Tuesday, February 28, 2012

listening for spring

maple buds on the tree over our house
 It's early this year - and we've had but a couple of snowfalls and one weekend of ice - but I decided that's no reason to ignore all the spring that's happening around here.  It feels undeserved somehow, but is that how all of the South feels every year? Surely not. Spring is to be reveled in, regardless of how it arrives or how little we've suffered for it.
Crocuses! Not from our yard, but they'll be here soon
 Dan's been working against several deadlines this past week - and is not yet done - but he took time this evening to join us for a quick meal and then a walk down the bike path.  We'd heard a rumour of spring peepers...
 The river was serene in the evening sunlight, lower than usual, but sporting an impressive pile-up of timber from recent high waters.
We may have heard some wood frogs way off in the distance, but no peepers tonight. We did hear some of our first redwing blackbirds - O-ka-leee!!  And a huge flock of blackbirds - I'm guessing a mix of starlings, grackles, and blackbirds, chattering and swimming through the skies like huge schools of fish.
 It was mesmerizing.


February 27: Great flocks of blackbirds and grackles move across the nation as February comes to an end. They tell you that sweet corn has been planted along the Gulf coast. 

How does he do that?! 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Mormor. and More.

 My mom - otherwise known to the world as Mormor - has been with us this week.  It's the first visit since her retirement, and the longest she's spent with us, ever! It's been wonderful.  She is game for almost anything, which means she fits right in...hiking (and carrying the unwanted clothing)...
 ...reading - reading and being read to...
 ...playing games - she brought a new one for us, called Phase 10, which is something like Uno and something like Rummy.  I think. It's fun, and something we can all play. 
Yes, she knits while she plays. And she's teaching me to knit SOCKS!

There was Out - a beautiful walk to the riverside coffee shop...

Ani's sporting her new Mexican party shirt

One of the reasons Mormor came to see us now was to be present for Eliza's first piano recital! So very exciting. And nerve-wracking. And wonderful.

Eliza was composed, calm, and did a beautiful job with The Merry Widow Waltz.  She plays with such heart and steadiness. 

She got to share the day with her best friend, who played one ahead of her, and also did a splendid job!

They're goofballs, can you tell?

Lovely goofballs. I think they were experiencing a huge amount of RELIEF!! and EUPHORIA!!

Today is our last day together, and we took a long hike on a new trail, in the spring weather we're having...

Ani woke me up this morning, crawling in bed with me, and talking, as she usually does. This morning it was about slowing the day down, changing time, because you know, Mama, today is our last day with Mormor...That's saying a lot from the girl who is all about her little family, the one who is so protective of her time alone with her people.

A: Mormor, what is an alabaster brow?
I think it's the conversations we might miss the most! The stories of when she and my dad lived in Ethiopia, stories from when she was a little girl...
Tea and stories
Tonight we lavished her with love by making a spa out of our couch, soaking and massaging her tired feet, decorating her hands with henna, feeding her delicious rice pudding...
Eliza's handiwork
 Ani asked if she could scrub and massage her feet.  She kept asking her, Mormor, how do you feel?

 We wanted her to feel so special and loved.

My handiwork
Thank you, Mormor! For stories, and listening, for being creative and patient, for tuna noodle casserole, spaghetti pie and tortilla soup, for coming all this way to be with us...we love you!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Owls and wool and out!

After the busyness of Tuesday's trip to the capitol, and a day visiting a friend's farm on Wednesday (pigs! creek! run!!), we hunkered in a bit on Thursday.  There was more felt noodling, and Ani needle-felted a hill.

We started to experiment with more than spirals...still trying to figure out what to do with the worms we love making.

It rained all day, but lightened up just in time for us to drive out to a local Owl Prowl.

There was an incredible turnout, but still enough room for us to make masks, and dissect an owl pellet before the presentation.

We met two of Ohio's year-round owl residents: a Great Horned Owl, named Ivan the Terrible (and we heard the story of how he got his name...

 ...see the talons below? Imagine their 400-pound crushing strength going through your arm...mmmhmmm...)

 The second was a barred owl, named Luna. She was so small and sweet by comparison! Ani's been quoting owl facts randomly since that evening...did you know that owls don't have enough room in their skulls for muscles, 'cause their eyes are SO BIG? That's why they can't look at you out of the corner of their eye, but have to turn their whole head. It also means they don't have much room for brains...

They make up for those flaws with incredible hearing and the afore-mentioned crushing power of their talons.  The naturalist, from the nearby Hocking Hills, took us on a very dark walk, calling for barred owls, but whether due to the rain or the size of our group, we didn't hear anyone reply. Well, not officially - Eliza and I are pretty certain that if we could have gotten everyone to stand still we could have confirmed a call or two that we're pretty sure we heard. And definitely a call as we climbed into our car.

 Dan got home from his trip on Friday morning, and we put him right into action; following the presentation of sweet treats from the northern lands we suited up for a romp through the woods.

We're still experiencing huge fluctuations in weather - snow and ice, then temperatures near 50. Things are definitely growing out there, proceeding as if there were no real winter...


We remembered a bag for trash on this hike; it's a state park and there's so much left from the summer 'round the lake. They drain it for the winter, and it was easy pickings all around its edge. Never know what you might find...maybe even a stegosaurus!

Club moss

Hepatica nobilis
The weekend we've spent at market...a self defense class for me and Eliza...dinner with friends...reading and finishing a graphic novel with 186 pages for Eliza...and today was Cleaning Day - the sort where everyone pitches in and things sparkle...Mormor's coming tomorrow!!