Sunday, March 7, 2010

Purple rain, purple rain

Spring arrived in Gifu at the end of February, and, keeping with tradition, there has been a lot of rain. Nice, ground soaking, helping plants (including weeds, unfortunately) grow type rain.
This is our little Japanese dogwood (yamaboshi). It is just outside the back door and is very happy there, but never grows. We wonder if it needs a bit of competition to encourage it to reach for the sun.
Warning Warning! Graphic photo follows! Those who are recuperating from operations may wish for their fuzzy vision back...

We have these birds, I have no idea what they are called in English, but in the summer they hunt frogs and birds and store them for safe keeping on various tree branches throughout the yard. But they are busy taking care of baby birds and get a bit forgetful (we know how that is). As a result, we have slowly mummifying frogs impaled on various tree branches around the yard. Lovely!

We used to keep our umbrella stand outside the front door. Well, one rainy day, running late as usual, I grabbed our umbrellas, wrangled the girls into the car and pulled into the parking lot of their preschool, which was full of other harried, slightly damp mothers and children. I whipped out my umbrella and popped it open. SCREEEECH! Impaled on my umbrella spoke, right in front of my eyes was...

Well, almost exactly the same. Of course, no one else saw the nasty dead frog, they just saw (and heard) the crazy foreign mom having a fit in the parking lot shaking her umbrella like a madwoman. Oh well, I have gotten used to standing out.

So now we keep our umbrella stand INSIDE. The trees, however, remain ghoulishly decorated.

Back to the rain...
One of our two camellia trees, tucked into the gaps between buildings where they can hardly be seen. Some day, maybe 20 years from now, they will look lovely from the road when they get tall enough to be seen.


thefukases said...

Oh wow. I have never even heard of such birds and I don't think I want to! They must be big and powerful though? Ewww. Just ewwww... and on your umbrella??? ewwww!

illahee said...

i love your new header photo. excellent!

Xana said...

Wow! I never expected dead frogs to be so popular! A record high for one day!

I asked my husband about the birds. They are もず in Japanese. English, anyone? They are the smallest member of the hawk family in Japan. About the same size as pigeons, but with bigger heads and smaller bodies. They make really piercing screeching noises. And in addition to frogs and crickets on our trees (and umbrellas), they also impaled a fairly large lizard on our TV antenna, which is just going to have to stay there.

Thank you, Illahee, I was proud of that photo. Trying to portray the beginning of spring, children, and gardening in, without any faces is a challenge. Recently, we are all about bubbles and sidewalk chalk.