Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell from 2008

Never shy about a throwing a flamboyant goodbye party, the sky and river bid us adieu with such a brilliant sunset on the last night before the New Year's Eve that I was forced to hold my breath until the cold seeped through my jeans forcing me to hurry in my stocking feet back to the house.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Alien Zephyr

A soft warm beauty more gently lovely than I had seen in a long time came visiting yesterday. She gracefully entered from the West. She effervesced a teasing smell that did not reflect or fit the gray and sleeping landscape over which she skipped. She entered with such presence that all living things stopped to watch and held their breath as if they were afraid their presence might frighten her into leaving not to return anytime soon. The birds then broke into songs that they usually saved for the best of the springtime days. Those plants that winter's icy fingers had not yet put to sleep, seemed ready to burst with renewed energy. I wandered through the nearby woods drinking in the warm smell as if I had been oxygen deprived for weeks, as perhaps I had. I closed my eyes and let her breath linger on my skin hoping to hold this memory for months to come. When I returned home I flung open windows everywhere to let the perfume inside. What a lovely gift the earth has given me this time of year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Tipping Point

Only with the passage of time can we look back and see the points where our life tips away in one direction or another. We are forced to slow down during the cold gray days of winter and pause with our memories and then we can review all those tipping points and think about whether we pushed to go over and tip or something tipped us.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Crow Song

The constant caw of the crows this morning actually make the early gray dawn seem warmer with an energy that only black crows can carry forward. They seem to celebrate my birthday today with their persistent call like the laugh of several buddies remembering an old but favorite joke. An old joke? Is that me?

Or are they celebrating the shortest day of the year knowing that now ever so slowly the days begin to get longer and 'psychologically' warmer?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Calamondin Cake Here I come

As you can see from the lower middle part of the picture I have already picked at least one of these orange delicious in tea or on fish! The blossoms are erupting with complete abandon and my corner of the kitchen smells like a citrus orchard. I have a lovely recipe from one of Nigella Lawson's cookbooks as soon as I have a dozen calamondins!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fiddle - Faddle

Yes I am fiddling with the layout. Boring gray days and impatience for spring already I am guessing. Trying to get rid of the lime green but can't find the html code for that! Could only change the background for the body.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunrise - Sunset

As I age I find that I frequently do not know whether I should look backward or forward more often for wisdom. Is the better part of the day sunrise or sunset? Are beginnings or endings the most important to cherish and learn from?

(Photo was taken in the mountains of Italy at the end of a very gray day in an almost empty village where my ancestors once lived.)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

She Will Get Your Attention

I was shopping the other day at one of those warehouse discount stores. The kind that make me feel guilty everytime I enter them. I needed napkins, paper towels, etc. ---remember my other blog and the visiting relatives?.

Inside the cavernous room people were busy stocking up on foods and decorations for the holidays. Baskets were filled with exotic pre-made desserts, large selections of cheeses and chunks of fresh or frozen meat. We all were eager to pay for our larder and get home.

Mother Nature knew we were distracted and insisted we pause, for as we left the building a fresh very cool rain had just passed leaving everything sparkly wet and as we looked to the sky not only one but two rainbows arched over the parking lot. Everyone stopped in their mad pace and strangers suddenly became wonderfilled children talking to each other and smiling at the sky.

I did not get a photo, but perhaps the words above can paint a picture in one's minds eye.

Friday, December 05, 2008

My Corner

The room without walls is graying rapidly. All of the trees are left with bare fingers pointing to the gray sky. Much is now dying or going into the long sleep. In the corner of my house facing the southwest winter sun, my tiny new calamondin tree has redeemed the gray passage for us with tiny tangy orange citrus for our drinks and is now filling the tips of its tiny branches with lovely white blossoms. Soon the alluring fragrance of citrus will fill that corner of the room reminding me that spring is hiding around another corner.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Celestial Buddies

Best I could get...if you click on the photo you will get a better view of this celestial friendship.


The object in life should be to never lose one's sense of wonder
about the beauty of this earth and the awesome changes in each season.
Sharing the wonder with those you love is the very best of life.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Acrobat

First the glimpse of the acrobatic meanderings of a fuzzy wuzzy outside of the window from my dining table began the distraction. The sun was setting and the night temperature rapidly dropping into freezing levels.

As I watched, he bravely balanced from delicate branch to delicate branch gathering the nuts for his dinner. He was careful and even graceful in spite of his rolli-polliness. From his perch he got a lovely view of the river and the sunset to help with digestion.

In a surprising few minutes he had cleared most of the nuts, leaving the nuts that were dangerously at the far tips of the branches to fall to the ground in the coming days. He crawled to the crook in the largest part of the tree and carefully ate the last of his harvest before disappearing quickly into the shadows of the forest.

Monday, November 17, 2008

No Regrets

Some people die with no regrets, at least that is what they say, and others regret their entire life. Some regret what they have done and others what they did not do but should have. Some will voice their regrets out loud so that others may judge or forgive and some will have only silent regrets that they will hold close until their last breath. Tuck your regrets away here and move on with your precious life.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Teamwork in Time

A familiar team
Repeats the ballet on wings
Going home again.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Paths We Take

Somtimes we bravely take our own path and sometimes we follow the paths of others, but we should always watch where we are going.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Van Gogh

It is not unusual for someone to spend hours, even days, looking for the perfect work of art to hang on the nice blank wall of a new home. The decorator wants something that matches the style of the house, coordinates with the color scheme and perhaps also shows how successful you are. I am an old lady now and the walls of my house remain somewhat blank...except for the walls where I put in lots of windows. Therefore, I just have to look through those windows to get a framed view of ever changing works of art that cannot be purchased in any studio.

Saturday, November 01, 2008


It was Halloween and just the time for spooky stories. Pine cone said he had a really scary ghost story. The three little mushrooms giggled softly as they lined up for the tall tale. Each time the pine cone got to another very scary part he twisted closer and dropped his voice lower. By the time the scary tale had all been told the mushrooms had snuggled back into the pine needles and were sitting in each other's laps and the pine cone's prickly breath was in their face.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Light the Fire

The brilliant rays of the setting sun kiss each ripple on the surface of the river, painting a surface of golden warmth from shore to shore. I can warm my hands at the edge of these glowing coals made by the water's reflection. I snuggle back into the fuzzy soft flowers of the saltbush that hug the shore. This is a cozy landscape that mother nature has designed to shelter her loved ones as the cool of the evening moves in.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Power of Prayer

As we tore out the remains of the garden to get ready for putting in the raised beds, I noticed this fellow hanging on for dear life at the top of one of the tomato cages. He was carefully watching me tear out the invasive mint that my husband had so carelessly let get established. This little head pivoted ominously facing me with the 'bug-eyed stare' as I walked around him trying to get a photo at various angles. I asked him to pray for Americans and the economy. He seemed to be trying to convey some message about the environment and I swear he said in a tiny voice "To Hell with oil prices!" Just like politics, not everyone agrees. (If you click on the photo you will get the attitude.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I am so Glad

These lovely white fairies are now blooming in one of my flower beds. Their fragrance is the breath of a tropical night on a distant island, quite exotic for mid-October!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Two weeks ago on an early morning with camera in hand, I went out to look at the fog which hung between the trees. I raised the camera to see if I could capture the mysterious mist and feeling of the early day. I had not reset the camera and my flash went off against the fog. Each drop of moisture reflected the light back into the lens of the camera hiding the trees in the near distance. All I got was these large drops of water that hung in the air. It is an interesting photo but reminded me that if we don't step back but instead peer too closely and intensely at something trying to analyze it, we don't see the forest for the 'trees' or whatever is in front the trees.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


The agony, fear, anger, bitterness of these times keeps creeping into my daily routine and it is like whiplash trying to decide which horror to worry about next. I took this photo a few nights ago as I waved to my neighbor whose boat created the wake and thought, although this is beautiful, it seems to symbolize the zigs and zags of life today.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Tucking In

The sun is looking at us sideways as he always does this time of year. When he squints wryly with his half-eye, we can feel the coolness of the air rise up as if to meet his glance. The sheds at the water are filled with worn summer toys and locked up tight. The trees shrug gently in the new cool as if to shake the chill and the first of their brightly colored leaves drift softly to the ground. These leaves are the first messengers reminding us of the coming winter. The bees are lingering at my purple sage slurping in the sugar nectar as if they were facing the last saloon call of the evening. The squirrels race madly from tree to tree, knocking bits of bark to the ground. They are children reunited on the school playground just before the bell that ends recess for the day. And I find myself pausing in my fall chores to adjust to the new angles of the sun against my garden and the forest. I pause in thought as this is the beginning of the long goodnight as I tuck in my plants for the winter.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Discovering Gold

The early anticipation of a colorful fall sent me to the plant nursery yesterday. I returned with two pots of gold and one pot of purple mist. The photo above is a sugar maple. I have always wanted to buy and plant this tree but never had either the money or the yard space at the same time. I now will fulfill this wish. The peach-red colored leaves in the fall are such heart warming bursts of light that one cannot pass by such a tree without drinking in the honeyed picture.

I (we) also purchased a persimmon tree. (Photo above keeps loading sideways in Blogger! Thanks, annie, the .png format seems to do the trick!) Sometime a while back on one of my blog posts I talked about a hike that hubby and I took where we came upon golden globes of fruit lying in the fall leaves. Like migrating Indians we descended upon the most perfect orbs and ate our fill of persimmon fruit. This tree is indigenous to the area, named by the Algonquian Indians and a relative of the ebony family. In late September and early October the leaves turn yellow to match the fruit. This tree that we purchased produces SEEDLESS fruit which is just like finding gold that you don't have to mine! We will just have to see if the squirrels like it as much as we do.

I also bought a purple smoke tree and anticipate enjoying its misty beauty of pink and purple fuzz late next summer. We got a 20% discount if we bought three trees...I guess they saw us coming!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Perennial Plant Dance

I have had my garden beds in place less than a year. Large parts of them are bare and still await more population this spring. I am moving somewhat slowly in anticipation of deer grooming the beds this winter. We are trying to get some money saved for a deer fence, but cannot afford something that would look nice in the front yard and do not like those fences that are practical in appearance.

Still and yet my perennial plant dance begins this week. I am moving the guara to the end of a bed that is across the lawn. It's beautiful dancing branches were too close to the sidewalk turn and the lovely pink petals were continually being knocked to the ground. I am moving the purple rhododendron to the bed beneath the bay window. It was becoming hidden by the knock-out rose bush---those babies are really healthy! The rhodo has to stay close to the house because some animal just loves to eat the blossoms! I had to move one daylily to another end of one bed so that I could plant a caryopteris (Sunshine Blue) with lime green leaves that I fell in love with at the garden center---photo above. It was filled with flower buds just ready to open and after this weeks heavy rain it should be beautiful.

That is all the moving for now, but I have a brand new area cleared for another long head is exploding with anticipation.

This next week once the rains stop and the earth dries I have over 100 bulbs to naturalize. (What possesses me I will never know.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Amaryllis Update #3

The leaves are now drooping toward the floor and turning fall yellow in most of the pots. In some plants the leaves are dry brown already. Most of the bulbs still have some green leaves hanging in persistently. The Hawaiian lilies look a little pale but stand upright and green still. I hope they start to go into dormancy before the first cold freeze in November! I will cut all of these leaves off in mid-October or later and then move the plants into black plastic garbage bags and put them in the dark corner of my basement by the sump pump...hopefully they will be ready for show time come late January and February when I bring up a few plants at a time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fairy Visit

The Jewelry Fairies visited during the cool of the evening and sewed diamonds on the edges of my rose leaves. Wasn't that sweet?


Now is the time when the sun rises perfectly in the east, moves across the sky for 12 hours, and sets right-on in the west. I grant everyone on the planet today 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of nighttime. I hope this adds some equanimity to your life.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Black gold

It may not be Texas Tea but it sure will be 'gold' come this spring when we redo the entire garden and create raised beds throughout!! It took about an hour to build this...!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fall Cleanup

While watering the potted plants this morning in the cool, new fall air I noticed what I thought was a cocoon above the architectural stucco ledge that frames the top of the garage door. I took the hose and squirted hard to wash the detritus off the ledge...

and then as it started to wash away I
looked again!

Whoops and sorry!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The End of Days

This morning at 5:00 I awoke without reason and decided to open the front door before dawn and see what was happening in my small world. As I padded across the slate porch and down the steps it occurred to me that:

1) I was barefoot
2) The slate was cool but certainly not uncomfortable against the soles of my feet
3) The air was comfortable against my skin like a soft well-washed sheet
4) Crickets and frogs were finishing their songs and the birds were picking up with their act
5) And the last thing that occurred to me, with a jolt, was that this is the end of summer and one of the very few remaining mornings I will be able to spend time outside barefoot!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Amaryllis Step 2

Here in my garage sit the various amaryllis and the lily I propagated from a bulb I purchased many years ago. They got their last drink of water---just a little last week and now they will not get anymore water and very little sun. Soon they should begin to go to sleep, I hope! Then I will put them in dark garbage bags and move them to my basement. I do not really have a cold basement, so their is always the chance they will spoil, but they have not thus far. This past winter I had to replant the lilies in the cold of March and as a result, they bloomed in late spring and early summer. I hope to reset their clocks!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Amaryllis: Fall Steps

I have had great success with my amaryllis bulbs over the years. I started with two or three and now I have dozens and find that I have to give them away every few years. Since bloggers have asked what I do, I will start with my fall regimen to prepare the bulbs for rest. (Please note that this is what works for me and is something I just did without too much research!) My amaryllis plants are moved outside in the spring as soon as the weather is warm enough and there are no frosts and they sit outside in pots through the summer months. They are on the northeast side of the house and do not get a lot of direct sun. The first week of September I stop watering and feeding these bulbs. If we are getting lots of rain, I will move them to a sheltered area where they will get no water. Since I see we are possibly facing the remnants of at least two more hurricanes, I will move these pots to sheltered areas. This is the beginning process of forcing them to go dormant early so that I can encourage blooms in January and February inside my house.

Post Script: The bulbs are currently planted with the top half of the bulb exposed in a good potting soil that drains well. The pot is not too big and so by fall the bulbs can be somewhat root bound. The pot in the photo above has four small bulbs that I transplanted this past winter. They are too small to bloom so all I got this year was the nice foliage.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fall Prince

Stripes that zig and zag
Tiny black feet that pad and pad
Your true beauty waits.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Summer Sunset

Click on this for a high resolution sreen saver if you desire.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Morning Rush Hour

It is a cool early morning as summer wanes and the chairs on the deck are still wet with dew. I spread a towel and sit back to welcome the start of the day. High above flocks of swallows are heading somewhere nearby, perhaps to chase insects above the cornfield. A blue jay sits on a nearby oak branch working on his breakfast ground worm shaking away the dirt by banging it against the branch at his feet. In the distance across the river two osprey, resembling gray kites, swoop up the river and then down looking for their breakfast. On my right where the sun hits the trees first, a female cardinal finds a clear place in the warm rays and does not move for a long time. Nearer to the tops of the tulip trees directly above, a pair of hummingbirds complete their love-ballet against the blue sky zooming one way and then back and then like bee bombers dive and hide in the gold green leaves to complete their tryst. The forest rush hour has started.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Timeless Beauty

This love visits every day and drinks from my lantana on the deck. It's summer beauty is so short and special.

This is a gift from and at the edge of the river. I have two of these plants that have volunteered their summer beauty each year. Each blossom lasts only one short day. It closes in the late afternoon and bows its head as if forming a cocoon.