Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Peepers Have Started Peeping!

The tiny frogs called "peepers," have begun their loud singles' parties down at the marsh. That means it's officially Spring in our corner of the Adirondacks. If you're curious to learn more about these tiny frogs, check out this link on National Geographic's website. They even have an audio file in case you've never heard one of these little guys sing.

The pussy willow in my yard is also in serious bloom, as per the picture above. They start out with furry catkins and then move on to pollen later. This is actually a male pussy willow in full bloom. They have two separate sexes in this plant the way holly do. The male is preferred in this case and the female holly is preferred because of its berries. I wonder if I should try looking for a female friend for this guy?

Yard work has also begun over at our house. I have mostly what you might call "cottage gardens." In my case that means I grow whatever can survive the infertile acidic sandy soil that can stand long cold winters. Invasive plants are welcome!

I welcome native wildflowers like milkweed, mountain mint, goldenrod, and asters. And I added in a simplistic type of bee balm, sunflowers, and tough bushes. During the winter some of the plants die to the ground with the intention of starting fresh in the Spring. I clip down any stalks that are still remaining upright, leaving them to go back to the soil as the daffodils start pushing up. I also have meadow sweet, which is something of a bush. It's a tough native plant that only seems to grow flowers on new wood. Left to itself it stops flowering and looks leggy. So I clip them down every year too. It doesn't seem to slow them down and brings in a flush of flowers later in the season.

My goal is to make the plants so thick the weeds don't have a chance. As a ground cover I have what may possibly be a native raspberry that I don't find good to eat, but the birds seem to like. It grows like a weed, but I've found during drought years that it helps out the other plants by providing shade over their roots. 

I also need to do some branch and tree seedling sawing so the yard doesn't become a forest. The main tree around here is the giant white pine. They're beautiful, but once they get started, they're hard to slow down.

I hope everyone has a good Spring!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ode to Gina

Gina was the friend of a friend for the most part. Probably because she was around 20 years older than I was and we mostly saw each other only fleetingly during the holidays.

Still, when she passed a few years back, I knew the world had become a much more boring place.

In her mid-to-late 50's Gina began doing something she'd always wanted to do ... taking ballet lessons. She didn't care if it was something women her age usually did or not. She wanted to dance. And, so, that's what she did.

She did it well enough to teach eventually. And she especially enjoyed teaching seniors like herself. She also got to take to the stage a few times in dramatic parts with a local ballet company, usually in the role of queen. She made a great queen!

Despite a lot of physical pain, she continued teaching almost till the end. Of course, she taught more than ballet. She set an example for everyone who knew her that you should always keep on living and doing what you feel called to do. Age Be Damned!

I'm just at the age now where she started taking ballet classes. I'm ashamed to admit I've been catching myself lately thinking that I'm getting old and that it's too late for me to do certain things. Shame on me! What would Gina say?