1440. I’d rather have flowers on my table than diamonds on my neck. ~Edited quote by Emma Goldman

Natalie, Natalie ever so merry,
how does your garden grow?
With pinks and stock,
as well as tulips and hyacinth,
and a teeny, tiny daffodil.

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But wait, it’s January! It’s wintertime! And tomorrow night may bring bitter cold temps with freezing rain or sleet and snow into north central Texas. So how can it be that her garden grows anything at all right now? Well, you see there’s a table out here in Natalieworld that’s reserved for such things. So how does that work? Is it a lipped table laden with dirt like a flower pot? No, no, no, but there’s the grocery store where she shops, and this time of year, they sell little pots that have already been planted with bulbs and she buys flowers every Sunday because little Natalie Scarberry, like Claude Monet, “must have flowers, always, always” be they cut flowers or bulbs in pots.

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For those of you who are new to my blog or for those of you who may have forgotten, Natalieworld is the part of our house that we added onto the back of the garage for my mother when she could no longer live alone. It connects to the main part of the house only through a small hallway that leads to the laundry room in one directions and the kitchen in the other direction, and so there is a distinct sense of privacy about it. After Mom passed away, I thought  since it would make a bigger master bedroom and bath, James and I might want us to move out here from our bedroom in the main part of the house. But he said no; he wanted me to have it as a studio for all my creative endeavors. So out went Mom’s furniture and in came new desks and file cabinets and book cases and two recliner rocking chairs–et voilà, a marvelous studio complete with big windows and a French door looking out on my back yard with its greenhouse, numerous flower beds, bird houses and feeders. Now as my 3 grandchildren have grown and spent time with me out here they’ve all declared that one day they too will have a Natalieworld of their own.

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“What a happy woman I am living in a garden, with books, babies, birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them! Yet my town acquaintances look upon it as imprisonment, and would rend the air with their shrieks if condemned to such a life. Sometimes I feel as if I were blest above all my fellows in being able to find my happiness so easily. I believe I should always be good if the sun always shone, and could enjoy myself very well in Siberia on a fine day. And what can life in town offer in the way of pleasure to equal the delight of any one of the calm evenings I have had this month sitting alone at the foot of the verandah steps, with the perfume of young larches all about, and then moon hanging low over the beeches, and the beautiful silence made only more profound in its peace by the croaking of distant frogs and hooting of owls?” ~Elizabeth von Arnim

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…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life…and work with your hands… ~Excerpts from Thessalonians 4:11 ✝

**All photos taken today by Natalie

662. The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only. ~Joseph Wood Krutch

Out of the bosom of the air
Out of the cloud-folds of her garments shaken,
Over the woodlands brown and bare,
Over the harvest-fields forsaken,
Silent, and soft, and slow
Descends the snow.
This is the poem of the air.
~Excerpted lines from a poem
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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Snow again? Unfreakingbelievable! I’d been waiting and watching the skies all winter for signs of snow and when did it finally come? Three weeks, more or less, before the arrival of the vernal equinox and at the time of my knee surgery. Not only that but before the snow fell last week you’d have thought spring was springing up and out all over my neck of the woods.  Why so?  The neighboring Bradford pear trees were budding out, my redbud tree was budding out, the willow at the back was leafing out, the roses were also leafing out, some even had buds, hyacinth were blooming, daffodils were flowering, and an assortment of green things were sprouting up and out of the ground. But then and in the twinkling of an eye– wham, bam, boom, the temps plummeted, the rains came, and as February’s doors closed the “poetry” of snow fell. Go figure! But then since our last average freeze date is March 15th, silly old me thought perhaps the sun would be back this week and we’d start warming up. But oh no! Sunday, on the way home from the hospital I heard forecasters predict more below freezing temps for the week as well as additional rain, sleet, or snow. And wouldn’t you know, the weather gurus who are often wrong when it comes to Texas weather were 100% right this time because once more as this week progressed the temps plummeted, the rains came, and then last night out of the “bosom of the air” fell the “poetry of snow” for the second time in less than a week! My oh my oh my, but Mother Nature can be quite the fickle and cruel old gal at times, can’t she?!
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Throughout the evening I watched the snow fairies
As they were falling, falling from the sky, and
Whirling willy-nilly about in the misty air while
Contending fiercely for space supremacy.
Then as the night deepened they flew down mightily,
As though in heaven there had been a revolt or a riot
Which drove the frail things into a panicked flight
Down to the calm earth in search of peace and quiet.
Finally I went on to bed but rose early at dawn
And saw myriads of them huddled together in heaps,
Each merged into the other upon any and all surfaces,
Fast asleep, worn out by their sharp struggle.
~Edited and adapted lines by Claude McKay
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~Psalm 4:8   ✝

654. The North wind did blow and now we have some sleet and snow, so what then will poor robin do, poor thing? ~Edited and adapted line from an old Nursery Rhyme

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Mistress Mary quite contrary,
Why doesn’t your garden grow?
Is it because the sleet and snow
Have left the pretty maids unduly cold?
~Adapted verse from 
an old Nursery Rhyme

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Yesterday an itsy bitsy spider climbed up the garden spout, but it wasn’t long before the rain came down and washed the spunky little spider out.

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Then this morning with a hickory dickory dock, the clock struck early on, and the mouse ran out to find that the temps had, as they predicted, dropped below freezing and would stay that way all the livelong day.  So with a hey diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle began to shed a host of woebegone tears and the dog refused to laugh when the spoon slid silently away on its ice-laden dish.

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Undaunted by such things, however, Humpty Dumpty set out to sit upon the garden wall, but a slip here and a slide there whilst on the way convinced him not to take a chance for he could plainly see that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men wouldn’t be able to put him or the frost covered flowers he might land upon back together again. Now as the day draws to an end, Polly has put the kettle on so that all can have a spot of tea and while safe and warm inside dream of better days.

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He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. ~Job 8:21   ✝

**Iimages via Pinterest

653. He (winter) withers all in silence, and his hand unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life. ~William Blake

Drops fell…and rang like
little disks of metal.
Ping! Ping! and there was not
a pinpoint of silence 
between them.
~Amy Lowell

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Mama, mama mía! Here we go again! Down, down, down plummet the temps! And this time newly birthed lives will be lost in the chicanery of this winter skirmish.

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Why? Because here in north central Texas late January and early February often conjure up enough unseasonably warm days to convince the land that spring has sprung. And the dastardly scoundrels have done it again!

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These two deceiving culprits have successfully hoodwinked gardens and parks alike into believing it is time for blooming things to emerge from branch and soil. Now, after their two-faced, heartless lies, a harsh north wind doth blow.

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Moreover, freezing rain is falling and soon will switch to sleet and/or snow. In the frigid, darkness of night, the samaras of a Red Maple, the yellows of a smattering of daffodils and forsythia as well as the pinks and whites of some saucer magnolias will be washed out leaving only the browns of death and decay. Oh what a wicked, wicked, fickle web Mother Nature ofttimes weaves.

So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you. ~Proverbs 22:19   ✝

294. March is a month of expectation… ~Emily Dickinson

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O such a commotion under the ground
When March called,”Ho there! ho!”
Such spreading of rootlets far and wide,
Such whisperings to and fro!
“Are you ready?” the Snowdrop asked,
” ‘Tis time to start , you know.”
“Almost, my dear! the Scilla replied,
“I’ll follow as soon as you go.”
Then “Ha! ha! ha!” a chorus came
Of laughter sweet and low,
From millions of flowers under the ground,
Yes, millions beginning to grow.

“I’ll promise my blossoms,” the Crocus said,
“When I hear the blackbird sing.”
And straight thereafter Narcissus cried,
“My silver and gold I’ll bring.”
“And ere they are dulled,” another spoke,
“The Hyacinth bells shall ring.”
But the Violet only murmured , “I’m here,”
And sweet grew the air of Spring.

O the pretty brave things, thro’ the coldest days
Imprisoned in the walls of brown,
They never lost heart tho’ the blast shrieked loud,
And the sleet and the hail came down;
But patiently each wrought her wonderful dress,
Or fashioned her beautiful crown,
And now they are coming to lighten the world
Still shadowed by winter’s frown.
And well may they cheerily laugh “Ha! ha!”
In laughter sweet and low,
The millions of flowers under the ground,
Yes, millions beginning to grow.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

The promise of the Lord are promises that are pure, silver refined in a furnace in the ground, purified seven times.  ~Psalm 12:6   ✝

278. Winter is the time for comfort – it is the time for home. ~Edith Sitwell

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He knows no winter, he who loves the soil,
For, stormy days, when he is free from toil,
He plans his summer crops, selects his seeds
From bright-paged catalogues for garden needs.
When looking out upon frost-silvered fields,
He visualizes autumn’s golden yields;
He sees in snow and sleet and icy rain
Precious moisture for his early grain;
He hears spring heralds in the storm’s turmoil.
He knows no winter, he who loves the soil.
~Sudie Stuart Hager

…and the Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all your undertakings, in the fruit of your body, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your soil.  For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as He delighted in prospering your ancestors…  ~Deuteronomy 30:9  ✝

217. A bitter wind, heavy with sleet, whipped at my face…the evening lacked none of winter’s rough poetry. ~Théophile Gautier

The autumn twilight turned into
deep and early night as they walked.
Tristan could smell the distant winter in the air–
a mixture of night-mist and crisp darkness
and the tang of fallen leaves…
~Neil Gaiman

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Shorter and shorter grow the days; longer and deeper descends the chilling darkness; fewer and fewer remain the hours in Autumn’s cup.  But it ain’t over till it’s over as they say.  The solstice that has yet to arrive may have sent a brutal taste of Old Man Winter’s schemes, but last week’s “icemageddon” only nipped at the heels of the year’s eldest child.  Unwilling to be prematurely deposed, autumn has, in the last few days, reclaimed its rightful place and will be dishing up more of its lovely 60 degree days and above freezing nights.  Thus the arctic troll will have to wait his appointed turn at the wheel.  God bless the child who has his own!

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…  ~Ecclesiastes 3:1  ✝