what tree is it?

april 30

This amazing tree on the way to school has dark red and brown leaves, like a red Japanese Maple, but it has pink blossoms like a magnolia tree. It seemed a fitting end to April's blooming things.

My father is still in the hospital, doped to the gills on various pain meds. When he's comfortable, he's entertaining the staff with scraps of Gilbert and Sullivan. Which is an improvement over fainting from pain. Which is what landed him in the hospital this second time around. He'll be better soon, but this part is hard on everyone.


everyone knows it’s windy

april 29

I spent the morning wrestling with dressage tests, calculators, scrap paper and pens. It was a desperate fight to keep everything on the table with me, where it belonged, and not flying off downwind towards Holyoke and the river. On the whole, I won. All the tests that arrived at my table were scored, and checked, and the scores entered in three different places. And all the tests that came to me, went to the riders at the end of the day and not the river or Holyoke. But it took a lot of rocks on the table, and a lot of holding things down, and a borrowed coat and gloves to keep from freezing.

The show was at the fairgrounds, so I walked to work, and walked home again. On the way over this morning, I stood with the sun behind me and looked over a field that was still full of the winter crops – slightly green and some tan, and the trees edging it.

driving driving driving, and then not.

Steering wheel

My circle for yesterday looks like this. Everyone is OK, but I had to make an emergency trip to Maine to fetch my father's car back here, because he is temporarily imobilized with a broken collar bone and ribs. So when they move on Tuesday, his car is here now, instead of there.

Today's circle is all about having been out for a ride and a walk and the amazing blue sky:

april 28

And then just for amusement value, I offer documentation of Aerin's experiments with her braces, specifically the one where she proves that they are magnetic:



yesterday and today

april 25


Yesterday's circle: the wind sock was an object of much interest. I liked the contrast of windsock and the trees greening up on the Holyoke Range. 

april 26

Today's circle: the bleeding hearts are blooming like crazy at the corner of the house.



Wright Flight, and a great deal of driving around

wright flight day

In the spirit of most important things first, and only telling the good stuff (my father-in-law's parenting rules; inspired or lackadaisical, they seem to work):

  1. Alice flew a plane today. While she had to have two cushions so she could see over the dashboard, and her feet didn't reach the pedals, still, she sat in the left hand seat, and made the plane go, for take-off and for the trip over the Holyoke Range, over the Quabbin, and over her school. Landing was accomplished by the teacher. Gracefully.
  2. Aerin got braces today. She was willing to do it on her own, but Al managed to combine visiting with her while her mouth was propped open with seeing Alice into her plane and off the ground, and greeting her on her (triumphant) return.
  3. I finished putting together my portfolio and I am impressed with myself. 

Beyond the important things there was a lot of driving around with various subsets of children in the car. I'm pretty sure I circumnavigated town three or four times. 

Everyone is fine. Happy, not too severely pained in the teeth, and completely ready for bed. 

lilac Tuesday

april 24

I was so engrossed working on a decorative spine for my portfolio that I forgot I'd made the circle for today, and taken the picture and left the camera upstairs.

Generally the lilacs bloom here in time for Lilac Sunday, which is usually also Mother's Day, the second Sunday in May. I have been Morris dancing on Lilac Sunday at the Boston Arboretum and thought my fingers and toes would fall off from the cold. To be fair, I have also seen extraordinary heat over the same weekend, which says more about changeable New england weather than about global climate change. Mostly.

Anyway, the lilacs are out. I feel lucky to have more unusual lilac bushes in my neighborhood than most. There's a pink one, my white edged deep purple one, several regular lilac ones and more white ones. It is all very festive.


a wall of green

april 23

With the rain, the leaves on the trees are out in force. Almost overnight it seems to have gone from gauzy and lacy to a more solid look. The greens are all different too. Sycamore leaves are very light green, maples are yellowy green, the birch leaves have some blue in them, and they are all brilliant against the evergreens.

I may have to go find some more green threads!

dogwood, rain

april 22

I did say when it rained, you'd know. After all kinds of forecasts for rain yesterday, and not getting any, I must admit I was dubious. Until I looked at the weather radar and saw large green splotches of rain headed twoards us. So. After more than three dry weeks, it is pelting rain and cold, and all the plants look relieved.

Getting depth of field in fabric is tricky. I wanted to fade the rain streaks a little, and some of the branches, so I put a layer of organza over part of the image and stitched into it again. I think I could repeat that process and get greater depth. If it rains tomorrow, I will try that.

I was inspired by Red Kate's pictures of my backyard dogwood.

Dogwood II

This tree is one of my favorite things I planted. Aerin remembers jumping over it when it was just a stick in the ground. Now it towers over us all, and the bunnies cannot nibble it in winter, and it gives a sweet shade in summer.

beach and tree

 april 20

Yesterday's beach. Alice and I had the best time. We made footprints in varying hardnesses of sand, and tried to see if we could tell if we were walking backwards or forwards. We looked at longshore motion of sand, and did civil engineering on the tide running down the beach. We did a small faunal survey. We talked about the origin of the sand; up-stream or up-ice, or up-glacier from where we weere standing.

Today we visited Jenny, because she has commissioned a set of works for her bedroom. Alice and Jenny and I spent a happy half hour taping various sized and shaped pieces of newspaper to the wall to decide on the final dimensions. We eventually settled on the perfect configuration, which looked nothing like what we'd started with. Which is good – not letting pre-conceived notions interfere.

Today on the way home, I saw several of the trees, blooming with the most absurd pinky purple color. This one had a pile of dandelions around the base.

april 21