Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Music, Music, Music

The Irish/Celtic music is calling me today and it isn't even St. Patrick's (Pádraig) Day!  For the past three days I've been listening to some of one of my new CDs of the most fabulous world music - in my humble opinion of course.

It's amazing to me how music is such a driving force in our world these days.  Everyone seems to have an MP3 player of some kind, and it seems everyone walking, running, or even driving past me these days seems to be groovin' to some tune!

As a child of the 60s I was exposed to so many music genres and I learned early to love folk and of course the early forms of Irish music that hit our shores here in the States.  (I also have to admit there was a certain bit of rock music that I enjoyed as well!)  But since my life has developed a craziness about it lately I've seemed to be going back to my musical roots.  From the Irish and Celtic, to the many shades of folk and folk/rock I find myself deeply immersing myself wherever I happen to be - in my car, on my iPod, or on my home stereo.

My biggest challenge this year has been to put together compilations and share the music with my grandkids.  And I have certainly discovered they love it as much as I do!  From those good ole songs of the folk era during the 60s, to my constant companion the Irish music, they are enjoying and singing the tunes wherever we are at the top of our lungs!  We have even drowned out a few thumping cars at the stop lights which I can not believe!  The looks we get as those occupants heard the thumping beat of our song, "We're the Boys of Belfast," by the Irish Rovers will stay with me for a very long time!

Yes, I believe music drives all of us these days, as it has throughout the centuries.  Whether it was through listening to the organ, lute, tape player, CD player, or MP3 player we certainly all can find our own personal groove any time we want, and thankfully music has always been a source of fun and that's been a great thing!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Neighborhood Bombing Run

I'm enjoying a time away from the home by house sitting at my son's while they are away and watching his best buddy, a golden retriever named McCarty.  I enjoy being with this big guy and have spent quite a bit of time with him over the summer.

Today we spent quite a bit of time indoors because he has severe arthritis, but I decided we needed some fresh air so we adjourned to the deck out back.  McCarty did something he seldom does which is hide under the eaves and it made me wonder what was up since he usually enjoys laying out where he can catch the breezes on the corner of the deck.   I suddenly discovered the reason for his move to the protected area, for as I sat enjoying the breeze and the lovely shade I was bombed!  Really!  I think I had better explain.

I usually sit in the front yard when I watch the grandchildren but seldom do the back yard as it can be hot in the summer because the wind seldom closed yard since it is buffeted all around by neighborhood houses.  Since the weather this week has been cool and comfortable and the wind was actually coming through the back slider, so I decided to enjoy the back deck.  That was a totally wrong move on my part because no sooner had I settled in with my knitting than I began to be bombarded by small round objects.  I looked up and got hit square on the cheek bone this time!   Running quickly into the house I barely missed being bombed again by another object...I mean an acorn for that's what I saw it was as I looked out from the safety of the house.  At first I was sure some squirrel was on the war path from the trees, but no it was the oak trees on the property that were "throwing," those acorns!  I stood inside the slider watching those mini bombs hitting the deck - hard! 

McCarty sat comfortably under the extended roof line looking sideways at me.  He almost seemed to be smiling as if to say, "See?  I knew what I was doing!" 

I did go back out to braved the barrage of acorns to retrieve my knitting, but decided there and then it was safer to spend the rest of the afternoon indoors.  As I sat indoors I listened to those mini bombs hitting the deck and wondering if the trees enjoyed their bombing run and the reaction they elicited from the civilian casualties in the neighborhood.

Friday, August 10, 2012

God's Gardening

Wild flowers have been a passion of mine for years, and about 7 years ago I had the side yard where grass has never grown well tilled up and went to the local farm store for seeds that were normal for the wild flowers found in the West Michigan area.  The first spring of my new garden I had a bevy of annuals and the beginnings of a few cone flowers which are perennials wildflowers known here along the roadsides and highways.  Each year, I attempted to plant more seeds.  And each fall after that I especially gathered along the wooded areas two of my favorites, the milkweed and Queen Anne's Lace, and each spring after that I looked for any signs of either flower in the beginnings of each new spring.  Nothing happened.  Needless to say I was frustrated and repeated the action each fall.   It seemed like each spring though the garden grew and throve with each new wild flower I found and added the two I longed for never seemed to set foot among the the others in this garden.

And then last summer two plants I did not recognize surfaced among the many cone flowers and yellow daisies.  As I watched they slowly grew into milkweed and flowered profusely and that year my special garden's aroma was heavenly because of those two additions.

Of course I was please to have the milkweed, but I kept trying with the seeding and this spring was finally rewarded in abundance with the stately Queen Anne's Lace.  They started slowly, and I really needed to water there to keep this dry summer from taking these prizes to help establish these beauties, as well as keep the rest blooming.

In July the flowers bloomed, and are blooming still.  Though the milkweed isn't right now I did have them doing so in early July and now have the most glorious crop of milkweed pods that I hope to share with some of my friends for their gardens.  My special addition to the yard has had a bonus as well.  All kinds of birds from the surrounding neighborhoods come here to ride the long flower stalks, and I also have the monarch caterpillars here and the butterflies, too.

I really feel quite blessed to have been able to watch this small piece of earth develop like this, and though the efforts may have seemed to be all mine, I know that these wonders we call wildflowers are not of my making in this small space I call my wildflower garden.  This summer despite everything it has become a little miracle in our urban setting for me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Best Part of a Tiny Job!

I have a tiny, new job!  I'm a hired gardener for a lovely garden along our Lake Macatawa.   This week was rather intense because I had to clean out the weeds and dead head all over including the loads of hostas along many of the irregular borders of this garden.

Tonight was a fabulous night to work in any garden and this one is makes it fun.  As I arrived some large, immature Bald Eagles were circling low over the edge of the the property where I was working as well as out over the lake across the road.  It made it hard to focus on the plants with those gorgeous raptors circling above.

As I waded through the hostas cutting their flower stalks a group on five Harleys roared past and were waving and shouting hellos to everyone who would listen.

Though the weather here has been unbearable most of the summer, at least there have been a few days of what I call real gardening weather.  I would love to be a gardener on a regular basis if the weather were cooler than this summer has been.  Maybe I need to move to Ireland where the cool (and even sometimes dry weather!) is the norm!