Thursday, March 29, 2012

St. Patrick's Day, 2012

I gave Ally a copy of The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing last month and she promptly decided that she wanted to set up a leprechaun trap, just like the kids in the story. This is apparently a rather new thing for parents to do with their kids and I'm always trying to encourage her creativity, so we made a leprechaun trap while visiting my parents over the weekend of St. Patrick's Day this year.

Mom has a big pot of oxalis growing on her sunporch that seemed like the perfect place to set a leprechaun trap, plus it was sufficiently high enough to keep the dachshund out of it. Ally drew a couple of pictures of shamrocks, rainbows, and other images she thought a leprechaun might like, and then we placed them in a white wicker basket. We put the basket on top of the oxalis and left a stick for the leprechaun to climb up. But our choice of bait was ingenious.....we left a handful of Lucky Charms cereal inside the trap to tempt the leprechaun.

Ally was very eager to check the trap on the morning of St. Patrick's Day. So eager that she was knocking on Papaw's bedroom door at 5:22 am to see if he was awake yet. I convinced Ally that she couldn't get up just yet in case the leprechauns were still running around, but that only bought me another hour or so of sleep before Ally insisted that we check the leprechaun trap.


Lo and behold, it had worked! Well, sort of. The leprechaun had visited the trap but had managed to escape after all. No matter. He left Ally a handful of shiny "gold" Sacagawea dollars in exchange for all the Lucky Charms cereal he had eaten.


So here's what I've learned from this experience:

1. My mom pointed out to me that Ally will expect us to do this each St. Patrick's Day from now on. That's okay with me. Childhood is short enough that I don't mind an extra yearly parental obligation. Mind you I won't be going over board like some moms out there, like Not Martha who made an extravagant leprechaun trap cake.

2. I suspect next year Steve might get involved with Ally and build a more elaborate leprechaun trap with her like this Lego trap seen at Tips n Tidbits.

3. Since St. Patrick's weekend, Ally has assumed that any penny or dime she finds on the ground must have been dropped by a leprechaun.

4. This year Ally will likely get up before dawn to check her Christmas stocking.

5. I sincerely hope she's not planning to trap the Easter bunny next month.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yep, It's Spring Already.

My peonies are coming up. The witch hazel is in bloom. I see tiny sprouts of astilbe, coreopsis, poppies, and phlox poking out of the soil. The spring beauties are in bloom and I spotted a purple hepatica in the woods.

We're having an early spring this year after a mild winter. Heck, I've got snapdragons that never completely died over the winter. I thought we might get the garden tilled in mid to late April, but I think we'll be doing it earlier than that. I've got snap peas that need to get planted soon.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Manger Scene, December 2011

Last Christmas Ally and I put up a manger scene using my vintage nativity figures for the first time. She really liked these old figures and arranged them to her liking, just like I used to do with my Mom when I was young. Ally chose to have all the people and animals bunched up around the manger. You may notice a few non-traditional animals in this scene.


Many families have their own traditions regarding a manger scene. Some wait until Christmas Eve before placing the baby Jesus in his manger. Others add the three wise men later after Christmas Day to illustrate their arrival after the birth. In our house, when I was young, we added extraneous farm animals. Mom and I figured that a stable must have had more animals than the standard cow, donkey, camel, and sheep that come with most nativity sets, so we added duck and chicken figurines that she found at a yard sale. (One year we put up a irreverent Whoville scene for Christmas, complete with paper Putz houses and a pipe cleaner Godzilla terrorizing the Whos, but that's another story.)




After we put the vintage figures out, I told Ally she could add any of her animal toys she wanted. She rummaged around her toy box for a few minutes and added a small stuffed teddy bear; a few plastic horses, goats, and a pig; and my favorite, a unicorn, which she placed by the angels.


I think keeping the unicorn in the manger scene will be our new tradition from now on.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring is on its way!

The Korean dogwoods have swelling buds.


The purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) is blooming.



The Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) is starting to send up ferny new leaves.


The lilac buds are swelling.


The dratted multiflora rose is expanding its leaves.


And under the multiflora rose is Oscar, happily digging after the voles.



That's a definite sign of spring right there.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hellebores For Joyce

I keep forgetting to post on Wordless Wednesday, but I didn't have anything really interesting to show yesterday as it was.

Not like today, when I found the hellebores starting to bloom in the flower beds out front.



I have two plants, one a Pine Knot Strain and the other was unlabeled when I bought the seedling at a yard sale. I no longer know which one is which because the tags were lost sometime last year. No matter, I love that mix of greens, plum, and pink in the speckled blooms.



Winter is beginning to fade and spring is on its way!