Spring Is In The Air~ (trite~ but true!)

What a difference in a weeks time!  Not a speck of fog this morning when Pascal and I left the house!  According to my computer the temperature was 53`. I still needed my jacket ~ over a sweater & a sweatshirt,  but the air was noticeably warmer than it was earlier in the week.  We haven’t been to Heather Farms in a few months. In the winter when it rains it gets too muddy.  Besides being muddy, it’s not the best time to go, as most of the geese and the ducks have gone elsewhere,  and hardly any of the plants in the gardens are blooming-  buts that’s Winter.

Springtime at Heather Farms is always spectacular, and an ideal place to bring the camera.  I am so looking forward to getting new photos  for my notecards-  Hmmmmm-  it’s really NOT actually spring yet. But it FEELS like spring.  I look over at Pascal who’s looking out the window of the car.  Do I turn left & go to town for a walk, or do I turn right and head for Heather Farms~? I really, really, don’t want Pascal to get muddy. But it’s been two weeks since we’ve had rain. How muddy could it be now?

I turn right. We’re going to Heather Farms!!

We have about a 20 minute walk down a paved road before we actually get to Heather Farms and I’m happy to see along the way that there are several clusters of paperwhites ~ and even a few early daffodils, in full bloom;  Spring was in the air!  

Arriving at the path to Heather Farms we stood at the top of the hill for a few minutes, surveying the fields and the canal below us ~   The crisp early- morning air seemed so still~ and so quiet!  The ground definitely was still wet, but if didn’t look too muddy. Okay, Pascal! Let’s go!

We had just barely started down the hill when I heard the familiar sound of geese squabbling.  All right! Surly I’d get some pictures today!  Rounding the curve in the path, we arrived at a clearing beside the pond that the geese & ducks have made their beach. This morning,  with the exception of the ducks swimming in the canal, the pond appeared empty. But the beach was packed~ packed with geese! Mating season must have begun. The beach reverberated with squawking, reminding me of a political convention.  One goose would get right into another’s face,  squawking & nipping  with wings extended,  until the other goose backed away. We stopped to watch “the show” for a few minutes. I was anxious thinking that Pascal would bark at them and disrupt everything, but he didn’t make a sound; in fact, he looked bored~  so after taking a few quick pictures, we moved on.

On the opposite side of the path, just a bit beyond the noisy beach, it was quiet except for the light sound of water splashing. The canal at this point,  was overgrown with reeds  so at first I didn’t notice the pair of mallard ducks floating among them. Getting closer I saw a large white shape-  Excited, I reached for my camera. At first it was hard to tell what I was looking at, as all I could see were two stick-like, long legs extending from a large, white, headless body-  The head was buried under the water, but I had an idea of what it was. Last fall I was lucky enough to come across a beautiful, graceful bird, the Snowy Egret. Standing alone on the beach that today was populated with geese, it looked so elegant & magnificent set against the backdrop of trees in their fiery red orange & yellow, fall-leaf attire.  This, I discovered, was the origin of the splashing sounds I was hearing.  When the egret lifted his head from the water, he started a strange sort of stamping “dance” in the reeds. With one of his large feet he’d stamp the reeds continuously, now & then submersing his head below the water. The stamping must have been a way to make insects, or whatever he was eating that was in the reeds, come out so he could catch catch them in his mouth! I took several pictures of him but he seemed to be in constant motion so it was difficult to get a good one.  I  feel rewarded to have finally gotten this one good picture of him~   We walked just a bit further down the path , and there,  standing directly in front of us was a beautiful mallard duck. He stood very still as if he were posing. “Click” – gottcha!  It may not have quite been Spring yet, but it was definitely in the air!                                                                                                                                                                                     

I’m excited to add these new photos to my growing collection for new notecard sets to be added to my shops soon. Last week was a busy one, but I was able to complete and list my fifth lamb, Amelie~ and I listed two new sets of note cards,  Glistening Orange, and Bench of Poppies.  I’m currently still working on the baby blanket I’m knitting for my grandson who turns 1 this week.  I haven’t worked on a dress since before Christmas. I thought it would be a nice break to work on my knitting and notecards and while I love doing both of those,  I hadn’t realized until a few days ago, how much I miss working on my  dresses, so this afternoon,  guess what I did!  I cut out a new dress! All that I know right now is that it will be a size 2 and it’s a beautiful shade of light, light, pink.  Mainly I need to concentrate on finishing the blanket,  but if I have a dress all pleated; ready to smock & embroider, I may just be able to work on it a bit this week too.  I’ll let you know~ Have a great week!

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Where Surprise Lurks

IMG_9629Pascal and I took our walk downtown yesterday morning. I keep returning to the creek to see if I can capture my lost picture, but it’s finally sinking in~  that aint gonna happen~

Perhaps because he’s a terrier, or maybe it’s just because he’s Pascal, Pascal has always had a very strong mind of his own and a definite opinion about everything. When we walk he decides before we get to the curb, which direction he wants to go and when we get to the curb, he goes in that direction, no matter that I’ve begun in the opposite direction, or that I’ve said, “no Pascal, this way!”- or even that we happen to be right in the middle of a busy intersection! He goes as far as his leash will allow and then braces himself for a tug-of-war with me- So yesterday after starting  our short trip to check the creek, with Pascal braced against me every step of the way, I decided, o.k- I’ll let him have his way today and I’ll follow him.

Leaving the creek I think he was a little stunned to see that I was letting him lead the way. Every few steps I could see him looking back , checking to make sure I was following. With him leading, we took the same route we usually take, up one side of the street, down the other. It was kind of nice not to be in charge and not to be pulling in opposite directions. We started down one of the streets we have walked down so many times. There is a men’s clothing store, a small, interesting-looking brick alleyway and a fancy restaurant across the alley, and Tiffany’s jeweler’s on the corner. As we always do, we walked past the clothing store, across the alley way, and were almost beyond the restaurant when I decided that I had to know what was down that pretty little alleyway we always walked past. Fortunately we had been walking for a while already, so Pascal’s initial excitement at being out walking had waned and he didn’t seem to mind that I was changing our direction.

We started down the alley and I absolutely couldn’t believe my eyes! I had truly found a hidden treasure! And guess what? This time I had my camera with me! The walkway was entirely terra cotta bricks and they were laid out in beautiful circular patterns. Along the left side of the alleyway, adjoined to the restaurant, were several little cafe tables, each with an umbrella in the middle- (it was early morning so the restaurant wasn’t open yet-) On the right side of the alley, opposite the row of tables, the wall was also terra cotta brick, but flat against the wall, from floor to ceiling,  was a beautiful, sculpted metal waterfall! We stopped for a few minutes to look at the water slipping down the metal and then were lured further down the alley. After the initial waterfall there were huge pots filled with lush- green, blooming plants. The photo above is just one of them. Here is another~   *** copy Looking at the beautiful plants, I hadn’t realized that the alley had suddenly opened into a large outdoor room the center of which, was raised and totally surrounded by trees. There were more dining tables in this tree-enclosed,  raised-brick, section. The entire area, alley and “room” the alley turned into, were open-air.

The best and biggest, most beautiful surprise of all was at the very end of the alley/room. Across the entire end was a huge pond/pool-  formed from large, dark, rocks. One end of the pool had a large gurgling, gushing waterfall with several lily pads floating at it’s base. There was a mound of boulders piled in the middle of the pool, also surrounded by lily pads and as we approached a large turtle dove off one of the rocks into the water. The other end of the pool had a sculpture of a large metal frog lying on it’s back with water bubbles blowing out of it’s mouth! Best of all, and I was very excited to have my camera, but not so excited with the pictures I took, (we’ll just have to go back! SOON!)——- were too- many- to- count, huge, yellow, orange, and white, koi fish!!

*** IMG_9631 copy

**** copyI would never in a million years have dreamed such a treasure lay down this alley.

I guess you just never know what you might find, but if something tweaks your interest even a bit,  I’d say it’s definitely worth exploring~    Oh! And don’t forget to bring your camera!