Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Last Day of Winter 2014

It is the last day of winter and it's doing very wintery things outside my window.  These last few weeks, maybe a month I've been aching for Spring.  The last post was dedicated to it, excited about all I will plant which the deer and rabbits will undoubtedly eat.  I hated winter when I lived in the city, it was ugly all the time.  It's only been ugly here the last few weeks.  The snow has lost its fluffiness, now hard and icy.  Crispy brown at the edges like burnt toast as if the season has really burned out.  However right now it goes on, a damp chill is all through the house.  We had such a tough winter in New England that wood supplies have been exhausted - I've asked around and no one has any left.  Refusing to turn up the heat I pile on a few more lawyers of fleece, drink a lot of tea, bake things in the over and am oddly wistful for a season I've hated for so long.  As I ran around doing chores today a thought caught me by surprise, I found myself smiling thinking how nice it will be to see that first snowfall next year.  I'm not one to wish my life away rather I was thinking about how pretty it will be to see it if, God willing, the universe let's me enjoy another round of seasons.  Winter was hard this year in other ways...I lost my sister.  She will not be able to enjoy Spring this year and she was born in the Spring. I can't help but hope she will be enjoying it in ways we can't imagine.
So tonight Winter has one last say but in New England I know it won't really be the last storm, there could be many more like it before the real end.  After all we mark the seasons by calendar but the seasons could give a damn about our system.  In honor of the  last day of winter here's some photos I took and a poem by Emily Dickinson.  I look forward to Spring, Summer, Fall and the first snows of many winters.


Emily Dickinson
It sifts from leaden sieves,
It powders all the wood,
It fills with alabaster wool
The wrinkles of the road.

It makes an even face
Of mountain and of plain, —
Unbroken forehead from the east
Unto the east again.
It reaches to the fence,
It wraps it, rail by rail,
Till it is lost in fleeces;
It flings a crystal veil

On stump and stack and stem, —
The summer's empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.
It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen, —
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.

Good night, au revoir Winter...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Let's talk SPRING!!!

Maybe if we ALL talk about Spring it will get here.  Oof this winter is a killer and I can't even imagine how people in Minnesota, N. Dakota, Chicago feel about it guys got hammered.  I'm not fond of winter but admit I've enjoyed it more this year because it's pretty where I am now.  Up until recently it's been white and fluffy and nice now...not so much.  I'm done, fini, fed up and want SPRING so I've turned my eye towards seeds and roses.  Clearly my little bitty yard will be overrun by a garden but I won't have to mow anything!  Here's some of the seeds I've got ready to go:

At some point during the winter I head about a rose that had THE best name ever:  Cuisses d'nymphe (The Nymphe's Thighs) what a GREAT name for a rose, had to have it.  I searched all over the web for it and no suprise it ended up being an Oregon rose grower who had it.  Portland OR is "the" Rose city!  So I ordered it today from an amazing place called Heirloom Roses here's their website, also ordered The Impressionist.  First of all the people at Heirloom roses are SO nice to talk to and I showed incredible restraint in only ordering two bushes.  I had a thought earlier this winter to do a literary garden as they have a lot of roses named after great books  like Jude the Obscure, Tess of the d'urbervilles etc. and great writers.  I simply do NOT have a yard big enough.      
Cuisses d'Nymphe aka Great Maiden's Blush                                                      

In the meantime, having never grown roses, I'm reading up on all the best ways to take care of them so they bloom like crazy and will be happy healthy roses.  Some very old advice I remember is to empty ones' teabags around the base, another tip I read today is to bury a banana peel as they like the potassium.  Sounds like composting to me!  I have a lot to learn and plan on turning my humble little house into a flower/vegetable/herb cottage paradise!  Now I would appreciate some warmer temps so I can get started!  Also if ANYONE has tips on growing roses please feel free to offer advice!

I heard a great statistic today.  The groundhog, that poor abused, maligned rodent predicted 6 more weeks of winter and next week is the 6th week so we should be good after that.  I hope!
The Impressionist

I had to get this rose (The Impressionist) as it nods to my artist self.  The woman who took my order said I ordered two fantastic bushes, they are both super smelly roses.  Back in December when it must have been at least in the 20's, using the excuse that it was a Christmas present for me I bought a book called "Writing the Garden: A Literary Conversation Across Two Centurtes"  by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers.  A small jewel of a book full of beautiful writings by famous and not so famous people all of whom share a big passion for gardens such as Celia Thaxter (a major name in gardening) and Edith Wharton (who's house I live near and will visit often), Vita Sackville-West, Jean-Jaques Rousseau, Thomas Jefferson and more.  Being keenly self-aware that I won't be part of any new pantheon of remarkable gardeners I will be happy just to pull a few weeds, get my hands dirty, eat my own fresh grown herbs and have some lovely smelly flowers by my bedside.  I can't wait....

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sketches from Ghost Ranch...

Could it be the endless cold and snow?  Youbetcha!  That and my growing obsession with New Mexico.  As I was thinking about all this recently I went through the work I did from my last trip there, here are some quick pieces from that time.  I love the  s p a c e  in the Southwest, it just feels endless and I love the jewel tones.  I've set a new goal for myself...spend a good chunk of every year in Arizona and New Mexico running all around painting.   Here's hoping!

Abiquiu View #1, mixed watermedia & pencil, 12 x 16"

Abiquiu View #2, mixed watermedia & pencil, 12 x 16"

Ghost Ranch View #1, mixed watermedia & pencil, 12 x 16"