Remembering Life in New England

winter forest photography

My Backyard – Long Ago

This winter photography postcard recently sold in my Zazzle store. It seems fitting as a reminder of how far I’ve come. Since I am no longer living in the northeastern U.S., and back down in the humidity of Florida, this scene makes me a bit sad.

I took this winter photo back in 2007, and it reminds me of great hope and huge loss. After spending 27 years in the humid, bug-infested south, I was back home in New England and loving every moment of my first winter with snow in years. I took pictures every day I think. This is a scene from my back yard after a nice storm had passed. I say “nice” because it dropped a bunch of that sparkling white stuff I had been longing to play in and witness. I wanted a white Christmas, and New Hampshire nearly always cooperated in the eleven years I lived there.

We had moved together as a family, but ultimately I ended up alone, with a son dependent upon me to provide a decent life. I couldn’t take a little boy away from his father, no matter how much that father lacked the qualities to actually be a father. So I stuck it out until my son graduated and wanted to move away. Then it was his choice. I did my part. But it wasn’t easy getting by alone in a place known for it’s costly living expenses. By the time I left my New Hampshire home, I had moved 5 times, finally settling into a little fixer-upper for my final years there.

The beautiful snow had lost it’s charm after the hellish winter of 2014-15. And my final winter had very little drama – or snow. It was okay with me.

I’ll never live in New England again, short of winning the lottery. I have some pictures left that remind me of the great hope in my heart when I moved there. The opportunity to spend time in such a beautiful place one last time, is what I will be thankful for. And I’ll visit when I can. But I may never see such a beautiful winter scene in person again. Nor will I walk in the deep snow and enjoy the silence of snowy woods. But I did it once. And that was good.

I Will Never Get The Tech

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 4.21.37 PMI saw a t-shirt once that said, “I repel technology” and I need to have it and wear it every single day.

The only reason I know anything at all, like making links, organizing blogs, uploading images, and all that EASY stuff, is because life forced me into working online.   Everyone seems to have born with technology knowledge that I just can’t seem to grasp.  And when I do understand it, it feels alien to me.  Unnatural.  Like I am trying to live in a world where I do not belong.

This morning I posted a blog on my SeashellsbyMillhill blog, and then I began thinking about upgrading.  From there, I viewed the themes, including premium themes.  After a while I decided on one called Gridiculous Pro.  It looked so nice, something I could personalize with my photos and stories.  BUT… I bought it and began to try to customize and had trouble.  The changes didn’t show while I was making them, the colors gave me trouble, and all in all I just didn’t think it was worth the trouble AND money.  Fortunately WordPress lets you cancel a purchase within a certain amount of time.

The real problem is that I know so little and have to rely on the easy customization.  I can’t do CSS – don’t even ask me what that is.  Some sort of code, that would probably make my site look marvelous.

So I wasted time figuring out which theme I wanted, then wasted time fiddling around trying to make it look nice.   Once I cancelled my upgrade order, my site reverted to the old theme… except it wasn’t the same old theme.  So I had to re-do my “old” theme to make it viewable.  Now the whole thing looks completely different, but I guess it’s okay.  And change is good now and then.

Getting Ready to Grow Veggies in Florida

gardening

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I’m not there yet, but soon I will be learning to grow veggies in Florida.  I’m quite aware of the central Florida climate, as I lived there for over twenty years.  I didn’t have much time to grow my own vegetables but I plan to do a lot of that once I move back.

I’m wondering how well certain things will grow, and if there is no point in even trying to grow crops that prefer it cool.  I have a good, informative gardening book, but it doesn’t say too much about choosing crops for Florida.

So I searched for Florida vegetable gardening blogs.  A well-written blog can be better than a book.  Personal experience with local gardening can be extremely helpful.  I’m coming across a lot of blogs that prefer to show off their tropical shrubbery and well-manicured landscapes and fancy backyards, but have little in the way of helpful information about choosing and growing vegetables.

I think there are a couple of reasons for this.   Continue reading

Time to Say Good-Bye to My Hydrangeas

hydrangea last summer

Blue Hydrangea Summer 2015

Before they even flower this year, I will have to say good-bye to my hydrangeas. I may be lucky enough to see the buds form, but I will be gone by July when the flowers open.

As is so predictable with my nomadic lifestyle, I am moving on after living in my house for five years. It’s a record really. Since I moved north in 2005, it’s the longest I’ve lived in of any of the places I’ve tentatively called “home”.

I’ve added a number of hydrangea plants to the small yard over the years, and they are all doing pretty well. Little green shoots are just beginning to appear, but once the weather warms up the plants will grow quickly. Not quickly enough for me to enjoy the big white-to-green flowers of the Limelight variety, or to see the Pinky Winky’s white blooms change to pink. And I wonder if the Endless Summer blue variety will have more flowers this year than last.

After the winter months of 2015, my perennials seemed to suffer. Some plants never came back, and the ones that did, seemed to be less wonderful than usual. But this winter was so mild, I am thinking that the hydrangeas will have lots of blooms. I especially hope that the blue flowers will be prolific.   Last year I had a few small flowers at the base of the bush (see the photo).  Of course, I will never know. I’ll be far away in the deep south, beginning a new garden in a new place.

I feel like Johnny Appleseed, except my name would be something else related to planting and moving on. I can’t think of a good name. Pam the traveling gardener, or maybe Root-less, is more appropriate.

So the yard I’ve worked to make into a beautiful place will now be passed on to new home-owners.  I have no idea if they are gardeners, or if they will walk around enjoying the flowers that bloom in their new yard.  I hope so.  I doubt they will realize the work it took to create the beauty they will see, but I do hope they will enjoy it.  I hope they will sit in the yard and simply take it all in.  The peace and quiet of sitting in the shade of the big oak out front, watching the clouds drift past the rooftop, while my cats explore in the grass nearby.  I’ve known some of the most peaceful times of my life just sitting alone in this yard, drinking a glass of wine, and appreciating what I have.  I always knew it wouldn’t last, because that is how it is.  Because I know that, I appreciate it all the more.

Soon this blog will be filled with the gardening adventures of my southern life.  I never grew many vegetables when I lived in Florida before, but this time I plan to figure it out.  And many of the southern plants I am very familiar with.  I can’t wait to have camellias, hibiscus, crepe myrtle and jasmine growing in my new place.  I may even try to grow hydrangeas!

So stay tuned.  Once the move is done…… I’ll be back.

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