Thursday, June 9, 2011
Signs of spring
I realize that in many parts of the country (and rest of the northern hemisphere), it seems late for a "signs of spring" post, even though official summer is still a couple of weeks away. But around these parts, it still looks and feels very much like spring, even early spring - still raining (a lot!), often still cold (low 30's yesterday morning and our pellet stove ran during the day), and only recently leafing and blooming. For the past two weeks I've been taking photos of the local flowering activity and wanted to share some of the better ones with you before starting on my Colorado posts next week.
BW and I recently spent two busy and rather back-breaking, wrist-straining days cleaning out and weeding our front flowerbed, putting down new weed fabric, and then shoveling and raking 2 tons of washed gravel on it before redecorating it with some new stained glass solar lights, our turtle statuary, interesting wood pieces collected on hikes, some pretty rocks and a few other goodies not pictured here. I guess the daffodils, jonquils and tulips appreciated our efforts, because they bloomed just a few days later (despite the beatings they'd taken from snow, ice and wind while still in their bud stage)...
The jonquils were planted by a previous owner over two decades ago, but the daffodils and tulips were our doing. On a trip to The Netherlands in 1998, we visited breathtaking Keukenhof. Inspired by all the gorgeous flowers in Keukenhof's stunning setting, we stopped at one of their strategically placed kiosks where you can order bulbs that are shipped to you when it's the best time to plant them. Like most visitors to Keukenhof, we had heady and completely unrealistic visions of recreating their colorful gardens at home, a phenomenon the Keukenhof people clearly anticipate and understandably exploit. :-)
We've moved the bulbs a time or two, and may just dig a few of them up to take with us to our next house when the time comes since there are such fond memories attached to selecting them. The front flowerbed is a very challenging one for plants, since it gets almost no sun until the hottest part of the day and gets blasted by all the weather from the north and west. Native plants like the Three-Leaf Sumac and chokecherry, which have literally planted themselves there, do well, but we're proud of our intrepid little imported Dutch flowers!
I shared a couple of photos of some of Sheridan's flowering trees in a previous post, but here are several more...
Lacy, flowering apple trees on the library lawn
(BW at 6' tall provides a sense of scale!) :-)
I'm not sure if these are plum trees or young crabapples,
located behind Whitney Commons across from the library.
(That's one of my favorite houses in Sheridan beside them!)
Here are some more gorgeous blooming crabapples, all located across the street from each other. They've faded now, so I'm glad I captured them at the peak of their eye-popping color (just wish I could have captured their beautiful scent, too!)...
Crabapples on Big Horn Avenue
I love the comely shape of this one, as well as the color
The crabapples may be past their prime but the lilacs have just reached theirs, and after all the rain we've had they are the most abundant and beautiful we've ever seen. I could fill several posts with pictures of the prettiest lilacs in town, but neither my schedule nor the weather have cooperated for photography yet so I've only taken a few so far...
These lilacs, still a week away from their blooming peak,
were still lovely, as is the Victorian house behind them.
(Taken on West Loucks St)
I took these next two photos just yesterday, in another of Sheridan's historic Victorian neighborhoods, "Residence Hill." These old lilacs sit on two corners of the same lawn, at the entrance to the Linden Stairs ~ a long, steep set of wooden stairs that climb up to Residence Hill from a neighborhood below. (I took this photo of BW and the view from the top of the Linden Stairs yesterday, but the stairs are most impressive when viewed from below; a photo I'll attempt to get tomorrow)...
The neighborhood was perfumed with the scent of lilacs.
Not a perfect specimen,
but its color more than makes up for it!
I took this one the day after publishing this post and can't resist squeezing it in. It's a huge old lilac on South Main Street just one house over from the courthouse. I wish more of the house showed, because it's a cool old turreted house that has always looked to us like it should be a bed & breakfast, but isn't. But when I took photos from the angle that showed more of the house, that tree to the left blocked most of the lilac ~ and afterall, this post is called signs of spring, not examples of architecture. ;-) ...
I took this one on the opposite part of town on June 1st, a good week before the height of lilac blooming season! This lilac is obviously an early bloomer who lives in a good spot...
Seriously, don't you wish these were scratch & sniff photos?
In non-flowering news, we're still trying to get back in the swing of things after getting home from Fort Collins Tuesday night, and trying to get a few more projects done during the final days of BW's vacation. On the house-selling front, nothing's happening. No showings for the past few weeks, so on the advice of our realtor and our own common sense, we're lowering our price since the housing market has deteriorated since our market analysis in early April. Hopefully our new Hurry won't last, low, low unbeatable price! will generate some showings and an offer (or two or three!), and help justify all the work we keep doing! Undaunted by the discouraging lack of showings, we've started looking at potential homes to buy. We looked at one in the beautiful Residence Hill neighborhood yesterday (which is how I got those particular lilac photos), just a hop-skip from the top of the Linden Stairs. It was a small, charming home built in 1940. A lot of lovely improvements had been made to it, but plenty more $tuff wa$ $till needed and we'd pretty much ruled it out when, just hours after we'd seen it, someone else made an offer on it. We're going to be looking at another house tomorrow, one that's under construction and nearing completion that we've had our eye on for a few months. It's on BW's route, so he's watched it being built and we've walked through it a few times already by ourselves. Their sheetrock guy always invites us in when he sees our noses pressed to the window. :-)
Anyway, we need to clean house, do laundry, run errands, dodge rainstorms to mow the lawn that went from park-like, freshly-mowed-and-trimmed to unruly jungle while we were gone, plant flowers in pots and squash in the garden, and hopefully refresh our memories on how to run the house-showing drill again soon. But between all those activities I plan to do several posts on our Colorado mini-vacation, because it was a perfect little vacation and I took lots of pictures! :-)
So until then, I hope you're enjoying what passes for spring in your neck of the woods (something other than flooding, fires, tornadoes, snow, heat waves or any other calamities!)
- INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
- MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
- MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
- ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
- QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
- THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
- THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
- THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
- THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.
~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"