here comes the sun

WillardMetcalf.childsunlight
“Child in Sunlight” by Willard Metcalf

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter 
Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces 
Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting 
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun 
And I say it’s all right 
~ George Harrison
♫ (Here Comes the Sun) ♫ 

Welcome Spring!

a sap run

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts
3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

Before the bud swells, before the grass springs, before the plow is started, comes the sugar harvest. It is the sequel of the bitter frost; a sap run is the sweet goodbye of winter.
~ John Burroughs
(Signs & Seasons)

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts
3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

We had no idea what a treat we were in for when we checked into a motel in Orange, Massachusetts Saturday night. Our plan was to spend the night, grab a breakfast somewhere, and head over to a family reunion in the neighboring town of Athol on Sunday afternoon. In the morning we discovered a great place to have breakfast, on Johnson’s Farm, a restaurant, sugar house, and gift shop! Maple syrup production was well under way, the old-fashioned way.

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts
3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

Sugar weather is crisp weather. How the tin buckets glisten in the gray woods; how the robins laugh; how the nuthatches call; how lightly the thin blue smoke rises among the trees! The squirrels are out of their dens; the migrating waterfowls are streaming northward; the sheep and cattle look wistfully toward the bare fields; the tide of the season, in fact, is just beginning to rise.
~ John Burroughs
(Signs & Seasons)

If only some way could be found to share the smell of New England in maple sugar season on a blog post! Our olfactory receptors were tickled with delight to whiff in the aromas of wood-burning stoves and sap boiling down into syrup. We bought a couple of jugs of pure maple syrup! Mostly we’ll be using it in marinades, since pancakes are no longer on our grain-free diet…

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts
3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

It was if we had been transported back in time to a place in the heart of New England. It made me appreciate anew that there are more “seasons” than the four four we normally notice as the year goes around. The gnarly old tree in the above picture caught our attention – what an amazing life it has had. And I loved the knotty pine interior of the sugar house in the picture below – so typical of New England.

3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts
3.10.13 ~ Orange, Massachusetts

When we got home Sunday night Zoë and Scarby seemed a little angry with us (ears pinned back, ignoring us) for leaving them overnight, but they’re back to purring and following us around, rubbing our legs and talking to us again.

feeling the light

“Brook in March” by Willard Metcalf
“Brook in March” by Willard Metcalf

A Light exists in Spring
Not present in the Year
At any other period –
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn
It shows the furthest Tree
Opon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay –

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.

~ Emily Dickinson
(The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #962)

sunshine peculiarly genial

"Autumn Glory" by Willard Metcalf
“Autumn Glory” by Willard Metcalf

There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October. The sunshine is peculiarly genial; and in sheltered places, as on the side of a bank, or of a barn or house, one becomes acquainted and friendly with the sunshine. It seems to be of a kindly and homely nature. And the green grass, strewn with a few withered leaves, looks the more green and beautiful for them. In summer or spring, Nature is farther from one’s sympathies.
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
(The American Note-books)

May Day

“Queen Guinevere’s Maying” by John Maler Collier

Child of the pure unclouded brow
And dreaming eyes of wonder!
Though time be fleet and I and thou
Are half a life asunder,
Thy loving smile will surely hail
The love-gift of a fairy tale.
~ Lewis Carroll
(Beltane: Springtime Rituals, Lore & Celebration)

photo by Sally Holmes

Mystic Garland Dancers ~ May Day 2008

Beltane: May 5, 2011, 4:20 p.m.
May 4, 2012, 10:13 p.m.

May Day

Abandon ~ Love ~ War

Activities:
See Westerly Morris Men dance
to greet the sunrise at Connecticut College
Maypole

May Day 2008 ~ Westerly Morris Men

Earth Day

Image of earth from space: NASA

One sweet world
Around this star is spinning
One sweet world
And in her breath I’m swimming
And here we will rest in peace
~ Dave Matthews
♫ (One Sweet World) ♫

The earth itself assures us it is a living entity. Deep below surface one can hear its slow pulse, feel its vibrant rhythm. The great breathing mountains expand and contract. The vast sage desert undulates with almost imperceptible tides like the oceans. From the very beginning, throughout all its cataclysmic upthrusts and deep sea submergences, the planet Earth seems to have maintained an ordered rhythm.
~ Frank Waters
(Mountain Dialogues)

light in the spring

4.15.11 ~ Colchester, Connecticut
Maggie ~ 4.15.11 ~ Colchester, Connecticut

It has turned into a three-day weekend for me!  Friday Janet and I got together to create pysanky – Ukrainian Easter eggs. While visiting her I was introduced to Maggie, a very sweet twelve-year-old shelter dog with arthritis who is a pit bull or mostly pit bull. She barked for a while after I arrived – Janet explained she had anxiety issues. So Maggie and I had something in common and soon relaxed around each other. Maggie kept Janet and me company as we worked on our eggs, and then the three of us took a nice long walk along the rural roads surrounding Janet’s home. It was a bright, warm-in-the-sunshine, cool-in-the-shade, day. On my way out Janet gave me some venison and a recipe for it to try out on Tim. Thanks to the GPS, I successfully navigated my way home!

4.16.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut
4.16.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Tim was working off and on this weekend, but we did get out a little on Saturday, stopping by the grocery store to get some more ingredients for the venison stew. It was very windy and we were amazed to see the flag over the grocery store flying straight out. Storm clouds were gathering, but I managed to get a picture of the chionodoxa popping up through the periwinkle and dead leaves in my garden. Tim returned to working, from home, and I watched a couple of other versions of Jane Eyre from Netflix. The rain came down hard overnight, but this day dawned bright and sunny again, a bit warmer than it was Friday.

4.16.11 ~ Sound Breeze
chionodoxa ~ 4.16.11 ~ Sound Breeze

Is it so small a thing
To have enjoyed the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done?
~ Matthew Arnold
(Seasons)

4.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
4.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

Today was a slow cooker day. The recipe Janet gave me for the venison stew was given to her by Erik, Janet and Tim’s stepdad, who died in 2008. He was a fantastic cook! When I first read through the recipe, I noted with a smile that it was from an out-of-print cookbook Erik had, called Glorious Stew by Dorothy Ivens. This brought back a pleasant memory. Many years ago Tim had enjoyed a stew Erik had prepared so much that he wanted the recipe. When Erik showed him the cookbook Tim decided he had to have one, too, but it was already out of print. So Tim asked the Book Barn to set aside a used copy for him, if one ever came into the store. A used copy did show up after what seemed like a very long time, so Tim was thrilled to finally have his own copy!  🙂

4.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
4.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

So… I modified the recipe a bit for the slow cooker and it smelled so good cooking away all day. Being a morning person, I love slow cookers because I can prepare something yummy early in the morning when I’m fresh and alert and then have something wonderful to eat in the evening, when I’m too tired, cranky and overwhelmed to cook. When Tim got a break this afternoon, we went out for a walk around Olde Mistick Village and when we arrived back home the stew smelled tangy and very tempting. It was delicious!

4.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
4.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

I took some pictures of the ducks and shops on our walk.  Yes, today we have enjoyed the sun…

4.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut
4.17.11 ~ Mystic, Connecticut

spring equinox

baby red fox by Lamar Gore
baby red fox by Lamar Gore

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~ Mark Twain
(Tom Sawyer, Detective)

“Springtime in Giverny” by Claude Monet
“Springtime in Giverny” by Claude Monet

We discover a new world every time we see the earth again after it has been covered for a season with snow.
~ Henry David Thoreau
(Journal)

“Spring Princess” by Carl Larsson
“Spring Princess” by Carl Larsson

Spring Equinox: March 20, 2011, 7:21 p.m.
March 20, 2012, 1:14 a.m.

Easter ~ Ostara ~ St. Patrick’s Day

Possibility

Activities:
Decorate eggs
Cut tulips

My slowly growing pysanky collection…

3.18.11 ~ Groton, Connecticut

I made two of the (less prominent) Ukrainian Easter eggs myself several years ago when Aunt Delorma and I took a workshop. It’s NOT easy!!! Can you guess which ones?