Wednesday, April 26, 2017


We have before us a week of rain. Now, rain in April is not an odd thing. From a gardner's perspective -- it's a welcome event. But a week of it, even if we're told it'll be on again off again, well, it feels like you have to put your outdoor life on hold.

Too, I've been spoiled by warm temperatures. I don't want to go back to the 50sF (low teens C). That's long sleeves weather.

Do you see what I mean? We can be so unappreciative of all the riches before us, grumbling away at how it could be, should be!

Because the reality is that it's not that bad out there! For example, today, despite the showers, the clouds, the crummy forecast -- we can still have breakfast on the porch! (Ed says -- don't you think it's a little chilly? I shrug my shoulders. We eat outside.)

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Looking out our bedroom windows, I see that the lilac is really blooming up a storm! Its period of great beauty is short, so you'll forgive me for going back to it just a few more times...

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The daffodils are a bit droopy from the rain...

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But by mid morning, the showers do pause and both Ed and I are quite happy with this, as he can work on fixing the old John Deere (which was left behind by the previous farm owners and which he at long last intends to sell)...

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... and I can offer Snowdrop an adventuring walk after school.

Playground! (No, I am not going to tell her that there is a right boot and a left boot. What does it matter for now?)

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Happy child!

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And though the clouds never recede, it's still immensely beautiful outside! This is the time that the apples and crab apples enter their blooming days and both Ed and I think it's a spectacularly gorgeous here, at the farmette!

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As Snowdrop gets out of the car, I tell her there is a tractor in the garage.

She is willing to give the old John Deere a try, but in the end, when Ed offers her a ride, she opts out. I'm not surprised. That darn thing is louder than a bulldozer.

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The girl can be rambunctious and spunky, but she will always especially love the gentle, quiet moment -- admiring an egg that Ed has picked up from the barn...

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Or, inside, returning to her favorite stack of books for the week.

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After her nap, she is energized! I ask her -- do you want to play music? The guitar? She looks around her and spies the yoga mat: let's do yoga, gaga!

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The amount of energy she puts into this project may give pause to the serious yogi, but for me, she has the formula exactly right: a stretch, a kick, a sense of power and joy.

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Weather shouldn't set the mood. I've said this again and again. And it doesn't. But I do like to grumble about it when the day pulls out the clouds and the drizzle and offers no prospect of sunshine. For now.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017


You look out your bedroom window and you see the white lilac in near full bloom. Your heart sings! The lilac bushes here are tall. You can never reach the flowers from the ground below. There's only one thing to do: take out the bedroom window screen, climb out onto the sloping roof, and snip a few clumps to bring to the breakfast table.

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(I wont clip any of the tulips: I'm so grateful that these survived the early spring animal attack.)

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Breakfast on the porch! With lilacs!

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Our daffodils, still going strong!

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And here's one of my favorite farmette corners in spring: the old orchard, blooming now, in a meadow of purple and white violets.

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Okay, to work! So much of spring digging and planting is done on my knees that I try to remember to keep my pants from being torn to shreds by wearing knee pads. (Photo by Ed.)

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Cheepers! Stay out of the flower bed! There, that's a good place for you to do your preening!
I thought you didn't like it when they pooped up the walkway -- Ed says with a grin.
I can sweep up their poop. I don't want to have to sweep up knocked down flowers!

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And soon it's time to pick up Snowdrop, who again has had a full and active morning at school. She is definitely tired, even as she looks like she's ready to take on the world!

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A few adventuring favorites: the big swing!

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Learning about railroad tracks...

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And then it's time to head to the farmette. A quick play outside...

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... with a bucket for her various gardening projects...

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But when she is tired, it's not hard to coax her back into the farmhouse. Especially if Ed is there, and a snack is waiting, and favorite books are strewn about the couch. Oh, and of course, her baby awaits her tender caress.

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After her nap -- we read. Here's my little grandgirl, in her post nap discombobulated state!

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And outside, the world is brilliant with spring color!

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Monday, April 24, 2017


We have two more days of unseasonably warm weather and I intend to make good use of them both!

My day is split evenly in half: the first chunk is spent digging, hauling, and planting and the second chunk is with Snowdrop.

But first, there is breakfast.

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Immediately after, I step outside.

An appreciative look to the east...

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A look to the west...

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A frown at Java, who is about to trample over tender shoots...

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And I'm off to work on the expanded front flower field.

The cheepers follow. I don't mind their company here. They look quite lovely (in my view) on the young lawn and they don't like to join me on the bed because the chips are dense and they yield little that is tasty for them. Too, I think we provide sympathetic, bucolic vignette for the cars that zip by on our rural road: I work the flower field and the hens hover and though they come close to the pavement, they would scoff at the old question -- why does the chicken cross the road? They never venture on the road. Ever. Their sense of boundary is quite remarkable. What's beyond our three acres? They don't care.

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Just past noon, I pick up a tired Snowdrop. She looks like she has been into a million things in her morning at school and a priority is to get her home and changed. (A bath may also have been a good idea!) But we do take the time to walk the neighborhood a bit first. She loves the quiet stroller ride and I like walking with her too. Especially when it's 70F (21C) outside!

At the farmhouse, she wants quiet time with her toys and so we play indoors. (Snowdrop, you now also have croissant crumbs on your face!)

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When Ed comes in, he shares a bit of cinnamon roll with her...

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I think she is long overdue for a nap, but she appears to have a small burst of energy and she coaxes him into dancing the polka. As always and despite having just done a lot of heavy work outside (oh those feet!), he is incapable of saying no.

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A few more minutes, gaga! Fine. I don't want to discourage a construction project.

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While she naps, I sow peas -- both the edible kind and the flowering ones. We have some clever/foolish ideas on how to keep them out of reach of farmette wildlife. It's an experiment! If it fails, we'll continue to pick up peas at the market and try something else next year.

This is what spring is for us: a chance to recommit to past successes, but also to step out and try something new. There is so much opportunity for being creative, for pulling out a "what if."

Clouds roll in in the evening, but the air stays warm. It's a beautiful time here, at the farmette! Outrageously beautiful!

Sunday, April 23, 2017


It's late. The sun has long set, the skies are dark. The dinner dishes are stacked, Ed is dozing on the couch.

Typically, this is when I put the final touches on an Ocean post: I study the end day photos, I correct the text.

Not so today. I pushed nearly everything onto this late hour in favor of working outside before dusk set in. And so once again, I am scrambling to write something for you. Ocean has had to take a back seat to this most gorgeous day.

It starts with breakfast on the porch. It's still a little cool, but we don't mind! The sun's out! Life is so very good!

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(Well, good if I can ignore the cheepers just outside the screen porch. Their claws can be fierce when they set their heart on a particular piece of yard.)

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Here's a curious thing: This year, as last year, the early tulips were decimated by some hungry farmette resident. Possibly the groundhog, though we can't be sure. But for some reason, the later tulips (both this year and last year) escaped this tragic decapitation. So I think we may get a (reduced, but hey!) bloom out of the bulbs I planted last Fall after all!

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I am spent. I've divided day lilies, I've transplanted dianthus, I've pruned the invasive monarda and coreopsis, I've planted a few newbies to the garden.

Yet non of this is work! There is a glow to this day for sure!

In the evening, Snowdrop and her parents are here for dinner. First thing's first: the little girl and I head out to the asparagus patch. Spaghetti primavera is no good without spring asparagus!

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She brings the picked spears inside for all to share. (It always amazes me how small her hand is as compared to ahah's!)

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Dinner on the porch. Snowdrop does not forget about her babies.

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How beautiful it is outdoors tonight!

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Snowdrop agrees.

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I know we'll surely have some cooler days ahead, but I could never complain: not after this most perfectly glorious weekend! 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day

It is, in Wisconsin, the most beautiful of all April days: plenty of sunshine, warm enough to keep to a light sweater (and not even that if you're working), crisp, green and wonderful.

I do not pause. Once I'm up, I stay up, crazily moving through the day until now -- suppertime -- when I feel I can finally give it a rest.

And so it's a photo day on Ocean! Few words. No time for words. No need for words! It's Earth Day, and I celebrate it by being outside all day long. Though not for breakfast. Too cool in the early morning hours. We eat in the sun room.

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Henny! Leave my flowers alone! Go scratch somewhere else! Oh, those cheepers!

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Morning: I'm with my daughter and granddaughter at the downtown farmers market. The vendors line the blocks around the Capitol. It takes more than half an hour to make your way around.

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When we're done, Snowdrop leaves her stroller for a romp on the Capitol grasses. Today, she is enthralled by the large trees.

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Hide and seek!

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I see that she would very much like to climb a tree. That wont work here, but at the farmette, low limbed trees abound!

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She is handed a free construction hat at a store on the Square. Snowdrop loves hats.

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And then I leave her to prodeed with her family weekend, while I turn my attention to my flower beds. There is a lot to do! (The cheepers are like loyal pups -- they follow me to whatever corner of the yard I'm in.)

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I work   ALL   DAY   LONG. Digging. Weeding. Planting. Pruning.


Pause to admire blooms on trees: they're everywhere now! Here's one of our young peach trees.

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Here's a cherry -- so delicately fragrant!

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(The cheepers follow.)

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And the daffodils continue to dance and swing and sway...

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I tell you, a gorgeous day. My muscles ache, my nails hands are caked in mud. A perfect day.