Into the Pollen

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’

~ Robin Williams, (1951-2014) American actor and comedian

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This yellow swallowtail butterfly did not seem to mind wading into the pollen of my Japanese Lilac tree.

Surrender to the Moment

“If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.”

~Anne Morrow Lindbergh, (1906-2001) American author, aviator, and the wife of aviator Charles Lindbergh

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A lovely pair of Trumpeter Swans that I photographed in May as they basked in the spring sunshine.

The White Lilacs

“Gardeners, like everyone else, live second by second and minute by minute.  What we see at one particular moment is then and there before us.  But there is a second way of seeing. Seeing with the eye of memory, not the eye of our anatomy, calls up days and seasons past and years gone by.”

~ Allen Lacy, The Gardener’s Eye, 1992, page 16

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My mother planted white lilacs in the backyard of my childhood home. I loved them so much that I took a snippet of a bush and planted it in my own backyard some years ago. They are blooming right now and serve as a happy reminder of those carefree days that I enjoyed as a child.

Do any of you have plants that bring back happy memories?

Happy Frogs

Always be happy.

When people are in a bad mood,

the last thing they want

is to hang around with

happy people.

~Kermit the Frog, Muppet

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Springtime in the marsh includes the many voices of frogs calling out to potential mates.  The variety of songs is fascinating!  Here is just a sampling of calls in a northern Minnesota wetland:

The Park

“Wilderness to the people of America is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium.”

~ Sigurd F. Olson, (1899-1982) American author and environmentalist

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When I am overwhelmed, irritated, or simply bored with the demands of daily routine I love to escape to a “park.”  Whether that park is national, state, or local; it is the sound of birds, the fresh air, and the enormity of the great outdoors that often puts my own concerns into perspective.  This shot was taken on a recent visit to Banning State Park in Minnesota.

The Old Crabapple Tree

“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanates from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson, (1850-1894) Scottish writer

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There is an old crabapple tree in our yard.  I suspect it is at least 40 years old.  Each year we contemplate taking it down to avoid our yearly battle with apple scab.  And yet, every spring when this tree blossoms and plays host to its variety of birds we decide to keep it around for another year.  I simply refuse to remove a tree that continues to make me smile!

A Rhododendron for Minnesota

“The flower is the poetry of reproduction.  It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life.”

~Jean Giradoux (1882-1944) French playwright, novelist, and diplomat

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The selection of perennial plants for a Minnesota garden can prove a challenge. Gardeners must always keep in mind that plants will have to survive the cold of our winters. Every spring when my P.J.M. Rhododendron blooms again my heart does a little dance. It is a welcome reminder of the warmer and more colorful days ahead.

Listen

“The universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, no objects to be exploited.  Everything has its own voice.  Thunder and lightning and stars and planets, flowers, birds, animals, trees — all these have voices and they constitute a community of existence that is profoundly related.”

~ Thomas Berry (1914-2009), Catholic priest of the Passionist order

(Quote via ourhabitatgarden.org)

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The Northern Flicker is a woodpecker that often excavates nest holes in dead or diseased trees.  As I strolled my property I heard, and then discovered, one hammering on a dead tree.  I hoped that a nest was being built!  It turned out that this handsome bird was not in the market for a home, but I did get a chance to take a few photographs.

Spring

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”

~ Henry David Thoreau, (1817-1862) American essayist, poet, and practical philosopher; author of the book, Walden

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The Hepatica wildflowers have poked their way up through the remains of last fall.  Spring has truly arrived in northern Minnesota.

What’s in a Smell?

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell.  One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a midwestern town.  Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.  Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once.  A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.”

~Diane Ackerman (1948- ), A Natural History of the Senses

(Quote via quoteland.com)

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A lovely cow sniffing the fresh blooms of spring.

Rough-legged Hawk

“Behold my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!”

~ Sitting Bull (1831-1890) Chief of the Lakota Sioux Nation

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Rough-legged Hawk taking a look at me and my camera.

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The Rough-legged Hawk breeds in the arctic during the summer months, but winters in the U.S. and southern Canada.  I feel fortunate whenever I see one in the spring as it migrates north back through Minnesota.

This handsome bird had a partner off in the distance.  I’m hoping their nesting season is a successful one!

Contented Eagle

“We’re so busy watching out what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”

~ Bill Watterson, (1958- ) American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes

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This bald eagle was sitting on a bundle of hay when I arrived and he was still there when I departed.

Almost time for planting…

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”

~  Edward Giobbi  (1926- ) American artist and cookbook author

(quote via egreenway.com)

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Farming equipment awaiting the return of warmer weather.

Fox in the Garden

“It’s not just in the air.  Spring is in the light.  There’s a different light in March and April. It’s in the grass, leaves and flowers.   It’s in the birdsong and the baaa of baby lambs.  Mostly though, spring blooms in my heart.”

~ Toni Sorenson, Author

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A young fox made an unexpected visit to my garden one lovely spring morning.

Predatory Songbird

“I never dreamed about success.  I worked for it.”

~Estee Lauder (1908-2004) American businesswoman and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

(Quote via Goodreads.com)

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The Northern Shrike summers in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska.  It only appears in Minnesota when it returns to the lower 48 during winter.  The size of a medium songbird, this carnivorous creature feeds on rodents, small birds, and large insects. (Source: allaboutbirds.org)