Tag Archives: seasons

Spring is Coming

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Last night, we got about two inches of new snow here on Beaver Island. It has covered the landscape – and my car – in a blanket of white. Snow is still falling, in big fluffy flakes wafting gently to the ground.

Yesterday after work, I went out in the yard with my camera.

I took pictures of the area where the big Scotch Pine tree has branches growing right around the wires where electrical service comes into my house. Last week, on a particularly windy day, my electricity went out and back on four times in a half hour. That reminded me to call the electric company, to remind them that I had called to request that the pine tree be trimmed or removed. I have tried, in other years, to hire the job out, but can’t get someone to risk electrocution for the amount I will pay to have the tree cut down. I had to go through the electric company. Their records indicate that the job was already done. I assured them, it was not. I took photos, just in case the subject comes up again.

I took photos of the condition of my roof, and the many shingles that blew off in that last wind storm. It’s a fairly new roof. It doesn’t show any wear at all, but there are whole rows and patches where the old shingles are visible, for loss of the new ones. I don’t know why the shingles are falling off. I have twice hired someone to climb up there to repair the roof. Once again, with winter’s end, there is more to do.

I wandered the yard, then, and took photos of early signs of spring. There were areas where the snow had melted to reveal some remainders of last year’s growth or even – now and then – a bit of green. All of that is, of course, hidden today under two inches of new snow.

Still, I know spring is on the way.

Allergies are one sign. My little dog has been going crazy with her ears itching. Every day I have to torture here with the ear drops; her allergy medicine offers only slight relief in the springtime. My allergies are making me miserable, too: I have fits of sneezing; my eyes have been itching and watering; my throat is scratchy. What is waking up out there, under all the ice and snow, that is causing allergic symptoms?

Longer days tell me the seasons are changing. The fact that I could go out after work to take pictures, and that I was not walking around in the dark, is a welcome sign of spring. For much of the year, including most of the winter months, I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. As the seasons change, daylight brightens my mornings and my evenings.

Spring fever seems to have arrived, at my house, well ahead of the weather. I seem tired all the time. I have to force myself to get to the simplest of tasks. I feel like I could sleep all the time.

Though the white landscape might suggest otherwise, I know spring is coming!

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Copper

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Last week there were reds and yellows in the woods, standing out against burnished shades of gold and occasional greens.

Several days of strong wind did not diminish the display.

Rather, as some of the leaves dropped, the sun was able to shine through the branches, making the leaves that still clung to them more radiant in the glow.

This week, after several cold nights and more wind accompanied by heavy rain, all the colors have gone brown.

We’re in copper season now!

There was a dusting of icy snow on my car when I left for work yesterday morning, a winter-like chill in the air when I walked the dogs in the evening. The wind is howling now.

I’m collecting the memories of these penny-bright days, warm sun through fiery leaves, to carry me through the next  – colder – season.

Dancing on the Lawn of What’s Left of Summer

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That title is not my own.

It’s a line – I think from a poem – by a writer whose name I should know but don’t.

I think I have an idea where I could find that information, but I don’t dare go looking for it.

If one more single thing distracts me from the task at hand, I may as well throw in the towel.

Trust me…it’s not my line.

I came home from my short day of work today with the very best of intentions.  With the next three days to get caught up on everything, I was determined to give it a good go.

I brought a wall clock home from the hardware store, to fill the blank space on the kitchen wall where a clock used to be, and that I look at a dozen times every day, expecting to still see a clock there. It wasn’t as nice as the one I’d had or the one I wanted as a replacement, but it would serve the purpose.

It turns out, it takes almost an act of Congress to get through the packaging on that ten dollar clock!

First the hard plastic, impenetrable clam shell…and where did I put the scissors? Then two Phillips-head screws had to be removed to detach the clock from the display box.

I spent a half-hour looking for a Phillips head screwdriver before digging my electric drill out of the closet – which needed to be charged before it would work – and finally used a table knife to loosen the screws and release my new clock.

By that time, neither I nor the dogs wanted to be in the house any longer, so we headed down the road.

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We’ve had several days of wind and rain, with an autumn-like chill in the air…but when did the season change?

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By the time we got home, I was sure we were facing frost.

Tonight!

I grabbed a bucket, and picked whatever blackberries were ready for picking. I gathered every green bean,  pepper and summer squash that was out there. I picked all the red tomatoes, then all the nearly-red tomatoes, then any that – if I get terribly lucky – just might ripen on a window sill.

With the day’s vegetable harvest, I started a pasta sauce.

I also began writing the first of four reports I have to complete over the next couple days.

Because I’m crazy, I also started rearranging the living room furniture.

And a few other incidentals.

So, with the dogs attentive to all the goings-on, coffee brewing, laundry in the washing machine, compost to the bin, sauce simmering, paperwork in progress and – no kidding – the sofa halfway into the dining room, I happened to look outside and notice the marigolds.

Four nice marigold plants, blooming exactly where I’d planted them, on the corners of the beds near the beans, pumpkins and tomatoes. There they stood, ready to repel whatever pests their scent is supposed to repel, or suppress whatever blight in the soil they are supposed to suppress.

Working.

Not knowing that – if we get frost tonight – this is the last day of their lives.

I grabbed the scissors from where I’d used them to wrestle the clock’s packaging into submission, and headed out the door.

Sensing excitement, the big dog came, too.

Detecting a hint of Italian sausage in my mostly vegetable sauce, the little dog opted to stay in and guard the stove.

I cut every bloom.

I snipped all the buds. They may open, yet, inside.

A bit past your prime? Don’t worry! Come hang out with the young ones!

A little raggedy or crooked? No problem! Come and join the party; there are no rejects here!

We’re having end-of-the-summer spaghetti and sauce, and my marigold friends are the stars of the show!

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Whew!

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I like the four seasons we experience here in Michigan.

Living on Beaver Island, with its wintertime isolation contrasting with summer’s influx of visitors, the season’s are even more distinct.

Labor Day marks the end of our busy summer season. In this economy, business drops off suddenly.

I’m right on top of it! When things slow down, I move instantly into my off-season pace.

Springtime, when things pick up, I’m a bit slower to catch the wave.

Through the winter, with time spreading out before me like a warm blanket, it’s easy to start new projects. Winter menus and New Year resolutions inspire new commitments to exercise. Time in the studio sparks several new creative pursuits. Maybe try encaustic painting…do a little clay work…get back into drawing…teach a class or two. A warm April encourages a whole new aspect in my garden. Why not? Time for writing…sure, commit to a blog. Add pages showcasing my art. And writing. And sure, why not even add book reviews.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of our summer season. Talk of the weather is replaced by speculation on summer business. Gas prices are up; the economy is not. It’s an election year; unemployment is still high. We depend so heavily here on summer’s bounty to carry us through the entire year, it’s always a concern. Will people come to Beaver Island?

They’re coming!

The days are once again punctuated by the blast of the ferry boat’s horn. The restaurants are adding their summer help. Businesses have changed to summer hours. Gift shops are open for the season. The streets are busy with cars and people. The islanders breathe a sigh of relief.

The second sigh is one of exhaustion.

I just finished working a stint of eleven days in a row. Actually, there was one day off squeezed in there, which I used to take my aunt to the mainland for medical tests. Not even considering the 8AM flight or the mainland traffic, a day spent in hospital waiting rooms and medical offices is not a relaxing day. I’m counting it as a work day. So, eleven days, many nine or more hours. Busy! My pedometer, which barely clocks ten thousand steps per day all winter no matter how many walks I add, was marking over double that, just during work hours!

I came home exhausted every night. Dragged myself out to walk the dogs. Put the most pathetic collection of meals together. Read a few meager paragraphs before falling asleep. No exercise program, no studio time, no gardening. No blog.

For my blog entry, I re-posted one of Renee Fisher’s “Life in the Boomer Lane” selections. She is an excellent writer, always thoughtful and often laugh-out-loud funny. It was a wonderful, encouraging post. It covered many issues that have been rolling around in my mind for quite some time. She spoke of those issues much more eloquently than I would have. Still, it felt like a cheat to my commitment. I’ve already quit writing the book reviews, having remembered that – though I love reading, and even enjoy reading reviews – I have always hated writing book reviews. Now I’ve sunk to re-blogging, as well.

Sorry.

When the tempo picks up this time of year, it takes me a while to catch up with it!

Spring

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Spring, at my house on Beaver Island, is a busy time.

There is a narrow window of opportunity – between the snow melt and biting black fly season – to get everything possible done in the gardens.

I used to say, “If I only had more time…”

I realize now, after a few free days that could have been dedicated exclusively to yard work, time is not the only problem! I’m no longer able to spend six to eight hours on my hands and knees tending flower beds. I cannot spend three hours with a shovel and a wheelbarrow, double digging each of my raised vegetable beds. How did I ever do it? I can’t do it anymore.Image

I’m aiming for one hour a day, every single day.

The temperatures have dropped again. Yesterday I worked outside in my parka and knit gloves!

I managed to remove leaves and pine needles from a bed of daffodils. That always reveals weeds and grass that have taken hold under the debris, so I dealt with that, too. Image

There is still so much to do!