Through the Year

"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!"

Gladys Harp

Lucille Tomato Soup

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.

Fairy Garden

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.

Marshmallow

The man who wants a garden fair,

    Or small or very big,

With flowers growing here and there,

    Must bend his back and dig.

The things are mighty few on earth

    That wishes can attain.

Whate'er we want of any worth

    We've got to work to gain.

It matters not what goal you seek,

    Its secret here reposes:

You've got to dig from week to week

    To get Results or Roses.

Edgar A. Guest

Horseradish

WHITE IRIS

As I look down my garden walk

   I see white iris stalk on stalk

Lifting their heads in clear surprise

   At a white swarm of butterflies.

I cannot tell which is more white,

   For both are charged with April light,

Or which will first take wing and rise,

   The iris or the butterflies.

HSA Seasonal

Mother Nature can be capricious at times. The April 1st snowstorm here in the Northeast is an example of her volatile nature. After a long, cold, snowy winter, we were already anticipating the appearance of spring, eagerly awaiting those elements that mean spring in New England. Crocus, daffodils and other spring plants were emerging, and other perennial plants were shrugging off their winter torpor and showing signs of activity. Then, BAM! A heavy wintry mix of the dreaded white stuff, which had pretty much disappeared in spite of the almost record snowfall of the past season.

Pussy Willow

 The crazy, stormy weather seems to have lessened. March decided to come in fairly quietly, and the snow has finally begun to melt. It's time to begin thinking of the upcoming season of planting, if you haven't already. Emerging plants, peeking out from under their warm blanket of snow, prove that spring is coming at last. Some perennials are already showing signs of growth, with tight little buds just barely in sight. One of these is horseradish, the IHA Herb of the Year for 2011.

Horseradish

As the light grows longer

The cold grows stronger

If Candlemas be fair and bright

Winter will have another flight

If Candlemas be cloud and rain

Winter will be gone and not come again

A farmer should on Candlemas day

have half his corn and half his hay

On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop

You can be sure of a good pea crop.

                             An old Scottish poem

"The astrologers went into the child's inn, and found him with his mother. Then with prostrate bodies they worshipped Christ, and opened their treasure chests and offered him threefold gifts: gold, incense and myrrh. . . . The gold signified that he is a true king, the frankincense that he is the true God, the myrrh that he was then mortal; but now he remains mortal in eternity".

from Sermon on the Epiphany of the Lord, by tenth century monk Aelfric

"Every year at just this time,

In cold and dark December,

Families  around the world

All gather to remember,

With presents and with parties,

With feasting and with fun,

Customs and traditions

for people old and young"

Basalm

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