This past week, I made my first stop of the season at the garden center. A few plants came home with me, in hopes of getting them planted in the front bed along the walk. We had a lovely afternoon the day after and I was able to get outside and clean out all the fall debris and begin digging up the bed, taking care to not disturb the tulips and grape hyacinths coming up. I was hopeful to be able to finish the following day and plant the forget-me-nots and spring blooming phlox I had purchased. But the weather turned bitter cold and then I had three long days of work. Yesterday was very cold with heavy snow and wind, so these sweet little posies are living on top of my washing machine at the moment! They cheer me up every time I walk past them and give me hope that spring really is coming... eventually!
During the snow yesterday, the birds huddled on the trees and bushes around the bird-feeders. I sketched this collared dove sitting on one of the aspen trees.
While I had the camera out, Thomas posed so nicely for me! He seems to love the attention he gets when I'm taking photos of him!
This is one of the house finches we had visiting yesterday. Their color is especially vibrant this time of year!
As you read the following, also known as the Breastplate of St. Patrick, I invite you to remember the real reason we celebrate St. Patrick's day. It isn't a day for drinking, for wearing green, or even for remembering Ireland, but instead it is a day to remember the great faith of a servant of God and to learn from his life and to be encouraged to bring even a small measure of that faith into our own lives.
I Bind Unto Myself Today
I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same
the three in one, and one in three.
I bind this day to me forever,
by power of faith, Christ's incarnation
his baptism in Jordan's river,
His death on cross for my salvation,
his bursting forth from the spic`ed tomb,
his riding up the heavenly ways,
his coming at the day of doom,
I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the star-lit heaven,
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal rocks.
I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken to my need,
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward,
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the name,
the strong name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the three in one, and one in three,
of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word.
Praise to the Lord of my salvation;
salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Words ascribed to St. Patrick
Translated by Cecil Frances Alexander As written in the Hymn Book of the Anglican Church p.s. ~ the painting above of Forget Me Nots was completed this morning.
It's hard to believe that a year has come and gone since my Mom passed away. How I miss her.
I love this photo of her ~ it is so typically her, puttering about in the garden, which she loved to do. Yesterday, on the anniversary of her death, I spent a lovely hour wandering through the garden center with my daughter. The last time I had been there was with my Mom. We had gathered plants and little items for a fairy garden that she then planted under the weeping willow tree in her yard. Yesterday we gathered a few new plants for the yard at our new home. As my sister and I gardened with our mother, now my daughter gardens with me. Someday she will pass her love of gardening on to her children. And so the torch passes along down the line.
Spring is arriving slowly as it often does in Colorado. The Junco's have left and we've had a robin in the yard. Jessie and I have watched a pair of great horned owls many times in the past couple of weeks. This morning, the maple tree burst into bloom with lovely little clusters of reddish flowers! These are the female part of the blossoms known as the stigmas.
Other branches already had clusters of anthers, the male part of the blossom. There should be lots of "helicopters" later in the year!
I'm anxious to get my painting skills back up to speed so that I can do some plein air painting this year, so I've been playing around with some small oil sketches. Usually, I like to paint from life, but ever since a snowy drive last month, I've had this idea for a painting growing in my head, so it was time to see if I could bring it to life. This is just a little oil sketch (5" x 7") for what will probably end up being a much bigger painting eventually.
This past week I started my new job! With several days of general hospital orientation behind me, I get to begin orienting to the Mom/Baby unit on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to it, though it will take me a while to adjust to the long commute.
This past week, I had a conference in Albuquerque to attend. One last small road trip before my new job starts on Monday! My daughter went with me and spent the time while I was in seminars exploring Old Town Albuquerque. After a day of listening to speakers, I joined her for an evening stroll and dinner. The golden adobe walls just seem to absorb light and glow in the evening hours. Even this corner of a building where the surface has flaked away to reveal the inner layer is beautiful!
I loved seeing the old San Felipe De Neri church. It has been in existence since 1706! The outer garden was lovely.
I loved the lights on the veranda.
From a side street, the matched spires shone beautifully against the evening sky.
It was fun to walk down the little side streets in Old Town with their quirky architecture and decorations, all filled with little shops and restaurants. We had a wonderful dinner at the High Noon Restaurant & Saloon. The red chili cream sauce is to die for!
On the way down to Albuquerque, we stopped at Fort Union on the Santa Fe Trail. I've posted about it before... and found it just as impressive this second visit! The sky was an amazing deep blue on this day.
I love the sense of history one gets when walking down an old path ~ to walk where others throughout history have walked before. It's possible that such notable figures as Kit Carson and Jedediah Smith walked along here. In it's hey-day, Fort Union was a thriving community of 3,000 with tens of thousands more individuals passing through on their way to Santa Fe, Chihuahua, Mexico or on their way back to east.
Now it is a lonely spot, with just the wind whispering through the long open windows and doorways.
We also stopped at the Ludlow Massacre site, where 21 people including 2 women and 11 children lost their lives when hired militia attacked and set fire to a mining camp on the mine owner's requests because of the miner's demands for better working and living conditions. Ultimately, the massacre was what sparked enough outrage to change our country's labor laws. The standard 8 hour workday is one of the results.
Due to the threat of impending winter weather, we weren't able to make any stops on the way home. But once we arrived, we discovered that this amaryllis was in bloom! They were a gift to my mother from my sister a couple of Christmas's ago. After they bloomed then, my Mom continued to water and care for them, and since her passing, nearly a year ago, I have as well. Now they have re-bloomed!
I've been trying to sketch more. Some days it is easy. Other days the busy-ness of life gets in the way. Since I really want to be painting more, I need to find the path back to making it a priority. Thomas is an obliging model as he loves to sit near (on!) me!
I had just a few minutes to capture a scene on this day and the bowl of vegetables on the kitchen counter were well suited.
Another morning, I was captivated by the light coming in my bedroom window. But once the sketch was completed, I realized I had focused so much on the details of the scene that I missed the light completely!
Yesterday, I had to drive into Denver to complete some of the pre-hire paperwork for my job. On the way home, I took back roads and just enjoyed the landscape. The snow is quickly melting. Just a few miles from home I captured this lovely vista of the Front Range. Hopefully soon, my oil painting skills will be back to where I want them and I can start painting Plein Air again. I've missed it so!