Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Buds, Blossoms, Flowers and Other Musings

Weeks ago, a bud on my hollyhocks began to show signs of blooming. This is not it's first season, and it might be its third, but it's definitely it's first dazzling display... noteworthy and breathtaking. I have been watching, daily, sometimes almost hourly. I have been a faithful, hopeful, devotee. It was Maria who gently prodded me, "You should take pictures." And so I did. Almost everyday, but I never posted them; I kept waiting, thinking not yet, it's too soon. I was waiting for their peak.

I have to admit that a very small part of me was vexed by this glacial pace... two growing seasons, and only a small stalk and very few flowers to show for it? And now, when it finally looks as though it's going to be everything I hoped for, it seemed to be moving even slower than ever before. One flower opening at a time, over the course of days... was it toying with me? But, no. I've fallen more in love with this old fashioned garden darling, with it's late bloomer attitude, and no hurries timing.

Relax, she reminds me, there is no prize in haste, no finish line to cross.

When it was finally time to harvest the artichokes, I knew who would appreciate the expired stalks and leaves. Ada and Tasha goat feasted on the fibrous greens. Excellent mulchers, those goats are.

Only April and the jacarandas are already dropping petals. Their flowers are like purple snow, but something I usually look for in June.

After four days, fully open. Double flowered, lush layers of petals that look almost like silk or fine crepe paper. And everyday, since this first one opened, I smell them, and sigh. They have no fragrance. It doesn't seem possible, and so I cannot seem to give up hoping I'll find a sweet fragrance one day. I can be patient.

Our Foo. Our Mister Washburn Foo. And now he is three years old, which seems odd because we always think of him as the new cat, the kitten.

Since I began posting A Picture a Day, I like to be careful not post only pictures of Foo, flowers, chickens, and crafts. Some subjects just avail themselves more than others.

April 21...

Everything seems to have thrived in the rainfall we've had. Poppies, and other wildflowers popped up. The fruit trees bloomed. Our pomegranate looks dressed for Christmas, with evergreen leaves and red flowers for ornaments.

The feijoa have always been generous with flowers and fruit, and we love sharing both. This year looks like twice the blossoms of last year. We really must learn how to make fruit preserves!

We eat the plump, pink petals which feel soft, a bit spongy and taste slightly sweet, like a delicate marshmallow.

Happy ceanothus.

Crazy hat day, and a favor for Maria's friend, Tatiana, who was Jane Goodall in the Wax Musuem. Maria lent her the pith helmet, khaki shorts and a shirt. True, we haven't seen Ms Goodall pictured in a pith helmet, but somehow it gave an authentic air, especially with the spot-on shorts and shirt.

This is Emma's diatom inspired art for Open House. Their teacher shared lessons on diatoms and plankton, and the Victorian pastime of collecting, then arranging these microscopic forms for display. Here is a video that inspired the project...

Maria is working on her diatom arrangement. They were done with pencil, ink, then watercolors. All of them together made a beautiful display when hung up for the Open House art show. The theme was In The Ocean. Every class did something different, something meaningful, so that the entire room felt inspired, and creative.

Sometimes Grant brings his dogs, Tioga, and Curry. This was the visit Ti waded into the pool, paddling, and lapping up water as he went. I wish I had video of that!

I am enjoying doing A Picture a Day, but sometimes it's hard. Can you guess why? Well, it's not because I cannot get one picture every day, but because I have so many more than one a day! I have been publishing a lot less, than I could. That's fine, probably... as I've said before, I am always struggling with finding the right balance in blogging. After fourteen years of blogging {Yup... the Chickenblog anniversary is this month, and I am officially One Old Blogging Bird!} Yeah, so after fourteen years, and 3,177 posts, you might think I have this figured out. Nope. Somedays it feels like I am right back at day one... clueless, self-conscious, eager, anxious, hopeful, apologetic. Happily, in all this time, I have also come to appreciate the archives, the story that is unfolding, the laughs and life's details. It's a special treat to look back, to be reminded of successes, of where we've been {physically and figuratively}, to see our changing-growing-evolving family, to appreciate our friends and other blessings. I am verbose. I know. Where was I? Pictures? Right.

What I was trying to say is... I have all these pictures I love, and I cannot resist sharing a few of them. And even though I am shy, I still blog. And I really cannot explain why without writing scads and scads, and then I worry that I am talking to myself, but in blog-form, which is largely the reason I often think of quitting. Ok. So. More pictures?

William, at play. And those hollyhocks. {And really, why would I ever regret posting scads and scads of these?}

I titled this picture abundance. Carol brought them with her from the florist's shop where she works. Did I mention, already? They were destined for the rubbish bin, to be tossed out because they were past their prime. But Carol knew better, and she shared them with me and Janece, and we made bouquets, arrangements, tussie mussies. It was the dearest pastime. Company and occupation, and a table full of beloved flowers.

Even faded flowers have their charms, perhaps most especially. Too pretty to be dismissed, when a moment's pleasure is a gift.

Alex has been enrolled in a watercolor painting class. I like seeing the works he brings in when he's been out practicing, dabbling. I would like to walk into this forest, and sit in its dappled light.

And sculpting is the other class he's taking, and I've shared some of that work he's been at. Here, he's getting Bambi's help to prepare lumber for another wood carving.

They make a good team.

Maria, Max, Grant, and Amira... some of our Young Makers, and mentors, at play.

April 24... maybe by now, I should have posted a picture of the hollyhocks. Seriously! They're bodacious, full, frothy, at a sumptuous blossoming peak! But I held back. Maybe a bit enchanted into quiet reflection, smitten into shy contemplation.

And now for the rest of the story... Emma and Maria with their Fifth Grade Egg Drop vehicles, after the first round: Dropped from the library roof. Both engineers were successful, real crowd pleasers, with their totally unique designs and applications. Once the vehicle landed, they each had thirty seconds to pull out the (hopefully) un-cracked egg, proving it had survived. Every entry and drop was awesome, suspenseful. You could feel the vestment of the participants, their eagerness to succeed.

Later, the same day, the fire truck with a 100' ladder came, and the firefighters extended the ladder high and far out over the playing field. All the surviving vehicles from the library drop were carried to the top of the ladder, and one by one were dropped. The parachute style vehicles really had a chance to excel from the height, especially because of the strong breeze off the ocean. Emma's Box of Noodles carried its egg to a safe landing. Nathalie's parachuted styrofoam capsule landed safely, too. The egg missile fell swiftly, with supersonic grace, and when it hit the ground it bounced half again as high, above the cafeteria! Then landed, and bounced again. Maybe if it had been a Bird House Egg it would have survived the impact(s)! Maria said not ungraciously, "I might be sadder about my egg cracking, but really, I feel so happy about seeing my idea work, that I think it was totally worth it! I wouldn't change it." The she went on to describe the pleasure of hearing her school mates' enthusiasm for the missile, and how she might pack the egg differently next time. She's definitely saving it for other eggsperiments!

Art and form, design and function. I am happy for Maria.

Open House with Maria and William... waiting for Geoff, and for the Wax Museum to open.

Emily Dickinson baked. Maria, as Emily Dickinson, offered her visitors her own home baked refreshments.

My carnations. Any thoughts? One pink among all those white flowers? They smell wonderful.

May 1... and more to look forward to.


Anonymous said...

How I loved reading everything in that post - and all the photos. So much is happening with your kids and in your garden - life in general, I guess! I've been planting all morning in the garden, planning and planting. This afternoon I'm going to pop into the garden centre for a few bits and bobs - and will be bringing home a hollyhock! The colour of those buds and flower is absolutely exquisite - they definitely should have a scent. Brilliant post - so enjoyed it.

Tracy Batchelder said...

There are so many good things to comment on in this post. The hollyhocks are gorgeous! They are certainly worth waiting for. And I'm glad to hear the rest of the egg drop story. I was wondering how it turned out. It sounds like it was a great learning adventure. Congratulations on the Chicken Blog anniversary coming up! I hope you keep going for as many years as possible. I understand how it's a challenge sometimes. I've been blogging since 2005, but unlike you, I've moved to new blogs as my focus has changed. This is certainly NOT the best strategy in blogland, but it was what I felt I needed to do at the time.

Jennifer said...

Resplendent. Voluptuous. Glorious. Everything -- the flowers, the family, the moments, the artichokes. Meaningful, moving, magnificent. I was thinking earlier today that you and I met during what felt like kind of a golden age of blogging. Lots of us out there, eager, connecting, trying, wondering. Most who did not find themselves catapulted to fame in the new medium fell away. Several friendships, for me, survived and just picked up their skirts and moved to another place (FB, mostly) -- I think it's the same story for you? I continue to love, admire, and luxuriate in all that you take the time to post about; you know how scanty my own endeavor has become. Don't ask why, just keep on. It's exactly what blogging was meant to be all about.