Background Switcher (Hidden)

My, How They've Grown

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring is flirting with us. Almost freezing, then sunny and cold, then warmish, then almost freezing. The forsythia endeavors to persevere.

It makes us feel good just to look at it, a treasure chest opened and bursting with radiant gold.

Here, we have had chipping sparrows, cardinals, and even a brown thrasher build their nests, and all have succeeded. It's a good plant, all the better when let go a little wild.

In the woods, the spring beauties (Claytonia virginiana) are blooming. Each pair of leaves leads to a nutritious tuber that bears like to eat. I wonder if skunks do, too, and imagine so.
Liam, Phoebe and I go out to check the frogpools along our oil well access road. They're just puddles, but they're home to spring peepers, mountain chorus frogs, gray tree frogs, American toads and sometimes wood frogs and green frogs. All laid eggs there last year, when early summer rains kept the pools full into July. The rains I'd hoped for finally materialized in the last week of March, and the mountain chorus frogs and American toads are singing full bore. Peepers are AWOL as yet. I can't remember a spring without peepers.

Walking back from the pools (we saw ripples but no eggs as yet), I notice that my boy Liam is getting very big indeed. Well, he's nine; he's not a little boy any more. How can that be?

Phoebe, at twelve, is properly suspicious of my camera. She keeps me at a distance. I usually use a telephoto on her, the way I would photograph a deer.

Farther up the path, as the evening falls, she finds something in the grass that needs to be identified. Paging Science Chimp. I knuckle on over. Policy: If my kids want to show me something in nature, I am there as fast as I can get there. If they ask to go to the newt pond, we go to the newt pond. Showing an interest in nature gets immediate reward.

She is 5'4", only an inch from catching me. She will surely zoom right past and look down on me by Christmas. And yet she can fold up those giraffelike legs and be five again.

Phoebe's find turns out to be a lone grape hyacinth, and we discuss whether it was named because its tiny round bell-shaped flowers look like a cluster of grapes (likely) or because they smell like grape bubble gum (less likely). At any rate, it's a long way from its compatriots that still come up in a mysterious fairy ring behind the old house foundation on the hill.

Liam flakes out, watching the clouds go over.

A bud bursts its binding. This might be a buckeye, or it might not. There's something sorta hickorylike about it.
He gets up, turns around, and I see his father in his face. I wonder if Bill ever sees me there.

Outwardly, I may have given him little more than his coloring and a pouty lower lip, but there is plenty of me inside that soul. Neither of us has much use for team sports. We'd rather watch clouds or draw.

It's time to let spring warm our faces and bring joy back to our hearts. Here's a photo I love from last week.

Chet Baker tells Nina that someone loves her. That's what spring, and Chet Baker, are for.


Your little darlings are growing like weeds. It is a delight getting to watch them grow up here. Phoebe is about the same age as my Granddaughter and Liam about the age of my Grandson. I don't get much communication from my Grands so I guess I have transferred my interest to your little darlings. May the continue to prosper.

It really IS nice to watch your children grow and change. It was a big moment for me when each of my kids passed me in height.

My sure sign of spring for the day was finding a garter snake sunning on a path - he was a mite sluggish, but the fact that he was out and about at all screams warmer days ahead.

Forsythia!! Oh for a dash of yellow! Not for at least 3 more weeks would be really nice if the ice would leave the bay of the Ottawa River we live on. Really nice! The great map on says you might want to be thinking about putting your feeders out...

Sweet reflections, Julie. I'll bet Bill sees you in Liam as he does in Phoebe... I'm already looking up to Phoebe. Wow. I'd look like a miniature humpty-dumpty next to her.

Don't you LOVE to look into their faces?!--watch an expression spread across it or a twinkle of understanding glint in their eye?
And though my girls look more like their dad, than I, I now hear myself in their thoughts.
The values they defend, popping into conversation--that remind me we're cut from the same cloth.
A neat treat, when it happens.

And Baker kisses--the best.

I like the nature posts, and love the Bacon posts, but I also enjoy the posts about your sweet, beautiful, inquisitive children. They come by their love of nature honestly given who their parents are!

And no spring peepers in Whipple? How odd. We've had peepers in Athens county for at least a month, I think.

Love the pic of Baker smothering Nina with kisses.

OMG, it's Mini-BOTB! Hair color aside, that little Hotdog Brother is growing up to look just like the big Hotdog Brother.

Emerson passed me on the growth chart when she was only 11; two years later and the kid is threatening to reach six feet. Wow. I wish she and Phoebe had gotten to hang out together.

Soooo jealous of all the blooms in your area. The daffodils and forsythia here are still just waiting around.

What beautiful, blooming children! Mine are in their late twenties and at a different stage of life. I am often nostalgic for those "Wow, a frog" years. Forsythia gone wild here in Seattle, too. And we saw our first rufous hummingbird of the year at the native currant blossoms - a little late this colder than normal spring.

What a lovely post, your children and Forsythis are a dream.
If you want??? your Lilac to sucker, disturb the roots, or have it burn down in a wildfire... that will make it sucker outward like crazy. Last advice not to be recommended. Growing Lilac from a sucker can take up tp 7 years until they flower. They are voracious feeders loving rotted manure and responding well to a spray of fish emulsion.

Oh Julie--you make my heart ache in a way it hasn't for a long time. My own children are now ages 37 and 27 (how's that for family planning)--so I have not thought about their weed-growing bodies and baby faces morphing into grownups for quite some time.

And then seeing the emerging young man and young woman in your family! Too much. I do agree that in Liam you can see Bill's face--at least based on photos alone.

May they continue to grow into wonderful young adults. Blessings.

Lucky Nina to spend time romping with Chet Baker.

Great minds think alike. I also have a forsythia photo today, along with goldfinches are turning gold.

You don't have peepers? Mine have been singing for weeks. And, I have 5 bluebird eggs - you?


I see the Zick in Liam when he gives me the "Do you think I'm stoopit?" look when I am trying to goof on him.

As for Phoebe: I still hope she will one day soon front a rock band called Six Foot Redhead.

You have beautiful children. You're right, they do grow so fast. My son finally grew taller than me in the past year. What a milestone! I admire the way you reinforce your childrens' interst in nature. That is a gift that will enrich them all their lives.

So true, spring is the ultimate flirt. But as true love often does, eventually gives way to those summer days!

Hi Julie,

Chris here from Honduras...enjoy your blog. This may seem a little random, but your "endeavor to persevere" is a phrase from the film "Outlaw Josey Wales". I may have watched it a few too many times. Spring is really moving down here in GA. Had the first Prothonotary and BT Green warblers in Athens, GA today. Louisiana waterthrush has been here for 3 weeks! We are going to get a little reality check with 20's this week. Yikes. Take care.

The Outlaw Josey Wales is one of my favorite films of all time. We quote it all the time around here. I even invoke it in a chapter of my book (Letters from Eden). I'm watching this little buck who's watching me and he's just frozen stiff and his eyes get wider and wider just like Sondra Locke's do when she's sure she's going to be captured and sold to Ten Bears by the nasty Comancheros. Great to see you here, Chris--I wish we'd gotten to spend more time together in Honduras but our paths just didn't cross. Glad you're following
--so am I! That girl can write.

My daffodils are blooming, and so are your kids -- a feast for the eyes and the soul. We've had peepers singing intermittently for a few weeks; the last few nights, they've been cranking it up to 11. For about a week now, I've heard the screech owl across the road doing a soft purring trill. And the skunk cabbages are up and filling out. But my lone overwintering chipping sparrow is still a party of one.

Your posts are a delight for a tired soul. It's so good to see your bright young children just brimming with enthusiasm for learning.

[Back to Top]