Down by the Road at Dusk

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Brian Small, smelling rose blossom

A couple of evenings ago Brian and I went out for our usual after-dinner stroll around our garden. We enjoyed a dramatic sunset from the back yard and then ambled down by the road to see how the front yard was doing. Brian plucked one of the first rose blossoms from a bush by the back door and inhaled deeply of its fragrance as we walked. Since we don’t get much traffic, I asked him to stand in the middle of the road for this photo. Continue reading

Finding Solace Among the Salmonberries

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Woodland with decaying stumps

We’re living in turbulent times. We face uncertainty about our health with a global pandemic circulating among us. People are getting killed and protests are raging in many of our cities. Our so-called leaders at the national level are failing to lead, choosing to incite anger rather than seeking to instill calm and rationality. Frankly, I’m stressed about the state of the nation right now.

I find solace in our woods. You’ve probably heard of shinrin-yoku, or the art and science of how trees can promote health and happiness. In English, we call it forest bathing. There are several books on the subject, including the one on my bedside table, Shinrin Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing by Yoshifumi Miyazaki. Continue reading

Dusk in the Garden

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Russell Hybrids' Lupines with 'Fireglow' Euphorbia

I’ve been a big fan of nearly dark photography for a long time. A couple of days ago Brian and I headed out to enjoy our garden after our usual late dinner. We didn’t get far, as the view from our driveway compelled me to run to the studio and grab my camera.

These ‘Russell Hybrids’ lupines, paired with ‘Fireglow’ euphorbia, are right in front of the house. The red-orange euphorbia came with the house when we moved in, but Natalie started the lupines from seed and planted them out a few years ago. They self-seed as well as being perennials, so we continue to enjoy the combo each spring. Continue reading

Slugs and Snails and Ferns and Flowers

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Spreading Wood Ferns

Yesterday evening Brian and I meandered slowly through our woods along what we variously call the new trail, the short trail, or the creek trail. Maybe we’ll nail down a name for it one of these days. But the trail name doesn’t matter so much. It’s the woodland path closest to the house, but we don’t walk it as frequently as some of our other trails. We walked less than 100 yards as we found much to observe and enjoy in the hour we spent.

These spreading wood ferns (Dryopteris expansa) are right beside the trail at the base of an old and decaying stump. True to their name, this fern seems happiest growing on rotting wood. People often confuse it with lady fern (Athyrium filix-femina), another common fern that grows in our woods. Continue reading

A Sparkling Morning

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Fringecup lines woodland path

I was out early this morning. Well, not so early that the sun wasn’t up, but early enough that it was still low in the sky and the dew lay undisturbed upon the garden and our woods. I embraced the cool, still air and ambled down the path from our lawn and into the woods with my camera on my shoulder. It’s a nice way to start the day, but something that has yet to become a habit. Continue reading

How Do You See the Sunset?

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Sunset sky

Last Saturday evening Brian and I were hanging out in our living room after dinner when we noticed that the sky was getting dramatic outside our window. The photo above is a fairly conventional sunset view, pretty representative of what we saw with our naked eyes. But that’s not the first photo I made in the course of the few minutes of celestial drama. Continue reading

Sweet Smell of Spring

Purple-leaf Plum blossoms in red vase
We had guests over for dinner last Saturday evening and in preparation Brian went out to the garden and trimmed our big purple-leaf plum, along with a few sprigs of cornelian cherry, to make an arrangement for our dining room table. He chose an antique red vase that’s been in our family for decades. The plum blossoms were just starting to open on Saturday, but a couple of days later they’d opened fully.

The vase continues to sit where we can enjoy the flowers and the sweet fragrance of the blossoms. We’ll come close and stick our noses right up to the flowers and inhale deeply. It’s a pleasantly sweet aroma, but not overpowering.

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