Friday, April 19, 2019

playing catch-up

Hello! Sorry I've been gone for awhile. It seems that there just isn't enough time to blog when I want to, or else I haven't been in the mood to write. I'm still struggling with this back pain on and off (I finally start PT next week) and I recently had a horribly infected stye on my eyelid which made me feel cruddy in general. I've noticed a lot of blogs haven't been very active lately. I think Instagram is taking over. I do like IG and it's definitely a lot easier to post a quick pic with a few words, but I also miss the stories and warmth behind regular blog posts.

It's been a crazy weather ride here in northern Illinois, but that's typical for April. Last week, there were a couple of days that were actually warm enough to sit out on the front porch in the morning with my coffee (which I never take for granted - it was glorious!) and for a couple of beautiful, sunny walks in the State Park. And then a few days later - this past Sunday - we had a snowstorm that dumped six inches of wet, heavy snow on us. Two days later, it was 70 degrees and all the snow was gone.

So now everything here is finally exploding into bloom...I take a walk around my yard and see hostas, clematis, sedum, lamb's ear, bishop's cap and clematis all coming to life. Chives, fennel, red leaf sorrel and mint are growing in the herb garden. Some of the buds on my lilac bush have gently opened, revealing tiny purple flowers that will soon burst into heavenly scented blooms. I even saw my first butterfly the other day! This red admiral  was on a dandelion in my next-door neighbor's yard. His side yard joins up with ours on the south side of our house. The neighbor's side yard gets direct sun, so the dandelions love that area. 
The bees and butterflies need the dandelions in the early spring for pollen and nectar. I'm so glad our neighbor is like us and doesn't spray any weed killer on his lawn. Did you know that weed killers not only kill butterflies and bees, but in us humans are linked to cancer, kidney, liver and nervous system damage, endocrine disruption and reproductive toxicity? So, please - leave the dandelions alone! And hey, if it's your thing, you can use the dandelion greens in your salad or make dandelion wine with the flowers. 

We haven't begun yard clean up in earnest yet. And there is so much to do. All the garden beds are filled with wet, dead leaves; there's blown wood chips all over the back yard; piles of dead pine needles from the arborvitaes that line our back yard; perennials that need to be cut down; bare patches of ground that need grass seed...the patio furniture will need to be uncovered and the patio cleaned...and on and on. I've only done a little raking around the yard so far because of my back and because of the weather.  I read on a gardening site that if you start cleaning out your garden beds before the daytime temps are at least a consistent 50 degrees F., you risk throwing away butterflies, bees and other pollinators that are overwintering in the dead leaves and hollowed out stems of last year's plants.

I finally got my old, chippy window on the buffet painted (I do want to distress it a bit though) and the decor in my living room lightened up a bit for spring.

This weekend is a holiday celebration for both Jews and Christians. However you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a blessed weekend with your family and/or friends.