Monday, May 31, 2010

Thinking back on it

When I was a kid, ( late 50s early 60s), in the evenings before Memorial Day I went to all of the cemetery with my Parents to put a few flowers, real plants, on the graves of our dead relatives. While there we would often meet other relative or friends of theirs and visit for awhile.
I sometimes went with our neighbors to put flowers out on their relatives graves, they preferred to go in the after noon as they didn't like the cemetery in the evening, also their excursions usually finished with ice cream, which I really liked.

On Memorial Day itself there was a small parade and then speakers at the bridge where a woman from our street, who was in charge of the local VFW Auxiliary, would say a few words and then toss a floral arrangement into the water, for the brave men who had been buried a sea. She organized us kids to immediately there after throw the flowers she gave us into the water and stand still and silent in prayer as they floated away. I always wondered how many actually made it to the sea, which was a couple of States away.

I put flowers on my Fathers grave, he served in WWII, there was a flag holder, I went there early in the week,I cried, I wished they could be real plants, There were a few others placing flowers, and flags. It was very still.

My deepest thanks to all of the brave men and women who defended our country.
My deepest thanks to the families of all of the brave men and women who never came home

photo credit-

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Flower moon

Old Farmer's Almanac Flower Moon
Algonquin / Colonial Flower Moon
English / Medieval Grass Moon
Hare Moon
Neo-Pagan Planting Moon
Celtic Dyad Moon
Other Names Budding Moon
Corn Planting Moon
Milk Moon

Columbine, lupine, poppys, forget-me-nots,dianthus, rhododendron, and more are blooming as the Flower Moon rises tonight. Flowers everywhere, the fruit trees and berry bushes are in blossom, the growing season has started.
The moon has been visible during the daylight hours, a sight that is so magical. I know that the stars and planets are still twinkling even in the noon day sun, but they are just not easily visible.
Tonight's moon is playing tag with the clouds, the air is fragrant , and the chorus of spring peepers(a tiny frog)are singing at last, it would not be too difficult to believe in fairys on such a night.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A point of view

It has always been my firm belief that the when you saw a turkey vulture, it was finally spring. Magnificent, soaring gracefully across the valleys, preforming their wonderful aerial dances and all the time searching for food. Remarkable, in grace and effortless flight, also for their ability , rare in birds, to find food using their sense of smell.

On the way home yesterday I spotted one enjoying its favorite meal of carrion, as the car got closer if flew into the trees. This mighty raptor will win no beauty contest when seen up close, but in flight........awesome.

The Peregrine Fund , 5668 West Flying Hawk Lane, Boise, Idaho 83709, United States of America
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
MEASUREMENTS: The Turkey Vulture has a body length of 24 - 25 inches, a wingspan of 5 - 6 feet, and weighs 3 1/2 - 5 pounds.
Turkey Vulture habitat mapHABITAT: Turkey Vultures exist in a wide range of habitats from deserts to savannas and grasslands, to tropical and temperate forests. The bird’s range extends across much of the continental United States, into Central America, and throughout most of South America. Birds in the northern limits of its range migrate south as far as South America.
DIET: Turkey Vultures are almost entirely carrion eaters and feed on medium-sized dead animals. These birds use their sight and acute sense of smell to find food during low level soaring flights.
REPRODUCTION: This vulture nests in small caves, on the ground under bushes, or in hollowed stumps and logs. The female lays 2 eggs that are incubated for 38 - 41 days. Unlike most birds of prey, the chicks are fed regurgitated food, not fresh pieces of meat. The young vultures fledge in 10 - 11 weeks.
NAME DERIVATION: he scientific name comes from the Greek word kathartes, representing a cleanser or purifier and refers to the scavenging nature of the bird, and aurouá, which is the Latinized word for the name Mexican Indians gave to vultures. The common name refers to the red skin on the head and dark body feathers that resemble the Wild Turkey. Turkey Vultures have been called Buzzards, John Crow, Red-necked Buzzard, and Carrion Crows.

* The Turkey Vulture is one of the few birds of prey that is able to use its sense of smell to locate food.

* With the warmer climate in North America and an increase in road-killed animals, Turkey Vultures have extended their range northward.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

wonder if it is true

It's raining, which wouldn't be so bad except that I want to work in my garden today. I have sprouting seed potatoes under the kitchen sink and it is past time to plant the peas, edible pod peas, which are always an anticipated treat. The weather, which was so lovely has turned cold and damp, the kind of weather that damps off seedlings, turns seeds to rot and freshly tilled ground to a muddy mess that drys to a cement like consistency.

The old farmer would be the first to observe this will be a bad year for gardening, a poor year for apples, because as he would always say "If it's a good year for lilacs it's a good year for the garden." These are last years lilacs, most of this didn't make it into bloom, they were frozen, the drowned.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

snow on the mulleins

The road I used to drive to work was lined with wildflowers, but one in particular caught my attention, that was the mullein, so much so that I gathered seeds one fall and planted it in my garden. Little rosettes of soft fuzzy leave appeared they grew, and grew, and grew!! Surely this was how Jack felt when he watched the beanstalk.
I knew almost nothing about the plant except that is dried flower spike could be used as a torch.
The spike grew taller and taller, then burst into soft petaled flowers that not only reminded me of bees, but attracted great numbers of them.

Each year a few plants volunteer and I carefully, spade and till around them, They love the bright sun, and though none of mine have reached the record height of 10 feet, I have hopes.


Oh, grey hill,
Where the grazing herd
Licks the purple blossom,
Crops the spiky weed!
Oh, stony pasture,
Where the tall mullein
Stands up so sturdy
On its little seed!

Edna St. Vincent Millay

The Mullein, common name of Verbascum thapsus, is also known as Indian Tabacco,Adam's Flannel, Beggar's Blanket, Candlewick Plant,, Flannel Plant, Hag's Taper, Jupiter's Staff, Molene,, Velvet Dock, Velvet Plant, Woolly Mullin.

parts of the plant can be use to make dye.
It has many medicinal uses, the dried leaves are made into cigarettes to calm coughing.
and it has been used since ancient times to drive away evil spirits....witches used it as a candle or lampwick...for this purpose.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"In the name of womanhood and of humanity, "

Mother's Day Proclamation
written by Julia Ward Howe in Boston, 1870:

*Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have heart,
whether our baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly:
'We will not have our great questions decided by irrelevant
agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with
carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken
from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of
charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be
too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be
trained to injure theirs.'

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask
that a general congress of women without limits of nationality
may be appointed and held at some place deemed most
convenient and at the earliest period consider with its objects
to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the
amicable settlement of international questions, the great and
general interests of peace.*

And that good readers is where Mothers Day , got it's start in America.
A far cry from it current "Greeting Card Holiday" status.
A day late I must admit, as I am not one for "Greeting Card Holidays", and I also must admit I didn't know about this.
Wish I had. Powerful words, and a powerful ideas.

Julia Ward Howe (May 27, 1819 – October 17, 1910) was a abolitionist, social activist, proponent of womens suffrage, poet and probably most famous as the author of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." There is a plaque in her honor at the Willard Hotel in Washington. D.C. where she wrote the prose which was later set to music.
On January 28, 1908, Howe became the first woman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. And in 1970 was inducted posthumously into the Songwriters Hall of Fame

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"If you are lucky you can rememeber 80 springtimes"

We are fortunate to have a weekly newspaper called the Valley Voice and Echo. some time ago there was an article which begin with the a phrase I have borrowed for the title, now i can't really remember what the article was about, but the phrase has stuck in my head

My harvest of shards, collected while I spade in the leaves raked up last fall, and the contributions made to the compost over winter, apple peels and Brussels Sprout stalks, egg shells, which are often carried off by BlueJays and left in the crooks of trees or on the garage roof. the garden is tilled in now, and we have already enjoyed, spring onions and potato salad flavored with chive and lovage.

This has been a pleasant spring and I have been lucky to be able to spend much of it out side, winter is a dim memory, and I am watching each change in my little world. there are birds everywhere, singing their courting songs, scrounging for nesting material. I even found a few robin's egg shells at the base of a spruce tree.........

The drifts of daffodils are long spent and the last of the forsythia and quince flowers are just hanging on , each breeze sends apple blossom petals swirling like a fragrant snowstorm. today however feels like there could be a real snowstorm, thought that wouldn't be so unusual. The most beautiful Dahlias I ever saw were planted the day before a Mothers Day snowstorm.

Dog tooth violets and trillium are blooming and the trees are beginning to leaf out, the lawn needs mowing and, the hardware store has tomato and pepper plants for sale,

There will be fresh asparagus with tonight's meal. the next garden chore will be to plant the potatoes i saved for seed, they are growing well in a paper bag under the kitchen sink. time to put another layer of duct tape on my favorite flipflops.

So, now to make some ice tea and sit under the apple tree, there is much left to be done, but much more to be enjoyed.

Silent Sunday with animals