First of all, thank you for your many kind thoughts and wishes regarding my last post. My voice is back and my throat healed. I'm still careful not to speak too much, but that's not too difficult when I'm home alone most days. Best of all, I'm sleeping through the night - isn't sleep such a wonderful gift? After a solid 6-8 hours I wake up with energy and a bright outlook on the day.
On a grey and somewhat drizzly Sunday we took a walk. Curving pathways and overarching growth create an air of mystery and anticipation. Although the woods look dull and lifeless, a closer look reveals that much is happening.
The yellow flowers of mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape) are some of the first to add colour and cheer to the woods. In summer, dark blue berries form. The First Nations peoples used the roots, bark, and berries of the shrub for medicinal purposes. Although the berries are extremely tart, they make a delicious tasting jam.
The plant is native to North America, and the botanist David Douglas took plants to Europe to use in English gardens as shady ground cover. Plants have certainly traveled around the world, sometimes for the good, other times not so much.
Another early bloomer is the June Plum (oemleria cerasiformas), also called the Oso Berry. The leaves emerge from the stem tips and often stand at attention, while the blooms droop downwards in clusters of creamy white and green. Small fruits appear, but although edible, they are quite bitter. Like the mahonia, many parts of this plant are used by the First Nations for medicinal purposes.
Our Iranian friends celebrated the Persian New Year (Nowruz) on the weekend, at the time of the Spring Equinox. They brought us a traditional decoration of a plate of sprouted greens, along with delicious candies and a bottle of rose water. In the weeks leading to the celebration, it's customary to do a "house shaking" - a thorough cleaning of all corners of the home.
For Christmas, one of our granddaughters asked for bits and pieces of fabric, lace, and ribbon - "not big pieces, just small ones", she said - along with peg dolls. I had so much fun going through my stash to present a box of materials to give to her. Now during Spring Break, she created a Castle of Love and a set of characters to live there - King, Queen, Princess, and the Queen's twin sisters. Boxes, toilet paper and kitchen paper rolls, tissue paper, and a lot of imagination went into this creation. My daughter sent me the photos.
Yesterday afternoon I was just about ready to pull on my wellies and do some gardening when the heavens opened and a very cold rain doused my enthusiasm. Later, I wandered around looking at the emerging plants and making all kinds of plans in my head. I stopped to admire these primroses, so perky in spite of the rain.
Today I'll be baking a cake for a birthday later in the week, and doing a little shopping. Two grandchildren will be coming over for the next two days - although it's Spring Break for them, their parents need to work. I'm so looking forward to some concentrated time with them, something I haven't had since summer. I am weary of this pandemic and will be so very glad when we can gather together indoors as an extended family.