A lovely Spring day

I got up early this morning to meditate and contemplate. I awoke to the sound of early morning birds singing into the darkness. The dawn chorus begins long before the sun makes an appearance! When the sky lightened it was still cloudy and cool  - the mountains obscured by a band of dark gray. 

When I went down to let the chickens out I took with me a sprouting broccoli and a kale plant both of which had gone to seed. The chickens were thrilled. While I was in the chicken house tidying up, Daisy came back in to see what I was doing. When she saw there were no bugs in the offing she took advantage of the lonely grain basin and then cheerfully hopped back out to the greens and the other girls. A happy and cheerful chicken is a delightful thing. 

Later on the sky cleared and sunshine again flooded the orchard and yard. All the rose bushes have buds but only Jude the Obscure has aphids. My newly planted lewisia opened two flowers and is covered in buds like a delightful pin cushion. So far, it is uninterrupted by the rabbits. Deer spray will need to go on all things liberally and very soon. Things in the garden are really starting to leaf out and fill in the cracks. I want to get things into pots on the deck but it is still too early - they will sit there and pout if I do. I am gradually building up a collection of plants to make hedges with but I need to think of a more controlled way of doing that or they will all get run over by the lawn mower.


The new chipmunk made sure I knew she or he was there and then practically made gestures at the empty feeder. She ran off when I began talking to her. She'd made her point. She was back poking her nose out from under a the leaf of a lady's mantle after I'd filled the feeder. After a little online research and the binoculars from the kitchen window she is a Townsend chipmunk. She knew that already. At the same time she was gathering seeds there was a new visitor to the feeder - an evening grosbeak. Really lovely with a dark yellow green breast, yellow marks around the beak and flashes of bright yellow under the wings. Our family is expanding rapidly.


The crabapple at the end of the orchard is in full bloom, they are such lovely trees all the year around. 

Gardening Without Intention


“Analysis Paralysis” strikes as many gardeners as it does IT workers. Caught between big plans and no clear direction, frequently nothing at all happens. I’m as guilty as anyone, and moving to a new house/garden brings on a strong relapse. What colors do I want here? How will I use it?  But sometimes… wonderful things happen by tossing carefully laid plans out the window and having no vision of the outcome whatsoever.

When I packed up the old garden for moving, a bunch of unmarked and unknown bulbs went into a paper bag out of expediency (they were lucky to stay out of the compost bin!)  Last fall, faced with fast approaching winter, no memory of what these bulbs were or what color I decided to just plant them in the woodland in areas where I didn’t think I was likely to build or put anything for quite awhile and just see what happened. If they didn’t survive, no big deal. If they did and were a rainbow of colors, well they weren’t going to spoil any emerging schemes by the house.

And now, in March, the rewards are small treasures surprising visitors on a random path through the woods, sparkling with scent and color among vibrant moss. I couldn’t have made this much magic if I’d tried. I’m so glad I didn’t.


The Delights of ‘Forest Bathing’


I can’t say whether this is synchronicity at work or signs of the next emerging “thing”.  The Japanese call it Shinrin-Yoku which translates as forest bathing or more accurately forest therapy. The concept is that time spent in the forest is healing – from the phytochemicals  released by the trees to the soothingly calm atmosphere. I am wholeheartedly behind the concept even though I prefer a more casual approach.

In just the last few weeks I’ve come across this relatively new term (the Japanese formalized it the 1980’s) at least three times. The first was in the forest permaculture book I’ve been reading: Farming the Woods. Followed by seeing it on Curiosity.com  and later an advertisement for a specific spa.  All of which has coincided with Ella and I taking advantage of the forest section of Short Meadow having cleaned up all the old trash. There is an old bridle path that walks a ridge that we take advantage of frequently.  We both enjoy the 20 minutes it takes to go to the end and back. Ella practices getting over the two fallen trees like a champion jumper while I look for emerging spring plants and watch the woodpeckers.

I don’t think seeking respite in the forest is anything new – that probably goes back as far as human evolution. But recognizing that time alone, spent quietly in a woodland, is beneficial is a welcome  shift from the modern, Gortex-clad hiking mania intent on getting to the selfie-ready destination as fast as possible.

Give it a try if you have a chance – a solo trip into a local park where you can sit on a fallen log and just breathe for a few minutes. I find it does a world of good.

The Healthy Hedonism of Hygge

Coziness is the new trend. And it doesn’t even require any new equipment. Lately I’ve been seeing the word Hygge everywhere. I won’t even try to tell you how to pronounce it. Youtube has lots of native-speaking Danes who can help you! I’ve heard it described as healthy hedonism or the ultimate cozy factor – cats and cake are hygge as are fluffy throws and candlelight.

Coming on the heels of the Magic of Tidying Up you might wonder if it’s going in a different direction but I think it might be a continuation of the same global movement to divest of extra stuff. If you’ve KonMarie’d your space fully, then you are now surrounded by things you love which now have space to breath. That seems like the ultimate beginning for Hygge. The coffee table, now divested of it’s former piles, is the perfect setting for a few votives and a plate of home-made bread which you share with a friend while chatting in front of the fire. Nothing fancy, but indulgent. And wonderful.

I’ll be getting right to that as soon as I clean off the coffee table (again).