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Seattle Fling 2011

Garden bloggers meet in Seattle in 2011

“Blizzard for the Ages” a Bust in Heath

Birch Tree before the "Blizzard for the Ages"

Birch Tree before the “Blizzard for the Ages”

All was quiet and beautiful after a slight snowfall, but the “Blizzard for the Ages” was predicted. Everyone prepared to hunker down. Supermarkets and libraries were unusually busy as hunkering has many aspects. Pots of water set aside along with firewood and flashlight batteries. A state of emergency was declared for Massachusetts and all non-emergency workers  told to stay home.

The snow, a fine dry snow, did not begin in Heath until 10 pm on Monday, January 26.

"Blizzard for the Ages"

“Blizzard for the Ages” 10 am January 27, 2015

This morning I woke to 12 degree temperatures and stiff breezes blowing the fine dry snow off the roof, and across the fields. The “Blizzard for the Ages” seems to be a bust in Heath – for which we are very grateful. The town plow arrived, and we could leave our hill and explore, but I think we will just stay by the fireside.

My Amaryllis Mystery

boxed amaryllis bulbs

boxed amaryllis bulbs

I suppose my amaryllis mystery began on December 11, 2014 when I rather belatedly bought boxed amaryllis bulbs ready for planting and blooming. I knew they would not bloom in time for Christmas, but glamorous amaryllis flowers  are welcome in January and February as well.

I potted all three bulbs up as directed. I did notice that the Athene white amaryllis seemed to have been pruned back more severely or more  recently than the other two. I kept all three bulbs together in our living space which is the warmest part of the house.

Amaryllis on January 19

Amaryllis on January 19

As time passed the three bulbs showed various rates of growth, most especially Athene. If you look closely you can see that I marked her pot with a little W in expectation of a white flower. That bulb never produced any foliage but did send up two bud shoots, one of which began to open a couple of days ago.  We will let the mis-labelling pass. That has happened often enough in the garden, indoors and out. It is the rates of growth that amaze me.  One bulb has produced two bud shoots with  one blooming; one has produced foliage and two bud shoots, one of which is beginning to open; and the third produced foliage and two bud shoots of very different heights.

Is there a solution to my amaryllis mystery?  Is it just c’est la vie? or is there a reason? All three bulbs had exactly the same care and conditions, although we have to assume kind of difference in the striped bulb now blooming.  Any ideas?

View From the Bedroom Window – January 1, 2015

view from the bedroom window

View from the bedroom window

The view from the bedroom window on January 1, 2015 is sunny and frigid. 16 degrees this morning. What view from the window will  I be enjoying on January 1, 2016?  Only time will tell

Dinner Theater at the End of the Road

Sunset October 29

Sunset October 29

A different kind of Dinner Theater. At this time of the year we are sitting down at our dining table in front of  big windows that look out across the lawn, to the hills beyond, and into the sky for supper right at sunset. The show is brief and doesn’t take us  all the way to dessert, but it is spectacular.

A little later October 29

A little later October 29

For more Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.

View from the Bedroom Window – April 2014

View from the Bedroom Window   April 6, 2014

March’s snow and frigid temperatures (the coldest March in year) are ALMOST gone. The view from the bedroom window has really changed. April 6 was the first day we were able to go out in the garden – for a while. 30 degrees at 7 am with a high of 50 degrees.

April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014

Oh no! After days of frosty temperatures, and some rain – Snow!  Two inches. But it warmed up and was mostly gone  by evening.

April 21, 2014

April 21, 2014

And this is where April stayed and stayed. Morning temperatures barely over freezing every day. Will spring ever come? Now you know why we were willing to trek to New Jersey to see if spring still existed.

 

Spring Garden Chores – At Last for the Monday Record

Succulents back outside

Finally, I have been able to start my spring garden chores. The temperature got up to 50 degrees yesterday and there was some sun. I raked the front lawn and beds, including the Daylily Bank. I can never decide whether it is good or bad to cut down daylily foliage in  the fall, but whatever I thought, I didn’t do it last year.  Fortunately, a steel rake is all it takes to pull out most of the dead foliage.

The succulents wintered inside in the unheated Great Room. I knew the succulents  were hardy (mostly) but I wasn’t sure about the hypertufa troughs. You can see one hypertufa trough is already broken. I didn’t make the bottom thick enough. I’m ready to  try again this year. The flower pot that looks empty holds a mass of black stemmed Ashfield mint that I pulled up by accident – with my steel rake – and decided to pot up. The mint runs all over the place, and I thought I’d worry less about pulling it up if I always had some in a pot.

Primroses have come through the winter

I have had a clump of lovely yellow primroses from the supermarket blooming here for years. Last year I added different primroses that I bought at the Bridge of Flowers Plant Sale, scheduled for Saturday, May 17 this year, and they have all come through. You can bet I’ll be at the sale again this year to get more bargains. Annuals, too.

View From My Bedroom Window – March 2014

March 1, 2014

The view from my bedroom window on March 1 was snow covered and cold. 5 degrees at 7 a.m.

March 9, 2014

March 9 and the view wasn’t much different. 20 degrees at 7 a.m. but daytime temps haven’t gotten much above freezing. Because it is so cold the snow is not melting.

March 26, 2014

No reason to take more photos. It remains cold and the view doesn’t change much. 22 degrees at 7 a.m. and windy.

March 31, 2014

30 degrees at 7 a.m. but it didn’t get much warmer in the afternoon. Still the snow is beginning to melt. This has been one of the coldest months of March in years. The maple sugar people are not very happy. However, the south bank in front of the house is all melted, the path to the henhouse is clear and I can feel spring’s arrival. Her very slow arrival.

I have hopes that my April record of the weather, and the view from my bedroom window will see a great deal of green change.

 

First Day of Spring – Just for the Record

March 20, 2014 9 am

It snowed and rained last night. As the first day of spring dawned the plow came through, but mostly they were sanding the road because things were a bit icy outside. The temperature was already 34 degrees – and climbing. More showers.

The Cottage Ornee is Spring sun

The rain stopped!  Only the roofs are dripping, dripping. The sun came out and raised the temperature to 45 degrees. The snow will melt some today. I am not discouraged because I know it could always be worse. This is what the first day of spring looked like last year.

March 19, 2013

A foot of snow fell during the night – and it wasn’t the last snow fall of the year. Last year The Bridge of Flowers opened on schedule on April 1, but then closed again because of another snowfall. But I’m sure that won’t happen this year. Will it?

Cooking Lessons Over the Years

Rory in 2009 cooking lesson over the years

As a liberated  woman I have made sure that my grandsons have had a few cooking lessons over the years. Rory was 13 when this photo was taken, but it is not his first lesson. Perfect scrambled eggs was probably an early lesson, but by 2009 he had moved along to the perfect omlette.

Rory with Saumon en papillote 2010

Saumon en papillote, a Julia Child recipe, amazingly simple, but a dish with dash, has become Rory’s specialite.

Rory’s pickles for the Heath Fair 2010

I cannot begin to tell you how many blue ribbons this family has won at the Heath Fair in August.

Rory and more pickles for the 2011 Heath Fair

We made a lot more things for the Fair than pickles. Cookies are also always on the list.

Rory with cookies 2012

I told you he made cookies!

Rory making real caramel corn 2013

Making real caramel is quite an operation, but he is up to it.  When we are cooking for the Heath Fair, the rule is that  I can instruct and advise, but I cannot touch anything. That rule has carried over into all our lessons.

Tynan making cookies 2008

Rory’s younger brother followed in his brother’s footsteps.

Tynan kneading his bread 2009

I bake a lot of bread. It is fun to do. I tell all the children that they have to think about all the people who will enjoy their cooking while they work. That love gets cooked right into the dish.

Tynan with his raspberry jam. 2010

If you have a raspberry patch, you must make raspberry jam, and Tynan did.

Tynan at the Art Garden in 2011

I know Tynan did some baking every year, but there does not seem to be a photographic record. However, creativity comes in all forms – many of them are found at the Art Garden in Shelburne Falls.

Drew and Anthony 2009

Because Anthony and his younger brother Drew live in Texas we got them both at the same time in the summer. Less cooking, more field work like picking raspberries.

Anthony and Drew at the Hawley kiln 2011

Of course, we take all the boys touring locally at historic sites like the Hawley kiln, and art sites like MassMoCa. There is lots to do at the End of the Road and all around western Massachusetts. I think these boys have gotten fewer cooking lessons, but they are Boy Scouts. They need to cook around the campfire.

Bella and French toast in 2013

The boys are getting ‘old.’ They’ve got jobs and less time for cooking lessons and frolicking. Fortunately, we have Bella, a great-granddaughter, who has moved close enough to start her cooking lessons.

View From the Bedroom Window – January 2014

The View From My Bedroom Window January 5, 2014

This is my post for the View from the Bedroom Window for the  month of January. A continuing record.  By January 5 we  had 10 inches of snow and temperatures of  minus 10 degrees last night.  A Polar Vortex is promised  in the next couple of days.

January 13, 2014

On Monday, January 6 it was rainy and foggy and 50 degrees. The Polar Vortex arrived on Tuesday, January 7 with temperatures of minus 18 and WIND. The trek to the henhouse was bitter. I had to wrap my face in scarf.  But then  the weather became milder. On January 11 it was warm enough, 38 degrees, for pouring rain! The snow is nearly gone.

January 19, 2014

On January 18 it snowed and snowed. About six inches. This morning the temperature was 21 degrees at 8 am. Beautiful, mild day as the sun came out.

January 26, 2014

January 26 and temperatures hover at Zero at dawn.  Bright sun, brisk breezes; it is cold!  As the old saying goes, the cold grows stronger as the days grow longer. Last night’s snow showers freshened the landscape.

January is over, but I am hoping for a lot more snow. Precipitation is what we need.

For more (almost) Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.