Saturday, March 31, 2012

Backyard Memories

Basketball at the Cabin

Our "backyard" has become more than just a place for trees and grass to grow, or for birds to build nests.  It has become a place where precious memories have been made, and will continue to be made for many years to come. We share our thoughts and our dreams there. We wonder at God's creations, from Monarchs landing on a  butterfly bush to a little frog hiding in the lavender.  Family and friends have gathered there. The "snapshots in time," wacky videos, and pictures in my mind will never be erased. 

               Never Forget the...

                         Thoughtful Spot

                              Our Backyard Woods
                              The Christmas Tree that Lost its Needles
                              Bicycles on Christmas Morning
                              Redwood Trees & Rhododendrons

                          Flying Kites in the Meadow

                              Basketball, Soccer, & Horseshoe Games
                              Red Wagons and Sword Fights
                              Easter Sunday Suppers
                              Baskets Filled with Colored Eggs


                              Birthday Parties: One to 93
                              Graduations: Kindergarten, High School and College!!!
                              Weddings & Bouquets          
                              Music and Dancing to Our Favorite Songs


                              Ernie & Bob (Our Dads, Grandpas, & Great Grandpas)
                              Bandi, Pepper, Abbie, Niko, Money, and Oshka
                                            (Our sweet and loyal dogs)
                              Murphy, Gizzie, Shasha, Chessie and Rocky
                                            (Our precious kitties that made us laugh)
                                 Tears, Laughter...Healing


                              Hummingbirds & Honeybees
                              Roses and Mint
                              Gardens of Berries, Zucchinis, and Tomatoes
                              And Skunks...God's "Scents" of Humor
                                                                   by Lin Silveira-Hess



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Part I: The Spring Tree

Side Note:  If you have read my two previous blogs, you will begin to see a theme running through them. Yes, there will always be something written about my backyard, but the term "backyard" could also be a metaphor for God's Creations (His Backyard).  The blog could also be about my travels (the backyard of another location) or my personal views about recent events. There may be a link to a Bible verse, or I may refer to an issue that has become controversial or political, but this will not be a political blog. This blog is intended to provide some beautiful pictures of the world around us, some helpful hints, and occasionally some thought provoking ideas or questions.

THIS Backyard in Motion blog will be the first of four that I will write about trees. Part 1 will be about the spring tree, and as you may have guessed, the next blog will be about the summer tree.

Genesis 2:9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food.  

Fruit Trees:
My husband and I are learning how to prune fruit trees.  We have trimmed a few fruit trees in the past, but we didn't know how to prune a mature fruit tree.  Our small orchard is mature and has been left unattended for a few years. So, we studied some books written by the professionals to learn the proper techniques of pruning.  I think we are getting the idea, but once a mature tree has grown out of control, the best way to prune is "drastically."  We pruned all of the trees, but the apple trees received the most drastic cuts.Our trees do look much better after some serious pruning, but we'll have to be patient and wait longer for the next good crop. It may take two years to produce fruit again, but eventually the trees will be healthier and reward us with beautiful apples.

The other fruit trees in our orchard did not need such drastic pruning, so we should get a good crop of pears, apricots, and Italian prunes.  A few days ago, the warm spring day encouraged the apricot flowers to bloom. Apricot flowers are light pink, delicate, and fragrant. They are lovely to behold, and very attractive to honey bees.  At first, a few bees will leave their hives in search of a good location for nectar and pollen, the sweet syrup and powdery "gold" that they need to produce honey.  Yesterday I noticed that the bees had found our trees. And then in just one day there was a tree full of bees buzzing about, and pollinating from flower to flower.

Pine Trees:
In our backyard there is a row of pine trees that has grown together to create what seems like one big tree. This pine grove has become a place for many birds to gather. They sing their songs, fly about and then land on the bird feeders to nibble on a few nuts and grains before they fly off again. When a gust of wind blows through the trees, the sound reminds me of  gentle ocean waves rolling up onto the sandy shore, or a mild breeze that blows through a dense redwood forest along the coast of California. This is now my home and I love Idaho, but the memories of California when I was a child and a young mother, will always be precious to me.

Blue Spruce:
Looking out of my front room window, I am blessed everyday with the activities that have graced my big spruce tree with busy critter life.  The dense evergreen provides shelter for many variety of birds: quail, doves, nuthatches, and finches  Now that it is spring, the little finches are often seen carrying twigs and grass to the spruce tree.  They land on a tip of a branch, and then disappear into the darkness of the tree.  The finches that have chosen this tree for their home, are busy creating an intricately woven nest to protect the new generation of finches. I usually see the quail in the morning, one-by-one hopping out of the tree to get ready to find food for the day. During the day, they can be seen scratching for food under the bird feeders or walking in the meadow of wild grasses near our home.  At dusk the quail return to the big spruce once again to roost for the evening.  The doves will sometimes sit on a branch, but generally they sit under the tree for shelter or if they sense danger. Our Big Blue Spruce is a tree teaming with life.

I am reminded every day that God provides food and shelter for the least of us.  How much more has he provided for my family and for me!

On this amazingly lovely and warm Sunday afternoon, the cacophony of sounds...alive and peaceful...remind me that the warmer days of  spring are here to stay.

God Bless,

Saturday, March 17, 2012


A Time for All Events in Life

 For everything there is an appointed time,
and an appropriate time for every activity on earth:
 A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;
 A time to =&*#, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
 A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
 A time to rip, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.
 A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.  

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Last week was bittersweet to say the least.  For the past 25 years I have either been a student or a classroom teacher, and sometimes both.  I love learning, and I love teaching.  But for many reasons, I decided that this is my last year to teach. I plan to retire from the profession that I love and pursue other interests. I will be saying goodbye to my last group of students in May. Bittersweet.

Next fall when the students return to school, I will be harvesting my garden, serving my God and my community, enjoying time with my family, and I may even find time to dabble in a little writing. Teaching is still my passion, and always will be, but I have chosen to teach outside of the bounds of a 20'x30' room. There is a big world out there just waiting for me.

Bittersweet...My oldest grandson K, will be in middle school and my other grandson G, will be in 4th grade next year.  In a blink of an eye!  What happened to the past 10+ years?

Sweet...Another grandson N, joined me for lunch in my classroom. While his mom and I were finishing our lunch, he sat on the floor and started creating shapes with the classroom pattern blocks.  He said, "Look Nana, this is a trapezoid!"  Oh, by the way did I tell you, he is only 4! Another teacher walked into my classroom and I introduced him to my grandson.  N said, "Look Mr. M this is a trapezoid!" Mr. M appeared surprised, and then suggested that N not be put in his classroom in the future as the student will probably be smarter than the teacher.

Another Sweet...I heard what sounded like a hammering on the side of my house.  I went outside to see if a woodpecker was near the vent hole that needed repairing. (I had previously asked my husband to cover the  hole because I was concerned about the possibility of little critters finding their way into our attic.)  Well, as I peeked around the corner of the house, a flicker was peeking her head out of the hole and looking right at me.  She had found a BIG birdhouse!
The flicker flew out of the hole when I clapped my hands.
When my husband returned home from a business trip, he checked out the attic.  And yes, she was starting to build a nest. So sorry. Because now she must find a new home. Bittersweet.

Not Sweet...Love the rain, but there is a leak in my roof...the carpet is wet! (At this time, the leak has been fixed. I hope.)

Bitter...What happened to school assemblies when the performances were designed to teach "the moral of the story...?"  On Friday, a well known group of actors performed in front of 1st - 5th grade students at my school.  To summarize, the group performed a semi-comedy routine about 3 classics written by H. G. Wells.  I'm not sure when The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, and The Time Machine became material for primary school children.  I won't go into details, but the material was written for an adult audience. We are required to get parents' permission to show PG movies in school.  This performance was beyond PG.  Puzzling at best...angry at worst!

Movie recommendation:  The Time Changer
                        The world is "a-change'n...." 
God Bless,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Red Wagon

Perhaps you have asked for something special on your birthday, or for some other special occasion. And you may have specified that it must be your favorite color: red roses, ruby necklace, red shoes....Well, I wanted a red wagon.  My husband surprised me with my first red wagon on my birthday. It is a beautiful wagon: red removable sides, lots of room inside, big tires, sturdy.  Wow! what a wagon.  My original plan was to fill the wagon with things from my tools, weeds, fruit...and, I will when the weather is more spring-like everyday.  Getting closer.  For now the Red Wagon has become the backyard method of transportation for my grandsons. They have quick minds and awesome imaginations.  The wagon can become many things: a pull toy, a battle ship, or a covered wagon.  The uses are endless in the mind of a child.  I am simply looking forward to carrying my fresh vegetables, sweet fruit and fragrant herbs to fill my kitchen cornucopia. God has blessed us with four seasons and some years the winter is long, dark and cold.  This winter has been more like a long spring: icy frost, then rain, thunder, and lighting. An hour later it's sunny and warm. The next day the world is covered with a blanket of snow. Today it's cloudy and windy. Perhaps tomorrow it will be blue skies and warm again. I am so grateful. God is amazingly creative! So, perhaps the vegetable garden will get planted sooner, and the bees and humming birds will join the backyard critters as the trees wake up from their short winter slumber. I have lots of plans for my Red Wagon and so do my grandsons.