Wednesday, March 31, 2021

March is for Transitions

I'm not sure that March actually came in like a lion this year. It started out a bit chilly, then took a slow transition into lamb weather as the month progressed. Yesterday was 73, and I sat out on the patio with my iced tea, wearing flip flops. Tomorrow? Well, we won't discuss what's supposed to happen tomorrow. Looks like I'll be tucking a few things into the garage for the night. 

With agreeable weather, I'm back in the garden working most times. There's plenty of winter cleanup to do, plus prep work for the main garden season coming up soon. I have plans, so many plans! I did have a small crocus bloom in late February, but March is showing me ALL the crocus. Hubby and I like to make funny plurals, so instead of all the crocus, we'd say croci. I guess I scattered them widely, because they keep popping up in new locations. I love a good surprise. 

My other favorite early bloom is iris reticulata. It's also scattered everywhere around here. Half the fun is figuring out where it will pop up! I often tell people that it looks best planted under sedum Angelina, but I found that only a few of mine are planted that way. I've started removing some of my sedum, only because it was hampering where I could plant things. 

Hellebores are under appreciated flowers. They can be expensive, and their blooms aren't quite as showy. Mostly, the flowers face down at the ground. You can see from this first photo, that I'm practically laying on the ground, and you can still barely see them. The solution was right there, for many years, and I neglected to try it. Finally, I remembered to pick some of the blossoms to float in a bowl so I can see them better! 

And what would spring be without pansies? I rarely put any pansies in the ground, this is a container plant for me. I plant them in mid March, and by the end of May, I'll replace them with summer flowers. I could probably keep them a little bit longer, before the real heat arrives, but I consider them fleeting. 

Finally, we have daffodils. I really love my daffodils in bloom. Yellow flowers of any kind just make me smile. I call this the inherent sunshine effect. I don't know the variety for most of them, but my favorite is Jetfire, because it blooms first. I rarely cut the flowers to bring indoors, but I think I'll do that today. 

Of course my crafting slows down once gardening starts anew. I did finish  up a couple of crochet blankets this month, but I can't show them until they are gifted. I had the urge to paint some more rocks, to scatter around town for strangers to find. I've also slowed down on my cooking and baking, I suppose that was winter entertainment. I still cook, but not every night like I was. Instead, I make family size portions, allowing us to  have frequent leftovers. I made a big pot of beef stew on Sunday that kept us fed for three days running. Many times, we'll have what we call The Big Salad, a reference to old Seinfeld episodes. It's just a kitchen sink type salad, better than anything a restaurant can serve. It was so appealing to me all laid out that I had to photograph it this time. I don't normally put it all out in portions like this, I guess I was inspired that day. 

The biggest news of the month was that I was able to get my first vaccine. I can't tell you the joy it brought me. Even though I'm not yet fully vaccinated, it gave me such comfort to know that soon I'd be more protected. This Friday is my second dose, I'm both nervous and excited. It will be nice to transition into a slightly more relaxed lifestyle.

I'll close with sunsets as I often do. Lately, we've had a string of clear blue sky days, which don't lend themselves to pretty sunsets. Window sunset season is coming to a close, as the world shifts slightly the other way. But I did make it to the pond area for one particularly lovely sunset. 

Thanks for visiting here with me each month. I appreciate your visits more than you know. April is on the way in all her flashy glory, and I'm down for that! 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

February in the Winter Nest

There's definitely not much garden to show off this month, but I do have a few other things to share in the meantime. We had some weather, I did some exploring, spent time in the kitchen, and of course, worked on craft projects. So it wasn't all that different from my every day life, only without gardening. You see, I couldn't do any actual gardening when the world was covered in snow. But there was plenty of the usual dreaming and scheming that I do as garden season approaches. Meanwhile, indoor flowers will have to do. 

Let's start with a weather report. We were having a mild winter until February showed up, then it turned into an old fashioned snowy winter like I remember having as I grew up in Michigan. It snowed often, and it stayed on the ground for weeks and weeks. Normally, we have small snowfalls that quickly melt away, so this was quite unique for central Ohio. I just had to visit a few of my favorite scenic parks to admire the all white quilt of snow. 

Chestnut Ridge

Chestnut Ridge

Chestnut Ridge

Chestnut Ridge

Pickerington Ponds

Pickerington Ponds

Pickerington Ponds

Blacklick Woods

Blacklick Woods

Blacklick Woods

One of the days while I was at Chestnut Ridge, I noticed a wide variety of birds at the feeder, so using my car as a blind, I sat there pointing my camera at them for a long while. 

I've been diligent at staying safe during the pandemic, but that means cabin fever can become a problem. One of my favorite pandemic activities has been to take drives out into the countryside. We live on the outskirts of Columbus Ohio, so it only takes a minute before I'm out in the country. This has been a safe way for me to be out in the world. It's rare to catch any photos, but occasionally the roads will be so deserted that I can stop briefly and grab a shot. 

It's amazing to think how much time I've spent in the kitchen during this whole thing. Before, I had gotten out of the habit of planning meals and cooking every night, and we ate out frequently. And we still don't feel safe eating in restaurants, although we do get takeout occasionally. So I've returned to regular meal preparation, and now we consistently have a refrigerator full of home cooked food. This is a bowl full of my own recipe for Southwest Chicken Vegetable soup, accompanied by homemade, from scratch, sunflower seed bread. Mmmmm. The bread recipe can be found here, it was actually quite easy to make. 

I have a fascination with making crochet blankets. There are many things to crochet, and occasionally I do switch it up. But mostly, I make blankets. What I like about making blankets is that I don't have to think very hard. It's mindless stitching, perfect for working on while listening to an audio book or watching television. Yes, I have a large collection of blankets for our own use, but many times, I make them as gifts. I keep a running list of projects to complete, so there are always more blankets waiting in the wings for completion. 

As for the garden, it spent much of the month covered in snow. 

But just this past week, the winter weather disappeared, and spring is trying to get started. I'm glad to report that I did indeed find a couple of crocus in bloom just yesterday, so my streak of having the garden start blooming in February hasn't been broken. It's not much, but I know it's just the start of so many more flowers to come! 

It's been a great month for window sunsets. I never did get down to the pond this month to see them better, but luckily, they usually looked pretty darned good out the window. 

Thanks for coming by my nest this February. I'm hoping that by the time we talk again at the end of March, I will have had my vaccines, and can relax slightly about going out. Stay well, and we'll talk again soon.