Tuesday, October 16, 2018

A pussy willow drawing

My last few posts on Places of the Spirit have been about doing some drawing at home -- along with a few sketches.  

It's nice to tip-toe back into drawing and watercolor - an aspiration for many years, but something that I just didn't do, unless I took a class of some sort. 

It's been fun.

After a quick partial clean-up of the front meadow, I thought, well why not a quick sketch, too.

Often taking just a little time to do something is all the encouragement that's needed.  A dried pussy willow stem was my sketch this afternoon.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Some thoughts about Vancouver a year ago

I was checking on seasonal posts from last October and was reminded that we'd just returned from Vancouver at this time last year.

Here are the thoughts I shared on Places of the Spirit.

And a reminder of the full moon view from Cambie Bridge.

View from Cambie Bridge

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Time in Quebec

Thinking about the Northern Appalachians, a search here for "a house in Quebec" brought up so many good memories.

I've just written more about this on a post in Places of the Spirit:  Thinking about the Northern Appalachians.  It's a place that's compelling, as I think about visiting for a month or so this winter, and then returning in the summer and fall.

At the table in the living room

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Many more monarchs

An abundance of monarchs deserves a repeat post, at least a link from here Our Asheville neighborhood is currently graced with multiple monarchs nectaring on Mexican sunflower, Buddleia, and Zinnia.

A nectaring monarch
My post in Places of the Spirit continues the story.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Back to gardening

This post, in Places of the Spirit, about gardening again, a plant mystery and raised beds to tend is pertinent here.

It started out as a reflection about gardening as a practice, but detoured into an investigation of apparently sorrel seedlings.

This link describes the mystery.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Sightings of multiple monarchs

On our neighbor's butterfly bushes, we saw upwards of 20 monarchs nectaring over two days in a row.  How exciting!

Here was my post about it in Places of the Spirit, my new blog.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Another venture into drawing

I wrote about trying to capture a wonderful wildflower-rich view last summer in a practice drawing in Places of the Spirit (my new daily post blog).

It's equally meaningful here, too.

Here's the link.  Just click through if you're interested.

Friday, September 28, 2018

A welcome Rudbeckia

It's been great to have a volunteer Rudbeckia (it looks like fulgida) along the front path.

It's flowering much later than all of the other Rudbeckias in the front garden; they're glorious in mid-summer;  in full flower now, this individual is brightening the house side of the pocket meadow, accompanying the aromatic asters (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) that are signature late-flowering plants in early fall.  The goldenrods are fading now, so the bumblebees and other flower visitors have switched to the asters.

I haven't had a chance yet to edit the pocket meadow for a variety of reasons, but am looking forward to tweaking its exuberance here and there.  The Joe-Pye is looking wan and there are seedlings of Silphium and Vernonia to pull, too.  Not to mention the morning glory vines rambling on the edges of the front garden (where I squeeze out the car door stepping into flopped-over, but still lovely, Salvia guarantica).

The rhythms of the seasons are always pleasing;  there's now a bit of coolness in the air in the morning, while the afternoons remain (a bit unseasonably) warm and humid. But there are hints of color here and there, foreshadowing more color to come.

I went on to post this in Places of the Spirit, as I continued to think about seasonal patterns.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Migration of ruby-throated hummingbirds

Hummingbird visiting Campsis at Biltmore Estate
This business of having two blogs is a bit of a paradox. I'm trying to post daily on my new blog: Places of the Spirit, but on topics like this, it seems more normal to be here, on my long-running blog that encompasses observations about nature and gardening.

So, here's a link to my migration post on Places of the Spirit.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Revisiting local markets and local food

Market in Vietiane, Laos
I've been fascinated by outdoor markets of all types for many years; moving to California for graduate school in the mid-70's introduced me to the diversity of the produce available in the SF Bay Area.  The Monterey Market, especially,  and the Berkeley Bowl were iconic places at the time.

I had my first brussels sprouts, among other delicious things there!  I've now experienced all sorts of "new" vegetables over the last decades, some of which I've enjoying growing (yard-long beans and amaranth, for example).

The subject of today's post on Places of the Spirit revisited some posts about "markets" on this blog. 

Click through to read it, if you'd like.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Gardening as restoration

I just posted this piece on my new blog, Places of the Spirit.   It really belongs here too, since I revisit two posts that I made: one this summer and one over a decade ago.

Our new garden in Quebec to restore and transform to a native one

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The nocturnal symphony

We both noticed how few insects of any sort were evident in Germany.  Very few pollinators, even when suitable flowers were present.

We chalked it up (initially) to being in a much more urban environment in Freiburg, but it was true in the countryside, both in the vineyards and in the Schwarzwald.  Europe is much less biodiverse than North America because of glaciation, but it still seemed quiet.

A full moon from years ago
So it was nice to come back to the nocturnal symphony that's part of our evenings in the Southeastern U.S.  Field crickets, katydids, cicadas, and tree frogs all form part of the chorus as the evening progresses.

We missed the lightning beetles earlier in the summer -- they're part of the Southeastern U.S. summer, too.

A search on "nocturnal symphony" in past posts brought up quite a few hits. 

When I was still at the botanical garden as an educator, I did full moon night hikes;  the nocturnal symphony was always something that I interpreted.

So it's special here, to hear the night rhythms, played out by insects, amphibians, and occasional birds and mammals,

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

An overgrown garden

Well, another month away without the gardeners, with LOTS of rain -- of course, the garden is overgrown.  But the pocket meadow is lush (hey, it could be parched) and the overall impression isn't too bad.

Aromatic aster and Verbena are in flower.

I've been averting my eyes as I squeeze my car into the much smaller driveway space and step out into the Salvia gauranitica that's flopping over.  Thankfully, the Solidago 'Fireworks' is in flower now, so I'm distracted by its attractiveness (and the hordes of flower visitors).

Solidago 'Fireworks'
 Ditto for the vegetable beds. 

The chard plants, planted the day before we left, are huge, thanks to the rain and the organic fertilizer I added while planting, I guess.  My chard is usually much smaller, but I liberally applied the Espoma, too, finishing off a containter.  I'm usually quite stingy with it.

The parsley and herbs have flourished, too.  The sage in the deep bed in the back is a monster.  Yikes! The cabbage whites have happily defoliated most of the kale and broccoli plants (of course), but so it goes.  You can see an example to the left of the large chive clump.  Sigh.  Even the ones that I put wire cloches over were munched.  The morning glory vines and the climbing rose on the trellises in back look awful.  Oh, well.

Thyme, parsley, chives, oregano. rosemary and sage: looking robust
 Thankfully, this won't be a huge job to shape up, but I have lots of other things to do in the next two weeks, too, including doing 4 presentations (as a volunteer).  It's really all good, as they're favorite presentations (about native woodland gardens, pocket meadows, and native plants).  And I've been away so much this last year, I wanted to cluster my classes and talks during times that I knew I would be here after all!

Friday, September 14, 2018

A reminder from the past: pilgrimage

I wrote about pilgrimage and coming home from Germany a little over six years ago:  the post talked about Jakobsweg and pilgrimage paths

I had a strong sense of pilgrimage then, in particular, as I was thinking about what to do next as I reduced my work hours.

So, it was interesting to spot this hiker this afternoon carrying a traditional scallop emblem on his pack (just like the one St. Jakob held in the sculpture shown in the above post).

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