African Garden + Trinity Irish Dance

Rites of Spring, Chicago Style

I apologize for having been a bit derelict lately about responding to comments and visiting other blogs. I've been busy earning my stripes as an Irish dance mom. The girl joined a dance troupe at her school, Trinity Irish Dance, the largest and most well-known Irish Dance school in Chicago.

St. Patrick's Day is a bigger deal in Chicago than it is in Ireland. For the past week, she has performed at restaurant bars, schools, churches, the United Center for the Chicago Bulls' pregame (fortunately, VIS drove her there for that one), a retirement home, and finally, yesterday at the Chicago Travel and Adventure Expo at the convention center in Rosemont.

(These are the most advanced dancers, not the girl's group.) It's been long days and lots of driving for the girl and I, and I haven't been able to be online because I don't have an iPhone or a Droid (yet). I've been reading a lot instead, currently fellow Chicago area resident Audrey Niffenegger's second novel Her Fearful Symmetry . I bless whoever came up with Irish Dance wigs, I'm eternally in your debt.
But that's enough of wandering off topic. When I haven't been driving or watching Irish dancing, I've been outside gardening as much as possible while the weather was fine. We had an incredible stretch of warm, sunny days (it was 65F/18C on Friday). I finished spring garden cleanup and planted my sweet peas. I used the sprout in the paper towel method recommended by Nan Ondra on her blog Hayefield because my previous efforts at growing sweet peas have all ended in disaster. I'm keeping my fingers crossed about this especially since the first day of spring brought snow. Snow in March and April is a tradition in Chicagoland, so it doesn't faze me at all, nor does it bother the Iris reticulatas which I planted last fall.

I haven't grown them since I moved here. Why was that? They are terrific little troupers, shrugging off snow easily and providing some much needed dark color to the early spring garden's yellows and whites.
I wish I could say I'll have more time for blogging this week, but the kids are on spring break now, so I'll be busy with them all week. And then the garden centers will be opening...
* * * Don't forget to enter the drawing for a Seedkeeper Kit; it ends March 31, 2010.

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Rites of Spring, Chicago Style + Trinity Irish Dance