“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
Winter is dead.”
~A.A. Milne, When We Were Very YoungTrips to four different nurseries within a week. Vases filled with Daffodils and Daphne throughout the house. Checking on each and every plant and tree to see how it fared during the winter. Soil under my nails. Yep, I’ve definitely got it. Spring Fever!
It’s only late February but the high temperatures have been hovering in the high 60s and even 70s for a couple weeks now. I’m really hoping March brings much more rain, but right now, well, right now I’m loving all these bursts of color. Right now, it feels like spring is bustin’ out all over!
Here, the Weigelias are just beginning to leaf out. I’m filling pots with colorful Primroses, Pansies and Violas.The air is scented with the heavenly fragrance of winter Daphne. Is there a sweeter smell in February? Not in my book!A row of blooming flowering plum trees heralds our arrival along our driveway.And a hedge of tall Photonia brightens up the yard with shiny new red leaves.Flowering Quince and Forsythia are putting on their shows,while graceful Hellebores nod hello.
Oh, I know it’s still early, but I can’t get enough of these happy harbingers of spring. What’s blooming in your gardens right now in late February?
“Spring won’t let me stay in this house any longer! I must get out and breathe the air deeply again.” ~Gustav Mahler
Just want to share that my new favorite small appliance is the NutriBullet blender. I have enjoyed making green smoothies for quite some time, but this blender is able to do the job in mere seconds! Seconds, I tell you.
I don’t typically use a recipe, aside from using about the same amount of leafy greens to almond milk, and then I just use a variety of fruit that I have on hand. There are many great recipes for healthy and delicious smoothies, but you can’t go wrong with The All in One Guide to Making a Green Smoothie at Positive Health Wellness.
Ingredients to make two smoothies:
- 1 1/2 cups leafy greens
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 2 – 3 cups fresh fruit
- chia seeds
Today, I’m using baby spinach and kale, pear slices, pineapple chunks, a whole banana, blueberries, almond milk, a shake of cinnamon and about a tablespoon of chia seedsThrow all the ingredients in this bad boy and turn it on. Thirty seconds or so does the job with no leafy chunks at all. Easy, dreamy, and delicious! I bet you’ll be hooked too!
We recently shared a delightful morning exploring nature trails with our grandchildren at the wonderful Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located along the American River Parkway. Inside the nature shop were many hands-on activities that the children were engrossed in. Push a button and hear the call of a red shouldered hawk. See a display of natural habitats. That sort of thing. Also, living in the nature shop are a number of non-releasable (due to injuries, becoming orphaned, or having grown too accustomed to people) animals.
Resident birds include :
- a Northern Saw-whet Owl, Sophia (this was a highlight for the children!)
- a Great Horned Owl, Echo
- a Red-tailed Hawk, Tanner
- a Red-shouldered Hawk, Skye, and
- an American Kestrel, Rocky
In addition to the birds, there are reptiles, and amphibians on display.
Outdoors, well-marked trails meander through 100 acres of this nature preserve.
We had just gotten started walking on a trail when we came upon the deer. They’re obviously used to being photographed and gawked at!I must share that I have a love/hate relationship with these guys. To see them here was such a joy, but that’s not the case when I see them in my gardens at home, or the aftermath of all the damage they have done. I know they’re hungry and need to eat too; I just don’t want to encourage the chomping on my favorite flowers and foliage! Late last summer while shopping at the feed store, I noticed blocks of deer food. Standing there in front of the display, I contemplated buying a few blocks and placing them on some undeveloped acreage in our neighborhood. I didn’t, but I may in the future. I do use some deer deterrent products in our yard, that work well most of the year, but come late summer those pesky deer are eating everything.We followed a trail that led right down to the American River.
This crew must have been the official welcoming committee!There was so much to discover and admire as we walked along the trails, turned over rocks, climbed on some old tree stumps, and listened to birdsong. A great place to explore, learn and appreciate Mother Nature, for people of all ages.
“If you truly love nature you will find beauty everywhere.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
Bird watching in my yard brings me great enjoyment. I try to make sure my bird feeders are clean and full of a variety of seed and suet cakes for them, at all times. Actually, it’s the least I can do for all of the concerts and amusement they provide to us!
The children and I made special treats for the birds recently and hung them in trees. We threaded cheerios onto pipe cleaners (even the littlest hands were able to push the cheerios down once I had placed it on the tip of the pipe cleaner), we hung sliced oranges with twine, and then we smeared bird booster onto pinecones and hung those as well. The recipe for bird booster came from Sharon Lovejoy’s Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars book, which is jam packed with fun activities to do with children.
Bird Booster Recipe:
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup canola oil
4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup white flour
A few spoons of sunflower seeds or raisins (I used our no waste birdseed that we always have on hand)
Pinecones tied with twine for hanging
Mix ingredients together in a bowl and then slather the mixture onto and into the scales of the pinecone.
Now it’s time to hang the treats.The wonderful books, Winter Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow, and Night Tree by Eve Bunting provided the perfect follow up activity.