Country gold

Heavy weighted fog pressed down, but along the roads and parking lots, there were golden bells proclaiming spring! I captured these if full ring outside the library. forsythia

Inside, I captured Melissa Michael’s new book and Karen Kingsbury’s too. At home Jeff Goins new book had arrived!

book stack A bounty of riches waits on my table, urging me on through my work sessions, teasing me with promise of inspiration, fresh insights and ponderings.

I have followed Melissa and Jeff on their blogs for a number of years. And while I don’t read much fiction, I do enjoy Karen Kingsbury. Her new series, Angels Walking, is compelling. This is book two. Now for some long quiet evenings!

jonquil

During the longest, coldest winter, I sorted through my sewing and crafting things like a squirrel in semi-hibernation turning over her cache of nuts and acorns looking for choice specimens to savor.  While at first it was almost a sad endeavor, I now feel the freshness in it. Encouraged by the writing of Bonnie Grey, Cheri Gregory and Kathy Lipp, I came to see that my stash had actually become a hindrance to creativity and productivity.

Cheri had a great post that helped me. Projects get interrupted in my life and when I go back to them, sometimes I couldn’t figure out where I has stopped and what I should do next. My notes, if any, where like a code I couldn’t crack. And so I would set them aside, again. Procrastination. Frustration.

After reading her post, I went through my supplies and created a small collection of future projects and wrote out my plan for each in as much detail as I could. If I didn’t have a plan, I chose not to keep it. I freed myself of leftovers from past quilting projects and other crafts this way too. And the good news? I have actually been sewing again! I’m finishing things, and fluffing the guest room. Projects seem fresh and exciting. And more good news – I’ve found a place to gift the overflow, investing in the creative lives of young women. This makes me smile, big!

The plans?  Itemized and amplified to included any other needed items; typed, saved, printed! No little scraps of paper written in mysterious code!

goldfinch

To sparkle

Amaryllis

I drink in the beauty long delayed and so welcomed. No matter the time of day, these lily-like flowers enchant. Life locked in bulbs with a mysterious time clock – leaf, bloom, rest - go round the seasons.

Amaryllis

I’m honored that my minor contributions to their wellbeing allow the cycle to continue and they flourish. The name Amaryllis means “to sparkle”.

Amaryllis

Outside, the same clock of life ticks. Green leaves push hard through frozen ground, leaf litter, snow and ice.

 Snowdrops

And morning surprises with snowdrops seeded into lawn and weed patch – nature’s seed time and harvest continues.  In the gentle rhythm of seasons, the light of life can shine deeply into dark and hidden places. In prepared soil or hostile environment, in tender care or neglect, snowdrops grow and bloom.

I’m observing lessons of both hope and warning to consider what is growing in the soil of my life and heart. Today, I choose hope for myself - to see in these blooms a willingness to embrace life, the new thing springing forth even in what seems to be wilderness. Choosing life, growing in obedience to Creator God, persevering as from a seed growing through harshness of soil, sometimes bitter cold, flood or drought and even life’s mowing seasons and on to maturity, bringing forth beauty to delight the soul of another whether or not they understand my name or words or calling. Perhaps then I would sparkle too.

Amaryllis

Spring cleaning

Yesterday was lovely. The ground is still frozen under the inch or so of muddiness, so I needed to walk slowly while I tidied up on my walk. All the better to see.

hyacinth    Lenten Rose     moss

snowdrops

Then last night, March began tossing every branch of tree and bush; shaking off winter, stirring buds, and no doubt howling “Spring!”, into the very roots.

I feel it too and rush about dusting and clearing away, yearning to throw open the doors. Soon.

 

 

 

 

Ruby glory

RubyIt’s been a long wait. Summering on the back porch, resting in the garage through fall, re-potted at Thanksgiving…waiting…hardly a green tip for Christmas…

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Two pots; the first to show green will be opening in the next day or so. This one had another stalk which will open in a few days. An abundance of richness was forming slowly, so slowly this year.

I don’t know if you love houseplants; I’m really not the best caretaker, but on long wintery days I love sitting in the dining room with living green while the earth outside still hides its treasure.

While the temperatures outside have been moderating, the snow and ice accumulation this winter was such that the reservoir has been frozen over. I could not resist the drive early last week.

Loch Raven

I’m sure we all hope that winter is truly over and the first day of spring will bring in a long and lovely new season. These last days we have had rain and fog and now wind howls about drying the surface of things. Tomorrow, the ground should be firm enough that I can look for the Lenten roses. I optimistically freed them from their thick overcoat of oak leaves the beginning of February at the suggestion of the garden columnist. I have hoped that the blanket of snow has kept them safe. Are you hunting for signs of spring too?

February Snow globe

Swirling snow, glittering ice changing scenes inside my world like a snow globe upending daily.

IMG_4970 IMG_4987 snowfall

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Outside our home, brutal cold; while inside, a kind of hibernation seemed to take hold as both I and my computer had viruses. I am delighted to report we have both recovered ourselves.

This has been a winter not soon forgotten. We’re so very grateful for home and warmth and traveling safety these long days.

Rhoda, the weather lady

 

snow day

This is my friend Rhoda, the rhododendron. Rhoda lives outside my bedroom window and is the perfect weather reporter. When a look up at the sky tells me little, Rhoda can be depended upon to report rain, sleet, snow and especially frigid conditions.

The day this photo was taken it was not too cold as the leaves are open to catch the snow. Today they are open and drip with icicles so although it is below freezing, it is not much below. As the temperatures drop farther and farther, the leaves will curl back, sides to middle, till they look like tight little green cigars and the whole plant structure is visible.

Rhoda has been known to give hospitality to nesting birds. The Mockingbird is especially fond of this location. And of course she blooms beautifully each spring. Here she is in the top left corner.

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Spring! Coming soon!

My computer is currently being held hostage for ransom but I am working to be able to upload new photos through hubby’s which will include Rhoda’s weather transformations.

St Fiacre

Many years ago, in an herb gardening book, I read that this 7th century hermit was the patron saint of gardeners, and of course, herbalists. I have often passed by this small statue without realizing that it was not St Francis but rather St Fiacre who is depicted in art with his shovel. His gardens and herbs of legend were used to minister to the sick and visitors of his day and so make him appropriate to this quiet hospital garden.

St Fiacre

Robin watching

I learned last year that robins only migrate south when food sources or extreme weather conditions force them to do so. Facultative migration, it is called.

This holly tree can be seen from a bedroom window. It grows by our front deck. This afternoon, it was a very busy robin feeding station. The last frame shows a mockingbird getting his share.

The flock invaded the backyard as well, where they were joined by starlings and all were busy running to and fro turning  up leaves looking for a tasty snack and enjoying the lovely, sunny day. It seemed quite a party!

robins