It's Sunday afternoon, partly sunny, but a hint of thunder rumbles in the distance.
I'm sitting on the front deck watching the antics of the birds on the feeders and in the big, old silver maple that sits just off the left hand corner of the deck.
A mourning dove coos mournfully for its mate while a myriad of birdsongs can be heard in the woods. A pair of red-bellied woodpeckers (males) chase each other across the front yard, landing in the woods behind the garage. Out in the grass, I spy the first butterfly of summer - a swallowtail - having just flown off of the tree peony.
The world seems to me a perfect place in this moment, and it's a moment I wish would never end. The air is warm enough for bare arms, and yet, comfortably cool as it tickles my skin.
Meanwhile, on the back deck, it looks as though a quick snowstorm has blown through.
The sweet scented viburnum has dropped its blossoms. Oh that these beautiful shrubs would hold their flowers just a little bit longer!
It seems we wait forever for these perfect days - days when we can be unencumbered by layers of clothing. Days, in which the sun comes up early and sets late. Days of rebirth, renewal, and boundless energy. My heart is full, and my soul is at peace as I witness nature at its best.
The past several days have been filled with hard work... satisfying work - weeding, planting, mulching, watering, and other tasks assigned to this time of year.
I worked on the front garden of the farmhouse - removing some shrubbery that had gone a little wild, and replacing it with smaller perennial specimens (shade-lovers).
And though these specimens only bloom for a short time, their foliage is quite striking.
I planted three giant hostas, some variegated dead nettle, lungwort, coral bells, and Columbine... all suited to the short hours of sunlight afforded this particular garden.
Luckily, its placement is such that it does not shadow the few solar panels that sit on this side of the house (facing east). (The rest are on the southern-facing roofs.)
I finished planting the vegetable garden this weekend, and added four flats of zinnias, both giant and profusion in key areas of the farm. Later this summer we will enjoy spectacular colors... colors that will last until the first bitter frost and gift us with many blossoms to cut and bring into the house.
Another task for the weekend was to refresh my fairy gardens. All of the houses and man-made elements needed a little cleaning and a fresh coat of paint.
The biggest of the fairy gardens is in this old hollowed tree trunk that sits along the path to the picnic pavilion.
We are having pre-school visitors at the beginning of June, so it seemed important to get everything looking its best!
As is with life... we take the bad along with the good. With this lovely weather comes pesky insects... and so, it's fly mask season again.
No one seems to mind wearing them. The mesh fronts are easy to see through, and the horses and donkeys are protected from flies and midges around their faces.
Eggatha continues to spend her days around the dry lot and the barn. She has moved on to three more nesting spots and does not seem interested in sitting on any of them. It's like having an Easter egg hunt every day at the barn!
And now that warmer weather has arrived, Thelma, Louise, and company (I believe one is Eggatha) are back to sleeping in the willow tree beside the chicken yard. Camping like this gives them a distinct advantage. They don't have to wait for the front door of the chicken house to be opened each morning, but can have their breakfast just as soon as they hop down from the tree.
This coming week is an exciting one. A couple dozen newly hatched guinea keets are to be delivered on Wednesday. We'll keep you posted! It's been quite a few years since our last batch of keets arrived.