Tag Archives: Seasons

Deck the Halls

Christmas is coming! Pause a moment in a public space and you will likely hear bells or Christmas music or both.

Public spaces and private homes are hosting decorated trees, lights, and figures both religious and secular.

Pull out the music. Refresh your memory. This puzzle artist presents a nostalgic scene of Victorian Era carolers. See the holly? Sing along.

Everyone can sing the chorus.

Harvest Festival

Two days from now, the United States will celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

It is right and proper to set aside one day a year to give thanks for all the positive things in your life. While you can make a case that near the end of November is rather late to celebrate a harvest — all should be gathered in.

Winter weather is present or scheduled to arrive in large portions of the country. The growing season is over in all but the most moderate of weather regions.

In this puzzle, the artist emphasized the harvest colors of red, orange, and yellow. While that people are dressed in the “plain” or “Amish” fashion, portions of this scene were present in my childhood. (In very “modern” farming regions.) Some communities continue to celebration in the autumn with “steam threshing days.”

In this year which held many unpleasant surprises for many — I urge you to pause and “give thanks.” The harvest is accomplished. Distribution remains a problem — a situation caused by men and to be solved by them.

What sort of things in the puzzle are you thankful for?

Home, Sweet Home

Walking in the door after an absence is a special feeling. Depending on the length and reason for going– coming home varies in sweetness.

Certain trips I wanted to extend and it wasn’t until near my home that I pulled by thoughts from recent past to present and future. Other times I’ve been eager to return almost as soon as I walked out the door — think medical appointments.

Every trip home makes the hive sweeter. These small residents at Missouri Botanical Garden savor spring, summer, and fall blossoms.

Journey Prep

Things to do before you leave your home.

Well — preparations vary by age and species.

As an adult human, I need to consider the length of time away, mode of travel, and my companions. Often it involves packing extra clothes in a bag, my laptop, and a bag of drinks and snacks.

When I was a child, my preparation for a trip was simple. Follow mother’s directions. I’m sure it varied by age — did I have my “blanket” on that first trip? We planned clothes and did laundry close to departure when I was older.

Pets have it easy. Eat and potty when given a chance. Sleep or look out the window on a road trip.

Wildlife: eat, follow the group.

This Monarch butterfly is feasting before flying on the annual migration.

Shoulder Travel

Aside from the dozen plus years I was responsible for children in school, I prefer to travel during the “shoulder” seasons.

Do you need a translation? According to travel guidebooks, the “shoulders are the six weeks or so before and after the peak tourist seasons. In the United States, the peak months are generally June, July, and August.

During my life, I’ve taken some wonderful September trips. Once or twice I traveled in October. (Depending on your destination — it’s best to bring a warm coat.) May is preferred to April for the same reason in reverse.

An early September road trip included a beautiful day in Delaware. I think I fell in love with the Brandywine River. 

Consider the positives: The weather is generally good. Again–think about your destination. It’s always good to have an inside attraction on your list for rainy days. Tourist attractions are not as crowded as during the peak season. Watch the open hours — the further you are from peak, the more likely days or hours will be limited. Traffic — like the attractions — will be a mix of locals, commercial, and the stay wanderer like yourself.

So in this year of limited opportunities and abundant cautions: Grab the map and your travel buddy. Plot out a trip for one of the “shoulders” of 2021.


Non-Beach Reads

How’s summer going? Are you keeping to those goals and plans set in January?

Yeah, I thought so. On those short winter days, when I was setting goals and targets for 2020, I was an optimist. I planned three trips away from home — one for writing business and two for pleasure. (Yes, visiting relatives counts as pleasure.)

One by one the events and travel plans were cancelled. It was sort of like watching dominoes fall in slow motion. Even a couple of shorter trips — one night excursions to far corners of the state — are in serious doubt.

One thing that’s never cancelled (okay, when the library was closed it was difficult) is taking a vacation by reading a book. Within the magic covers you can travel to places unheard of in the real world. Want to step back in time? Check out a vision of the future? Explore a region on a different continent?

A selection of romance authors — these share the initial B — delightful for a summer vacation in your favorite chair. Keep a beverage within reach!

The Little Things

Big.  Bold.  Beautiful.

That is one way to be noticed.

Petite.  Delicate.  Fragrant.

These can be charming, especially in the floral world.

The first house I lived in had a lilac bush beside the steps to the front porch. Under and almost hidden were some floral gems. They also happen to be May’s designated flower.

Four and a half decades later, and too many residences to consider, I moved into a condo and needed to fill a flower garden. A large oak tree made the area shady, limiting the plants which would thrive. I soon decided what I wanted and talked about it at work. A few months later, at the height of a St. Louis summer, a co-worker offered me some plants when a home renovation project was destroying their current home. I accepted, planted, and prayed.

The lily-of-the-valley thrived in their new location — after a few years of getting established.

This year the experiment continues — the first full year without the shade of that large oak tree.



Patience Rewarded

Have you been patient? Have you refrained from cutting down trees and bushes that  are merely dormant instead of dead?

One week ago, this blog featured a photo of a fig tree in early March.

Fast forward to July.

Lush leaves. Are they large enough to sew a few together for a bikini? I’d select a different tree: one on your own property would be best for that experiment.

Growing fruit. Staring into the branches will conjure up visions of sweet tarts and treats. A little more time to ripen. The reward is within sight.

A Time to Rest

Early March :  What’s that?

I looked twice at the familiar scene at the botanical garden and took a few seconds to register the sight.

Have I taken a photo of a dead tree? No, while the branches are bare, I’ve confidence the fig tree is alive.

Dormant. Resting. Not a single leave. An impulsive person might mark it to be chopped down. Fig wood? I’ve never heard of it being used for building or crafts. Would it be burned for fuel? Would it have a pleasing odor?

Thankfully– this tree is in a safe place and will reward the patient with signs of life.     Be patient and stay tuned.

Winter Construction

In past decades, construction in the American Midwest tapered to next to zero in the winter. For two, three, or four months the construction workers were idle. A few carpenters worked inside jobs and electricians and plumbers continued to make repairs. (Plumbers more than usual if temperatures dropped after the electric went off.)

A different sort of construction became obvious. After each fresh snowfall the kids came out. Forts were popular to give interest to the snowball fights. Snow angels appeared in the yards. (The trick was not to disturb your fine work when you stood up and stepped away.)

And then there was the old stand-by.

                       My father helped in the construction of this fine specimen.                      I was about five years old.