Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Three Buckets Bubbling and Three Bags Full

Actually there are now two buckets bubbling, since the weekend now two weeks past saw us bottling the batch of gruit ale.  This left a birch ale and a birch wine still slowly bubbling.  The original post title still sounds better...

Two Buckets Bubbling and Three Bags Full

Three bags full of wool, that is.  My dearest housemates found me three bags full of wool.  Where did they find such a bounty you ask?  Why the same place the Woodsman found me an even bigger bag of wool a few weeks earlier.  The TransferSite, of course!  This brings my tally of found and gifted bags of raw fiber (alpaca, llama, sheep) up to a ridiculous number.  Which means that I really, really must get out my spinning wheel and (re)learn to spin... Though I'm thinking, these three particular bags I may felt.  It looks like mediocre quality fiber, short staple though kinky, and not at all cleaned or picked through or washed.  I have some really nice spinning wool awaiting me and I rather think that I ought to (re)learn before I set my self too much a Herculean task.  That probably not the best metaphor.  Psyche-ic task?  Didn't jealous mother-Venus set her the three impossible tasks before sh could reuinte with Cupid?  And wasn't one of them about a golden fleece?  Or is it a different fairy tale, now nameless in my mind, where the heroine must sort the the three mixed types of grains into three piles by morning - and does so with the help of the ants she was once kind to?  I recall there being three similarly impossible tasks.  At any rate,  I think I would be overwhelming myself unhealthily if I expected myself to spin it all just yet.  Not to mention I have more yarn that I could weave in a year already.  But these three bags, in three different shades, look like they will felt nicely.  It is nearly two years since I learned Kyrgzh and Mongolian style felting at Convergence .  I keep meaning to make more things... and to play with dyes.... I promise another post on all the possibilities for felting that dance in my head.  I fear this post might get too unwieldly-long, even for me, if I go into it all here.  At any rate, I think I have enough in these bags for another small rug.  

And now for the Buckets Bubbling: 

Back when we were tapping the birches, we started three batches of homebrew: 

~ a birch sap wine (vaguely) following the recipe in "The Alaska Bootlegger's Bible" by Leon W. Kania - great book, I highly recommend it!- as well as two ales.  It's currently waiting, and about due, to be transferred into the carboy the Woodsman is loaning us for its secondary ferment.

~One ale was based on a recipe my mom found on the internet:  it used birch sap as the liquid, added honey (we used the honey from my mother's hives last year) for the sugar, and steeped birch twigs in it for flavor and bitter, and ale yeast for the fermentation.  It is currently sitting in a bucket in the middle of the kitchen floor going through a secondary ferment and clearing process - as we were racking it (I think that's the right term?), I did fill a single liter gralsh bottle with this brew; so we'll be able to compare it between after only a primary and after having the chance at a secondary ferment.
    I'm not going to take one side or the other in what I understand is a sometimes bitter arguement - but since this beverage uses honey as its sugar source, there is an argument to be made that it is not actually an 'ale' - ale yeast and name not withstanding - but rather a type of mead.  Either way, I'm looking forward to drinking it! I think I'll probably call it "Bunchberry's Honey Ale" and leave it at that.  

~The other ale, which is now bottled and aging in the pantry (its also pictured here), is a birch sap version of a gruit ale.   It was made by modifying the recipe found in "Strong Waters"by Scott Mansfield - I also highly highly recommend this book!  A gruit is basically a brew that uses herbs to supply the bitters in the place of hops.  In the middle ages, before hops became cheap and plentiful and widely available, almost all ales and beers were gruits.  Monasteries and brewers and alewives would have their own individual (and probably guarded and secret) recipes.  Gruits would be developed for specific purposes - medicinal or psychotropic - using different combinations of herbs.  The herbal base of a gruit allows the nutritional qualities - vitamins and trace minerals - and the medicinal qualities of the herbs to come through in the ale.  If I remember correctly, the "small ale" that Shakespeare speaks of is a gruit.  
The recipe from "Strong Waters" calls for using equal parts of yarrow, saint John's wort, and mugwort. The yarrow I used was last summer's harvest that I had wildcrafted.  The other two came from the bulk herb section of our local health food store.  I look forward this summer and fall to playing with a few gruits of wildcrafted herbs - I'm thinking specifically about yarrow, coltsfoot, and labrador tea.  The recipe calls for water, and we just substituted birch sap, so its natural sugar content was added to the malt syrup.  It was a roaring blaze of fermentation for a while there!
When we bottled this one, we poured ourselves a couple pints to try.  Its certainly a different taste than your normal, commercial, hopped beer.  But I quite liked it.  It was a bit um, young-tasting - and you could almost watch the yeast precipitating out of it.  After it has settled in the bottles and aged a bit, I'm quite looking forward to it!  We'll ration it out across the next 6-12 months, so I can see how the aging changes the flavor.... stay tuned!

It was really satisfying and validating to actually bottle some home brew.  A few years ago, I tried my hand at some fruit-based wine making.  Let me tell you, brewing is much much easier with running water than in a dry cabin!  My attempts then went to either mold or vinegar which was really disheartening, so its good to feel some success this time around.  I also find that I really enjoy having the ongoing process and presence and life of things fermenting in the kitchen.  It gives the kitchen - already so much the heart and the hearth of the home, and really of my life - this added quality of vitality and aliveness...  I look forward to many years of the same!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TransferSite Finds: Wolverine

....with many thanks to the spirit of the wolverine....

So, The Woodsman was at that magical magical place -the TransferSite - this morning, and he found something amazing, something chart-toppingly unbelievable...  (hint, there's a photo of it above.)

He found a tanned wolverine pelt.  Wolverine!  As in the animal who's fur sheds frost and is therefore a favored ruff for hoods...
Can you imagine?  I mean, who traps wolverine and gets the hide tanned only to throw it away?  I suppose that karmically the universe wanted to be sure the animal was honored in death and in life and so set it up to be found by a trapper and leatherworker who would truly and fully appreciate the gift and the find of this pelt.  I can't wait to see what he makes of it!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Clucking Blossom VIII

Cluck Cluck Bloom y'all!

where  the sun always shines and everything is always free: music, love, art, food, and dancin'.  There was lots of dancin'

The festival

Clucking Blossom successfully celebrated its eighth year in true Blossom fashion this year, with music, hippies, art, and dancing.  Clucking Blossom is a free community festival every year, and this year my Darlin' Man was one of the main organizers.  He's been working on this project for months, fundraising and planning, and after a last minute craziness of Borough sound ordinances and event insurance, he (they) pulled it off phenomenally!  You'll see pictures of the ArtWalk below, its something he started a few years ago, and every year he stays up most of the night the night before hanging art in the trees, and then most of the night the night after taking it down.  Oh yeah, and his band performed as one of the closing acts. 
I had a great time, but more importantly, I'm so proud of him and the fruits of all his hard work.

Art Walk entrance

These flowers actually made me do a double take.  I was like,
what kind of Georgia transplant is actually blooming already?

Books above the path.

Floppy Disks installation

Little'un being swung around by dad.


This is how an acoustic band performs at an outdoor music festival.
Inside a tight group of audience, who sings along, so the vocals can
be heard by all.
Local Band = Feeding Frenzy.

spring wood violets along the art walk.

Why they call it the land of the midnight sun...
Photo taken at 11:30 pm

Fire Dancing to the Phineas Gauge.
That's my darlin'man up there on stage rappin'.

juggling fire

Fire hooping

AK fire tribe ladies being amazing with hoops.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Homestead Eating: Woodland-made sauce

"Carrot Pancake" with lingonberry sauce,
 sour cream, and gruit ale.
I hope and intend that this is only the first of many versions of 'woodland-made' sauce that you will see and I will eat.  Lingonberries, though better known as a Scandinavian specialty, are as common in the woods on this this side of sub-artic circumpolar north as they are over there.  I hear tell you can find them in the northeast (Vermont and such places) though I've no personal knowledge of that.  Every autumn, I gather quarts and quarts of lingonberries.  I generally make a lingonberry sauce at Thanksgiving and look forward to when it entirely replaces ocean spray tm on the table. I am much more regular about, and invested in, this harvest than that of the blueberries that the typical Alaskan is known for.  (Living uphill now from great blueberry flats may see that personal trend change.)
Also growing in the woodlands I gather these ruby berries in are such plants as labrador tea and spruce and birch trees.  There are others of course, but these tend to be prolific and perhaps more importantly, to figure intimately into the profile of this 'woodland-made' sauce.  The last time I was heating up a lingonberry sauce (coincidentally for this same meal on a different day - its a fave), I was not as assiduous as usual in picking out the stray leaves of labrador tea and spruce needles that had wound up frozen with the berries.  The next day I was eating the left over berries (with a spoon, out of the pot; that's how much I adore these tart ruby baubles) - and I noticed little pockets of intense flavor where spruce or labrador tea had mingled with the berry flavor.  It was unexpected and took me aback, but on second thought I rather liked it.
So this time, in preparing the sauce, I intentionally left the leaves and needles in and let the sauce simmer for longer than usual in an attempt to infuse.  It sorta worked.  I'm looking forward to trying again and actually ADDING some of both flavorings, picked in the woods on purpose.  I mean, the flavor was a leeetle bit there, but certainly not enough to hold its own in the meal.  To further the whole woodland sauce concept, I sweetened the sauce with a splash of birch syrup instead of the spoonful of sugar I usually use.

As for the meal as a whole it is (mostly) out of "Sundays at Moosewood," Moosewood Restaurant's ethnic cookbook.  It is definately a favorite kitchen tool and inspiration of mine, as evidenced by the way it beginning to fall apart and the number of bookmarks and notes stuck into it.  It has sections on the ethnic/regional food of various areas : Morroco,  Northern Britain, India, Japan, Southeast US, Northeast US, Hebrew, Bulgarian or Yugoslav, etc etc.  One of my recent favorites is the section on Finland.  I don't know why the idea didn't strike me earlier in my life here in Alaska, but it makes so much sense to look to Scandinavian cultures for traditional food-ways that are compatible with life here in the far north: the climate, the growing season, some of the wild species, the need for winter storage, etc are all so very similar.  It only makes sense their food would resonate here too.  This is an adaptation of traditional carrot pancakes that I gather are usually prepared more like latkes.  Here they're baked in cast iron.  I don't follow the recipe anymore, I've made it so many times, and such things are relative... but I'll tell you how I do it.  For a precise recipe to follow, I cannot recommend "Sundays at Moosewood" enough!

Saute a diced onion in oil or fat (I like to use bacon grease when I have it) in a cast iron pan.
Shred about 5 carrots into a bowl.
Crumble a half cup or more of bread crumbs into the bowl.  If you don't have dried stale bread, dice a slice of whole wheat or sourdough bread.
In another bowl whisk together 5ish eggs and some milk.  Maybe almost a cup?
Whisk in thyme and nutmeg (1/2 -1 teaspoon ish?) and salt and pepper to taste.
Whisk in a half cup of flour.  I use whole wheat.  You could use rye or white or buckwheat.

Mix thoroughly the bread crumbs, carrots and onions in the first bowl.  Then add the egg mixture and toss or mix till thoroughly coated.  Scoop it all back into the cast iron pan (it should be all greasy from sauteing the onions), and bake at 350 ish for about half an hour.  When its done, it'll be a little puffy and golden on the top.  If you take it out too soon and its still goopy when you cut into it, just put it back in for a bit.  I sometimes overcook it, which just means there's a too-brown crust on the cast iron that is sometimes a pain to scrub out, but that the dog likes to eat.

Serve with lingonberry sauce and cultured sour cream (yoghurt would probably be good too).  The eggs and the sour cream are enough protein, but if you really want a winter-warmer style meal, it would be good with bacon, divine with sausage, and would hold up to left over roast or chicken. Wine, beer, and water are all good accompaniments.   Tea too, I'd imagine. Or apple juice.  I look forward to a lifetime of serving this meal to my family on a regular basis, I anticipate it being a weekly meal that my kids will know intimately.  Its healthy (and lingonberries are Vitamin C powerhouses!), easy, quick, AND best of all, can be made almost entirely from ingredients that I anticipate making or growing on this here homestead of ours.  Carrots and onions? Yessirree! They store well for winter too!  Bacon grease or butter? you bet!  Egss. Milk.  Bread.  Granted the wheat flour for both the pancake and the bread will likely be from off-homestead.   And there's always spices.  I will always import spices.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Words of Wisdom

I was speaking with an Athabascan elder this morning; she said that people keep telling her to write a book, I must say that I quite agree.  She was speaking of the challenges facing so many native villages wiht keeping culture alive, and staying a healthy community with there being rampant substance abuse in so many places...

I just wanted to share something that she said that I thought was so poignantly put, and that is so true for everyone.

"There's one thing.  There's just one thing we're here for.  To love eachother and to get back to the one who made us.  Anything else, culture-wise, is just of this world."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

HGA "Small Expressions" Winner

The winners of the Handweaver's Guild of America's "Small Expressions" annual exhibit have been announced. 

I don't have the artist's permission to post a photograph of the winning piece, so I'll only link to it.

But I did want to post about it, and give it a shout-out, because it is phenonmenal.  And all kinds of inspiring. 

First Place in HGA's 2012 Small Expressions goes to Jenine Shereos of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.  The peice is entitled Leaves and is made entirely of human hair.  She uses
wrapping, stitching, and knotting techniques to create the ephemeral skeletons of leaves.


I love the idea of using human hair in textile (or mixed media) art.  When and if she ever cuts them off, I plan on turning my Breda's long long dreads into something amazing and powerful.  The Darlin'Man's (shorter) dreads are waiting for an artistic hand.  Either he will use them in a carved mask, or I will use them in a tapestry.  

I love the idea of art being the telling of a story.  Storytelling in all its form is powerful powerful stuff.   What better way to tell our own stories than through our own bodies as the medium?  This is why I do theatre.

In many cultures, creation myths are told in the form of stories about weaving or about spinning.  Spinning takes a fluff of 'nothing' - a puff of wool - and turns it into useful and beautiful thread.  Weaving takes thread and turns it into structure and form.  Weaving is also used as a metaphor for fate or destiny, that the cloth that is woven defines the fate of the thread. 
I love the idea of using hair as thread and entering into this mythic discussion.  Hair is something that is our own, that is literally created by us, out of 'nothing' in the same way that plants create themselves out of sunlight. 

I think of fairy tales like Rapunzel and Rumplestiltskin, and about one I read years ago where the maiden wins (back?) the love of the king by weaving him a scarf out of her hair. I think of folk tales like that of the Crane Wife.   I conceive of performance art peices where my hands weave while my hair is fed into the warp - it would probably necessitate extensions, as it isn't THAT long - so that I am both the weaver and the woven. 

Sugaring Part 2: Syrup

Darlin'Man brings in sap.
Note the yoke.  It is amazing.
We have one quart and one pint of birch syrup sitting in the fridge.  It is so sweet and so so good.
We boiled it down in the crock pot, and on stove top pans.  Both work.  The crockpot requires less supervision but takes longer.  

Next spring, we hope to have a cinderblock woodstove built in the yard with a ginormous pot or two for the boiling.  
And if one of us ever learns to weld, we've got a great idea from the man who runs the brewing supply store.  Weld stainless steel into a giant 100s of gallon vat, paint it in heat absorbent black paint, and set it up basically like a still, so it'll evaporate out the water by the (direct) power of the sun.


The Woodsman brings in sap.

more boiling.

Slightly singed syrup. 
Please note the alliteration!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Another Fortnight:

This fortnight I:

-Made baked brie bites (thanks pinterest for the pinspiration!) and the Barefoot Contessa's creme brulee, though I substituted almond extract when I found I was out of vanilla, for my Breda's birthday. 

-Started my first batch of kefir with the kefir grain that a friend gifted me.

-Practiced yoga at home. outside.  in the yard.  in the sun.

-Ate lasagne and salad with strawberries for dessert.

-Saw Taj Mahal live in concert.

-Heard thunder.

-Watched a great local production of George Bernard Shaw's "Misalliance" performed by the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre

-Leaf out happened.

-Hail shower followed by sunlight.

-Told my mother I loved her.

-Told my sister, my husband, my friend, and my dad I loved them.

-Told my inlaws I loved them.

 ... this loving, its important stuff folks.

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
"You owe Me."

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.
~ Hafiz~

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hipster Hipstamatic TransferSite Photoshoot

In which we romp in the sun, play dress up, and don't spend a cent.

This post is gratefully dedicated to the amazing ladies over at ArrogantlyShabby.  This is all owed to their brilliance and beauty and inspiration...
Model and Fashion Stylist:  my Breda, Anna Gagne-Hawes
Photographer:  the always fabulous Molly Proue, who bakes the best muffins ever.
Also a blog-love link to my daily dress who's also featuring this shoot!  She's pretty rad.

Sunday, I arrived for the tail end of our planned fabulous transfer site fashion photo shoot.
What is the transfer site, you ask?  Well, here in Fairbanks, we don't have trash pick up.  At least, no one outside of the city limits does.  So we all haul our trash to the Transfer Site - then once a week or so, the garbage people come and haul it all away to the landfill.  Which means that for an entire week, in at least 6 separate places in the greater Fairbanks area, there are dozen of dumpsters slowly filling with things people are getting rid of.  There is also a re-use area, covered with a roof, at each one where folks generally tend to leave things they feel someone else might use: like couches, and dressors, and clothes. Which is not to say I haven't been known to climb into a dumpster for dimensional lumber, clothes, pottery, or etc.  Shopping at the Transfer Site is one of the best, most frugal, and most environmentally friendly ways of acquiring things.  It also inspires one to craft and diy.  I plan an ongoing series of posts about the TransferSite. 

 We go to the transfer site alot.  My Breda is positively inspired in what she manages to manifest there.  My personal best find was a pair of vintage Frye cowboy boots (not pictured).  She manages to find Anthroplogie brands on a semi-regular basis.

Pink dress: forever 21
vintage cowboy boots
vintage brown Frye boots
black danskin tights
lucky brand jorts
plaid AE shirt
orange gap tank top
mossimo romper
vintage grey ankle shoes
vintage white linen skirt
forever 21 tie neck blouse
blue AE tie back top
blue old navy shirt

[edited may 21:  to link to My Daily Dress]

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Only in Alaska...

The Darlin'Man picked up some literature from the Cooperative Extension the other day - little booklets and couple page handouts talking about various aspects of sub-arctic agriculture and etc.  I'd read a few of them already, a few were new to me and quite good, but the one I wanted to share is this:

"The Cock-a-Doodle Dos & Don'ts about Raising and Wintering CHICKENS in Rural Alaska"

It goes through such sub sections as "The Coop Setup" "Basic Equipment" "Flying the Coop" and "Reccommended Breeds of Layers for Interior Alaska."  Some good info about insulation and heat lamps.

And then, Oh priceless then!

In the section "Roosters Need not Apply" that basically walks through the pros and cons of including a rooster in your flock, it says....

"Harmony: Chickens are very social birds with strict heirarchy - much like sled dogs.  A balanced flock has at least one rooster, once dominant hen, and several other hens."  All very true, I'm sure.  But really, only in Alaska would you ever explain chickens in terms of a sled dog team.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Brown and Green

Birch Budding

new beginnings.

and in between is life which is constantly both:

There is a golden husky who has learned to set off the car alarm when she wants to not sit in the car anymore.
There are a pair of swans who are no longer by the roadside.  I am hoping they are at Olness Pond, where the darlin'Man said a pair nested last year.
There is the realization that if I am willing to brave the haul road, Olness Pond is within summer biking distance.  Which means riding distance if and when I ever get a horse!
There are good friend with gifts of kefir, coming to celebrate the return of spring and summer sun's marriage to the earth, jumping over fires for creativity and growth.
There are windy nights standing on the porch and drinking in the sky.

Clean beer bottles

Saturday, May 5, 2012

National Homebrewing Day!

Today, in addition to being Independance Day for the country of Mexico, and the day a dear sweet amazing and loving friend was born, is National Homebrewing Day!  Head on over to CAF to hear all about what folks are brewing up today. 

As for me, I plan to bottle a batch of gruit ale and sample and bottle a batch of birch beer this weekend!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Driving home you pass the road to Olness Pond - where I have never been and mean to go - before you get to the river crossing, and on the right there is a place where the ice jam river floodwaters have receeded leaving a pond.  I cannot remember if it stayed a pond the summer through last year, it may be that as the sun warms and the ground thaws, the water will go elsewhere.  But for now there is a pond.

And on that pond yesterday evening, their long necks disappearing under the water as they ate, a pair of swans were vsiting the mallard couple for a dinner engagement. 

This morning driving in, they still were there.  I hope they stay and nest.

Homestead Eating : Salmon

Duck eggs make the smoothest, softest, silkiest quiche imaginable.  It is like holding melted velvet in your mouth. 
A year and a half ago, we traveled to Italy for a dear friend's wedding: in our travelling we ended up in Cinque Terre, in a restaurant above a cove.  It had tiny tables and kitschy wall art - but amazing local wine and fresh fresh fish.  Darlin'Man had a dish that was sliced potatoes under a filet of fish, drizzled in olive oil with tomatoes and capers and olives and herbs and things.  All wrapped in parchment paper and utterly delicious.  I've made a few versions of it since.  My latest plan was to take the mediteranean idea and run with it a bit, using salt preserved lemons.  I've run across a number of recipes using salt preserved lemons in greek and morrocan style fare recently as well; so I bought organic lemons (since you're eating the rind) and packed a quart jar with lemons and lemon juice and lots of salt.  They are supposed to ferment. When I opened the jar to use some - having waited many weeks - I was greeted with a thick colony of mold.  The fungal spores were happy.  My lactobicilli living in lemons?  Not so much.  It broke my heart a little, as it so closely mimicked the outcome of my post-harvest attempt at saurkraut, and an attempt at wine a few years ago.  So, I took out a head of red cabbage and made a new jewel-colored batch of saurkraut.  The brine looks good so far; hopefully this will be my fermented redemption...

Meanwhile,  I had a whole salmon (thawed) sitting on my counter and no brined lemons.  I filleted the salmon with my ulu - best knife ever - and did surprisingly credibly.  I usually have the Woodsman do my filleting.  I peeled the zest off of a(nother) lemon, and went with that instead.  Potatoes lining a baking dish, filets on it, zest and oregano and thyme and basil, all drizzeled over with garlic olive oil.  Baked.
Meanwhile, I simmered the freezer burnt bits of the salmon for the husky pup.  Keep in mind that this is salmon from the summer before last summer.  I'm really quite amazed at the overall lack of freezer burning.  And because I'm not that great of a filet-er (and I hate the thought of wasting wild salmon, however little), I cleaned the fish carcass, scraping bits of good meat off the ribs and spine with my fingers.  These I saved and set aside in a bowl... for quiche.

I mixed up a vinagrette.  I am out of balsamic vinegar - a staple on the shelf by my stove.  I had a moment of almost panicked disbelief.  When I say balsamic is a staple, I mean I use it damn near every day. But, as is the way of most crises, it led me to rely on my own resourcefulness.  I realized that I actually had a jar of nasturtium vinegar I made last summer, sitting nearly unused on the pantry shelf.  Let me tell you, olive oil and nasturtium vinegar vinegrette is delightful - a hint of spicy summer flavor from the flower infusion adds a quality entirely different from, and just as good as, a good balsamic.

Between the four of us, of course we ate all the salmon.  I had some kale and some carmelized onions in the fridge, so what else was I to do with the scraped off salmon bits the next night but make a quiche?  As the french might say "mais, naturallement!"  I had stopped by the local meat shop, Homegrown (which also sells a variety of other locally produced food and artisanal items), after yoga a few days before.  I was hoping to pick up some eggs, as I would rather support the local egg sellers - regardless of whether the feed they use is organic or not! - than pay the same price (food prices are ridiculous here in the interior) for 'organic free range' at the grocery store.  I felt like I'd hit the jack pot when I was able to snag the last carton of eggs.  It wasn't till I brought it up to the counter and noticed that the top of the commercial carton wasn't actually fitting over the eggs that I realized they were actually duck eggs.  Even better!  I've heard great things about duck eggs, especially for baking.  And I can now say that they live up to every expectation that every glowing blog post or book chapter ever created in my over-active gastronomic imagination.  They are really good.  Maybe not so good that I'll plan on introducing ducks to our land that lacks any open water...  but certainly so that I'll go out of my way to barter for or to buy them!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Beltaine

The first of may.  Beltaine.  May Day.  A day of celebration of life renewing, the flowers of spring.
I noticed today that the birch trees and also the lilac by my mother's front door were starting to bud, beginning new leaves for the coming season.  Also?  It snowed.
Snowed.  As in cold air and light flakes and an overcast sky.  Last week, it was so warm I left doors and windows open- deciding I would rather the fresh air and scents of warming earth than the safety from the mosquitoes.
On the bright side, hopefully the late frost and snow will have killed off a generation or two mosquitoes and we'll have a bit of a reprieve at the beginning of the bug season.  On the less bright side, I left my tray of calendula starts out on the porch too long (ok, I forgot about them and they were out all night) the other day, and so now most of my very vigorously promising starts are no longer.  Fortunately, this was about a day before the echinacea seeds started sprouting, so they're okay.

Happy May Day!  May you grow into the year ahead with much creativity and joy!