Category Archives: Spring

The Great Unfurling

Busy, busy, busy. Spring has officially come to Maine—the black flies have reared their nasty little heads—and gardeners have about one month to get their gardens in order. By June, the plants are too big for easy fertilizing, composting, and dividing. So the race is on!

I am happy to report I am pretty much on schedule. My first job is to remove all the leaves that have blown into the various beds, and this is no small thing when you live on the edge of a small forest.

I am about two-thirds done with leaf removal. After that, it will be on to spreading compost and fertilizer then dividing perennials and planting annuals, which is one of my favorite things to do.

In between removing wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of leaves from the beds, I have taken time to admire to admire the unfurling of the ferns, which I always love to see. For couple of weeks, the curled ferns are so tender and delicate looking. Then just like that they spring into sweet leafiness, and year after year, I am enchanted as I watch the process.

*********************************************

As many of you know, I am also working like crazy to finish Of Time and Magic, Book Four in my Great Library Series. I had hoped to be wrapped up by now, but it looks is though I won’t be finished until either the end of this week or the beginning of next week. I want to take my time with the ending of this book, which is the culmination of ten years of work, when I began the first book in the series, Maya and the Book of Everything.

I probably have three more chapters left to go.  The winds of the writing gods blow me to and fro, but I am getting there.  I can definitely see the harbor and many friendly faces on the dock.

Of Time and Magic‘s current word count: 99, 180

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.

*********************************************************

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.

 

 

 

 

With Baby Steps, Spring Comes on Tiptoes

Slowly, slowly Spring is tiptoeing into Maine. In May, she will be in a rush, but right now she is just leaving hints here and there.

The male goldfinches have begun their change from drab feathers to bright summer yellow. Not wanting to scare them, I took this picture through our dining room window. The bird on the left illustrates how the male’s feathers are becoming brighter. When I go outside to do yard work—another sign of spring—I always bring my camera, and I’ll try to get a better picture.

Speaking of which…when I was outside, I did get this picture of Mr. Cardinal, that red beauty who graces our yard. I was especially pleased to get him in a maple tree with its spring buds, also red.

When I turned my gaze downward, I was thrilled to see the green shoots of irises in my back garden. I so love this tender color of Spring.

Now that the snow is gone and we can actually reach our front deck, Clif and I figured it was time to take down the Christmas decorations, which were looking more than a little frowzy. We also put away the shovel and the blue bucket with salt—you can see a glimpse of them behind the wreaths. Farewell until next winter. We hope. 😉

Finally, here’s a picture of a chipmunk that I took while I was resting on the patio and soaking in the birds and the trees and the natural beauty that comes from living on the edge of the woods. Truly a gift, one that gives in every season.

**************************************************************

I am happy to report that this week I made good progress on my YA fantasy novel Of Time and Magic.

Word count this week: 6, 605

Total word count: 80, 789

Here’s a metaphor that describes how I feel with each book I write: When I start out, I’m leaving my safe port and heading out to sea. I know my destination, but I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to get there. In the middle of the book, I am completely surrounded by water with no land in sight. I usually hit the doldrums, where I seem to make little progress. This winter, I was there for several months. But now, come spring, I’ve escaped the doldrums and can finally see land. I’m still some distance away, but I will soon be reaching the book’s ending port.

Onward this week to another 6,000 words. Or maybe even more.

Pick-Up Sticks

For whatever reason, spring clean-up has not been too bad this year.  I think it’s because we had fewer wind storms to blow branches down. There is one big exception to this, but more on that later.

Last week, I went around the yard and collected all the sticks and small branches that came down over the winter. I filled the wheelbarrow twice, and the sticks, which will be used in the fire pit, have been tucked into a big garbage can.

As the picture above indicates, the patio is no longer empty and lonely. Clif brought up the blue chairs, and we are ready for warmish weather when we can sit on the patio and enjoy the backyard.

The raised beds, where I plant a few herbs and vegetables, need a bit of tidying. But to my winter-weary eyes, they are a sign of good things to come.

Clif straightened the clothesline, but the ground is still too soft for me to hang my laundry on it. Soon, soon. Like my mother, I am dedicated to hanging laundry on the line. Good for the planet, and good for the budget. Plus, you can’t beat the smell of laundry hung outside.

Now, here is the exception to our easy spring clean-up.

During a high wind a week or so ago, we heard a  mighty roar, and when we looked at out the kitchen window we saw what had caused it—a tree had blown over in the backyard. Fortunately, absolutely nothing was damaged. Next week, Clif will be getting a new chain for his chainsaw and begin cutting up the tree. The wood will probably be used for the fire pit on some chilly spring night when with mugs of tea, we sit around the fire. Always so cozy and relaxing to look at the night sky and hear the night noises in the woods.

*******************************************************

Writing update for my novel Of Time and Magic: For various reasons, I fell short of my 6,000 word goal for the week. Instead, I clocked in at 4,140. Onward I press, hoping for 6,000 next week. My plan is for the book to be about 99,000 words, the same length as Library Lost.  74,000 is my current word count.

25,000 more words to go!