree limbs in some of the surrounding yards. You actually could hear the branches snapping as the winds bent them back and forth.  But hey, what do you expect for March. Today, there is no sun shining, and we’re back to chill winds and gloom and doom weather. So I made myself a warm breakfast. (Becky food alert … skip the next paragraph and photos!)


Hot biscuits topped with butter and maple syrup!

And for breakfast dessert … what, you’ve never heard of breakfast dessert? …

DSC09296Super Cinnamon Buns!!

Unfortunately, I now have to do more mundane things like the laundry.

Also, I’ll try to end each post with a bit of origami and a salute to the birds of spring.

Today’s origami bird is the traditional Japanese crane. Tradition says that if you fold a thousand cranes, a wish will be granted. OMG! Do you know how long that would take me?  I wonder if I’ll get more crane credit by using this new brightly colored coated folding paper?OrangeCrane

Join us tomorrow to celebrate the arrival of SPRING!





When I was picking out a photo for my WORDLESS WEDNESDAY post today I was looking for something that would brighten up  a rather bleak and bland late winter day that was being punctuated with intermittent snow showers. My first choice was this photo.


It’s a picture I took a couple of weeks ago during a visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden. While most visitors were concentrating on the superb annual orchid display, I stepped out to visit the Linnean House.

(Built in 1882, the Linnean House is the oldest continuously operated public greenhouse west of the Mississippi River.)LinnaenHouse1890

Every February, the camellias that grow there are in full bloom. DSC05476

And since the camellia is the floral symbol of the Chinese New Year, I wanted to capture a few pictures of them.  新年快乐 Even though the official New Year celebration ended two days ago. So why did the camellias come in second to Mlle. Renee and the gladioli? Well, I thought Renee told a better story without words for Wordless Wednesday. BTW, my original title of the photo with Renee smelling the glads is TAKE TIME TO SMELL THE ROSES, which really doesn’t make any sense at all.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


DSC05472Yesterday, my longtime friend Bill and I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden’s 2013 Orchid Show which was themed MADAGASCAR. Madagascar is a tropical island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, and many artifacts from that country were displayed among the exhibit of orchids. Enough for words, check the pictures. You can enlarge any picture by clicking on it.

DSC05455 DSC05439 DSC05441 DSC05442 DSC05451 DSC05458 DSC05463 DSC05450 DSC05459 DSC05467  DSC05461 DSC05470


DSC05460It was really a fantastic exhibit!




At last Saint Valentine’s Day has arrived. I think the calendar were just about to run out of ways you could possible fold an origami heart.DSC05483

There are nine pairs of fictional lovers hidden in the massive block of letters. I found seven pairs and circled the spots where their names cross. I also found two single males HEATHCLIFF and RICK, and for the life of me I can not find SONIA  (Heathcliff’s girl friend) and shudder … I cannot remember Ingrid Bergman’s name in Casablanca. So without those names I am unable to decipher the remaining letters to find three more pairs of lovers. Alas, I’m just a sorry FOOL FOR LOVE.

Apparently the Page-A-Day puzzle maker didn’t get the message that today was Valentine’s Day. (Either that or he/she leads an extremely kinky love life and/or consorts with sundry demons.) 

2_11 I circled the detail spots in the painting.


And if your sweetheart didn’t send you anything special today,

here’s a sample of what I saw at the annual MOBOT

ORCHID SHOW yesterday.DSC05440

More photos from the show to follow in another post.






 Thankfully, there  are a lot of benches around the MOBOT grounds for  foot-weary visitor who have completed the 2.5 mile trek around the grounds viewing all 26 lantern creations. The break was also necessary because we’re still in the midst of summer days, and the MAGIC can’t start until the sun has set which in garden time is about 8 pm. Also those in the know didn’t start showing up until shortly before eight. We had decided we  weren’t going to repeat the entire  trek around the garden, and we were just going to revisit a few of our favorites we wanted to see illuminated. Don’t forget you can enlarge any picture by clicking on it.


It was a great presentation and I encourage all who can to visit it — it will run up until August 19. Dining from 5:30 – 8:00 in the Sassafras Cafe/Visiter’s Center and from 6:00 – 10:00 at the The Lantern Festival Food Court in the Linnean Plaza.



I received the above email from MoBot today and I realized that my garden is filled with dazzling daylilies  as much as theirs is.  While the white lilies have been out doing themselves this spring.

The reds … 

Yellows …

And purples are adding their color to the front of the house.



Today’s post was inspired by Walt Disney’s FANTASIA. It was a photo I took recently while visiting MoBot … the Missouri Botanical Garden for those not acquainted with local vocal shorthand.  I call it THE PROCESSION OF THE MIRLITONS. OK, so what in the hell is a mirliton?  By definition it is a toy musical instrument with a nasal tone produced by a vibrating membrane. In other words … a kazoo!  So here’s the picture …

 You probably should also know that for a time when I was in a sci-fi mood I was calling the photo INVASION OF FLORIPODS and MARCH OF THE FLOROIDS.

But back to the FANTASIA inspiration.  There are two … the obvious is the Nutcracker Suite with its multitude of floral references and one of the dances is even titled Dance Of The Mirlitons in some of the scores.  The other is the Ava Maria section. Most people don’t even remember this segment because it’s the segue from A Night On Bald Mountain that closes the film.

BTW, if you’re lucky enough to have a Blu-ray player, check out the Blu-ray edition of Fantasia which was released last year. It’s visually fantastic! It also has a version of the film with commentary that gives you an in-depth look at this classic film.