April 10, 2014

Images of Spring

Images of Spring
Hello again!

I apologize for not posting for such a long time, but it is Spring, and my usually hectic life seems to have jumped up a few notches. We have had lots of rain, so it is green out there, and growing fast already. Last year we did not even mow the dry brown weeds that passed for a lawn until late April; this year we have already mowed twice and it will soon need it again. I am still working on a free lance project, as well as being busy in the yard, the garden house, the craft room and the kitchen.  I actually have one of my wordier and more esoteric posts in mind, but really not the time to devote to it just now. However, I have taken lots of pictures of late. Spring is such a great time for photography, so I am going to put up some of these that embody the season and its activities best.


A collection of succulents in the Garden House.



Since I started this post in the Garden House, I will just continue from that vantage. My daughter and I have been collecting succulents for some time now, and are starting to get quite a variety going in various containers. They are lined up quite prettily, and happily, in the sunny Garden House window. We are looking for some kind of shelving at present. Our growing collection is running out of room. 


Terrarium in glass vase.


We have been greatly admiring some of the many terrariums that have been turning up on the Pinterest boards lately, so we also tried our hand at a few of those. We used glass vases gotten for less than a dollar apiece at a thrift store, and are quite pleased with our new live decorating.
Terrarium in Craft Room




It seems that we just can not keep our hands out of the dirt these days. We have been busily trimming, weeding and planting every weekend, but there is still so much left to do. I have beans and cukes coming up in the small patch of garden that has been so far rescued from the weeds. We still have not got the garden area fenced, so it is a toss up whether the tiny plants will survive the deer or not. I have not had any obvious visits from our furry friends yet this spring, but it is only a matter of time. 


Vegetable and Herb Flats


All of the vegetable and herbs I started back in late January are in flats on the Garden House deck just waiting to find homes in pots and in the garden. Everything is hardened off, used to the whipping winds and still chilly rains we have been dealing with.  I just have to find the time to get them planted.

Tomatoes are my absolute favorite vegetables (or fruit if we are being proper), and along with peppers and eggplant, my favorites to cultivate. I am enamored of herbs, have been for several decades, and though I only actually use a fraction of what I grow, I would still have more given the time and the space. I love their heady smells, the myriad of textures, colors and shapes they come in, and I can not imagine a garden without at least basil, thyme, rosemary and chives.


Blooming Sand Pear Tree



Last year the Sand Pear tree had a few blossoms and a fair harvest of the large lumpy fruits, but if the blossoms this spring are any indication, it should be loaded with fruit by summer. It had been long neglected when we moved in. We pruned it fairly heavily last winter and during the one just passed removed the entire vertical crown that had gotten out of control. I fertilized it last year late summer and will do so again in the next week or so. Its recent floral display was by way of thanking us for the care, I am sure.
Qetesh in the Oak Tree


After making me miserable with its blossoms and pollen for more than a month, the big oak tree out front has draped itself in a lovely frock of fresh green leaves, and in cats apparently. Our cat Qetesh likes to laze on its wide branches. She is dreaming of catching the small birds that shelter on its more slender boughs no doubt, and avoiding me with the brush, hoping to thin her shaggy pelt, below.



Arbor and Patio

In spite of, and largely because of, the wet weather which has beset us here in Florida for most of 2014 so far, this spring has been gorgeous. For those of us with seasonal allergies, it has apparently been one of the worst on record. Having lived away from here for some time before last year, my frame of reference is a little fuzzy on that score. I do not remember any "better" years for allergies. All of my Florida memories hinge on sneezing my way through at least part of February and all of March.  However, the beauty and mild temperatures at least somewhat lessens the misery of the assault of the pollen.

I am going to end this spring tour in the kitchen with a tale of two cakes.

Strawberry Tall Cake
What fruit is more evocative of spring than strawberries? Since I had already made some strawberry jam with these sale priced jewels, I continued to take advantage of their seasonal availability at good prices by buying some to freeze on cookie trays and bag for future use. It is so great to be able to grab out a few for a smoothie or dessert. I also decide to try a new recipe from my Pinterest Boards. This one was from the blog Baby Gizmo and most definitely a keeper. I did digress somewhat from her great recipe, but only in presentation. This recipe makes a lot of cake and  a lot of frosting. Instead of doing two layers split to make four. I used my smaller cake pans to make three layers and a vintage heart shaped pan to make a bonus cake to share. Believe me, there was enough of everything to make two cakes.



I am getting way too well known for my rich, calorie laden cakes since I started my love affair with Pinterest. This one was no exception. It was moist and delicious, and I did not have to stint on strawberries or icing on either cake. I kept the Strawberry Tall Cake for my home crew and took the other to my Dad and Step-Mom's to share.

Strawberry Short Cake





So, it seems that you can share your cake and eat it too.  At least you can in the world of blogs and over-achieving bakers. I am leaving you today with a promise to be back soon, and a wish that your spring is filled with beauty and nature's gentler side. Blessing to All...



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