Monday, June 24, 2019

The Scent of Roses

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you haven't forgotten me......

I have been so very busy. 
Life is catching up with me, and I am struggling 
with how to keep it from overtaking me completely. 

Do you ever feel that way? 

Sometimes in life, time just seems to speed up suddenly, 
and you find that you have to force yourself 
to stop and smell the roses. 

Now that summer is here, I have a strong 
urge to make the most of every free moment. 

But the 'to do' list is long and summer is so very short.

Do you remember, as a child, that feeling of joy on the first 
day of summer vacation? Time just seemed to stretch 
out in an endless expanse of freedom
from the regiments of school.

Of course, the chores were still there, and the little sisters
and pets still needed tending to, but whenever I could,
I would steal away for some precious free time, just to myself.

I loved spending time with my sweet and faithful dog,
in the family's little row-boat. With Mittens taking up the bow, 
(who knew to stay very still, so as not to rock the boat) and packed with 
a picnic lunch, blanket, and my dog-eared sketch pad,
we were ready to explore. 

We lived on a murky little New England pond,
good for wildlife viewing, boating or ice-skating only.
Across the pond, around the bend,
was an old-fashioned New England grist mill, 
complete with a little waterfall and a wooden water-wheel. 

This was a magical place full of mist and moss,
rushing water, and large, smooth rocks under a canopy of 
Sassafras trees. 

 I had discovered a secret deer trail,
where I could dock my boat under the wild roses
that grew along the water's edge.
The trail led to the waterfall on the opposite
side of the creek from the mill.

There were lady slipper orchids that grew at the
base of the beech trees, and carpets of moss and
wild wintergreen with bright red berries that I,
and the chickadees loved to eat.

I have no idea what ever happened to my childhood sketchbook, 
but I'll always remember those stolen summer afternoons
 with my beloved dog, sharing my sandwich, and 
watching her investigate all of
the intriguing scents only a dog can understand. 

I was brave to go off alone that way, when I think about it now,
but I was young and fearless and had a strong desire
to explore this beautiful world.

This desire led me thousands of miles away only a few years
later when I married my Ramblin' Man and off we went......

Now, here I am, all these years later, reminding myself
to take time to smell the roses, to try and capture
that exhilarating feeling of summer vacation freedom, once again.

I've been enjoying the roadside roses
 on my way to the Grand-little's
house in the mornings, also.

I try to think of who might have planted them,
so long ago. Someone who dreamed of seeing
them as I see them now, filling the hedges
with wild abandon?
Everything starts with a dream.......

This gorgeous old 'smoke tree' blooms along the way, too.

The grass is high and the roadways are lined with daisies
and foxglove, which are especially pretty against fields full of buttercup. 

More and more of these fields are going away -
sold to developers to build new homes.

It makes me sad, but I try and think about the many young families
that will soon have new homes.
They will plant trees and flowers, and a once lonely place
will be full of life with the beautiful laughter of children.

It's so important to look on the bright side, isn't it?
A positive vision of hopefulness always
keeps life moving forward.
It definitely takes discipline to keep a positive attitude,
but well worth cultivating for the sake of peace of mind.

In this world of relentless negativity, I try hard to have
gratitude and a positive outlook as much as I can.
Of course, I don't always succeed.
That's when taking time to just enjoy the scent of roses,
lifts my spirits and renews my outlook.

I was blessed to have one beautiful foxglove spring
up at the base of my trellis in my unruly wildflower garden.

I have studied the habits of these Pacific Northwest wildflowers,
that were originally cultivated escapees from
the early pioneers who brought the seeds along their journey
 for their medicinal herb gardens. Foxglove
 contains digitalis, which can affect heart rhythm
 if ingested. Beware!
Digitalis is an active ingredient in some heart medicines.

They will readily self-seed if given newly disturbed ground,
and are biennial - growing a lovely rosette of
large leaves the first year, then sending up a flower spike
in the second. The hundreds of tiny black seeds
are easy to collect from the dried pods in late summer
and remain viable for many years.

My beloved pansies have mostly died off for the season,
except for these little beauties,
growing in pots in the shade of the deck rail.
Pansies hate hot weather and we had a long spell of heat
recently, with one day getting close to 95 degrees.

I took advantage of the heat to give the dogs a spa day on the deck.

And now they are shedding - leaving big tufts of white fur
blowing around everywhere. The vacuum cleaner
 and I have renewed our friendship, considerably :)

It has cooled off this past week, now barely getting to 70 degrees
and dipping into the low 40's at night.

A garden plaque that was once my Mom's says it all.

 "A gardeners life is full of sweets and sours
he gets the sunshine when he needs the showers"

I planted lemon thyme, oregano and sage
in this tub.

My version of a 'kitchen garden' right outside
the kitchen door.

All of the pansies have been replaced with purple alyssum
and petunias, both very fragrant. They look sparse right now,
but will fill out nicely as summer goes on.

These are some tubs I planted a few weeks ago.

The young hummingbirds have left their nests.

I was sitting at the table on the deck, taking a coffee break
with the Mr., when this little sweetheart decided to thoroughly
investigate me, buzzing inches from my face and
around my hair several times, before flying off
to enjoy the hanging baskets.

It must have been the Jo Malone cologne that I had on.

My favorite, 'Red Roses'.

I hope that you all had a wonderful Father's Day!
We celebrated by going to the zoo and aquarium
with 3 of the grands.

Their first visit - so special - and they were all
wearing the crocheted sweaters I made for them.

We have our 'official' celebration this weekend
with all of the Dads in the family at my daughter's house.
Everyone is so busy and it is hard to round everyone
up these days.

My youngest son devoted this past weekend to
helping his Dad install a new automatic gate
at the top of our driveway.

They put in 10-12 hour days, installing the gate, a solar panel,
battery and hydraulic opener. Then, my son had to program
the software to link the remotes and keypad to the code.

My son-in-law also helped by accepting and unloading
this large delivery at his home, then loading it into
his pickup truck and hauling it up here.

We are so grateful for their help.

This was a significant investment in time and money,
but well worth it as we get older, when manually opening
the gate might get more difficult.
Not only that, but it is very creepy up there at night or
early in the morning!
We live in bear and cougar country and I've encountered both.

_       _
*         *

I hope that you are finding time to enjoy this special time 
of year, dear friends, doing a little bit of what you love to do, 
and making sweet memories along the way. 

" It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine
was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside."

Maud Hart Lovelace
Betsy-Tacy and Tib
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