The calendar has not officially declared winter yet. However after the leaves are down and the days get short, I pretty much consider it winter. I honestly don't mind winter weather that involves snow as long as I don't have to drive very far in it. Sometimes the blue, white and gray hues go together to create beautiful scenery.
Nonetheless these days where the sky was gray and the mud was brown, leaves me longing for a little more color.
A trip to C&A Tree's greenhouse near Clarion provided a much needed dose of the brilliant hues I was seeking.
Their display of poinsettias and a few other plants was enough to brighten my day and possibly even the week.
The scarlet leaves stretched on for yards with several colors and varieties sometimes breaking up the endless sea of red.
We left with a pink poinsettia plant that would have to reside at my parents' home where I could view it without the fear of some curious creature possibly eating it.
A quick internet search turned up there are more than 100 variety of poinsettias and other fascinating facts about the plants.
"One of the interesting things about poinsettias is that the color is actually in modified leaves called bracts, not the flowers.
The flowers are itty-bitty things in the middle.
The leaves turn red in response to the plant forming flowers.
The red leaves attract pollinators to the tiny, yellow flowers," said a post on Mel's Garden blog on wheelbarrowexpert.com.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico and are in the Euphorbia family, according to a post from the University of Minnesota's website extension.umn.edu.
"Poinsettias change color in response to shorter winter days," the post continued.
The post on wheelbarrowexpert.com, also described how to keep a poinsettia alive after it is done blooming and how to prepare it to bloom the next year.
It was quite a bit more involved than just watering it.
Meanwhile, I continued my efforts to keep some of my summer plants alive with a grow light set up in the basement. For the first few weeks they all did well and managed to keep blooming. As the weeks wore on, some looked a little worse for the wear. I will hold out hope for their survival though.
Last year I had the same results and once the plants were placed outside in the spring, they flourished.
They are Bluetooth ready and have an app that allows me to change their appearance at will. I decided this year I would put them up in November and keep them out until Easter since we have on occasion had snow during those months.
I change the colors according to my whims and sometimes the season. In the fall I used the autumn color settings.
Currently, they are set to a Christmas light show. It may seem like such a simple thing, but it does help bring a little color and light into my world.
A eye on the bird feeder sometimes helped with the lack of color when the blue jays and cardinals appear.
It also helped that I have a bright yellow wire sunflower seed feeder.
Speaking of feeder watching, a couple of the local Audubon Society chapters will be gearing up for their Christmas Bird Counts and could use some folks to keep eyes out for birds as well.
Information about the Bartramian Adubon Society's count can be found at www.bartramianaudubonsociety.org/bird-counts.
The Seneca Rocks Audubon Society will hold their Christmas Bird Count on December 19.
More information can be found on their page at https://www.senecarocksaudubon.org/.
The book, "Birds of Venango County: The status, distribution, and history of the birds of Pennsylvania’s Oil Region" written by Gary Edwards with Jeffrey Hall, is now available. It is $20 plus $3.50 postage. Edwards' address is: Gary Edwards. 224 Meadow Rd. Apt.9, Seneca, PA 16346.
In the meantime, I planned to do some winter bird profiles to help get through this color drought, but the weather and birds have not cooperated so far. The plans of mice, men and bloggers often go awry.
That truly is the nature of things 'round here.