A Taste Or Two Of Spring

You know that little thrill of licking brownie batter off the spatula just after you put the pan in the oven? (Oh, is that just me??) Anyway, we all like to sample a bit of whatever we’re whipping up in the kitchen, don’t we, — especially if we’re cooking when we’re hungry? It’s so hard to wait. And that’s how this past week felt to me with the tease of a couple of warm March days. I could taste spring!

My first taste involved one of my daughters and the mitre saw she inherited from my Dad. (Stay with me here.) We’re going to be building new garden beds for my backyard this spring. Several weeks ago, we took a road trip to the only two Home Depots in the area that carried the cedar two-by-sixes we needed. Long story, short, we spent an hour or so cutting some into four-foot lengths and trimming the rest to eight feet. We’ve got some work ahead of us still, but seeing them all cut excited me. I can’t wait for gardening season!

The second taste involved another of my daughters. She lives almost two hours away and works as a baker. For both of those reasons, we had’t seen her in person for months. I’d been waiting for decent weather on one of her days off, so we could spend some time outdoors together. Last Friday, the promise of temperatures in the high fifties, or even maybe sixty degrees, was just what we needed. And it did indeed turn out to be a beautiful day!

We hiked a trail at a local state reservation. We watched for birds and talked a bit about photography as she tried out the new camera she got for Christmas. It was midday, so bird activity was minimal. After walking for a while, we actually thought we might not see any. But then a few nuthatches and chickadees flew right across in front of us and sat chirping in the trees for several minutes. We walked on and saw a large black-ish bird fly by at a distance. When we got to the spot, we discovered a pileated woodpecker. A second one flew by a few minutes later. Even though they moved too fast and stayed partially out of view, I took one poorly focused picture — enough for proof, if not for hanging on a wall. All in all it was fun and left me pining for more warm spring days.

First Month Check-in

We’ve come to the end of the first month of this new year. The year still feels new-ish, despite some lingering difficulties from 2020. And it’s a good time to check in with our goals and expectations for 2021. (Notice I didn’t use the word resolutions. Goals sound more hopeful, don’t you think?)

Did you set some goals — general or specific, long or short-term, written down or mentally noted — at the beginning of this year? How’re you doing with them? I’m not here to judge, believe me. Instead, I encourage you to ask yourself that question. And if you didn’t set any goals, it’s not too late, you know. Never is. Like I’ve said before, just make them realistic and achievable.

One of my goals is to create new garden beds before this year’s planting season, complete with rodent-proofing. After several design attempts and pricing quotes, I’ve settled on building them myself (with some much appreciated help). The wood has been purchased, other supplies will be purchased soon, and construction will begin in my daughter’s garage (since that’s where the saw is. 🙂 ) It feels good to take steps toward the final goal. Each step is an accomplishment in itself.

I’ve also made progress on some of my writing goals already (although a few have been put off until after the garden beds are built). Today also marks the end of Storystorm, hosted by Tara Lazar, a realized goal of mine in which I had to come up with a picture book idea every day for the month of January. Challenging! And another goal is to create a collage using a new (to me) painting technique. Again, I’ve taken steps in the direction of this goal. (See the photo above.) It’s been fun, stretching my creative muscles! And it’s been a great distraction on cold, snowy days.

Setting goals and reaching for them is worth the effort. However, life is a process, and sometimes goals need to be revisited, adjusted, and refined. That’s ok.  But I encourage you to care for yourself, and those around you, by living with purpose, setting goals and taking daily or weekly steps toward them. Every small accomplishment can be satisfying. And if you’ve taken steps toward one of your 2021 goals, give yourself credit. Celebrate your success. And have a happy new year!

Gratitude Spiral: Day 350

Today, I’m grateful for a new garden bed area all ready for winter.

I started clearing a section of the lawn this summer, in order to expand my garden footprint. But plans got put on hold and I needed to cover it for the winter. Many leaves, paper bags, and cardboard boxes later, it’s now settled until next spring when the project will hopefully be completed.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 337

Today, I’m grateful for homegrown butternut squash.

After a groundhog ate my one butternut squash plant within a leaf of its life, the plant managed to come back and produce two squashes this summer. The largest of the two broke off the vine during a windstorm, but turned out to be plenty ripe. I’m thankful for being able to enjoy it with almost every meal for the past week. The smaller one has been picked and will be baked soon enough. Yum!

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 328

Today, I’m grateful for help with the yard work.

Sometimes it feels like all the housework and yard work fall on my shoulders. While it’s true that I’m not gainfully employed outside the realm of home maintenance, it’s still nice when one of my children or my husband has the time to take on some of the tasks. Even better, is when we can work side-by-side to get the work done. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 318

Today, I’m grateful for tomatoes ripening on the window sill.

This time of year there are plenty of green tomatoes outdoors that just don’t seem to want to turn red. But if they’re starting to lighten in color, they may just ripen faster indoors in a sunny window. And who wouldn’t want a fresh tomato in October? 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

 

Gratitude Spiral: Day 306

Today, I’m grateful for the resources to expand my garden.

We have enough room in our yard to carve out some more garden space and the tools and time it takes to get the job done. I’m thankful for those blessings. And excited for the final results.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 302

Today, I’m grateful for frozen fruit in my morning shake.

Most of the fruit in my shake is fruit I froze myself. Some is from my garden and some is from a friend’s. Freezing it thickens the shake, making a very satisfying breakfast accompaniment to a bowl of steel cut oats. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 287

Today, I’m grateful for a friend sharing her gifts of abundant ripe raspberries and beautiful painting talent.

It’s not often that one receives two generous blessings in the same day from a friend. Dawn grows a wildly amazing garden and offered her raspberries for my picking pleasure. She also created beautiful watercolors as she practiced pandemic art while out of work recently. And I now have a unique dragonfly to hang on my wall. Two blessings. One lovely friend. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 282

Today, I’m grateful for weeding.

No, not so grateful for the weeds themselves. But the act of weeding, pulling up crabgrass, roots and all, reveals what the garden is supposed to look like.  And it’s amazingly satisfying.

What are you grateful for today?