Sunday, April 29, 2007

He sang to me in the garden...

photo by Aisling, bumblebee on grape hyacinth (muscari), April 29, 2007

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Silent Grace...

The first tiny blossoms of my perennial forget-me-not (Heart-leaf Brunnera) bloomed today. This plant will be lush with blossoms over the next few weeks, but none will thrill my heart as did these first two blooms today. That touch of tender blue, like the summer sky that I am dreaming of, is so encouraging on a day that offered both April sunshine and April showers.

I found the old-fashioned poem written by a Canadian Poet about forget-me-nots, in an era when the language of flowers was symbolic and meaningful to lovers and romantics, as well gardeners. As the poet says, "Ah! every blossom hath a tale, with silent grace to tell." Over and over again, that silent grace beckons me into the garden, calms and renews me, and connects me to the earth.


Could every blossom find a voice
And sing a strain to me,
I know where I would place my choice,
Which my delight should be.
I would not choose the lily tall,
The rose from musky grot,
But I would still my minstrel call
The blue Forget-me-not.

And I on mossy bank would lie,
Of brooklet, rippling clear;
And she of the sweet, azure eye,
Close at my listening ear,
Should sing into my soul a strain
Might never be forgot,
So rich with joy, so rich with pain--
The blue Forget-me-not.

Ah! every blossom hath a tale,
With silent grace to tell,
From rose that reddens to the gale
To modest heather-bell;
But oh! the flower in every heart
That finds a sacred spot
To bloom, with azure leaves apart,
Is the Forget-me-not.

Love plucks it from the mosses green
When parting hours are high,
And places it Love's palms between
With many an ardent sigh;
And bluely up from grassy graves
In some loved churchyard spot
It glances tenderly and waves--
The dear Forget-me-not.

by Crawford, Isabella Valancy (1850-1887)
Poem is in the public domain..

photo by Aisling, April 28, 2007; perennial forget-me-nots

Friday, April 27, 2007

Unfolding Wisdom...

This past weekend, seven-year-old Sijo was prompted by his aunt and his father to offer his advice on "how to get a girl." His words of wisdom were, and I quote, "Make a good first impression. Don't be too nice."

photo by Aisling, April 24, 2007, wild ginger unfolding in the garden

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Greening Earth

A red-winged blackbird
sits atop a red-twigged tree
near the water's edge.

The reflection of
last autumn's cattails wavers
through spring's bright algae.

Cloud-mottled gray sky
falls like rain. The mist rises
from the greening earth.

The Greening Earth haiku, by Aisling, April 23, 2007
photo by Aisling, April 23, 2007... a pansy with her rain-washed face

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Alchemy of Childhood...

When you add sweetness, clear diction, a good vocabulary, and a few years of life experience to a little boy, you can never be quite sure what you'll get. This morning Tanka gave me a huge, beaming smile. I thanked him for such a nice smile and he said (and I quote), "That smile was a present. It was filled with love. The hearts in the love were filled with... soymilk."

photo of Alchemilla Mollis (Lady's Mantle), filled with rain, by Aisling, April 18, 2007

Sunday, April 15, 2007

To Wander at Will...

Our neighbor's acreage is no longer the thriving dairy farm it once was. Part of it has been subdivided, into large plots of several acres each; our home sits on one of those sites. A few acres of the land is now rented by another farmer where he grows and bales hay for his livestock. Some of it sits, uncultivated and covered with forest and swamp, providing a quiet sanctuary for mosses and mushrooms and wild creatures. Fortunately, our neighbors are good people, and we have their permission to wander their rolling hills and forested acres at will. Today, Haiku and I walked to the braided tree at the forest's heart, and along a trail to the little lake at the edge of the woods.
A photo journal of our meandering walk follows. Some of the photos are better than others, but whether clear or slightly unfocused, they will give you a glimpse of what we saw as the early evening air chilled our skin and the sun slid slowly down the western horizon.

photos: 1) sunlight streaming in at the forest's edge 2)a stream at the trail head 3) three intertwined trees 4) a bit of winter lingers in nature's own ceremonial bowl atop a mossy stump 5) a blade of grass growing through a shelf mushroom 6)several shelf mushrooms like Japanese fans across a fallen log 7) emerging leaves of Dutchmen's Breeches, an ephemeral wildflower 8) a stump with a gorgeous soft mossy "hair-do" 9) And the trail goes on...

All photos by Aisling, April 15, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Walk in April...

I took my slippers off as I stepped through the garden, looking to see which buds had survived the storm. Only one bright daffodil was blooming. There is something welcoming and rejuvenating about the kiss of the cold earth against the soles of my bare feet, even in April... even as snow slows the rush of the creek and snowdrifts tarry in the shadowed, low-lying areas of the yard.

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the wind longs to play with your hair.

-Kahlil Gibran

photos by Aisling, April 9, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Of Wild Geese and Snowy Skies..

The photo above is from the butterfly garden last April 6th.
And this photo is from the same garden yesterday.

A few days ago, April's full moon rose as round and bright as always, but I could not see it through the banks of heavy cloud that have filled our skies for most of April thus far. My favorite source for moon names, from Sharon Lovejoy's book Hollyhock Days, calls April's moon The Wild Goose Moon. This seems appropriate to me, for we have been seeing wild geese these past few weeks. They fly overhead, proclaiming their arrival in noisy, gladsome chorus. They land in the fields along with pairs of Sandhill cranes, providing an entertaining focal point as we peer through our windows in the late afternoon hours. I have not seen them in the last four days of blizzard-winds and heavy snowfall.

The red-breasted robins also returned to our northern climes a couple of weeks past. Since the blizzard arrived, the robins have been congregating near the edges of the paved back roads and highways. The snow melts faster on those dark road surfaces. Perhaps the robins are seeking heat or hoping for a morsel of food, which the frozen snow-covered ground cannot provide. I have never seen this behavior by robins... the congregating or the lingering at the roadsides. We will be happy when the snow melts and Mr. Wiggles (our name for the first robin to visit our property each year) and his friends can seek their worms amid the greening grass and flowers in our fields.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Shining things...

I'd rather not write about the blizzard raging outside, turning the calendar back to February. Instead, I've decided to share these lovely photographs Haiku took late in March when spring was a shining hopeful thing. I also want to celebrate one of the most precious shining things in my life, my daughter Senryu, who is celebrating a birthday this week.

When Senryu was a tiny baby, she would fight sleep each evening, until exhausted from crying, she would finally let go of her intense involvement in each day. While she cried, I would rock with her, back and forth in the beautiful rocking chair that Limerick bought for me the Christmas before she was born. I would comfort her with music, in that special crooning tone that mothers save for singing lullabies... somewhere between a whisper and a song. What follows is are the lyrics to a song I wrote for Senryu one night just as her eyes drifted closed and she slipped softly into her dreaming hours.

Sweet sleeping angel,
may peace guide your dreams.
May beauty surround you.
May your laughter give wings
to your spirit which dances
and with grace overflows.
May you wake each new morning
with joy in your soul.

I can only hope that she finds joy in her soul each morning, but there is absolutely no doubt that her spirit has wings. Happy birthday, precious Shining Girl!

photos of sunlight on the lupines, & sunlight on the lake by Haiku, March 29, 2007
poetry by Aisling

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Remodelling a bit...

I'm going to try something new. I have created a new blog for my recipes and food related posts. You'll find it here: The Quiet Country Kitchen. So far, I've only posted some of the recipes that have previously been included here at The Quiet Country House. In the future, I will make a note on this blog that I've added a new recipe and will provide a link to that post. My hope is that the labelling feature on the right sidebar of the kitchen blog will enable readers to find recipes that interest them more quickly.