Thursday, May 8, 2008

What A Difference AWeek Makes!

Well, actually I guess it is almost two weeks! How easily time gets away when there are lots of things that need attention. The narcissus pushed their way up through the leaves next to the front step and are getting pretty tall now. The rhubarb is up and stretching its leaves over near the rock wall. The baptisia is showing. I managed to rake the front yard and then the garden in front of the side wall. Having sunny days means that there is no stopping the green shoots from reaching for the sky.

What this means is that if I don't get out there and do something about all the mess winter left us - I won't ever be able to clean up the garden until fall. Who needs an excuse to cut work inside when it is really nice OUTside where there is also work that needs to be done? As soon as those tender green daylilies were exposed Hunter thought I had been cleaning up just for him. He was over the fence in no time and those green shoots were 'lunch'. He is satisfied now with the grass in the back yard so the daylilies have been recovering. Once they get to a certain height he loses interest in them. Their delicacy is gone.

As soon as the snow departed from the road gullies we heard the first peepers. This was a Tuesday evening. The very next day those chirpy little froggies had begun laying their eggs. Wednesday morning I noticed the first egg mass. Thursday morning there were two more! Every day I check them to see if there are any changes. The tiny tadpoles are still just very small dark squiggles in the eggs but the gelatinous coating seems to have softened and enlarged giving the mass an older plumper look.

The demented robin is still attacking the bedroom window. The other birds sit in the trees laughing to see him doing this foolish thing. I wonder when he will wise up and find something else to occupy the early morning hours?

Even when inside the house it is evident that the birds are back and very active. We hear "Phoebe, phoebe!" at all hours and see tons of chickadees flitting through the branches of the trees looking for mates and good nesting sites. We'll be checking the nest in the birch tree to see if anyone uses that this year and keeping an ear cocked for the familiar 'hmmmmmm' of the hummingbirds.

The old apple tree where the sheep love to scratch themselves is putting forth its own green shoots. This tree is nothing more than a hollow trunk now with a few strong branches and a few weak ones left. It is always a surprise to see it come back to life each spring. This year we are having more of a real spring. Sometimes we only get a few days you could call spring before the temperature shoots up to 80* and we are through right into summer. Mainers are not meant to endure such changes! This has been a pretty nice spring so far!

I have been juggling inside and outside work as it is too nice to stay inside all the time. The snow slide took out the breezeway in March and I am slowly cutting up the roof and wall materials and removing the old shingles to take to the dump. The front half is nearing completion. It will look much nicer from the road once the debris is all cleaned up. With the breezeway gone the clothes get dry so much quicker than on the old clothesline that went down in the same disaster. I just got the sheets hung up the other day when the wind picked up and I thought they would sail away. They were dry in minutes!
In the boatshop I have been working to finish the pond yacht restoration. That involved sanding and varnishing. Didn't take too much time to sand the 36" hull and apply a new coat of varnish, but it did take a whole day for that varnish to dry. Then it needed coat after coat to really show off the grain of the wood. This 'boy's boat' is over 100 years old. It came to the US on the last voyage of the Lusitania before it was blown up by German torpedos. It had layers of old varnish that were very dark with age and a lead keel that was loose in the hull. The sails and spars were lost somewhere along its life and new ones were needed.

The new sails and the rigging await the construction of the new base. That is my afternoon's labor. We cut a nice piece of oak for this and the patterns are all ready to make the new lifts and carriers. She'll be something to see when all shipshape!

I spent a good portion of time getting ready to do a dye workshop down in Massachusetts last Sunday, too. Evenings were spent folding sample cards, winding off yarn and knotting groups of ten for the dye exercises - over 500 of them! and making labels. Saturday I packled the boxes and made the dyes and set off south. Sunday morning it was pouring rain but inside the facility, the Essex Art Center in Lawrence, the group of ladies from the Boston Area Spinners and Dyers and I had a colorful day. I love doing this workshop and never tire of seeing the colors the students produce.

Maybe it was just the weather creating so many areas of light and shadow coupled with the time of year and the coming of the leaves - I was amazed at all the colors I saw - so many of them ones that had been created in the dye workshop that day! There were reds and pinks, ochres and many shades of yellow/green, variations on gray in the clouds - blue-gray, periwinkle, pink and yellow, lights and darks, soft pastels and intense colors! As soon as the pond yacht is ready to sail away my yarns and rovings will fill the pots and pans with color. The breezeway that is now an open deck with dance with color like a million prayer flags! I can't wait!

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