Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Autumnal Respite

It was a fall day almost too warm for my long-sleeved T-shirt.  I welcomed the breeze from across the lake as it cooled my back and also scattered leaves like dyslexic butterflies everywhere.

I had to carefully share the trail with bikers who were determined to recreate the Tour de France in these East Coast Woods.  The layers of sand and pine needles hid their fast approach.  I could smell coconut oil as they whizzed by while I hugged the edge of the trail.  Then I would get another 20 minutes of quiet peace.

There were other dangers as the tall oaks and beech trees threw their wares making popping sounds and with inaccurate sighting they just missed my head.  The ground was covered in smooth missiles.

I complained just a little for the obstacle course that had been thrust my way and the woods were all ears in sympathy.

The walk was 7.5 miles over tree roots, across compacted clay, trails of sand and even a mud puddle or two.  The background music was the sharp call of the jay and a rare hawk high in the blue sky.  If I was very still I even heard one lonely cricket.  Mid-way I stopped for a light lunch on a damp log and looked up at the light show just above my head.

I did find a few treasures which I will post in the future.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bird's-eye View

Thought that I would share a birds-eye view of autumn in Ireland.  Taken from the top balcony of Blarney Castle a few weeks ago.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Saying goodbye to each precious fall day can take my breath away.  I have been down with the flu and finally able to get outside during this cool evening and watch the day being tucked into bed was just what this body needed.  The air was cool but also still as glass and not cold.  No hint of winter's breath whispered at the back of my neck.  Just the jewel tones of fall.  Just the promise that tomorrow will be an even better day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Painting in the Garden

In a bit of a lull while working on getting my health back and thus doing some digital painting.  All of these below are digital paintings from Mount Usher Garden, a "Robinsonian" style river garden, in Wicklow County, Ireland.  This garden dates back to 1868 and is thus the living place of many champion trees...something we do not see in the United States so often.  It has won many awards.  More information can be found here.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Parts of Ireland are Subtropical

I wanted to comment on the comments on the post below.  I also wondered how Ireland could have such lush gardens and why everything ---really---was much larger in their gardens.  They also seemed to have fewer issues with bugs.  I 'think' it is because the island is along the Gulf Stream.  Yes, the warm waters that caress our East Coast also reach as far as Ireland and after looking at the plants and signs and chatting with a botanist, I realized that the climate is subtropical!  They can take plants from Brazil, Cuba, etc. and they do very well.  The nights are cool and the summer days are rarely hot.  Winters are not always harsh.  Perfect weather for growing plants!  And, like Washington and Oregon they get lots of misty rain.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

It Is Not All That Little.

I learned many things on my recent travel to the country of Ireland.  I learned that they may be a wee island with wee leprechaun and wee tales and wee poems and wee ditties, but they are huge when it comes to gardens.  Their flowers such as cosmos are the size of my fist.  Their colors are bold and bright.  Everything grows bigger and brighter in Ireland!  (Below were taken in Mount Usher Garden, county Wicklow.)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Wood Witch Loses Her Cool

I do try hard to be a sharing and giving and caring person on this earth.  I have no more right to be here than all the other living things, right?  I leave out seeds through the late fall and all of winter into spring and leave out water year-round for my feathered beauties.  We compost most kitchen scraps and do not mind when the turtles, raccoons, crows and whatever other scavengers depart with some of that stuff.  I let all the bugs eat to their hearts content unless I feel the plant is losing the battle.  I plant natives as much as possible so that the life cycle of local living things can both eat and lay their eggs.  While I might spray with something, it is on very rare occasions and with something less toxic.   I am a peacenik.

The other day I was weeding and out of the shrubbery bounced a small, young rabbit.  He paused at the edge of the brick edging and looked up at me with the most pitiable look.  I knew he was thinking. "Don't move, she can't see you...oh hell, she is only two feet away, OF COURSE SHE CAN SEE YOU!"  He put on his little baby face and opened his big brown eyes.  I talked to him softly and in my best rabbit whisperer voice asked if he could stay out of the flower bed and just eat the clover which was taking over my lawn.  He paused, seemed to smile, and then disappeared across the lawn into other shrubbery.  I turned to continue weeding and that is when I saw he had eaten HALF of my liatris stems almost down to the bulbs!  They had long ago finished their lovely purple fuzzy blooming, but now the bulbs were feeding for winter and he had stolen most of their dinner.  Ugh!

A few weeks later while sitting in the shade waiting to get a photo of a hummingbird (which Hilary more than put me in my place with her photo), I saw a gray-brown shadow out of the corner of my eye slowly making its way to where I sat on the low stool.  Since I had not chased him last time, this time he just watched me with my camera while he ate his afternoon snack.  

He even felt safe enough to lay down in the cool grass and meditate for a while.

It was the nearby caw of the crow that brought him sharply upright and I am guessing that he knew angry crows meant nearby hawks and he scuttled off under the pyracantha.

It was not until days later as I was walking to my front door (camera in hand as always) that I saw him right at my feet looking intensely at my toad lily plant.  If you look behind him you can see where a few of the stems have already been cropped.

He was not worried about me as he clearly began to chew off on of the lovely stems with lily blossoms!

I am afraid that is what threw me out of my peaceful "wood-witch one-with-the-planet" mood.  I threw out my arms and went screaming toward him.  His survival response was good and I chased him down into the ravine calling out witch curses all the way.  I haven't seen him for days, but I know he is watching, waiting for me to go on my upcoming trip when it will be vacation time in the yard once again.