Thursday, November 29, 2012

Morning Glory

Fuzzy One and I are up early, cuddled close in the recliner, like Jupiter and the Full Moon, whose open love affair in the sky put us to bed last night at 10 and greeted us this morning at 6.

Daybreak is a soothing symphony for the eyes.  I think Mother Nature has us on a dimmer switch.  We're sitting here looking out the window as daylight magically overpowers darkness.

"Day and night are linked in a way that few things are; 
there cannot be one without the other,
yet they cannot exist at the same time."
~Author Unknown

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bless Whoever Saw the Eagles Within the Tree and Set Them Free

"The sculptor must....communicate
 whatever struck his sensibility,
so that a person beholding his work
 may experience in its entirety
the emotion felt by the artist
 while he observed nature."
~Medardo Rosso


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Moral Duty to Plant Trees



  • We need trees to live.
  • People and animals depend on trees for oxygen.  When we breathe in, our bodies use oxygen.  When we breathe out, we give off carbon dioxide.  Trees do just the opposite.  They take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
  • A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year.
  • Trees help clean the air by intercepting particles and absorbing pollutants.
  • Trees help cool the Earth by shading. 
  • A windbreak of trees can lower home heating bills up to 30%.
  • Trees give off moisture.  More moisture in the air means more rain.
  • The 200,000 leaves on a healthy 100-foot tree can take 11,000 gallons of water from the soil and breathe it into the air in a single growing season. 
  • We depend on trees for wood we burn for heat.
  • We need trees for the wood to build houses.
  • We need trees to make paper.  
  • Roots of the trees underground are a natural water cleaning system.
  • Trees prevent soil erosion.
  • Trees help prevent flooding.
  • Birds build their nests in trees.
  • Animals live inside trees or build homes on their branches.
  • Trees muffle neighborhood noise.
  • Trees give us fruits and flowers
  • Some trees have medicinal value and help make medicine.
  • Trees give us things like benches, stairways, church pews, tables and chairs, picture frames, guitars, pianos, toothpaste, coffee filters, movie tickets, postage stamps, baby cribs and cradles, candy wrappers and cupcake cups.  
  • More than 5,000 things we use every day are made from trees or from their extracts.
  • Trees can increase the property value of our homes by 15% or more.
  • Trees bring out the kid in us....by letting us swing from their branches.
  • Is there anything more beautiful than a drive through a National Forest.
  • Be sure to look for the wind chimes in today's picture.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Our Little Trooper Bichon Frise


Fuzzy One was tired after a day on the lake fishing.  We got back to our cabin, and she squirmed her way into this comfy position, barely able to keep her eyes open.

"Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies." 
 ~Gene Hill

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Shopping to Find the Artist Within

"Only in America could we spend one day giving thanks for what we've got and then turn around and spend the next three days buying more junk."  ~from this morning's Sunday Paper

We Americans have the freedom to shop.  If merchandisers open their doors to us, we can shop at our leisure and on a whim.  Merchandisers....those clever trappers...who slyly set their holiday trap lines.  Consumers.....those vulnerable victims.....who willingly walk into the well-camouflaged trap of over-spending.

The roots of gift-giving go back to non-Christian observances, such as the festival of Saturn by the Romans celebrating the returning sun, or Winter Solstice.  Saturnalia celebrated the bounty of the harvest and the good things in life by giving gifts made from wheat, such as baskets of bread.

Gift-giving was incorporated into Christianity by the story of the Magi....three kings bringing gifts to Baby Jesus.  Around the year 1000, the Catholic Church banned gift giving because of its pagan roots.  The Puritans who first came to America found gift-giving to be a careless use of abundance.

The Victorian era (1837-1901) brought back the traditions of gift-giving as part of their Christmas festivities, but the gifts were simpler than those of today.  They didn't pile the gifts under a tree, but scattered them through the house. Merriment was central to their celebrations.  Small gifts (a silver coin, a ring, button, or thimble) were hidden in a bowl of Christmas Pudding.  After everyone had finished eating Christmas dinner, they gathered around the Pudding Pie and took turns taking a spoonful.  Whatever treat was in their spoonful, was theirs to keep.

Those of us who have seen a long string of Christmas traditions come and go, have valid reason to call our modern Christmas the "gimme holiday."  Having said that, we Americans also have the freedom to change the way we shop.  We deceive our children with the "point and receive" Christmas.  Life isn't that way, and they'll only be disappointed when they find that out the older they get.  Maybe it's time we come up with wiser ways of maintaining the giving spirit, while at the same time stepping back away from the merchandising trap lines.

Talented artisans all over the country are holding craft fairs from now until December 25th.  Ordinary Americans using their inborn abilities to create.  They are selling handmade gifts, without expensive labels, for the youngest in the family to those silently tolerating their days in a care facility.  Buying one-of-a-kind handmade gifts from these artisans would be a masterful way of teaching children not only how to spend their money wisely, but teaching them to appreciate the talents of others. Explain to them how the gift was made, the patience and time it took.  The gift that comes with a story has substance. With a watchful eye and subtle encouragement, every child can become an artisan.  It's that business of recognizing the spark of genius that comes to the world with every baby.  It's that business of making sure a child knows he/she has the genius gene living inside of them.  A child's creative passions will one day serve as their ultimate source of contentment. Choosing to buy gifts from talented artisans can be one step toward bettering the ancient tradition of gift-giving and fulfilling the needs of the human heart.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our Forests On Wheels



If every household in the United States replaced just one box of virgin fiber facial tissues (175 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 163,000 trees.

If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of toilet paper (500 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 423,900 trees.

If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of paper towels (70 sheets) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 544,000 trees.

If every household in the United States replaced just one roll of napkins (250 count) with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees.

Americans discard 4 million tons of office paper each year, enough to build a 12-foot wall from Los Angeles to New York City.

If all of our newspapers were recycled, we could save about 250 million trees each year.  If every American recycled just one-tenth of their newspapers, we could save about 25 million trees each year.

Look for the white on black symbol.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Our Wasteful and Ungrateful Holiday Habits

The focal point of my next few posts will be what I call Christmas Craziness.

My generation remembers back when there was one present for each of us kids under the tree.  That one gift would get me SO excited, and I couldn't wait till Christmas Eve supper was over. We would leave the supper dishes in the sink and head straight to the living room where mom handed out one gift at a time. With memories like this, it's hard for me to understand the frantic frenzy of disrespect that has come to be the norm for this blessed season.

What are the side-effects of this new Christmas?  Why do we sit back and let the merchandising captains lure us out into the deep dark waters with credit cards for life boats?  What is this craziness doing to Mother Earth?  Are there ways we can help Her?
  • From Thanksgiving to New Years Day, household waste increases by more than 25%.  This includes wasted food, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons.  What does this add up to?  5 million extra tons added to our landfills.  Let's repeat that.....5 million tons.  
  • The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high.  If each of us would send one less card, we could save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.  What is a cubic yard?  36 inches tall by 36 inches wide by 36 inches deep.
  • If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, we would save 38,000 miles of ribbon, enough to tie a bow around the entire planet.
  • At least 28 billion pounds of edible food are wasted each year.  Let's watch what we scrape off the plates into the wastebasket.
  • $2.6 billion is spent annually on wrapping paper.  Unless we recycle and reuse, it will all end up in the landfills.  We buy it, we wrap it, we tear it, we throw it.
  • Each year, 50 million Christmas trees are purchased in the U.S.  Of those, about 30 million go to the landfill.  Some of the remaining 20 million are collected and taken to enormous mulching machines where they're turned into wood chips to be used for landscaping.  Artificial trees may be an initial expense, but they pay off in the long-run.....not only for the consumer, but for Mother Earth.  
  • The average American spends $800 on gifts during the holiday season and then takes the next year to pay for them....with growing interest.  Forget the plastic.  
  • According to a national survey, 70% of Americans would welcome less emphasis on gift giving and spending.  So, why do we keep doing it?  Who's holding the gun to our heads?
  • About 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season.  Batteries are costly, and if there are lots of toys in the house,  investing in rechargeable batteries and a battery charger might be the way to go.  About 200,000 tons of batteries containing toxic acid, lead, nickel, lithium, and other bad stuff get thrown into landfills each and every year, where they can leach into our groundwater.  Go to www.earth911.org, enter your location and zip code to find the nearest household battery recycling drop box.
  • If each family reduced holiday gasoline consumption by one gallon (about 20 miles), we'd reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one million tons.
  • An estimated $46 billion of gifts will be returned the day after Christmas.....62% of clothing and shoes......17% of toys, games and hobbies.......14% of consumer electronics......13% of kitchen and bath......10% of beauty and cosmetics........10% of jewelry and watches. 
Would I have considered asking to return my Christmas present when I was a kid?  Never, ever, never.  We were smart enough to know that no matter what we got, it told us what our parents could afford to spend on Christmas.  Their example taught us never to be wasteful and always to be grateful.
* statistics from www.recycleworks.org 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Missing Piece

In 1976, Shel Silverstein published, "The Missing Piece,"  a timeless contribution to children's literature.

The story is about a pacman-like creature that sets out to find its missing piece.  The adventure starts out being fun, as it rolls around singing....


Oh, I'm lookin' for my missin' piece
I'm lookin' for my missin' piece
Hi-dee-ho, here I go
Lookin' for my missin' piece.

After a while, It finds the missing piece that makes the little creature complete.  But, soon It realizes It can't do the things It used to do.  Now It can't sing, nor can It roll along slowly enough to enjoy visiting with the butterfly or the worm.  The little creature decides It was a lot happier when It wasn't complete. So, It lets go of the missing piece and keeps right on living the happy moments along the way.

A New York Time's Book Review had this to say about the book, "This fable can also be interpreted to mean that no one should try to find all the answers, no one should hope to fill all the holes in themselves, achieve total transcendental harmony or psychic order, because a person without a search, loose ends, internal conflicts and external goals becomes too smooth to enjoy or know what's going on.  Too much satisfaction blocks exchange with the outside."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Best Ever Apple Pie Pizza


Gotta share this recipe for Apple Pie Pizza. If you're like me and don't care to make a pie crust from scratch, well, here's the answer to presenting your guests with a yum-dill-i-ishus modern version of Gramma's Homemade Apple Pie.

1 tube (12.4 oz) refrigerated cinnamon roll dough
1 can (21 oz) apple pie filling
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 T. butter, melted
  •  Set cinnamon roll icing aside.  Separate dough into individual rolls.  Roll out each into a 4-inch circle. Arrange on a greased 12-inch pizza pan, overlapping edges.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.
  • Spoon the apple pie filling over rolls to within 1/2 edge.  Combine the brown sugar and butter.  Sprinkle over the pie filling.  Bake 6-8 minutes longer, or until the crust is golden brown.  Cool.  Drizzle with the reserved icing. 
It's oozy-goozy good,
with or without whipped cream or ice cream!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Roadside Lesson of Loyalty


This barn and silo have been a couple for years, an integral part of a farmstead.  The burdens of time, the elements, and human neglect have obviously grown to be more than the barn's frail frame could withstand.  Heart-broken and weary, it had to relinquish its ability to provide shelter for the farmer's animals and storage for the grain.

Take notice what stands tall and straight and strong by the barn's weary side.  Yup, its faithful partner, the silo.

Life weakens each of us, sooner or later.  Sometimes we collapse, and other times we hang on by a thread dangled down to us by the angels.   Crumble or fumble, there are those cherished ones who stick with us through good times and bad, through sickness and health, till death do we part.

Its the marriage called friendship.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Personal Formula for Living


"The happiness which brings enduring worth to life is not the superficial happiness that is dependent on circumstances.  It is the happiness and contentment that fills the soul even in the midst of the most distressing circumstances and the most bitter environment.  It is the kind of happiness that grins when things go wrong and smiles through the tears.  The happiness for which our souls ache is one undisturbed by success or failure, one which will root deeply inside us and give inward relaxation, peace, and contentment, no matter what the surface problems may be.  That kind of happiness stands in need of no outward stimulus."  ~Billy Graham

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fences From the Past


This roll of barbed wire reminds me of when I was a little girl, walking with my daddy or brother up to check the crops or trap pocket gophers.  Back in those days our cows roamed and grazed the pastures, and barbed-wire fences kept them out of our corn, oats, and hay fields.  Crossing a fence for a little girl meant either going under the wires, between the wires, or over the wires.  It was so much fun to lay on the ground and roll or wiggle myself under the wire, but I felt like a princess when daddy or bro lifted or separated the wires for me to get across.....my first experience with chivalry.

Nowadays we don't see fences.  Agricultural practices have giantized the herds of cattle, and no more are cows able to freely roam and graze the green pastures.  Instead, they are incarcerated inside huge milking set-ups and won't ever know what it's like to walk their worn path home at milking time.

The sentimental sally in me misses the fence rows and the small herds of contented cows.  A big part of being who we are is how it was when we were growing up.  I remember daddy fixing the fences, and I'd go with him to keep him company.  As far as helping him, well, I would have been as helpful as a crooked nail.  It was cherished time spent with the guy who worked a small farm, raised 20 cattle at a time, and proudly provided for his family of four.  I remember daddy saying, "there'll come a day when they'll take our small farms away."  And, I'll be darned, he was right.

Today we see corporate agriculture......big money........big everything.  But, once in awhile, along the roadside, we come across the skeletal remains of the past tied into rolls, left to whisper the story of a kinder time.....for man and for animal.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Heaven on Earth


"Look at your feet.
You are standing in the sky.
When we think of the sky,
we tend to look up,
but the sky actually
begins at the earth."
~Diane Ackerman

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Old Siren Tower

Old Siren Tower
My question was offhand, but it led me to learn something about hubby that I didn't know before.  I asked, "What's that tower over there?"

In the mid-1900s, our small rural towns had only volunteer fire departments.  Men and women were alerted of a fire by tower sirens like this one that tells of a time when neighbor took care of neighbor, friend took care of friend.

Hubby told me the story of when he was about 10 years old, he and his mother were uptown in the general store fitting him for new shoes. That was a big event for a little boy in those days, especially when he was first in line for hand-me-downs.  As the two of them came out of the store (with box of new shoes), a man ran right in front of them and across the street to the siren pole.  He pulled a lever and the town siren blared.  The man kept screaming, "My house is on fire."

One can picture people running out of the three taverns, the bank, grocery store, and barber shop to get in on the commotion.  Men pitched in to help however they could with the antiquated equipment they had, and women tended to the family needing that precious commodity called 'maternal love.'

Hubby remembers his mother driving down the side street to the fire.  When she found out that the wife had been burned, she and hubby offered to help her into their white '49 Ford and drove her to the nearest doctor, four miles away.

Harsh memories for a little boy.  But, this explains why all our married years when he hears a siren, he's out the door in a flash and makes himself available to help any way he possibly can.

Goes to show, it pays to ask questions.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My Passion for Upcycling

Finding a bright yellow GARAGE SALE sign on a cold November day is sorta like finding a bag of frozen chocolate chip cookies in the freezer when you've got the hungries at 10 o'clock at night.  

I wanted to jump up and down, scream and holler. Migod, all of these pretty poinsettias and gold eucalyptus marked $1.25.  All the bunches were off the table and in my arms before someone else had the chance to grab 'em.  I had struck the mother lode of flowers, and the challenge was on.  It felt just like the childhood dare, "Betcha can't do it!"
Well, move over, Rover.  Making my own flower arrangements is something I've done for years.  It all started when the money tree we planted back of the house up and died.  I learned that if I wanted something bad enough, I could find a way to make it myself.  Using discards only upped the ante.  Money saved = money earned.

It's just like my writing my daily blogs.  I never know what I'll write until I turn on the laptop and log onto my dashboard.  My blogs are just as much of a surprise to me as they are to my readers.  So it is with my putting flowers together.

In my seasonal stash, I resurrected green and gold accents, red-berry branches, and a gold bird and a red cardinal.  I gathered my pincher pliers, Styrofoam, scissors, and two baskets...sat down on the living room floor, and my party began.  

I asked hubby to cut pieces of Styrofoam to fit in the bottom of each basket.  The Styrofoam serves to hold the flowers in place.  I added one flower at a time, mixed the shades of pink and red together, added accents for height, and here's what I did with my $1.25........


Gold bird on basket handle


Cardinal nestled above the green and gold
leaves near the right front center.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Project Jewelry

My latest project is organizing my jewelry.  Hubby thinks it's the gypsy in me that gravitates to the bangles and baubles and brooches that decorate the arms, the fingers, the ankles, and the neck.

Those of Norwegian ancestry will recognize the rosemaling (decorative painting) on this wooden pin.  It came into my possession as highest bidder on a jewelry box of miscellaneous pieces.  The intrigue lies in the dates 1931 and 1986.  I'm guessing a classmate was a rosemaler, and she painted a decorative pin for each of her school-day girlfriends to wear at their 55th class reunion.

Last week one day I was looking through a desk drawer and found rings and bracelets that had fallen out of my memory.  Man, you talk about a surprise shopping spree...and motivation to go through more drawers!

My mission is to end up with spaces for my rings, wrist and ankle bracelets, necklaces, and brooches so I can find and wear them.  I can't wait to uncover the family mementos...the ones that still hold the touch and the presence of the ladies who once wore them.  The sentimental sally in me envisions Gramma's arthritic hands struggling to close the necklace clasp and how snazzy my Auntie looked when she wore the lavender rhinestone brooch.

The sad part of our jewelry is that its sentiment dies with us.  Chances are our most-cherished piece will end being sold to a bidder who won't care whose arm it graced or neckline it adorned.  The gold band that once pledged a forever love will revert to being just a ring.

There's going to be substance to this jewelry project.  I'm taking serious responsibility to hold each heirloom piece in my hands and celebrate the spirit of she who owned it before me.  We have to remember that pre-owned jewelry holds within it a sweet story and a sentiment...just like this rosemaled pin.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Which Ending Would You Choose?

Pages 32-33 of Harold S. Kushner's book, "How Good Do We Have to Be?" proposes a different ending to the Garden of Eden story.......

"So the woman saw that the tree was good to eat and a delight to the eye, and the serpent said to her, 'Eat of it, for when you eat of it, you will be as wise as God.'  But the woman said, 'No, God has commanded us not to eat of it, and I will not disobey God.'

"And God called to the man and the woman and said to them, 'Because you have hearkened to My word and not disobeyed My command, I shall reward you greatly.'  To the man, He said, 'You will never have to work again.  Spend all your days in idle contentment, with food growing all around you.'  To the woman, He said, 'You will bear children without pain and you will raise them without pain.  They will need nothing from you.  Children will not cry when their parents die, and parents will not cry when their children die.'  To both of them, He said, 'For the rest of your lives, you will have full bellies and contented smiles.  You will never cry and you will never laugh.  You will never long for something you don't have, and you will never receive something you always wanted.'
 
"And the man and the woman grew old together in the garden, eating daily from the Tree of Life and having many children.  And the grass grew high around the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil until it disappeared from view, for there was no one to tend to it."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

An Abandoned Cabin and a Smart Woodpecker

IF ONLY we were thirty years younger, chances are good we would pursue purchasing and fixing up this adorable abandoned cabin.  The rock foundation...the screened porch...and the tall pines combine to make this the perfect lakeside place for us.

When we fished the east side of the lake, we slowed the boat to get a closer look.  How sad the owner doesn't see its rustic charm and put a heart beat back into the sweet structure.  Maybe it's that business of being old and no one caring anymore.

********

Gotta share what just happened here....

Hubby sitting in recliner reading morning paper.  Me and fuzzy one in the other recliner typing.  We heard a noise in the kitchen like somebody was tapping on our kitchen window.  Hubby got up to see what the commotion was all about.  Of all things, a red-bellied woodpecker was tapping his beak against the window.  Do you suppose the bird is smart enough to be telling hubby the bird feeder is empty?   

Friday, November 09, 2012

The Wall That Watches


Wanna know where this wall is?

In a bathroom.

Yowza.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

A Place Where Fairies Swing

It was the tree fairy that caught my eye,  and the cap and face was a photographer's bonus.  Guess I never thought about putting a toy fairy in a tree,  Sweet.

Wouldn't I love to meet these people who have this sense of whimsy.  I must remember that how we decorate our properties does make a difference.  And, it doesn't need to involve spending more money.

It's that business of letting one's imagination scurry around the house looking for things to upcycle.  Chances are good these flower garlands were stashed in a box, or what I call the crafter's coffin.  Who would have thought to decorate a swing like this.  

Whether we decorate with pricey pieces, or resurrected pieces, we can add enchantment to our world.  Our individual imaginations come up with fresh ideas that the next person would never have thought of.  Playful thought is what makes passersby, like us, apply the brakes to take another peek.

Something tells me these people look at the world through happy eyes, and I thank them for that.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Splendor on the Dock

The fuzzy one was sitting on the dock waiting to get in the boat and head out fishing.  Our little girl was the center of attention when this picture was taken, but we come to find a whole lot more going on here.  It's that business of seeing what we want to see....and not paying attention to the fascinations around us.

On a dry day, the swirly wood grains would not show like this. But, after a light rain, they surfaced as if to offer gratitude for the moisture.  The lakes of the north country are low, like our rivers and streams.

If we take a close look, right below the leash handle, there's a heart-shaped puddle of water.  I'm pretty sure that's how Mother Nature signs her name.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Deer Season? Dear Season.

Handmade deer stands like this one are plentiful this time of year, and they vary in size and shape as much as the hunters who build them.

My memory nurtures well the time we built one.  Hubby was given permission to hunt a farmer's land.  We needed to find a sturdy tree that was perfectly situated for a good aim.  Securing the building materials was our main challenge.

It was a gorgeous autumn afternoon, we walked the timber, analyzed the worn deer paths.  Leaves crunched and squirrels scampered as we searched for the right tree.  The experience was picturesque, almost poetic.

We were newly married at the time, with an amusing duo-income aside today's standards.  Our second vehicle was a very used 1957 bronze-colored Chevy Station Wagon that hubby bought for $15 plus his only pair of binoculars.  There were no Menards, Home Depot, or Lowes.  We had to find the boards.  An old farm out-house had what we needed, so we proceeded to dismantle and salvage.  We even saved the nails and straightened them with a hammer so we could reuse them.

A wooded clearing gave us enough room to maneuver the loaded station wagon to within about two city blocks of the tree we picked out.  From there, we lugged the boards and tools through thick and tangled brush.  Looking back, I'm flabbergasted by young love.

Hubby took his time figuring out where and how to begin.  Hmmmmm.....he hadn't thought about getting himself up in the tree in the first place.  A makeshift ladder was assembled.  Once we got him up in the tree, his system required him to sit on a branch, lowering a rope down to me, I'd fasten a board or tool onto the rope, and he'd pull the rope back up.  More than once, I was nearly beaned when the hammer slipped out of his hands.  Thank the Almighty that cuss words don't fracture skulls.

So it was that hubby successfully built our tree stand.  I'm no construction inspector, but I valued my life enough to always come up with an excuse to stay off what looked to be but a rickety-rackety platform tacked onto tree branches.  I didn't want to hurt his feelings, so I used my fear of heights to get me off the hook.

The fact that both of us laugh, to the point of tears, all these years later is pay-off enough for me.  But, for hubby?  Well, he shot a 10-point buck from his perfectly elevated vantage point and was more than satisfied with his tree stand built for two...even though it was used by only one.  

Monday, November 05, 2012

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Saint Sunflower



The cycle for yellow sunflowers is over.  Their smiley faces have naturally morphed into heavy heads that look like big pancakes.  

There's a whole lot more to the sunflower, though, than its pretty face.  From stem to petal to seed, it is medicinal...spiritual...serviceable...nutritional...valuable...and even magical.
  • The Native Americans extracted yellow dye from the sunflower petals and oils that made their ceremonial body paints. 
  • The Aztecs of ancient Peru worshiped the sunflower. They believed it was a celestial being.  Sunflower images made of gold were placed in their temples, and they crowned their princesses with the yellow flowers.
  • The most distinguishing feature of the sunflower is the way its flowering head magically tracks the movement of the sun. For this reason, the sunflower is the symbol of the Spiritualist Church that believes spiritual thought can take a person from darkness to light.
  • After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that happened in the Ukraine in 1986, sunflowers were used to remove harmful nuclear debris from the water. When  most of the water in the region was contaminated, planting sunflowers on a floating raft reduced the impact of radiation in the waters up to 95%.   A similar kind of operation was used in 2011 in Japan after that nuclear disaster.
  • A new kind of low-pollen sunflower has been created, which helps reduce the risk of asthma for people who are allergic to pollen grains.  
  • Parts of the sunflower plant is able to relieve chronic asthma and whooping cough due to bronchitis, and is effective in healing wounds and infections.
  • Sunflower oil is believed to be beneficial in the fight against heart disease and neurological disorders.
 
THIS POST IS BEING INTERRUPTED WITH BREAKING NEWS:  A bit ago hubby went outside to fill the bird feeders.  Ordinarily this morning routine does not involve profanity. Information has it that sufficient evidence exists to prosecute the bushy-tailed prankster that assaulted our bird plaza and selfishly helped himself to the sunflower pancake.  Things are tense.   

The part that scares me is hubby's sudden hunger for squirrel soup.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Mother Nature's Cozy Places


If I was a chipmunk or a bunny,
I'd wiggle into this cozy space,
curl up into ball,
 and take a nap.  

Friday, November 02, 2012

Acting a Little Squirrelly


There's a circus going on.  This little guy was hoppin' from branch to branch having a hi-ho time.


"Living is no laughing matter:   you must live with great seriousness like a squirrel for example -- I mean without looking for something beyond and above living, I mean living must be your whole occupation."  ~Nazim Hikmet

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Oddly Named





The bird feeder started a swingin' the second this red-bellied woodpecker bellied up to the bar for the breakfast special.

Some birds can be difficult to identify, but the coloring of the red-bellied woodpecker is way obvious. I think they look like little zebras with red heads.  Oddly, they are named after the reddish-yellowish feathers on the underside of both genders.

The husband has a red head starting at the forehead, across the crown, and down the nape of the neck to its upper back.  He outdresses his wife, who has a red patch only on the nape of her neck.  From that, we can surmise our guest is the husband.