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March 2010

Burning of the Grasses - March 27, 2010

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Friday night was the night between raindrops for the annual burning of the grasses.  These grasses are in beds by the fish pond and since they stand alone, I choose to burn them.  Burning them is much easier than cutting them  and it also serves to sweeten the soil and clean them right to the base. IMG_0091
Grasses make dramatic changes through the seasons and are well worth adding to your garden if space is available. The bigger grasses do take up a bit of room.  By March, they are battered and worn and looking for relief.  DSC_0018
This year, the crowd gathered with the necessary libation in hand for the event.  The event is inspired by the field fires of my youth.   In years past, it was common practice for the local volunteer fire department to burn fields in order to renew them and get in a little practice.  It doesn't happen anymore but these grasses are begging for a light. DSC_0022

The EM obliges and everyone holds their breath for a moment.  Usually there is an immediate response and a 'whoosh' but since the grasses are still a bit damp the burn starts more slowly and builds.   Still, it is impressive to watch the crowd DSC_0023
and the grass.  IMG_1504
Even wet, it burns IMG_1512
and burns andIMG_1523
then... time for dessert.


Bulbs au natural

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Overview taken 3-25-10

Gardeners embrace the surprises which Mother Nature bestows on each of us.  Most of the time, that is.  Every once and a while, a jarring combination of color or form necessitates either decapitation or removal of the unwanted 'gift'  which ends up in another area of the garden, as a gift to another always a miracle to me. Whether it is a seedling of this beloved hellebore which is easily identifiable with its' frilly leaf,DSC_0049
or, these bulbs which seem to just appear, seemingly out of nowhere, to take their place in the middle of the lawn blooming amidst the ragged but awakening grass and the oak's discarded acorns. DSC_0066
How does that pollen, or more probably, a bulb offset, move to the middle of the lawn?  It is most likely the result of the raking which ensues in spring or continues in the fall. DSC_0065
If only I could actually follow the exact pathway which leads to this triumph.  But then, would the miracle seem less of one?  What do you think?  What are your 'miracles' this spring?


Bloom Day - March 15, 2010

DSC_0007 In spite of the torrential rains of the past few days, there are a few blooms in the garden.  With less than a week to go until the official start of spring, progress is visible and not just another mark on the calendar.  The first to bloom are the snowdrops and the cool temperatures are keeping them fresh while the wind causes their little blooms to swing in the breeze.  Next are the very early crocus which are up against the foundation. DSC_0025
I am sure that these are the same blooms which appear each year on this same bloom day but after a long winter, they are a relief to me and I hope you have all forgotten about them.  Last on the list is the Hellebore.  DSC_0014
This one is the stinking hellebore and one that I treasure all season for its' very interesting foliage.  The light green blooms are just in time to celebrate with the Irish and always last a couple of months.   Many thanks to Carol of May Dreams for bringing us all together on Bloom Day.  I am thankful I could finally add some blooms after the long winter.  I look forward to seeing yours.


One year ago....

I know that I have been neglecting gardening and that is about to change as plants are starting to pop up around here but today is a very special day.  It is hard to believe that it has been one year since little Hailey made her appearance in our family.  Please indulge me for a moment and look at how she has grown.

September 27, 2009


Nepal - Phase IV - Seti River Camp

IMGP3292 (Picture credit: Randy Blough)
It has been over two months since my return from the Nepal adventure.  The fourth phase of our trip involved river rafting on the Seti River for a half day, camping over two nights with treks each day to neighboring villages, and then a final morning of rafting before boarding a bus for the Chitwan Forest.  The Seti river runs from the Himalayan Mountain Range with a crystal blue, meandering footprint.  Our first day on the river was actually just a half day but beautiful and fairly easy to navigate.  IMGP3290 Photo credit Randy Blough
The EM had the luxury of a trip to Vietnam in the 60's courtesy of the U. S. Government and he said that the gorges and vegetation along the river were reminiscent of the Central Highlands of Vietnam.  I think he enjoyed this trip a bit more than his government sponsored sojourn.  We had a wonderful river navigator, Hurdi, who had a ready smile and interesting stories. IMGP3405 

Photo credit: Randy Blough
  There were only a few rough rapids at this time of year and little to fear from them.  Our crew IMGP3397 Photo credit: Randy Blough
actually knew how to paddle and we were allowed to help with the steerage on occasion when Hurdi needed a bit more help.  The helmets make all of us look like Mensa members but they were a necessity.  My camera was actually put into the waterproof bag for the water portion of the trip so Randy helped me out with these pictures.  We traveled down the river for  a bit more than half a day before stopping at the Seti River Camp IMG_0807
which was very well appointed with permanent tents, a kitchen,dining hall, and the outdoor fire pit for campfire sessions.  We settled into our tent IMG_0854
and after a bit of relaxation went down to the fire pit where all gathered for discussions IMG_0817
and recaps of the day. IMG_0825
The second day of our river adventure started with breakfast and then a hike to a local village.  The hiking trail  was situated on the upper banks overlooking the Seti River. IMG_0827
  We visited the local sawmill where two men were sawing this beam into planks.  As you can see, they were working quite hard. It is interesting to be taken back in time to a place where hand tools are the major means of construction. IMG_0830
Work kept on as we all stopped to watch and learn. IMG_0829
This suspension bridge is necessary for the local people to get from one side of the river to another. Most of us enjoyed walking to the center for a long view down the river and the requisite photo op.IMG_0833
  All along the river there were houses scattered here and there and in each field there was a high platform which allowed the farmers to sound the alarm if and when the monkeys arrive as they can decimate a crop in a very short amount of time.  IMG_0837
We were greeted at the village by the children.  Some of us came with pencils for their schoolwork and our guide passed them out to the kids as they scampered along beside us.  They seemed a serious group with shy smiles.IMG_0836
They had this handmade barrow of a sort and they took turns riding down the hill on the fork at the two front wheels which had a total diameter of four inches at the most.  They were carved from wood.  They really picked up some speed on this little contraption.  IMG_0851

It is a colorful village and we were  there on the weekend so school was out and some of the villagers were busy digging new latrines while others were making the local beverage in this pot on the fire.IMG_0847
  The kids followed us around and sat for photos.IMG_0850
I love the expression on this little girl's face as she seems to be saying 'Yes, that's my brother'.  They have learned to ask to see the picture on the back of the digital camera. Baby nepal
This baby sat placidly unaffected by our presence. IMG_0852
We did have a bit of excitement back at the river camp.  While we were sitting by the fire pit the honeybees returned to their nest after several months of absence.  They swarmed in and then settled on this log they call home within just a half hour or so. IMG_0855
There were plenty of flowers here for them to visit and the amount of butterfliesIMG_0856
at the river camp was extraordinary.  Our third morning was our last and we set out IMGP3396
once again for a leisurely ride down the river to our bus which took us to the Chitwan National Forest.  The last portion of our adventure.