Winter Wonders

I’ve been interested in photography as a hobby for a while now, but I have found it to be prohibitively expensive. So, several years ago my husband bought me some little lenses that stick on your phone’s camera. He found them on Groupon Goods for $7. You can read more about them here. The set came with a wide-angle lens and a fish-eye lens, but I have had the most fun with the little macro lens. We are having a real winter here for the first time in ages, and I was able to get up close and personal with some flurries.

We are expecting several more inches of snow over the next few days. This will be the biggest snow event we’ve seen since I was little, and I’m so excited for my kids to experience a “real” winter snow! Hopefully I’ll be able to get some good shots of the kids and the snow this week. Fingers crossed that we don’t lose power during all this. I made sure to get our bread and milk yesterday 🙂

Stay safe and warm, and enjoy the snow!

If I Were the Wind

In response to February Writing Prompts at Putting My Feet in the Dirt.

Photo by Nita on Pexels.com

If I were the wind,

I would tousle your hair,

caress your face,

and whisper in your ear.

I would lift ladies’ skirts

and snatch men’s hats

to make you laugh.

I would clear your cloudy skies,

keep your kite aloft,

but steal your balloon.

Love and loss are so intimately related.

I would lay flower petals,

seeds, and feathers at your feet.

I would lift your prayers to heaven.

And I would carry your scent,

and the echoes of your voice with me

forever and ever.

© Amy Porterfield 2021

Cathedral

“Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” From Sand and Foam, Kahlil Gibran, 1926

Step softly into this sacred space

Of prayers, whisper-soft

Carried on bird’s wings

To heaven, shining through leaves

Of stained glass.

Step softly into this cathedral

And walk into

The welcoming arms

Of God.

© Amy Porterfield 2020

Growing

I happened upon this tree while I was walking my dog and I was so struck by it. The tree has grown up through the fence, and now the fence is a part of the tree. I thought, well, it’s kind of like life, isn’t it? We don’t get to choose the circumstances into which we are born, or the obstacles and challenges we will face. But we were meant to grow through them. Our challenges make us who we are. They grow us into who we are meant to be.

That, and it also looks like the tree ate the fence.

om nom nom…

The Lesson of the Butterfly

I went walking

in the early hours of a day

of a dying summer,

and I happened across

a butterfly.

So beautiful and delicate,

the vivid black and yellow

of a tiger swallowtail,

fanning wings in the

early morning sun.

So struck was I

by its loveliness

that I almost didn’t notice

that it perched atop

a steaming pile

of dog shit.

And I thought to myself,

“I, too, have landed

in unfortunate circumstances,

either because of bad luck

or poor decision making,

but it was always up to me

how long I stayed there.”

The butterfly lingered

longer than I felt was appropriate,

only taking flight when

my dog went in for a sniff.

I walked away, disgusted,

acknowledging that

there is just no accounting

for taste.

Butterflies

Yellow butterflies

flutter on a summer breeze

Harbingers of Fall

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It’s the end of the summer and these yellow butterflies are everywhere. I did some reading and I learned that they are Yellow Sulfur or cloudless sulfur butterflies, and they are migrating. And they are damn hard to photograph.

Oooh, look! Here’s one!

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Ah! Here’s another!

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Look at this one!

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I finally managed to catch one in my dad’s azalea bush. So lovely…

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I think they overwinter in Florida. I’d like to go with them.

 

To the Fly in My Coffee

The cup, abandoned in haste

and left on the counter

for whatever reason

looked inviting to you.

I’m not sure when you decided

to take the plunge into the

abyss of my forgotten beverage,

but in the evening I found you,

floating face-down in a swirl of

sugar free vanilla creamer.

I can’t help but wonder

about your final moments.

Did you slip away quietly

as your breathing organs

(I’m unfamiliar with

house fly anatomy)

filled with cold, bitter liquid?

Or did your brain explode

inside your head and your extremities

begin flailing?

Because that’s what happens to me

when I drink my coffee

because I like it strong.

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Project Summer 2016: The Garden

I’ve decided I need to cultivate hobbies and pursue activities of personal interest because the empty nest is looming on the horizon and it takes me forever to do anything. I don’t want to be caught off guard with no hobbies in the autumn of my life. Teaching gives me ample time in the summers to delve into projects and try new things, so for this summer’s project I decided to have a garden.

Before I get into the how of this project, let me explain a little bit of the why behind it.  Quite often I feel ashamed at my inability to do very  basic things. I thought perhaps tending a garden and growing food would boost my self confidence. Also, produce is expensive, and wouldn’t it be nice to fill the dinner table with delicious dishes made from vegetables I grew myself? I had visions of big family dinners, my children would be so robust and healthy… It was going to be beautiful. It was also going to be very easy. See, several months ago I read some articles that basically said that memories could be passed down through your DNA. There was more to it than that, but that was what I gleaned from my reading. You can read more about it here, here, and here. And because I came from a long line of people who had worked the land, I believed that gardening was in my DNA and that my body would remember. Looking at that statement now it seems laughable and crazy, but it made sense at the time. (People often think that I am quiet because I am shy and reserved, but honestly it’s because sometimes I have really dumb ideas.)

Now about my garden, I saw this really cute idea on Pinterest explaining how to have a container garden in an old swimming pool. This was appealing to me because I live in a zero lot house, so my yard is very small, and I just happened to have a swimming pool my kids had outgrown. I found the directions here.  I prepped the pool, drilled holes all around the outside, cut holes in the bottom, put in a layer of newspaper, and filled it with dirt. Apparently dirt for a container garden is not particularly cheap, and I’m not a very smart shopper so it probably cost me way more than most people. I spent $80 on plants. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to grow. I like to eat squash, broccoli, and cabbage, but for some reason those things just seemed impossible to grow in a swimming pool, so I planted tomatoes, bell peppers, and banana peppers, none of which I actually eat. But no matter. I planted my vegetables. My garden was ready to grow.

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From the beginning my plants were never healthy. June was an exceptionally rainy month, and the pool didn’t drain well. All of my plants took on a sickly, pale yellow hue. They were puny.  Eventually the weather did clear up and the garden dried out and the plants seemed to perk up a bit. By late June, early July they began to look healthy. My tomatoes were full of tiny blossoms, but only one or two tiny  little fruits. My peppers were doing nothing.

I tended my garden every day, which was actually pretty boring until I began to notice several spots where the leaves and stems had been chewed. Something was eating my plants. I looked and looked and eventually I found this monstrosity:IMG_3119

He was big enough to have a soul, so I couldn’t bring myself to kill him. I recruited my husband and children to pick him off and drop him into soapy water like the internet told me to. I was able to pick off the smaller ones. When you drop the worms into soapy water, they convulse and puke out their insides. I was oddly fascinated by this. I was told I needed to get some sevin dust, but I never got around to it.

By mid-July I finally had some tomatoes. My youngest son and I would go out each morning and check on them. He enjoyed watching them grow. That’s when we met this guy:IMG_3249The guardian of our tomatoes.

All told, I think I got about four tomatoes from my little garden, which I put salt and pepper on and ate like apples. When my bell peppers finally did put out, they were small and squishy. I only got two banana peppers, but I don’t like those anyway, so it wasn’t much of a loss. I think poor drainage was the biggest problem. I don’t think the plants had healthy roots. They may have also gotten too hot because there wasn’t enough dirt in the pool. So basically I spent about $180 on 4 tomatoes.

Once school started I was too busy and exhausted to bother with the garden, so it became a science experiment in decay. This was the garden in early August:

This is what the garden looks like today:IMG_3835

I’m waiting for it to return to the dust of the Earth.

I wouldn’t count the whole experience as a loss, though, because I did learn some valuable lessons. (Cue the After School Special music…) The most important being that I do not enjoy gardening. This is not the hobby for me. Nothing can survive in my house unless it a) feeds itself, or b) cries to be fed. I also learned that a swimming pool full of dirt is very heavy, and getting this garden out of my backyard is going to be a chore. For my husband, maybe.

Next summer’s project will be much smaller and less expensive. I have about 170 days to think about it.