What is Blooming at My Place?

 Take a garden tour with me to see what has come up this week. The showy color this week is purple as you can see from the columbine above.

Honeysuckle, a lovely hanging pot I found yesterday, and more iris.

I love late spring. What is blooming at your place?

The First of All Single Colors is White

 "The first of all single colors is white ... We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no color can be seen; yellow for the earth; green for water; blue for air; red for fire; and black for total darkness." -- Leonardo Da Vinci

Out of Sync

Lately I have felt out of sync. We are doing state testing at school so the daily schedule is all messed up. The weather went from a cool 30 in the morning a week ago to a very hot ninety degrees yesterday afternoon. That has been enough to get children, animals, and adults out of synch. I have been unable to sleep very well for some reason so between anxious students, anxious teacher with a bit of crabbiness thrown in, that has put all of us out of synch.

I hope next week is more of a routine again. I thrive on routine.

Gathering Flowers

 I don't even remember when I got crazy about gathering flowers and creating bouquets. I collect vases and other vessels to hold flowers. I try to plant a variety of colors and textures to help create beautiful bouquets. I love to have them on the table, give them as gifts,and photograph them. Here are a few of my recent favorites.

Five Garden Requirements

Fifteen years ago when I began to plan my landscaping and flower gardens I knew I wanted five things. The list included lots of texture, blooms with rich color, a selection that provided flowers, fruit, or interest through all  the seasons, and I wanted blooms and foliage that provided aroma. I am slowly accomplishing this. 

Rhubarb is the first spring plant that fills an area with lush texture.

 Springtime always provides blooms rich in color because of tulips, one of my favorite bulbs. You can never have too many tulips.

One plant that provides much interest all year is the flowering plum. The blooms in early spring are breathtaking, as is the scent coming into the bedroom window. The foliage in summer is perfect for shading the house and the front garden. In fall the leaves turn a beautiful coppery color and in winter the small fruits feed the birds.

 It is the only tree we own that provides natural decor to the walk when the blooms begin to fall.

 There are two flowers that fill my nose with the scent of spring...lilacs and hyacinths. I wait for those scents all year.

More Poetry: The Joy of Writing

The Joy of Writing

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
For a drink of written water from a spring
whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle?
Why does she lift her head; does she hear something?
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth,
she pricks up her ears beneath my fingertips.
Silence - this word also rustles across the page
and parts the boughs
that have sprouted from the word "woods."

Lying in wait, set to pounce on the blank page,
are letters up to no good,
clutches of clauses so subordinate
they'll never let her get away.

Each drop of ink contains a fair supply
of hunters, equipped with squinting eyes behind their sights,
prepared to swarm the sloping pen at any moment,
surround the doe, and slowly aim their guns.

They forget that what's here isn't life.
Other laws, black on white, obtain.
The twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say,
and will, if I wish, divide into tiny eternities,
full of bullets stopped in mid-flight.
Not a thing will ever happen unless I say so.
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof's full stop.

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.          By Wislawa Szymborska

Mystery Solved

It is tough being a herding dog with not much to herd except all the cats and another dog. I thought Shelby was taking up another skill.... cooking gingerbread boys. I came around the corner and this is what I saw. She even picked the Betty Crocker right off the shelf. Hummmmm.... I wondered what may be lurking behind that shelf.

Not only is she an excellent herding dog, but also a great detective. The missing dog bone had fallen behind the cookbook shelf.

Remembering Lilacs

Memory relies on sight, touch, and sound. Memories that linger on rely on smell. The sight of your childhood home will stir up memories.  Yes, a song can take you back to a summer lake during the teen years. The touch of a cool hand can still take a fever away. Smell is different. The smell of the first spring lilacs fill me with childhood, Grandma Woolum's house, a parade in Spokane, a field where a homestead once stood, and my home. 

I grew up in Kellogg, Idaho and smelter smoke did away with most green plants, but lilacs were resiliant. The back wall of our backyard filled up with the fragrant aroma of purple lilacs every spring. It was a beacon of hope after a long,dark winter and an equally long, gray spring. I look forward to returning home in a few weeks to once again breathe in my mom's backyard or sit in her house with a bouquet by my side.

Growing up Grandma Woolum in Spokane also had lilacs. Hers must have probably done better than those trying to grow in Kellogg. Again, perhaps it was Mother's Day or another time in spring that we arrived to see the lovely lilac blossoms in her yard. Spokane also has a Lilac Festival each year so as a child I thought Grandma must have been pretty special to have lilacs to honor this festival. Of course, about every house in Spokane had lilacs. 

I knew when I began gardens at myin own home I would need lilacs. I never had lilacs at my first home. I am afraid with the intense, hot, windy springs of the Tri-Cities they would have bloomed and been gone in no time.

We have places we take the dogs to run close to our home. Homesteads had been there. You can always tell because in the middle of a grass field you spot a clump of lilacs. All by themselves to live on their own they do quite well. I love the strength of lilacs.

My home now has lilacs. When I arrived that first spring to my newly purchased home I noticed a French lilac the former owners had planted. I like that type, but love the traditional lilacs of childhood even better. Soon I got starts from my mom's own lilacs and every spring I get to enjoy that favorite childhood springtime memory right in my own front yard. 

A few years ago I wanted a while lilac. They have a beauty of their own and actually a unique smell of their own. It is a nice addition to my springtime garden. 

Do you have a flower smell that evokes a certain memory?

Camera Crazy

I picked flowers, arranged flowers, put flowers in vases, made my husband hold flowers, and used the window for a background. Enjoy my photo spread of the tulips and orchids.

Learning To Love Spring

Each of us has a favorite season. Mine has always been autumn. I love it when leaves turn brilliant red and orange. It is time for  fires in the gazebo after a slow day in the garden. Harvesting the fruit of our labor brings joy to my heart. I love returning to the ritual of school again.

I used to not like spring. As a teacher it is often the most difficult time of the school year. Many years there is s lot of rain, sometimes floods, or we get sudden summer. The house needs a spring clean, the dogs are shedding, the chickens are molting, the cats need grooming.

A few years ago I decided to change my attitude. I embraced spring. I put on a raincoat and enjoyed the rain. I cleaned the house when needed, not as a big spring clean. We found tools to remove aniimal hair. I prepared myself better for the last quarter of school.

I then began to carry my camera and capture the beauty of new growth, rain, sunny skies, and all that is beautiful in spring. 

I have learned to love spring.

Work or Play?

As you study this series of photos it is hard to tell if watching the birds is real work or play. Again, we are thankful the bird feeder is so high. Thanks McDuff, Grayson, and Junebug.

Sunshine Mine Fire: Looking Back Forty Years Later

Could it really have been forty years ago that we arrived back in Kellogg from a track meet to have the principal of the school meet our bus and tell us of the tragic fire at Sunshine Mine?

I was a junior in high school as the nursing home across the street became a makeshift morgue. Could I really understand at that time what it meant to lose 91 lives?

As I reflected on the event today did I realize it would be as fresh a memory today? When I talked about it today at school it seemed like yesterday.

Did I ever think about how much this effected so many families in the Silver Valley of north Idaho that day? I think it was too huge for me to comprehend. 

Did I say prayers today for the families of those lost miners? Yes.

I took the picture above at the Sunshine Mine Memorial at Big Creek Idaho by Kellogg.

Click here for a recent NPR feature on the disaster.

Merry Month of May

The theme of May NaBloPo Mo is Play. My goal is to post each day in May. Let's see how it goes.


Today I played with my camera in the greenhouse. Longer days and the moisture in the air had encouraged new growth and beautiful blooms on the geraniums that we wintered over. Everett says it is all about "the watering". Guess who does the watering? 


"I was strolling through the greenhouse one day....in the merry,merry month of May...."