Spring

The Gathering Place

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Cherry tree in full blossomed glory

When you live in Western New York and on top of a hill as we do, Spring can be long in coming and short in duration. Trees and flowers at the bottom of the hill on either side, has perhaps already bloomed two weeks ago. Forty-five minutes or so from us, the famous Rochester, NY Lilac Festival ended last week and our lilacs are barely budding. The winds are strong and fierce here, across the 100’s of acres of farmland in back and in front of our home. Winter is long here and is so often, accompanied by snow drifts several feet high, all around us. Atop the the hill, it seems an ideal place for the wind and rain and snow to blow and fly. It is what it is and unless you take this as complaining, it is more, just my observations.

My wife Susan and I, frequently gather on our small and narrow front porch. It was originally built as a two-season room with screens and storms and a screen-storm door. We thought replacing these with thermal pane, dual-glass windows and the door, would extend our usable time here. But the floor has no insulation and is built over a crawl space. Having so much of a wall of glass, there is not really room for much insulation there. And there is probably not much if any, above the ceiling.

We added a little electric heater that looks like a wood burning stove and it warms the room nice and toasty, while adding to our electric bill, considerably. But we love this room! Children, friends, family, Bella our cat and Lady our dog, and our seven grandchildren, love this room. Notice the many toys and Bella on one of the chairs, in the picture below. 🙂

Other than changing the windows, the door, adding a heater and installing an oak-look floating laminate floor, it really has not changed much, since Susan’s Mother and Father lived here. They were the first occupants since the place was built, in 1973. When the porch was enclosed or added-on (I’m not sure which),  her father installed rough-sawn paneling and the ceiling fan we still use today. I can say for myself and think it true for Susan too, it is our favorite room, in all our home!

Our Favorite Room
Sunrise and bird good morning

Most of the furniture has been in the family, for many years. The couch and two chairs were refinished, repaired and re-covered with a blue-jean color, cotton jean-like material. The couch has at times and the floor next to it, has been covered with napping bodies of friends and family. Other furniture is also, family heirloom. Family pictures and military paraphernalia adorn the interesting wall of carefully designed and saw-cut paneling, and are a continual tribute to the man that built this porch, Susan’s Dad. The room is nothing fancy or expensive. It is comfortable, just wonderfully comfortable!

Susan and I often gather here in the morning with our coffee and look out and watch the birds. We also gather here for drinks at Happy Hour, around 5 PM. These are those special times we share together and converse about life and are still getting to learn something new about one another. I call these times, ‘Sips with Susan’! 🙂

Whenever I finish my book, ‘The Gathering Place Feast Book’ (How anyone can turn their home into a five-star culinary experience), under the category of beverages, it too will be called, ‘Sips with Susan’. 🙂

But, for the long wait of spring at the top of the hill, at ‘The Gathering Place’, I came up with not a bit solace, for a sorrowed soul, but anticipation, for whenever Spring in full arrives and for how little in time it may last? For myself, while waiting for anything, any little subtle changes, anything new, it causes me to get excited and my heart all twitter-patted, in anticipation and appreciation!

“They who wait for Spring the longest, appreciate it the most!”

-dahni-

Our lilacs just coming
Azalea just this morning
Susan’s birthday sculpture – hummingbird made with spoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Susan, just this morning, during ‘Sips with Susan’, wrote the following. It captures it all perfectly, from our little comfy-cozy porch, atop the hill at The Gathering Place.

Our red-bud is almost ready

 

 

 

The Gathering Place

By Susan Meech Hayden
©️ 2019, all rights reserved

Our Gathering Place, on top the hill we wait at morn or eve
For sun to rise, burst forth and shine, then sink to take its leave.
Sometimes the sun plays hide and seek in clouds of grey or white
Or mist and fog might cover the fields and stretch beyond our sight.
Our little home, through nature’s powers,
We sit content, because it’s ours.
Oh, from our hill the stage is set for every kind of weather
The blustery winds, the snow and cold, but we stay warm together
We wait for spring’s array of colors beneath the sullen skies
It lags behind, but now and then, bursts forth before our eyes.

 

Categories: Beauty, DREAM, Family & Friends, Flowers, Home, Inspiration, Making Memories, Poetry, Simplicity, Spring, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

“When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

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by Donnie Hayden

© 2015, all rights reserved

 

“Taps in the trees”

In another post dated October 20, 2014, “Frost on the Punkin,” http://wp.me/p4jGvr-x5, I shared a favorite poem of mine with a video of a feller’ reading it aloud. The poem is, “When the Frost is on the Punkin.”  It was written by, James Whitcomb Riley. 1853–1916.

Recently, after going near stir-crazy from the long winter here in New York, it was a beautiful day, the sky blue, the temperature 41º F. and it was time to get out of the house and take a drive!

The temperature and warm sun upon my ageing (or aging) face made it possible, for me to drive with the window slightly ajar and feel the wind through my thinning hair, but the drive along the shore of Lake Ontario and my expectations, for what was in store, made me feel, forever young! Soon, I would meet my cousin and his grandmother, our dear sweet Aunt Anne Magar (Bab’s) [pronounced: Bob’s], for a pancake breakfast.

It was not just any ordinary pancake breakfast. Oh, NO, this was the last weekend and the last day, of the New York Maple Syrup Festivals, held all over the state. The breakfast was held by and cooked by, the folks that work or own, this maple tree farm. The breakfast with freshly made maple syrup was, at the facility which taps the sugar maples and boils the sap and makes the syrup.

There was a walking tour among the maple trees, to see the pump house where the collected sap is pumped uphill to the process and boiling center.

The center served as working areas, museum, educational center and a store to buy 100% certified, pure NY maple syrup and sugar products. Books and CD’s; DVD’s and other items were available. They even had a maple sugar, cotton candy machine, for the ‘kids’ of all ages. 🙂

The owners and staff were on hand to help and answer any questions, people might pose. I had many and they were more than happy, to answer each and every one, to my satisfaction. I must confess that I was tapped, just like a maple tree and my juices and imagination were flowing. I was intrigued by the whole day and process of making maple syrup and sugar! It made me, briefly, forget about missing my wife, who is out of the country, for another two months. 😦

But this short reprieve from winter and from missing my sweet maple tree girl, made me feel not quite as lonely. I was happy to leave winter’s chill, still clinging here and like a little kid and these trees, I was tapped in! 🙂

SugarN2

Intravenous FeedN’ 🙂

Our cousin was previously given about 11 gallons of sap from this very farm and for days and for the first time, he made some maple syrup himself, boiling the sap in pots outside, on his Bar-B-Q grill. He made several jars of syrup and today, he bought a book from the center called, ‘Backyard Sugarin” I liked the word ‘Sugarin’ and I shortened it to just “sugarN” But I could not get this word out of my head. Thought about it the rest of the day and night. This morning, I woke up with it, still on my mind. It reminded me of Riley’s poem and oft’ quoted line from it, “when the frost is on the punkin.” So, just today, it inspired me to write, “When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

Now, I’m not trying to compete with Riley. I make no pretense that it even comes close to being, even a little bit as good as his! But for me, tired of the long cold winter and missing my wife and can’t wait for Spring, it made me sort of, ‘tap’ into spring and it certainly tapped into me. I think Fall and Spring are my favorites of the four seasons. These two seasons fall between, Winter and Summer or Summer and Winter. Winter can be pretty, but I think it’s mostly here to remind me that Spring is coming and Summer is, just the season to enjoy, while waiting on the Fall. So, I wrote and edited and read it aloud to myself, to hear its flow. Then I called Aunt Bab’s and read it to her. She loved it and asked for a copy and promised to commit it to memory, just as she had, ‘When the Frost in on the Punkin.’ I was honored by her asking and am encouraged here, to share this with you, Oh ye’ gatherers together, gathering at the Gathering Place. 🙂

Years ago, a dear friend’s father gave me a gift of his personally worn, loved, washed and a little over-bleached (kind of tie-dye looking cool) pair of what he called his “Over-hauls.”  These are not just anyO’ pair of overalls. They are the crem dela crem of overalls! Thays’ isN’ ‘Big Smith’ overalls, the finest makers of “over-hauls,” since 1916! Promised made and promise kept. The You Tube video of me reading this poem appears, following the the text below. By the way, my excess winter sap (or sugar) did not allow me to fit into my “over-hauls,” I crammed myself into them! :0

I hope you enjoy, “SugarN’s in the Maples.”  I hope it gets you ‘flowing!’ 🙂

Thank You, James Whitcomb Riley and Thank You, Aunt Bab’s!

 

Donnie

 

 

 

 

 

It’s SugarN’ Time

“When the SugarN’s in the Maples”

Donnie Hayden, 1953presently still alive 🙂

 

When the sugarN’s in the maples and
the taps is in the trees
And you hear the cooN morN doves
a crying in the breeze
And the peeping of the sparrows and the honkN of the geese
And the warmN’s in the morN’
in her rising in the east
O, it’s them’s the times a feller is a—
putN’ on a smile,
And leaves his hibernated cave
and gits outside a while,
And grabs his hat and forgets his achy knees,
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
There’s something kinda’ hearty-like
tho wintern hangs on here—
When the nights still chill, but morN’s warm, surely Spring will be so dear—
Of course the grass aint yet green, and no flowers in the bloom
And the gentle rains not yet revealN 
what underground’s concealN’
and the robins not yet expected,
but the worms don’t feel neglected
But still, there’s that sweet fragrance in the air,
when sap pots a’boilN’, here and there
Sets my forget of my achy knees
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
The whole scene sets my heart a jumpN’
like the sap a runN and the roots, for water pumpN
Not time for plantN or growN’, but tahday—
Spring’s got no better preacher
than what the maples have to say
 
Cows still relyN on the farmer’s bales
and the tractor’s in the barn
and they’re dreaming over coffee
and they’re fitN another yarn
O, it sets spring’s clock—
to ease
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
Then you know the sap is gathered, 
and the syrup is all made
And the taste buds cry—  “keep it coming” 
and winter’s soon to fade
And your pancakes and sugarN delights 
and all the maple sweets
makes yor’ giddy face a familiar friend 
to all the strangers it meets
I know no betterN a way to tell it— 
but if such a thing could be
If anyone or spring or angels need boardin’, and if they were to call on me
I’d hand them all over my accommodations and my keys
When the sugarN’s in the maples and the
taps is in the trees
 
 
Categories: Family & Friends, Inspiration, Life, Poetry, Seasons, Spring, The Gathering Place | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

A Toast to Life

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By Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

 

A Toast to you on St. Patty’s Day:

May your every need, be ever met
And your heart, always full
And all the best that’s yet to come,
May it be your crowning jewel
May love and hope ever find you,
sharing these two, with all you meet
And this, ever circling
will never find complete!

The Gathering Place

Your Friends and family on the road of Life

Toast Life

 

 

Categories: Holidays, Inspiration, Irish, Irish Music, Life, Live Laugh Love, Love, Music, Poetry, Spring, St. Patrick's Day, The Gathering Place, Toast this Life, videos, Visual Poetry, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

The Robin Report

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved

 RobinReport1

The American Robin is, a more sure harbinger and prognosticator of spring, than Punxsutawney Phil the ground hog, could ever be, in his or her, wildest dreams.

Robins are actually, part of the family of thrushes. They received their familiar name from homesick European settlers in the United States, many years ago. They were reminded of their beloved and familiar little Robin Red-breast, which has a color pattern brighter, but somewhat similar to our robin, even though the two are, not closely related.

Years ago, there was a median strip between our home (then) and our neighbor’s property. In the middle of this strip of land was a Hawthorne tree with long and potentially hurtful thorns. Trust me they hurt, having been pricked by them, more than a few times. The berries are bright red orange and often stay on the tree throughout the winter. The reason for this is quite simple. Their berries are not considered to be, culinary fowl fare or bird yum yums. 🙂

Most wintering critters and birds don’t care for them, that is, until one snowy wintry, February morning. I happened to look outside our bedroom window and right below in this Hawthorne tree was, at least a hundred robins. In about a half an hour, they picked the tree clean. There was not a single berry left. I was astounded!

I had never seen so many robins before and I did not know they would group like this. So, I did some research.

I suppose, I never really thought about where robins go in the winter? I guess I never entertained the idea that they migrate, but they do. Curiously, first of all, some, for some unknown reason, will winter farther up north in Canada (We live in NY). But others, will migrate thousands of miles, from Vancouver Island to as far south as, Guatemala. Some will just hang around where they are.

Robins are of only, just a few type of birds that change their diet. They will eat nuts, seeds and berries (even those nasty Hawthorne berries), insects and grubs and their favorite delicacy, earthworms. Obviously in February, it was still a little cold for earthworms. But the interesting thing I have come to understand about the robins I saw in February is, they were all male. The males return before their females to begin building their nests, scoping out new or defending their territory. And how do they defend their turf – by singing, sometimes fighting, but a good song seems to be, what works best, most of the time.

After the male robins first appear, the spring rains begin soon thereafter. When the grounds become saturated, the earthworms come up for air. From the time the males show up and the rains fall is, around two weeks. Right on cue, about two weeks after the males, the females arrive hungry from the long flight and earth worms are easy to find. Contrary to what I thought and perhaps many others as well, robins do NOT hear the earthworms underground, they see them on the top of the waterlogged soil. I know, we’ve all seem them pecking on the ground when it looks like there’s nothing there, don’t they really hear the worms? Just remember, their eyesight is far superior to ours. They can see the smallest movement of leaves and earth and KNOW, something alive is moving!

So dear friends and family of, The Gathering Place, robins are, the sure sign that spring has sprung! 🙂

 Robin song mp3 on SoundCloud (may not work on Apple devices)

 

YouTubeIcon32X32Robin Song on YouTube

 

 

The following poem which inspired by these robins was, posted on another one of my blogs at: Dahni Daily, Februrary, 21, 2010. It was written right around the time the robins first appeared in the Hawthorne tree. They did come back the next year, but only around 30. That was the last time I saw them in such numbers or in that tree. We moved to where we live now at: The Gathering Place. But we still see robins here. I can’t wait to see them soon and report that spring here, has definitely arrived! I hope you enjoy the following poem.

A Sure Sign

By Dahni, © 2010, all rights reserved

The Hawthorne berry bright red

Seemingly an attractive fruit,

But most unsavory,

For they last the whole of winter,

Undisturbed and uneaten.

A robin one or two or few,

A sure sign of spring,

Though long after the snows melt,

And the rains come,

And the worms surface.

Two years ago, about a week,

Before the end of February,

Hundreds of robins picked the Hawthorne clean,

In minutes,

Their migratory mates followed two weeks later,

And brought spring with them.

Today, about a week,

Before the end of February,

Many robins sat in the Hawthorne;

My heart was lightened,

Though snow still upon the ground,

And in the air,

Surely their mates are on the way,

And bringing with them,

Spring.

From the collection: ‘As it Happened – Collections of Recollections, by the same author
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 RobinReport2

 So, what is, your robin report? Are they where you are yet? Is it spring where you are yet?

Categories: Beauty, Birds, Family & Friends, Poetry, Robins, Spring, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: From Australia With Love

by Donnie Hayden

© 2014, all rights reserved

Guhday Mates, from Dahni your Aussie gift guide

Guhday Mates, from Donnie your Aussie Easter gift guide

Easter is, the first Sunday; after the first full moon; after the beginning of Fall down under here in Australia, so that you in the United States, can celebrate Easter on the first Sunday; after the first full moon; after the beginning of Spring, up there. 🙂

The stores here were all mostly closed on Friday, supermarkets opened on Saturday and closed again on Sunday and Monday. In fact, most stores here in Camden, New South Wales, Australia will not open until Tuesday.

We went to the supermarket here on Saturday which is your Friday and they were nearly all sold out of Cadbury Chocolate products for Easter.  So, we didn’t get any, can’t send some home or bring some home to you. And sorry Janet, but we cannot bring home any butter. 😦

Besides all of that, down under’ here, there is a concerted effort to replace the Easter Rabbit with the Easter Bilby.

The Easter Bilby

The Easter Bilby

Carmello Koala

Carmello Koala

But for now (your tomorrow, but when you get this it will be your today there and yesterday here ), most stores, well they used to until they were sold out, had Carmello Koala.

Anyway, We down under here, having already lived through your today, yesterday, are already living in your tomorrow, tuhday mates. But what can be done for you is, to capture the past, for your today. So I did. I have captured the moon, for you yesterday, so you can have it tuhday!  HAPPY EASTER, which is now your first Sunday, after the first full moon, after the beginning of Spring up there! 🙂

HAPPY EASTER up there yesterday, from down under here, now tomorrow for your tuhday! :)

HAPPY EASTER up there yesterday, from down under here, now tomorrow for your tuhday! 🙂

Seriously, I did find some Cadbury Creme Eggs for you! 🙂

Cadbury Creme Egg

Cadbury Creme Egg

Rent or watch the movie ‘Hop,’ with your family!

Rent or Watch w/ the Fam' :)

Rent or Watch w/ the Fam’ 🙂

Hmmm...:)

Hmmm…:)

HAPPY PAGAN UNHOLY DAY! 🙂

 

 

Note: Easter is an ancient Babylonia celebration of the goddess Ishtar of love, war, fertility and sexuality or Ostara a Germanic pagan goddess. Rabbits and eggs are mere symbols of fertility as is the Spring equinox for procreation.  including rabbits and eggs as symbols.

“An important historical result of the difference in reckoning the date of Easter was that the Christian churches in the East, which were closer to the birthplace of the new religion and in which old traditions were strong, observed [the Resurrection] according to the date of the Passover festival. The churches of the West, descendants of Greco-Roman civilization, celebrated Easter on a Sunday. 
“Constantine the Great, Roman emperor, convoked the Council of Nicaea in 325. The council unanimously ruled that the Easter festival should be celebrated throughout the Christian world on the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox; and that if the full moon should occur on a Sunday and thereby coincide with the Passover festival, Easter should be commemorated on the Sunday following. Coincidence of the feasts of Easter and Passover was thus avoided.” 
“The name [Easter] probably comes from Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding to April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts…”

Source: Encarta Encyclopedia, article: Easter.

The word holiday is a transliteration of the word holy day and has nothing to do with Easter.

Easter has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity or the resurrection of Jesus Christ, except its close proximity to the calculation of time of the spring equinox. Jesus Christ was crucified on a Wednesday (the 14th of Nisan), before sunset (sunset began the 15th or the Passover feast) so in the year of his death, he would have been the Passover Lamb. Death requirements were for 72 hours for one to be declared legally dead. So 72 hours from the 14th of Nisan, would make his resurrection occurring on Saturday the Jewish (Judaic) Sabbath. When the two  Mary(s) went “early in the morning” and found the stone rolled away and an empty tomb, “the first day of the week,” it was sometime after sunset of Saturday making this day, Sunday, but as the angel at the tomb said,  “He has already risen.”

The Bible, The gospel of Matthew 28: 1-8

King James Version

Categories: Australia, Australian Life, Bilby, Cadbury, Chocolate, Desserts, Easter, Entertainment, Family & Friends, Food, Fun, Holidays, Japan, Koala, Spring, The Gathering Place, The Land Down Under, Travel, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On: We Sent You a Card

by Donnie Hayden © 2014, all rights reserved

For those of you for whatever reason(s) are not with us traveling in Japan and soon, Australia, we sent you a card. Hope you like and it is to celebrate the Spring Equinox 3/21/14. Hope the weather is getting better where you are! Think Spring!!! 🙂

CardFrmJapan

Categories: Australia, Family & Friends, Japan, Spring, The Gathering Place, Tumbler, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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