Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spring's Slow Progress

Days have passed since my last post with a very similar weather pattern which can be summed up with the word 'fickle.'
Nights have been close to the freezing mark, the sun has worn itself out with popping out for a few minutes only to dodge behind a billow of dark clouds.
We've had spatters of rain and wind that whips hair loose and bites through clothing.
I seem to have a knack for heading outside just as the sun disappears.
I've made a few attempts to tidy up my perennials, accomplishing only a bit of digging before a burst of rain has driven me inside.
I've been a passenger on some of Jim's errands, taking along magazines for the time I wait in the car.
On Sunday I managed to stitch down most of one side of a quilt binding while he was conducting some 'wheeling and dealing.'
Yesterday, while the wind whipped about outside I filled the kitchen with the scents of baking.
Molasses Spice Cookies with crinkly sugared tops are one of the homiest smells in the world.
I made a double batch to have some for sharing.

Bread was rising while the cookies occupied the oven.

A peek inside the oven to check on the browning loaves.
B. and I walked up the road through the lashing wind to visit our Amish neighbors at the 
end of the road.
Although Miss Mary bakes regularly, I wrapped a still warm loaf in a checked cloth and took it along; I know it is always a treat to enjoy someone else's baked goods.

Sister M. sent me a Lowes' gift certificate for my birthday last month. 
I was promised a few minutes to shop the garden center there if I kept Jim company on his excursion.
The day was drawing into a gloomy early evening when we stopped by and it was chilly in the plant display area.
Sparrows fly into the semi-enclosed space to chirp and flitter amongst potted shrubs, then dart up into the rafters. There was the smell of damp earth and plants just coming into bloom.
I wandered for a bit, unable to decide what would be best.
I was very tempted by a shrub rose called 'Summer Romance'--pale pink blossoms with that full 'quartered' look of an old rose and a delightful perfume. 
I lingered over it, then walked on--with regret--knowing that I don't presently have a spot prepared where it might thrive.
There was a display of hellebores, cool and elegant in their grey plastic pots.
I have coveted hellebores these many years.  I was working up the courage to try them in my VT gardens nearly two decades ago--having read that they are tempermental as to location.
Again I felt that I didn't have quite the best location and needed to learn more about them 
before venturing.
In the end, wanting to make best use of my funds, I chose three plants which I know will fit with my developing garden--and will thrive: an Oriental Lily [referred to here as 'tree lilies'] an achillia called 'Red Velvet'--because I can never have too many--and finally a dianthus in a rich shade of wine with a light picotee edge. Jim came into the garden area and found me hovering over the dianthus display--he liked the color of this one and reached far into the center of the bench to choose one that is tightly in bud.

Jim has finally finished work on his 'crawler' and rumbled down to the creek with it late this afternoon.

He is attempting to clean up the creek banks which were very heavily 'washed' during last season's nearly constant rains.
The swollen creek undercut the edges of the corn ground, making it unsafe to run machinery there as well as encroaching on the planting area.
I was asked to drive the van down at 6 to fetch him home.
Typically, I didn't think of driving along the road to our field boundary and following the track at the edge of the field.
I turned in at the old barn, wallowed through a muddy slough, gunning the motor, then trundled across the field following the path of the dozer.
Jim [of course!] drove us home when he finished working--and asked why on earth I hadn't taken the easier route along the hedgerow.
I had no response other than to state that I followed where the dozer had so obviously traveled.
'Wonder you didn't get the van stuck!' was the comment.
A very good thing that I didn't!

Weeds have flourished at the edge of the field enjoying the cool, damp weather.
It is nearly impossible to walk without stepping on violets.

I like this photo with the fresh green and the budding trees beyond the creek and the reflections in the clear water.

B.'s goats continue to delight me.
These are the youngest--twins and triplets.
They are experiencing their first outings of sun and grass, learning the perils of the electric fence, in a safe area in the side yard. B. leaves the kitchen window partly up when the babies are out, so that she will hear if they are startled.
In the moment captured above they were hoping that I might be approaching with their afternoon ration of warmed milk.

The three Pyrenees dogs take their commitment to the herd very seriously.
When we go outside our house--up the lane from the goat pasture--our presence is announced with loud barks.  When we walk or drive on the lane we have an escort along the fence.

Blue is the guardian of the small goats who have recently graduated to pasture.
Blue oversees her kingdom from the top of the hollow 'tower.'

The tower provides a place to play 'king of the mountain.'

The mature goats gather at the fence hoping for attention or perhaps a 'treat' of banana peels cut into shoestring slices.
They have been methodically browsing on the wild briars that grow against the east side of the stable.

Not a creature that I would normally investigate, let alone photograph!
Neighbor P. and I were walking along the lane Saturday afternoon when I spied the black snake curled in a chilly coil near the culvert.
P. had a closer look and declared it a 'good snake.'
I do not like snakes!
Snakes have a way of appearing where I least expect them, crossing my path when I am deep in thought, causing me to yelp and leap frantically out of their way.
This one was in the same place on Sunday morning, but unfolded to soak up what warmth was held in the concrete 'shelf' over the culvert.
I insisted that Jim view it--and take a photo.
He also identified it as a desirable resident.
The snake, perhaps disgruntled at being examined, slid into a crack in the cement.
I didn't see it on Monday or today.
Just as well--it can accomplish its 'good' without being overly in view!


  1. Nice, newsy post! Lots of activity going on. Spring is happening, delicious smells and goodies from your kitchen. New flowers to add to your gardens and oldies coming up after a long winter.

    I don't like snakes either. There's a snake skin I noticed recently, so they are around, but we don't see each other very often. Like you, I yelp and jump and head in the other direction. :-)

    Enjoy your day today, love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; I know FL has a number of dangerous snakes, so I would be tip-toeing warily in any shrubby area there!
      KY has a copperhead population, but I am glad to report I've not met one. Jim keeps it mowed and weed-whacked anywhere that we'll be walking.