Colorful April at the Farmers’ Market

This coming week-end we will be doing our normal spring migration from southern Florida to southern Michigan, approximately 1,340 miles straight up Interstate-75, and I’ll have to do my bi-annual, mind-bending adjustment to change in climate and environment. Current place (Florida) includes April colors of sunflowers and garden produce as the local growing season is drawing to a close. Farmers’ Markets have been busy with both permanent and seasonal residents.

This final week in Florida means that I am using up foods in the frig as we balance our last at-home meals cooked with what-is-left ingredients and going out to favorite restaurants for mid-afternoon dining with friends. Friends and kids are asking why we aren’t staying a couple more weeks – given that Covid is out of control and snow is in the forecast for Michigan. Ummmm, I don’t know – except that the food is about gone in the frig and we have a pile of stuff in the living room ready to go into the car.

And we’re ready to go home. It doesn’t matter whether we are in Florida spring or Michigan fall, I want to go home. I miss the friends in the neighborhood we aren’t in, I miss the differing activities of the other place, I miss the trees and flowers and landscapes. I want to go home because whatever home I’m going to has something to feed my mind and soul and body.

The color I expect to find in Michigan during the third week of April will be fairly drab with small punches of bright, spring color. Nighttime lows will be around freezing and daytime highs around 50 degrees F. Fields are still too wet to plow and the soil will have to warm up before they can be planted. Winter wheat fields planted last fall are now bright green and there is a flush of red leaf buds along the tops of tree rows between fields. Maybe there will also be greening of undergrowth in the wooded areas of our neighborhood, daffodils growing in the parks, and flowering trees on city streets.

I know I will eagerly await the full spring color of May in Michigan, and then worry about the lack of color as the spring blooms fade but surprised when summer color comes with blooming annuals and perennials in gardens. And before I know it I’ll be visiting farm markets with tables full of fresh fruits and vegetables.

My inspiration for this post was provided by Amy’s Lens-Artist Photo Challenge #143 – Colorful April. Thanks Amy, and I really enjoyed your beautiful photographs of April Color.

A Bright Little Friend

Gray Catbird (Dumetella Carolinensis)

We had strolled around the Botanical Garden, walking out to the birding tower where wading birds were having breakfast in the shallow waters of the natural landscape. It was a good morning, and Jim had been very good-natured as I had taken lots of photos. Exercising this patience must have built up quite a hunger because he stated he was heading for the cafe for his coffee, scone and newspaper. More precisely, a chocolate chip scone. It has been eaten with no photographic evidence so you will just have to image picking up a slightly warm scone and biting into a tender biscuit with lots and lots of slightly soft rich dark chocolate. I’ll give you a minute to savor this moment.

We were savoring every bite, every crumb that we could retrieve from our shirt fronts, when we were joined by this little fellow who took a seat just to my left. It was a new bird to me but he seemed to know us or didn’t care who we were – he just wanted to let us know what he was expecting as our guest. Someone must have used the table before us because he very quickly swooped in, grabbed a crumb and flew away. But he returned and continued to communicate to us.

Jim is a very kind-hearted person and also loves feeding birds. Even though I reminded him that we aren’t suppose to feed wildlife in the garden, he put out an ever so tiny crumb of his half of the scone. This time the bird hopped onto the table, took a nibble and sat and looked at us. Could he be thinking that here were a couple of real suckers?

My Smithsonian Birds of Florida book says that this bird, “Often cocks tail upward and flicks from side to side.” Could we speculate what this behavior was communicating in this circumstance? In any case I’m thinking he is a “bright” little bird.

Linked to Becky’s Bright/Square challenge of the month.

A Little Pink from the Lily Pond

There are some days when we need a gentle pink lotus blossom in gentle morning light to elicit a gentle morning smile.

I was searching for pink in the Botanical Garden and got a “buy one, get one free.” When the freebies are reflections, it sweetens the deal.

The outside petals and supporting foliage of the lotus blossom looks tough and messy, but when I look inside I feel calmed and protected.

These lilies are added to this month’s Life in Colour challenge of finding pink in our world.

Artist Reflecting on a Lily Pond

I was taking photos of water lilies from the boardwalk across the lily pond as two women were painting on the lawn to the south of where I was. The pond is perfect for taking photos of reflections, especially mornings before the breeze comes up. I moved around a lot trying to find the best perspective for a good reflection without too many lily pad or lilies to obscure the reflection. I also look for reflections that are bright enough to be distinguishable and not too busy.

Mostly I take lots of photos of reflections in differing conditions, learn from some, like some a lot, and delete some. As we are moving through our second year of the pandemic, it feels like this has been and continues to be my strategy. As we are making plans on moving to our northern home, we heard the news that Michigan is being hit with a large increase of new cases and hospitalizations, with our small home town being the epicenter – in fact for one or two weeks that small town was the epicenter of the country. That made me very uncomfortable, even as I was receiving my second vaccine dose.

I’ve been collecting information from social media and epidemiologists, learn from some, accept some for the basis of my decision making, and disregard some. In the bar graphs I studied in the New York Times this morning, I learned that Michigan isn’t much worst than Florida and that upward movement of infections seem to be caused by variant of the virus. We had already considered that in determining behaviors that we believe are safe post-vaccine.

I’m comfortable with the decision we have made. We are going home as planned and will continue to protect ourselves in the same way we have here in Florida. We have gone out to eat when we could eat outdoors or taken food home to eat. We have avoided shopping during high traffic times and if people aren’t wearing masks in the store. We spend time indoors with very small groups of friends and family who have also been vaccinated and we continue to practice safe behaviors when we go places. When we stop to visit with neighbors while walking around the block we will still stand apart, we won’t shake hands or give hugs except with our kids and grandkids (unless the virus spread continues to get worst – then no hugs).

I continue to find the virus exhausting and stressful – but in a slightly different way now that we know more about how the virus is transmitted and we are vaccinated. I’m no longer afraid of getting covid from my mail or groceries, nor am I as afraid to go out in public if safety measures (distancing and masks) are taken. I have a little more freedom to eat out and socialize but that still takes a lot of prior thought and being vigilant as to whether we feel safe or not. The virus is still impacting on how I think about my life and my relationships – I’m just not sure how I have changed and if the changes will be permanent.

How are you doing?

Glow Bright

Except for the photo that was over-exposed, this was the brightest one I took as I wandered around the Naples Botanical Garden on Monday. I spent quite a bit of time with my 50mm lens in the water lily garden. Love that lens.

I also love the April Squares theme of bright. Hope you follow and join in with Becky by clicking here.