Monday, February 26, 2007

February is passing

Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter lies a miracle ... a seed waiting to sprout, a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl. And the anticipation nurtures our dream.

~~ Barbara Winkler

February is almost past. When you live in the season, it seems time passes so quickly. I try to live in each month and not simply look out longingly for my favorite seasons ~ fall and winter. I think this will make spring and summer more enjoyable for me. I find myself longing now for the first buds to open. As you can see we do have crocusses. They no longer do well where they are planted so we will have to rethink some areas of our very tiny garden. February is a month when you can turn your thoughts to your garden. It is a time to brouwse a garden center or catalogs for new planting ideas. This year with our weather being so unseasonably warm, our garden is already awakening. Normally, this is a month of anticipation. We wait for March to arrive and watch things start to regrow. Even my clematis are standing in bud waiting for a bit more warmth and sunshine to start to spread open its leaves.

For now, my first daffodil has shown its flower in my garden this morning. It is slowly opening its delicate petals to reveal its regal yellow splendor and tell us that spring is here.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spring's early arrival?

Let the little birds sing;
Let the little lambs play;
Spring is here; and so 'tis spring; --
But not in the old way!

I recall a place
Where a plum-tree grew;
There you lifted up your face,
And blossoms covered you.

If the little birds sing,
And the little lambs play,
Spring is here; and so 'tis spring --
But not in the old way!

~~ Edna St. Vincent Millay from 'Three Songs of Shattering'

I hear more people saying that spring seems to be peaking out at them in their corner of the world. Here in Holland, we have not had any real winter to speak of. Our weather is very warm for the time of year and the birds are busily singing in chorus. Whether you are of the mind that Mother Nature is simply repeating historical extremes or this is the result of global warming, this winter has been one of surprises for many around the world.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Feed the birds

We love feeding the birds at home or at our cottage up north. Up north, we have the chance to see many more kinds of birds with it being right on the edge of the woods. This past weekend, we went to two visitors centers ~ one for Holland's Natuur Monumenten and the other for Staats Bosbeheer (forest rangers). I fell in love with the bird feeding tables outside each center. I did something similar a number of years ago with a rusted old table. In the end, some blackbirds picked all the moss off it and used it as nesting material.
It is so important for us to feed the birds especially in the cold, winter months. It also encourages them to come into the garden as well as having the joy of watching such fun creatures.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A day out.....

This is Castle Doorwerth. It is located just outside the village of Doorwerth along the Rhine area of Holland.

The castle was first mentioned in 1260 but in 1430 started to take the shape as the castle has today. It was then that Reinald van Homoet began to extend the castle.

The castle has a history of many owners who made their mark, good or bad, on this beautiful building.

Various time periods are evident as you go through or walk around the castle. It was altered up through the 19th century.

This incredible tree has stood the test of time proudly in front of the castle.
The draw bridge which brings you into the grounds of this wonderful sight.
Coat of arms by the entrance.

Cottages built in the castle complex.

Gate to a small drawbridge on the opposite side of the castle grounds.

Every castle has its own colors and these mosterd and blue colors are seen on the doors and shutters of the castle.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Valentine with Lord Byron

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

~~ Lord Byron

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Winter is finally here!

Out of the bosom of the Air,
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.

~~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 'Snowflakes'

Winter is finally here in Holland. It is snowing! It is really beautiful outside. Isn't snow just magical?