Friday, April 18, 2014

Collect moments

Spring is the time of year when we venture out into the air, to lay claim to the season, capturing moments with our camera, to imprint on our memories. 
I loved this quote so much that I decided to make my own version with a shot I took recently. It’s a interesting reminder that moments can be as tangible as physical things in our lives.   
Collect moments
The beginning of spring
Brilliant sharp sunshine hides undertones of green, reflecting brown, hoping for sun.  The color spectrum opposite the soft golden hazy tones of Autumn, it pierces the senses, sparkles the eyes. Drink it in, a fresh glass of green.
Deep blue is the color nature has painted the virtual ceiling of her outdoor rooms walled in bare trees, mountains, sunsets.
White fluffy mounds of cumulous clouds dot the sky like discarded armfuls of tulle at a bridal store. Water sparkles hang elegantly on still bare branches, jewellery courtesy of spring.

Tweets over twigs
Still silence layered with the vociferous call of the birds, the noises of spring waking are simultaneously a sensory overload, and a balm for the soul. Don’t cover your ears, it’s only for a moment, and then gone, flitting past our future, hiding in summer.
Branches bare their souls
The darkness of branches solemnly line the back roads, white bark fresh from a winters cleansing.
Promises held in tiny green buds, shyly peeking out and waiting for their cue, like little ballerinas fidgeting in the wings.  
Wet feet of bushes soaking in ditches, giving off a scent of earthy, funky, stagnant air. Green moss growing northward, while clear puddles reflect ceilings of blue.

Green shoots

Giant ghosts in the sky
The soft sweep of a raven’s wings, nothing more then a whisper of silk drawn over skin, your ears strain to hear as it goes by. It’s a sound only caught when you are still, soft, subtle air over feathers.
Movement overhead brings eyes sharply to the sky, only to blink at the brightness.  Shadows of a dark bird criss cross hearts and make them sing. 

Spring feathers

Fulfilled purpose
Discarded feathers, gathered, a costume no longer needed by the occupants.  Finished, they have done their work, given flight, and warmth. Plucked to line a nest precariously perched on a branch, fluttered down from a high tree, barely missed, shedded without concern, each one a treasure. 
Curating in moments, following natures design. 
Murky shadows
Gathering together one last time for the night, flooding the darkening garden masses of quail visit as the lights come on inside the window, darting shadows flickering beyond the curtains edging the glass. Pecking, scratching, turning leaves, picking, clucking, chasing.  Sudden movements that would delight the cat should he not be snoring on a lap. The minutes move forward, the sky darkens while fur, and feathers retire for the night, satiated.
A brilliantly hued pheasant patrols his territory in the gathering dusk with a trilling drawn out scream of anger that would fit into any horror movie.  Smitten with his image in the shiny bumpers of vehicles he preens and fluffs, showing off for no one but his reflection. He keeps one eye on his dour mud colored sister wives who conveniently ignore his parading, while continuing to gobble a late night snack before slipping away, claiming headaches.

Spring ginko leaves

Garden treasures
In the daylight, shovels of turned soil in the garden point out rocks that shine like gold for the briefest of seconds, in dark moist holes soon to be home to a new plants.  Tender green shoots pour out of mixture only days before barren, hiding ice. Springing up in places forgotten, shifting large mounds of dirt, spears pushing towards the light signify plants that made it through the winter’s cold.
Waning sunbeams pursued with the lens, glide through the greening grass, skims down the ragged bark of the fir tree. A sparkle of light through dark branches shows the sun falling into the mountains. Days done, moments caught, collection filled.
Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams
MBD 2014 Spring posting 


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring opens shop

We’re excited to finally see a new store front around here in the Okanagan.  It’s small, but we have big hopes for it’s growth in the coming weeks. 

There isn’t much in the way of merchandise yet, some tiny green shoots, a scant few blossoms, but we can be patient a little while longer.  When all that has been available is brown stalks, grey days, and cold…along with the white stuff…seeing anything beautiful for sale gets your heart pumping faster.

If you have waited for over 7 months to see flowers, every day is a long one until they show.

But since Spring moved into town, there is renewed hope that there are going to be some changes in the landscape.

It’s a robust store, we remember the last time it opened up here, with fanfare, and birdsong, sunny skies.  I think the town even held a parade, and so it should, it’s not every day that spring opens up.  

But when she does, it’s worth making a visit, because she does it with class, and showmanship.

She flings open the front doors of her shop, artfully arranges the merchandise on the lawns, spilling over into the fields, the gardens, and the hills.  She’s a master at tweaking a branch here, and a bud there.  

Encouraging even the most stubborn of plants lazy in their dormancy to produce something to showcase in celebration.

Each day there is something new to see, it’s not all revealed at one time, and it keeps us coming back.  Spring’s a savvy business person, a shopkeeper who has developed the eye for what pleases the heart, and knows who will be willing to purchase it.

With the opening of Spring’ new shop comes a busy time for everyone, it’s inspired us to tackle the cleaning, tidying, and pruning.  There are neighbours popping out of their hidey hole houses to rake the lawns, some are even mowing the grass.  

Branches are cut, plants are transplanted, trucks scurry back and forth to the dump with garden waste.

The sweet tweets of the birds call from the branches, there are more feathers and fusses to watch. Territories are won and lost in minutes, when the bigger birds come and take it over, king of the castle until a larger bird shows up.  

The deep ribbet of the tree frogs, so tiny they fit on your fingernail, echo across the lawns.  Babbooom, bibbet, Babbbooom, bibbet, you can search and look, but you can rarely see them.

It’s spring, time to finish your indoor chores as fast as you can, and hurry out the door.  It doesn’t last long here, soon it will be hot, and summer will have moved in.  There are gardens to be cleaned, branches to be trimmed, grass to be thatched, leaves to be raked, water hoses and gardens to be prepared. 

It seems as if there are more chores then minutes in a day, and we always feel like we are falling behind.  The fresh air is delightful, the sun shines beautifully against the “oh my they need a good wipe” windows and everyone is enraptured by the beauty of Spring’s wares. 

I hear that She is having a sale at her shop…I have to get some new flowers to spruce it up around here.   I want to check out her shrubs, maybe she has some early flowering ones, the violas should be out now, and the seed potatoes are coming in soon…

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

5 Lessons from my garden

I’ve always loved to garden, and I hope that I always will be able to keep it up.  It’s not just the joy of seeing new shoots in the spring, it’s watching the bones of the garden appear in the winter, catching a falling leaf in the fall.  Harvesting veggies in the summer.
Muddy Boot Dreams 5 lessons from my garden
I have hazy childhood memories of wooden rulers laid on soft dirt, dusty strings tied between wooden stakes marking rows, dried hard yellow corn kernels pushed into the soil at the 6 inch mark, dirty fingertips, red metal trowel with the holes in the handle.
Building my first water feature at 8 with turquoise tobacco tins, and a favourite gummy pink skipping rope.  Wondering how to make the water stay longer in the porous soil as it quickly disappeared each time.
My teenaged attempt at a building a haphazard lean-to greenhouse constructed out of old plastic tarps, and two by fours, with huge black ants undeterred by my creativity, carving out their own highway running along the fence top.  My Mom told me the neighbours complained, but I doubt it…it was just ugly.
A corner garden so densely planted the weeds never had a chance, it produced more then just a abundance of fresh vegetables.  It helped set the stage to sell our house on a golden, long shadowed summer evening.  The prospective owners falling in love with the romantic sight of our orange tabby sunny herself in between rows of lime green lettuce.
Lessons my garden has taught me, some hard, some easy to learn, all of them valuable to me.
  • The sense of loss when a cherished plant doesn’t make it through the winter will be tempered by the joy of welcoming back those that did. Winter like life is unpredictable, make the most of it while you have it.
  • Learn to be patient, things will grow, despite the harsher climate up here, good things take time.
  • Soil is the most important thing in your garden, if it’s poor, nothing will flourish.  Spend your money, and your time and effort on that first, all else will come from it.
  • Buy the best tools you can afford, as in life, you get what you pay for, quality is priceless compared to cheap, and short lived.
  • The best plants are those gifted to you by another gardener.  A piece of their heart is in the roots, the soil is infused with good memories as the plant thrives.
Not to put off until tomorrow that which I should have done today.
MBD White Lilac
I learned from experience that young weeds are easier to pull, and will come out easier after a rain. Those old adages do have strength in our modern times. 
Crushed up egg shells will add calcium to a tomato plant, resulting in better fruit, and when sprinkled on the top of the soil deter slugs and snails.
Wear garden gloves, wash your hands, and your veggies before you eat them, soil has pathogens in it that can make you sick, where did you think manure comes from?  
Get a tetanus shot, and a booster every 10 years, it’s one of the nastiest diseases around why take that chance. They don’t call it lockjaw for nothing.
The list is longer then the 5 lessons I’ve learned, it’s like a garden, always growing.  If you have a good hint, or lesson that you have learned from your garden, be sure to mention them in your comments.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Taking the edge off

It’s getting harder to see where I am going as I weave, and stagger slowly around the front yard.  My stomach is growling, and my muscles are starting to protest, blurry eyes can barely focus enough to see detail in the darkening sky, I think I am starting to see double.
MBD collage Bootsie and garden
There is a early spring mosquito dementedly buzzing around my legs which is annoying enough to make me swat at it clumsily, and I look up as my husband calls out from the front doors to see if I will finally come inside.
“Come inside, he calls, you are done for the day, you are going to fall down.”
“Just one more swig, I mean slice,” I tell him, and head facing down, neatly slice the smallest sliver of grass off of the edge of the garden bed that I have been working on for the last few hours.  The new progress lens in my glasses tend to shift my vision when I move my head and the sudden distortion makes me stagger a bit. 
What?  Now did you really think I was out there doing, drinking? In the front yard?
I’m out there taking the edge off of the garden beds, it’s like snacking on a alluring cheesecake sitting on the counter, each tiny piece is taken stealthily, until suddenly the sliver turns into a big gap.
It’s only when you stop and stand back to look for a moment, that you will notice every mistake in the curve, the angle just not quite right, the line slightly crooked.
Which forces you to snitch another slice of the cheesecake, I mean garden bed.
Bleeding heart collage
Unlike the delicious cheesecake which cannot be put back together once it’s eaten, grass is more forgiving.  So you tried to create a curve, where there shouldn’t have been one, no problem, just tamp the sod back into place, water it, and wait.  Soon it all grows back again, and you can redo it to your hearts content.
We bought this house from lovely people, but I don’t think they were gardeners, granted they did what they could, and it’s not easy to garden up here.  But placing a plant at the end of each stream of water coming from the previously inadequate sprinkler system is not how I would decide to design a garden.
So I’m making a few changes…a shrub chopped down here, a plant moved away from the foundation there, a new tree here, and so on.  Each new owner will make changes, after us, and I am under no illusion that the next ones will want to “spruce it up a bit” when we move…oh in about 20 years.  But that’s for later, for now, I have a edge to take off, the swoop of the front garden bed isn’t quite to my liking.
Now if you will excuse me, it’s getting too dark to see, and I need to stagger out there again and finish it off.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams
Canadian Eh?  I’ve got a new feature in my “pages,” Canadian bloggers whom I read, and/or are followers of this blog are now linked and featured.  Please take a moment to check to make sure you’re URL is there, and let me know if I did miss anyone.
And if you are not Canadian…eh?  Take a moment anyways to check out some great Canadian content the far north is a great place to be a blogger.