Sunday, July 20, 2008

Chasing Spring April 20 to June 10

Sean left at the end of spring break and the quiet was overwhelming. We spent the next two weeks enjoying La Vida de Perote – reading, walking, bird watching, and taking care of the garden and vineyard. The time passed quickly and before we knew it, it was time to pack. We were to be gone from April 20th to May 22nd - chasing spring from Parras de la Fuente, Coah., Mexico to San Antonio to New Orleans to Washington D.C. to New York City to Boston to Maine to Illinois. As obvious from the picture, spring had already come to Parras

April 22nd - we were on the train bound for Louisiana. Our time in New Orleans was very limited and we spent most of that sleeping, but it was obvious the next morning that progress is being made in the clean-up. There is still an enormous amount of work to do, but it looks much better now than it did last fall. A large part of the improvement is simply a result of the raising of old buildings and the clearing of lots. Magnolia blooms were everywhere.

April 24th – looking out the window of our sleeping compartment, the first thing I saw was masses of pink and white dogwood in full bloom. Seconds later, we sped by an orchard of blooming pear trees.

April 25th – a day in Washington D.C. The flowering bushes and tress were so heavy with bloom it was unbelievable. Azaleas, lilacs, apples, crab apples, dogwood, wisteria and stuff I’ve never seen and can’t name. The Japanese maples are sparkling and the redbud trees have so many blooms, they can’t all fit on the limbs – even the trunks of the trees are sprinkled with blooms. We spent the day traveling from one museum to the next. The National Art Gallery was particularly wonderful today.

April 26th – a visit to Cremona in Southern Maryland with Walter and Ila. The day included crab cake sandwiches for lunch and great Italian food for supper and an afternoon in Walter’s vineyard in between.

April 27th – back to the city. We spent four hours at the Natural History Museum including an IMAX viewing of Sea Monsters.

April 28th – Two hours 45 minutes from Washington D.C. to New York City on the Acela train. Wow! It was too fast to see anything except a blur of vegetation. Arrival at Penn Station came with a welcoming cloud burst. We had a wonderful little hotel room in Chelsea only a half block from 5th Avenue. Not that we spent much time there. It rained most of the time we were there, but we walked all over Manhattan: Museum of Folk Art, Irish Coffee in the Village, Central Park, Curtains at the Hirshhorn Theatre, lunch at a quaint little diner in SoHo and did I mention enough flowering trees and bushes to last a lifetime? And, did I mention tulips? Blocks of tulips? Pink, orange, red, yellow, multi-colored, striped, fluted, and fringed. So many tulips.

April 30th – we met up with Jim and Rori in Boston. We walked all over that town absorbing American history all along the way. After Manhattan, I wasn’t sure I was going to make Bunker Hill, but the proof is in the picture. You guessed it! More flowering trees and bushes and more tulips! Lots of tulips!

May 2nd – Jim drove us from Boston to Camden Maine. We found the most wonderful B&B. If you are ever in Camden, please say hello to Maryanne at The Hawthorn House. She had everything you needed to feel at home in Maine except the lobster dinner and we found that at a restaurant just down the street! The only sign of spring was the forsythia that had made its way to almost every yard. The trees were still bare, there wasn’t a tulip to be found, and the air was still laced with ice.

May 3rd – Jesse’s Big Day! We drove to Castine for Jesse’s commissioning ceremony. It was very impressive; Jesse looked and acted every bit the young dashing navel officer and we were all very proud! After a delicious dinner at his Aunt Patty’s house, the four of us were ready to hit the hay at the OTE.

May4th – Happy Birthday to Me! Sixty years old! Life has never been better! We spent most of the day at Grandma Helen’s house where the whole group was gathered to wish Jesse well and celebrate his commissioning.

May 5th and 6th – Touring around Maine and back to Boston: Bar Harbor Hotel for breakfast (fabulous!), Fly Point (what a view!), and shopping in the Tempered Kitchen (everything you could want for your kitchen and lots that I wasn’t acquainted with!). Jim drove. Stanley navigated. Rori and I watched the scenery fly by. It was a perfect combination.

May 7th – Stanley and I were back on our own for the bus/train trip from Boston to Illinois.

May 9th – We spent the day mushroom hunting on the timber property outside Elizabeth, IL. Signs of spring were illusive, but the ones we found were beauties – morels and trilliums and tiny green leaves. It was a perfect day for a picnic in the woods.

May 14th – Looking back on our time in Illinois the highlights included a four hour marathon of Cranford on Public Television (a treat for us since we still don’t have TV at Perote), a morning of work in Ruby’ garden, a great visit with Martha in Roscoe, an early morning drive through Krape Park in Freeport, and two nights at the DeSoto Hotel and some great food in Galena.

May 15th – We were back in San Antonio. Spring had come and gone. Summer was on its way.

May 20th – At Perote. Except for paint and furnishings, the patio on the front of the building is complete. What a wonderful place to spend a lazy summer afternoon. More about this later.

June 10th – The last three weeks have been a time for quiet reflection. The only stressful item was putting up the bird net over the vineyard. We have way too many bird friends to leave the vineyard unprotected as the grapes begin to ripen. We have enjoyed hearing reports of the political doings on XM Radio. We’ve read several good books and enjoyed Solo Vino.

One last note: We've dipped into the wine we made last fall. Not bad. Not bad at all.