Category Archives: Flowers

I’ll Keep Trying

Spring is most definitely here.

The lawns are abloom with tiny spring flowers that are not always easy for the wee camera to photograph. But by gum, yesterday the light must have been just right for the camera to capture this dandelion,

some violets,

and even this tiny flower on a plant I was given and have no idea what it is.

No blooms yet in the back garden, but I did come across this feather.

Even though there are no flowers, everything is growing splendidly, and I love the green of spring.

Yesterday, we put out the hummingbird feeders.

Already, the little will-o’-the-wisps have begun coming to the feeder.

It is not easy for me to get a picture of them, but I’ll keep trying.

A Nugget of Gold in My Freezer

On Saturday, I delivered a birthday package to the little boy next door. Inside was a toy dinosaur. The boy is crazy about all things dinosaur, and he wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. Or at least he did the last time I saw him, several months ago. With his mother’s permission, I tucked the package in the family mailbox across the street from their house. As I walked home, I was treated to a bird symphony of spring songs. What a delight!

As I listened the birds’ sweet songs, it seemed to me that things were much the way they have always been in April, with Spring slowly tiptoeing onto our road, into our yard. An illusion, I know. The coronavirus is ripping around the world, leaving death and misery in its wake.

But still. In my back garden bright green shoots of irises and daylilies are emerging.

They are joined by the dark red leaves of evening primroses, which tend to be hogs and need thinning every year. Good thing the yellow flowers are so pretty. I will bring some of the cast-off plants to the birthday boy’s mother.  Last year she said she would like evening primroses for her garden. I can leave a couple of pots at the end of her driveway. (This is the same neighbor who brings eggs and won’t take any payment for them.)

With weather that is sunny and somewhat warm, I long to be out, the first time I’ve felt this way since last fall. Soon it will be hard to sit at my desk and write as the outside calls to me. But I’ll do it. Now that the children are grown, writing is the center of my life. However, my yard and gardens are a close second, and come spring it is never easy to stay inside.

Yesterday, as I was digging around the diminishing supplies in my little chest freezer down cellar, I found a square of Parmesan. If my creaky knees had allowed, I would have jumped for joy. It was like finding a nugget of gold. As I beheld the cheese, one dish immediately came to mind: Spaghetti with fried eggs, introduced to me by the inimitable Mark Bittman.

Bittman describes this dish as something that you turn to when you don’t have much time. Or much in your larder. Readers, it is so much more than that. For someone like me—who loves eggs, olive oil, garlic, and pasta—spaghetti and fried eggs qualifies as an honest-to-gosh treat.

Here are some pictures illustrating the process, which takes no more than a half hour from beginning to end.

First, brown two crushed garlic cloves in olive oil.

Discard the cloves when they are brown and crack four eggs into the olive oil. Simmer the eggs in the oil just until the whites are slightly set but the yolks are not cooked.

Dump this glorious mixture into a pot of piping hot spaghetti and stir until the eggs are broken up. The hot spaghetti will finish cooking the eggs.

Et violà. Top with plenty of grated cheese and lots of pepper for a special meal on a day when you are unconcerned about calories.

Note: For some reason, I don’t have the heart to post coronovirus statistics and the news from afar. Maybe it’s because spring has finally arrived.

Who knows? But for now, anyway, it’s back to writing about life at our home in the woods.

 

 

The Pleasures of My Own Yard

Many people like to travel—to see new sights and to eat new food. While I understand the need for novelty, I find that I get plenty of variety in my own yard. Best of all, I don’t have to take a plane, bus, or automobile. I merely have to go down a few steps, and there are I am, surrounded by gardens and trees that look different with every season.

Right now, in Maine, it is fall, a lovely but bittersweet time of year,  when all things green and growing are getting ready for the long cold of winter. In the front yard the leaves of the Solomon’s seal have turned a ghostly white, a pale contrast with the black-eyed Susans, which are beginning to fade.

The leaves of the hosta Frances Williams are yellowing and curling in on themselves.

In the backyard, there is a blaze of color in the woods, a bold punctuation among the evergreens. Soon the leaves will fall, a sprinkle of red on the forest floor.

We haven’t taken in the patio chairs and table, and it often continues to be warm enough for me to sit and listen to the crickets singing their song of fall. So far, the little jumping creatures haven’t been stilled by the cold. Neither have the nasturtiums, which are still blooming, albeit in a more desultory way than they were at their peak.

Often times, in the waning warm of autumn, Little Miss Watson keeps me company.

And watching over everything is a Spirit of the woods, guarding the yard whatever the season.

 

Progress Report as Summer Slides into Fall

Although I haven’t been blogging, I have been working diligently on my YA fantasy novel, Out of Time. I am about three-quarters done. The end is in sight, and I can definitely see land now.  This galloping toward the finish line is the exciting part of writing a book, and thoughts of editing and revision are pushed firmly to the side. All that matters now is the story, and there will be time enough for the really picky work when I am finished.

While I have been feverishly working—six days a week, with Sundays off—late summer has begun its slide into early fall. A bittersweet time. Fall, with its blaze of orange, red, and yellow, is magnificent in Maine. The cool, crisp days are invigorating, and the bounty of apples, squash, and potatoes reminds us of all the good things that come from Earth. Simmering soups and fresh biscuits or muffins make this a cozy season.

But—somehow there is always a but—the days are shorter, and we no longer have long nights on the patio. The nights have become cool enough that we have begun thinking about turning on the heat, a cost that is a burden for those of us who live on a shoestring budget.

In this part of the world, fall is also hurricane season, and right now there is a brute of a storm named Dorian that is smashing the Bahamas and heading toward Florida. We mourn for the destruction in the Bahamas and wait apprehensively as Dorian approaches Florida. “Go out to sea, go out to sea,” we pray, but the storm runs by its own rules and will hit wherever it wants.

While hurricanes usually don’t make it as far north as Maine, we have nevertheless begun thinking of stocking up on canned beans, canned soup, peanut butter, and batteries. Winter is coming, and we want to be prepared. Yesterday I emptied, scrubbed, and refilled the big covered buckets we use for storing water. That way, if a storm knocks out our power, we have water. We have a well, and no power means no water. This scrubbing and refilling is a yearly fall ritual, another reminder that summer is coming to an end.

The gardens are yet another reminder. As my blogging friend Tootlepedal might put it, our gardens are no longer at their best. Their midsummer glory is a thing of the past, and now a faded, slightly regretful air hangs over everything. And the shrubs, neglected last year, are in desperate need of a trimming.

Fortunately, we have black-eyed Susans to brighten the yard.

And the promising blush of pink from the sedums.

Farewell, Summer. Sometimes, especially in July, you are too hot, but I still love you.

And now it’s back to work on Out of Time. I am hoping that my next post—probably the end of September—will have the title Finished.

 

 

August, Stay Awhile

The crickets have begun to sing. Their sweet trilling songs signal the arrival of late summer, a beautiful time in Maine. And this year, despite the climate crisis, August in Maine is everything it ought to be. The days are warm and dry. The nights are cool. We have a little rain now and then. Such a lovely, lovely month, and I wish I could stop it from speeding by. August, stay awhile. Don’t hurry on.

By August, the gardens are usually starting to look a little tattered, but this year they still look pretty good. Perhaps it’s because we had such a cool, rainy spring, and everything got a late start.

However, the slugs and snails have been nibbling on the hostas.

Still, they don’t look too bad. Sometimes by this time of year the hosta leaves look like green lace.

For the first time, I planted nasturtiums in the patio garden, and they are thriving. Actually, that’s putting it mildly. It looks as though the  nasturtiums are ready to engulf the patio, and woe to those sitting on that side of the table. Feed me, Seymour!

This week the first Black-eyed Susan opened, and there are many more to come.

As is noted on the Better Homes & Gardens website, “Since black-eyed Susan blooms when other summer perennials begin to fade, this plant is a true sign that fall is near.”  Even though I love fall, black-eyed Susans are another reason to cherish August.

Various daylilies are still blooming. While they don’t thrive in my shady yard, they do add welcome bursts of color.

This weekend, we will be going to two plays. We will be having a friend over for nibbles and tidbits.

We will hold August close and be outside as much as possible.