Happy Easter to All!

Easter Morning - 2011
Home-made Easter baskets with
White Chocolate-covered Pretzels
Is Easter Day as glorious outside at your house today as it is in HPNC?  I certainly hope so.  It's actually a tad on the warm side (83 degrees as I write this) for April, but who's complaining?  Not I.  The world has thrown off the winter doldrums and come alive again!

Since we didn't have company this Holiday (read that:  Missy M couldn't get away for a visit), we have been busy yardening, as Mr. T calls our work in the yard and garden.  He's extremely glad to report that he can now get his car all the way to the end of the driveway.  Woo hoo!  Now, that may not sound like a lot to you, but what that means is the three-and-a-half pallets of mulch-bags is now down to just 1 1/2.  Progress...one wagon-load at a time!  He's been making walking paths in the back yard, by laying mulch over newspaper and landscape-fabric...and his work looks fine and dandy.  Those last bags are destined for path-making in the way-back to help give definition to the garden, orchard, and berry patches.  (We'll hope for some cooler, cloudy days to get back on that task, though...:)

Also, that pallet of bags of garden soil = gone!!  We've been creating flower beds in the front, on the side, in the back, and in the way-back...and we've gone through nearly 50 2-cubic ft. bags in the process.

I've planted annuals (vinca, petunias, marigolds, lobelia, and lantana in the sunny spots and hanging baskets on the deck; impatiens and coleus in the shady ones, along with Boston ferns in hanging baskets on the front porch) and divided some perennials (iris, daylilies, and sedum) to populate all the new beds, so things are really looking colorful around here.  We've moved the palms and the ferns from their winter refuge on the plasticized/screen porch to the deck, in preparation for moving them to their summer quarters.  I repotted the lemon tree...which looks so happy to be released from wintering in the too-dark window in our bedroom to its sunny spot on the deck.


Another basket of lettuce from the garden...
and an onion
 And, the garden?  With all that rain we had last week...and now all this warm weather we are having this weekend...it is really starting to produce.  We may have to start eating lettuce-salads for breakfast just to keep up with Bibb, Grand Rapids, and Black-seeded Simpson leaves (see photo, left)!  The strawberry patch is loaded with flowers and the beginnings of berries...so much so that I've got the whole thing covered in bird-proof netting.  Ditto the (new) blueberry and blackberry bushes.  The potato-plants...which I really was worrying about...have jumped out of the ground and are looking hale and hearty; we've "hilled" them with bags of leaves.  The carrots and the spinach are finally showing signs of growing, after just sitting there doing nothing for weeks. 

I planted several of my herbs (basil, dill, oregano, sage, lemon balm, and parsley) in two beds and several pots for the porches, to add to the rosemary, lavender, and mint I'd already potted up.  And, I seeded a couple of pots with chives, since my old potting didn't survive.  I even took a chance and planted 5 tomatoes on Thursday (gasp!  before May 1st???); I really want that first tomato sandwich of the season, don't I?

It's been a good week in the garden, but a difficult week for Mom.  She had one of those good news/bad news visits with her ophthalmologist last week. Good news:  you don't have macular degeneration, because your vision has cleared up remarkably well since you were here 3 months ago.  Bad news: your vision problems were caused by a stroke in your eye...and we can't predict if/whether it will reoccur.  That was hard for her to hear...and even harder to move beyond, since reading and watching her sports on TV are important elements in her day.  While I can take refuge in my garden to help me cope with the concerns of the day, she is much more limited in where she can go and what she can do.  Sigh.

So, for Easter, instead of the usual chocolate bunnies in their Easter baskets, I made white chocolate-covered strawberries...along with white chocolate-dipped pretzel sticks for N/M/E and Mr. T's baskets (photo, above/right).   Then, I printed up coupons for what I thought they wanted/needed the most:  an uninterrupted nap for Mr. T, and a ride in the countryside with a picnic lunch for Mom. 

We'll wait until the late afternoon when it is cooler on the deck to have our Easter dinner:  grilled ham steaks, Hawaiian sweet potatoes, deviled eggs on garden lettuce with carrots and celery, and biscuits.  I hope you've had a special day with those who are special in your life, too.

We continue to be thankful for our many blessings...for each beautiful new day that dawns...for the strength to face life's storms...and for learning to dance in the rain.

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