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Landscapes With Dog

Thursday, March 21, 2013

It is staying resolutely, frigidly, no-pea-plantingly cold in Ohio.  I must look for the silver lining. Which is that these two-week old photos still seem remotely relevant even after the calendrical first day of spring has rolled over and past us, leaving us shivering in its icy wake.

Morning fairyland, courtesy overnight blizzard.

Bloggers are thankful for such small mercies. We get busy; we get caught up in life and putting out other products. Which may include piles of clean folded laundry, myriad meals, speaking engagements, commissioned paintings, poster art, garment art and a new CD from The Rain Crows. thiswasastealthadvertisementpracticallysubliminaldidyounoticethat? Being reduced to irrelevance by, say, a warm front with NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR LATE MARCH, nice as it would be, would be not so good for the blog. How's that for finding a silver lining? Dopey, I know. Yes, I am shouting, and shaking my fist at the heavens.

I have three-inch tall sugar snap peas growing like Topsy in the greenhouse, hunderts and hunderts of them crammed into long narrow window planters, and the nights are still in the 20's. Now what? Thought I was so slick, starting them in the greenhouse. Har. 100% germination, far as I can tell. Highly enthusiastic peas. I normally get about 20-60% germination when I plant them right in the garden, and wind up replanting two or three times. It's a thing. Tried to beat the thing. Got myself in deep with about 200 pea plants with nowhere to go now. I have a reverence for life that my dad used to describe as Hindu, so you can be sure I'm figuring out how to keep them all alive and, I hope, producing snap peas by early June. The goal being to eat peas before we leave for North Dakota.

So we're traipsing along with Shila and Chet Baker diggin' the old barn scene near my house. I keep seeing landscapes with dog

and toothless barns, oh ghaww I love this barn and dread the day it collapses

when I'm not seeing the remains of a pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) which had the misfortune to grow up in jail. How this plant made it to 5' tall inside a barn encased in stock fencing I don't know. Doesn't look like it was able to fruit, poor thing, and it's etiolated (a lovely favorite word meaning all stretched out from lack of light) but hey. Nice try. My guess is that an eastern phoebe perched on the fenceroll, pooped out a pokeseed, and the seed took it from there. Grow where you're planted. One of my mottoes. Unless, of course, you find yourself etiolated. Then get out and get you some sun.

We tromp around the abandoned farmstead noting details like the dental molding on the once-kinda-fancy front porch awning, dating to a day when they cared about such things

and the fabulous color and texture of the oil tank that marks the well on the acreage, a regular Pollack painting it is

and we see a Boston terrier in a sport jacket go down an allee of white pines

and past an outhouse that yes, really is leaning at a Pisa-like angle

He pauses at the top of the hill where, on Thanksgiving Day, I lost him for a couple of hours. But that is another story. He's looking back, making sure it doesn't happen again. Obviously, he found his little doggie way home, because there he is, still with me, checking to see that I'm coming along.

Yes, Chet Baker. Mether's coming. 

All right then. I will start down the hill.

Oh little dog in snow how you make my heart skip.

As does the cornice of the cabin at Fergus' pond, whose reflection is peeping over the edge of the sish ice that rings it.

Little bluestem looks nice against a leaden sky.

Oh look. There's our house, peeking through the thinned forest our neighbor had logged a couple years ago.  Never mind. It's still forest. It'll grow back.

By now, about 4 pm, it's bitterly cold and a freezing wind is tearing at our clothes. Tears stream down our cheeks but Shila still stops to catch the changing light. At this point I am thinking about hot tea

and last year's cardinal nest, given away by the snow egg it's holding.

Right after I took this photo I stepped off the side of a slick snowy road bank and rolled down it, falling conveniently on the snap fixture that holds the strap on my camera, opening it and allowing the camera and treasured telephoto lens to fall to the ground. Nobody was hurt. Actually it was pretty funny. Ask Shila.

I've got a blitz of speaking engagements this coming week in Columbus (check the left sidebar labeled "Julie in the Flesh" ) so if there's a hiatus in posts it's because I'm taking it to the streets. I'll be back, just like Arnold.


I feel a compulsion to listen to the Rain Crows.

Only you could make cold gray weather look so good. Well, you and Chet Baker. May husband has decided that we need a Boston Terrier. Not sure where he got that idea (especially since he didn't know what they were called) but I think we should go with it before he changes his mind. Those old barns are lovely in any weather but I'm hoping some spring comes your way sooner rather than later.

March is crazy like that. Eleven degrees when I got up this morning. But remember 90-something last year? This seems more normal somehow. At least we've seen the sun a bit in the past week!

Wonderful post. And wonderful winter scenes. It's jut that winter is hanging on way to long...:)

Over-enthusiastic germination! One year my dear man started 250, yes 250 tomatoes under lights in the basement. After several repots he still had over 100. About then we found out I was pregnant and due in September. I fixed him with a steely eye and said, "If you think I'm doing ANYTHING with tomatoes when I'm nine months pregnant..."

Our local garden club was delighted to receive dozens of fat sassy tomato seedlings for their sale, and he planted one dozen. Just enough for two people!

Posted by Anonymous March 21, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Isn't everybody looking at these barn photos and thinking: "Bob Ross"?

"Sish ice "

Don, these are sad little barns. Not happy little barns. Their roofs is all caved in.

Floridacracker, you wouldn't know this word unless you'd been to Newfoundland (or had ever actually seen ice on a pond), but sish ice is ice that makes a sishing sound when you bring a fishing boat through it. There's also slob ice. That's the ice that forms in big gummy gobs on rigging and hulls. We're talking saltwater ice. Which is cold. A Floridian might die, just looking at it.

Kestrelhill, GREAT story!!Ha ha ha ha! That's exactly what I did with my snap peas. Too too many.

Wonderful pictures! It's still cold in the Shenandoah too.

Spring snow and 23F in the Black Hills foothills. Taking pictures of icicles instead of daffodils!

We are still frozen too. Last year at this time (it was a strange March) we had peas planted outside and about 3 inches tall. The trade off is that we have tapped our maple trees for the first time and are still collecting sap. Of course having freezing temperatures also holds down on the muddy footprints all over the house (and our bed) from our furry Phoebe. April will be grand and well appreciated!!

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