Category Archives: Flowers

Summer, Beautiful Summer

Summer, beautiful summer is here. At night June bugs, as large as small stones, whirr and rattle against the screens. No doubt they are attracted by the light. Some people don’t like the noise, but to me June bugs sound like summer, and I always look forward to their return. Also on the screens, fireflies blink on and off, on and off, little sprites in the dark night.

“Look!” I cry whenever I see a spot of light, and Clif and Dee duly look.

In a month’s time, the leaves on the trees have gone from a bright fringe to a deep mature green, and I love the sighing sound they make when the wind moves through them.

On the brink of blooming, my gardens are still mostly shades of green, which is a color, too, as my blogging friend Quercus once reminded me. But there are bits of color here and there.

Tomorrow—June 21—is the longest day of the year, the first day of summer, and one of the sweetest days. It is also the anniversary of my mother’s birthday, and if she were alive, she would be eighty-six.  Happy birthday, Mom! Wish you were still here so we could celebrate it with you.

The weather this June has been absolutely delightful—a little cool, which this Mainer loves—with exactly the right amounts of sun and rain. Because of this, I’ve hardly had to water the gardens, and it’s no surprise that everything is lush and green. Unlike last June, we’ve not had to use Eva, our air conditioner, at all. Indeed, yesterday was so rainy and chilly—the temp didn’t get above 60—that Clif started a small fire in the wood furnace to take away the chill and damp. My kind of June.

The editing on my book Of Time and Magic continues. The deadline for the cover is next Tuesday. Even afterwards, I’ll continue to tweak and polish. I can’t seem to help myself. As long as I don’t add any pages, I’ll be fine.

The  forecast for this week promises more delightful summer weather, with rain and sun and temps in the 70s. I know some of my blogging friends are enduring very hot weather, and I wish I could send a little of our perfect Maine weather your way.

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And now for something completely different, courtesy—surprise, surprise—of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.

This is not the kind of music I usually listen to, but somehow I find Monsieur Periné’s peppy music irresistible. The lead singer is so quick and cute that it makes me smile just to watch her.

The Beauty of Early June

Editing, editing, editing. The work is intense, but somehow I find it satisfying to tighten my writing.

The gardens are flourishing. The weather has been a nearly perfect combination of rain and sun. How often does that happen?

The other morning, I went out with my camera to record some of the beauty of early June.

My favorite iris.

Rain drops on hostas.

Minerva, guardian of the front yard.

Elegant Solomon’s Seal.

Finally, a whirring visitor to the feeder. A little blurry, but I know that many readers love seeing pictures of hummingbirds.

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Because I’m still in the weeds of gardening and editing—couldn’t resist that description—I don’t have time for my usual slate of recommendations. And I probably won’t until late June, when (I hope) the bulk of the work is finished. However, I do have time to  include a link to Alisa Amador’s Tiny Desk Concert. What a musician! Easy to understand why she won the 2022 Tiny Desk Contest.

And Back Again

As it turned out, my wee break lasted much longer than I had expected. Note to self: Do not ever plan to finish writing a book during peak gardening season, which in Maine is the lovely month of May.

Not surprisingly, for the entire month, I pinged back and forth between my book—Of Time and Magic—and the gardens. Because there is a deadline for the cover, the book took precedence. In three weeks, I wrote 10,000 words and brought Maya’s story to what feels to me like a satisfying conclusion. (I certainly hope readers feel the same way.) Now it’s time to edit, edit, edit.

As for the gardens…I am behind; there are no two ways about it. Two-thirds of the beds have had compost spread on them. One half have been fertilized. But I keep plugging on. Yesterday morning I got up early and tucked compost here and there under plants that are approaching full grown. In a normal year, composting and fertilizing would have been done the third week in May. Fortunately, I did a lot of dividing and moving last year, and there wasn’t much to do this year.

Then there’s the house. The less said about that the better.

However, despite my slow ways, the gardens seem to be doing just fine.

About two weeks ago, we were treated to deep purple irises in the backyard.

The irises have gone by, and now there is lush green. More flowers will bloom in June and July.

Until then, this cheery sign—with places from my books—provides a splash of color. (Thanks yet again, Beth Clark, for this wonderful present.)

The beds out front are abloom with white, cool and soothing.

With a bit of blue from Jacob’s Ladder.

I have missed reading all your lovely blogs and am happy to be back in the swing of blogging. Such a wonderful community! From now on, I will be posting once a week on Mondays. Unless, of course, I get such exciting news that another post is needed.

See you next Monday.

 

 

 

A Wee Break

The time has come to take a wee break from blogging. Between finishing Of Time and Magic and spring gardening, I don’t have much energy for anything else.

Two days ago, I crested 100,000 words, and today I’ll begin the chapter I’ve been heading toward since Book One, Maya and the Book of Everything.

Thanks to Mick Herron and his excellent Slow Horses, I’ve figured out how to structure the end of Of Time and Magic. I love the Slow Horses television series, which features the great and good Kristen Scott Thomas and Gary Oldman. I love the book even more—good writing, vivid characters, cracking plot. I highly recommend both the TV series and the book.

So goodbye for a week or two. I’ll miss reading your posts, but, as the saying goes, needs must.

Here’s a parting shot of a hyacinth that my mother-in-law planted thirty-seven years ago. My mother-in-law has been gone for seventeen years, but I’m still enjoying the flower’s spring beauty.

A Time of Firsts and Beginnings

Spring is a time of firsts, a time of beginnings.

Last week, for the first time, I saw these flowers in our yard.

Thanks to the Internet, I was able to identify them as coltsfoot. According to Mother Earth Living, coltsfoot is too invasive to go in the garden. Fortunately, these flowers are blooming on the side of the driveway, by the woods, far from my gardens.

For beginnings: Clif started cutting up the tree that had fallen in the backyard. The wood is too punky for our wood furnace, but we will be able to use it in our fire pit.

Drum roll, please! On Friday—for what counts as big excitement at our home on the edge of the woods—Clif brought out our small patio table.

The patio is now ready for action. And even though Friday was a little chilly, we had our first drinks (and snacks!) on the patio.

How lovely it was to sip rum and Coke, watch the birds and the squirrels, and admire the red buds against the blue sky.

For the first time this week, we heard the exuberant spring song of the peepers, tiny one-inch tree frogs whose small size belies their robust voices that come together each night in a rousing symphony. They sing, “Spring, spring, spring!”

Dee also heard the melancholy call of a loon, which means they have returned to the Narrows, about a quarter of mile from where we live.

As I’ve written before, spring is an old story that never feels old. The renewal, the rebirth, the sights, the sounds are always stirring, no matter how many springs I have seen.

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Book report for Of Time and Magic

Word count this week: 6,006

Total word count: 86, 795

To continue with the metaphor of writing and being at sea…not only can I now see the harbor, but the docks, ships, store fronts, and houses have also snapped into view.

 

 

 

 

Late July in the Back Garden

Late July. Aside from the zing of color from the potted plants, the front garden is mostly shades of green. Soothing in its own way, but the front garden certainly doesn’t have the same punch as it did when the evening primroses were in bloom.

On the other hand, the back garden—with its begonias, lilies, bee balm, and black-eyed Susan’s—is pretty much at its best. With our daughter Dee home, we are having lunch, drinks, and dinner on the patio where we can admire the flowers and watch the comings and goings of the hummingbirds, the bees, the chipmunks, other birds, and various insect visitors.

Here are close-ups of some the flowers.

Despite the heat, despite the humidity, despite the haze that is blowing in from the fires in the western United States, summer is such a sweet time.

Taking a Short Break

In Maine, July is a sweet time of year. The days are long, the flowers are abloom, and slippery roads are but a distant memory. (Fortunately, Clif and I work from home and therefore do not have to worry about slippery roads.)

Dee, our eldest daughter, is coming home for a visit, and I’m taking some time off to get things ready—do a little cleaning, do a little cooking. What a thrill it will be to see her after eighteen months. It’s the longest we’ve ever gone.

I’m not sure whether I’ll be taking one or two weeks off, but I’ll certainly be back in August, another sweet month when the black-eyed Susans are in bloom, the crickets begin to sing, and the grasshoppers are buzzing, buzzing, buzzing. I am always enthralled by the sounds of August.

I leave you with a picture from the especially shady part of my garden. As regular readers know, there are no truly sunny spots in our yard on the edge of the woods. And, yes, I long for a cottage garden. Somehow, the grass is always greener where the sun shines.

See you all in a week or two!

 

Rainy Day Music

Most mornings, I listen to music on YouTube as I check emails and read blog posts. It is a part of the day I greatly enjoy as I hear old favorites and discover new ones.

This morning I was going to listen to Foster The People’s Tiny Desk Concert—courtesy of NPR—but the rain stopped me. My desk is by a window overlooking the front yard, and even though the day was cool and rainy, it was warm enough to leave the window open.

As I was about to click on Foster The People, I became aware of the gently falling rain and the soft dripping sound as it fell on the road and the front lawn. I heard various birds—a cardinal, a tufted titmouse, a chickadee, goldfinches. From the little pond up the road, the deep croak of a bullfrog. And because I don’t live in paradise, the occasional car or truck. All sounds of everyday life from my home at the edge of the woods.

Later in the morning, the rain abated, and I went outside with my camera.

I took pictures of snapdragons in the deck box,

a mouse-ear hosta in bloom,

a red daylily above Minerva the cat,

the flower of another hosta, whose name I do not remember,

and a web with jewels resting on a coleus on the deck.

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And for readers who are interested, here is a link to the NPR Tiny Desk concert featuring Foster The People.