Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Despite birthday celebrations, I was able to spend a fair amount of time playing outside this weekend.

On Saturday, I had my last all-day Master Naturalist class before graduation next week. We spent the first couple hours birding and saw some great stuff, including several firsts-this-year and a few lifetime firsts for me (Virginia rail, sora, scarlet tanager--which I've been dying to see forever!)

On Sunday morning, between making French toast and baking a cake, I wandered around the yard for a bit more bird-watching and flower-gazing.

I feel like I'm really much more in tune with the unfolding of spring now that I know so much more about what's going on--the names of flowers (beyond the basics), the way tree leaves and twigs burst out of their bud scales, tree flowers (other than the showy apples and cherries). All so beautiful and exciting...and somehow easier to see once you know the names of things.

I tried a little hammock-lounging, but the black flies came on strong and I didn't last long. I'm reading Beyond the Aspen Grove by Ann Zwinger. Her writing is so gorgeous and evocative and humorous. She has the most stunning descriptions of the smallest, most-beneath-most-people's-notice things. A whole page on springtails (snow fleas). Whole sections on flies. And wildflowers and trees, too, of course. So much information on every living thing, all written in the most engaging prose.

"When evening comes the mountain air chills rapidly. Herman rolls up the hammock, puts it away for another year. There is a psychological tightening of the mind in preparation for winter. We use each day as if it were the last before the guillotine of winter slices out the warmth. I go out, drawing all day long, trying to catch the last vestige of summer. Herman pulls in the raft and puts up the rowboat. he cuts another load of wood for the stove and the girls protestingly stack and fill the wood boxes. He replaces a broken window and paints the deck. Truly, Herman and I are the ant and the grasshopper." 

That is exactly the kind of life I want to have. C taking care of all the unpleasant details of keeping house and home running smoothly (and warmly) while I wander in the woods and meadows, drawing. I think Ann and I would have been kindred spirits had I known her in life.

Wildflowers from top to bottom:
Red baneberry
Violet (I didn't key out which one, though)
Not-so-wild grape hyacinth


  1. Oh how I would love to see a scarlet tanager...one day. I did spy an indigo bunting on my run yesterday morning, first one of the season. They hang out here for a week or two every spring before heading a little further north. It is such a stunning bird, and the rose breasted gros beaks are back too. So much excitement out there right now. Enjoy!

    I have added your book to my reading list, sounds wonderful.

    Hope you are having a great week.

    1. Oh!! Indigo bunting is another one I'm dying to see! What a great visitor to have.

  2. Hooray for Spring and all the flowers (and bugs) it brings. Already feeling like summer down here in Va...hot and humid. Blerg. Your photos were like a sweet cool breath of May. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Your Sunday morning sounds like heaven!


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