31 March 2010

egg tree

over the weekend, i broke down and strung some plastic eggs with the little girl for an egg tree. as we sat on the couch affixing strings to plastic, she handed me eggs one at a time but by color - first the two purple ones, then the two yellow, then the two pink - and so on. once outside, she removed them from the basket and hung them on the crabapple in the same order - first the two purples, then the yellows, then the pinks...

to some, this easter display may look tacky out in the yard. but not to the little girl who thinks it's lovely. and certainly not to her enamored, awe-struck grandmother who thinks she's just amazing.

29 March 2010

a walk in the rain

there's an odd sense of contentment when you're under an umbrella in the rain. like a movable roof over your head, the umbrella holds off the elements, sheltering you from the relentless drizzle. inside you stay wide-eyed and dry as all outside drips and drops and becomes soggy with rain.

as i walk, i think: the little girl should have an umbrella. something tiny and sun-yellow. even though she's still small, i want her to feel this power over the weather, this snug-and-dry content feeling of walking through the rain.

27 March 2010

march conundrum

it's close to the end of march. here crocus bloom, daffodils bud, and some brave teens already wear flip-flops. but not so far away, high in the nearby hills, i find ice still on lakes. i know which scenario i personally like. but i can't help but wonder which of these is the right one for this time of year.

24 March 2010


found while walking on the back hill. i have to wonder who's been gnawing away at this acorn. are the black oil sunflower seeds clustered at the nut's base any sort of hint? they came from the feeders in the lower part of the yard - yards away.

22 March 2010

you're out!

tissues are used sparingly around here and i don't buy them often. but i do need to keep some on hand for guests, for the little girl, and for the occasional full-blown cold. when i do buy tissues, i get these little cubes because the small footprint works in my tiny bathroom. but the design of these containers drives me crazy. you can't see inside these cubes, you can't tell when you're getting low, and you never know when the tissue you pull may be the next to the last one. or even the last. inevitably, you're faced with this - the empty oval. maybe the tissue people should install counters on these boxes, so when you open the box and pull the first tissue, the counter changes from 130 to 129...and so on down to 1. at least that way you'd know around 15 that you should probably stock a new box.

21 March 2010

first weekend of spring

this is the lake i visited while on a weekend road trip to take photos. i ended up shedding sneakers and socks here and wading at the edge of the water while i looked at the surroundings through the camera's lens. wouldn't you think after all the cold temperatures we had this winter the water would be freezing? after all, only a month ago, the lake was still covered with ice and, even now, on the opposite shore i could still see snow. but the water was surprisingly warm and walking in it gave me a much better vantage point to photograph the pair of canada geese who came swooping in from on high, then serenely followed each other around the lake. they were still there when it came time to dry my feet and move on.

20 March 2010

ice out & spring

in this part of new england, an important rite of spring is "ice-out", or the precise time when ice leaves the big lakes. people keep track of it, some bet on it, and local newspapers report when it happens. this shot is of a small local pond but the ice here is well on its way "out".

the first day of spring and, coincidentally, gloriously warm and sunny weather, made this the perfect day for traveling the back roads with the camera. in my travels, i passed by many lakes, both large and small, and only a few still showed any signs of ice and the winter that's now behind us.

19 March 2010

sap's running

tin sap buckets hang from maple trees lining a back road. many in this area tap their trees in the spring to gather up the sweet sap, then boil it down to make the sticky maple syrup that sweeten foods throughout the year. from a local farmer, i buy two quarts each april - for blueberry pancakes in summer, german apple pancakes in fall, french toast and waffles in winter. and i must make my stash last from one spring to the next.

17 March 2010

saint patrick's day query

this morning i am at work where saint patrick's day fervor is high. what exactly is corned beef anyway, i ask a colleague who's clad in green from head to toe. it's ham, she tells me. then why is it called beef? i inquire. she does not know, but goes on to tell me how it's cooked with cabbage and her family always has it for saint patrick's day dinner.

later in the afternoon, i am at an establishment that prides itself on its irish food, drink, and music. what exactly is corned beef anyway, i ask the waiter with a brogue as thick as peat. it's bacon, says he. then why is it called beef? i ask. and what is corned? he does not know but goes on to make small talk about the saint patrick's day festivities happening at the place.

so i ask of you: what exactly is corned beef? and what does corned mean? whether you know the answers or not, i hope you had some fun on saint patrick's day!

16 March 2010

15 March 2010

happy half-a birthday

celebrations are few and far between after valentine's day and before easter. oh sure, there's saint patrick's day but, other than the wearin' o' the green, it's not such a big deal around here.

so in an effort to liven up midwinter, when the girl was little we started celebrating her half birthday. i'd make half a cake, give her half a birthday card, sing half the birthday song... just enough frivolity to make an otherwise drab ordinary march day into something special and fun.

even though she's now grown, we still honor the half birthday. and to make it even more special, her hubby also has a half birthday within days of hers. i guess we could have celebrated both "special" days yesterday with a whole cake - but it was so much more fun to have two halves.

14 March 2010

a driveway moment

rain in march is dreary and cold. but it washes away piles of january snow that have been dirty and ever-present for much too long. this taken from the driveway, through the windshield, while contemplating a dash between the raindrops and into warmth of the kitchen.

13 March 2010

wrong color, wrong season, wrong holiday!

see that spindly contraption of pastel pipe cleaners? i found it today on display at one of my favorite shops. it's an easter tree. an easter tree, for cryin' out loud!! the store even had little egg ornaments to hang from it, in addition to the easter baskets and bunnies and books. this christmas crossover is just too bizarre for me. decorate eggs at easter, yes - but not trees! is no tradition sacred? and what will they think of next??

11 March 2010


bright light in the morning these march days and the air is smelling cool and earthy. deep in the woods, huge flocks of crows have been gathering at dawn, cawing and calling to each other, raucous enough to be heard even through still closed windows. the wood pile shrinks. the snow recedes. pine cones fall. the equinox looms. and finally this morning, i go outside without boots.

07 March 2010

letting go

six months now, my mother has been gone. all around me there are still her things, remembrances of the person she was and the life she lived. some items are finally being used up, like a stash of book matches, the packets of sugar, and this bottle of purple shampoo that matched her purple bathroom. for the longest while, i left them untouched, as they had been when she was alive, the only remaining pieces of her i could preserve in time. but as weeks and months pass, it's becoming a little easier to finally let her slip away. now i make myself use her things and i think of her when i do. even though the last of her lavender shampoo is now gone, my mom is still in my heart.

04 March 2010


on my way to work this morning, i killed a small animal. i noticed it appear at the crest of a snow pile by the side of the road. i watched it scamper quickly down the bank. i saw it skitter out into the road, carrying a nut or a cone or something in his mouth. these little creatures are so fast. sometimes by swerving, you invariably hit them. so i stayed the course, slowing a bit and holding my breath. no small thudding sound and i thought he was safe. but a glance in the side view mirror showed the nut careening across the road, without its owner, who lay still, a small receding lump on the road behind me. it was just a squirrel. i don't know why i feel badly - but i do.

03 March 2010

for the deer

four old apples, hidden on a low shelf in the dark back corners of the refrigerator. too far gone for even applesauce, i'm afraid. using my best overhand, i'll fling them far out into the woods, a tasty snack for some surprised hungry deer who happens upon them, laying shriveled in the snow.

01 March 2010

march into march

here comes march, the much hoped for end to winter in new england. not everyone feels this way - skiiers and snowmobilers pray for one more big snowstorm in march and they sometimes get it. but march is the best of both winter and spring worlds since the snow often is light and fluffy and melts easily with warmer temperatures. mud makes an appearance in march, so much of it that some call this month mud season. sap buckets appear as maples stir from winter dormancy. now is when i start hoping for pussy willows by the side of the road - and snow fleas in the melting snowbanks.