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April Snow

Posted by mrssmythe on April 16, 2014 in Seasons |

I woke up this morning to the hissing of radiators. And, when I opened my bedroom blinds, this is what I saw:

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Not at all what I expected.

The perennials that I’d so lovingly photographed just days before now looked like this:

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And the chair where I’d been reading in the sun each morning looked like this:

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It was all a bit disheartening.

However! The maple seedlings that have invaded our flower beds remain undaunted.

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They’re everywhere. We’re under siege with the things!

Pepper has offered to pull them for two cents a piece. We were initially a bit hesitant to take her up on her offer. The last time we struck a deal like this, we grossly underestimated the number of items that needed to be removed (pinecones, I think), and, by the time Pepper finally finished, we owed her a hefty sum.

But, two cents per seedling sounds reasonable enough. I think we’ll take her up on the offer.

By the way, it never really did warm up today. I walked the dogs in a stiff wind, with gloves on and my chin tucked into my collar. Not at all the way one expects to feel at midday in April.

From the dining room table, with the radiators still hissing,

Mrs. Smythe

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Saturday Night Hockey

Posted by mrssmythe on April 15, 2014 in Family, Out & About |

Saturday night, we went to the MassMutual Center to watch the Springfield Falcons battle the Hershey Bears. This was a rare occasion for us. We do not generally go to hockey games (though CPT America would like it if we did). You’re more likely to see the girls and I at a museum or the library or even the mall. But Pepper was performing during one of the intermissions with a handful of other girls from her skating school, and so we bought tickets and made an evening of it.

My goodness, hockey games are loud.

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Once the players took the ice, there wasn’t a quiet moment to be had for a good three hours.

And, whenever there did happen to be a lull in the cheers (or groans or boos or whistles or screeches or cowbells) the announcer would encourage wild responses by flashing “MAKE NOISE!” across the screen of the jumbo-tron. Music clips were aired whenever action on the ice slowed, and the crowd would dance and cavort in hopes of being featured on the big screen. The crazier you acted, the more likely you were to get air time.

There were other things to watch besides hockey and the crowd, though. There were fist-fights amongst the players. The crowd loved those.

There was a contest where crowd members threw hockey pucks onto the ice in hopes of hitting a particular spot and winning $200. (No one did.)

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There were fist bumps with the mascot.

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There was a Zamboni – sponsored by the local grocery chain and decorated to look like a shopping cart.IMG_9069

And, one hour into the evening, there was Pepper’s skating performance.

Here she is, taking the ice.

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And, here, the girls execute a “pinwheel”. Pepper said she had a “death grip” on the skater next to her during this portion of the routine.

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Another pinwheel – this one a bit easier with momentum from only four girls rather than ten.

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Two minutes later, they were done.
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Then it was back to the hockey game…

…which went on for quite a while longer – overtime plus a shoot-out to decide the winner. (The Falcons won). We didn’t stay for the entire game, though. Just until overtime. As exciting as it was, we were all pretty tired – Pepper from the excitement of her performance, me from the constant noise, and CPT America from a busy week at work.

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Ginger, too, was definitely ready to go home.

From the dining room table, with Pepper busy at work on her new book: How to Survive the End of the World with an Umbrella, a Trowel, and Three Friends,

Mrs. Smythe

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Perennial Favorites

Posted by mrssmythe on April 14, 2014 in Garden, Pepper's Lens, Seasons |

I can never decide which I like more: annuals or perennials.

I love how annuals bloom throughout the growing season. I love how they bring wonderful pockets of color to a garden. And, I love that they’re (relatively) inexpensive to buy.

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Pansies are a perfect example. They’re all the rage here right now – popping up on doorsteps left and right.

More and more, though, I find I’m drawn to perennials. It’s so heartening to see them coming up through the soil after a long, cold winter.

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Annuals are a gift you give yourself. Perennials are something the earth gives to you – or, at least that’s how it feels. (Except during that first year, when you spend a small fortune buying them to fill your flower beds).IMG_9017

And, it doesn’t matter that I spend six months out of the year with these plants – I’m always surprised when they reappear. I forget where I’ve planted them – or which ones are which. Then suddenly it’s spring, and they’re reaching up through the leaves and pine needles to remind me they exist.IMG_9019

It’s magic.

Last year, I did a lot of transplanting. I moved things from the backyard to the front, where the light is better and where I’ll enjoy them more. An aunt of mine (who is a Master Gardener) says that when you transplant something it takes a good three years for it to really settle in.

“The first year it sleeps,” she says. “The second year it creeps. The third year it leaps.” IMG_9020

If that’s the case, this year will be “Creep Year” for my garden. Should be fun to see what happens.

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From the kitchen, with an enormous, pale moon rising up through the tree tops outside,

Mrs. Smythe

P.S. Many thanks to Pepper, who edited these photos for me.

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