Spring Song

Crocus

Hark, I hear a robin calling!
List, the wind is from the south!
And the orchard-bloom is falling
Sweet as kisses on the mouth.

In the dreamy vale of beeches
Fair and faint is woven mist,
And the river’s orient reaches
Are the palest amethyst.

Every limpid brook is singing
Of the lure of April days;
Every piney glen is ringing
With the maddest roundelays.

Come and let us seek together
Springtime lore of daffodils,
Giving to the golden weather
Greeting on the sun-warm hills.

Ours shall be the moonrise stealing
Through the birches ivory-white;
Ours shall be the mystic healing
Of the velvet-footed night.

Ours shall be the gypsy winding
Of the path with violets blue,
Ours at last the wizard finding
Of the land where dreams come true.

Lucy Maude Montgomery

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Winter

snowThis has definitely been one of those old-fashioned winters I remember from my childhood: lots of snow, cold and ice with power outages and days off school. I loved winter then. I know most people are getting tired of it and thinking that it’s time for spring. And I am too, but these are some of my favourite things about a Canadian winter.

  • The peace and quietness of snow falling on a calm day.
  • The rosy cheeks and refreshment of being outside in the snow.
  • The wind howling around the house in a blizzard while I am tucked up next to a roaring fire.
  • The sparkles everywhere on a sunny day.
  • Sliding fast down a hill on a toboggan.
  • Skating outside at night on a frozen pond.
  • Amazing ice formations.
  • Discovering all the footprints left behind in the snow by visiting wildlife.
  • All the birds at the birdfeeder.
  • The knowledge that all this snow will filter down slowly to fill up our underground aquifiers.
  • The way a fresh snowfall can keep kids busy outside for hours.

Enjoy the last few weeks of winter everyone!

BOOKS:

The Story of Snow: the science of winter’s wonder by Mark Cassino. Chronicle Books, 2009.

Perfect Snow by Barbara Reid, North Winds, 2009.

First Snow in the Woods: a photographic fantasy by Carl R. Sams II & Jean Stoick, C.R. Sams II Photography, c2007.

Indian Summer

leavesAlong the line of smoky hills
The crimson forest stands,
And all the day the blue-jay calls
Throughout the autumn lands.

Now by the brook the maple leans
With all his glory spread,
And all the sumachs on the hills
Have turned their green to red.

Now by great marshes wrapt in mist,
Or past some river’s mouth,
Throughout the long, still autumn day
Wild birds are flying south.

Wilfred Campbell, 1888

Blueberries

blueberriesNothing like a blueberry right off the bush! And so good for you.

The ones that grow wild are low growing bushes with smaller berries but they are all taste. High-bush blueberries have much bigger berries and grow on taller bushes which make them much easier to pick.

When you have have a few buckets full, you’ll want to make a blueberry pie!

Fresh Blueberry Pie

1 pie shell with a fairly thick crust
enough blueberries to fill your pie shell

Bake the pie shell and let it cool. Pile blueberries into your cooled pie shell.

1 cup blueberries (this is in addition to those you put in your pie shell)
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch

Cook blueberries and water in saucepan for about 2 minutes. Sieve mixture if you want (you don’t have to). Combine sugar and cornstarch and stir into fruit. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

Pour the glaze on very slowly to allow it to seep through to the bottom of the berries.

Let stand for 5-6 hours.

Eat it all up, as it doesn’t keep very well (:

And of course, you have to read Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey!

White sand beaches of Nova Scotia

beachThe Maritimes are pretty much the only place you can swim in the ocean in the summer without a wetsuit. Today the ocean was 17 degrees Celsius — a little cool, but warm enough to stay in for a while on a hot day. It gets into the twenties as summer goes on. And then there is all that white sand to play in, and waves to splash in. Perfect!

Wild Lupines

Wild Lupines in Nova ScotiaThis time of year you can find lupines in many places across Canada. They are sometimes considered an invasive weed, but they do have some redeeming qualities. First of all they are gorgeous when all out in bloom. Secondly, they fix nitrogen in the soil which means they are tolerant of infertile soil, and gradually improve it. They make good companion plants for those that need nitrogen and are often used in reforestation projects.

Although the foliage is not poisonous and is good forage food for livestock, the seeds can cause poisoning, depressing the heart and nervous system. However, in  other areas of the world, species of lupine seeds such as Lupinus albus, are eaten once the alkyloids are soaked out of them in salt water as they contain the full range of essential amino acids.

According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, there are about 28 species of Lupine growing across Canada. Most grow in Western Canada right up to the Arctic such as Lupinus arcticus, Lupinus nootkatensis, and Lupinus polyphyllus. Lupinus perennis grows in southern Ontario, and Lupinus polyphyllus has also naturalized in Eastern Canada.

Song of the Sea Wind

by L.M. Montgomery

WHEN the sun sets over the long blue wave
I spring from my couch of rest,
And I hurtle and boom over leagues of foam
That toss in the weltering west,
I pipe a hymn to the headlands high,
My comrades forevermore,
And I chase the tricksy curls of foam
O’er the glimmering sandy shore.

The moon is my friend on clear, white nights
When I ripple her silver way,
And whistle blithely about the rocks
Like an elfin thing at play;
But anon I ravin with cloud and mist
And wail ‘neath a curdled sky,
When the reef snarls yon like a questing beast,
And the frightened ships go by.

I scatter the dawn across the sea
Like wine of amber flung
From a crystal goblet all far and fine
Where the morning star is hung;
I blow from east and I blow from west
Wherever my longing be-
The wind of the land is a hindered thing
But the ocean wind is free!

PROJECT: Can you make a poem from what you have learned about the ocean? There are several different types of poetry. You may want to try an alphabet or acrostic poem. Write the word OCEAN vertically on your paper and then find words that describe the ocean for each letter. Or you could write ocean in the middle of a piece of paper and brainstorm about the ocean using your five senses. Then select your favourite images and begin each line with The Ocean is… These kind of poems can be rhymed or unrhymed, long or short. When you are finished, copy your poem out neatly and illustrate it.