Showing posts with label Seasons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seasons. Show all posts

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Renewed and Improved

This winter has seemed like Ground Hog Day...all winter long.  The days are dark and unusually short.  I swear this year they seem much shorter than ever, maybe 4 hours long.  We get a few days of sunshine, but most are just gray.  Sometimes it rains all day long.  But even with these slight differences each day seems almost the same as each day before with no new edges or harsh angles.  I do tend to get a mild version of Seasonal Affective Disorder this time of year.  I understand why Scandinavian literature is so plodding and sad.

My usual reaction is to curl up on the couch in "seasonal-change-wait" mode and read or watch TV.  I have edited all of my recent photos and there is nothing new to play with as you can take only so many photos of birds and gray trees.  This is the season of boredom and depression.  No wonder the entire nation is arguing about guns instead of poverty and jobs or chocolate cake and wine.  (We own 2 guns, have no fear of anyone taking them, and are pro-gun control, of course.)

I got so bored a few days ago that I cleaned the two bathrooms downstairs toothbrush clean---actually using an old toothbrush at times.  Everything that wasn't bolted down was taken out and every corner was scrubbed.  Every rug was washed, every wall artwork dusted, every light fixture polished.  I threw away toothbrushes and extra lotions I hadn't used in years.  I even organized the drawers.  I turned on all the lights teasing the sun to come out.  Boy am I bored!

Then just when I was ready to start taking drugs, I woke early one morning to an unusual golden light peaking at my eyelids and saw this!  I could not contain myself, grabbed my camera and ran in slipper-socks to the dock.  My socks became heavy squishy sponges as I cross wet grass and wet wood, but the temperature was not brutally cold, just bearable.  I stood on the dock in my new white Christmas bathrobe and wet feet looking like a giant poodle with black paws and snapped away in wonder.  I even had time to look at the sky and enjoy the moment.  There were two and one was complete.

Today they are predicting snow!!  I am really excited for another change!  It seems that I will survive.  My hearing will improve.  (Oh, the prior post was about Justin Timberlake's new song "Suit and Tie.")

Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer Reruns#

The smooth face of a butter-cream surf-sanded shell
The marvelous smooth pre-kissed cheek of a grandchild

The starfish shaped prints in the sand after flight of a watchful great heron
The tiny hand print in sand of an elated child who came later

The familiar hand-hold of your husband at the end of the movie before you enter the car
The rose petaled floor of your son's well-planned engagement evening*

The feathery drift of dozens of yellow butterflies against a blue sky
The last smell of a sunset peach rose before the first petal fall
The earthy taste of a sun-kissed tomato

The icy sip of a glass of something cold and bubbly
The scattered song of a teenage titmouse dancing on the roof

The giggle of a toddler dancing in the grass
The jazzy rhythm of bold cicadas hidden from view
The gentle burr of a hummingbird at your back

The magical sparkle of an ever higher climbing fairy flight of fireflies
against the black silhouette of a tree before the blush of the moon.

 #Perhaps a little sweet gooey like too much pink cotton candy at the fair...but it is honest, honestly.
 *Details, perhaps, in another blog post.

(In answer to the prior post she was most amazed that the statue did not wear underpants!)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autumnal Reverie

This is my favorite time of year.  Days are cool enough for roast chicken dinners.  I harvested the last of the garden vegetables and the farmers market completes the rest.  I do not mind having the oven on for over two hours to let the big bird brown as the afternoon cools.  The fall rains have started and after our two-month drought, this is like champagne from the sky.

While I can no longer run outside barefoot across the wet grass to harvest the rosemary and sage for the chicken, I also do not have to avoid the hot sidewalk on the quick return.

I can no longer watch the moon rise in my Chinese pajamas (pink "silk" which my Princess granddaughter loves) because the evenings are most chilling now on the back deck, but I can still BBQ on the deck and enjoy the earlier sunsets through the flame red and yellow trees.

Perhaps I will also finally have time to search the back seat of my car and find the injured grasshopper which my grandson saved, wrapped carefully in a napkin, and then somehow lost on our trip back from the ice cream booth this past summer.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Appear to be the Butt of a Joke.

(I got this in an email and my research on the Internet says it was "submitted by Debbie, Middletown."  Needless to say I do not know Debbie.)

God Finds Out About Lawn Care
"Winterize your lawn," the big sign outside the garden store commanded. I've fed it, watered it, mowed it, raked it and watched a lot of it die anyway. Now I'm supposed to winterize it? I hope it's too late. Grass lawns have to be the stupidest thing we've come up with outside of thong swimsuits! We constantly battle dandelions, Queen Anne's lace, thistle, violets, chicory and clover that thrive naturally, so we can grow grass that must be nursed through an annual four step chemical dependency.

Imagine the conversation The Creator might have with St. Francis about this:

"Frank you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracted butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles."

"It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great extent to kill them and replace them with grass."

"Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?"

"Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn."

"The spring rains and cool weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy."

"Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it _ sometimes twice a week."

"They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?"

"Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags."

"They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?"

"No, sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away."

"Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?"

"Yes, sir."

"These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work."

"You aren't going believe this Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it."

"What nonsense! At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life."

"You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and have them hauled away."

"No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and keep the soil moist and loose?"

"After throwing away your leaves, they go out and buy something they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves."

"And where do they get this mulch?"

"They cut down trees and grind them up."

"Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. Saint Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?"

"Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about..."

"Never mind I think I just heard the whole story."

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Best Laid Spring Plans

The local theatre brochure arrives by post.
I peruse
and mark those entertainments that look promising.
Unfolding the town paper, I scan the insert
and make a mental note of
weekend frivolities that are intriguing.

A new restaurant in town has live music for lunch, and
I jot a mental note to make sure and drop by.
The evening news showcases a local sports team and
I mark the calendar to see the next game.
My favorite artist has an exhibit in the nearby town and
I clear some space in my week.

The weekend comes and the drama of
the osprey nest building show,
"Engagement one week only,"
claims my time.
The following week there are hyacinth bean seedlings
in the coldframe
demanding transplant.
During the coming spring days,
my lunch hours are filled
with the dance recitals of
hummingbirds and new butterflies.
By month's end, the lonely canoe needs a quick
paddle down the creek to stretch its spine.
So, I will admire the spring landscapes painted by 

the local artist, Mother Nature,
while pulling my paddle through the silver water.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


(The title above is in homage to the season finale of the TV show, Damages which I am way too addicted to watching.)

Friko commented on how lovely the flowers were in one of my recent posts and 'bemoaned' that I truly had a green thumb and must have a perfect garden.  (If she only knew!)  Her recent post had commented on how harshly the winter had treated many of the perennials in her garden. Lest my readers get the wrong idea about my gardening is a dose of reality.

The long and hard winter has changed how the wild dogwoods bloomed this spring at the edge of my woods.  Perhaps the harsh temperatures froze the buds or perhaps the birds or squirrels or raccoons had eaten the new growth during the winter as I have only a 'handful' of blossoms per tree as can be seen below.

My rhododendron, above, purchased on sale at a hefty price last fall has suffered tremendously from the heavy winter snows.  It is just a shadow of itself and I fear it will not survive the summer!  I was told when I took in a branch that it was getting too much water...but I think it is something more. I expect perhaps one blossom and am afraid to move it to a better area as this is the best spot I have!

The side of my foundation landscape at the front door entry has holes in the nandina hedge where snow pack bent the branches to the ground and broke much of the tall growth.  The hedge is now thin and spindly.  Nandina plants are hardy so I hope some shape will return.  I have staked it as it quite naturally leans out toward the morning sun.

My large rosemary had to be cut back and the damage has certainly ruined its shape. It will be moved this week to the new herb bed which has better drainage but less afternoon sun :-(.  The shock has caused some of the stalks to bloom already.

The most dangerous damage was done to my expensive cut leaf maple which is now three years old and holding its own beneath the front bay window. It may look lovely here but lets pull back the leaves to see what we saw on our return from that last heavy snowfall in February.

Yes, in our desperation that cold winter day we used duct tape to save the branch.  The branch had been torn away and was hanging by the thinest of cadmium on the opposite side.  Since the tree was dormant at the time, I pushed the two parts of the branch together and taped them hoping scar tissue would form in the spring and save the branch.  Hubby added the string support tied to the stronger part of the tree above to ease the strain on the broken branch.  This branch was full in the front and important to the full shape of the plant.  All appears well for now and we will see if this repair will hold down through the summer and winter to come!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Just Teasing

Today was the oddest day. It started out in the 50s (F) and then climbed to the 60's. A batch of orange robins had flown in the night before and blended perfectly with all the orange brown leaves that I had not raked or blown away. We do not have robins here during the summer months, so I knew they were on their way to Florida. I got started on the yard at mid-morning and was enjoying watching roils of leaves tumble into the woods revealing the spring green grass beneath. I cleared the patio and the deck and stored that nutrition in the compost bin. Then I began to clip away those perennials that had gone brown.

When I went to put away the rake and leaf blower I was met by a couple of sulphur butterflies and one bright orange and brown butterfly enjoying the last of the lavender flowers. I hadn't seen butterflies for more than a week, so it was a surprise to watch these dancing across my herb bed.

Later after I had picked some green tomatoes and arugula and several of the hot peppers and the last of the roses for my table, I noticed a number of small flying insects filling the air like little fluff machines. One landed in my hair and I discovered that it was a lady bug. They were everywhere looking for food. One even made it into the house that afternoon.

I was just beginning to wonder what had happened to fall when the sun started to set and the most lovely haze hung on the golden horizon making me think that I was back in Asia where the cooking fires created a smokey haze at the end of the day. It smelled dusty and musty and reminded me of the dry season in Indonesia. It was so much like summer and such a tease that I made my way down to the dock barefoot. Anyday that I do not have to wear shoes is a GOOD day. I was almost ready to believe that winter was not hiding somewhere up North.

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Today is December 13. We are only 12 days from Christmas. While we have had one or two feathery dusts of snow, this is what my backyard looks like this morning. The temperature is currently 36F and there is a very slight breeze. Someone needs to tell the new lawn that we put in this fall that winter is now here. The lime green is quite incongruous.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing--Again

(Photo above I took from the deck yesterday evening as the sun was setting across the river and my weary body was screaming for rest. Click on photo to see the details of the last of our fall beauty.)

I have taken dozens and dozens of pictures in the yard this fall as the season peaks. The variety of tree species complimented by the diverse fall colors have been most obvious this fall, and the peak beauty has been more exciting than I have noticed in the past.

Since all good things must come to an end, the prior night's wet winds brought millions of leaves to carpet everywhere. The weather yesterday was in the 70's and we knew we had to get the leaves off of the the driveway and the lawn before the coming front that would bring more leaves and more rain. We had to use our non-environmental leaf blower because the new lawn was still too wet and soft to walk on and rake and the gravel driveway does not lend itself to raking.

I created large snake-like drifts of leaves in places down the long winding driveway and these we captured and put into a metal garbage can. They were broken down with the weed eater into a wonderful rich nutrition that was added to the newly created raised garden beds that now await the birth of spring. Hubby is so excited about this humus rich black gold that we have created that he cannot walk down the driveway without stopping to enjoy the results of his many days of labor.

Since the ticks are dormant we can wade into the 'jungle' and clear the non-indigenous wild rose that strangles everything in its way climbing high into 30 foot trees. Even though I covered my body in loose clothing and wore jeans, the tiny tenacious thorns at the ends of the branches would fly over my head and bite me in the butt, pull off my cap, and tangle my hair as I pulled them away into the open areas. I also fought with the green briar (such a lovely name for such a nasty plant). I now look as though I had fought with a wild cat---so glad I do not care about that stuff.

The day before, we had created a large and very warm brush fire with all the downed limbs and weeds we had cleared. Yesterday flew by too fast for us to start on that project once again, but now the holly, dogwood, linden trees and other plants are free to breathe once again and we have space to put in our plastic net deer fence around the perimeter. The deer have mowed the mums and trimmed my pyracantha hedge and the low growth of the new hybrid dogwood. While I spray deer repellent it has become a careful dance between them and us as their fall food cache diminishes.

I awoke this morning to another carpet of leaves almost as dense as the one we cleared yesterday! Some times I think mother nature is too rich for me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Fall Freedom

The days are now crisp and clean and clear and the sky is children’s storybook blue. Clouds are downy and plump as they drift above. Below, the water dances with light as if diamonds had been sprinkled across its surface. Nighttime brings the big fat moon smiling down in the cool of the evening. Reptiles are now seen only in the warmth of the afternoon sun. The last of the summer birds have started their long, hard journey south. The few species of birds that come to stay over the winter months from up north will be arriving shortly. The last of the Pawpaws are making forest floor wine. This is my favorite time of the year.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer Succulence

The morning’s warm humid caress
Falls upon the child’s perfect arm.
The spicy smell of a vine’s blossoms
Halts all but our soft intake of breath.

Elegant petite red jewels
Catch the angled sunlight.
The promise of their rich sweetness
Barely lingers from yesterday’s memory.

This summer’s day gift
Will not endure beyond tomorrow
It is accepted with the reverence
And wonder that miracles deserve.

Friday, June 29, 2007

And the b(h)eat goes on

Waves of heat fry the brain
Drops of sweat fall like rain
Pulsing in and pushing out
Mother weather shows her clout
Humid air and growing weeds
Set the party for ticks with needs
Roses bow their withered heads
Too much scorch upon the beds
Poison ivy spreads its arms
Tabor rejects with much alarm
Take sweating tea in a tall glass
This too shall eventually pass

(I know, its pretty pathetic. But my brain is fried.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Longest Day

I can remember a long time ago when the start of summer meant sleeping late and then moving to the hammock outside on the lawn, still in my pajamas, with the first book from the top of the pile that I brought home from the library in my hand. And then I was lost for the rest of the morning in another world until my mother's patience wore thin and she had me doing errands or ironing or cleaning.

I miss the fresh joy of youth. The kick-up-the-heels giggle at long warm days at the small town swimming pool. I miss the bookmobile that stopped at the end of the road and, like a metal wrapped present with smells of musty paper, offered adventure and travel and more laughter. I miss the energy of chasing after the ice cream truck and licking creamy hands as the ice cream in the cones melted faster than could be consumed.

Feet were always dusty and dirty no matter how much we swam or bathed. We never wore shoes. Bikes were for racing and getting a cool breeze going in your face and then hitting the top of the hill and putting your feet up on the handle bars and coasting down the long road on the other side.

If there was errand money, I could spend the afternoon in the cool darkness of the movie theater, and then after the movie ended and the credits rolled being totally disoriented emerging in the bright light and heat of the day feeling as if I had just landed on some alien planet.

Now I only notice the details of the season in passing. I spend most of my time in a climate controlled office and hear the complaints of others about the heat. Here it is the first day of summer and the crepe myrtles are starting to bloom! They used to be the late July flowers. They were what I planted for late summer color when all the other plants had wilted or dried under the intense heat. Is this global warming? Or just because I live in the micro-climate of the city. Or am I just being forgetful?