Friday, April 29, 2011

Strawberry Fields

TIME for the annual pilgrimage to pick strawberries! This time we took a few little friends along and had a wonderful time filling our baskets and tummies. The juicy berries later became boats as we washed them, then were frozen whole, pureed, made into ice pops and jam. And of course we saved some to have with whipped cream for a real Ascot treat.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring is Here!

Spring is here, Spring is here!
Fairies dancing in a ring.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Morning Easter

A sunrise is always wonderful, but on Easter Sunday, after hiking up a mountain in the dark until you are so high up that the sky almost swallows you, surrounded by hundreds of people of all different denominations sharing songs of praise, it brings an incredible feeling of awe and reverence.

Whereas Easter eggs are best if chocolate and hidden among the vegetables.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Toasted Caterpillars

ALEXANDER pretending to be a bird who is camping and toasting caterpillars over a fire like marshmallows. Since it was a real caterpillar, I jumped up to stop him from actually putting it in his mouth, which caused him to console me: "Don't worry Mama, I not really a bird. I a little boy. Little boyd no eat caterpillard." Funny! He went on to instruct me all about what birds eat and what caterpillars eat and how we shouldn't eat things that other animals eat because we will get tummy ache.

What do caterpillars do? Nothing much but chew and chew.
What do caterpillars know? Nothing much but how to grow.
They just eat what by and by will make them be a butterfly.
And that is more than I can do, however much I chew and chew.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Great Trees

Music by Malcolm Dalglish, Text by Wendell Berry

Slowly, slowly, they return
To the small woodland let alone:
Great trees, outspreading and upright,

Apostles of the living light.

Patient as stars, they build in air.
Tier after tier a timbered choir.
Stout beams upholding weightless grace

Of song, a blessing on this place.

They stand in waiting all around,
Uprisings of their native ground,
Downcomings of the distant light;

They are the advent they await.


Receiving sun and giving shade,
Their life's a benefaction made,
And is a benediction said

Over the living and the dead.

In fall their brightened leaves, released,
Fly down the wind, and we are pleased
To walk on radiance, amazed.
0 light come down to earth, be praised!

Throughout our stay in California's Sequoia National Park, all I could think of was the song "Great Trees" which I recently had the pleasure to sing with a small group. It can be heard here by another group. The majesty of these trees quite takes your breath away.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Many Faces of the American West

WHAT an amazingly diverse country the USA is!

Our one-week road trip began in Las Vegas, Nevada. Heading west into California we drove through dusty deserts and rocky hills, then crested the range and found ourselves at once in a lush agricultural area.

Nowhere has the influence of topography on weather and land use been so apparent. As we came out of the mountains into the valley, citrus and nut groves and vegetable fields dominated the landscape. It was hot.

Then began the climb back into the mountains. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains are marked by scenic oak woodlands, abundant wildflowers and streams. As we ascended, the temperature dropped.

By the time we reached the lodge in Sequoia National Park at 6,500 feet, the land was covered in 12' of snow and giant trees stretched up to the clouds.

The journey back east took us through Nevada's Mojave Desert then into Arizona. This mighty landscape of dry earth, cliffs, scrubby grasses and cactus extended as far as the eye could see for hours and hours. Incredible. I thought I had no awe left in me until we arrived at our final destination, the Grand Canyon.

In the context of such natural majesty, individual people are so insignificant. We have, however, learned to live in an astounding variation of habitats.