Thursday, May 26, 2016

Of Flowers And Fire

On Sunday we stopped to see a neighbor in our old neighborhood.  He started laughing because he had just posted a picture of our old house on Facebook ~ he said he takes one every year because "our" lilacs signify spring. We could smell the blooms from his driveway.

I need to research if lilacs might grow in the shade of our current property.  I am going to try forsythia seedlings at the edge of the woods.  A splash of color would be a welcome replacement for the rhododendron that were eaten by deer.

I don't know what to call our yard other than "the woods."  We do have a few flowers~
Wild ladyslippers pop up everywhere
Hardy perennials grow on the hill
Bleeding heart thrives in a corner
The flowers that grow here are able to take care of themselves.  The trees and fallen leaves that cover most of the landscape require little maintenance but demand a certain amount of caution.  We are aware of the fire hazard of the layer of dead leaves and take measures to insure the safety of "our woods."

So I was alarmed three weeks ago when I saw smoke rising from the adjacent property recently purchased by a couple from out of town.  I trekked into the woods to see what was up and met the new owners, happily tending a good-sized bonfire.  I introduced myself, shared my sense of alarm at the sight of smoke, and asked if they had a burn permit.  They did.  I asked how they got one without a water source on the property.  They showed me three five-gallon jugs of water they'd drawn from the nearby stream.  I told them there were strict guidelines for having a fire in this town; they said they were aware of that and had procedures in place to be safe.

Two weeks later I got a call from the neighbor on the other side of us.  There had a been a fire in the woods behind our property.  The new neighbors had not sufficiently doused a fire, the embers reignited, and the flames took off through the underbrush.  Thankfully the fire department arrived in time to contain and put out the fire.  He told me he talked to the new neighbors, who said they weren't planning to have any more fires.  I sincerely hope they hold to that~
View from the road
Stretch of scorched ground
Stone wall that edges our property

I may be a city girl at heart but I take guardianship of "our woods" to heart, too.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

April Survival Guide

April is a transition month.  Spring can't quite settle in because winter refuses to quit.  The wide range of temperatures and odd display of weather is confusing.  In years past even April vacation, the third week of the month, has been frustrating.  I have never been able to cross everything off the incredibly long to-do list.

This year was different.  I took some notes so I can happily survive April next year....

Start the vacation week with company.  My son came for an overnight stay the first weekend so the house was clean and the pantry was full.  That freed us up to visit and play with Maggie~
Maggie "holding court"
Go away for a couple days.  Ken was working out of town so I joined him in Dover, New Hampshire for two nights.  His work schedule got crazy but we made it to our favorite restaurant in Portsmouth for dinner~
The view from our table
Work on a project in progress.  In March I cut into strips the first quilt I ever made out of scraps of the clothes I sewed while I was in high school.  The quilt needed an update and over April break it became clear what I wanted to do - add more color~
Framing fabrics are odd pieces handed down from my daughter
Do something new.  Sometime late winter I learned about the Maine Quilt Shop Hop.  It has been a tradition for 12 years but I just heard about it, which is a loss on my part that was corrected this April when I was lucky enough to visit 20 of the 36 shops taking part in this year's month-long challenge.  The idea is to visit as many shops as you can in the month of April, submit your stamped "passport" for a drawing for very nice prizes, and vote for the challenge quilt of your choice [each shop has one].  Here's my choice for the quilt challenge, found in the Sanford Sewing Machines shop~
A 3-D quilt designed by people in the store
Work with fabric.  Yes, it's true.  I bought fabric at most of those quilt shops I visited.  I have four projects in mind and need the raw materials to make them happen.  The lesson is to get the fabric when I see it because I may not find it again.  I traveled 565 miles to shops all over central and southern Maine, saw parts of the state I've never seen before.  It was so much fun!  Here are the solids I bought, all American Made Brand cottons grown, woven, and dyed right here in the USA~
This is a fraction of the colors available
Spend time with Maggie.  I adore this child~
Maggie went shop hopping too
 I survived April and now it is May.  I need to remember these strategies as the journey continues....