Thursday, April 9, 2009

Piss on Lee

Ah…. spring.

I love spring.  All in all, I’m a person who enjoys a happy medium. You can call me the Goldilocks of seasons.  Summer?  Much too hot!  Winter? Much too cold!  Spring and fall?  They are just right.

One of the tmini_DSC00791hings I love most about the spring is, of course, the flowers.  First off, let’s chat about flowering trees.  I love to see all the trees awakening from their long winter sleep – misting over with green and, best of all, some bursting into flower.  I was LOVING the cherry trees in front of the church on Tuesday – a breeze was blowing and petals were falling down all over me – I stood there, face to sun, eyes closed for about 5 minutes.  There is nothing like being caught in a blizzard of petals – utter bliss….. Today after school I was shaking the trees while the kids danced around in a rainfall of petals.  Who needs toys when you have trees?

But, even better than the trees, are the flowers!  I have been getting wonderful bouquets almost every day. Below are the flowers I haven’t been able to find names for (just in case there are some plant identifiers who also happen to follow this blog).  I am most curious about the the purple flowers featured in the bouquet and also in the second picture from left (I know they don’t look very purple in that shot – but I’m no nature photographer, and I am only using a phone, OK!).  I like them because they are purple, they are new to me, they stand up tall in the grass and they smell heavenly.  According to Callie’s art teacher, who seems to be the person in the know about flower names around these parts, they are called Saint Georges.  But I haven’t been able to verify this online. The others she doesn’t know, but we have named the last one “Callie” since she discovered it.

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I have been more successful with other species, however, and now I shall share all my newfound knowledge with all of you!   I mini_DSC00769found this website http://www.cancoillotte.net/spip.php?article314 that talks about lots of them that are in our area. Of those listed we have seen (so far) the Niveiole de Printemps, La Perce-Neige (snowdrops), La Scille (bleu profund), La Veronique Petit Chene (speedwell), La Corydale Creuse (mauve).  But wait, there’s more! Perservering, I found another site: http://www.ryenats.org.uk/detail0.htm which lists almost all I can think we’ve seen this year. I am determined to learn their names – so I can teach them to the kids!  From that site we’ve seen a lot mini_DSC00772as well – different kinds of violets (viola) (we love to eat the flowers as we walk along), barren strawberry, celandine (bouton d’or), red dead nettle, primrose (primverte), wood anemone, daisy (paquret) and even green hellobore. We saw the hellobore last weekend – I remember pointing it out to André and saying – wow – that plant has green flowers! His theory was that they would develop further into a color – but now I think not.  Here you see Griffin during onmini_DSC00775e of our afternoon walks – he is glorying in a profusion of daisy, speedwell and, the one flower you don’t find ANYWHERE on wildflower lists – the dandelion – or as they say in french – the pissenlit (piss on lee). So I will stop and say a few words about this miraculous herb.

I love dandelions – they are bright, cheerful and plentiferous.  As you can see they brinmini_DSC00776g friends closer together.  Here are a couple shots of Callie with her good friend, Evan.  I remember many games with dandelions – mamma had a baby and her head popped off. And also, does anyone else remember the baby peeing on your arm thing?  I have showed these gems to my kids – they love ‘em!  I also cherish the cute yellow color my kids noses turn when they sniff dandelions.  Remember too, that dandelions are good for you – especially your liver, you can eat dandelion roots, buds and leaves – even Bob Villa recommends it! (see this websitemini_DSC00777) Another great thing about them is that they are safe to pick – no one is going to get mad at a kid for picking their dandelions.  They make great bouquets – as you can see, even if they don’t last too long. Hey – that is OK by me, since that means I can get a fresh new bunch every day.   Those bunches are easy to come by because dandelions are the most opportunistic of flowers – they need no special care or tender loving attention – they will push through a crevice – or even DSC00799(as you can see) grow on the side of a wall. They are not intimidated by all those people trying to eradicate them – go ahead and dig and poison – you won’t succeed, that’s for sure.  Dandelions are the epitome of one of my favorite sayings “Bloom where you are planted”  These troopers not only bloom, they flourish. I need to have some of that attitude during my sojourn here.  I will bloom, dammit!  Just try and stop me.

Of course, I haven’t mini_DSC00780even mentioned how, when they grow up, they become beautiful puffballs. Griffin found the first one of those today – he calls them “wishers”. He told me he was wishing to be a wisher!  With one hard blow or stiff shake, off go the dreams and hopes of my children.  How many thousands of dreams are carried away on a breeze, floating along on dandelion seeds?   Maybe that is why there are so many everywhere- so we will be surrounded by beauty – and the possibility that dreams can come true.

Happy spring  to all of you out there – hope you are reveling in this glorious season as much as we are. Livin’ the dream, baby!

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