Saturday, May 7, 2011

Swamps, Gardens, and Family

We had a happily busy day today.  Safety Guy camped out with his Scout troop at the Great Swamp Conservancy last night, and helped his troop with some demonstrations at the Conservancy's Spring Migration Festival today.  I took Princess Yakyak to the festival too see the sights, and pick up her brother. The festival featured a number of live animals - just her thing - as well as booths for artists and other conservation organizations and community groups.  We both loved seeing the birds of prey up close, and the creatures brought by a local reptile show.

I bought a compass plant (Silphium laciniatum, related to asters/daisies and very tall) from a lady who specializes in raising native northeastern U.S. plants.  I had purchased a goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) from her last year and it's thriving, so I wanted to see what other plants she could recommend for our yard.  I really enjoyed talking to her again.

I also picked up some notecards of prints from a watercolor artist, Sandy Schick.  She really captures the life of the creatures and plants she paints.  I'm going to frame the card of the great blue heron for myself; the other two cards are gifts.

"Great Blue Heron" watercolor print by Sandy Schick

We came home from the Conservancy to have lunch with my husband's parents for Mother's Day.  I made chicken-rice-leek soup earlier in the morning and it simmered until lunch.  We had a very nice time with them, and they shared with us the pictures from their recent trip to Ireland.  Digital cameras are great - we just connected it to the TV and had our own travelogue courtesy of my husband's mother.

After they left, I did some work in the yard - mulching that last nagging bit of unfinished bed under the dining room window, weeding, and planting out my winter sown alyssum and the compass plant.  My husband mowed, and the front of the house is looking pretty tidy now.  I still need to renew the mulch in some places, and put new mulch down where I enlarged the north front flower bed.  The first of the nasturtiums are starting to sprout, too.  I'm waiting another week or so before I plant out the zinnias and cosmos.

It was a lovely day, warm and mostly sunny, with a nice breeze.  Picture perfect, really.  I hope we get a few more days like that this week - it feels like it's truly spring at last.