Through the Year
Early May found me in Austin, Texas at the Annual Meeting and Educational Conference for The Herb Society of America. I had planned to write on May Baskets for this month's blog, but since it is now the middle of the month, I thought I would share some of the highlights of my trip.
April is a month of new beginnings, when spring generally arrives (for real) and when lots of people start to plant their gardens. April is also the month when Arbor Day is celebrated, and is a good time to consider planting trees for future generations.
March is often a curious month, with changes in weather and days of sun and rain. Our unusual winter is holding true as we march into spring. red-winged blackbirds arrived at the feeders the third week in February, and the spring peepers started their chorus the earliest I have ever heard them - March 13.
Perhpas we have not seen the last of winter here in Massachusetts, but the days are growing longer. Last year at this time, we had over 80" of snow. The lack of snow cover this year is startling to any gardener, who prefers that a nice blanket of snow covers all important perennials and protects them from drying winds. It also provides a good measure of moisture, seeping into the ground at the first thaw. We are now experiencing signs of spring, besides the almost freakish warm temperatures.
"And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast,
And been bow'd to the earth by its fury;
To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd
Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -
Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,
The regrets of remembrance to cozen,
And having obtained a New Trial of Time,
Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen'"
"The trees are bare, wild flies the snow,
Hearths are glowing, hearts are merry -
High in the air is the Mistletoe,
Over the door is the Holly Berry.
Never have care how the winds may blow,
Never confess the revel grows weary -
Yule is the time of the Mistletoe,
Yule is the time of the Holly Berry."
William Stanley Braithwaite
"I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colors are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow, Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content."
"I am rich today with autumn's gold,
All that my covetous hands can hold;
Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod,
A goldfinch on a milkweed pod,
Huge golden pumpkins in the field
With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield,...
Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss
With autumn glory such as this!"
It looks as though I have totally missed a month of blogging. August just slipped through the cracks, and I can't retrieve it. So I'll just have to move forward with September, which is a better month, anyways. August brought us an earthquake (though I never felt it) and a hurricane wannabe, who left plenty of destruction in her wake just the same. An ancient apple tree on my property gave up, and about one-third of a persimmon was felled by high winds. I have never - in the 27 years I've lived here - been without power for more than around 24 hours.
The end of July finds me back at home, after traveling to two wonderful events. The Annual Meeting and Educational Conference of The Herb Society of America was held this year in Pittsburgh, PA from June 24 through June 26. Included were lots of wonderful speakers, including Jekka McVicar, who gave a lively talk on uses of herbs. Jekka is from the UK, and brought her special brand of humor and knowledge of many unusual herbs. She also experienced "ribbon-envy" as she noted upon her arrival that she did not have ribbons designating various aspects of the conference.