Early spring leaves of the redbud are red, peach, gold, and purple.
Life is a fireworks show of color and and experiences right now, and I am so amazed and grateful for everything. This is a patchwork quilt posting because I've been mostly working on my book...here goes and forgive me if it jumps around too much, but that seems to be my life lately.
My grandson's strawberry patch is bursting with berries (they're happy with their thick mulch of Cambria pine needles). He loves going out with his little colander and picking the fresh from the garden.
My friend Ronelle (My French Kitchen) had a recipe for fried berries with balsamic vinegar in one of her last postings. I tried the recipe, and the berries are great on a salad or on a goat cheese appetizer. The tastes of the sweet berries and the tart, rich balsamic are an amazing contrasting combo.
I've planted native columbine (Aquilegia formosa) throughout the garden for the hummingbirds, and they're shouting out their irresistible red. Yesterday my friend Stephanie Roth Sisson told me that as a child she always squeezed the spurs and sucked the nectar. We tried it, and it was wonderful. In all the years I've researched history of children's interactions with plants, I've never run across anything on kids sipping columbine. Some parts of columbine are toxic, but after sucking the nectar and dipping back into ethnobotany, I've found that this part of the plant is edible. Caution: always teach your kids to never eat anything in the garden without adult supervision...and that adult better know what is safe and edible!
Many years ago, when I owned Heart's Ease Herb Shop and Gardens in Cambria, California, I featured the works of artist Julie Whitmore. This was one of the garden signs she painted for me, and I love the message, "Nothing Without Labour." So true. Each day looms large, and we all face the obstacles and challenges of making a life, whether it is working for ourselves or someone else. We can't gain any ground if we don't stick to our goals and labour, labour, labour.
I am so lucky. My commute is short. Early mornings, after working in the garden, I walk the pathway to Mockingbird Studio and think of all the things that make me so happy and grateful.
I'm grateful for a short commute
for my best friend who is never daunted by my long lists of ideas (translates to projects for him)
for grandkids who know that I love sunflowers and are happy to bring them to me...
for a granddaughter who loves the kitchen rocker better than any other chair...and who loves reading the family scrapbook put together by my cousin Patti Lovejoy McKee (and who loves socks as much as I do!)
for fruit trees laden with oranges, lemons, and limes (not my apples)
for being greeted by the unexpected beauty of "The Queen" epiphyllum
for the miracle that overnight the roses and the bougainvillea both burst into bloom
for the perfect symmetry of the Chalk Rose, Agavoides, and Imbricata echeverias
for the explosion of perennial flowers in the new backyard garden
for the skippers
for the blanket flowers (red and yellow) that are turning into one of the best feeders for not only butterflies and syrphid flies, but also goldfinches. The goldfinches land on the pincushion heads and pluck seeds from them.
for the simple pleasure of picking blueberries on my commute
for the visits of voracious ladybird beetles. We have some great conversations.
and thankful for the aphid wolves (offspring of the ladybird beetle) who eat hundreds of aphids each day. When I was a kid, I thought these larvae were "Halloween Bugs" because of the orange and black. I used to watch them working their clean-up in my Grandmother Lovejoy's garden. Now they're doing the same job in mine.
I'm grateful for family, friends, nature, beauty, and the simple joy of making things with my own hands in my own way and somehow earning a living doing it. Remember, "Nothing Without Labour."
P.S. Please drop by my newest Lowe's posting "Confessions of a Compulsive Weeder,"about how to beat tenacious, unreachable weeds that pop up in cracks and crevices. I think you'll like this simple tip.
P.S.S. Thanks to all of my wonderful followers for tipping the 400 mark. In celebration, I'd like to do a give-away of this introspective and elegant book, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating (Algonquin Books), which has won many awards, including the John Burroughs and the National Outdoor Book Award. I am thinking of my readers who are really examining life, meaning, health, and other issues. Members of The Grimy Hands Girls' Club will also receive a special bonus gift. If you're not already a member, be sure to join us. To enter, leave a comment on this blog posting no later than May 27. Winner will be drawn May 28.
P.P.S. For those of you near Oklahoma City on June 1, come join the Oklahoma County Master Gardeners for my talk and potluck luncheon. Check here for details.