Just Remember in the Winter

“Just remember in the winter, far beneath the winter snows, lies the seed that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.” -Amanda McBroom

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“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.” ― Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow’.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”  – Abraham Lincoln  

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“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

I’m just taking a moment to rejoice over the roses of last summer. I never got around to posting the pictures when the flowers were in bloom. But oh, seeing these now, I can almost smell the roses.

And my dear peonies!

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It almost feels like a stroll through the garden.

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Thanks for visiting!

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A Warm Winter Day

Partly sunny and 42 degrees — January doesn’t get much better than this in Minnesota.

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We soaked up the warmth at the Arboretum this afternoon — rebelling against winter by taking off our gloves now and then. One of us left her heavy winter coat at home, and another left her coat unbuttoned.

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The girls took turns practicing with the camera.

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The greenhouse felt warm and lush. What a joy to be surrounded by real-live, green, growing plants with leaves! My youngest was determined to do some sketching, and she liked what she saw from this little bench. My oldest, who is studying botany this semester, liked that this is a “please touch” greenhouse, and she especially appreciated the orange trees and herbs.

I especially appreciated these blooms.

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Thank You, God, for the gift of this unseasonably warm January day!

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Captivating Crabapples Win the Day

After our near-meltdown lilac adventure yesterday, we came upon the captivating crabapple trees, all in bloom.

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We saw white ones…

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and light pink ones…

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and dark pink ones.

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They were all in bloom together beneath the bright blue sky.

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The smell was also lovely, though not nearly as noticeable as the lilacs.

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But perhaps the most glorious part of the crabapples in bloom was the abundance of petals. Beneath each tree was a large round carpet of fallen petals.

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They felt more numerous than the confetti in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

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So the girls gathered up a handful or two…

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And tossed them high!

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Also enjoying the beauty of the crabapples was one of our favorite local artists, Jane Ask, who captured the delightful blooms with her oil painting. What a gift to see her work in progress.

And so, with all due respect to the lovely lilacs, the captivating crabapples won the day!

Goldfinches Galore

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This spring we have been blessed with goldfinches galore.

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Earlier today my oldest daughter counted 15 goldfinches on the feeders and on the patio below. They were more rampant than dandelions.

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Of course, watching these cheerful little yellow birds come and go really brightens our day.

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As I mentioned a few days ago, tulips also bring us joy. If you walked by our house, our tiny patch of tulips probably wouldn’t catch your eye. We only have a few. But they pose so nicely when I photograph them.

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“Let all things their Creator bless, and worship Him in humbleness. O praise Him! Alleluia!” -Saint Francis of Assisi

Dancing with the Daffodils

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Most of last week I spent chasing after girls as we ran to and from dance lessons, dress rehearsals, and dance concerts. It was all quite lovely, really, but this week we shifted gears and decided to chase a few flowers instead.

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At the Arboretum my camera caught some dancing daffodils fluttering in the breeze of mid May.

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Yes, some years we have daffodils in March, but not so this year.

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Daffodils always remind me of this poem and this daffadowndilly day a few years ago.

After dancing among the daffodils, we tiptoed through the tulips.

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This lonely little tulip was one of our favorites.

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We do indeed have a slight obsession with tulips, which goes back several years.

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The blooming azaleas were simply captivating, too. Azaleas always remind me of my husband’s grandma, who has such a lovely display of azaleas at her house in the spring.

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What’s blooming in your neck of the woods?

Winter’s Last Kiss

It’s “Poetry Day” in our homeschool, and it is snowing. Again. In April.

So here’s the poem I wrote after sipping what I hope will be my last cup of hot cocoa for a long while.

Winter’s Last Kiss

Winter came back for a kiss good-bye,
Tossing snowflakes in the April sky.
‘Oh my, oh my!’ little children cry!
‘No, not again,’ frowning grown-ups sigh.

But the joyful birds – steadfast to sing,
Tweet, chirp and trill – such sweet songs they bring.
Robin, finch, and blackbird with red wing,
Add voice to the glad chorus of spring.

Let’s send off showers of April snow,
Thankful for a cup of hot cocoa.
Farewell, winter! Far away you go!
Green grass, green leaves – come and grow, grow, grow!

A Sugar Snow!

It’s April 3 and the thick snow is falling on us like a heavy, wet blanket. Is this a sugar snow? Mr. Masters isn’t here yet, and the first bucket feels empty. Will there be any sap today?

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My oldest, she runs on to another tapped tree and excitedly reports that the bucket there is really, really heavy. Heavy with sap!

Mr. Masters and a few more friends arrive, ready to help.

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He says the sap is running and it’s time to collect it!

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The crew of kids, they all hear him say “sugar” and quickly grab buckets. They follow him closely into the woods.

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Well, most follow him closely.

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At each tapped tree, Mr. Masters removes the bucket lid, and we peer inside to marvel at all the sap. The 5-gallon bucket at this big tree filled up in just 24 hours!

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Next Mr. Masters carefully exchanges the filled bucket with an empty one and moves on to the next tapped tree.

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The crew takes turns pouring sap into the buckets.

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Everyone tastes a bit of the sweet sap. My youngest sips it right out of the tree. And this cute little guy, he gets a taste from his daddy’s finger.

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With full buckets in tow, we hike back through the snowy woods to the parking lot, where Mr. Masters pours all of the sap into a huge tank in the back of his suburban.

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Then we go back into the woods and do it all over again. And again. And again. Altogether, we collect 50 gallons of sap in a little more than an hour.

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Then Mr. Masters goes on to other wooded spots where he has tapped trees. In all he collects 100 gallons today. Miraculous!