This has been an amazing spring, a spring when I have been brought face to face with people I'd only admired from afar. When I've realized that the Internet connection that started our friendship is a powerful thing and capable of much good. That the feeling you get when you chat with someone via email can be as real as it is good. That came home to me when Murr Brewster traveled all the way from Oregon to stay a few days at Indigo Hill. I knew I'd love Murr and sure enough we were like sisters (without the baggage) from the moment we met. I felt I'd known her forever.
Chet Baker loved Murr, too.
He smiled all the time around her.
and sometimes we all laughed ourselves silly.
pieced together out of hundreds of tiny bits of fabric and quilted for hours and hours
So that was a hostess gift with the mostess, and I am still agog. I resolved to try to be as good a hostess as Murr was a guest so I tied my apron on and fed her up good. No salmon, though.
Liam was exploring the physics of cardboard ramps and flying Matchbox cars.
The meadow was alive with field sparrow song.
Chet Baker was cold, as usual, so we fixed him up in an ET wrap.
Murr got a taste of GardenPod Xanadu. All that's since been emptied out and put into planters and baskets, and it's simply ridiculous how beautiful it all is.
Murr's a gardener of the first rank, so we moved slowly about the yard and greenhouse, exclaiming about this or that little thing we've grown or tried to grow. I found myself wishing I could send her back on the plane with pots full of starts from my garden. Flight attendants frown on such things.
When Nina (of Nature Remains) arrived, we played with a baby mourning dove for awhile
and then I tried to think of the most whiz-bang thing I could do to show these naturalists a good time. The answer was pretty obvious: Newell's Run in late April. Yep, that's it. That's the road that gave me permission to fall in love with southeast Ohio; that's the road with the mostest.
The Bacon, awash in blue-eyed Mary (Collinsonia verticillata)
Blue-eyed Mary is my favorite spring ephemeral wildflower, and Newell's Run is drowning in it. It washes down the hillsides like blue mist. I am sure that my affinity for bicolored blue and white lobelias has everything to do with blue-eyed Mary, trying to recreate that look in my hanging baskets.
Nina shoots Chet wading in blue flowers
He was thinking about squirrelts and chiptymunks.
We were having the most quiet kind of fun, the doodly oh look at this! kind of fun.
Murr looks for salamanders everywhere. She likes salamanders best of all. And she found two: a dusky salamander Desmognathus fuscus
and a northern two-lined salamander Eurycea bislineata.
We found the deliciously named cream violet, which pairs nicely with blue-eyed Mary,
and dwarf larkspur. The larkspur had spread and was coming up yards and yards away from the original tiny patch I'd known about for years
Elves in hats.
We found tiny gold-butted beetles partying on a splash of bird doo, which is something I'd have liked even without Murr there
and when we were finally done at Newell's Run we meandered up home to meet Buck the Bull
who was occupied assessing the readiness of Tina for another go.
But he shambled up to the fence to say hello, for he is nothing if not a companionable bull.
Tina, who looks more like a hippo with her frostbitten ears than a cow, said hi too.
When who should arrive but Jeff Warren, Buck and Tina's owner. I was delighted to introduce him to Murr and Nina.
He told us that Buck is now 13. I love Jeff for keeping Buck around. I know he eats a lot of hay, but he's still doing his job, as evidenced by Photo One.
We ended a perfect excursion with a look at seven perfect Carolina chickadee eggs in a box in my driveway. As I speak six of those seven eggs are feathered out and yelling for their afternoon repast.
Spring in Whipple.