Archive | January, 2012

My Yard, Dressed for Fall

23 Jan

Today, I was going through my phone, moving and deleting pictures, and came across a group of fall color pictures.  I took them while we were blowing out the sprinkler system.  My job is watching the last sprayer or dripper on a line to be done dripping while Michael has to hold the air compressor hose at the start of the line.  This takes a while, but I get to move around where Michael is just stuck where he is.  I amused myself by playing photographer, having the best intentions to use them in a blog post when they were freshly taken.  Ah well, fall is also marching band season, a super busy time for a band mom. 

It was fun remembering how vivid the colors were, especially in the midst of a grey and taupe time of year.  And so, I invite you to marinate in the warm hues of my autumnal landscape.

Let’s start with the only crabapple that survived the spring frost…three crabapple trees, one crabapple.

These are Mexican Sunflowers.  This plant changes its position each year–resulting in a yearly re-do of the drip system to adjust for sprinklers to get around this tall, tall plant.

I have two hedge maples; they have a weird corky bark and are the last trees to turn color each year.  When they drop their leaves, you can see the sparrow nests–two or three in each tree–sparrow condos!

My ginnala clump maple turns bright purple overnight and drops all of its leaves just a couple days later.  You can see the majority of the leaves already on the ground, creating a violet skirt in the grass.

This aspen is so happy.  It shouldn’t be, aspens hate growing here in the valley.  It never gets as golden as a mountain aspen, but it tries.

I worked all the way to the closing day at the Greenhouse this year.  I’m such a sucker for bloomy things; I couldn’t resist the cheery color of this mum.

Or these.

Meet  the autumn purple ash.  It’s a baby tree and this is the first year I’ve seen it change color.  It has so few leaves, that it seems to turn and drop in a matter of hours.

I planted this cottonwood 14 or 15 years ago.  It was just a rooted stick we got from a friend then.  Now it’s home to a family of orioles every summer; they build their hanging pocket nest way up at the tippy top of the tree.

And finally, my favorite picture.  How beautiful are strawberries after a frost?

I think it would be fun to take pictures of every season.  I’ll wait for a warmish day and look for something interesting hidden in the grey and taupe.  Then I’ll come in and warm up with a cup of coffee while I blog (in a more timely fashion).

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Where I’m From

21 Jan

With the recent passing of my Mom, I’ve been immersing myself in memories, keeping her alive in my heart.  We didn’t always get along or agree on things, but Mom is the single biggest influence on who I am.  Some years ago, I assigned my students to write a poem with a particular structure–The “Where I’m From” poem.  Even though they have a set format, they are cathartic and beautiful.  I wrote one as an example, and came across it just this week.  Great memories of Mom here.

I am from clothes on the line and starched collars, from a 7-Up bottle with a sprinkling lid, wetting wrinkles out of my dad’s shirts and Mom’s capris.

I am from a banister, sliding down with my sister when my parents weren’t looking.

I’m from the smell of mock orange in the spring, its pretty white petals like snow when seen from the branches of the climbing tree.

I am from a gang of kids playing cowboys and indians through the alleys, splashing barefoot through puddles and feeding breadcrumbs to ducks at the park.

I am from cornflakes with banana slices in Grandma’s kitchen, the fins of Grandpa’s tan Chevy, and their fancy aluminum Christmas tree.

I am from wait til your father gets home, from I’m your mother, that’s why.

I’m from fudge cooled in the snow, entire pans of Rice Crispy Treats eaten in front of The Partridge Family and sauerbraten with gingersnap gravy.

I am from First Communion, Confirmation and Christmas Midnight Mass; a veil over my blond braids every Sunday.

In a brown leather album, my mom kept for me, I am the baby who grew into a girl who vacationed, had birthdays in the park and sat with my cousins on a couch.

Here’s the very first picture in that brown leather album.  Mom and me, 1959.

Before she died, Mom and I called each other every week to have a cup of coffee together across the miles between our houses.  Have a cup of coffee with your mom this week, if you can.