It’s a bird week. Today I’m grateful for the so-called Lesser Goldfinch pair I heard tweeting in the trees a couple of days ago, and caught on camera today eating seeds from the catmint. Honey Badger has had them in her catmint next door for a few years, but this is the first I’ve been privileged to see them here. Above, I capture her through the window cracking a seed; below, he looks alertly at me trying to sneak up on him outside. What’s lesser about them, I’d like to know.
It was dusk, and I couldn’t get close; he took off a second after spotting me. So they’re fuzzy images, but serve to document the delight, and signify the promise of more happy finches to come.
The lilacs are winding down. It’s been a bountiful year for them, and I’m sad that I didn’t get to bake with them until just now. But I’m grateful that they were so prolific, and fed the pollinators for the past few weeks, and had plenty of flowers to share with me, too.
And when everything else is ready, add the grated butter to the whisked mixture of flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, tossing until each sliver of butter is coated and then kneading together just a little bit.
Then I added the wet ingredients and mixed just a little, before tipping the mess onto the cutting board and kneading by hand until it just formed into a dough. There was so much I split it in half to knead each half into a log I could cut in pieces.
After cooling in the pan for ten minutes, I tipped them out and they fell apart at the seams, a desirable outcome in this case. Then I flipped them over to further cool, and promptly ate one with my last cup of coffee. I’m grateful that I had the time and the lilacs and the pan and everything else I needed to bake these delicious lilac-almond scones this morning, and then got to share them with my Personal Shopper, who delivered supplies to replenish the pantry.
I’m grateful for the pollen packed on this bumblebee’s legs. It signifies a vibrant, healthy ecosystem somewhere in the midst of climate chaos; it represents resilience and survival of pollinators. I’m grateful for the bees of all ilks, and for these perennial onions just now opening their papery shells to feed so many native insects.
I’m grateful that everyone in my household woke up alive this morning, and we got to enjoy coffee in the garden before getting to work. Topaz doesn’t often consent to a lap, so it was special to have her relax on mine for awhile as I sat among the raised beds where I planted onions and some leeks last night.
After coffee we walked the Breakfast Loop, feeling gratitude for abundant May wildflowers, and especially the wild pink phlox. It’s a good year for the wildflowers, even though it’s also a good year for the weeds.
And I’m making sure to spend some time each day with the crabapple tree, bursting with gorgeous pink flowers attended by bees. I’m grateful for pink flowers.
Lilacs and forsythia in full bloom at the same time… a silver lining to the long cold spring. A few bees partake of their flowers now. May that number increase. Like many others, I hold lilacs especially dear among flowering shrubs. I’m grateful for their fleeting season.
I’m grateful for spring flowers, in the garden and in the forest. Like clockwork, I heard the first hummingbird yesterday, only a day later than usual, and this afternoon saw the first paintbrush bloom which must have opened yesterday: the two events invariably synchronize.
I’m grateful for all the green resulting from the banner winter water… but only in the fields. This lush green carpet is entirely made of two noxious weeds: bur buttercup, the lighter green; and weedy alyssum. The alyssum is annoying when it goes to seed, while the bur buttercup is downright hostile. Soon Wren won’t be able to stand on it, when those precious tiny blossoms turn to hard round stickers.
In the meantime, we rested on a bench under the Ancient One, and then strolled home. I’m grateful for her happy ignorance; we both enjoyed the balm for the eyes when I could shelve my awareness of what this forest floor will become in the hot dry summer. At least some native grasses will have a good year.
And in the yard? Oh my. Again, it’s pretty now, but in a week or so I’ll be mowing daily until I get these weeds under control. So though I’m grateful for many things today, green is not one of them, not really. In fact, looking at these weeds makes a little sense out of the nightmare I woke from this morning, where I had spent hours crawling through one obstacle after another trying to find clear sky.
Topaz doesn’t give a damn. She’s just happy, and so am I, that we can go sit down by the pond again at last, and listen to the frogs.
I’m grateful for another day alive, and grateful I was patient with a handful of quotidian frustrations; grateful for a wonderful MIR meeting despite skippy internet and thankful for the warm support and acceptance of the group. And I was glad to wrap up the day with a delicious spontaneous ginger-ice cream sandwich to take the edge off the melancholy that has dogged me since that disconcerting dream, and hit hard this evening when I came across some photos of Stellar in his last spring.
I’m grateful today for sunshine, the proximity of cat and dog, flowers in winter, potted herbs, bonsai, and the resilience to just hang on sometimes. I’m grateful for the opportunity to give away bread to some friends who needed its comfort and cheer more than I did today. I’m grateful for living inside the kaleidoscope with the coming of spring. Gratitude is a conscious choice that is sometimes more difficult than others, but is always available and always takes the edge off. I’m grateful for gratitude practice.
A rude awakening from a leisurely Saturday morning latté, when Wren looked at the door funny and I decided to bring in some firewood. The mudroom wall was melting all the way down. I tried to absorb the leak with some brown paper which lasted a short minute before it got pushed away. Scrambling around I dressed to climb the ladder again.
After whacking away some more glacial ice, this time wearing insulated leather gloves so I could scoop it out of the gutter without frostbite, I revealed a piece of flashing extending from the main roof to the mudroom roof, designed to prevent this kind of problem, I assume. But with more than a foot of exposed seam between that flashing and the first gutter the design failed in this long, cold, grey winter when deep snow finally came. I’m grateful for junk lying around! The kind of thing rural people keep because you just never know when it might come in handy. This piece of broken drain was quite handy because I left it lying where it broke off, so in case I needed I’d know right where it was. I jammed it up to the flashing and wedged it under the gutter, and have stopped the leak for now.
This would have still been melting the wall if it weren’t dripping off the edge of the roof. Fingers crossed this fix holds until it warms up enough for Wilson to flip the whole pile off. He came by today to shovel the paths, and scolded me. “You shouldn’t be climbing up here and doing this,” he said. And then he scolded another friend for climbing out on her roof to mess with ice dams without her phone. “I always have my phone on me,” I reassured him, and he said “I feel better about that.” I was grateful that he cared enough to scold me.
At last the arduous outdoor work was done, and I settled into the recliner for a short rest, where I took the time to enjoy this lovely little vignette in front of me. Now I see the cobwebs on the chili lights. Oh well! A task for another day. Not everybody wakes up alive every day. I’m grateful I did, and that I made it safely through another one.
I’ve been grateful this week for lots of rain to nourish the earth, replenish the aquifer, water the garden. And I’ve been grateful for plenty of sunshine and busy pollinators stocking up before they slow down, perish, or leave for winter.