Dream like no one is watching

May 2, 2007 at 12:50 pm | Posted in country living, dating, dogs, faith, family, food, free knitting patterns, Holidays, knitting, love, marriage, pets, photography, relationships, romance | 22 Comments

Fireflys Golden Morning Shot in May

The changes around here are happening too rapidly for me to keep up with them all.

Everywhere I look, buds and blossoms are bursting out on trees, shrubs, and grasses. Our crab apple tree, seemingly bare just a few days ago is now crowded with dark buds and tiny foliage bursts. The willow tree changes so rapidly it seems to evolve right before my eyes.

Rhodadendrun Blossom EarlyWe are only a couple of weeks into warmish weather that even now changes back to quite chilly on an every-other-day basis. One day we have showers and chill air, the next sunshine, warmth, and growth.

One of the more surprising discoveries I have made is the ugly duckling evolution of the rhododendron blossoms.

The buds looked more like something fading away than something that was coming to life. The blossoms look very much like a tangle of shriveling autumn remains rather than the precursors of translucent pink, glorious petals.

Fireflys Rhodadendrun from Last YearI have a photograph of one of the rhododendrons from last May, not long after we returned from our honeymoon. When I compare that photograph to a photograph of one of the blossoms now on the plant I am filled with wonder as to how the metamorphosis will occur.

Across the road, in our field above the river, there is a large and abundant pink horse chestnut tree. Its large blossoms are a beautiful mixture of greens, cream, and shiny chestnut colors. As they open up to the world, they begin to take on a shape that looks somewhat like a bird to me. What will this fantastic creature become as it changes rapidly over the next several days; will I be there to capture those changes with my camera, or will some distraction of normal living prevent me from witnessing the swift, silent change. We’ll see.

Saturday morning I looked out our front windows just as a blue heron was lifting up from our front lawn, heading back toward the river. I have no idea what he would have found intersting in our lawn, but I was grateful I had a chance to see him so close at hand.

Sunday afternoon my husband was out doing some work on the lawn when he caught sight of two magnificent bald eagles catching an updraft over the woods behind our cornfields.

He had to roll our lawn this weekend, before the ground dried out too much. The frost of winter causes the ground to heave, leaving a bumpy surface behind that is quite uncomfortable to mow with the tractor if it isn’t rolled with heavy water-filled drums in spring to flatten it out some.

Pink Horse Chestnut in Early BloomMonday evening he went back over the lawn, mowing the thick tall grasses and making everything look neat and tidy again. When Blu and I went out this morning for the 6:00 a.m. “business” report, we happened to catch that most perfect, deepest moment of golden light as sun filtered through our various trees at a very low angle. The newly cut lawn was crisp and deep emerald green in contrast to the beautiful gold rays of light cutting across the yard just above the lawn.

The river is coming to life as well, with green growth sprouting out everywhere along and above its curving lines. Soon a myriad of flowers will begin to grow, starting the parade of seasons for us to enjoy.

Saturday we took the day off to enjoy a lazy trip along the Niagra Wine Trail. We visited at least half a dozen wineries during the course of the day’s drive. We began our drive up along Highway 18 near Lake Ontario.

The first winery we came to was Marjim Manor where we sampled a few of their delicate fruit wines while being told of the history of the place as well as of the ghosts that haunt it to this day.

Pink Horse Chestnut in Later BloomOf all the wineries we saw, I liked the farm building at Marjim Manor best because it is a historic farm house, rather than a new build. They have retained the feel of the old place, which is something I have a particular appreciation for.

Further along the trail, and further away from the shores of the lake we visited Warm Lakes Winery and found them to be 100% professionalism with a straight-forward presentation. Their no-frills metal building had a very industrial and completely non-romantic look and feel … interesting, because they specialize in a very dry wine.

Nonetheless, their vineyards were exceptionally pretty. I have a thing for vineyards, and seeing theirs got me all stirred up again thinking of the possibility of putting in vineyards here at our place someday.

The manager of Warm Lakes told us she has an event in August where local artists are invited to come and work in the vineyard one weekend. I got so excited as I imagined myself in jeans and a light cotton shirt, in their wineyard, sweating in the hot August sun, wiping hair out of my face just before reaching for a grape vine to do, I don’t know what, but it would be work and it would be good.

Turns out, she meant working on their art in the vineyard. Painting, drawing, whatever.

Oh. Silly me.

Fireflys Crab Apple Tree Begins to BloomShe was nice enough to offer to take us on a tour of their facility, which we both enjoyed and learned a good deal from.

One of the last wineries we visited was extremely special–Spring Lake Winery. It is owned and operated by three generations of an Italian family, beginning with grandparents who immigrated here from Italy. The grandfather is a winemaker, the grandmother is the sweetest little Italian lady you could ever hope to meet.

They just opened in February of this year, and their plans for the future are enticing including an eight acre walking path encircling their beautiful lake for lazy strolls, free music by the lake the last Sunday of every month for families to come and enjoy, sandwiches and ice cream for sale, and a pretty little gift shop in a cabin down the path from the main building.

The day was cold and rainy so the wine trail was not crowded, and we enjoyed the drive and the time together very much.

Blu is Hard at WorkNow I dream again of vineyards here on our farm, the possibility of our own winery in the future? Who knows. For the past few days when I look out past our barn to the corn field beyond, I don’t see rows of last year’s corn any longer. Instead, I see a pretty vineyard in neat rows stretching out to the woods beyond.

We speak in excited tones with each other about this dream when I phone him at work during the day, as we eat a light supper toward day’s end, on the sofa between scenes in a show we are watching, at night as we are drifting off to sleep … we weave it along together to see where the dream might lead us.

I have a theory about dreams–perhaps I have shared it before, I don’t recall. Here it is: a person should dream and dream big. I think it is rare any of us exceed our dreams in life, so we may as well dream as big, as bold, as lovely as possible. Aim high, and then higher, with your dreams. What do you have to lose? Dream like no one is watching and then dream a bit further still.

After all, three years ago standing on a hot, dry road on a hillside in Southern California I dreamed of living on a farm.

Now we dream of vineyards.


Copyright © 2007 J.L. Fleckenstein ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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  1. Hello firefly,
    Nice photos! However, that doesn’t look like a rhododendron to me … mine look very different. Here’s a link to what mine looked like last year.
    Mine aren’t even thinking about blooming yet—everything is so slow here this year, my forsythia is still going strong.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend touring vineyards. We happened to visit a local winery too, in Warwick, NY. Also owned by an Italian family. How funny, you and I did it again.

    Isn’t it wonderful to watch spring unfold? Every day the trees and shrubs pop out a little more …

  2. I LOVE IT!


  3. oh, I got carried away…..

    The photos are breathtaking, especially the first one. Thank you so much, Firefly, for bringing beauty into my life. I too will dream like no one is watching. Life is too short not too.


  4. Your dream message is right on target for me. Thank you, because I needed to be reminded that I’ve been neglecting my dreams, and that should be remedied. Once again, you have put me in a meditative, graceful and grateful mood… a wonderful way to start my day.

  5. In answer to Lynne’s comment about the rhododendron, I am going off of information from my husband, his sister, and their mother. I have attempted to verify the idenity of the flower but find there are so many varieties of rhododendron that I cannot take the time to look through all of the photos to identify mine.

    I found one that looks like it is the same, but photographed a little earlier than the flowers I photographed last May.

    This particular shrub was planted many, many years ago by people who owned this farm before my husband’s family did. His mother planted other rhododendrons at their earlier home near Buffalo and over by our cottage.

    Perhaps Dorothy will venture by and help us with this one.

    ~ firefly

  6. Beautiful photos! Is it my imagination or is Blu growing?

    I hope you get your vineyard.

    I also believe that you should dream big…

  7. We all need dreams – the bigger the better!
    The photos are beautiful, but that gorgeous pink flower is a tree peony, not a rhododendron. I have both in my garden, but my tree peony will likely bloom next week and I have one white with a pink blush in the centre and one purple/burgundy. Rhodos are usually evergreen with a thick shiny leaf and sometimes a sort of ‘fuzz’ on the new leaf. There is a proper name for the ‘fuzz’, but it escapes me at the moment!
    Thanks for the tour of the vineyards.

  8. Wow. That rhododendron blossom sure is pretty. Looks like a peony flower. How big is your bush? Our 45-year-old bush is 10 feet high with purple flowers, but because of the lovely spring snowstorms still hasn’t plucked up the courage to bloom. I lived in southernmost California for many years and wish Ohio’s spring began in February, like it does in San Diego. I enjoy your blog immensely!

  9. Just an FYI, the ‘rhododendron” is actually a peony.

    I love your pictures and love reading your blog!

  10. I agree with Peg, that is definitely a peony. If it has a woody framework that persists in winter, it’s a tree peony, and if the stems are soft and give up after a hard frost, it’s a regular peony. But whatever one calls it, it’s beautiful!

  11. I don’t know what your buds or flowers are. My thought though is that since they were planted so many years ago, they could be a heritage flower that isn’t common anymore. It does resemble pictures of a peony though.

    I love the golden sunshine photo. So beautiful.

  12. I had just finished posting that comment when my husband came back and handed me a box from the post with your name on it. I’ll put it up on my blog when I post my Walk with me Wednesday later on this afternoon.

  13. The pictures are beautiful. Blu is cute. I almost had a vineyard in my yard! Ha, talking about dreaming big. My grandpa, who built a house many years ago next to where we are now, planted a grape vine and scuppernong vine. I don’t know if the grape vine will come back 😦 because we had to have some bradford pear trees cut down and they weren’t sensitive to my vine. I did save the old posts holding the vines up. We use one as a step up to the bench that used to be in the shade. If your flower is a peony, I dream of the day mine will look like that. I just planted mine this spring.

  14. After reading your ‘dreamy’ posts about visiting vineyards, might I suggest a rather old movie with Keano Reeves: “A Walk in the Clouds”…great movie-it has it all: romance, suspense, cameraderie, vineyards, Italians, etc…think you would really love it.
    Thanks for sharing the wonderful photos-love Blu…he’s a keeper, for sure!

  15. The photos are beautiful and the writing, of course, to be savored. When are you opening the bed and breakfast? 😉

    I agree with the dream big thing. My husband and I were on a walk this evening and we were talking about perspectives and possibilities for the future. Never say never, because sometimes, our lives do exceed our wildest dreams.

  16. Firefly,

    That first photo looks like a Turner watercolor…just beautiful!

  17. The photos are beautiful, it makes me feel like I am there. Your blogging is an inspiration, and makes me appreciate everything I have and the beauty around me.

  18. […] then I remembered a post yesterday at I Live on a Farm called “Dream like no one is watching” and thought about the connection between […]

  19. Good Morning~ Your photos are beautiful as always. I find myself saying that to you often but it is true. I’m a little jealous that you have such an idea for taking pictures. Mine never look that way. Oh, well I’ll just keeping working at it! Your comment on dreams…if you recall on the square I sent I talked about dreaming. I think dreaming is such a wonderful thing it takes us to a place that makes us happy, to experiences that we may only have in a dream. Dreams are happy and hopeful!
    Enjoy your day today!

  20. Lovely writing. Blue is just adorable!

  21. wonderful stuff… and I think it IS a tree peony. They tend to bloom a little sooner than the other varieties, harder to establish, but long lasting. It is gorgeous whatever it is! Regardless, I love checking in now and then and seeing what you are up. You should come to our fiber festival this fall… http://www.knoxfarmfiber.com

  22. Thank you for your beautiful photos and words…

    It is very inspiring!

    We are surrounded by so much beauty… to capture it in words, photography, knitting and what not is truly a joy!

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