Tag Archives: Spring

sweetridgesisters

April 16, 2015

By Mary

With my green eyes I see beauty and with my green thumb I like to nurture and create it. One of my very favorite things to do is to spend hours lost silence while gardening. Growing flowers never bores me. I have an appreciation for the flexibility of flower gardening because first and foremost, it offers me a creative outlet that is beautiful, as well as in constant motion. I really do despise sitting still, so it’s wonderful to be engaged in projects that keep me busy and moving, Plus growing flowers is such a flexible way to have a fun niche market.

Yesterday I picked up flats of baby lupines that I had started at an Amish greenhouse back in February. While at the greenhouse I spent a few minutes looking around at what’s available, which made me ponder new ideas for this season. Later last night I was able to look back at some of the pictures from last summer which made me remember times, colors and designs that were a joy to experience during last years growing season. Here are a few memories, designs and projects from 2014.

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Last February the world seemed to as if it would always remain in a cold state of below zero frozen doom. Lisa King from the GAC show Farm Kings sympathized with my state of winter misery and was able to brighten my spirits by showing me the first shoots of new life inside her greenhouse. As a side note: Lisa is an amazing flower gardener and does some amazing and gorgeous things with flowers. For some great inspiration from Lisa, checkout some of the clips that are available from their show or Freedom Farms Magazine.

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After coming back from Pittsburgh, I was able to put together some lists of records and start planting.

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Writing for the Freedom Farms magazine challenged me to spend some time coming up with articles that gave potting a new twist (just like the twisted grass in the globe pots I made that resemble my unbrushed hair!). To make these, just up-cycle an old globe, slit it in half, drill holes for drainage, and plant inside before attaching rope for hanging,

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Last summer I was able to burn out a stump and turn it into a flower bed.

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Burning out a tree takes a lot of time, and in my case one very heated argument…. but I liked the end result!

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Last year I recycled old bottles that had labels I liked and used them as vases. The price is right to reuse them. This gave me a great inspiration to buy bottles of wine that had horses on the labels, I mean, I bought them for my flowers, right?

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When it comes time to fill buckets with bouquets to take to the co-op for market, I am in my zone!

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This year I will have new colors and plants to work with. I am really looking forward to seeing what I come up with. My hope for this post was that it provided some inspiration to think creatively, and most importantly, encourage you to get out and get your hands in the dirt. Happy gardening and don’t forget to get lots of dirt on your hands!

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Hope Springs

 

By Mary

Spring is here after a long and very cold winter. When I first felt that balmy spring winds stir up and circle around me, I let them blow through my hair. It was freeing to feel the gusts of wind as they blew over the brown landscape and danced with me near brush and upturned soil on a warm March afternoon.

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Ever since the first spring winds came upon me many more have come. Spring brings such a wonderful feeling of new life along with colors and noise that have been absent for so long. There is a certain harvest that comes with spring, and it’s much different than a summer or fall harvest. Spring’s bountiful harvest is one of hope.

Hope springs from beauty and spring is full of beauty. Getting outside and into the spring sunshine is an amazing gift full of welcome sights and tasks. Below are some of my favorite things to do and see in the spring.

Who doesn’t love daffodils in the spring? There is nothing quite like the first blooms of the season.

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Before most blossoms come though, there is much work to be done. Unbeknownst to me, Clare took this picture while I was working on getting a bed ready for snapdragons and statice. I encouraged her to come help me…but her interest in digging up mounds of dirt seemed to be surprisingly lacking.

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Spring coincides with lambing. I love lambs and am known for my habit of collecting orphan ones. This little guy is named Paschal. That seemed like the right name for the ram lamb that I picked up on Holy Saturday.

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Easter is a glorious time of year. Here is Paschal on Easter Sunday with a cousin and my nephew and niece. I swear to God he isn’t dead in my nephews exuberant arms. The level of commotion may not have thrilled him though. Doesn’t Thaddeus look like a perfect shepherd boy?

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The cows at the ranch have started calving this spring. My brothers and I were out moving them with the horses the other week. It’s amazing to be out riding my horse again. He’s on the comeback from a major injury that he suffered last August. But he seems to be as able and athletic as ever. Patrick enjoyed his morning coffee before cows got checked for pregnancy. I bet he felt very office-like and corporate during this coffee break.

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I could make mention of so many other things that I Iove about spring. But really, why do so when I can go outside and let the balmy winds of springs toss my hair into the air? Happy Spring to all of you reader. Enjoy it to the fullest!

Indian Nights

By: Clare

Spring is turning to summer, brown is returning to green, and the world is glorious again. This was the case last Sunday night, as a warm breeze softly caressed the seemingly endless fields along our high hilltop home. My parents were away in Dallas attending my older brother’s college graduation, and  Mary and I were left to ourselves for a weekend. This got old quite fast, and so we eagerly agreed to babysitting our nieces and nephew. Someone came up with the idea to play Indians, which seemed like the perfect game for three wild children to play. First, the proper wardrobe and makeup were needed.

Adeline chose her dress carefully. It may not have fit very well with the Indian theme, but it definitely worked with the Adeline theme..which is DRAMATIC.

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Claire fit perfectly into the Indian dress Mary was as a girl, handmade by our “crafty” mother.

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We couldn’t resist putting Thaddeus in Robert’s old Indian boy outfit. And of course, Indian war paint was completely necessary.

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Watch out. He’s feisty.

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While Thaddeus went with the tough guy attitude, Claire stayed in a more melancholic mood.

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I can’t wait for summer and more Indian nights.

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Sunlight and Forsythia

by Kate

In this grey stone city, the forsythia has burst forth into belated flame.

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It’s difficult to trust the thaw after such a slow and frozen spring, but if the peach blossoms can open to the new warmth so can I.

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Goodbye, socks. Hello, swing.

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Hello, sun. So good to see you again.

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Thank goodness we can leave the huge heaps of coats and sweaters at home when we head out into the city.

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The sunlight opens wide the great world outside our tiny home. I can’t wait to explore it.

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Slow Spring

By: Mary

Though this is just a mason jar filled with last fall’s jam:

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to me- it a vessel filled with the sweetness of summertime. Since making jam last September and October, the supply has slowly been consumed with the exception of one jar that I held on to. That is, until the other night when I used it as a substitute in a blackberry cobbler that my niece requested for her First Communion party.

I don’t usually hoard jam. The problem is that after 6 month of winter I am reluctant to believe that soon enough I will have fresh produce and fruit to use again.

I know I believe in God, and the Blessed Mother, and heaven and hell…. but I am not so sure I believe in spring anymore! This week has brought on more snow and ice. It’s less than amusing to be having to use windshield wipers to clear off snow and heat my car to thaw off the ice that coats it on early Ridge mornings. On Thursday I went to Tractor Supply to pickup more pellets for my pellet stove and was told they were out of them. What the heck? Hello we are still in the midst of a 6 month winter…. I say that with snappy assurance after having been on a long Saturday run with a winter stocking cap on my head this very afternoon.

This morning I showed my god-daughter how to make flowers out of egg cartons while Clare finished off the rest of the jam with some pancakes.

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The jam is gone and egg carton flowers are this spring’s April substitute for fresh blooms.

But next month…

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Might just be a good time for daffodils and apple blossoms

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and kites

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and dabbling with sheep

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and coveting how adorable they are as lambs,

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and of course, digging in the garden and fields.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALife will bloom soon enough under sunny spring rays,

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but until then I’m hoping the Tractor Supply will keep getting shipments of wood-burning pellets, because this is one slow spring.

This Spring

By: Clare

Sorry. It’s been quite a while hasn’t it. But, NO, actually, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth. Because that’s impossible. Some old genius with a big long beard proved it. At least that’s what they’ve taught me in school. School. That’s what I’ve been doing. And homework too. And lots of other things….like checking up on this very blog while I’m sitting in the computer lab supposedly working away on my research paper. School.

I’ve also been been outside.

I’ve been observing…..

Last spring, the plum trees bloomed in May.

This spring, the scent of plum blossoms has already begun to permeate our garden….and its only April!

Last spring’s tulips…

and last spring’s daffodils…

Can’t seem to compete with this year’s….

Last year our family celebrated spring with a familiar friend…

This spring, we celebrate with a new friend.

And this spring, I’m learning to appreciate beauty and change, and the joys of life.

Have a blessed Easter, everyone.

-Clare-

It’s The Little Things In Life That Make Us Rich

By: Mary

On Tuesday I had to return lamb replacer at the Tractor Supply store in Viroqua, WI. After the return was accepted, I decided that I would look around for just a teensy non-purchasing bit. I made it past the flower bulb and seed displays, and the tack isle, and even past the stock tanks that held fuzzy goslings and newly hatched spring chicks. ” I am just looking, not buying” is what I kept telling myself. However, I caught sight of the shelves of rain boots and that that’s when the real non-purchasing test began. One specific pair of boots seemed to be saying to me “Mary Brigid, you really must, must, must(!) purchase me to accompany you on your summer adventures.

I told myself that I didn’t need them, because after all, I already bought a pair of gray rain boots with butterflies on them while in New
York city with Colleen back in January.

But the talking boots at Tractor Supply are size 7, have roosters on them, are strawberry colored, and they really, really seemed like they wanted ever so much to get a lot of mud, muck and dirt on them. So of course I ended up walking out of the store with the boots in my hands. Later I christened them while digging out burdock root in a pasture, raking the yard and garden, and sawing down a lilac.

I don’t regret the purchase, because after all- a girl can’t have too many pairs of rain boots.

It’s the simple things in life like rain boots that make my lifestyle rich. Rich for the discounted sum of $9.99 followed by a session of physical labor in the sun.

More on Mary’s love of rain boots here:

Sisters in the City (NYC Edition)

Rain Boots and Lambs at School