Hoping for Spring

Spring had a false start in December confusing things a bit because then we had some serious snow and cold as you might expect it here in Virginia. It was as short lived as promised by my daughter a few years ago when we were deciding whether to move North from Texas. You know the story, “it’s only a light dusting of snow Mom,” stretching the truth about winter in Virginia. We might be below the Mason-Dixon but we do have winter.

Bob Shovels

Does that look like a “light dusting” of snow? Look close. That’s my husband pitching a shovel full of snow from the driveway, about 15 feet from where I’m standing to take this pic.

So we’re ready for Spring. The time has changed. March 21 is Monday. Easter is next week, the robins are returning along with other songbirds. Let’s get going on the Spring chores. So, my husband, always anxious to use our pole saw, decided to prune the pear tree. He cut off the water sprouts and I trimmed the Crepe Myrtle. The pear trimmings are so nice and straight and last year I kept some for wherever I needed a sturdy support, and I wove some into protective twig collars around tender plants. So, we have a wagon load this year saved for whatever.

bird swing

A gardener friend posted a link on their Facebook that included the pic above. Isn’t it cute? What fun! Why didn’t I think to make a birdie swing before? I’m pretty sure those must be millinery flowers attached and not real buds. I checked the link provided but there were no instructions and in fact with all the social media buzz about “click bait” I was hesitate to try too hard to get to the original pic. I thought it was easy enough to figure out how to put one together just from the picture.

Today is the perfect day to try this. Look. It’s cold, rainy, and it’s now snowing.

snow march 19

I pulled out my pruners, twine, a few beads, and a couple of rubber bands today.

craft

After selecting 4 twigs, I turned two one way and two the other then tied them together in the center. This is important so when they bend, it’s a more symmetrical bend. From one of the fatter twigs I cut the bottom twig to serve as the rest. Now bend them and shift a bit to get them to for a U shape. Well an upside-down U or arch.

step2

Construction tip: Use a rubber band wound around to hold things together. This is left on because as the twigs dry, you’ll want them to stay together.

rubberband

Next, I wound jute twine around the joints. Not quite scout worthy lashing but it will do.

Warning: Twine is very attractive to resident cats.

lash1

VERY attractive to resident cats. Wilson came to inspect my craftsmanship.

lash

Wilson wonders why I want to work with twigs when I could be rubbing his chin? Oh look, my arch is a U and you can see how the rest is lashed at the bottom. He’s so irresistible though and of course I rubbed his chin.

wilson rests

I attached a bundle of twigs to the top as the original had and wound the twine around and around to make a strong package of twigs. When they dry they will probably loosen up. Remember these are very freshly trimmed but they need to be bendy so it’s a good thing.

The original had a glass looking heart hanging to catch the light and red is very attractive to hummingbirds, right? I checked my stash and whilst I could have used a pretty marble wrapped in wire, I decided on using some beads from an old necklace. Please excuse the blurry picture. I was jiggling as I giggled at my cross-eyed cat.

wilson checks

Does the bead move? Why yes it does. Cat tested and approved.

wilson approved

Very easy project, it took twice as long with a cat though. Nice use of twigs. I’ll probably make some more but I’ll wait for a sunny day to photograph them. I have every hope we’ll have a sunny Spring day soon!

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On reading instead of writing

Reading

Oh dear, you’d think I would have updated my poor blog that I really do love so much—I’m reading more than thinking about writing, which all good writers say is a must.

So, some thoughts about reading.

I’ve restricted myself to library books, no purchased books for budgetary reasons, obviously. I’m a person who takes joy in owning books so this is difficult and I do look forward to the day when I can splurge on a few that my library does not yet have. It’s a battle of the budget and willpower.

You should not edit or mark in library books. I keep running across someone who does just that. It’s distracting and annoying that someone feels I might not be smart enough to flow right across the obvious. I have to say I take a little joy in finding my own typos but it’s no fun if someone points them out.

Use your rules: But don’t be afraid to adjust them. My new rule is that I’d rather not read anything written with misspelled words to indicate an accent. I can’t stand this. It’s unnecessary. So I do a quick glance through the pages to see if I spot this technique.

I use Goodreads.com to track my reading. It’s helpful when I go to the library to check my lists, especially for authors I want to read. I wish I had this years ago. I also wish I had done what my mother has done for years and years and keep a book diary. She has every book she’s read in a notebook with a small review and character reminders. I’m not sure how many notebooks she has filled, but it’s probably quite a few.

By the way my reading challenge this year I set for 52 books. I am well ahead at 49 books and that’s after taking off the three books I hated and didn’t really read all the way through or “skip read” which means I just read chapters here and there.

I read in the mornings but also at night instead of TV, which is a vast wasteland these days. I’m reading about two books per week at this point. I used to be reading obsessed and nothing else got done but I can put my book down and take care of the garden chores, make dinner, play with the cats, etc.

I’ll write more about my awful book list and why later, realizing of course what I think doesn’t really matter to anyone but me. I have favorites too. What are you reading?

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