Looking Back Tuesday, Mar 11 2014
Snow and Mud Monday, Mar 10 2014
I have a suspicion that we are going to have an actual mud season for once.
The sap looks like it is finally running out there for maple syrup. A little later, by almost two weeks, than usual. Around here there is usually a brief run in January and then a consistent run from late February through March. Hard to say if anything decent will be produced.
Somewhere under the snow I suspect there are leucojum and galanthus (snowflakes and snowdrops) popping up and presumably crocus (if the voles haven’t eaten them all). I really ought to go look at the south end of the west porch where there is a bunch right against a sunny stone foundation…
Dancing Trees and Shadows Saturday, Mar 8 2014
Since winter isn’t giving up here, two pictures from yesterday morning:
I sort of think the balanced red maple, nicely silhouetted by the beech leaves here, almost has the air of a Kokopelli…a very, very long way from home!
The shadow of the trunk of the big oak, almost covering Happy Thought in this picture, it looked like a giant hand when I first saw it.
Argh Friday, Mar 7 2014
We’ll wander off to the personal here briefly.
I am not a feminist, not by any stripe, to be quite blunt I’ve seen the damage the feminist movement has managed to do in academia and I want no part of that hypocrisy.
That being said….is it too much to ask? All I want at this point is a decent pair of work boots to replace an excellent pair that I demolished through several years of work. You know, something modestly waterproof, high ankle, good shock absorption (Try slamming your foot down on a shovel in sneakers, I dare you), long lasting, something tough enough that when a weed whacker equipped with a brush blade goes wrong you still have a foot and ankle…. that sort of thing.
Guys can find such boots by the hundred. Women not so much. I had my choice of cowboy boots (useless, vapid things) or a single pair of poorly built work boots with PINK flowers and Turquoise Hearts embroidered on the leather.
Needless to say, the brick and mortar store didn’t get my business. It turns out that Amazon carried the exact replacement of my previous pair, albeit with steel toes which I don’t need but won’t mind. Thank you Amazon.
Now if they come before I need to walk a boundary line for the land trust in the middle of a swamp sometime in the next week I’ll be quite happy.
Broken Storm Thursday, Mar 6 2014
Mardi Gras 1891 Tuesday, Mar 4 2014
Probably both Morris Smith and his daughter, Carlotta, were in New Orleans. Morris had business interests in the city and continued to visit there until he retired. Both Carlotta and Fannie spent a great deal of time in New Orleans; Helen and her family never did as far as I can tell.
Jewelry Monday, Mar 3 2014
Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) branches seen from above. It blooms in May and the flower buds occur all along branches, and sometimes even on very old trunks.
An extremely tough tree, native to eastern North America (there are related species elsewhere in both North and Central America, Asia, and Europe). The seed pods, which look like snow peas, are a winter food for chickadees, woodpeckers, and other tough little over-wintering birds. The wood and bark is very fibrous and it is relatively resistant to rot, allowing it survive breaks/tears caused by storm damage, which is good because it tears easily.
The little blue flower in the lawn below is gill-over-the-ground, also known as ground ivy, it accounts for most of the east lawn.
February Snow Friday, Feb 28 2014
The cedars, (are) suspended
On an ice bridled shore
Between a waiting forest
And (the) black water
That coils beneath deepening ice
The wind bites
And (it) brings to me
The mournful wail of a southbound train
I could go
Far from the snow locked marshes
(Far from) The polished drifts of a frozen land
(But) All noise fades to silence
I bow my head to the whitened world
*Meh, I can’t get it tweaked right. Not written about here by the way, but about rural Ontario. Though last night here was certainly fitting
On Vegetable Gardens Thursday, Feb 27 2014
There are plenty of reasons to have them of course; but one particular point has been on my mind the last few days.
Along about September, I am begging for a frost: the bugs are having a field day, I can’t go away without mutant squash sprouting, there is an overall sense of rot and decay…and the freezer is in decent shape. But then comes the end of February: the snow is still snowing, cold enough that where it isn’t ice it is drifting, there isn’t a green thing in sight, my car is grey*…and the freezer…
Well, it isn’t just the freezer, it is also the jelly cabinet. I am charged with shopping and keeping the dinner budget within shouting distance of inflation. But, the wealth of a garden is beyond measure. This week I was playing around with some pork chops and chicken thighs. One night: pork chops braised in a sauce of elderberry jam and mint vinaigrette; another night pork chops in a strawberry/fig (thank you Betsy!) with sage (freshly frozen) and onion; another night, a bit of apple butter, or maybe some tarragon butter for the baked chicken, or maybe a winter squash as a side dish, or some frozen green beans, or some parsley on the the top…. Now the pork chops and chicken don’t come from here, but elderberry jam and mint vinegar?! You can Not buy that. Not here anyway.
February and the vegetable garden more than answers the need. Maybe we couldn’t live off it year round; but we certainly couldn’t eat the way we do unless it was there.
*It is grey anyway, but it is Grey-er.
From a letter 1860 Wednesday, Feb 26 2014
Still poking around in the volume of letters* between Julie and Morris in the late 1850′s and early 1860′s, mostly concerning parenting trials, i.e. four young daughters. One would not know of the brewing national storm going solely on their letters.
Late winter 1860:
“In the morning the first I heard was an out-cry from Lottie, “I don’t want this old cradle! I want a bedstead and some candy!” As I had a bedstead in the house, I substituted the one for the other…and in about ten minutes she said, “I wish I had kept my cradle!”
Today I have been to church and Jamie Smith dined here, on soup, cold boiled chicken and pork, currant jelly, bottled cider, and Baked Alaska. Lucy is asleep. The other barbarians are down stairs. The room is cold, there is a hole you know in the window by the desk, and though there is a bright fire in the grate, I am none the warmer.”
*There are plenty of others, it’s just that’s the one on the desk.