Friday, February 27, 2015

The Garden Report: 2-27-15

Unlike the Scottish Borders, central Missouri is still in winter lockdown. 

In fact, our temperatures are about 20ºF colder than usual this time of year, and we seem to be getting wave after wave of ice storms.

Another snow storm is predicted to move through this weekend, bringing up to 4 inches of snow.

At least we finally got to see what the "ice pellets" are that keep cropping up in weather forecasts! 

But take heart, Missourians…I also spied this harbinger of spring in the garden!

The Garden Report: 27-2-15



Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Change in Plans

It would seem the Fates find a great deal of hilarity in our efforts to make Plans. Our reservations to visit Oregon this week for Joe's Big Birthday to gaze upon sights such as these…

…have been subjugated, for various reasons, to the "Cancelled" folder. (Or hopefully just "Postponed.") 

Having this unexpected week at home does have its benefits, and we are focusing on that. 

We will be able to attend rehearsals for our dinner theater performance.

Husband Joe creeping out one of the cast members.

I will be able to finish this baby kimono gift that is long overdue.

And maybe, just maybe, I'll finally get my seeds sorted.

The Christmas cactus says Oregon may be beautiful, but there is plenty of beauty around here, too!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Day at Home

 Cranberry pecan toast with the last (*sob*) of Tess's homemade marmalade.

 Admiring my sea glass collection.

Catching up on correspondence and doing a bit of reading.

A peaceful, sunny, low-key, sit-with-a-cup-of-coffee-and-listen-to-birdsong kind of day.

Hope you're having a happy one wherever you are.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy New Year!

Fridays tend to be full (a morning hike with friends, 12:35 school dismissal for the little fella, tae kwon do...), and today is even fuller than usual because I'm shuttling the man to and from the Berwick rail station (he had continuing ed to do in Edinburgh).

So I give you a picture of the fried-food fest we had last evening to celebrate the Chinese (Lunar) New Year: vegetable spring rolls, wasabi peas, egg noodles jazzed up by the Resident Chef, and some very tasty (and cute) "money bags."  'Twas good.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


Today was a day for awe-inspiring moments. 

For instance, did you know that Romanesco broccoli is a natural approximation of a fractal? How cool is that?!

I actually had a hard time bringing myself to cut into it to prepare it for roasting. But it is both beautiful AND delicious!

Next on the amazing parade: Someone figured out how to make flowers by squishing tissue paper together. It looks so simple to do, and yet the results are so stunning! And to bring it all full circle, you can disassemble the flowers and put them in the compost when you're done admiring them. 

Finally, not to be outdone by the geranium, the rosemary decided to start blooming today. With the promise of more blooms to come! I never cease to be amazed by the beauty of plants.

I guess I'm fairly easily amused, but that's not such a bad thing…?!


As promised, I visited Paxton House yesterday.

It has a fab adventure playground (can't wait to try the zip wire).

 And a really lovely river walk, featuring catkins (is this hazel?)(isn't "catkin" a great word?)...

courtesy elements (as a keen walker who spends a lot of time getting muddy and wet, it's wonderful when I don't have to look down all the time)...


And, at the end of the path, probably the most terrifying bridge the world has ever known.

(Aside from those rope contraptions in South America, maybe.)

I took a few tentative steps onto the pedestrian portion of the bridge, and held my breath as a car (ONE car only -- the next one waited its turn) slowly made its way across.  There were several ker-thumps, and the bridge continued to bob gently for a minute or two after the car had crossed.

(Have I ever mentioned being phobic about rickety bridges?  Not to mention rickety 200-year-old ones?)

Eventually I made my way back to Paxton, although I managed to take the long, wide-arc way back (as seems to be my custom).  In fact, I traveled from optimistic ("I bet I'll make it back to the tea room for a nice soup-and-scone lunch!") to grimly determined ("I just know I can get there in time to scoff a scone") to breathlessly frantic (fumbling to open a rusty gate so that I could sprint across a pasture to the parking lot and race home to deliver the car to him who needed it).

But the detour was worth the exertion, because it allowed me to happen onto something magical...

But that's a story for another day.

(The Union Bridge was built in 1820, and it made life a whole lot easier for folks needing to cross the Tweed between England and Scotland.  At the time, it was the longest iron suspension bridge in the world; today, it's the oldest suspension bridge still carrying traffic.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bubbles, Bottoms, and Blooms

So what if the condensation that collects on the windows in winter is ruining the wood? Look how beautiful it looks with the sun shining through! 

Or how the droplets look almost like liquid silver when viewed from a different angle:

We should take a cue from the cats, who aren't bothered by it in the least.

Especially when you can use someone's ample bottom as a warm, fuzzy pillow. 

The plants love the extra humidity, too. This geranium I'm babysitting for Lynn (see, I'm not killing your plants, Lynn!) has suddenly decided to burst forth in bloom. I'd like to think it's a harbinger of spring on this, surely the coldest night of the year. (Yet…!)

Snow = Birds

Snow is pretty unpopular here in central Missouri. It can make mobility difficult, whether by car or by foot. (The Amish, however, seem completely immune to its effects as they glide by in their buggies.) 

But, if you're lucky enough not to have to go anywhere, it's a great opportunity to witness the bird extravaganza that ensues, especially if you put out lots of bird food, as we do. 

(Technically, we ran out of bird food just before the snow hit, prompting us to sacrifice some of our own groceries to stay in the birds' good graces. We've all seen the Hitchcock movie….)

Another lovely byproduct of a substantial snowfall is that it seems to bring people together. Even folks who don't normally have a lot in common will band together and lend each other a helping hand.

 I love the snow, especially if I have the good fortune not to have to drive in it. There's a quietude that befalls the countryside, and a sense that time has paused. 

It's a valid excuse not to go anywhere or do much of anything.

And if we get enough snow, it cloaks the piles of "to-dos"  and landscape transgressions that abound in the garden and all around the outdoors, inviting me to feel a little more serene than when I'm constantly seeing tasks I could be doing – or should have already done.

 The best part about snow is that if it wears out its welcome, it usually goes away all by itself. Eventually.