Ghostly Sentinels and Daffadown Dillies

March 30th, 2008

It would be nice if the rain would pace itself over the next six months.   If you’re from the midwest you know we’re in that cycle of rain every few days that results in very saturated ground.  Which is good for the plants and water table… but not so good for the soil that erodes off the slopes.  What was protected by grass in some areas has now washed away this year, and the challenge will be to grow grass again before the summer heat (and lack of rain) begins again.  But the spring has a wonderful start!

There is beauty in all the rain and moisture.  After a night of rain, the gray morning reveals the trees standing as ghostly sentinels in the fog.

 Trees in the fog at Fox Haven

And a garden angel sleeps peacefully near some new blooming jonquils. I enjoy these smaller cousins of the larger daffodils.  What’s the difference?  Perhaps the old explanation that all jonquils are daffodils, but not all daffodils are jonquils.  If that makes any sense… meaning that they are both of the genus Narcissus, but the jonquils are a separate species of smaller flowers, usually very fragrant.  And of course daffodils are the many larger varities of yellow and white Narcissus that announce spring with fervor! 

Angel sleeping with jonquils

Do you have a different name for daffodils?  Whatever they are called, it’s interesting to read some possible history about the origination of the names:

“The name Daffodil is derived from an earlier “Affodell”, a variant of Asphodel (flowers). The reason for the introduction of the initial “d” is not known, although a probable source is an etymological merging from the Dutch article “de,” as in “De affodil.” From at least the sixteenth century “Daffadown Dilly” or “daffadown dilly” has appeared as a playful synonym of the name.”

As I was writing this the young boy awoke and sat with me looking at the flower pictures.  He remembered picking one of the first daffodils the other day, and told me what I should write… years from now, I hope the strength of his imagination will carry him well, and like the daffodils, to bloom every year and see life anew.

 “The first flowers of the spring ever to be picked in full bloom.”

Daffodils in spring


The Tuning Fork Tree

March 17th, 2008

Every place we visit has something special about it… if we really look. Most of the time I see all kinds of things I appreciate, and feel like a kid in a candy store when visiting somewhere new. But when we’ve been to the same place many times, or lived in the same place for a while, we tend to tune out the unique sights and sounds around us. It’s so easy to happen, especially when we become preoccupied with the greater happenings of our busy lives.

Earlier this year I noticed something new… a tree a few hundred yards from the house that had a neat looking branch up high. In fact I immediately thought of a “tuning fork” that musicians may use as an acoustic baseline for tuning or calibrating instruments. Or those used in science as well. The more I read about tuning forks, the more fascinating they were. I even found a neat site where you can “click” the tuning forks and hear the various tones and read about the history of the tuning fork. Did you know it was invented in 1711? Who’d have thought…

Of course I still appreciate the home version of the tuning fork- the wine glass half full where you wipe your finger around the rim to produce a nice vibrational tone. As interesting as all of that is, whenever I see the Tuning Fork Tree I smile and wonder what else I haven’t noticed yet. Hopefully the only resonating this tuning fork will do is to move gently back and forth in the wind!

The Tuning Fork Tree at Fox Haven

Light, Color and Trees

January 13th, 2008

Every season offers it’s gifts and the colors that come with the changing light of the day.  Even the trees, bare without leaves for shade and cover, show a rugged structure that may last for hundreds of years.   Most of these trees will still be here long after I am gone.  And the light and color will come again. 

Trees and color of sunset in winter

A Reflection of Reality

July 15th, 2007

The reflections in the pond never cease to amaze me…  the other morning the pond was still, the air was calm and these trees reflected beautifully in the still waters.  It looks as if the picture is upside down.  Isn’t the world like that really?  So many things are a matter of perspective, and how we choose to look at things.  One day we face the stormy seas, the challenges of life, and it’s hard to look beyond the moment.  But then things settle down, and we look back and realize there is always choice and opportunity… and the ability to see beyond the tempest.  Sometimes, what we see is not really there… perhaps it is simply a reflection.  Or is it the reality we have created for ourselves?  I ask myself that question often, and try to remember that life isn’t any particular thing aside from what we choose to make of it.

 Trees reflected in the pond what is real?

A Redbud Tree

May 29th, 2007

We’ve had some nice rain the past few days, as well as sunshine.  The trees look wonderful with all the leaves and shade.  This is a picture of a mature Redbud tree, although it is branched much more than a typical Redbud in the forest.  Perhaps it was pruned that way when young, but in either case I love the way it looks!  We have several large Redbud trees around the property, but this one looks better than most. 

Redbud Tree


We are still training with the lab pup… I’m throwing fake ducks into the pond now and he charges in after them.  He swims very strong and powerfully now, I’m amazed at his strength and eagerness.  All I have to say is “Want to get some ducks?!” and he jumps around like crazy.  I keep the sessions short- no more than 3-5 retrieves at a time.  Soon I’ll break out the decoys, and help him learn not to retrieve them! 

Misty Morning on the Pond

May 19th, 2007

We’ve had several sunny, cool misty mornings this week.  The weather has been very nice outdoors as the birds continue nesting and everything keeps growing.  The garden is getting closer… maybe, just maybe we can plant this weekend!  I love the cooler weather though, it really helps with getting the work accomplished.

Misty country morning on the pond

One of the plants I don’t enjoy watching grow is poison ivy!  We have an abundance of it around the borders of the property… the birds love the small fruits that grow in spring, and they tend to sow it everywhere in their droppings.  Last year I sprayed much of the poison ivy, but only got some of it.  I’ve read it can take several years to remove poison ivy from a landscape, so I’ll just keep after it.  You know what they say… “Leaves of three, let it be.”  The oils in the plant can last for years, so when cutting and trimming you may not even know it’s there, especially in winter!

Poison Ivy grows vigorously around the forest borders

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More Ice Pictures…

January 14th, 2007

Wow… the freezing rain just doubled the ice overnight it seems.  It was quiet this morning walking outside… except for the crash! of tree brances in the distance, falling with the weight of ice.  The big Ash tree lost a giant limb…. Power has been on and off… coffee cups on the woodstove and thank goodness for the old propane stove in the basement- we still had a warm breakfast.  The lineman and power company employees are working overtime…  they get little credit it seems, but I so appreciate their dedication.  Here’s a few more pictures…

Japanese Maple Japanese Maple in ice…

Field Grass Field grass “sculpture”

Broken Ash Broken Ash branch

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