Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Not Much Garden

Well, I completely missed the month of December here in Robin’s Nest. That’s not like me! But December was exceptionally busy this year, and I just couldn’t get around to tending my blog. I mostly keep it for myself these days, people don’t seem to follow blogs much anymore. Instagram has further reduced our attention spans, and allows us to share quick bits, instead of a whole month’s worth like my blog. But onward! Still I like to summarize my garden and/or home life here most months. And I’ll continue to do so. But do check out my Instagram page, it’s a more immediate glimpse of the pretty spots in my life. Click here to check it out. msrobin58

This is about the closest thing to gardening that you’ll see around here in the winter. Since we rarely celebrate Christmas at home, I tend to put more energy into my outdoor decorating, since others can see it. I'll keep these greens on display until March, only removing the big red Christmas ball. Maybe I should take down the red and black buffalo plaid ribbon on my wreath too. Do you think it screams Christmas?

That being said, this year we did have holiday company! We usually see our family in Detroit over the holidays, but this year the kids and grandkids came for a Columbus celebration, and I was in my glory. Honestly, that’s what made me crazy with Christmas preparations this year, which is what kept me away from my blogging. We had a wonderful visit, with eating, baking, playing, crafting, and opening presents. So this year I actually put out all of our decorations that had been gathering dust, including a real live Christmas tree. It was a tiny little thing, but I still loved it.

I never even made it to Franklin Park Conservatory this year, and had to content myself with seeing the photos of their fabulous holiday displays that others had posted. I did go to the tree lighting ceremony at Easton Town Center, which made me feel like I was inside of a Hallmark movie. It was crazy busy with people, but I loved it so much that I plan to fight the crowds again next year.

After Christmas is Cozy Season for me, and I very much enjoy the slower pace. I do more cooking, and work intently on my crafts. I’ve even made a list of projects and gifts to compete for the upcoming year, to keep me on task.

But the biggest crochet project I ever did was my temperature blanket for 2019, and I finished it exactly on time on December 31st. You choose your own color theme, usually with colors that coordinate with the high temperature each day. I chose cool colors for cool weather, warmer colors for summer. Each day, you check the high temperature in your chosen location, then stitch a row in the color that represents that temperature. Because there will be 365 rows, you know it will be a large blanket. So I simply used single crochet with a small hook, to keep it from getting too large. Still it ended up six feet long! This blanket now rests at the end of our bed. I had fun making it, but by year’s end, I had grown weary of stitching it. There are over 69,000 stitches in this thing, and that's an awful lot of stitching.

I do have a single spot of garden to share with you, even though it’s January. You see, we are having a crazy mild winter so far, and my autumn container of ornamental kale and pansies is still blooming and looking pretty! I’m sure we’ll get some real winter eventually, but meanwhile, I’m loving it.

I’ll close as I often do with some sunsets. I never do tired of watching the sun set, as you can surely tell if you follow any of my photos on social media. In the winter, the sun sets directly over the waters of the nearby ponds, so I’m there frequently to capture the sight. Winter sunsets seem particularly intense here, so I've seen some real beauties lately. Thanks for stopping by my blog, hope you’ll leave some comments so I know if anyone is actually visiting.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Out and About for Autumn

Tomorrow is December 1, but technically, it's still autumn. But the colors are all gone, and it no longer looks like fall. Those fall colors we look forward to so much are quickly gone, so I do a lot of driving about to photograph them all. First place I go to for autumn splendor is my hometown area of St. Joseph Michigan.

I always be sure to visit Fernwood Botanical Gardens while I'm in town. This lovely public garden was a favorite of my grandmother, so of course it became a favorite of mine. The weather wasn't very good that day, but it was still lovely. Like I said, weather doesn't slow me down much.

While I was there, I had the good fortune to experience a gale on Lake Michigan. In case you find that statement puzzling, I am highly invigorated by stormy beaches. I've always wanted to see the beach during one of these wind storms, so I was thrilled to be there exactly then. I quite literally stayed there the whole day, just taking pictures and loving it! I was sandblasted and cold, but I loved it, start to finish. Trust me, these are only a few of the pix I took that day!

It only lasted for one day, so I had other calmer days to be at my beloved beaches. My favorites are Silver Beach, Rocky Gap, Jean Klock, and Tiscornia. It was cold, but I'm a pretty tough cookie when it comes to weather. As long as I'm there were I like to be, it doesn't much matter if I'm cold. Now my next dream is to visit there in winter. I haven't seen the lake all frozen since my youth.

By the time I got back home to Ohio, the fall color show had started here. And it starts with the Circleville Pumpkin Show. I'm always fascinated by just how many different foods can be made with pumpkin. The answer is a LOT. Next year, I'll try to actually count and record them all. We tasted pumpkin chili, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cider, and pumpkin butter. All were delicious! If you look closely, you can see that the winning pumpkin was over 1400 lbs. Now that's quite a pumpkin! Dr. Ligget has won this honor many times. Some years ago, the master gardeners visited his pumpkin patch, and I like to remember where these winners come from.

I always make a quick drive through Blacklick Metro Park specifically to snap pix of the lovely Sweetgum trees I know are there. For this trip, I make sure to wait for a blue sky day, because I know I'll be pointing my camera skyward.

For the last few years, I haven't been able to hit Chestnut Ridge on a blue sky day. By the time that the colors there are peaking, I'm always afraid to delay much longer. It's okay, the colors are brighter on a cloudy day.

As the weather continued to deteriorate, I hit Franklin Park Conservatory for more formal autumn beauty. They do such a fabulous job, but even for me, the weather was awful. I didn't last long in the cold rain. My weather toughness has its limits.

Inniswood Metro Gardens is one of my favorite spots to see garden textures. Their landscaping team is extraordinary. I  visit at various times through the year, but I personally think autumn is the best.

My final stop is always Dawes Aboretum. My favorite part of Dawes is that it has a driving trail, so that you can see it all without wearing yourself out hiking for miles. It doesn't have many formal gardens, but lots of beautiful trees. I especially like the long views of the Ohio countryside you can see on the drive. It was really cold that day, but clear, so I mostly took pictures from inside my warm car.

It's pretty obvious that autumn is my absolute favorite. I try to love each season as it comes, but there's just something special about the fall foliage. During that one week of peak color, I literally plan out each day so that I don't miss any of these favorite spots. We had an early snow this year, and my own garden was already sleeping this November. You know there isn't much to see when these are the only pictures I took at home the whole month. Luckily, I have all those autumn hot spots in my memory bank.