Tag Archives: Spring

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar…Part Deux by Valerie J. Patterson

You might recall that back in 2012 I regaled you with a tale about using power tools, namely the power washer.  I’m sure it was one of those purely unforgettable stories that you then repeated many times around a campfire, the dinner table, and at the office water cooler!

When you’re done either laughing at my recollection or scratching your head while trying to recall what I am talking about, let’s move on to today’s “Roar”.

I am woman hear me roar…with a mower too big to ignore!

Steve and I bought a new lawn tractor and I am the operator of said tractor.  My first ride, I could feel the power as I zoomed up the driveway toward the front lawn.  I turned toward the lawn, lowered the blades, and smiled as thousands of pieces of grass confetti shot out the right side of the cutting deck.  My hair was pulled back, the wind was blowing across my face…and so was the grass I had just cut!

Note to self:  never mow into the wind unless you LIKE the taste of cut grass!

These days, I whip around the yard and zoom up and down the driveway.  It’s fun!

I’ve made good use of that power washer, too.  My porch furniture never looks better than after a fresh power washing!  It has a way of making everything shiny and new!

Plus, I can also add the snow blower to the list of power tools I have mastered.  Had plenty of opportunity to use that baby this past winter.  Kind of glad it’s been exchanged for the lawn tractor, though!

Until next time, may there be power tools in your life that make your life easier, comfier, and more beautiful!  Happy Spring, Y’all!!

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Spring Has Sprung…Babies are in Bloom!! by Valerie J. Patterson

I guess a long winter can be good for many things.  When the weather is harsh, the wind is stinging, and roads are icy there are so many activities you can get caught up on.

There’s knitting or crocheting a blanket.  Making your way through your To Be Read pile.  Shampooing your carpets.  Sorting through your closets.  And, of course, shoveling all that fluffy snow!

Oh, and there’s building snowmen or snowwomen or snowbears!

You can settle in for some serious movie watching–the classics or new releases.  Your pick.  How about making those fabulous recipes you’ve clipped from magazines or newspapers and stored in your recipe file just knowing you’d eventually make them and wow the family with your gourmet finesse?

Of course, there’s also cuddle time on the sofa with the love of your life.  There’re lazy naps on winter-gray weekend afternoons.  And there’s making a pot of your favorite soup and enjoying it with a freshly baked loaf of bread.  A kettle of tea.  A mug of hot cocoa.

Or, you could be like two of my nieces and participate in an activity that will bless our family with two beautiful wee ones just in time for Thanksgiving!!  Two of my little sister’s girls will give her grandbabies this November!  Who said nothing good comes from 14 inches of snow?

From now until Thanksgiving, I expect that I will be busy shopping!

Until next time, may the flowers that bloom in your garden color your life with joy!

At long last, below is a picture of my Paint & Praise painting.  It’s called The Spirit Tree, and I so enjoyed painting it!

At long last, here is a picture of my Paint & Praise Painting!!  It's called the "Spirit Tree", and I so enjoyed painting it!!

Mad March

Well, it’s arrived – March, that is. The sun finally peeking over the backyard fence (note the reference here 😉 ) to flood a corner of the patio for a few hours of a morning. In a few weeks’ time it will fill the area completely. And, with relief on my part, at the end of the month in the UK the clocks move forward. Yay! It’s easy to remember: clocks spring forward in Spring, and fall back in the Fall (although I do wish they would do away with this fiasco).

100_6848Which all means it’s time to get working in the garden again (another Yay!) and start bringing it to life for the summer. Of course, there’s already plenty signs of it out there. We’ve had snowdrops in flower since the start of January, an early flush of daffodils with lots more to come out but the crowning glory is our front lawn, which is a wonderful splash of colour from crocuses.

100_6855Every year my husband puts crocus into pots and planters for spring. Once they’ve gone over, he replants the bulbs in the lawn. Over the years, the display increases, to our utter enjoyment and the delight of many passers by. Even children stop and admire them, smiling and pointing as they all walk past on the way to school.

Meanwhile, over in the back garden, the current delight is the hellebores. I’ve several different types in flower; my favourites being a very dark maroon one, which has been in flower for weeks and a lovely plum coloured one whose flowers face up, instead of down like most. I’ve also a pink tinged white one that is in full bud and about to burst open, and several pure white ones. These light up the otherwise boring borders until the hyacinths, followed by bluebells and everything else  appears.

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100_6862I never put the garden to bed for winter. I always leave it as it is once summer’s over, never removing dead plants or stems, no pruning or tidying, much preferring to let nature take its course and look after things itself. I mean, Mother Nature doesn’t prune shrubs and sweep up dead leaves, does she?

I firmly believe leaving everything alone helps plants survive the winter; the long, dead stalks and stems protect the base and roots of plants from the frosts, nipping these first rather than attacking lower down. The birds and insects appreciate things left as they are too. It might all look a bit messy and unkempt, but it is worth it if not just for the many species of birds that visit every day. They’re always hunting and foraging amongst the brittle stems and detritus which provide winter shelter for many insects. Also, starting the regime of hacking and cutting back and clipping now provides me with much needed exercise after being cooped up indoors all winter.

This year, howeve100_6860r, plans have had to alter slightly in that during a recent gale, one of the fence panels was destroyed. The whole fence was only replaced three years ago following wind damage. It belongs to our neighbours but we have taken responsibility for repairs this time because Steve is very ill and his wife, Claire, is far too petite and, let’s be fair, far too concerned over looking after Steve to worry about things such as gardens and fencing. Their garden is tidy, and with no dogs or children to worry about, so it’s not a problem. The trouble is, until the panel is replaced, I can’t really begin putting in new plants and shrubs to replace what was damaged or destroyed because they will only be trampled and crushed during any fence repair, so I’m busy racking my brains what to do with that area for the time being. Any suggestions?

Smiling my way through Spring

So, I think I talked earlier this month about getting the deck furniture out. I thought I’d show you our pond this week. We got it up and running for the summer just before getting the furniture out. It’s not rock, it’s plastic (too good a price at Costco), but I love it. It sounds amazing, and looks amazing, especially with the Azalea blooming behind it.  (Pay no attention to the dirt to the right of the picture. We had to dig up part of our sidewalk this winter.)

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It was a family effort, putting this pond in ten years ago. My husband had major back surgery and wasn’t lifting anything much yet. So the kids and grandkids dug the hole and got the pond set in place. I think that’s another reason I like it so much. 🙂

I’ve always said that I love all the seasons pretty much equally. Right now, though, as I sit out on deck in the sunshine, listening to the waterfall in our pond, smiling, I have to say that Spring is really feeding my soul.

I hope you all have had a wonderful month filled with the sights and sounds of Spring.

The Day After Mother’s Day

Since all but one of our kids do not live close anymore, my Mother’s Day is a wonderful mix of visiting with my own mother and relaxed conversations with the kids over the phone or Skype.

I love that contact. One of the few fun things about aging is getting to see our children and their families thrive. It’s an amazing thing to watch.

I also love that my husband gives me the best gift every year on this day…weather permitting. This is the day we get the deck furniture out. I can sit in our swing and work, or read, or just watch the grass grow. I call it our swing very, umm, quietly, since this is also Dude’s favorite day of the year, too…and his favorite piece of furniture. He is 17 pounds and king of his domain and will lay on that swing for hours keeping watch. Okay, so maybe he naps more than he keeps watch. Lol.

Speaking of Dude, we’ve had some issues lately. There are a couple new tomcats in the area and Dude has been defending his territory with sound and action. I didn’t know these noises could come out of a cat! First, that low, low growl. Then, as the fur flies, that high-pitched screech. Ugh. I can’t get him to understand pacifism. He’s such a laid back kitty normally, but he’ll not tolerate having to share his space, I guess. I’m praying it settles down, though. Dude is my cuddle-bug (please don’t tell him I called him that), and I don’t really want him to turn aggressive.

Well, that’s about it for our neck of the woods for now. I hope you all had a nice, sunshiny weekend and got to play in the dirt (with the flowers) or do something that feeds your soul.

Have a great week!

The First Week of May- Silliness and Seriousness

Jillian here!  The first week of May is full of fun dates and lots of folks had a great time with some of them on FB and other social mediums. May first is May Day which is celebrated a lot of places with flowers and even a maypole to be danced around. May Day is also International Workers’ Day. May first is also Law Day when the United States remembers and reflects upon the role of law in the founding of this country and how important it is to society as a whole. We usually have luncheons with the local bar and some folks visit the schools to pass on some words of wisdom.

May Fourth as become a kind of Star Wars day- “May the Fourth” be with you, for example. People celebrate the series of movies on that date.

May Sixth has also picked up on the Star Wars trend by being “Revenge of the Sixth” day.  LOL  – it can’t get much crazier than that, can it?

Well, yes, in all seriousness, it can. We here in Pensacola got a big whammy last week on April 20 and 30th. We got over 27 inches of rain in like 10 hours. We actually got more rain in that 24 hour period than Los Angeles has gotten in the last two YEARS.  This was on top of several big rains the week prior where the rivers were already close to spilling over. All that additional water needed somewhere to go and for some very unlucky people, it ruined their homes.

We had a couple of fatalities when cars were swept away when the dirt under train tracks washed out as well as when the dam broke on one of our lakes. Some of my friends less than a mile from me had to escape through their roofs and by boat at that. It was crazy and so fast.

We’re used to hurricanes but this damage was different and very sporadic. It was nuts- pockets of town were totally devastated and others were totally okay. It didn’t seem to be much reason with what got destroyed and what didn’t. It’s amazing how life can turn on a dime as they say.

Many, many people who had damage were no where near flood zones and had no flood insurance. It’s pretty sad. Clean up is still going on. We were lucky that we live on high ground but so many weren’t. The bridge was out right outside my neighborhood so for several days, I had to go north to go south to get to work but at least I had an intact home and office.  Here’s a link to a few pictures.

Goodbye, Winter!

A bloom from my husband's favorite rose-bush.

A bloom from my husband’s favorite rose-bush.

So Spring began last week. I’m certain there are a lot of folks really happy to see Winter leave. I have a sister in Philadelphia who is tired of shoveling snow. They’ve had something like 15 snow and ice storms blow through.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and our winter has been strange, but mild in comparison. We started the year 11 inches below normal for rainfall. That’s a LOT. It was the driest winter I think we’ve ever had. I don’t know that for sure, but it seemed like it. Until about a month ago.

The heavens opened up and we’ve gotten gully-washers for rainstorms. We generally get rain and drizzle, but not too many downpours. These were all day downpours. And we’ve almost caught up to the average rainfall for our area. In THREE weeks! It’s crazy. The more important thing for us is that the mountain snow-pack, which was seriously depleted, has also almost caught up to average. We need that snow this summer to feed crops.

So we’ve been super dry, then super wet. But overall, mild here. I feel like I need to apologize to the rest of the world for having an easy winter while others have struggled so. 🙂

This year was a neutral year. That generally means a more unstable weather pattern. El Nino years tend to be warmer for us, La Nina tends to be cooler. They are already saying that this next winter will have an El Nino pattern.

Personally, I don’t like El Nino warming. It generally means I don’t get to see any snow unless I drive to it. And I like a little snow in the winter. Not as much as some of you have gotten this year. My shoulders ache just thinking about how much snow some of you have been shoveling. I  only like enough for a nice walk or two.

For now, though, I’m ready to see Spring. Soak up some sunshine, let the rain help our gardens grow, and air out the house (my favorite thing to do in the Spring).

So how about you? How was your winter? And are you glad for Spring to have sprung?

Oh, and a quick Happy Birthday to my pinochle partner and father. 87 years old, wheelchair bound, and still finding a lot of life to smile about. 🙂