Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spring Ahead!


By Kirsten Scott

My apologies to those of you (Susan!) still buried under multiple inches of snow. The picture to the right is my forsythia bush, in proud display of the first new blooms of the year. That little bush has a secret to tell me. 

It's almost here. 

Spring.  

I'm a huge fan of spring. I love the metaphor of it, the rebirth after the long winter, the resurrection and opportunity to believe again in life after so much darkness. I love the daffodils, the tulips, and the crocuses. The tiny, pale green leaves on the trees are like magic after a long cold winter. Here in the Pacific NW, spring comes much earlier than it did when I lived in Buffalo. By March, our spring bulbs are pushing through the earth and finding their way to sunlight. By April, the tulips are getting ready to bloom. It will still be cold and rainy for months to come, but the spell of winter is broken and we are our way toward the glory of summer. 

Of course, spring isn't just about the garden. There are lots of other fun things about spring. There's the days getting longer, so we can finally come home from work and school in the light and have time to play outside before going to bed. There's the warmth that allows us to get out for our afternoon walks and hikes. Putting away the thick sweaters and pulling out the t-shirts. Getting out of the car and onto the bike. The first trip to Dairy Queen of the season.

This year, I think we're all ready for the optimism, the rebirth and the renewal that spring offers. I'm looking forward to this spring more than I have for years. I'm ready to watch things grow. I'm ready to plant some seeds and see what sprouts. I'm ready to lie in the sun like a cat and feel it in my bones.

So what are you looking forward to this spring? Gardening? Easter candy? (Joanie, I know those Peeps are calling you!) Baseball? I'd love to hear your stories -- especially stories about your gardens! And what do you think of my pussy willows? Gorgeous, right? :-)

55 comments:

Cassondra said...

Could it be?

Cassondra said...

AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

Cassondra said...

No way.

The rooster is FORCED...FORCED I SAY...to come home with....

moi?

Anna Campbell said...

Cassondra, goodness me! You and the GR will have to wear name tags, it's so long since you've said hello to each other. Congratulations!

Lovely post, Kirsten. We're heading into autumn here and I realised with a hint of sadness that I'm probably on my last month of swimming in the pool for this season. I love my pool - not least because when I sit at the computer all day, it helps to get the kinks out of me. Well, most of the kinks! Although not as many kinks as that naughty Tawny has ;-)

Actually I love the between seasons - autumn and spring. The weather is lovely and it's sunny during the day and cool at night. Just right for sleeping. We've had the hottest summer for years here and my sleep has gone west.

One of the things I loved about living in the Northern Hemisphere, though, was that burst of life in springtime. We don't get it here in subtropical Queensland. But that colour after grey is just wonderful - no wonder it inspired so much literature!

Anyway, I'm off to dive into the pool and take advantage of it while I can!

Trish Milburn said...

I love March each year because even if it's still chilly outside, once I get past February it feels like winter is over. It's a mental threshold. The daffodils are in bloom, and I saw the first dandelion blooms today. Soon, mowers will be firing up around the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, March is also one of the worst months of the year for me. Despite my allergy meds, it's a horrible allergy month for me.

limecello said...

Great post, Kirsten. I can't wait for spring... but I can definitely wait on changing the clocks. What can I not wait for? WARM WEATHER. Things that are ALIVE. Trees, flowers, plants, birds, critters - I'm done with winter.

lol - Congrats on the GR, Cassondra! :) I knew my run would be over on the third day.

Cassondra said...

Ah, Kirsten.

What a GREAT blog. I admit that if nobody did it first, I was going to blog about spring on Monday. We're having our first warm spell of the year. It was in the upper 60s today here. And OHMYGOSH IAM SO READY FOR IT!

It's been a long winter here. Normally...Okay,let me digress for just a moment to say that it's not NORMAL at all, but for about 8-10 years we've had warmer than normal winters, with big warm spells in January and February...okay, back to the story. THIS year it's been cold. Cold from late October all the way to NOW!!!!! That's just WRONG!!!

I live in the South. Okay, not really. I live in the UPPER South at best, but still. It's been a really long winter and any hint of a warm breeze has me begging the Earth for relief. Well, this weekend, relief is here. My daffodils are blooming. My crocuses have just about missed their chance--normally they bloom in February here. But they're out right now, along with the daffodils.

Truly this winter has been what is, actually, "normal" for us, but it's been so long since we've had a normal winter that I'm spoiled. The older I get, the more I need warmth.

But I have one question. In Kentucky, Forsythias are yellow. Is that really a forsythia in the top pic?

There's been no chance to cut up the fallen branches from all of the ice storms--its' been way too cold and nasty, so tomorrow the Rooster will have to help me use a chainsaw to cut and stack the downed trees. Hey, after all those Tim Tams he's been indulging in, I figure he can use the exercies.

Cassondra said...

Oh, I didn't answer the question, did I? Sorry. I got so excited about snagging the rooster that I forgot.

What am I looking forward to? Ooooooo...warm sun. Sleeveless blouses. Gardening. Blooms. Budding trees. Tractors growling in the adjacent fields. Baby calves calling to their mothers. Baby chicks. New grass. No cold, howling wind to make me hate venturing outside. Warm rain. Turning over my rain gauge so I can measure it. Planting tomatoes. Eating tomatoes. Marigolds. Peonies. Iris. Old fashioned roses--the kind that make you think of Heaven when you hit the scent. Honeysuckle. Fires in the firepit.

Outside. I've been trapped indoors for way too long this year. Darn. Maybe I need to move south.

Virginia said...

Congrats Cassondra for nabbing that rooster! Have a great time with him today!

Oh I am soooo ready for spring! Warmer weather, its going to get close to 70 today, but it going to turn cold again next week, but I will take what I can get right now. The spring flower are starting to show their little heads here, I just can't wait. I love to get out and work in the yard.

Donna MacMeans said...

Congratulations Cassondra!

Kirsten - I'm typing this with my office window open. I was admiring the white furry tips of my star magnolia this afternoon. In about three weeks they should be opening up in bloom.

I have a love/hate relationship with March & April. I love the baby leaves opening on the trees and the flowers and sweet temperate wind that promises warmer temperatures are on the way. But I hate that I see it all out my window and I really can't get out and bask in it till late April due to taxes - ARGHHHH!

THe thing I'm looking forward to most about the spring is moving my laptop to the back porch and sitting out there to write rather than the stuffy inside.

Helen said...

Well done Cassondra I am sure you two are going to have some fun together.

Well as Anna has already said it is autumn her in Australia I live in NSW south of Queensland where Anna and Christine live and it is already starting to get cooler of a night and early in the morning and it is my favourite time of the year along with winter but Kirsten I totally agree with you about spring and the flowers blooming and the birds and butterflies I do love spring as well. I won't be sorry to see then end of summer here in Oz because it has been really hot and I am in the mood for cooler weather I love snuggling up with a good book.

Have Fun
Helen

Jane said...

I'm looking forward to more daylight. I hate it when it's dark by 4pm. Can't wait to start munching on all that Easter candy. I guess I better start digging out my t-shirts, capris and flip flops/sandals. It'll also be great to see the flowers bloom and the trees get their leaves.

Congrats on the GR, Cassondra.

Gillian Layne said...

way to go, Cassondra :)

Our Tropical Snow will open in a couple of weeks--hurray! It's a tiny little building with flavored ice, about one hundred different names like Alien's Blood and Tahitian Sunset. Yummy! The man who runs it is loved by everyone and has an uncanny knack for remembering everyone's favorites...or it could be that I get the same thing every time...one Afternoon Delight (mango, orange, pineapple, coconut).

jo robertson said...

Great post, Kirsten. I love the spring too and love how it comes so early in northern California. The trees have been blossoming for some time now and their pink and white flowers are beautiful.

What I love most is my tomatoes -- the only vegetable I grow any more. They're small, sweet cherry tomatoes and almost always volunteer from last year's seeds that fell. We like to pick them every day and eat them warm from the vine -- delicious!

p226 said...

Wow. Cassondra has the GR. That has been a while, hasn't it?

Spring?

Two wheels. Leather power-ranger suit. Black lid. 175 horsepower.

Asphalt.

Mix.

Leslie said...

Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago spring meant crazy weather. Warm one day, dark and stormy the next. Now that I'm living in the suburbs of Phoenix, AZ spring just means we're that much closer to the hot summers. So I'm actually enjoying the weather right now. lol

Congrats Cassondra-grab that GR!

Tawny said...

heehee - way to grab that rooster, Cassandra!!! YAY you.

Kirsten, what a wonderful post. I love the pictures. I adore spring -its one of my favorite seasons (okay, honestly, I love them all, so they are all one of my faves). I'm looking forward to my irises blooming, to smelling my roses again and to that glorious month that my lilac blooms and fills the air with its lovely fragance.

Oh -and Anna... what kinks might you be referring to?

Maureen said...

We are going to be warm her today and your post is perfect! I am looking forward to opening windows and planting our garden and seeing the leaves on the trees.

Kirsten said...

Morning! Hey Cassondra, nice snag on the rooster! :-) I'm sure he'll enjoy your company today in the gorgeous warm spring weather.

Kirsten said...

Anna, it occurred to me after I posted this that our Aussie friends would be entering the opposite season -- but you're right, there's a lot of similarities to the transitional seasons. I'm a huge fan of fall as well. And I'm sure after your terrible drought and extreme heat, fall will seem a very healing time over there.

I would love to have a pool myself! I've got some of those kinks, too. DH always talks about a hot tub, because he's a serious biker, and he'd like to be able to soak after a long ride. But I'd just like to laze around in the pool and stare up at the sky when it's really hot out. Mmmmmm.

Kirsten said...

Trish, my heart goes out to allergy sufferers like yourself! How miserable that must be. Do the meds make you tired as well? Because I'm not sure it could get worse than being stuffed up, headachy, AND tired on top of it.

But I agree with you on the threshold issue -- I feel like if I can just survive February (a horrible month, in my opinion!) I can make it to spring. Even though March and April may still be cold and dark at times, they have the promise of spring and the beauty of things growing and blooming. And it almost makes it worth surviving February.

Almost.

Kirsten said...

limecello -- hey, thanks! I'm totally with you on the warm weather. We've had lots of snow this year, which is odd for us, and I'm ready for 60 degrees and sunny. :-)

And I wondered if anyone would bring up the old time change thing (did you notice the title of the blog -- spring ahead? like, spring ahead, fall back?). I HATE daylight savings. Hate it. But I was trying to make it an optimistic post so I didn't mention it in my blog.

But now that you've brought it up...(evil laugh) I hate it!! Drives me crazy. Why oh WHY can't they just get rid of it?

Kirsten said...

Cassondra, since you asked, my little shrub is a Abeliophyllum distichum, which is commonly known as a White forsythia. It is in the same family as the forsythia, but is not a true forsythia. They bloom around the same time (a little bit earlier) and have similar shape and form, though mine is obviously white, and it's also quite a bit smaller, which works for my little urban lawn! I bet you could have a lovely hedgerow of forsythias blooming like crazy out on your farm.

Oooh, by the way I hear you on the chainsawing. We've been out at our little cabin for the past two weeks cutting and stacking all the trees that fell in our big wind/snow/ice storm over Christmas. It's a mammoth job. The GR's going to build some biceps!!

Kirsten said...

Oh, Cassondra I adore your list of things to look forward to! I am such a fan of peonies. I have about five of them that I inherited when I bought this house and they are just amazing, dark crimson and they bloom like crazy showgirls. I love them to pieces.

And baby animals and roses. What great things to look forward to.

Kirsten said...

Virginia, I want that 70 degree whether here! I heard we've got a "snow event" headed our way for later tonight. What's that all about! *pout*

So are you a gardener? What kind of work do you do in your yard? I must admit, as much as I love the RESULTS of the garden, I don't always love the work. LOL. I'm impressed that you've got the excitement to get out there and get to it!

Kirsten said...

Hi Donna! I shudder for what you must go through at tax season. I've been putting ours off but must start getting things together to send to our tax gal.

I love the star magnolia tree. Breathtaking in bloom. I don't know that I've ever noticed whether they have a fragrance, though. Do they?

So how can you write outside? Can you still see the screen when you're out there? My laptop screen is too hard to see outside or I'd love to write out there more.

Louisa Cornell said...

Wow Cassondra! What did you do to lure him away from limecello? Put him to work in the garden!

Gorgeous pictures, Kirsten! My hyacinths are already up and have bloomed once. My tulips are breaking ground so they will be up soon. Can't wait for my azaleas to get started. My neighbor always brings her kids down to have their Easter photos made in front of my hillside of azaleas.

I DESPISE daylight savings time. Truly, madly, deeply! Have they not READ all those studies about sleep deprivation???

This has been one strange winter in the Deep South. Hope we have a better one next year.

La Campbell I envy you your pool. I can't swim, but I do love to lounge around on a pool chair - just float around on the water and relax.

I love the warmer weather, my garden in bloom in spite of the fact that it takes more effort every year to keep the portion of my five acres I allow to run wild from running into my garden! I love a Sunday afternoon with a blinding blue sky, a few fluffy clouds, a gentle breeze that sets the tall trees to dancing and the soft castanet of the leaves rustling. I could sit on my porch for hours and just enjoy the show. Add the occasional moo of my neighbors cows and the birds singing in the trees and I am almost back in Kelsale going for a nature walk with my chums.

Kirsten said...

Helen, I agree -- the best thing about cold weather is the excuse to snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. And I'm sure after your hot summer you are ready for fall. I don't love the super hot days of summer so I can imagine I'd feel the same ways. I like the transition seasons best.

Kirsten said...

Jane, I think everyone's mood improves when there's more daylight. I know mine does. We hang out on the porch, chat with the neighbors, go for walks together. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.

And the capris! How could I have missed them -- I love my capris. :-) Can't wait to pull those out of the closet.

Kirsten said...

Gillian, your tropical snow sounds adorable! We had a Dairy Queen in my old neighborhood that closed every winter and we couldn't wait for the first cone of spring. Now we live near a DQ that's open all year long and it isn't the same.

The Afternoon Delight sounds fabulous! Have one for me the next time you're there! :-)

Kirsten said...

Jo -- ooo, warm tomatoes right off of the vine. Now there's a summer treat that's just as good as ice cream. Maybe better.

I love the blooming fruit trees. There's a line of cherry trees I can see from my office that isn't blooming yet, but will in a few weeks that I love to walk through. I think they're a memorial to the Japanese who were in the Internment Camps in WWII. They're just beautiful and have just a hint of sadness about them.

Kirsten said...

p226 -- thanks for stopping by -- you managed to capture a perfect image of spring in just a few words! Wow. :-)

Kirsten said...

Leslie, how hot does it get there over the summer? My comfort zone is really small -- like between about 50 and 80. Outside that and I get really whiny. LOL. I suspect I wouldn't be outside much if I lived in Phoenix in summer.

But I bet the winter is lovely! :-) Do you have a noticible spring there -- like are there certain plants that you notice blooming? Or does it just sort of slide into hotter weather?

Kirsten said...

Tawny, how can you make the knots in one's shoulders sounds naughty? *VBG*

You are such a lovely and optimistic person -- I should have known you'd love all the seasons. But the lilacs. Ahhh. Lilacs. I could fill my house with them. Our neighbor has a few clumps run amok that grow over the fence that we cut and bring inside and they just fill the air in such a lovely way. Not overpowering. Not too much. Just right.

Kirsten said...

Hi Maureen! i also can't wait to open the windows. That's the worst thing about being at work -- no fresh air!

So what kind of garden do you plant? Vegetable or flower?

Kirsten said...

Oh Louisa, you paint such a beautiful picture! I want to come sit out there with you! Five acres does sound like a lot of work, though. Wow. How much of that do you garden? Vegetable or flower or both?

Trish Milburn said...

Kirsten, no, thankfully the allergy meds don't make me sleepy because I'm on prescription stuff -- Allegra and Singulair. I had to go to those a few years ago when the over-the-counter stuff (which did make me sleepy) stopped working. Still, for some reason March is still awful, despite the meds.

Kirsten said...

Trish, I've never had allergies, but my husband suffers from them, and he says the same thing. Even with the meds, it's still a bad time. Ug.

Janga said...

I'm glad Cossondra asked about the forsythia because I was wondering about the color too. The daffodils and forsythia have turned the world golden here. Fruit trees are blooming too. Our high today is supposed to be 76.

I get a little tipsy with this first breath of spring, but my favorite stage is still ahead. When the azaleas and pink and white dogwood are in full bloom, I think my home place is the most beautiful spot on earth. It makes me feel young again to download oldies to the ipod,let the top down on my car, exchange the interstate for country roads, and just drive, singing along at the top of my voice.

Kirsten said...

Janga, I'm glad Cassondra asked too, because I love that little white forsythia, so I'm happy to talk about it. When I was planting my yard, I wanted a shrub to flower in early spring, and I had a fondness for forsythia because we had them out in front of my house when I was a kid. But I didn't have the room for a big shrub, and I also have another gorgeous flowering plant called a Kerria japonica, which puts on showy yellow blooms in later spring. So I didn't want another bright yellow bush. Anyway, I was thrilled to find the white forsythia -- even if it isn't a true forsythia. *g*

Am I getting plant geeky here? I suspect I am... :-)

I love the image of you winding along those country road with your ipod full of oldies playing. I'm a sucker for the Doobie Brothers for plain old happy rock and roll. I've had my little ones singing Little Bitty Pretty One after playing it in the car all last week. They think it's cool. ;-) What's in your ipod right now?

Nancy said...

Cassondra--You snagged the rooster! Way to go.

Kirsten, I love spring, when the air seems to vibrate with freshness and possibility.

It's 70 degrees here today, which is unseasonably warm. And it's still not too late for us to get snow.

I don't garden. My main gardening tendency is plant-killing, which isn't exactly useful since it's never the weeds that die.

I like the warm weather, and I enjoy sitting outside to read. We have a short window of opportunity for that, before the weather gets muggy and the mosquitoes come out. We don't know where the little pests breed, but it has to be somewhere close by. Once that starts, our outdoor activity becomes minimal since none of us loves the smell of repellent all over us.

I like shooting hoops on the boy's goal, though we have to watch out for the ball-killing dog. In her universe, for whatever reason, anything spherical is The Enemy. Or possibly Prey. If there's a difference.

Nancy said...

Anna C., the dh also loves the in-between seasons. He grew up in the Colorado Front Range and went to college in New England. Fall and spring are minimal in both those regions, he says.

He loves to garden, and his plants actually thrive, so he's in charge of tomato production. I do love tomato sandwiches and iced tea in the summer. As the weather warms, I'm starting to look forward to that.

Nancy said...

Trish, I get allergies, too. Seriously not fun. They're the downside of Spring for those of us plagued with them.

Nancy said...

Gillian, those ices sound wonderful! We used to get sno-cones at the beach every year. The crushed ice and the sweet, flavored syrup were a wonderful treat. I still can't see one without dropping back to those days in my mind.

Nancy said...

Cassondra--I hope you're the one with the chainsaw, and the rooster is just manual labor. The image of him with it in hand--er, claw--evokes the words "Texas" and "Massacre."

Leslie said...

Kirsten, you would be totally out of your comfort zone during the summers here. LOL The highs in the summer are 100+F and the lows are upper 80s to 90s. Thankfully southern California is a short 6-7 hour drive. We go to San Diego or Disney nearly every summer.

Winters are wonderful here. When other parts of the country are deep in snow we've got mild weather and mostly sunny skies. We do have spring weather. Right now my bougainvilleas, oleanders, yellow bells and ruella are all beginning to bloom. Beautiful pinks, reds and purples

Cassondra said...

Kirsten said:

Am I getting plant geeky here? I suspect I am... :-)

Plant geeky is okay with me. That was my grad school. And it's a perfect subject for spring.

Oh, and yes, since you asked, I DO love your pussy willow. I want one of those, along with some witchhazel for early spring blooms, but don't have either yet.

PinkPeony said...

Kirsten...your pussy willow bush is huge! I don't think I've ever seen one that big. We had a much smaller pussy willow bush in our backyard when I was a kid. And whenever the piano tuner came over to tune the piano, my mom used to give him a few stalks for his wife, who was blind.

I'm not much of a gardener. I found daffodil bulbs yesterday that never got planted. I think it's too late. I'm planting lavender this weekend and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the peony roots I planted in October will flourish. It's barely 60 today, the sun is shining and there are people out in shorts and flip flops already! Spring ahead! Have a good weekend everyone.

Kirsten said...

Hi Nancy! I love the idea of having the husband doing the gardening. My husband is pretty sure he's the only one who does any of the weeding, though I beg to differ. ;-) And LOL about your dog. I'm impressed he can get the basketball in his mouth -- must be a big dog!

70 degrees sounds lovely. It's cold here today and we just had a bit of hail. But I'm still feeling spring in my bones!

Kirsten said...

Leslie, your flowers sound absolutely stunning. I would love your winters but I don't think I could survive the summer. We vacationed in Florida last summer and it nearly killed me. LOL.

I must say, though, I did survive living in North Carolina for four years (including summers!). I won't pretend I didn't do some complaining during that time, but I did survive. So maybe I'm stronger than I think. :-)

Kirsten said...

Cassondra, I think I need some witch hazel as well. When you get some, can you take pictures? It comes in red and yellow varieties, right? I want the reddish one.

Kirsten said...

PinkPeony, with a name like yours, how could your peony not thrive? :-) I have heard the peonies don't like to be moved, so give it a few years to get settled before you expect big blooms. But I'm sure it will do great. And the lavender is certain to thrive. I love lavender -- there are so many varieties, it's fun to see the different types of blooms.

And thank you! My pussy willow is fatter than you can imagine. It's supposed to be a dwarf variety but it's one of those things you try to prune and three limbs sprout for each one you cut back. So I just gave up on it a couple of years ago. It looks like a muppet in desperate need of a haircut. :-)

Kirsten said...

Oh Cassondra, thank you too for the compliment! I am amazed the kids don't pick off all the little pussies (stop snickering, Tawny, I don't know what else to call them!) and some actually get to grow.

Joan said...

A real quick hello as I just got home from DDJ at 9pm OLD time and immediately "Sprang" ahead to the NEW time which means....

I'm late for bed!

I bought a pot of budding tulips at the grocery yesterday! I tried planting them years ago but moles or squirrels or rogue PEEPS got them!

BTW, if you have any of those sugary chicks on you, send them my way :-)

Susan Sey said...

Hey, Kirsten! Thanks for the shout out to those of us still buried in snow. I took my husband out to a fancy dinner for his birthday tonight, & since it was in the mid-thirties (practically a heat wave) I went bare-legged. Well, bare kneed. My boots come up to the bottoms of my knees, my skirts comes down to the tops of them, so I really bared about three inches of skin. But hey, I wouldn't have dreamed about that sort of nonsense a week or two ago.

Spring is really coming. The sun is so bright & strong now I can feel it through my jacket even when the air is pure arctic tundra still. :-)

Not quite ready for the first DQ of the season, though. I save that for the first day we can bike to there. I'm really, really looking forward to that. IT's been a loooooong winter.