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Curbside Garden Pickup

Local businesses are finding creative ways to service customers during this time of social distancing. One of my favorite nurseries allows online ordering. Pay in advance, drive to the store and park at the curb. Look for your name prominently displayed on a filled wagon or basket. Pull your purchases to your trunk, load up, return the wagon, and drive home!

Wagon and baskets are pre-filled and named.
My herb choices for Summer flavor.
Bags of mulch for good measure.
Set to garden!

Homes for Hobbits and Their Friends

So many designs to choose from!

Circular constructed high rise.
Bio-diverse landscaping, helipad included.
Elegant wrap-around patio.
Ultra-private entry with geothermal energy.
Castle with crenellated rampart.
Shabby chic with roof garden.
Spacious duplex with central chimney.
Contemporary styling and bold modern coloring,

April Banquet

Forsythia and red maple buds appear at the same time in Massachusetts, lending a sorely needed explosion of color to the early Spring landscape.

Squirrels like to frolic among the decorative forsythia branches, but they are particularly attracted to the maples. They “tap” them by making single bites in the bark to get the sap flowing, so they can consume the concentrated “syrup” once some of the water has evaporated. Later, the squirrels enjoy a feast of buds and flowers.

Red Maple in Bloom
American Red Squirrel

Cupboard Cooking

Continuing my stay-at-home explorations in the kitchen, I now head to my cupboard to find ingredients, instead of going to the grocery store. Canned garbanzo beans, peanut butter and bottled lemon juice combined for a smooth, zesty hummus. I didn’t miss the tahini or fresh lemon.

I used egg replacer in my chocolate cake mix, and saved the real eggs for Easter. Replacing the oil with Greek yogurt led to a dense, moist batch of cupcakes.

ttps://www.inspiredtaste.net/15938/easy-and-smooth-hummus-recipe/
Hummus with beets, turnips, celery and Italian bread.
For the chocolate cake mix, I used Bob’s egg replacer, but you could also substitute 1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil mixed with 1-1/2 tablespoons water and 1 teaspoon baking powder, (NOT soda), per egg.
I frosted a few cupcakes, but left some plain for that total “chocolate” taste.

Hope is the Thing With Feathers

An excerpt from a poem by Massachusetts’ own Emily Dickinson.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

-Emily Dickinson

Prime Time

The primary colors in my yard put on a delightful show today. No cable connection needed.

Paying Attention

Tomie dePaola, the popular author of hundreds of children’s books, died recently.

His works were featured in my elementary classroom throughout my career. He reminded teachers to never talk down to children, to speak to them in a natural voice and not to shy away from difficult social subjects. His thoughtful and beautiful illustrations are filled with details that encourage children to look deeply at them. Indeed, Tomie dePaola makes a perfect at-home author study for children of diverse ages. The whole family, including adults, can enjoy these stories together.

“Strega Nona”, the story of a “grandmother witch” and her magic pasta pot, is his most beloved book. The character of Big Anthony, who did not pay attention, was dePaola’s cautionary tale for children. Big Anthony clamors for the praise of the crowd without thinking about the calamity his actions will cause. It is only the quiet, steady wisdom of Strega Nona that averts disaster.

May we be Strega Nonas in these difficult times, and strive to “pay attention”.

Strega Nona, which means “grandmother witch” in Italian, is a wise old women who has served her village will for many years. Hard-working and attentive, she would never forget the magic that would stop her pasta pot from boiling over.
Big Anthony does NOT pay attention. He forgets (or never hears) the magic that will stop the pasta from spreading all over the town, risking all those around him.

Home Comforts

Here are some easy-to-make nutritious foods I’ve enjoyed preparing during my home-bound time. These offerings are meatless. I feel fortunate to have had these ingredients available locally.

Easy Popovers in a regular muffin pan. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/7238/popovers/
Spaghetti and added “zucchini pasta” made with the spiralizer.
Easy no-yeast flat bread.
https://www.recipetineats.com/easy-soft-flatbread-yeast/
Beans and rice. Uncle Ben’s Quick-Cooking Rice with black beans, kidney beans and corn.
Vegetable lasagna made with green beans, carrots, celery and mozzarella.
Boiled polenta (cornmeal).
Power Puffs. Lots of protein, no cooking. https://www.lowfodmap.com/low-fodmap-power-poppers-recipe/
Fresh apple sauce made with local apples. Just the apples-no sugar added.
A welcoming and cheerful table can lift your spirits during these isolating times.

Free Gifts

Nature decorates the stones in my yard with its own festive gift-wrappings.

Bringing Cheer

During this difficult time, the reappearance of the American Robin in my yard is a rejuvenating and stabilizing sight.

American Robins are known to run a few steps, then stop abruptly, both to listen for danger and watch for worm movement in the ground.
Robins usually hop through tall grasses; this robin is hopping through the last of the snow.

Ancient Companions

Mosses appeared on Earth more than 400 million years ago, predating dinosaurs. On this early Spring day, these everlasting benign plants with their cushiony forms and lush green tones brighten up my yard, like old friends.

Get the Snow Shovel Out

Here in Massachusetts, the forsythia and red maples are in bud, and a Winter Storm Warning for several inches of snow is in effect. As Mark Twain famously said, “if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.”

Seed Need

The irrepressible gray squirrel never passes up a chance to scout for tidbits under the bird feeders.

Emergence

The onset of Spring is visible in abstract patterns on and below the surface of our local ponds, now free of ice.

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