comments: 74






I don't know that I've ever settled into or been grateful for the dormancy of wintertime as much as I have this particular wintertime. This winter, with its Dutch oven, and cord of firewood, and quiet talks, and long walks, and black-bean soups, and beeswax candles, and cable TV, and milk frother, and eucalyptus baths, and our little animals, and worsted-weight softwools, and waxflowers, and wooden table . . . well. It's spoiled us a bit. We're soft now, I guess. I was going to take a little Clovermeadow animal for a walk yesterday but it just felt too cold, too windy, too rainy, and too wet outside for such comfort-loving creatures as we. So instead we scouted the yard for signs of spring and came back in with these cuttings (comfort-loving botanists). Turns out that if you're really looking, underneath the muck of rotten leaves and winter weeds and the soft slime that autumn left behind, there are tender greens and petals at the ready. Delicate, determined beauties. I wanted to find them. I'm not that anxious for spring, really. I just like to know that it's coming, someday. I like the quiet moving-toward. I like the hiding wonders. I like the longer, still-cold days. I like the translucent, nervous greens. There's a bird that sings in the early morning now, the past week or so. His song is so loud and vibrant against the silverquiet of the mercury-gray sky. I hear the trilling when I open the back door to let the dog out at dawn. It's a new, wild, disorganized solo, and I love it.

I took artistic license with the grape hyacinth above. He actually lives in a pot in the dining room. His younger cousins do live outside by the front picket fence, but are only showing their leaves. They're several weeks out. Perhaps I'll try to clean up the yard (which is a mess) so I can watch them come up from the dining room window. Or maybe not (too warm and lazy).


I was thinking the same as the other ladies, thought you might be giving us a possible glimpse of something special to come, maybe a new sampler in the works, keeping my fingers crossed. Love your words, so great, I look forward everyday to see what you and Clover & Andy have been up too. Thanks for the wonderful journeys we are all taking with you :)

I'm feeling the opposite right now! This week the weather in Montreal has been more like late March than February - above freezing, sunny, melty. I'm feeling so restless for green leaves and earth and getting my hands dirty, I'm almost ready to shovel all the snow off my garden!

i love these sprigs, and your over wintering prose is getting close to prayer or poetry. yeah.

Hi Alicia,
I know you typically post about cooking, knitting, embroidery, etc (all of which I love), but I am happiest most when you post your gardening/plant ideas. I am the type that, come early March, you will find me in a big sweater, holding a cup of my Cafe Francais, walking around my yard looking for signs of any flowers poking up. So far I have a (yes, just one) hellebore unfurling its leaves and the new sprouts of muscari - and even the daffodils are a couple inches high. I hope that your new sampler will have something to do with flowers!
I can endure the winter but am anxious to buy my first pansies. I heard (but didn't see) my first robin the other morning - spring is coming!

Laura in Naperville, IL

It is exciting to think about cleaning up and uncovering things, but those very small plants may yet need the protection those dead leaves and such afford them. If I cleaned my garden up now, it would hurt most of my plants. You live in a different part of the country than I (we are in Colorado) so perhaps that is not so true for you. :)

Isn't a bud the most wonderful thing!

I love these images. They remind me of Botticelli's painting, Primavera, and The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry!

Love the posting--you are a clever gal--nobody seems to notice that they are all the same photo, just different crops. :-) We are deep in winter here yet--I should go out and check around though for signs.

Beautiful photos again. You've inspired me to go foraging in my garden tomorrow for sign of Spring. Gillian x

Alicia. Please. Whomever is your favorite songwriter/singer -- would you please send him or her your line -- "His song is so loud and vibrant against the silverquiet of the mercury-gray sky". I really think that needs to be in a song. Don't you? An homage to our special, mysteriously captivating Willamette Valley winters. I drove down our quiet street late this morning and had to brake several times for robins!! Why are they flying so low, I wonder. And why are there suddenly a bazillion of them?

Nancy McKenna says: February 22, 2012 at 03:06 PM

On my walk with my dog, I set up a tiny rock shrine at the entrance to the small park. I try to adorn it with a small token of nature. It is pleasing to see it everyday, and I hope others enjoy it too! Our last gift was of a rosehip. If one looks closely nautre is starting her buds.

Beautiful shots... They remind me of pages from an antique botanical book.

Beautiful shots... They remind me of pages from an antique botanical book.

Those photos are gorgeous!

I agree with the comment that the grouping of buds would make a beautiful sampler! There are treasures under the muck of leaves and mud -- its just braving the cold and wet to find them! But I can wait for full blown spring -- it means major work in my yard and I don't know if I'm quite ready yet. Such lovely words you write!

I'm so envious of your Pacific weather. There are very few signs of life around our area, though I did take a walk around the neighborhood and saw galanthus/Snow Drops in bloom in someone's flower beds!

(Agreeing with others, also - all those pretty greens would make a really cute sampler!)

Laura Nelson says: February 22, 2012 at 04:53 PM

you know, i think I am in mourning for the winter we here in Maine did not recieve. We usually have 2-3 feet of lovely snow to trudge thru, to watch and slodge thru. I have missed it and just not ready for the season to turn. Although here , we get spring long past anywhere else. I think Manitoba Canada gets it before us. The birds have been singing for a couple of weeks now. I would like to come there to see my sister who lives in Damascus.

Beautiful, Alicia. A quiet winter is just the thing.

It's so nice to hibernate for awhile when it's cold. Down here, the tulip trees are in various stages of bloom, from fuzzy pod to completely falling off and being replaced by leaves. Tulips and daffodils are starting, too and the clouds have been gorgeous.
I think the photos would be cool inspiration for an Andy rug project!

So beautiful. I was also wondering if this was the start of an embroidery project....It would be lovely, all of the shades of green against the black.
I was looking out my window this morning at all the bleakness in my front yard and saw the sprouts of tulips and daffodils.

Last Friday, after gathering up my strawberry shortcake ingredients for a pot luck lunch at work, I popped open the front door and startled more than a dozen robins in the front yard. They fluttered to the safety of the neighbor’s yard. It was just beautiful to see them perched on a sun crusted snow drift in the fresh morning light. I commented to a co-worker, during lunch, what a red letter day it was, spring time robins and strawberry short cake in February… and on the same day! We’ve had lots of snow here in Colorado and I’m ready for some warmer days.

You are indeed an artist!

It's all good and hard at the same time here in the Pacific North West. Winter makes one want to dive into the bed. Winter is, and can be so gray. Such remorseful hours each day......but, we do know that goodness is here each day. Wood stove, cats and some lovely dogs. Spring comes to all.
It is coming, slowly but surely.

so inspiring and beautiful yet quiet.. this would really make a lovely sampler!

Alicia.. what a fun botanical display you've come up with.. you're so creative! I have a huge amount of Snowdrops in bloom around the farm house.. and someone said they picked a little bouquet and that they smelled nice.. I've never tried that but I think I will tomorrow!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at