December 29, 2013

Twelve of my favorite things

Reflecting on the past year, I realized I tend to "wish away" the colder months in my northern climate.

That's not a healthy way to live.

Time marches on too quickly, no matter what the season.

To change my attitude, I decided to create a list of my favorite outdoor "things"--one per month--so I'll have something tangible to look forward to in each season. Selections for some months were easier, because true favorites came to mind. Others were tough--either because I prefer to stay indoors (January, February), or because there are too many favorite things (May-August).

Sometimes the transition months are the toughest emotionally--especially late August through September.

So here's my list. These favorites might change from year-to-year, but they're some of the highlights that will help me savor each month in the year ahead and avoid wishing away the days.

January

January is brutal here. But even on the coldest days (-20F/-28C), when most creatures are hiding under cover, the dark-eyed juncos still make an appearance and are very fun to watch.

February

Nothing beats the winter blahs like a walk to the lake to see fascinating ice formations. Sunny, "mild" days are the best.

March

Much of March is still wintry here, but under the snow and leaf mulch, the Hellebores are budding. Their emergence (late March or early April) is as miraculous as their full blooms.

April

April is a variable month in Wisconsin. It might be snowing one day, and 80F two days later. Often, the Star Magnolias bloom in April.

May

There is no earthly place more beautiful than southern Wisconsin in May. Since I had to pick a favorite, I chose Trilliums. But May overflows with incredible spring ephemerals.

June

And then the Roses bloom! I have very few in my garden, but June is the peak of their beauty here. I could spend hours gazing at a single Rose, even when it isn't perfect.

July

I made a slight exception in July. I chose a summer collection of flowers blooming alongside the vegetables in my potager as one favorite bouquet. The pollinators love them, too.

August

In August, I can have as many BLT sandwiches with fresh Tomatoes as I want. Need I say more?

September

September is a transition month, and is often difficult for me. Fortunately, the hummingbirds are especially active as they prepare for and begin their migration. Definitely something to look forward to.

October

In early October, the monarchs are still migrating through the area. As the Maple and Oak leaves change to red and orange, they mix with monarchs floating down from the heavens.

November

What can I say about November? Not a favorite month, although there's always so much to be thankful for--including Mosses. If you look closely, they're truly incredible!

December

December is uncomfortable in this climate, although stunningly beautiful with a fresh snowfall. Snow or no snow, the winter berries always add color to the landscape.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

When I think of these simple pleasures, and many more, the year ahead looks bright and hopeful. Each month carries its own unique blessings.

My wish for you in the year ahead is that you will find many simple pleasures and gifts that will bring you much joy.

Happy New Year!

50 comments:

  1. Those are beautiful choices and all the better to appreciate each month for its own beauty.

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    1. Thanks, Shirley. I'm trying to be more appreciative of each day--even the very cold and nasty ones. ;-) And realizing each month (each day) presents something to look forward to.

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  2. What a wonderful idea beautifully executed with posters suitable for framing. Now I think for the months that are really difficult you should choose something to look forward to each day. Hellebores could cover many days of many months for me. Snowdrops help me negotiate November.

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    1. Thank you, Carolyn. Excellent advice! I think I will do that--sometimes (like today when we have a high of 4F) it's easy to be crabby. But if I have something to look forward to each day, that might even make the winter enjoyable (maybe). ;)

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  3. A great idea and one reason I started Seasonal Celebrations so I had things to look forward to each season especially winter....I like the monthly highlights too!!

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    1. Excellent therapy, Donna. Great minds think alike! I keep telling myself that without winter, I wouldn't appreciate spring, summer, and fall as much. Sometimes that helps...even a little bit.

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  4. I enjoyed this post. I don't think I could pick out favorite items for each month, but I have been thinking about doing a review. Time will tell if I get to it.

    I hope you are enjoying your new camera, too.

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    1. Thank you, Sue. My favorites shift from year to year, but some months bring definite favorites for me (March, April, June, September). I'll look forward to your review, too!

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  5. Świetnie pokazałaś miesiące roku na zdjęciach. Ja kocham wiosnę i lato. Nie lubię listopada, a zima niekoniecznie dla mnie musi być.
    Szczęśliwego Nowego 2014 roku !
    Great for showing months of the year in pictures. I love spring and summer. I do not like November and the winter does not necessarily have to be for me.
    Happy New 2014!

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    1. Thank you, Giga. I couldn't agree with you more about the seasons! Although I love fall, too ... until November. Happy New Year to you and yours, too!

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  6. It looks like you've created a real calendar Beth...gorgeous! I particularly love the photos in the months I like 'the least'...see, there really is beauty in every single month, every single day...we just have to look for it ;)

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    1. Thank you, Jan. You are very wise and encouraging! Without the holidays, November and December would be super tough for me. At least during January and February the days are getting longer! Happy New Year!

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  7. Very beautiful images covering the year, Beth. I do like the snowy months and your Spring months the best.

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    1. Thank you, Donna. The juncos were out again today, right on schedule, with a high of 3F! All the other creatures were hiding and hibernating.

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  8. I agree with you it is important to seek out beautiful things each month. We can't just sit by the fire with our eyes shut and wait for spring.
    Lovely photos.
    Happy New Year.

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    1. So true, Chloris. As much as I'm tempted to hibernate, it would be such a waste of time--I would miss so much! I do believe an occasional winter nap is called for, however. ;) Thanks for your kind comments, and Happy New Year to you, too!

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  9. You take such wonderful photographs. I especially like your summer flower collection - after all the wind and rain in England, I'm missing summer! Happy New Year to you Beth.

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    1. Why thank you, Tim! I'm missing summer, too. It's such an easy time of year. But I guess the tough months help us to appreciate the pleasant months more--at least that's what I'm telling myself. Happy New Year to you, too!

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  10. Wonderful pictures of the year on the other end of the world, I enjoyed reading this post very much. Wish you a very healthy and happy 2014!

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    1. Thank you! I enjoyed pulling it together and thinking about things to look forward to in the months ahead. All the best to you, too, in the New Year!

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  11. To me the Juncos are part of what defines winter around here. Lovely images - especially that hummingbird.

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    1. Thanks, Jason. Yes, when the juncos appear in October, I don't appreciate their foretelling. But they are fun to watch in the middle of winter! Hardier than any other birds around here, that's for sure!

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  12. I think the November photo is my favorite. The mosses look like they're covered in candles. I just put together a photo album of my garden to give to an aunt and was taken by such a sense of reassurance that all those plants are still out there waiting for me. :o)

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    1. That was an amazing day--a warm November day that almost felt like spring. I think the Mosses (and some other plants and animals) might have been tricked into thinking it was just around the corner!

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  13. I enjoyed your Year In View very much. More than any of the others I have seen the past few days. I am not surprised, I like Wisconsin, experiencing the seasons, Helebores, Trillium, Winter Berries, bright red tomatoes and each of the other monthly depictions. Very, very nice!

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    1. Thank you, Lynne! There are pros and cons about this place, definitely. I'm trying to find the pros during this very cold snap we're having. This reminds me of the winters we had when I was growning up north of here. Brrr...

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  14. You selected those images with care Beth - it shows how much each month, even November, means to you. I always say I love the snow but not sure how I'd cope with as much as you get there in Wisconsin. I'd rather be waist deep and freezing than soaking wet and sodden like we suffer here in Scotland.
    I love the anticipation of December/January as new life appear here yet it is suspended until just the right time.
    A Happy Hogmanay too you Beth!

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    1. Thanks, Angie. All the best to you in the New Year, too, Angie! This winter is turning into a record-breaker for cold. It makes me look forward to some normal (20F/-6C) winter weather. Good thing we have some snow to keep the plants warm.

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  15. Lovely pictures Beth, and what a great idea!
    I don’t find it difficult to appreciate my garden all year round living here in London, but I can still remember how winter was in Norway and your description of your winter months are not so different from that. Let’s hope spring arrives bright and early this year – Happy New Year!

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    1. Yes, London must be wonderful for gardening! Since we had an early winter, it would be nice to have an early spring, too. Happy New Year, Helene!

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  16. Beautiful! Helebores budding is so fascinating. I have never seen before. Thank you for sharing.
    Happy New Year!

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    1. Ah, yes, the Hellebores are something special. They aren't native here, but fortunately they aren't invasive, so I can have a few in my garden without any worries. They are among the most fascinating plants of all!

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  17. It sounds like our climates are pretty well matched...we get those bitter cold winters too, although so far, this one is a walk in the park.

    Love that junko photo.

    Jen

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    1. Thanks, Jen. Yes, I've been thinking the same thing when I visit your blog. Although it sounds like this winter is different for us. We are having a very difficult (near record cold, mixed with plenty of snow) winter, and my attempt at optimism is being tested. ;-)

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  18. Greetings to Wisconsin from me in MINNESOTA! I hear ya about the brutal winter months! We have been here for 18 years, having lived 11 years in Boston (not as cold) but having been born and raised in Los Angeles! I think it is a great idea to focus on something during those dreary and icy months that brings joy. Sometimes I even wonder if that's the "plan" - to teach us to find the good in the not-so-good!

    Thank you so much for coming to visit and leaving me a comment! May blogging be a wonderful experience for you, in the doubts and the triumphs of composing your thoughts as well as making friends.

    HAPPY DAY out there ! Anita

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    1. Oh gosh, you're from LA originally! That must have been quite an adjustment! I liked what you said about "the plan." It really helps a person to appreciate the simplest of things. After this cold snap, I will be so happy to just walk outside and be able to breathe easily. You know, when the temperatures increase back into the teens and 20sF! Thanks for your kind comments, Anita!

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  19. Your photos have made me bright and cheerful too. Best wishes to you for the year ahead.

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    1. Thank you! Happy New Year and all the best to you and yours, too!

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  20. There is always something to be thankful for and your post sure highlights that fact. I applaud you for finding blessings in the bitter months. I am also a fair weather fan and don't do well with winter so this post really spoke to me. Happy New Year to you. May 2014 bring sunny days and lots of tomatoes!

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    1. Thanks, Grace! A blessing for sunshine and lots of Tomatoes is much appreciated. Life is good when we have those simple joys to look forward to. I've been watching for the juncos, and they've made an appearance every day since I wrote this post. I wonder if I'll see them next week when the windchills will be in the -30s and -40s? Crazy. Stay warm, Grace!

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  21. Beautiful photos, Beth, and a lovely reminder that each day has its own special quality. I, too, often "wish away" some of the winter, although this year I'm determined to enjoy it more. I intend to get some much-needed housecleaning done, which I neglect during the busy gardening season. But even more, the slower pace of winter allows for lots of planning and dreaming time--the garden of my January imagination is always beautiful and perfect:)

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    1. Thanks, Rose! Wouldn't you know the winter when I'm opening up my acceptance of winter, we have a cold snap of temperatures we haven't seen in 15-20 years! If at all possible, I do believe I will be spending some time in the south during the winters when I retire!

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  22. Happy New Year, Beth. Enjoyed the walk through the seasons ♥

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    1. Happy New Year, Cat! I wish I was in Texas right now! ;-)

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  23. Beth, this is such a wonderful post! You are so right - there is a pleasure in every season and every day. I enjoyed reading your thoughts and looking at your pictures! Thank you! Happy New Year!

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    1. Happy New Year, Tatyana! This is the toughest time of year for me in this climate, but I'm trying to find things to look forward to in each day. Thank you for your kind comments, and I look forward to comparing gardening notes in the year ahead!

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  24. I like your favourite things. Your difficult time is winter and mine is summer, well the end of July and August when the dry hot weather saps all my strength and all the plants suffer, I intend being more positive about it this year by enjoying the good things, which is mainly all the vegetables!

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    1. All the vegetables--definitely a good thing! Right now, it's hard for me to think about being too hot, but it does happen. A long heat wave with no rain is tough. It doesn't happen here very often, but when it does it's very difficult.

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  25. It is a great idea, and looks like there is something going on each month. My husband and I are both originally from cold winter areas and miss the change of seasons which is not pronounced here.

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    1. I like the changing seasons, but winter is tough for me. I guess it helps me to appreciate spring, summer, and fall even more!

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