Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spring, Virginia Style -- Fauna

 We've been getting to know the neighbors -- it's a rather "diverse" community of varying shapes, sizes, colors, and species.

Some swim...

Others hop....

This "itchy" fellow hangs out in our neighborhood, and can often be seen nibbling
on our neighbors' flowers!

Some waddle...

Others buzz...

Every encounter is a chance to show the littles something new about God's marvelous creation:

"See the terrapin's extra eyelid? Watch when his head pokes out of the water!"

"See that cardinal? Listen to his song!"

"See the pollen on the bee's leg? Now she will taken some pollen to the next flower she visits!"

Eyes wide open, ears attuned, feet eager to explore -- every discovery another reminder of the blessings that flow down from heaven, as the rain and sunlight bring life to the dormant ground.

Ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
Or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
In His hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind.

Job 12:7-10

Friday, June 17, 2016

Spring, Virginia Style -- Flora

You may recall my excitement last year about the coming of Spring. Well, this year has surpassed last year's delights! Perhaps that's partly because we had the whole winter to heighten our anticipation, and it's certainly largely due to spending more time at the local gardens. And let's be real -- it's mostly because I'm finally in a climate where foxglove thrives.

I hold Beatrix Potter responsible for my unaccountable obsession with foxglove! I love many other flowers, but none so much as this. 

There were so many of them at our local gardens. Pink, purple, white. Happy, happy me!

But first came the daffodils, and the camellias. This was the only picture of a camellia that I took; I think I must have been overwhelmed by the variety and profusion. But really, what would I do with a dozen (or even half a dozen!) camellia pictures? I can't seem to resist taking photos of every lovely plant that catches my eye, which then languish in my photo files. Perhaps that's why I post so many on my blog! They feel "purposeful" if they're shared.

Lenten roses (hellebores) and dogwoods bloomed next -- we have five dogwood trees in our back yard, and one is planted right outside my kitchen window. How I waited and waited for that tree to bloom! Though the pink dogwood pictured below was a discovery at the gardens:

Summer snowflakes


Tulips! Another rarity in Florida

One of my favorite discoveries at the gardens this year was lupine -- ever since we read Miss Rumphius, I have wanted to see lupine for myself. They're so lovely! Pink, purple, and white, just like the ones Alice planted. I have plans to add some to our landscape next year. I was tickled when we found the lupine covered with seed pods after they'd bloomed; perfect for showing the littles how the flowers made the seeds that Miss Rumphius scattered on her walks!

Our scraggly rosebush managed to produce a few lovelies -- I think it's badly in need of pruning! Perhaps next year it will do a little better.

And now, it's hydrangeas. Every shape, size, color. It seems that Virginia is a hotbed for my favorite plants! Though I haven't noticed any hollyhocks -- still, if foxglove grows here, I'd imagine hollyhocks would, too.

Another Virginia delight? Willow trees. I think I saw maybe one or two in our old Florida haunts, but here they grow everywhere! I have such fond memories of willow trees from my childhood in England, so I feel a warm glow every time I spot one here.

 And while our roses at home may be scarce, the local gardens can boast a much larger and impressive variety! In fact, I doubt I'll plant many (if any) roses in our garden, because I can always nip over there for my rose "fix." I couldn't resist a snapshot of these particular beauties, mostly because the variety is "Winchester Cathedral" (a lovely minster, and Jane Austen's final resting place).

I've saved the "fauna" for another post, because this is already lengthier than usual! It's been a chilly, rainy Spring, and I'm actually ready for Summer -- but I'm already looking forward to next year's Spring. More daffodils! More foxglove! Because "Spring" here is just a synonym for "Anticipation."

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Sunday, May 22, 2016

What's Wrong With This Picture

As I was re-sorting our stored kids' clothes, I ended up with a stack of shorts that will probably fit Laddie this summer. They are, stacked from top to bottom, size 9 mths, 12 mths, and 24 mths. All the exact same dimensions in waist and length, within a centimeter or so -- and they will all probably fit my 14-month-old. 

Stacked together, you can see how similar the sizes are -- and the largest pair
is probably the 9mth khaki shorts on top!

You'd think we could come up with some industry standard sizing or something...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Furry Friends

 I do so love the animals at Colonial Williamsburg -- cows, sheep, horses and what-not. Little Man scratched the nose of a little calf on a recent visit, which is a Big Deal for a boy that's a bit petrified of animals. Neither he nor Rosa were quite brave enough to touch the horse, but they eagerly scrambled around finding grass for me to feed him. Laddie, by contrast, smiles his biggest smiles when he sees animals, and becomes almost ridiculously excited when he's close to them!

I'd forgotten the softness and warmth of a horse's lips as they deftly gather the grass from an outstretched palm. On our next visit we wised up and brought about half a pound of carrots, which were very graciously received by our equine friends.

And no, he wasn't actually napping! But he does look so peaceful, doesn't he?

This snapshot is a few weeks old -- the trees are now covered with fresh leaves!

It's also lovely to have a more leisurely relationship with Williamsburg, now that it's a day trip (and one we can repeat as often as we like). We know where to park, where things are, and how much we can do in a day. There's no rush to see everything in one visit, which would be a hopeless task with three littles! A garden here, a house there. I ordered Mary Geddy's Dayso the Geddy house is on our list for the next visit. 

I'm so chuffed that my littles are learning to love Williamsburg as much as I do! Of course, it probably helps that we usually get a little treat at the shops (Chilled root beer is a favorite of mine, and on our last visit we also sampled some of the heritage chocolate). Little Man routinely uses words like "old-fashioned' and "old times" now, and I'm delighted that he's beginning to grasp a sense of history. 

And it's not uncommon for him to call out to a passing interpreter, "I like your outfit!"

For a mama with a fondness for historical costuming, that's a happy thought indeed!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Out of Doors

Sunshine, warmth, the most delicious fragrances wafting in on the breeze. Yes, it's Spring. The maple in our back yard has been showering us with clusters of "helicopters." The pollen is thick on the grass (bad news for my allergies! I gave up and bought some Claritin), so thick that I have to spray our windshield every time we go out just to see clearly. Our daffodils are blooming cheerily (pictures of those forthcoming!), and I've just discovered that we have bluebells by our back steps. 

We're still in temporary garden mode, but this year I'm trying my hand at a tomato plant. Here's hoping...

The weather is still finicky -- forty one day, seventy-five the next (no joke!) -- but on those golden, sun-kissed Spring afternoons... well, there's no better place to be!

Friday, April 01, 2016

A Different World

Sometimes, I wish I could see the world through their eyes -- a world saturated with wonder and endless possibility. A world where imagination is kindled by the slightest spark, and is never snuffed out by constraints like time, money, or "practicality." 

And yet, it's a world that can be completely overturned by the slightest mishap, from the "wrong spoon" to catastrophes such as bedtime. Sometimes I'm very glad indeed to be "all grown up."

Perhaps it's enough to catch just a little glimpse of their world now and again...

And where is this window to a different world? My favorite little corner of the gardens at the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg -- in fact, my Blogger profile pic is a snapshot in the same spot about 10 years ago! In reality, all that lies beyond is a pretty field -- but with the imagination... well, anything is possible!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Beside Myself

A few blooms in a jar -- the last survivors of a recent Trader Joe's bouquet, still going strong 2 weeks in. Perfect for my bedside table (beside myself, if you will), a bright little reminder of God's beauty every time they catch my eye. 

I don't often buy fresh flowers, but after seeing how far that little $4 bouquet stretched, it's going to be a more frequent occurrence in the future!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


.:. Daffadowndilly .:.

She wore her yellow sun-bonnet, 
She wore her greenest gown; 
She turned to the south wind 
And curtsied up and down. 
She turned to the sunlight 
And shook her yellow head, 
And whispered to her neighbour: 
"Winter is dead."

- A.A. Milne -

We must smell all of the flowers. Because every patch of daffodils might smell a little different, you know?

Hoping that you're enjoying some signs of Spring in your little corner of this earth!