Sometimes Monday | 5.13.24

Sometimes Monday | 5.13.24

Like much of the world on Friday, time stood still for a few minutes while I saw the effects from the coronal mass ejections (or CME’s) with my eyes in the south hills of Pittsburgh!

Yes, it was amazing. Yes, I took pictures (because our eyes are limited but a camera lens is not!)

And I have not stopped thinking about the aurora borealis since… and those memories will carry me through my list today as I count the minutes to being a hearing person again tomorrow! (1893 minutes at this writing!!)

Happy Monday all! See you back here on Wednesday!

 

In my backyard | 3.18.24

In my backyard | 3.18.24

Today is a day for celebration! It is the last full day of winter!!

And yet…I have savored these 13 weeks slowly and thoughtfully as I read one essay a week with Margaret Renkl. It was the most aware winter of my life and I am celebrating every moment of winter as it draws to a close.

But!!

I am also full of excitement to welcome the arrival of spring tomorrow! My hope is that the next 13 weeks as I immerse myself in spring will be as full of delights as the winter weeks were!

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. ― Hal Borland

I love this quote from Borland… he has some of the best wisdom as one moves from one season to another. Especially as the “edges” of seasons can overlap each other a bit. I won’t be shocked if winter pushes back on spring a bit and I have loved the spring-like days that have been creeping into winter!

About mid-February, we jumped on the Bird Buddy band wagon and have had loads of fun with it. And while I am contemplating some modifications to deter the bigger birds, thus far it is providing maximum delight! I discovered we have a Titmouse who has a little yellow band… so that is kind of fun! (I also reported my banded bird sighting!) I am laughing out loud at the antics of the Common Grackle! I am not sure there is another bird on the planet (or at least in my backyard) with a better stare down! And although the Bird Buddy has not gotten any woodpecker snaps, they are loving it as well! As does our local squirrel family, of course!

The deer also are enjoying the new feeder… no snaps of them yet either, but I live in hope! Saturday morning, I was delighted to see a ‘trail’ of deer fur across my back yard… they must be shedding for the spring! The birds made short work of it as the morning sun dried the frosty ground… some wee baby birds will have lovely soft nests! Making sure I am taking in all that is around me has opened my eyes to things that probably happened before, but I was not looking for them so I missed out on the wonder and the joy!

Somehow, Margaret Renkl’s wisdom each week astounds me anew (I had previously read The Comfort of Crows) but as I read “Praise Song for a Spring I Was Not Alive to See” I was profoundly struck by how similar her thoughts are with the thoughts of Andri Snær Magnason, as he talks about sitting in the same space with his 94 year old grandmother and his daughter as they contemplate the daughter’s grandchildren and the connection between them all. (I am savoring On Time and Water currently.) The idea that this coming spring is a spring my dearest Nana would have experienced as a young girl… and that someday Vivi’s grandchildren will experience the same spring. (at least that is my hope that there will still be spring in the future.) These are thoughts that fill my heart with deep joy as I contemplate a connectedness that moves beyond time.

And of course, there’s this…

So many birds are singing and singing and singing. — Margaret Renkl, The Comfort of Crows

And there you have a glimpse into my backyard as I bid winter a fond farewell and welcome spring with open arms!

Happy Last Day of Winter everyone!

 

Proof of Life | 2.2.24

Proof of Life | 2.2.24

Today is Groundhog’s Day and Punxsutawney Phil will soon be making is prediction… but regardless of him seeing his shadow or not, we have 6 more weeks of winter before spring arrives on March 19th. (Although with our forecast of a week of much warmer temps, maybe spring will be arriving this week!)

I read another week with Margaret Renkl’s The Comfort of Crows and it might just have been my favorite week thus far!

I was so absorbed by the task of planning for spring that I completely forgot how long the wait for true springtime would be…I was remembering my favorite part of planting: the moment when the seedling, fragile as any lace-winged insect or hallow-boned nestling, somehow shoves the clods of earth aside and makes it way upward and outward. Searching for the light. — Margaret Renkl, The Comfort of Crows, an excerpt from Winter, Week 7

Last fall… I invested in spring. I planted LOTS of bulbs and have since been battling squirrels who believed I planted a buffet just for them! I have even seen said squirrels taunting me from the tree gnawing on the big, juicy bulbs they had unearthed. My fears grew and grew and grew… was my hopeful investment for a blooming spring for naught?

Oh, me of little faith!

Crocus peeking out! And yes, the weeds are growing… sigh.

This week a plethora of “proof of life” has been showing in my gardens! I might have even put on my happy pink socks and done a great big happy dance in my soggy back yard!

Daffodils that the squirrels missed!

So even if those squirrels have feasted on a good number of bulbs… some survived and that makes all that work in the fall very much worth it! (Even if Bah Humbug Steve does not agree with me!) Sadly, the alliums that were sending up their delicate tender fronds were mowed back down to ground level. What ate them? I have no clue. I am hopeful their will to live will overcome this tragedy.

Who chomped these wee alliums?!

And… I have one month of stitching done… A Proof of Life from my creative self as well!

Thirty-one days of stitching!

I wish you all a very happy weekend! See you all back here on Monday!

** Header Photo by Gelgas Airlangga **

In My Backyard | November 2023

In My Backyard | November 2023

As November’s crisp, rustling leaves surrender to cool autumn breezes and whirl away in all directions, we are reminded that ‘for everything there is a season. ― Peggy Toney Horton, Unseen Angels

November has been utterly delightful… were words I never thought I’d think or say, but it is so very true!

I have delighted in the falling leaves, the bare branches, the crisp nights, and the sunny days! I have even enjoyed the crunch of leaves underfoot on my walks with Sherman! This season surely has provided some incredible beauty!

The month started on a very high note inside when my “All Saint’s Day” Cactus began blooming on the first… and the show has not stopped! If fills me with such delight every morning when I head to my desk with coffee to begin my day. In previous years, I have had to fertilize this cactus to get it to bloom, but this year it has just been thriving! In October I bumped one of the segments off accidentally but I have been successful in rooting it and it has new growth as well!

One new little segment starting!

AND! If all that was not enough… I cut back some of my herbs with the hope that I would be have fresh herbs over the winter and have a rooting plant to replant in the spring (I did this successfully last year with the sage and the rosemary… and it appears I will be successful again this year!) I am going to try again with a small basil cutting… it has roots and new leaves! My plan is to plant it in a small pot to see if that fosters success. I tried the cutting last year but it I did not have success.

My kitchen herb “garden”!

It was not all indoor gardening this month… in my yard I have safely tucked away dozens of bulbs. I am excited for alliums, daffodils, crocus, and tulips that will help me greet the spring! At least that is my hope… if the squirrels don’t dig them all up! I have been playing a bit of wack-a-mole with them. They dig into the mulch…. I move the mulch back. The rascally squirrels have not dug into the dirt… yet. I am now hoping for a good freeze and perhaps a bit of snow cover so they move on from their obsession to dig them up!

But, lest you think that my November was all about plants… The over-winter birds have been a delight as well. The Junco’s were back this month and I welcomed American Pitpit’s as well! And I have seen several Cedar Waxwings as well. They join the Cardinal’s, Titmice, Chickadees, Blue Jay’s, Robins (yes, they are here year around), and the assortment of woodpeckers that visit daily.

And as this month draws to a close… I am eager for what December will bring.

Have a great weekend everyone, I will be back on Monday with an update on my word!

 

In My Backyard | 9.29.23

In My Backyard | 9.29.23

It must be September,
July sun has disappeared
Charmaine J. Forde

This was certainly true this month… one of the most significant things I noted this month… darker morning and evening walks with Sherman. In the morning we are waiting for the sunrise and though it seems lighter at night, it is just because we are out as the sun is setting…and soon that will be dark as well!

I was fortunate to catch a few migrating travelers at my bird feeders this month. Yes, two different warblers stopped for a snack… a Bay-breasted Warbler and a Cape May Warbler. It was delightful to see them briefly on their long journey!

I took a bit of advice from Kym and went out into my garden with my journal and a pencil…and I wrote down lots of notes! I also did a bit of prep-work for the onslaught of spring bulbs that are on their way (The Slow Boat from Amsterdam!) Of course, they are slated to come when we will be in Erie, but Steve’s mom is our Mail Watcher when we are gone (I think she is the original Nebby Neighbor, but in this case it is useful, LOL!)

I am surprised that my tomatoes have continued to produce all month (despite the cold snap we had!) but this weekend I will  harvest what is left (fried green tomatoes anyone?) and pull the plants next week. My pots are looking mighty sad these days… that cold snap did them no favors! I will clean the lot of them, which will be sad… but I won’t have to come home from Erie with that to do AND plant that plethora of bulbs heading my way!

There was less porch time this month… but what days I could, I was out on the porch! And that will be my plan next month as well!

I have just today and tomorrow to go in Squat-tember! And while I did not achieve a perfect completion (I missed a few days) over all, it was a success! I found Petra to be a great motivator! I am going to continue squatting (and doing more floor sitting!)

And there you have my month… it was good but went by way too fast!

Have a great weekend everyone and I will see you all back here on Monday!

**photo above is from the 22nd at 7:27PM

 

In my backyard | 8.25.23

In my backyard | 8.25.23

Learning to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance. — Morgan Freeman

In August I savored the stillness… the bird song has slowed. Gone is the territorial songs marking nesting territories so it seems that the birds, as well, welcome some quietude to their day. Late August is not completely silent though… the cicada drone is an ever-present hum.

This month I delighted in a wee hummingbird who has marked the feeders as her own. Watching her chase off other hummingbirds was a bit like watching a quidditch match… and just as fun!

Though the humidity kept me indoors most afternoons, I did manage a few times to do some porch stitching. But indoors or out, I have welcomed this quiet practice into my day. I now can get 2 squares done in an hour and set up my squares for the next day. I have found a rhythm to my stitching… and I have discovered that I prefer using some wee pins to baste the piece down versus doing so with a needle and thread. I am getting much better and using my milliner’s needle to turn the edge under as well… and my corners have improved dramatically! But still… I don’t feel any urge to increase my speed… I am savoring the quiet time with just a needle and thread in my hands. Slow, quiet making is the perfect sweet spot.

I have also been loving every bite of my tomatoes… and I am making notes on what worked and what I can tweak for next year. One thing I could not count on this year were a helpful army of bees to pollinate my tomatoes. Sadly, I have noted a sharp decline in the bee population… it makes my heart sore and I have mourned their absence. In their absence, I have become a master pollinator…but I much prefer the visiting bees so my plans include a “Cosmo Hedge” with hopes of enticing more bees, however many, back to my yard.

The days are now markedly shorter and my garden is looking… spent… tired… more than ready for a break. I still have some yarrow blooming, but soon that will be at an end as well. I have some iris to dig up and divide and that is my plan for September. But my brain has been thinking of spring… I have the Mother Lode of Bulbs coming and so I will have a busy autumn getting them all tucked in for a winter’s nap!

All in all… the stillness of August did have an incredible radiance to it. This might have been the best August yet… and I will continue to savor the final days of it!

Happy Friday, all and I will see you back on Monday with an update on my word!

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