Thursday, January 03, 2019

and now it's January 3rd

No one is more attuned to the cyclical patterns in life, the seasonal shifts and the progression of calendar months more than the gardener. And after decades of devotion to perennial flowers, I am, for better or worse, a full fledged gardener. Not a pro, just a very serious amateur. (Anyone who devotes a huge amount of time to a craft can call herself a serious amateur, but for Pete's sake, be serious about it or you'll fall down to the status of a mere dabbler!)

Right about this time -- oh, maybe the third day into the New Year, something happens to spark your enthusiasm for working in the yard again. For me, it's the arrival of the White Flower Farms catalogue of flowers. I order very little from it: I can find most perennials locally these days so that it makes little sense to spend money on shipping stuff here from Connecticut. Still, these plants people were my first friends some thirty years ago when I began to grow my own day lilies and phloxes, irises and blue bells, wild indigo and delicate coral bells. (Oh, even spelling out a few flower names puts me in the mood!)  In sentimental appreciation, I pick up the catalogue and look for some small plant that surely should be added to my (already very full) garden.

That catalogue came yesterday. Our days are deceptively warm this month (just at freezing in January? How can that be??) and so you could almost imagine that spring is indeed in the works for us -- it's there, next in line, waiting to surprise us with her grandness once again!

No one, absolutely no one loves the coming of spring more than a gardener living in Wisconsin. Don't even try to talk me down on that one.

But for now, let's enjoy the utter beauty of a sunny, not too chilly January day.

(A little bit of red, a lot of white, and a touch of blue...)

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("Please, can I have some more? I'm extra hungry on sunny days!")

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(When everything sparkles!)

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Breakfast. ("Sunshine makes me sleepy...")

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And in the afternoon, Snowdrop, the original queen of winter sunshine and snow, comes here to play. I can divide her afternoon at the farmette into two: the indoor hours and time spent outdoors. Sure, minute for minute, I admit that indoor time ruled. Photo-wise -- that's another story. It was just so beautiful to romp with her in the fading light of a winter afternoon! Of course the camera worked on overtime!

When she comes here after school, Snowdrop needs time to revamp her energies. But on these vacation days, she is ready to go! Today, she picks up on her Antarctica voyage.

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Not for long though. We're back to restaurant work. And construction brouhahas. [I've set up a construction site next to her dollhouse. Toy trucks are heaving dirt and bringing in timber. The construction workers -- especially Josephine the cement truck operator and Benjamin, the plumber -- are working around the clock to put up a house extension by Saturday. A new family is moving in. All the way from Japan! That's the set up. Hey, we've just finished with Christmas and boom! -- the little girl has a birthday the day after tomorrow! I have to be clever in creating something fresh for her for that day!]

(Creative cooking: she is making pepperoni snaps!)

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(A moment of hunger: she finds the loaf of Challah!)

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The artsy hour!

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And now, finally, she is ready for the great outdoors. It's after three and the sun is low, but not completely out of range. It's just a touch above freezing, but the snow is solidly in place. Sled time!  I worry that my knee isn't up for it. Ed has a resurgence of the sniffles so it's just me and Snowdrop. We head out!

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Well, we're never really alone. The cheepers hurry to keep up with us!

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The perfect snow angel...

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And again the snowball throwing championships are on!...

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We're by the great spruces and she finds her hidden castle within their fold.

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And then I coax her into the wider world beyond. Why not step out into the field of snow just to the east, where construction crews have been digging and leveling the ground for months on end? It's beautiful pristine snow -- a magnificent playfield!

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Foot prints and long shadows...

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Let's hold shadow hands!

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She is a bird with hawk-like wings!

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We may have stayed in that field of snow far longer, but, with every minute, the sun is less warm and the cheepers grow hungrier. Time to head back...

(Can I give them their corn? Of course...)

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Toward evening, I drive the little girl home. In the car, we sing songs from the Muppets Christmas Carol and watch the sky pick up the golden pink colors of a setting sun.

For all your notes and emails yesterday -- thank you! So much!