Sunday, April 6, 2014

Time to Wander in the Green Wood Again

Photo by The Woodland Trust, "Swithland Wood near Loughborough, Leicestershire. Swithland wood is an ancient oak woodland and part of Charnwood Forest."
At last it is spring, and the wood is turning green again. I have numerous herbs and vegetables sprouting in pots indoors and ready to be put in the ground. I have built beds, and spaded soil, and turned compost until at last all is ready. Let the planting begin!

This year I am planting Valerian, Lavender, Parsley, Basil, Cilantro, Dill, and Tarragon, to go along with my perennial herbs that overwintered of Thyme, Sage, Fennel, Lemon Verbena, Yarrow, and Oregano. For vegetables, I'll be planting (and already have planted a few of these) parsnips, beets, tomatoes, pumpkins, acorn squash, eggplant, green beans, and several others.

The hardest part of gardening where I am is improving the soil, which is red clay, and keeping the bugs away. In places where winters are comparatively mild, insects appear with the first tree buds, ravenous and vicious. Improving the soil is easy in comparison to fending off insects; I've put mounds of top soil hauled from the woods and compost from my backyard into my various beds and plots of ground.

But the insects just keep coming; I tried organic methods, and I tried harsh chemicals. Both yield paltry results. In the end, the best defense is the bugs themselves, namely spiders and wasps. But this year more will be required... I shall find a way to win.

Friday, March 14, 2014


Flora and the Zephyrs by John William Waterhouse, via saveflowers1

Standing by the lake a few days ago, I felt a strong, warm wind rush across my face and blow my hair about. It was Zephyrus, the warm west wind, herald of spring.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl by Wagner Machado Carlos Lemes, source Wikimedia Commons
I saw this gorgeous photo of a Burrowing Owl and couldn't help posting it here. It has one foot tucked away under its feathers so completely, you'd almost think it only has one leg!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Winter Weather At Last: A Fairytale World

All photos by me.

After spending most of my childhood in Texas, where there is very little in the way of a discernible change in the seasons aside from hot and hotter, I have an utter and complete fascination with snow. For a child who loved reading the fairy tales of Hans Christian Anderson and the various Red, Blue, and Violet Fairy Books, all of which have tales of Snow Queens and winter lands, the rarity of snow or even sleet was extremely disappointing.

Thus, when my family moved to an area where there was at least one good snowfall every winter, I developed the habit of wandering for hours in our woods every time it snowed, reveling in the enchanting sound of falling snow and the way the ordinary world could be transformed in a matter of minutes into the world of the fae, dangerous and beautiful, silent and yet full of music.

To an artist's eyes as well there is endless fascination and inspiration. Ice and snow exhibit some of the most exquisite, detailed patterns one will ever find. If you bother to slow down and look closely, new worlds reveal themselves to the naked eye. I invite you to try it next time you're outside in the snow.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mirow Casle, Poland

Mirow Castle, Poland. Photo:

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Oldest House in New Orleans

Photo by me.

I recently took a trip to New Orleans, which is actually quite an interesting and mysterious city. Because I love old things, I sought out the oldest house in New Orleans, and found it in a more out-of-the-way part of the city. Called the Spanish Custom House, and built in 1784, it looks like something straight out of Gone With the Wind or a Southern Gothic novel. There must be so much history that has taken place in a house as old as this.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Old Door

I saw this old door in New Orleans. It made me think about all the various ways the Pevensie children found themselves pulled into Narnia. I wonder if this could be a portal...