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Spring, Glorious Spring!

Yesterday, on my way to hang laundry, something loud buzzed by my ear.

My first thought: What’s that?

My second immediate thought: The hummingbirds are back!

Lickety-split, I went into the house and set a pot of sugar water to boil. Clif went down cellar to retrieve the hummingbird feeders, and by afternoon, they were out and ready for the little winged visitors.

Later that day, as Clif and I were having drinks on the patio, a male hummingbird came for a sip of the sugar water in the feeders. Readers, as the season progresses and more hummingbirds come, I will try to get a shot of these whizzing beauties. But between the birds’ speed and the limitations of my wee camera, my chances of success are not good. But I will make a valiant attempt.

Around the yard, there are more signs of Spring, glorious Spring.

The ferns continue to unfurl.

The sweet red maple blossoms are falling, to be replaced by a tender fringe of new leaves.

Slowly, I have begun removing leaves from the beds in the front yard, and although there are no flowers yet, it looks pretty darned good to me. No snow, no muck. Lots of glorious green.

Finally, here is a picture of Clif at the gate.

He is happy that, at last, spring is here.

And so am I.

March Misery

Readers unfamiliar with Maine might think I’m exaggerating when it comes to the horror of March in northern New England. Au contraire! And I have the pictures to prove it.

This was the view this morning from my office window.

Here is another one from a slightly different angle. Note the spitting snow and the hard, dirty snow banks.

Yesterday, Snow-Gauge Clif did  his measuring duty with his trusty red yard stick.  Hats off to Clif for looking so cheerful.

In the backyard, Clif doesn’t look quite as cheerful. Maybe it was the penguin-walking he did over the icy paths to get there. Fortunately, he didn’t fall and break anything.

Despite all the griping, I do have to admit that some progress has been made in the driveway.  There are actually bar patches of tar amid the ice and snow.

So onward, ho! April is just around the corner, and as I sit at my desk and write, I can hear a male cardinal singing his sweet song.

Spring is coming, albeit ever so slowly.

 

The Last Butterfly of the Season

This still beauty will soon go in the basement, or down cellar as we Mainers put it.

As for the live butterflies…they are gone, along with the dragonflies. Last night, I listened for crickets but couldn’t hear any. I’ll listen tonight, too, but they might be gone as well.

October, with all this loss, it’s a good thing you’re so beautiful.

The Waning of Summer

Summer has pretty much come to an end. While the days might still be warm and sunny, the gardens around the house tell a different story—autumn is coming.

The back garden is definitely ragged, no two ways about it.

The bee balm is no longer in vibrant bloom, just a few red petals here and there.

Except for the border of annuals, the rest of the garden doesn’t look much better. But the impatiens are positively thriving—I have never seen them so big and full. Clearly, they liked the heat and humidity, even if I didn’t.

And the begonias, troopers that they are, continue to provide welcome color.

The front yard actually looks a little better, and it’s all because of the hostas that I divided and planted in the many holes in my garden. Hostas might not be showy, but they maintain a cool, even presence. Surely there must be a lesson in this.

One plant that is coming into bloom is the sedum—autumn joy. Here’s a close up with a little friend on the top.

Farewell, summer. You might have been too hot and humid, but I treasure those evenings on the patio, the nights with the windows open, the gatherings with grilled bread.

 

 

Looking Up

Despite having a very slow start, spring is here, and things are looking up, both figuratively and literally.

On a practical level, I can now hang laundry on the line, and I know this might sound a little silly, but this brings me great joy. On every sunny day, blankets and quilts as well as other laundry have been hung outside. Here is the picture I take every spring, of a blanket made by my mémère—French Canadian for grandmother.  This sturdy, colorful blanket is nearly forty years old, and I use it on my bed in all but the hottest weather. For me, nothing says “welcome, spring” the way this blanket on the line does.

On a literal level, when I look up, I see that the trees are budding. Such sweet, tender little leaves.

Then there are the birds. Starting and raising a family is hard, hungry work, and the birds flock to our feeders (pun intended). When I sit on the patio—another spring delight—I watch the birds fly and flutter from the trees to the feeder. Occasionally, my wee camera even gets a fairly good shot.

This male goldfinch is resplendent in his yellow summer feathers.

This goldfinch looks pensive, perhaps thinking of how much effort goes into to raising a healthy family.

Then there is a male cardinal playing peekaboo.

Never, ever a dull moment in the backyard. Looking up is sheer delight.

And for blogging friends who don’t have hummingbirds where they live, I promise I will do my best do get a decent shot with my wee camera. This morning, I saw the first hummingbird of the season as she zipped to one of the feeders we have by the patio. An exciting way to start the day.

In the spring, looking down at flowers is also a delight, and as more of them come into bloom, I’ll be posting photos of them, too.

Spring, spring, spring!

The Merry Month of Mud

Every spring, mud comes to Maine as regularly as the tourists do in the summer. Usually mud season begins Mid-March.  But this year we had so much snow that the mud has not only come later but also with a vengeance that is astonishing even to this Mainer, who has seen her fair share of mud seasons.

Yesterday, I almost lost my shoe in the mud by our house, and Liam hates to walk through it to get to the backyard. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any choice, and he comes back quite literally as a mud puppy. We wipe him as best we can, but oh, my kitchen floor.

Behold the muddy walk in the backyard, which is ever so much worse in reality than it is in this photo.

Clif and I were starting to despair, but last night, salvation came from an unlikely place—Facebook. One of my Winthrop  friends, who breeds dogs, wrote about how her dog yard was so muddy that she needed to get bales of straw to cover the mud.

Bales of straw? Immediately, the idea appealed to me.

Where, I asked, did she get the straw?

Paris Farmers Union, came her reply. Right in town.

This morning, lickity-split, Clif went to Paris Farmers Union for a bale of straw. The clerk who helped Clif told him that one man had come to buy five bales for a  driveway that was so muddy it was nearly impossible to walk on it.

This just goes to show that things could be worse. Our driveway is all right. It’s the walkways to and around the backyard that need help.

The bale was loaded in our trusty Honda Fit, one of the best little cars we have ever owned.

Clif removed the bale and was ready to go.

And how did Liam like the straw walks in his backyard? He liked them very much indeed, and Liam has resumed his rambles around the backyard. (Liam had such an aversion to walking in mud that he reluctantly did his business and then immediately wanted to come back in. Don’t blame him a bit for not liking to trot through the mud.)

The straw doesn’t entirely eliminate muddy paws, but it sure does help. We still have to wipe Liam when he comes in, but at least he doesn’t track all over the floor.

Take that, mud!