Monday, April 30, 2012

Queen's Day


My nephew in Washington, D.C., sent an email this morning, asking me to wish G a happy Queen's Day.

I'd forgotten all about it.  I experienced it on one of our trips to Holland in 1990; we happened to be in Utrecht that day, and the city was decorated with orange as far as the eye could see.  Lots of revelers enjoying the warm and sunny day.  I looked back through my photos from that trip, and there is not a single picture taken that day!  So the one above, taken at the Keukenhof on that trip, will have to do.  The canals and streets were full of people, and it was a wonderful sight.

The next year on Queen's Day, G took half a day off work and created this garden next to our patio, which I can see from the study window on this overcast morning. 

Since then we've called it the Queen's garden.  In a normal spring, we would still have daffodils and Virginia bluebells blooming in this garden, but with this year's extraordinarily early spring, those flowers have already finished.  But we have the promise of peony and allium blooms, dianthus and harebells.  I think I need to add some tulip bulbs of varying bloom times to this garden, to make it more festive for future Queen's Days.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Morning walk

 Last weekend.

Early morning sun shines on Oscar-Boy.

Sky becomes lake.

 The boulders have been moved!  We have access to the cottage driveway again.

 How it looked last September.

I see evidence that a downed tree had blocked the road.
Maybe it made them rethink boulder placement.
 Swallows begin gathering in one of the trees.

 The previous afternoon they filled the air, swooping for insects.

A robin contemplates the ducks.

Speaking of birds...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dandelion Jelly

I attended a seminar last Wednesday on edible weeds, 
and the speaker passed out a few recipes, 
dandelion jelly among them.  
She gave a quick review of how to make it 
and enthusiastically told us that it tasted like honey.


We spent a wonderful weekend 
at my parents' cottage in Wisconsin, 
and there were a lot of dandelions.  
So - the perfect opportunity to try making dandelion jelly.

Pick flowers; remove petals.

This is going to take a while.

Boil with water.

Hmm.  Not looking too appetizing.

Mix infusion with lemon juice, sugar, pectin; boil.
Add lots more sugar; boil one minute.

 Fill sterilized jelly jars; seal.

Tastes like honey?  Nah.  Tastes like lemony sweet jelly.
But I'm glad I did it.  My curiosity is satisfied.
And I did enjoy the lecture.  
I learned that garlic mustard is edible, 
so we had garlic mustard leaves in our salad Saturday night.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Groupie update

And while I snapped pictures of Vanessa atalanta,
Oscar and the neighbor dog gazed longingly at each other
through a gap in the fence.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lilac groupies

Like everything else in the garden, the lilacs have bloomed early this year. And for the first time ever, I saw butterflies lighting on them this afternoon. Lots and lots of butterflies. I didn't have my camera, and when I went back this evening to see if they were still there, the light was dim. And it was windy. So the lilacs look dramatic, but it was hard to capture the butterflies.

See it? In the middle, at the bottom of a bloom, with red markings.

I think, from using this butterfly identification page, that the butterflies are Vanessa atalanta, aka Red Admiral. They are very busy!

If I can get a better picture tomorrow, I'll share it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Today, finally, G started at the new adult day program. The forms and communications weren't handled as quickly as I expected, and as a result, it's been 4 weeks since his last day at the former program.

When he left home this morning, it was with a smile on his face. Please God let that positive attitude continue! G will get so much more stimulation there than he possibly can at home. I got a call a few minutes ago letting me know that G had enjoyed the music therapy they had this morning and seemed to be doing well. The bus will bring him home in a few hours. I'm curious how he'll convey his day to me, if he will shrug it off or let me know there were some good moments for him.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Woodland bouquet

The preparation

Our early spring is now in suspended animation:
cool days, cold nights.

A favorite vase purchased in Bakewell near Nottingham
during the business meeting when I first met G.

So after zooming through utterly early spring
with temperatures in the mid-eighties,
we've slowed the pace and can enjoy the view longer.

Virginia bluebells Mertensia virginica
white bleeding heart Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba'
blue grape hyacinth Muscari armeniacum

A happy and blessed Easter to all of you
who observe and celebrate it.
And a joyful spring to all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recycle more

Just bought some first class stamps from the Post Office.

In anticipation of Earth Day, the theme is Go Green.

I guess they're doing their part to help me recycle more
by providing an inordinately long receipt.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Small pleasures

An Etheree


walk with

sweet Oscar

brings many small

pleasures, beyond just

being outside with a

creature who likes exercise.

Every shade of lime, jade, sapphire,

saturated cherry and crimson

delights my eye. Even laundry is fun.