Showing posts from April, 2017

Home Again

Although we enjoyed our vacation last week, it was also really nice to come home. One reason for this was that we were greeted by a green lawn and a low of colorful bulbs in full bloom: If you have no trouble growing hyacinths, this probably isn’t that exciting to you. For me, though, these are the best I’ve ever managed to grow. This is probably due to the extra sun they’re getting, since once again , another fence section fell during the winter.  Since these are growing in the cutting garden, I cut some to bring inside. I love the way they smell, and a little goes a long way. The other big flower story this week is that our orange tulips are blooming: This picture, taken on an overcast day, doesn’t really do them justice. They are a much more fiery shade in real life, which looks great against the yellow paint of the house (and will look even better once we finish that paint job).  Last fall I planted another 100 orange Darwin tulip bulbs to re

What I Did on My April Vacation

Last week was April school vacation week here in Massachusetts, and we used the time to take a vacation through Pennsylvania and New York. After visiting family over Easter weekend, we headed west to Lancaster County, where we visited the Moravian town of Lititz. The town museum is housed in an old German building made of stone, and behind it is a small public garden, which you enter via a very inviting arbor: The only flowers there right now are some new pansies since it’s still early spring, but you can see some green perennials poking up as well: The centerpiece is this diamond-shaped bed, which for some reason I failed to center in the photo: This is all probably quite lovely in the summer. What you can’t see is that if you keep walking through the garden, you’ll continue down a slope that goes to the small river that runs through town.  The next day we went to the Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum , which has original buildings, buildings move

A Sad Maple Season

This turned out to be a really strange maple sugaring season.  We tapped the tree back in February when we had a bit of a warm-up, and at first things went really well. Afternoons were warm, and we started out with a strong run of sap. Then it got too  hot, and the sap stopped running because the temperatures didn’t drop below freezing for several nights in a row. And then   temperatures plunged , and it didn’t get above  freezing for almost a week. So still not much sap, but for the opposite reason. Then on our final weekend of boiling, this happened: It started as rain but turned to snow while we had the fire going. Not that big of a deal, but not exactly pleasant. But since we weren’t exactly keeping a keen eye on things, we also ended up burning a batch that boiled down more quickly than we expected. And by last weekend, the sap had turned: Once it runs yellow, the season is over. This sap isn’t sweet at all, so I’ve been using it to water seedli

New Year’s Resolutions, Month by Month: March

I’ve decided to write about each of my month-long New Year’s resolutions after the fact, so I can share how the whole thing went. In January I gave up added sugar ; February was a major caffeine draw-down . For March, I decided to give up alcohol . This was really not a big deal. I’m not a daily drinker by any stretch, and mostly enjoy a beer or two with my bandmates or a glass of wine at a restaurant.  Though, if truth be told, I had more wine that usual during the election season (entertaining) and its aftermath (not so entertaining).  So despite the occasional hankering for an evening drink during the first half of the month, I really didn’t miss it at all. In fact, there were a lot of positives to note: Better Singing: Alcohol is really pretty bad for your voice, and when you pair it with staying up late and talking a lot, it’s a recipe for laryngeal disaster. I took the opportunity to do some real warm-ups and singing this month as well, which has been gre