Archive for April, 2009

Buds and babies

April 30, 2009

Yesterday’s budless tulips have all grown fat green heads on them, both out in the world and in our own back garden.  Not having been here last spring, we don’t know what colour these tulips will boom. Miraculous what four straight days of sunshine and 20 degrees can do!

Bob bought and planted two lilac bushes as well in the back garden today.  They are the tiniest lilac bushes I’ve ever sen, each with a fistful of tiny green leaves just beginning to open on the uppermost twigs. It will be years before they flower, I am guessing, but in the meantime, there’s the hope!


St Paul’s roses

April 29, 2009

My walk home from the ferry often takes me through the overlapping ground between St Paul’s church yard and the Grand Parade.  St Paul’s has a couple claims to fame:  it’s old, a Halifax “first”, but more dramatically, it has a spar lodged above its front door, embedded there during the 1917 Halifax Explosion in the harbour to its northeast. The Grand Parade is mostly brick and rather small as grand parades go, but with a centotaph that seems never undecorated with fresh bouquets, at least, and often wreathes.  

Although nothing is yet blooming in the modest pair of beds by the church’s front, the rose bushes are now newly cut back and show how thick they are.  The thorns are pink with their own newness and the stumps of the newly shorn branches are at least a half-inch across. I never can remember from one year to the next what colour any rosebush bears (except for the amazing yellow one in my former front yard). This makes for regular–and always pleasant–surprises.

Elsewhere, croci are become passe and more daffodils are in bloom than in waiting. Tulips have shown and unfurled their leaves but no flowers in this part of town. The stunning wall of lilac over on Lucknow street is a memory rather than a promise, as the hedge hasn’t even become tinged with green yet. Bob’s nursing a potted hydrangea toward planting full on in the garden.

I feel fortunate to have all these garden jewels happening around me, as my own thumb is black, although the eye is willing!

Blue pipes of…doom?

April 28, 2009

So after watching the laying, lying, uptaking and replacing of the blue pipes along Fenwick–with the commensurate mess of crushed gravel heaped across entry points and driveways, go on into nearly a year….the drreaded project has now turned the corner into our street.

I came home to a doorstep banked with crushed gravel.  The blue pipes laid across the front of the house include a nozzle menacingly pointed toward the living room.

Ah, it was a nice house while it lasted.

Out and about in several planes

April 27, 2009

The weather held well for a day that I spent mostly on road trips related to work around HRM:  from Dartmouth to Spryfield and Spryfield to Hubbards, Hubbards to Bedford and back to Dartmouth.  Houses really hug the water line around St. Margaret’s Bay and the grass seems to grow right to it as well, with nary a sandy strip between wave and sod.  It’s quite a collection of buildings there:  old houses (both farm and beach) and new, still under construction.  And the number of “country churches” could fill many a small city of my acquaintance.

Then there were the endposts to all these local travels:  I’ve got a course underway with Infopeople, so dawn and dusk bring me into a virtual classroom in California…a collection of “wheres” there almost as long as the state (at least as far north as Butte County and south to San Diego).

Not bad for a day when there was time for reading and lunch as well!

Locked out of the budding frenzy

April 26, 2009

The elm tree now has giant buds on each of its twig termini, new even since yesterday.  Happily, this spring, I have a back garden in which to view and enjoy these earliest signs of warmth.  The Public Garden here keeps barbaric hours, locking us all out for six months of the year.

Boston’s analog public space is always open and the seasons there are visible by passersby whether the ground is frozen or abloom.  Here, however, one can see the pale buds just beginning, over and beyond the high iron fence, but we’re kept out, even with the temperatures rising and the lawns on the private sidestreets greening. No snowball fights in this “Public” Garden and no earliest blossoms of spring to be shared with the titular owners of this space.


April 25, 2009

Yup, that translates to nearly 70 Fahrenheit, the sky is bright and cloudless and it’s a Saturday to boot!  (I worked weekends all my life until five years ago).  I got to “play outside” for the first six hours of the day and even now there is no pressure to stay in…yes, there’s work that needs doing but it doesn’t HAVE to get done before dusk.

We took a long walk, including the exasperating route along the waterfront, exasperating because there are fully three separate construction zones that send pedestrians shuffling up from the boardwalk across parking lots and then bak down to the waterside.

We wound up, at one point–and then another–at my favourite art gallery in town, the Argyle. And then we wound up buying a painting, one with the same name as the excavation project that has taken over Fenwick Street.  They share only the name, and the source–Freshwater Brook–not aesthetic.

Meanwhile, the work on Fenwick has taken yet another dramatic and mysterious turn:  the ten-foot deep hole has been filled and NOW enormous concrete culverts have been set up as though to place inside the closed pit.  Order does not seem to be prevailing.  Perhaps it’s the shock of the newly arrived warmth?

Clean dirt

April 24, 2009

The last remnants of road salt and sand have been swept away and even the gravel messes along the sidewalk verges now show soil and the beginnings of grass instead of gravel and old paper.  Bob has cleaned out the flower bed under our front windows, and brought to view not only shockingly healthy shrubs, but also four blooming snowdrops and a small herd of tulip plants not yet budding.

With the windows open, I am reminded how noisy this house can be of an evening–people laughing and talking in the other houses and on back porches.  Motorcycles have returned to the street side, but there the windows are battened down.

I haven’t seen the back yard in months but expect I might in the next day or two.  I’m looking forward to seeing if there’s anything afoot in the dirt there.

As though since yesterday

April 23, 2009

It seems as though the bare tree just beyond my office window has begun to bud even since yesterday.  What were smooth, new twig termini now show swellings on their tips: tomorrow’s leaves?  Well, next week’s perhaps.

It’s mighty windy today and, again from the window, I can see leggy shrubs shaking in the breeze, their suppleness giving spring to their movement.

On the ferry ride home, the grey waves blew in crests.  There was a touch of fog on the water but even it didn’t stand still, but swirled slowly in the light.

The backyards still appear to be mostly dirt patches but by the neighbours’ gate I can see a carpet of green, bright from this distance.

The forecast for the weekend is almost warm, but this evening is definitely spring.


April 22, 2009

However brief, spring seems to really be here finally: today it’s a wall of rain pushed by wind that sounds positively frightful in some rooms, but the temp was already above 5 (that would be above 40 in “American”) when I left for the ferry at 7 this morning.  Daffodils are in full bloom now and the crocus are thick and already aging into waxy overblownness.  

No buds yet on the biggest of trees but the bit of twig that has grown on each branch of the chestnut by my office window is visible even through the dripping screen.

The daylight hours now stretch to nearly 15 of the 24. And the temporary “summer sidewalks” are under construction along Argyle Street, promising summer dining beyond this spring burst.

Birthday politics

April 21, 2009

For the last 15 years or more, I’ve been painfully aware of the happenstance of my birthday coinciding with that of another infamous person and the fact that dangerous folks choose the date to stage bad things (Columbine) and, unrelated to Hitler, others go with the merely winsome (Marijuana Day).  (The Oklahoma City bombing missed by a day and the Branch Davidian event, of course, was April 19 as well).

This year, it’s a hijacking of a Halifax-launched flight to Cuba that got held up in Montego Bay. As an American reading and hearing about this event, the political angle isn’t so much on the part of the perpetrator; many of those aboard the plane were en route to weddings in Cuban resorts, an ordinary destination for same here and far from the “going to Cuba” stories in my old country. And no, I don’t think this particular hijacker–nor any of the wedding couples–chose yesterday as their dates with destiny on account of either Hitler or even Joan Miro. These days, with President Obama’s posture toward Cuba, it’s particularly disorienting to listen to the Canadians around me worry that they will soon be losing their Cuban resort paradise with jacked up prices brought on by American tourists. It’s never too soon to worry.  (The Jamaican hijacker seems to have wanted to divert the CanWest jet from Cuba, on the other hand).

Since getting married in Cuba isn’t in our cards, Bob provided me a variety of other Canadiana for my birthday, including very complete collections of both Joel Plaskett and, of course, the Arrogant Worms. (No, these are separate entities, they are not performing together).