Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Oh, if only you could smell them!! There are not words to express how beautiful, how glorious they are and how extremely happy they make me. Garden bliss. Pink peony heaven! And it is all the better because this is the first year I have had any success with them.
Life is good. These days I paint with flowers and vegetables and my needle is a spade and fork. The garden is burgeoning. Great expectations indeed! Blueberry pies and pear preserves dance in my head like sugarplums. A hot buttered biscuit topped with homemade pear preserves is one of the true joys of life! We are already harvesting lettuce every day, and I'm wishing I had planted more. Every meal except breakfast is planned around lettuce! And no one is complaining! It's so crisp and yet tender and sweet.......forgive me. I swoon. I love my garden. It is more than just a garden. It is art. It is refuge. It is therapy. It is worship - a spiritual connection with my Creator. A cooperative work with the ultimate and original Artist. He who made all things is making a garden with me. An awesome and humbling thought.
Thank you for your very kind and generous comments on my previous post. I so loved Elizabeth and Her German Garden, I wonder if you know of any similar books you could recommend? I'm looking for some good summer reading.
Wishing you sunshine and flowers!
Friday, May 1, 2015
"The garden is the place I go to for refuge and shelter, not the house. In the house are duties and annoyances, servants to exhort and admonish, furniture, and meals; but out there blessings crowd round me at every step -- it is there that I am sorry for the unkindness in me, for those selfish thoughts that are so much worse than they feel; it is there that all my sins and silliness are forgiven, there that I feel protected and at home, and every flower and weed is a friend and every tree a lover. When I have been vexed I run out to them for comfort, and when I have been angry without just cause, it is there that I find absolution. Did ever a woman have so many friends? And always the same, always ready to welcome me and fill me with cheerful thoughts. Happy children of a common Father, why should I, their own sister, be less content and joyous than they?"
----Elizabeth and Her German Garden
Another thrifting treasure that practically reached out to me from the dusty shelves at a flea market. A tiny little book with brittle brown pages so fragile that I have to take care when turning them. Words spoken by a kindred spirit from the past bring two souls together for a moment in time. Magical.
I shall have peonies this year!! I'm so happy. They have been transplanted a couple of times before finally finding a spot where they are happy, and this year they will reward me with the gift of their flowers. It's childish I know, but like Elizabeth, I too think of my flowers as friends. Friends who never judge me and who are not so easily offended. And other than a good spot where they get the proper amount of sunshine and rain, they ask very little.
We are collecting butterflies!! Such fun. My youngest is very enthusiastic and goes out every day with the homemade butterfly net I made for him and hunts his fluttering prey. I would feel guilty about it if not for the fact that we have been studying insects and learned that they only live for a few weeks anyway. Besides, it's in the interest of science! Now we are on the hunt for all sorts of bugs to mount and label and frame. He is planning his own show on Animal Planet. The next Steve Irwin - only with butterflies.
And now the sun is up and the birds are singing and the garden is calling to me. There are beans to be planted and twine to be strung for them to climb on. Another batch of gourd seeds have been soaked overnight and will be planted out today. Only 3 of the first batch sprouted, so we will try once more. And we are keen to grow some pumpkins, so those will also be sown today. Lots to do! The narrow window of planting time is closing fast for us. Soon it will be too hot for tiny seedlings to survive, so we must hurry and plant everything we mean to for this year.
What are you planting in your garden?
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Every day of spring unfolds a sweeter blessing to behold............
It's been a quiet, peaceful, rainy week. The woods are gleaming and sweet fragrant with the scent of moss and damp earth. Baby ferns yawn and stretch and unfurl themselves, and I stroke their soft, fuzzy heads and coo to them just as I would a baby lamb or bunny. In the garden, we have planted seeds of all sorts - lettuces, spinach, beets, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. A trellis has been constructed of felled saplings lashed together with hemp twine. We are all immensely proud - it was a Sunday afternoon family project that left the boys feeling very "Swiss family Robinson". I see many more rustic garden sculptures in our future :) Gourd seeds have been planted at each corner post and sunflowers and zinnias to surround. We timed it perfectly. They have had a week of soft, warm showers to stir them from their sleep. Fingers crossed we will soon see sprouts!! and finally, thrift store treasure hunting. My favorite rainy day activity besides napping. I really can't believe my luck this time. It's as if they were sitting there waiting for me to come and get them. They were even laid out on the same table. All the Silver Pennies is an anthology of children's poetry first published in 1925. As you can discern from the title page, most of the poems are related to fairies or the magic enjoyed from growing up with nature as a beloved companion. This book was written for me! And the other is Pedigree - The Origins of Words from Nature. Also an unbelievable treasure for me as a nature lover who also happens to be an armchair etymologist. I don't believe in coincidences. These books were meant for me, and I look forward to many happy hours spent enjoying their contents. I literally have a stack of books beside my bed that I am currently reading. Do you read more than one book at a time? or just one through and then pick up the next? I adore books and always feel sad when I come to the end of a particularly good one, so I drag them out as long as possible. Thus the stack of reads in progress. I will leave you with an excerpt from All the Silver Pennies.
The Fairies Have Never a Penny to Spend
The fairies have never a penny to spend,
They haven't a thing put by;
But theirs is the dower of bird and of flower
And theirs are the earth and the sky.
And though you should live in a palace of gold
Or sleep in a dried-up ditch,
You could never be poor as the fairies are,
And nay, never as rich.
Since ever and ever the world began
They have danced like a ribbon of flame,
They have sung their song through the centuries long,
And yet it is never the same.
And though you be foolish or though you be wise,
With hair of silver or gold,
You could never be young as the fairies are,
And nay, never as old.
Friday, April 10, 2015
Inspired by our recent trip to the Japanese gardens, I created another little nest to honor the day. This little nest has been painted with acrylic paints onto a piece of cotton muslin and then accented with embroidery for added texture and dimension. It is mounted onto a wrapped burlap canvas and framed with pine cone petals kindly left for me by our resident squirrel darlings. This one is now for sale in my Etsy shop.
And I have a question for you. A friend from church recently had a sweet little baby boy, and I was thinking of making another of these to give to her as a gift. Since he was born in spring, I thought this might make a nice memento. What do you think? Should I embroider his name or his birth date somewhere, or just leave it as it is? I've been trying to think how I could incorporate a monogram or his birth date, but can't decide how to proceed. Any suggestions?
Hope you enjoy your weekend! We have scary storms in the forecast, so we are keeping an eye on the weather today. Aaaah, springtime in Alabama!
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Cherry blossom snow......could anything be more beautiful? Each year, around the time of my youngest son's birthday, we make our annual pilgrimage to see the cherry blossoms at the Japanese garden located inside the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. As you can see from the photos, it was breathtaking. I took lots more. These are just a few of my favorites.
As a mother who, like so many others, sometimes worries that her children are too engaged in a virtual digital reality, it was very satisfying to see my children so obviously enthralled with this glorious display of nature. Oh, it makes me so very happy. They were unusually quiet - almost reverent at times. "Yes," I think to myself, "they get it." And I don't worry so much.
and I also hope maybe they won't grumble too much when I enlist their help digging in the garden :)))
Saturday, March 28, 2015
|Photo from Pinterest source unknown|
|Photo from Pinterest source steep ravine.com|
I came across these wonderful, magical photos on Pinterest and was inspired. The photo of the giant hollow log is from our recent trip to the botanical gardens (more on that later). They remind me of all the wonderful fairy tale books I poured over as a child, and I realize that this was where my real love affair with the forest began. These are tiny, secret places where magical things can happen. Where magical creatures live and play. I so wanted it all to be real - the beautiful worlds I found in books - and I suppose I still do. So, that is why toadstools. For me, they represent the fairytale forests of my childhood imagination. That is why I adore them and can't seem to stop myself making them - trying, I suppose, to hold onto some of that magic and perhaps, to pass it along.
Love and blessings from the Woods.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
You know I'm a country girl. But what you may not know is that I also love the city. As in, "it's a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there." Well, I did live there for 12 years. I grew up in the country where I spent most of my life at my grandparent's farm. My best friends were the farm animals and the woods surrounding their farm. Then I grew up, went to college, got a job and found myself moving to the big city at the tender age of 22. Honestly, I loved it! I loved all the restaurants. The shops. The museums and art galleries and concerts and plays. I loved all the different cultures that came together in the funky downtown districts where you could find any kind of ethnic food imaginable. It was a melting pot filled with new and exciting people and ideas and art. I took to urban life like a duck to water. Really! It was wonderful to go to a coffee cafe' at midnight and drink cappuccino (this was the 90's after all) and have fascinating conversations with other young people from every walk of life. It was during this period of my life that I fell head over heels in love with art, and my favorite was modern, abstract art. It was edgy. It was cool. I loved it.
But, as you know, I eventually returned to my roots. I am a country girl again, and always was deep down in my heart. Though I enjoyed urban life when I was in my twenties, when I had my boys, I yearned to return to the country to raise them. But, I have not lost my love of modern art. To this day when we go to a museum, I am drawn to the modern works. This little canvas is sort of a representation of everything I love in art. The background is a stylized, abstract representation of tree bark and lichen, and then of course in the foreground is my sweet little toadstool with his cheerful red face and white polka dot spots. He represents the woods I grew up in and the woods I love today. So there you have it. Yesterday and today contained in a tiny 5x5 inch canvas. For sale in my Etsy shop. I hope you like it!
Happy hump day :))