The Year of the Tree

Okay, this will never make it as a year or designation for sun, moon, Jupiter, or Mars calendar.

Do you remember 2021? The vaccine for Covid-19 was new and finally getting distributed. Therefore, just like the previous months in 2020 — most of us stayed home a lot. A trip to the grocery store would be the highlight for this retirement age author that would last more than a week. The phone and computer became our lifelines for at least limited interaction with other humans.

So at least in my little portion of the world — 2021 started with a large helping of hope — and a little ice.

This tree, an ash for those you want to know, is a few dozen steps from my front door. On New Years 2021, it started the morning with a thin coating of ice. Every branch, limb, and twig was painted by Mother Nature’s brush. Never fear — the sun came out and melted the ice-tinged world back to normal January.

Another year — in the sweet romance Starr Tree Farm — begins on a different note. Consider what might happen if you encounter a person from your childhood at a New Year’s Eve party. He’s all grown up — and so are you. Add an unsolved crime and unpredictable Wisconsin weather and you have a story fit for a warm drink in a cozy place. Check it out here:


One Week

Spring! The season of hope for gardeners–and others.

Officially spring began close to a week ago. Depending on your location, the actual weather may vary. But even in the cooler parts of the United States, the date on the calendar turns lots of minds to thoughts of green trees – not pine and spruce – grass, kites, and life without jackets, hats, and boots each time you leave the house.

The colors and features in this puzzle almost shout “spring” to me. A mild spring day is ideal for a walk in the park. Or a carriage ride. Or an hour canoeing.

Spring is a season of new beginnings. Spring cleaning — not my favorite, but good to clean out old broken or unused items. New beginnings — a visit to the garden center is a must — even if the survival rate of any hanging basket I purchase is questionable. There’s a new puppy in our neighborhood. Painters and fencers are collecting clients.

Hope is in the air. Hope for little things — like a plant or a puppy. Hope for large things — like better health or stronger friendships.

What is one thing you hope for this spring?


Resolution or Experiment

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution? Have you broken it?

It’s difficult to develop a new habit. And for some reason, establishing a new positive habit feels harder than repeatedly performing a not-good-for-me task.

Regular readers of this blog are aware that the majority of the photos posted are my own. In that spirit — I plan to document a tree on the first day of each month. The tree happens to be an ash. I expect that it will need to be taken down in another five years or so — the ash borer is in the area. Plus it’s been shedding limbs in windstorms to a greater degree than other trees in the neighborhood. However, the location makes it convenient — a dozen steps from my front door I get a good view.

It was a gloomy morning and every twig was frosted when I captured this during a freezing drizzle. (Not the sort of weather to linger.) Welcome to 2021! The year of the ash tree???


Is it Magic?

New. Fresh. Exciting.

I always suspect a little bit of magic comes with the first snow of the season.

My other thoughts have reflected my age and stage of life.

Will we have enough to sled? This comes from living at the foot of a great sledding hill when little. I couldn’t wait to get my own — begging a ride or loan from older brothers is not simple.

Will we have school? Once we moved out of town and depended on the school bus this question moved forward. I think many of the boys twisted this to — can we go hunting?

Canceling work was never a question. I worked in health care and hospitals are one of half a dozen 24/7 institutions.

Retirement brought thoughts of grabbing the camera, a cup of coffee, or a good book. Snow tends to bring a special sort of quiet — until the plowing team arrives.

This puzzle artist depicts 19th century Georgetown with holiday decorations and fresh, clean snow.


Recharging the Battery

Years ago, we recharged nickel-cadmium batteries for use in various toys. Today I have many devices with re-chargeable lithium ion batteries.

These are fine things for inanimate objects. It’s good to have an energy source to keep them functioning without having them plugged into electrical current.

But what about you? Or other living things. How do they recharge?

On a recent sunny afternoon the snow leopard and a zebra enjoyed a solar re-charge.


Splash and Babble

Sunny days become precious at this time of year. The afternoon warmth after a morning chill tends to attract a person to take advantage of the day.

Do you walk every day? This is a good time to abandon the treadmill and lift your spirits in a mild day. Whether you walk on a sidewalk or quiet street, a paved trail, or a rugged path, fill your lung with fresh air.

Listen to the noise of the trail. Is it street traffic? Geese collecting friends for a journey? Or the softer, alluring sound of moving water.



By the Sea

By the Sea…repeat. Repeat with additional of beautiful. Raise your glass and drink with your companions.

We arrived in rain, at deep dusk, after a two hour drive turned into three and a half. So don’t feel surprised that we headed to our rooms instead of the beach.

Ahhh. Morning. A different story. The rain was gone. Locals were walking dogs. (One man on skateboard with dog on leash caused a double take.) It was exactly right for a short walk before breakfast.

Wear shoes on this beach. Stones of multiple sizes have been rinsed, and washed, and smoothed by years of waves. Shells left by sea critters blend in with the rocks and sport sharp edges where broken.

Due south and out of sight you’ll encounter France. Turn west and the next land will likely be Boston.


English channel on a peaceful morning.


Words about Water

Today happens to be the spring elections in Missouri. I’ll show up at my polling place, possibly before you read this.

Some of the pre-election literature dropping through my mail slot concerns water. Waste water. Sewage and storm water run off. Population growth. Urban sprawl. And aging infrastructure each has an influence on putting an item on the ballot.

After the polls close, I’ll listen to more words about water. A plan dealing with a local, very local, storm water problem has been developed. It’s time to go public before the first shovel re-contours the landscape. It is said that “knowledge is power”. ┬áIt’s also useful to avoid complaints and increase cooperation.


My neighbors and I look forward to the end of Pond Patio.



Lion or Lamb

March – comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb.

At least that was the folk saying which passed for wisdom during my childhood. The adults around me paid close attention to the weather. Their livelihood as farmers depended on it.

In elementary school we decorated the March calendar with Lions, kites, and Lambs. Once in a while a shamrock was added. We made sure to wear green if the seventeenth fell on a school day. (No one likes getting pinched.)

How is the first of March outside your window? Are you having a blizzard? Cold wind and rain? Or a mild sunny day.

The flip side – scary part – is that if March arrives like a gentle lamb it will go out like a roaring lion.

I think I’ll take my storms early in the month. After the official start of spring my thoughts turn to gardens. What will I plant this year? When dare I start?