balancing act

something must have been simmering under the surface of my thoughts as i played with these old favorite rocks today. almost in spite of myself, i seem to have built a model of our life at the moment. my husband is a tax preparer with an overfull schedule buried in the depth of the US tax filing season. he is also a finalist for a fairly prestigious food writing award, which is why we are flying to chicago this weekend for the IACP awards ceremony. our 15 year old daughter plays round 2 of a piano competition on sunday morning before flying–by herself for the first time–to visit grandparents in california. our son will be at his best friend’s house for the weekend, playing beyblades under the gentle watch of diego’s mother. we are four precise stacks of stones. and we all need to stay standing for the next 48 hours. then we can topple back into every day life.

beach rock cairns

rocks from grand marais harbor on lake superior, and la plage de la baleine à sète on the mediterranean

  • margie says:

    nature imitates life . Have a wonderful weekend

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  • When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four e-mails with the ame comment.

    Is there any way you can remove people from that service?
    Bless you!

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  • Jo says:

    Multi talented family! Congratulations! I hope everyone enjoys their journey and the sharing after!

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  • LW says:

    stacked rocks. why are they so calming? looks as if everyone is secure to me! wishing you all a successful weekend.

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spring cleaning

in a fit of premature spring cleaning, my mom started trimming shrubs today and removed this nest from a foundation planting that was about to go under the knife. the nest could use a bit of spring cleaning itself. i just hope it had been permanently abandoned, and wasn’t awaiting the return of some owner currently flapping northward up the Mississippi Flyway, dreaming of home.

march nest

saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    beautiful messy nest

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winter heat

a handful of torches, the better to melt snow with.

bouquet of staghorn sumac drupes in march

north oaks, minnesota

  • margie says:

    gorgeous and a wonderful source of tannin for dyeing

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    • Ha! i keep inadvertently dancing all around the edges of this natural dying stuff don’t i? perhaps it’s time to get my hands dirty :-)

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more questions than answers

one reward for doing STILL blog every day for this long is that it has turned me into an instinctive phenologist. for instance, i feel sure that all the apple trees i’m seeing still loaded with rotten apples in march is something unusual. if it were commonplace, i would have noticed it two years ago and again last year. in fact i would have photographed it. wouldn’t i? i’m not sure i know why–why weren’t these apples released to the ground in november? why didn’t birds, racoons, and squirrels make an autumn feast of them? how could they not have served as food for someone–lightly rotten but still nutrient-rich–over the course of such a brutally taxing winter? the fact that i’m asking the questions is it’s own reward i suppose. maybe, in the end, trees full of mushy march apples happen every year. and it just took STILL blog three years to teach me.

apple on a bare branch in march

saint paul, minnesota

  • Manisha says:

    Maybe it somehow just knows to hang on? In the winter of 2012 the grapes on the vine on our house never fell. The next spring (2013), hundreds of robins got stuck in the area because of some late snow. They ate all the grapes and left purple poo on the sidewalks. It was an amazing thing to see all those robins in our backyard!

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    • Hi Manisha-
      What a great story, thank you! i sure hope these apples aren’t signs of spring storms in our future!! but then again, if they were i would be totally awed by that too.
      Mary Jo

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  • sarah says:

    I often think of you as a phenologist! Always out observing, photographing and commenting on nature and its cycles. Have you ever thought of joining nature’s notebook? We recently wrote a little post about it here: http://liveseasoned.com/phenology-observing-mother-natures-cycles/ , it might interest you. Either way-we love your work :)
    xo

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unsung hero

mulleins are one of a very few weeds still peeking out above the snow-covered fields. this single plant was at least five feet tall. similar in shape and stature to a cattail.

mulleins have to be the most impressive, and least lauded weeds in minnesota. in a quick search on wikipedia i learned that mullein “is known to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-tumour, antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, expectorant, and analgesic properties. it is especially recommended for coughs and related problems, but also used in topical applications against a variety of skin problems. the plant was also used to make dyes and torches.” my hubby just announced that it is also an excellent firestick for starting campfires without a match. c’mon already. this plant should be a celebrity!

common mullein in march

rice creek regional trail, saint paul, minnesota

  • margie says:

    it just prefers to be a snow wall flower xx

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