Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Stroll - Spring Snow Storm


Tiggy has the right idea today; curl up in a ball and sleep, because it is surely not a good day for a leisurely stroll in the garden. Nevertheless, I suited up and headed out and snapped a few photos.
To the west, clouds:




To the east, more clouds:


Where the strong gusts of wind have blown the snow away, birds gather seaching the cold ground for food.

The butterfly garden, so bright with promise last week, is buried beneath a heavy white blanket. No sign of bud nor new green leaf in the garden today. It is a relief to see the evergreens in the garden on a day like this.
Trudging through drifts that rose past my knees, I worked my way down to the herb garden.




With a spring snow storm all outdoor work comes to a halt.



Maude agrees with Tiggy. It is a good day to curl up and sleep.

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pet photos by Haiku

outdoor photos by Aisling

all photos March 29, 2009

Sunday Stroll Invitation


A Chinese proverb says, "I dreamed a thousand new paths... I woke and walked my old one." I dreamed, over the last few days, that spring had arrived in my northern hills. It is true that buds are forming, leaf tips are emerging, migrating birds have returned to their warm-weather home. This morning, I woke to find winter outside my windows again. I can't see the buds or leaf tips through a heavy blanket of snow. The birds are quiet... hiding from the wind.


So, when I stroll (if the wind and snow abate long enough to allow my camera to capture anything worth sharing,) I will be walking my old winter path for at least one more day. We'll see what tomorrow brings.


If you have time to stroll today, and if your weather permits, please post about about it on your blog and then come back here with a comment and a link to your post. You may use the Sunday Stroll button at the top of this post on your post or side bar if you would like. I will add participant names to this post so other strollers can walk through your garden too.


Look who's strolling:
Margaret at Periodic Pearls
Abbie at Farmer's Daughter
Cloudhands at Uncarved Block
Green Mamma at Green Mamma Blog


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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Lights Out


I wouldn't have realized that this evening was "Earth Hour" without an informative email from my brother. The plan is for as many people as possible to extinguish their lights from 8:30 to 9:30 local time. Star gazers, like my brother who lives in a metropolitan area, will enjoy dark skies. When we were kids, we used to put the reclining lawn chairs out behind the long outbuilding that we called the garage, and watch the night skies. We saw falling stars and constellations and talked about A Wrinkle in Time as if it were a true story, rather than a novel.


Tonight, power usage, for that one hour, will dip significantly. At my house, we will put out the lights and light a few candles, tell stories, and see if the cloud cover breaks up enough to allow a glimpse of the night sky. I've always enjoyed evenings when the power went out unexpectedly. As long as we were warm enough and could find the candles and matches, things were good. I wonder if I could talk my family into Saturday night "power outs?" Hmmm...


Here is a link explaining all about Earth Hour:

Here is a link explaining Dark Skies Awareness:
Wherever you are, whatever your source of light this evening, I wish you comfort.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Nesting


As of this morning, or yesterday when school let out, it is spring break for those of us in the Quiet Country House. Even though there is snow in the forecast for Sunday, I am feeling the springtime... I feel as if I have just a little bit more energy to tackle some unfinished projects. I even gave my blog a spring makeover this morning! The new banner is a photograph of the eastern hills that border our property, just as the sun came up one morning this week.

Over the winter, my recycling has kind of piled up. I still don't have a good system of organization for recycling. I rinse things as they are emptied, and then they just pile up until I push up my sleeves some quiet afternoon, and sort items, smash cans, flatten boxes, and head off for the recycling center in our township.

I would love to paint a room this spring, or have some new shelves built... but with our school schedule and tight budget, this will instead be a season of cleaning and reorganizing. I've been emptying one cabinet in my kitchen at a time, cleaning the surfaces and then putting things back in better order. I also recovered a chairseat that had become soiled and dingy over the past two years. You can read the story of this chair here.


However you "feather your nest" this spring, I wish you joy.



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photos 1 and 2 by Haiku, new blog banner and chair photos by Aisling - all March 2009

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Stroll - Patience Rewarded


Early in the day, the skies were overcast and the air very cold.




Despite the additional snow that we had during the past week, signs of spring continue to emerge. The peach tree we planted last year at Mother's Day is loaded with buds! The tulip leaves are a bit taller than they were a week ago.

Later in the day, the sun came out and the skies cleared to a luminous blue. Knowing it was colder than it looked through the windows, I bundled up in my winter coat and went out for a second walk. While others might see my butterfly garden at present as a boring patch of brown and gray, I see a trail of expectation winding through the lifeless stalks of last year's growth . One tiny iris is close to blooming beneath the Chinese Elm, but the crocus are only little peachy green leaves cautiously emerging from their winter shelter.


On a whim, I followed a trail and a make-shift footbridge across the creek. On the back hill is an old garden bed that I've nearly forgotten about. I planted bulbs there before our house was finished being built, because I knew that the hill behind the creek would not be disturbed by construction. In the years since, I have moved some crocus and daffodils from that little bed into the butterfly garden, and many of the flowers planted there have disappeared. Today, to my delight, I found our first blooms for this year... two little purple crocus.

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photos by Aisling, March 22, 2009

Sunday Stroll Invitation

"There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks.
Most of the time we are simply not patient enough,
quiet enough, to pay attention to the story."
~ Linda Hogan


The garden teaches patience all year long, but perhaps at no time does it teach this lesson more clearly than in spring. From the time that the first green tip of new growth pushes through the soil to the time that the first blossoms unfurl can seem to be unreasonably long. But this is nature's pace. It isn't a race... it is a dance, to a song that weaves through the seasons, in and around our slowly turning earth, out and about through that endless expanse of mystery that we call the universe. We can't possibly understand it all, and we don't have to, but through our gardens, and through nature we can connect to it all.

Besides all of that, it just feels good to get outside, slow down, and enjoy the springtime. *grin*

If you have time to stroll today, and if your weather permits, please post about about it on your blog and then come back here with a comment and a link to your post. You may use the Sunday Stroll button at the top of this post on your post or side bar if you would like. I will add participant names to this post so other strollers can walk through your garden too.

Look who's strolling:

Green Mamma at Green Mamma Blog

Margaret at Periodic Pearls

Abbie at Farmer's Daughter

Brenda at View From the Pines

Cloudhands at Uncarved Block
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday in photos







Mud and dirty puddles of melting snow are a welcome ugliness in Spring. Surrounded as they are by the tender colors of a spring morning, the crisp bright green of emerging leave buds, the happy chatter of birds in the branches, the less picturesque details of spring become part of the bigger, prettier, picture. I will navigate this muddy lane happily through the coming weeks, as Spring comes back to the north country in the wake of the optimistic robins. Where-ever you are, whatever the condition of the roads, I wish you happy wanderings.


1) sunrise 2) whitetail deer in the field in the early morning 3) Maude meets a deer in the afternoon 4) Haiku's feet in the snow 5) the walk home from the bus stop 6) Mr. Wiggles (the Robin) returns home 7) Tanka admires a jet flying in the evening sky


photo credits:

1,2: Aisling
3-6: Haiku
7: Six year old Tanka




Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Stroll Invitation


There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature - the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.

~ Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder

I will be outdoors today, listening for those refrains of nature. After my post last Sunday, highlighting those little hints that spring is on its way, we got 10 inches of snow! It was a cold, blustery week of winter but today promises to be warmer. My stroll will be sans camera, since my oldest daughter is borrowing it for a college field trip to Chicago. Even so, I will get out beneath that blue sky and sunshine and walk.

If you have time to stroll today, and if your weather permits, please post about about it on your blog and then come back here with a comment and a link to your post. You may use the Sunday Stroll button at the top of this post on your post or side bar if you would like. I will add participant names to this post so other strollers can walk through your garden too.

Look who's strolling:
Green Mamma at Green Mamma Blog
Linda at The Crafty Gardener
Margaret at Periodic Pearls
Abbie at Farmer's Daughter

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday Stroll - Stretching Toward Spring


I was up before the sun this morning so that I could drive my daughter to work. The horses on a neighboring farm were already awake and nibbling the colorless stubble of last year's grass.
I waited another couple of hours before taking my stroll, hoping for something warmer than 34 degrees F. Despite waiting, that is exactly the temperature I encountered outside my front door. In the front garden, tulips and hyacinth are stretching toward the light... and the spring.


Down in the butterfly garden, the trail is beginning to emerge from beneath layers of snowfall. Daffodil tips and strawberry leaves dot the thawed patches with green. From beneath the leaf litter, ferocious beasts are emerging.




The thawed patches are like windows, offering a little reminder of last year's garden or a hint of the coming spring.




In the herb garden, lemon thyme and its English cousin are peeking out, aromatic and fresh. Parsley wakes from its long winter's sleep and the bright green leaves of salad burnett offer a mild hint of cucumber, several months before the real thing is available.



A tiny sprig of oregano is ready to be plucked for the soup pot, but is hiding beneath the dried brown stalks of last year's tiny white blooms, and daffodils tip poke up beneath a veil of lavender twigs that will have to be clipped back so that the bright yellow blooms can find the sun.



I came back in the house to bake some bread, do a little housework, and catch up on my reading for a class in International Relations.

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