Thursday, April 12, 2018

Early Spring

Hello, Dear Friends, we are seeing more signs of spring, 
here in the foothills of the Cascade mountains in 
Washington State, but it has been cool and wet, 
which is typical this time of year.  

Every once in a while the sun will peek through the 
low clouds for a few hours, or if we are very lucky, a whole day!   
I throw on my garden boots and denim overcoat,
grab the clippers and the rake and get to work 
cleaning up the gardens.

Sometimes I find 'artifacts' left behind by my children.
It always tugs at my heartstrings.....

Time passes so quickly.

But plastic lasts forever......

*  *

I have mostly native plant and wildflower gardens, 
with a few hardy plantings here and there, 
but the winter cleanup is quite a job this time of year. 
I fill my wheelbarrow and whole tarps
with dead or fallen branches, 
storm debris, plant trimmings and blackberry vines that 
grow year round and can reach 30 ft!

The thorns leave me with scratches, even through my clothes, 
and painful splinters in my fingers, despite my heavy
work gloves, but I love every minute of my time 
outdoors - listening to the whispers of the wind
 and the forest gossip among the birds,  
while the dogs and I soak in the early spring sunhine. 

It never lasts for long - at most a day or so - 
before the wind picks up, bringing angry dark 
clouds and sometimes driving rain or hail,
like a tempestuous child having a tantrum, 
only to melt your heart with the sunniest smile 
just a few moments later. 

Speaking of children.......

The loves of my life are keeping me busy two mornings a week,
 in between days in the gardens. 

Like this little one, 17 mos. 

Big brother to these little charmers;
the twins - almost 3 mos., now. 

Mom hasn't handed them completely over to me
yet, but I am working up to it <3

She goes back to work in two weeks, 
but works at home, along with their Daddy, 
so I won't be completely on my own. 

These little ones are very lucky, 
with two Grandmothers to help out 
and many loving aunts and uncles nearby, too. 

It takes a village........:)

We enjoyed seeing this little guy, too,
 for an Easter egg hunt a couple of weeks ago
at his three little cousin's house. 

He's almost 3 now. 

I was beginning to think that I would never have Grandchildren......
and now look how blessed I am! 

The 'big boys' are both wearing the sweaters I crocheted 
them for Christmas. 
I am almost done crocheting two more for the twins.
The darling, felt Easter baskets were gifts
from their Auntie and Uncle, Jen and Dustin.
Jimmy, the Labra-Doodle and Fender,
the brown Labrador Retriever, 
didn't stay in their pen for long.......
They staged a break-out. 

And poor Lilly, my soon-to-be Grand-Daughter
(Her Dad is marrying my daughter, Jennie
this summer), gets the full-on, Labrador welcome hug.
Fender loves everyone, but especially loves Lilly.....

But you have to watch this guy.....he's a thief! 

He ran off with this Easter egg and refused to give it up.  
He's pretending to be sleeping, but as soon as your hand 
gets close, he grabs the egg in his mouth
and runs off. This entertained him for quite some time :)

The Rufous Hummingbirds are back from their winter vacation 
down south, but are squabbling 
with the resident Anna's Hummingbirds over territorial rights 
to the feeders, so I put out a few more. 

This has kept the peace, more or less. 
Hummingbirds seem so small and fragile, but 
they are fearless and will buzz and dive-bomb any interlopers, 
no matter how big or small. 

I've seen them going after bumblebee's that want a drink, 
or dogs and cats and even humans - hovering and darting
 menacingly, just inches away from your face. 

I once held one in my hands when it got trapped inside 
my solarium window when we were building the house. 
I could feel its wildly beating heart as I gently cupped it 
in my palms to let it go while my small children watched 
in wonder. 

April 11th was the 37th anniversary of the day we 'left 
it all behind' to live in this wild and beautiful place, 
full of hopes and dreams and not much else. 

You can read all about our journey in four parts,
 Here, Here, Here, and Here.

Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.
I've been taking those leaps all of my life. 

I love reading about others who have also taken leaps of faith.

I just finished these two wonderful memoirs written by
a fellow leaper, Mary J. MacLeod - a nurse who moved with her
family to a remote Scottish Isle in the early 1970's.

(These have a copyright of 2013 - 14.
Dear Mary is in her 80's now,
living in England)

I can guarantee that you will love these
 heart-warming (and sometimes heart-breaking)
 stories of her and her fellow islander's life there.

When have you taken a leap of faith?

Signs of spring are everywhere now......

I'll have to take you on another country drive soon.

Thank you, dear friends for your condolences for the loss of our
little Maggie. She was our sweet and sassy little
companion for so many years and we will miss her,
but are greatly comforted by your kind and caring thoughts.


Until next time..........Keep the faith!


You can find the pattern to the baby sweater Here.

Today I am linking with:

Thankful Thursday

Won't you join the fun?



  1. Hi Karen ,lovely post my friend i love your home its so pretty there and gee the grandies sure are growing ,the twins are very cute,hope your day is a good one my friend xx

  2. Hi Karen, and welcome back. Another beautiful post filled with kindred words and photos. You grands are a.dor.a.ble to say the least. Today it was 70 and I worked in the yard and it was wonderful. Then this weekend it's suppose to get cold again, ugh! How precious your Maggie was!

  3. Hello dear Karen, such wonderful greenery... and gorgeous little (and bigger) kids. <3
    You live in one of the most amazing places I have seen in the blog-world. You were brave to move there, but I'm sure you are now very, very happy.
    Sending you blessings and hugs... and very much looking forward to your posts about Italy! xx

  4. Hello dear Karen!
    I think you're a blessed grandmother!♥ You have some very beautiful grandchildren!
    I'm sorry for your cat! I also have a 14-year-old cat.
    Thank you for visiting, and God bless!

  5. You live in such a beautiful place and your weather looks grand! Ours is still cold and about to get colder. Love seeing your grands. I hope to be a help to my own kids, one day, when they have children. I jotted down the book titles. Just the kind of thing I like to read. Thanks for linking up and have a GREAT weekend!

  6. ...a rainbow and cute kids, you know that it's going to be a good day!

  7. So sorry for the lose of your furbabe. I have dog 11 yrs old and the thoughts of losing him just is so hard. We sure do become attached. Such sweet pics and the twins are adorable. I have yet to see a hummer but can't wait I love to just sit and watch them. Loving the, love, love...thanks for sharing.

  8. Hello Karen. My first time here and I loved this post. Right away it made memories because our home was in the Pacific Northwest before we took our leap and sold out to travel full time.(around 20 years ago...We now are once again Oregon residents, but have a winter home in Florida). Your grands are adorable (our great-grandboys are older than your grandsons, so now it is my daughters turn to have fun as a doting grandma!). Your yard is wonderful, I do miss Springtime in the NW and loved those memories. Thanks for finding me through Michelle’s great Sharing opportunity and I look forward to reading more of your leap of faith! (Also those books are calling me. I enjoy memoirs).

  9. Karen, such a beautiful post! Your photos are gorgeous. As if all that green isn't fabulous enough, then ... all that green and a rainbow! Then the grands. Couldn't pick a favorite photo. Till I came to the last. Can't beat the one of your beautiful little Maggie. :-( Hugs.

  10. awww, i can see spring in the green of the landscape!! i hire our the spring clean-up, it has become more than my body can handle!!

    the place is looking good but nothing can beat those cute little faces. when you include those in a post, well, it may be all we remember!!!

    ps...i find old trinkets in my gardens too, always a special moment!!!

  11. First of all, dear Karen, I am so very sorry about the loss of another beloved pet...your Maggie. you must miss her very much, but I know you are thankful for the 18 years that you had her.
    You are keeping so busy with gardening, and grandchildren. What a blessing indeed! Happy weekend to you, sweet friend! xo

  12. Beautiful pictures and best wishes for a LOVELY weekend!
    Love from Titti

  13. Fabulous post Karen .. and so much to do and see... What a beautiful setting you live in .. I can well imagine the tranquility of nature there.... perfect for grand babies and furry babies too( ha ha) .. How wonderful to have the boys so close to you.. They are so much fun when they’re little ...and you can just hugs and cuddle them forever....
    I love hummingbirds too, but last year I had so much trouble creating the right feeding mixture... incidentally your rainbow photos are glorious and definitely must be a positive sign that all is happy and perfect in your part of the world... I enjoyed the tour, my Friend... Big Hugs

  14. Wow,Karen!What a great story!I've always loved your blog and admired your home but now...much more!I can feel your kindness and faith and love when I visit your blog...Your story shows how you and your family are brave,corageous and blessed...Your pictures are wonderful!Hugs,dear Karen!Your Grands are adorable!

  15. Beautiful pictures. Have a Happy weekend.

  16. Isn't it wonderful to get out again and work, our ground is quite spongy still from all the rain but we have had some nice days to enjoy the outside :) The sweaters look great on the boys, and the twins are growing so fast, how fun to be able to see them as much as you do. I am hopeful that we might have grandchildren some day, although our daughter has no plans for children right now. Love the pic of your hummingbird, I have been almost hit by them coming through here, the sound is just amazing when they whiz by. I feel like our whole Military was a leap of faith every time we were stationed somewhere new, especially in another country, it has been nice to live in one area for more than 4 years since my hubby retired.

  17. I hope you left the Action Man to be rediscovered on a future garden clean up. How wonderful is your red wheelbarrow in that photo?! How lovely to see all the Grandchildren happily growing up, such beautiful pictures, I do feel for you still with your loss of little Maggie, I'm sure the house feels emptier...
    I feel like my whole life is a leap of faith, Thailand is certainly one of those, a stable happy family base like yours would be wonderful mind you not that you probably get much time to sit still and enjoy that wheelbarrow is always calling I'm sure!
    Happy Days.
    Wren x

  18. What a fantastic rainbow, Karen. Wow.

  19. Hello Karen! Loved this post with your beautiful grandchildren and all the work at your place getting the garden ready. Thank you so much for coming by my painting blog to comment on my painting process. I have taken this blog break to do some writing and painting, mostly writing, and to get some housework done because I had ignored the house a bit too long! :-) It has been rainy and windy here too, and my hubby became sick with a cold and now I have it! I loved your story about seeing the mountain lion! That would have put a severe chill down my spine! Reading your description of your terror (part of me was in the house before the rest of me) sounded like how I would have reacted myself! In truth, I would love to see one from the safety of my house, or even deck or car, but not yet. I haven't even seen a coyote, and we hear them many nights out there howling away. Hope you have a lovely weekend...kisses to those grandbabies! And I hope spring finally comes to us both soon!

  20. Beautiful post and great photos. Love the sky shots with the rainbows. Thank you for sharing for stories about life and family.

  21. Que bello todo
    Seas bendecida

  22. Hi Karen. You certainly are blessed. The grands are all so special and so cute. What fun they are at those ages. We were lucky to get one grandchild but he is the love of our lives and it only gets better as he gets older. Now 24 and just graduating from college. Your pics are beautiful and it looks like you live in a very beautiful setting. We lost our little Maggie (cat) last summer and it is very hard to go through. Happy Weekend..Judy and thanks so much for your visit.

  23. Wonderful pictures and post Karen, I had to laugh about when the sun comes out you are out doing yard work. That is so true.

    Hugs diane

  24. Yes we also have a Spring! Finally!
    I was waiting for it for so long! I love the moment when everything is getting green again :)
    We also had forts thunder storm too! I like the smell of the air just before the storm! It's so fresh!

    Hah my cats are thieves too! When you stare at them they're polite and cute. But when you turn back for a moment your food will probably disappear haha! :D
    It's cute somehow I think :)
    "Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith." - well said... I think I have to do it right now...

  25. Karen,
    What a great post filled with eye candy and sweet children!
    Thank you for your kind comment on my post about my dear friend and neighbor, Elly!! She was a very special Lady!! Thanks for stopping by!!

  26. Beautiful post! I am so envious of the sunshine in your pictures. Spring has yet to arrive here on the other side of the country but we will wait patiently for it and hope it doesn't just bypass us. My gardens are a mess but it's just too cold to go out and work. Your grandchildren, and their sweaters, are adorable!!

  27. Hi Karen! I love when you share your gardening and flowers - especially this time of year when it takes forever for Spring to show up in the northwoods. Your posts like this feed my soul. ;)

    I love seeing your beautiful grandbabies too! They are so beautiful and can't believe the twins are that old already! Time does fly ::sigh:: I was so grateful when my MIL and my Mom were able to help with my kids when I was still working too. Such peace of mind with Grandma babysitting vs a babysitter. You are a blessing and I'm positive your daughter is beyond grateful for it!!

    Love the sound of those books and thanks for the recommendation! I have so many books I want to read - I have a pile saved up. Lol! Been trying to read a little most nights and get back into the habit. As far as leap of faith here, I'd say one of my biggest was when we decided to do in-vitro fertilization and took up my SIL's offer to carry for us. I never really thought it would work and it was difficult to go through with the failed attempts breaking my heart. But then low and behold it's how Annie got here! Sometimes those leaps of faith show us how truly great our God is to us. ;)

    Hope you're enjoying the weekend. xoxo

  28. This was such a heartfelt post, and seeing your beautiful grandchildren brought a huge smile to my face. Isn’t it wonderful when life gives us unexpected but welcome surprises?

    How amazing that you got to hold a hummingbird in your hands! You’re so fortunate to see so many creatures, both big and small, in your area.

    Thanks for the book recommendations. I think I’ve read more in the last six months than the last six years combined, so I will keep these in mind.

  29. Dear Karen,

    So lovely that you have Spring days there, and warmer weather.
    You must be so happy to care for your little grandchildren, so adorable. So sad to hear of your dear Maggie, sending hugs.
    Thanks also for the book recommendations and will look out for them.
    Always a pleasure to come and visit you and see all the wonderful photos you share.
    Happy week

  30. i am so happy that finally spring has arrived in your magnificent area dear Karen!

    sorry that while cleaning and gardening your fingers get hurt ,same happen to both of us though our garden is not as big as your's yet it gives pleasure to heart !

    advanced congrats to your dear daughter who is getting married in summer!

    thank you for these wonderful photos which are full of life and happiness:)

    your capturing is artistic just like your thoughts !

    I LOVED the little angles ,how swiftly time fly by ,may they find more health and prosperity in life ahead,amen

  31. Karen, what a beautiful rainbow. It is raining here today, and love watching it fall. The sweaters you made your grandkids look so cute on them. It looks like they fit perfectly. I was so happy to see the hummingbird on your post. What a pretty Pink color it is. They have such big eyes for such a tiny body. They truly amaze me. Looking forward to seeing pictures of your country drive soon. I recently took a drive to the country, and it was such a pleasant outing, bringing back a cherry Danish to enjoy with my coffee. : )

    Wishing you sweet April days, Karen.


  32. Oh, what a wonderful post! It warms my heart all the way here in ND! Lots of things in this post and I love it all! So wonderful to see a rainbow! Reminds us that God has a covenant with us. The grandchildren!!!! Adorable!! Congratulations. I was about to be sure we wouldn't have any grandkids till Ellie was born! Now ...if I could get my law student son to get a girl he likes and get married. Sigh* . I have been there with leaps of faith a few times in life as well. We have moved to a few different countries and inside the US as well. Those books sounds very interesting to me. It's exactly the type of literature I would like to read. The crochet sweaters looks so cute!! Do you have a pattern? Thanks for sharing Karen!

    1. Thank you for your sweet visit, dear Angela! I do have a pattern for the sweater and I have added the link to the post. I think you would really love the books :) xo Karen

  33. Great post! And what fun shots of all the children! It sure does go fast! Thinking Spring here in New York, where old man winter is abit too clingy! Haven't had much of a chance to get out and clean up in the garden. But it won't be long now! Aloha!

  34. Hello Karen, oh it is so pretty where you live. It must be so nice to see everything in bloom right now. The mountain is just gorgeous. The dogs must love going outside.
    It is still very cold here and today was only 45 degrees. Everything is in bloom right now but too COLD. We now go right into summer and don't really have spring anymore. :(
    Take care and hope you have a nice week.
    Julie xo

  35. Some posts resonate so strongly -- this is one. The plastic memory of the children made my heart leap a bit. Your beautiful dogs, adorable grands. And oh, that photo of the sundog against the gray clouds -- a stunner. I so rarely see those and when I do they take my breath away. The cloud color makes this all the more dramatic. I'm sorry about your sweet cat. I will find that post. Having said goodbye to more than one in the past, I know those feelings of sadness.

  36. Such a lovely post.
    I loved seeing the rainbow in your first photograph and your grandchildren are just wonderful. Time passes so quickly, and it is wonderful to spend time with them.

    All the best Jan


Thank you for stopping by! Your comments are important to me and are very much appreciated. xx Karen

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