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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #032
February 01, 2024
I really want to appreciate winter and I am trying but I'm never sure how I feel about February. It is not winter, not spring, not much of anything so I had to really think about my- and others' - thoughts and feelings. Before I get to the "love" part of this month, I'll share some things I didn't know.
First of all... the crows.... every day, they gather at the top of the trees at the top of our street... and yell. Loudly. Seems they are communicating.... gathering others, finding food etc.
sketch copyright - Cauleen Viscoff
What fun to sketch these sweet things on dark winter days.
There will be some warm days when the snow melts and reveals the soil beneath. If on one of those warm days, you find a very large, fuzzy bumblebee that appears tp be sleeping....
What should you do?
Gently cover her back up with the same material she had dug into and leave her. If she is buzzing around and won't go back into hibernation, put her somewhere sheltered... perhaps under leaf litter. Bumblebees need to be outside in order to complete their life cycle so never take them inside.
photo: Bumblebee Conservation Trust
Our friends are in England and keep us up to date with what is in bloom and photos of lovely snowdrops....even in our "neighbourhood" of Toronto, a mere 100 km away, some report seeing early blossoms. Not so here. But the earliest you might see are the Snowdrops (Galanthus)
My sketch shows the hardy Snowdrops finding its way up through leaf litter.
I love Robins...
But you most likely know this because of the book I wrote (The Little Bird Who Fell From the Sky) about a baby robin who fell from his nest and what happened.
But here it is end of January as I write and Robins are back singing in the trees (far away from the Crows)... Although we have seen a few robins during the milder days of winter, these are not those. I can tell from their song. Makes me happy.
They are so high up, I was not able to photograph one, so this will do for now.
One of the sketches from my book.... love that happy look.
The extra day in a leap year, so "they" say, has been inserted after the 24th of the month… not just tacked onto the end of the month.
Leap years can present a problem in computing, known as the leap year bug, when a year is not correctly identified as a leap year or when 29 February is not handled correctly in logic that accepts or manipulates dates.
I was going to include the science, the myth and the familiar facts here but it would have taken too much paper real estate… so, when you have 10 minutes, search the science sites because they all have a lot of fascinating stuff…. Romans, calendars, space folks etc.
What does it really mean to have an extra day? Oh boy. so many things to consider. -more food, more dishes; more doing, more laundry; more art, more paintings and more life.... what's not to love about that?
Valentine's Day.... If you love someone, anyone, it's your day. If you love someone and lost that someone, it is still your day... you have the memories.... but keep the good ones and let the others go in the wind.
There is still time to send some Valentines.... in the mail - yes, snail mail.... we all LOVE to get a card or note in the mail.
Send your love or send it anonymously.... but send at least one.... or take walk when the sun goes down and drop a card into neighbour's mailbox... what fun !!!
This heart came on a card from a dear friend.... in its frame, it reminds me of our friendship and what it means to me.
Make or send some memories. Remind someone how much they mean to you even if they annoy the heck out of you sometimes... love is still love.
Or put candy hearts in their shoes, their lunch bag, or pocket.
photo: National Geographic Kids
Or, If you are looking for love among some bony fish, find an eel to be your Valentine - each eel has more than one heart.
As for me? I will ask my little dog Lucy to be my Valentine instead.
Ice on Plants?
Removing ice from a shrub can often result in much worse damage than just leaving it for Mother Nature. Ice will melt naturally in time, often leaving the plant unharmed.
If the ice was heavy enough to cause damage, just prune those branches off in late winter while the plant is still dormant.
Then again, if you are a photographer and musician like my friend Steven, you could see these icy figures dancing.
Photo by Steven Leak - with permission
What Else can we do?
I started wondering what else I could do in February and wondered if I could find some... egads... look at this list.
Go to a Museum or Art Gallery; (some shameless self-promotion - such great art at the Ashburnham Alehouse) Go for a Walk by yourself; Bundle up and walk in the rain while your tea is steeping; Meet someone for coffee and a sweet; Watch a movie marathon- with someone you love (four-legged friends count); Bake heart shaped cookies to share; Play board games;
Spend time in a library- just looking; Host a tea party with china cups and little cupcakes from a local bakery; Join an art class and do something new; Take a beginner’s yoga class -it's good for your brain; Gve yourself permission to sleep in, read late into the night, have coffee late in the afternoon; take a nap with your four-legged; pour something lovely and call someone who needs you to listen;
Write a letter to someone you think would like to open real mail; Turn off your phone for 2 hours (let your loved ones know so they don’t panic); Put a book in and take one out of your local neighbourhood library; Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers; Order dinner in;
Go to a new restaurant and support their efforts,; Smile at every stranger you meet until your face hurts and then quietly giggle to yourself after; Buy 6 chocolates, share 2 and eat 4 yourself; Keep your bird feeder full; Shovel extra snow on any bare soil…. mulch if you have extra; Volunteer- a little or a lot; Donate; money if you can or things, if you can't… your closet and pantry will thank you and wow, feels so good;
Now, that's a list....
Don't forget to buy your flowers... buy a whole bouquet and share.
oh, if you are a squirrel....
Try to remember where you hid your stash....
And, until next time...
Lucy says put on cozy pyjamas, cuddle with your best friend and watch movies (she says it is good to have several pairs of pjs)
but before you do, hang out your little envelope for Valentines.
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