I just love this Witch Hazel that flowers in the early spring. We used to buy what was probably a tincture in a bottle to swab on mosquito and black fly bites. It worked. And then there was Witch Hazel in the Little Lulu comics. Now that dates me.
I took these on Saturday, but the website was balking at posting them. It was sunny but bitterly cold. I loved the patterns of the ice hanging from the vines in the afternoon sun. Still I preferred the spring-like weather that preceded it. I think that spring is my favourite season.
These are a couple of grandchildren. They are standing on a fairly high bank throwing rocks into the tidal mud below. It makes a very satisfactory plop, and disappear below the surface. much better than tossing the rocks into the water. We were waiting for the tidal bore to arrive, when, with a wave, the river reverses direction.
I read that there was a commercial artichoke farm up the valley. I had to try it. I bought a mail order packet of seeds. There were 22. It was expensive. They said to treat them as annuals as they only over wintered in zone 7 and higher. But I know that they are really perennials, so if I mulch them well and cover them for the winter - could I do it? I made newspaper pots and set them out. This is my artichoke farm. I had to bring them back to the apartment so I could keep them moist. These are travelling artichokes. Stay tuned.
We went exploring the back field last Friday when I was back home and came on this cluster of granite rocks. They must have come from elsewhere, because on the North Mountain and down to the shore we are on columnar basalt. It is a volcanic dike pushed up when Nova Scotia, which came over separately, collided with the rest of North America. We are actually only attached by a stretch of marshland. We're very special here.
This morning, just before the start of spring, a friend and I cleaned out this daylily bed. The earth was warm and grubbing in the dirt felt so, so good. I would have kept at it all day, but I had to return to my apartment - 3 hours away, to work tomorrow. I count the days until I can get back to my garden.
They told me (well, asked me) to greet the arrivals at the Saint Paddy's Coffee Party. They told me (ordered me) to wear a green feather boa that they provided. So here it is and here I am, and the Irish bloods in me is very, very thin.
Before I left home on Sunday I heard a sparrow singing. They are returning. I put out wool for nesting material, although I think that it is mainly the robins who avail themselves of it. It will still snow, but spring is only days away. I don't put out seed in the winter because I am only home sporadically. Someday I shall be home to stay.
And this is Saint Urho's Day: http://membracid.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/happy-st-urhos-day-2/
Well, I started the spring cleaning at home yesterday. Used the exe's old knickers to scrub down the "powder room" and washed slip covers before I left to return for work. Then this evening I saw "Flow" an excellent documentary about water. Here is the trailer: http://flowthefilm.com/trailer. So this is my water theme, from the mundane to the downright scary, but for those Maude Barlow fans, and count me in as one of them, this is a must see.
Okay, so you don't see the huge conflagration because I was too busy watching the fire, and raking down the burning grass. I had two huge piles of brush, one covered an old willow stump and roots. I was by myself, and a little breeze came up. So I pulled stuff over to back a third smaller, more manageable pile and burnt that first. Then the larger heap became smaller and that went next. And then I fed it with the other heap. In the end all that was left is the stump. It will become a rather fetching garden feature. Assistants turned up to help. One assistant's hat inadvertently got thrown into the blaze *&%@#, and my hair got a little singed, but all in all in was a great success. Lawn chairs were set out, and we all enjoyed the fun in the sun.
When I walk through the town I am always looking for the details. These are four houses on a short street. I find the gables particularly interesting. There is usually some embellishment. My mother called, I think, this kind of work "ginger bread" but I have no idea why. It was lovely and sunny again today. Tomorrow I am heading home for a couple of days - into the black hole of no cell phone and no Internet.
Many days I walk by these "trees" and I have wondered why they are lit every night. But today I went closer and had a look. Now I know that they are memorial cancer trees. Do other communities have these, too?
Desperate to grow something - anything - I have started up my little sprout farm, beside the never-give-up poinsettia. Perhaps this weekend the snow will have melted and the storms will have abated and I really can begin to rake and walk over my land at home and plan my planting. I dream.
I am dreaming of summer in my daylily field. I am just back, and while the ground is mostly bare, there is no sign of growth, no sign of spring. I made a quick trip home to meet with my trusty carpenter and discuss the coming round of renovations. Now I am into an austerity programme to pay for it all!
With all this hand washing, cold weather and dry buildings, my thumbs are cracking up. Nothing works to alleviate the my sorry and painful state. But I am told that help in is the barn - "Bag Balm". I presume that it is for cows' udders. Am I right? So if they can come up with a product for cows, why not for people? I expect that it is really greasy and mostly lanolin. Am I right? Gardening season is just a month away, and my hands will feel it, badly.
The poinsettia that came to live with me at the end of November obviously really likes being with me as it has not changed in the past four plus months, and it 's half way through Lent. It refuses to die, or even lose what it pretends to be petals. It doesn't seem to understand that I only got it for the Christmas season - my one decoration. So I went and got what I've always wanted, an orchid. I have to put her on the top of the bookcase, because there is so much full sun in the apartment room. I love her and I don't wish death on her ever. That poinsettia still looks magnificent.
I cannot even remember what this revolting lunch was. I took the picture a while back, BUT I have lost 30 pounds. Just picture 30 pounds of butter stacked one on top of each other and that is how much I have lost.
Like Brother Andre, I left my heart in Montreal. They are going to canonize him. He was the gatekeeper and the barber at the college across the road from whee they eventually built the oratory. And he was a healer. He spearheaded building the St. Joseph's Oratory across the road, on the side of the mountain.
I grew up in Montreal. I played with the Catholic girls next door. I was six or so when one day their father took me with them when they went to the oratory. It wasn't finished. It took years to build. I think they kept running out of money. But I was impressed. I was impressed by the people going up hundreds of stone stairs on their knees. (This would drive my orthopaedic surgeon nuts.) At the same time they were saying their rosaries. I figured that if you really prayed like that something big would have to happen. But the big deal was that the girls got to kiss Bother Andre's pickled heart. It in a glass jar. Their father took out his white handkerchief and whipped the glass and then each of them got to kiss the heart. But he wouldn't let me because I was a Protestant. It was so unjust and so unfair.
So it gave me some satisfaction when many years later the heart was stolen. I think that there even might have been a question of ransom. I think that the oratory guys refused to pay. A year or so later the police, acting on a tip, found the heart in the back of an apartment's bedroom closet.
Now he is to become a saint. Does that mean the heart gains beatific holiness? I so wanted to kiss it then. I wonder where it is now? I've lost the inclination to kiss it, on the other hand I just might to get my own back. Would I be blessed? Brother Andre left his heart in Montreal.
"Jesus of Montreal" was filmed at the Oratory. Blood is always a crowd pleaser:
The last sunshine that I saw was for a couple of hours on Saturday. So these are a couple of pictures left over from then. Actually I had forgotten all about the blog and had gone to bed and was falling asleep when I recalled that I had not blogged today. I was jolted awake and here I am. Tomorrow I need to address the pressing issue of Brother Andre.