June is bustin’ out all over! It’s been one string of blooms to another, wisteria to rhododendron, phlox to peonies to clematis. Here in the Poconos of Northeastern Pennsylvania the weather has taken its good old time to warm up and brighten up with sunshine. That hasn’t stopped the outside chores. Around the inn we have been planting flowers and pulling weeds, mowing grass and fixing deer fences. Personally, I like sprucing up the yard and being outdoors, cloudy days and a bit of drizzle can’t stop me. On the other hand, wearing fleece jackets or full out downpours does get depressing after a string of days of that kind of weather. All that has changed, summer is almost here and it’s time to get away for a day or two (or three or four) of pure relaxation. Let our gardens and wildlife refresh and replenish your spirits. Enjoy our satiny soft sheets on pillow comfort mattresses. Grab a good book, find a comfy chair inside or out, forget the phone and don’t lift a finger. Time for that getaway!
Spring has sprung, the grass is green, and so the flowers are now seen. Just a little humor for the bright and peppy way the season makes one feel. So far spring around the inn has been a sea of bright yellow forsythia blooming and assorted varieties of daffodils and narcissus dotting the landscape with color and vibrancy. Mother Nature and the gardens have certainly awakened from their winter nap.
Of course the emergence of flowers, warmer temps, and greening of grass means time to fit the outdoor chores into the routine and schedule. Beds must be raked of winter debris, errant volunteer plants (i.e. weeds) must be pulled, branches picked up, trimming, and mulching, etc, etc. It’s a good thing I like to garden………. Rainy days find us doing some spring cleaning and finishing up indoor maintenance chores. But honestly we do all this because the inn is just a wonderful old house and we enjoy making it beautiful for you, our wonderful guests!
|Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Hear Ye
Now, this Second Day of February, Two Thousand and Seventeen, the One Hundred and Thirty First Annual Trek of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club….
Punxsutawney Phil, the Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of All Prognosticators, was awakened from his burrow to the cheers of his thousands of faithful followers….
And, of course, he saw his shadow predicting six more weeks of winter. Are you about as ready as I am to strangle the little rascal? First, we get nailed with “The Blizzard of 2017” and 30 inches of snow, and now four days later, insult to injury, I’m looking out my window watching it snow some more. The Spring equinox arrives Monday!! I was watching my daffodils poke their heads through the ground, now it will be weeks for this to melt. So not to get too depressed, I thought I’d share some pictures from the Philadelphia flower show and imagine the Spring to come.
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Earth Day isn’t one of those splashy holidays. It is nationally recognized, as an observance. The movement has also grown to include over 192 countries. It’s listed on all calendars, including the electronic one on your cell phone. Since I’ve retired from the classroom, I no longer celebrate with the children in school. There was always some personal joy to the excitement a teacher could create with little ones. Earth Day was one time to be sure to be outside planting and inside creating beautiful artwork, a fun day loaded with learning. Now it is a time when I try to reconnect with the outdoors, and make a personal plan to change something in my efforts to protect our planet.
Personally, today I recycled paper, aluminum cans, plastic containers, and press board. I collected trash on my walk with Lui. Although it wasn’t an easy challenge, I completed the challenge to remove 40 items from my closet and give them to the Salvation Army for reuse. I remembered and reduced my use of plastic bags by having enough reusable bags with me at the grocery store. Today I also planted 10 tree saplings, of varieties native to the area, hoping someday to transplant nice young trees to final homes around my family’s properties.
Here at the inn we try to have a green side to hosting guests. We use as many non-incandescent light bulbs as possible, many CFL’s and now switching over to LED. (On a side note: we are lucky to be able to recycle those CFL’s at our local library.) Heat and hot water tanks are turned off or turned down when guests are not using them. Vegetable and fruit peelings, coffee grounds and egg shells are all composted. We provide containers and encourage guests to recycle, and have subscribed to single stream recycling. Our appliances and furnaces have been replaced with energy efficient units. We are proud to tell our guests that $2 of their stay is donated through the Green Lodging Program to the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, helping to protect the wild and scenic Delaware River and Bald Eagle Habitat. This year our plan to improve our footprint as an inn, is to encourage our guests to use our alternative sources for fresh water, rather than small plastic bottles.
All that reflecting on a personal goal to observe Earth Day, as I think we all should, improving and reducing our private impact on the earth. Still, the most interesting event that I participated in happened last night. The library director and I organized a new program meeting at the library, “The Greater Wayne Herb Guild”. We had a nice turn out of interested people who have the common interest to increase our knowledge in the growing, harvesting, cooking and using herbs. It was fun to create and bake the snack of Lemon Lavender Muffins and mint tea. Hopefully, when you visit the inn soon, you will be enjoying some savory new recipe!
Heigh ho, heigh, ho, it’s off to work we go! That’s right, isn’t that how everyone feels in the Spring? The sunshine and warmer temperatures create energy and call us to get up and get moving, get us motivated to do something. Around the inn we decided to get some projects accomplished that have been on that “to do” list for, well, let’s be generous, and say a year (maybe two…).
First up, the privacy screen. If you have been to the inn in nicer weather, you may have taken a stroll around the grounds and gardens. Secretly tucked away on the south side of the house is a nice big patio, flower gardens and small fish pond. This area was secluded from the street by a row of hemlock trees. Unfortunately, our northeast portion of Pennsylvania has been plagued by pest called hemlock woolly adelgid, which stops new growth, old needles brown, fall off and eventually kills the tree. We have treated our trees and slowed the progress of the trees dying, but have still been left with unsightly dead lower branches and the loss of our privacy.
Debates have raged on an answer how to fix this problem. The second factor in this issue is an out of control wisteria plant. When we bought our property, in 2005, the previous owner was concerned she cut a wisteria vine too severely. On the contrary, the pruning helped the plant thrive, and unknown to that owner, the plant had been very sneaky and sent ground runners to the other side of the row of hemlock. This created a beautiful bloom last season, but what were we growing, hemlock or wisteria? Ta, da! The idea for the privacy screen was agreed upon. It would be a lattice fence which in a few short years would be covered with beautiful blooming wisteria, and if ever needed the hemlock trees could be cut down without the loss of privacy. As spring has just arrived, work has just begun. If your list is like ours we will keep finding projects that will keep us going all season long. Next up, the patio?