BLACKSTONE RIVER AND CANAL IN MAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Bridge and canal in May

We had just enough sunshine to get out of the house and down to the canal. About an hour in total.

Reflections in the water. You can see the fallen pollen from the oak trees floating on the water

A quiet day with the river shining like glass. May telling me that summer really is here … or nearly so.

Peaceful

GOOD MORNING – MEMORIAL DAY IN THE U.S. – Marilyn Armstrong

Unlike most other American holidays, we retain a bit of respect for a day that honors veterans of our many wars. The cemeteries will be full of flags and visitors.

Otherwise, this is “grill your meat” day. It is the official opening of summer. Everything closed all winter opens on Memorial Day.

Macro Begonia

I have a problem with grilling insofar as we don’t own a grill. Well, we do, sort of. A tiny hibachi which uses charcoal. The amount of labor required to cook two hamburgers on a hibachi exceeds any joy we might get from eating them, so I think I’ll cook normally. Finally, I understand why gas grills have become so popular.

Flick, it’s on. No lighting the charcoal and waiting until it finally gets to the right color … and then waiting for it all to chill down so you can figure out what to do with the ashes. (Answer? Put them in the garden; they make a pretty good fertilizer.)

Tomorrow isn’t supposed to be a nice day. Grey and chilly like today, though we might get a little bit of sunshine. Hard to know. By Wednesday, summer will make another appearance.

We used to give barbecues in the summer. When we were younger. When I could still get from the deck to the lawn without a chair lift. For that matter, when Garry could get from the lawn to the deck on those long, steep stairs.

If the sun comes out, maybe I’ll take some pictures. Otherwise … it’s will be another Monday. Holidays don’t pack the same oomph they had when we were working.

When every day is a “day off,” a three-day holiday is another day off, but with a lot more traffic.

AS DOES THE GARDEN GROW – Marilyn Armstrong

The columbine are starting to bloom and I got pictures, but they aren’t fully open yet. After yesterday’s rain, everything is covered with drops of rain. And it’s pretty muddy.

Bunches more wild strawberries popping up everywhere and the rhododendrons look happy and healthy.

After cutting back the roses, the rhododendrons are looking very happy. It’s amazing how fast everything is growing right now.

Dryopteris filix – Common fern
Lilacs and there are more, but … it’s raining
Flowering cherry near the dam in town

And a few not fully opened Columbine (just a few more days and they will be amazing).

And of course, the deck …

Geranium
Begonia

Flowers of my week

WHICH WAY IN THE MONTH OF MAY – Marilyn Armstrong

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge

Take a walk along the river. It’s a lovely day!
The steps lead all the way down to the ground alongside the river and under the bridge.

The weather has been really lovely for the past few days and I managed to get out of the house with a camera. Not for any kind of long shoot, but for a few minutes here and there.

Come on outside!
Just walk on down the drive!

Today I went to the dentist and when I got there, realized I’d forgotten to take my antibiotics. You have to take them to have your teeth done if you have an artificial heart valve — and I have two of them.

My path into the woods. I built it years ago and it has grown over, but you can see the path.
A walk in the park on a lovely day!

But we were parked next to the dam and the trees were blooming. And, as it happened, I had a camera.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG, FINALLY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

It’s finally spring in New England. We can safely move the snow blower out of the garage and back into the shed for storage.

It’s warm enough to put plants out on the patio and not have to worry about a rogue frost killing them all. It’s also just the right temperature to sit on the deck, It’s not too cold and not too hot. And the bugs are not in full attack mode yet.

I can still hear the water rushing in the nearby stream. The heat of summer will dry up the water and silence the stream. The birds are also adding their voices to the outdoor symphony of spring. So it sounds as glorious out there as it looks.

The dogs love to join me outside. They lie down near me or wander around sniffing all the wonderful smells of nature in bloom.

We just built our patio about five years ago. Ironically, as beautiful and bucolic as it is, we have found that we are rarely out there. Except for Tom, who grills there almost every night we’re at home. The problem is that once boating season starts, we spend most nice days on the boat. We also do most of our entertaining at the marina as well.

So there are two small windows for me to enjoy this lovely setting. Early spring and late fall, when we are not always on the boat.

I think maybe this summer I’ll make sure to spend some more time out in my little oasis in the woods. The marina is relaxing and beautiful, but so is my own backyard. After all, there’s no place like home!

GARDEN REPORT – Marilyn Armstrong

I fear we shall not see daffodils or tulips this year. Nonetheless, other flowers are blooming, or soon will be. It will not be a flowerless year. We are missing some of the early spring bulbs, but they will probably come back next year.

Because I’ve planted so many wildflowers, we have an abundance of them. I love wildflowers and always have. More than that, wildflowers are hardy — far more than garden flowers. Since I don’t have the energy to nurture delicate plants, I’m glad I dug up dozens of day lilies and put them in the garden. They will find a way to bloom. Although they are actually not native to this region, they have become a very common. They grow everywhere, in woods and along the roads throughout New England. I think their original home was in China or northern Asia.

The Solomon’s Seal is local. It was used medicinally and as food by native Americans. I just find it lovely. When I found a few of them in our woods, I moved them to a sunnier location where they bloom like mad, even this year, though they are not as big as they usually get. I think they started growing rather late.

Budding lilacs a the very top of a tall tree. These are not bushes. Much too big for that. These are lilac trees!

Among other amazing things, we actually managed to get one some lilacs. They are the pale light lavender flowers, not the dark French ones.

The trees on which they grow are not in good shape.

This is a very old lilac tree and was probably here before this house was built. There was another house here before this one. Sometimes, you can see the corner of what was probably its basement out in the woods. The lilac was from that early house’s planting. Bet it was located by the kitchen. It used to be lucky to have a lilac bloom near the kitchen.

During the past three winters, it has been hit be at several falling trees. Another one got it in March. I need a chain saw to cut out the dead wood. With a little luck,  we might get new shoots from the ground up.

Wild strawberries

I am optimistic about the day lilies. There are dozens and dozens of stems, so I think they will bloom.

Mayflowers, another wild local flower

All the wild violets are brightly purple and I found two wild strawberry flowers. There is also a lot of columbine coming up and the roses look pretty healthy.

We will have a garden this year. Not quite the same garden we usually have, but a pretty garden.

Holly

There’s a white rhododendron already blooming and a second big pink bud almost ready to pop.

The holly is sending forth oodles of baby berries. Considering that holly is known as a Christmas flower, it’s interesting it blooms early in spring. By Christmas, all the berries have been eaten by birds. I have to get  my Christmas pictures in late May and June.

Common fern growing under the deck steps

Finally, there are the ferns. We have the most common of the ferns, literally known as “common ferns.” They are everywhere in the woods and wherever there is shade, they just show up. They grow under the steps to the deck, too and I like them, so I let them grow. In the fall, they all turn bright yellow and orange and make the woods beautiful. Sometimes, their colors are so rich they don’t look like real plants, but rather as if they were painted. Right now, they are just green … but they are back for another season.

HIGHLY UNLIKELY AND DEFINITELY ABRUPT- Marilyn Armstrong

WordPress Photo Challenge – UNLIKELY

Also, Abrupt!


Yesterday it was cold and rainy and they promised today would be better. Not merely is it better.

Old hawk’s nest high in the oak tree

It’s just BEAUTIFUL. Warm, sunny, with a very light breeze. Spring arrived. Finally. I don’t know for how long it plans to stay. We’ve been teased before, but maybe this time, it’s the real deal.

Budding oak woods. You can see the damage from all the storms.
The budding of the oaks

Abrupt? Well … yesterday I was seriously considering turning up the heat and today, I’m thinking “air conditioner.” Is that abrupt enough?

Gate, from inside the yard
My carefully cropped front gate from outside … and Duke, of course.

We are not yet blooming, except for our forsythia which are in urgent need of trimming back. They are finally so big, they barely bloom at all.

Just about to bloom Japanese maple

They are huge and if not cut back soon, I think may march right into the house and take up residence here along with the flowers and dogs and us.

Inside, looking onto the deck. I’d open the doors, but Duke would be through that screen in a nanosecond.

I should mention that you really should wear shoes if you are going to walk on the path recently clipped of thorny roses. Ouch!