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Posts Tagged ‘Spring’

Our days are brighter, the nights are shorter, and Mr. Man’s orange tree is blooming. It smells divine.

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There is a secret world coming to life in my back yard, goldfinches, dandelions, chickadees, red maple, cardinals, crows, robins, roses, insects, earthworms, that unidentified bush the bees love, and yesterday, the first butterfly.

At once common and precious, my spring smells of freshly-turned soil and violets.

Violets get their scent from ionone. It’s an extremely sweet scent that many people describe as also being dry. “Powdery” is the word that’s usually used. Another word is “ethereal,” or “ephemeral.” After stimulating scent receptors, ionone binds to them and temporarily shuts them off completely. This substance cannot be smelled for more than a few moments at a time. After that, people go anosmic to it. Then, after a few breaths, the scent pops up again. 

— How Violets Steal Your Sense of Smell

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violets in grass
Photo by Darius Cotoi on Unsplash

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“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

― Leo Tolstoy

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If only it were that simple!
Photos by Gabriel Jimenez, Markus Spiske, Tobias Stonjeck

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I don’t know about you but I am more than ready for Spring.

Most of my family is south of the border, and they keep talking about things like 60℉ weather and unfrozen soil and flowers. Crazy talk! 

We still have a patch of snow out front but today might be the day it finally disappears. So as one last goodbye to winter, let’s visit the world’s largest ice carousel, in Lappajärvi, Finland.

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Crater lake Ice Carousel – world’s largest 310 meters / +1000 feet – YouTube

For all the nitty gritty details, check out this in-depth video:

Go for 30,000 tons of spinning ice, stay for the custom cutting rigs, mad scientist stuff, and awesome accents. It took days, and is an impressive testament to the lengths people will go to in order to escape the winter doldrums;)

Planning to try this next year? Safety first, of course, but here’s a how to.

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Now, onward!

Photo by Tiia Pakk on Pexels.com

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I usually try to stay fairly upbeat here but today I’m sad. 

The neighbors out back are taking down two big magnolia trees. Those trees always had the first flowers of Spring and I was looking forward to their pink and white petals. 

Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com

Nope. Instead, we’ll have a lovely view of the water tower a few blocks away.

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Now, I know that sometimes you just have to take down a tree. We had to do it ourselves, when the Emerald Ash Borer came through. These trees didn’t look sick, but you never know.

Still. 

My parents raised us on The Lorax, and childhood books stick with you. It’s hard to see big trees come down. 

I’d hoped the new cardinal families that moved in over the winter would set up house and stay. They still might, but it feels less likely today. And then there are the tree-dependent squirrels. 

Right now I’m looking out at the back yard and it no longer feels quite as cozy, quite as welcoming as it did. We still have our trees and some at the near neighbors, but stretching away to the south the sky opens up and what I see now is suburbia, in all its generic glory.

Sigh.

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All that said, it will be fine. I’ll indulge in a bit of virtual “hanami,” or “flower watching,” as cherry blossoms announce the first signs of Spring. I’ll think about ways to use the yard as a place for everything from trees to flowers to birds to squirrels to insects.

Himeji Castle is even more beautiful than when Mr. Man and I visited. 

And I think it’s time to pick up another bird feeder.

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Yesterday’s post has me thinking of Spring.

Maybe I should be thinking about new projects and ways to be productive, but I’m about to go get a Covid test and I’ve got work to do and it’s lunchtime, so instead I’m thinking about food.

Today that means I’m thinking about stuffed grape leaves. Our neighbor has a grapevine that has reached out to us and now covers a significant part of the fencing in the back. The vine is starting to bud and soon we’ll have new growth. 

My culinarily-talented brother gave me this recipe years ago. I love citrus so I serve these with egg-lemon sauce, but adjust as you like.


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Stuffed Grape Leaves

2 lb. ground lamb
1 large onion
⅓ cup tomato paste
½ tsp. each thyme, basil, garlic powder
1 tsp. each oregano, dillweed, salt
1 cup cooked rice
1½ oz. Pernod
Grape leaves (canned or bottled)

  1. Dice onion and sauté in a little butter until tender. Add tomato paste, then lamb, stirring constantly as it cooks.
  2. When lamb is almost cooked through, remove from heat, add spices, then stir in rice and Pernod.
  3. Drain excess fat and refrigerate until use.
  4. To assemble, lay out a grape leaf with the stem pointing toward you. Place a spoonful of stuffing at the bottom of the leaf, and roll leaf around it, working away from you. Tuck in the sides of the leaf as you go.
  5. Heat in microwave for a minute or two just prior to serving. May be dressed with fresh lemon juice or egg-lemon sauce.


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Photo by David on Pexels.com

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Finally!

Today was the last day of snow here at Maison J. Very exciting! Sure, the south-facing neighbors have been basking in the beauty of Spring for ages now (days at least;) but today was finally our day. Snow has melted, cardinals are singing, the trees out front are just about to bud and all is well.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden 

Also, the Easter Bunny says hello!

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(This is me, willfully ignoring the many, many feet of snow still camped out on my front lawn.)

Happy Spring!

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white snow on rooftops
red tulips on southern slopes
oh, #MyCanada

❄️

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Finally! On Easter the last of our snow melted. We have flowers for the first time since winter arrived. This post is for my mother, who picked violets for her mother, once upon a time.

Happy Spring!

 

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