Tuesday, April 28, 2009


We're in the fourth day of an unseasonal heat wave with temps in the high 80's. It wouldn't be so bad if we were used to it but the sudden change in temperature has everyone cranky. The cats are lazing around, sleeping all day and working at night. The dogs are just trying to keep cool by laying on the stone walkway. When the heat wave started, buds were just little blips on the ends of tree branches. The heatwave has put every bit of nature into overdrive and green leaves are emerging so quickly. It's nature in warp speed. It makes me a bit sad that I haven't had a couple of weeks to enjoy it all. The older I get, the more I realize that a person only has so many springtimes in their lives -- I want to enjoy each one as much as I can.

Having high temperatures without the leaves on the trees feels totally wrong for New England. There is no place to hide - especially for the sheep who are used to spending their days sleeping under shade trees and along leafy fencelines. They have been quite motionless all day long. When the sun starts to go down lower in the sky, they begin grazing and eat all night long. With the windows open we can hear them calling to each other as the night turns to day. It is a lovely noise.

We have about 80 lambs here in our pastures just outside our door. It has been quite fun to watch them explore their new fields. The lamb races happen every night at around sunset although now the lambs are much larger.

My magnolia trees burst into full flower yesterday. The lovely scent is wafting around the yard. I planted two magnolia trees when we first moved here to remind me of my grandmother Frieda. She had a big old magnolia tree in her back yard in Dover. Under it, she had some pink metal furniture. Every year when the magnolia tree was blooming, she would call us over to her house. We would sit under the tree and eat cookies and drink lemonade. There was only a few days each year when this would happen and I have fond memories of Gram waiting for the blooms and my sisters and I waiting for cookies.

Gram was no nonsense through and through. After the magnolia tree would bloom, she would start complaining about the nasty blossoms and how they were littering her yard. She'd be out there with a rake picking them all up and composting them behind her garage. She would complain about all the work that tree made her and think about cutting it down. I always found that kind of funny - how she could love something so much and then complain about it. But that was Gram - she spoke her mind every minute.

I guess I'm a bit different than Gram - definitely not as neat as a pin as she was. I love the day my magnolia tree blooms. I let my magnolia blossoms fall to the ground. They turn brown and shrivel up and the wind takes them away.

Last night I took Julia out to look and smell the blossoms and told her about my grandma's magnolia tree. Then we walked down in the pasture to visit the sheep. It was hot and a sign of the coming season. The blackflies have hatched and the mosquitoes aren't far behind. Spring got a huge kick-start and I'm thinking about all that needs to be done......


Gudrun Johnston said...

That certainly must be a shock to the system after only just saying goodbye to the last of the snow! Hope it doesn't last too long and that you and the animals get to enjoy spring temps before summer really hits!

ColorJoy LynnH said...

We only had one 87F day and then we got 60s and buckets of mean, windy rain, for 2 days. Today it is soaking wet but nothing coming down, and back to 45F which is normal for Michigan this time of year.

Things are growing really fast here, too. Hubby Brian rides his bike to work. He said that the Rhubarb by the garage almost doubled in height from the time he left for work Saturday and when he got home at sundown. Spooky. It's like someone hit the accelerator this year.

The flowers make me really happy, too. I can see a tree like yours and your grandma's, from where I sit and type this. It's across the street and it has only a few blooms open, but I expect it will pop by tomorrow. The fruit trees beat it to the punch this year, they are fully blooming as of Sunday, where not a single blossom was out on Friday morning.

The forsythia were spectactular this year, too. And it seems there are more daffodils this year than ever. Last week was "yellow flower heaven week."

Off to walk to lunch with a friend in the old funky part of the city. We will bring umbrellas on our walk this week.

LynnH in Lansing, Michigan

Unknown said...

Oh, I love magnolia trees. We don't get very beautiful springs here in Utah--it tends to go from stark winter to blazing summer faster than I can keep track--but my mom sends me beautiful spring pictures from home in Oregon. Thank you for sharing that delightful little slice of beauty from New England!

Anonymous said...

Our neighbor has a beautiful Magnolia tree. Each time I walk by it, I think that if it were my tree, I would have a bench (or some such) underneath so that I could sit under it and and soak in its scent and beauty when in bloom - how great that your grandmother did that! My poor cat has been moving from one place to another trying to find cool. She's passed out on the kitchen floor under the fan as I type.

Susan B. Anderson said...

Every year I admire magnolia trees around our neighborhood, they are spectacular. I wish I had one in my yard, maybe someday soon I will get around to having my own.

I ordered two pillow kits from your shop! Can't wait to get them. There was an article in our newspaper about rural Wisconsin people fighting to get high speed internet access and how it was affecting their lives and businesses to not have it. I thought of you and your battle while I was reading.

Take care, Kristin.
susan b anderson

Carol said...

We used to live next to a sheep farm and I loved listening to the lambs calling out at night. And I agree about the magnolia. Let the blossom fall where it may. Nature is messy and beautiful.

Joyce said...

We had sheep in the pasture behind our house and I had an attic bedroom with a window that looked out over the pasture. I loved seeing the lambs in the spring as they jumped and raced around. They were our 4-H lambs and after watching their antics in the spring and grooming and walking them on a leash all summer, it was very painful to auction them off in the fall.

Willow said...

Spring at warp speed. Perfect description.

We had summer at warp speed for four days and now we're back to the mail-in version of our Apri/May/June weather report: early morning low clouds and fogginess giving way to sun later in the day (with breezes).

Anonymous said...

The magnolia tree is gorgeous! I wouldn't bother picking up all the flowers either. the lambs are awfully cute too!

Anonymous said...

This year in the North of Germany we also had an explosion spring and no rain for a lot of days. The Magnolias had good days because in many years they are frozen and brown before blooming. Other trees got blossoms and leafs at the same time so that I can´t enjoy the blossom time. Normally that takes four weeks, this year only some days.

What I don´t like in spring is the activity of neighbours. They can´t let life come into the gardens. They shoot every microbe that will come into the garden.
All is arranged and clean. Lawn-mowers all days.I hate that.

Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland von

bluekaeru said...

I've never seen such a pretty pink for a Magnolia. Around here they are all white blossomed with big green glossy everygreen leaves. My poor Magnolia has only ever produced one blossom.

Your tree is lovely and reminds me of what we call down here "tulip trees". I really love the mass of pink blooms.

Amy S. said...

What a wonderful photo of your magnolia! We have a tree just like that in our back yard. Since we're in DC it blooms in the last week of March, more or less, but similarly to yours it is gorgeous for three days and then drops messy leaves for six weeks. I have always wanted to do something more to appreciate it--invite people for dinner, or something--and now I think I will adopt your grandmother's ritual of fresh baked cookies and lemonade. Thank you!

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