Robins and Daffodils and The Case of the Missing Rain

If the Daffodils are up, it must be February. Who needs a calendar when you can look out your front window and see this:

daffodil closeup

Daffodils: Just the Beginning

I’m amazed year after year that those tiny, brown orbs buried beneath the soil know exactly what to do and when.

For years I drooled over the Holland Bulb catalogs, but so many of the flowers need a really cold winter to do well. I tried tulips, refrigerating them first for six weeks in the crisper. Time in the cold environment simulates winter. The first year nothing came up. I wondered if I planted them too deeply or perhaps upside down. Maybe they rotted in the ground? There was no evidence that they’d been devoured by a critter.  I tried again about a decade later, once again lulled by the promise of beautiful tulips in my garden. About half of the bulbs produced beautiful blooms, but by the following year I was down to one.

After a bit of research I learned that Daffodil bulbs (narcissus) are toxic to squirrels so they leave them alone. They don’t require a cold winter and they can stay in the ground year round. Now that’s my kind of bulb.

Using the broadcast method where you toss the bulbs to the ground, then plant them where they land, I filled the curb garden box with 50 bulbs.  Every last one of them bloomed!

daffodil collage feb 5 and 10

Daffodils: February 5th and 10th

daffodil trio

Daffodil Trio

Emboldened, I bought 25 more bulbs the following year, this time the two-toned variety. They’re coming into bloom about a week after the original planting.

pair of two toned daffodil

What’s Up, Buttercup: A Two-toned Daffodil

Also outside my kitchen window this past week: A thirsty flock of Robins.

three red robins

Trio of Robins

Though the American Robin is common throughout the States, we don’t usually see them flock in our neighborhood. Over the past two weeks, no doubt prompted by our strangely warm, spring-like weather, they’ve been gathering in nearby trees and drinking at our watering hole. Robins are handsome birds with an equally delightful song.

They prefer a meal of worms, but once the ground is frozen, they’ll migrate and then feast on berries. All that flying back and forth between trees means they’ve left quite a mess in their wake. You take the good with the bad, right?

I made myself late to Pilates last Thursday as I went into the kitchen for some water and fled for my camera instead. There were at least a dozen robins, one sitting in the water fountain, and the rest taking turns for a drink. By the time I put the microchip in the camera, then found a place to take pictures hiding around the corner of the garage several had moved on. I still got a few shots in and around my MacGyvered watering hole and garden.

robins drinking from the fountain

Robins taking turns at the watering hole

The garden is coming alive with color.  We’ve had ten days of unseasonably high temperatures but only a trace of rain. Today, San Jose may tie a record high set in 1943. February is traditionally our rainiest month. In a state that counts its rainfall in fractions, February is the star with an average of 3.31 inches (8.41 cm) of rain. Our annual rain fall is only about 15 inches. It’s February 15th and we’ve only recorded 0.05 inches! So while it sounds uncharitable to complain about blue skies and warm weather…well, I’m complaining.  We desperately need more rain.

If your swimming in surplus precipitation, please send it our way.

32 thoughts on “Robins and Daffodils and The Case of the Missing Rain

  1. We haven’t had rain for about – um, oh, maybe a week now ……. So even I can’t send you any!! The daffodils are beautiful despite the lack of water and those robins are just lovely aren’t they! I’m really happy realising you are so mobile again with dashing and hiding and pilates class. Such good news! xo

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    • Thank you, Pauline. It feels good to be back into a routine.

      The flock of Robins is new for us. It was a wonderful week of activity, and now they’ve moved on. The hummingbirds are here year round, though and of course the crows. Hopefully the crows have no interest in the tiny nests. I think I’m part hen, worrying and clucking over every creature that passes through. xo

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  2. Your daffodils are lovely Alys! I wish I could send you some rain. We haven’t had that much in volume, but lots of drizzle and grey overcast damp weather. No daffodils out yet here, but a couple of buds showing. 🙂

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  3. Gorgeous Daffs! I wish I could send you our excess precip. We had flood warnings today, what with the sluicing rain melting the ice and snow from yesterday. It’s a bit soggy now, with standing puddles. We’ve got lots of robins, too, but a bit colder than yours I imagine!

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  4. Wow, the American Robins are totally different to the European breed, aren’t they? Also, we never see them in pairs, let alone a whole flock! I would love to send you some rain, as would the hens. Our garden is a quagmire at the moment and they’re pretty bedraggled-looking most of the time:)

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    • Isn’t it interesting how different the species are from country to country? Robins are common here, but not in flocks, at least not in our neighborhood. It was fascinating to have them here for a few days.

      We got a small bit of rain Wednesday night, so that was very exciting. I’m sorry to hear your hens are so miserable in the heavy mud. I hope you dry out soon.

      How is your healing coming along? How is your husband doing?

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  5. Every spring, when all the bulbs are blooming in other people’s yards, I swear I’m going to plant a slew of them come fall. Then fall drives and I am so sick of gardening, I skip the bulbs. Then spring comes and . . . I have garden envy again!

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  6. Ahhhhhh! Such a lovely breath of Springtime, Alys! So grateful that you are sharing your beautiful, sunny daffodils. It’s so exciting just to see them! Ours won’t be blooming until early May. Are they predicting another whole year of drought in California? Hoping this weather pattern will turn around. Sending gentle raindrops, dear Alys! ♡

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    • Hello, Dawn. When I was in DC last April the daffodils were coming into bloom. I got to enjoy them twice last year, here in February and there in April. Fun!

      I’ve not looked forward to the predictions for next year, but I will and will blog about it. We’ve all been hanging our hat on this huge El Nino warming, but the window is drawing to a close. We had some early, promising storms, but now we’re behind again for annual rainfall. The good news, is the snow pack is better this year (last year there wasn’t any for the first time in 100 years.) That helps fill our reservoir.

      Thanks for your visit and for the gentle raindrops. Both are most welcome. xo

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  7. Tip toeing thru tulips is highly over rated me thinks. It’s so sunny and bright in your curb garden. I think daffodils are a bit sturdier too. A bit of rain can spoil a nice tulip display where as the daffodils will just sparkle more, in a bath of raindrops. I sure hope you see some silver lined clouds to shower San Jose with the gift of moister. I thank heavens there are nature lovers like you (and I) that will ensure there’s water for our feathered friends when they grace us with their presence and song. Don’t you just love the robin singing in the morning? I sure miss them in summer. They only visit Edmonton in the spring, then move on when things heat up. We’re having a chilly day, but forecast for more spring like weather during the week. We have a loooonnnggg way to go for any daffodils so thanks a ton for sharing yours. Hugs xo ❤

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    • Good point! And thanks for the smile. I guess that’s why we have to tip toe…they’re fragile and temperamental. Go daffodils, go! They’re still bright and beautiful outside my front window. I’m enjoying them while they last. The hyacinth are also up, reminding me that I should plant a thousand of them. They smell wonderful. You and me, loving our earth and it’s creatures and making sure we do what we can for their survival. xo

      I don’t know if you remember this, but the daffodils were in bloom in DC last April. I got to enjoy them at home in February and again in April. Wouldn’t it be fun to plan a trip where you chase spring bulbs blooming across the countries?

      It’s nice to hear you have warm weather ahead. Us too. In fact no rain in the forecast for the next five days with temps ranging from 74-77 F. Unless if pours buckets between Feb 27 – 29, our biggest rainfall month has been a bust. 😦

      Hugs xo

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      • That’s just a fantastic idea, who can we talk into paying for that and making it a documentary? 😀
        77 F in February sounds warm to me too. I peak out at around 68 or 70. Being a northerner, I’m acclimated to cooler temps and it’s really draining when it’s too warm. I just melt into a puddle of lethargic-ness and wait for night time. Once the sun goes down here, it really cools off. Most nights we can sleep with windows open for a great chilly sleep. It would seem ludicrous to you, but we installed A/C here because we just can’t do the warm temps. I always think warm temps are great on holiday but for anything else, yard work, walks, biking etc, give me a breeze and 68 and I’m happy as a Canada Goose 😉
        Sun of a gander, no moisture? It sounded so promising a few days. I just can’t even imagine where all the cities down there will get water if things don’t change. At least you’re prepared in the garden. That’s looking great! xo let’s hug it out ❤ k

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