Friday, April 27, 2012

checking to see if this is current

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Bees See You Face as a strange flower" Poem

"Bees see your face as a strange flower."
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Nashville warblers see you as a scary-looking tree.
Garden snakes slithering into lilies see you as a storm.
The abandoned house perceives a possible doctor.
You sweep up mouse crumbs, then turn your back.
Children on the other side of the world see you as glittering.
Depressive sees your smile as a threat.
Dude playing top volume rap sees old lady staring back.
The sea, the sky, the air see us as trouble.
They're right of course.
We see each other as the landmarks of a day.
History doesn't see us. It doesn't see us at all.
From this we should draw one ounce of relief.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Monday, August 10, 2009

Poem: Patriotism


by Ellie Schoenfeld

My country is this dirt
that gathers under my fingernails
when I am in the garden.
The quiet bacteria and fungi,
all the little insects and bugs
are my compatriots. They are
idealistic, always working together
for the common good.
I kneel on the earth
and pledge my allegiance
to all the dirt of the world,
to all of that soil which grows
flowers and food
for the just and unjust alike.
The soil does not care
what we think about or who we love.
It knows our true substance,
of what we are really made.
I stand my ground on this ground,
this ground which will
recruit us all
to its side.

"Patriotism" by Ellie Schoenfeld,
from The Dark Honey. © Clover Valley Press, 2009.
Published without permission but with graditude. (buy now)

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Animals are Leaving - Poem

The Animals are Leaving

One by one, like guests at a late party
They shake our hands and step into the dark:
Arabian ostrich; Long-eared kit fox; Mysterious starling.

One by one, like sheep counted to close our eyes,
They leap the fence and disappear into the woods:
Atlas bear; Passenger pigeon; North Island laughing owl;
Great auk; Dodo; Eastern wapiti; Badlands bighorn sheep.

One by one, like grade school friends,
They move away and fade out of memory:
Portuguese ibex; Blue buck; Auroch; Oregon bison;
Spanish imperial eagle; Japanese wolf; Hawksbill
Sea turtle; Cape lion; Heath hen; Raiatea thrush.

One by one, like children at a fire drill, they march outside,
And keep marching, though teachers cry, "Come back!"
Waved albatross; White-bearded spider monkey;
Pygmy chimpanzee; Australian night parrot;
Turquoise parakeet; Indian cheetah; Korean tiger;
Eastern harbor seal; Ceylon elephant; Great Indian rhinoceros.

One by one, like actors in a play that ran for years
And wowed the world, they link their hands and bow
Before the curtain falls.

By: Charles Harper Webb

Monday, February 02, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day

On Gobbler's Knob this glorious Groundhog Day,
February 2nd, 2009
Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators

"A bright sky above me
Showed my shadow beside me.
So 6 more weeks of winter it will be"

*There was a tradition in many European countries of watching animals — especially badgers — to see how they acted on this day. If they returned to their dens, it meant that there was still a long winter ahead.German immigrants in Pennsylvania found that there weren't a lot of badgers in America, but there were a lot of groundhogs, so the holiday evolved into Groundhog Day. The first reference to Groundhog Day is from 1841, in the diary of a storekeeper in Morgantown, Pennsylvania. He wrote: "Last Tuesday, the 2nd, was Candlemas day, the day on which, according to the Germans, the Groundhog peeps out of his winter quarters and if he sees his shadow he pops back for another six weeks' nap, but if the day be cloudy he remains out, as the weather is to be moderate."

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Quail Gardens

One of my favorite botanical gardens is Quail Gardens in the San Diego area. These are pictures from my last visit there in June.

They have a great children's area that they are working on making larger and even better. Here is a great horse.

Cheech or Chong (Pot Man)

If you enlarge this picture you can see the Wren that has made his nest in the bird house.
Bewick's wren singing away.

Building structure in the Native Plants, Native People exhibit

Lots of flowers. Check them out....

The frog pond is a great place to just sit and watch.
The lily pads in the frog pond

Lots of great pots

Water fall

Cork tree. Wine anyone?
While we were there they were having lots of kid's programs. Here Jessy is potting up a succulent plant to take home.
A great place to visit. Not real formal, just relaxed with lots of different areas. Check out the website for now and when you are in the area make sure you check out the garden.
Quial Botanical Gardens

230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas CA

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Poem: Winter and the Nuthatch

Winter and the Nuthatch
by Mary Oliver

Once or twice and maybe again, who knows,
the timid nuthatch will come to me
if I stand still, with something good to eat in my hand.
The first time he did it
he landed smack on his belly, as though
the legs wouldn't cooperate. The next time
he was bolder. Then he became absolutely
wild about those walnuts.
But there was a morning I came late and, guess what,
the nuthatch was flying into a stranger's hand.
To speak plainly, I felt betrayed.
I wanted to say: Mister,that nuthatch and I have a relationship.
It took hours of standing in the snow
before he would drop from the tree and trust my fingers.
But I didn't say anything.
Nobody owns the sky or the trees.
Nobody owns the hearts of birds.
Still, being human and partial therefore to my own
though not resentful of others fashioning theirs—
I'll come tomorrow, I believe, quite early.

"Winter and the Nuthatch" by Mary Oliver, from Red Bird. © Beacon Press, 2008 Reprinted without permission but with much gratitude. (buy now)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Poem: September Song

September fattens on vines. Roses
flake from the wall. The smoke
of harmless fires drifts to my eyes.

This is plenty. This is more than enough.

From the poem:
September Song by Geoffrey Hill

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Poem: Turtle by Kay Ryan

by Kay Ryan

Who would be a turtle who could help it?
A barely mobile hard roll, a four-oared helmet,
she can ill afford the chances she must take
in rowing toward the grasses that she eats.
Her track is graceless, like dragging
a packing-case places, and almost any slope
defeats her modest hopes. Even being practical,
she's often stuck up to the axle on her way
to something edible. With everything optimal,
she skirts the ditch which would convert
her shell into a serving dish. She lives
below luck-level, never imagining some lottery
will change her load of pottery to wings.
Her only levity is patience,
the sport of truly chastened things.

"Turtle" by Kay Ryan, from Flamingo Watching. © Copper Beech Press, 2006. Reprinted without permission but with gratitude. (buy now)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Point Gardens Lehi, Utah

"Enjoy the sweeping vistas of the Grand Allee, cross the Monet Bridge and watch the flower-bordered creek ripple by, or walk to the amphitheater and marvel at the largest man-made waterfall in the Western Hemisphere
Designed to be a peaceful place where the gifts of nature could be appreciated, Thanksgiving Garden covers 55 acres. Utah landscape architect Leonard Grassli designed a series of gardens motivated by themes: The Creek Garden, the Monet Garden, the Rose Garden, the Fragrance Garden, the Secret Garden, the Italian Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Parterre Garden, the Vista Garden, and the Waterfall Garden. We also added our Children’s Discovery Garden, which has been a wonderful delight for visiting families."
That is what the web site for Thanksgiving Point says about their gardens. For Jared's wedding in Draper we stayed in Thanksgiving Point. We had seen the area when we drove past but never stopped. I know I had heard the kids talk about the gardens before but I never thought too much about them. On Friday we found ourselves with a couple of hours of free time so we decided to head over to the gardens and give it a look see. We didn't have time to go to the Children's Garden but I'm sure we will make time the next time we go there.
Considering this is desert in Utah this garden was lush!! I'm not sure where they get their water from but they must be using a lot!! (My guess is the draw from the Jordon River that runs through or next to the area.) The grounds were massive and breathtaking. Thanksgiving Point wasn't even started until 1996. I don't remember when they started the gardens but what they have done in that time is amazing. Give it another 20 years for the trees to grow up and fill in and it will be something else.

Most of the flowers seem to annuals here. The work to plant new one each year would make my head spin!! There are thousands and thousands of plants.

We were there the first part of July which would be near the beginning of the growing season. My guess, and this is only a guess, is that they would start planting around the beginning of May. I know this year was a late spring with snow coming in May a little further north and south. I don't know if they are any different there or not.

I really liked the carousel with the topiary horses planted with succulents and annuals.

Close up of one of the horses.

Monet Bridge.
Every turn of the garden seemed like a place for a photo op!! While we were there on a Friday afternoon we must have seen 4 to 5 brides all dressed in their wedding dresses getting their Bridal Pictures done. That is something I had not heard of before but guess it is common in Utah if not other places. The brides get dressed sometime before the wedding and go out and have pictures taken of just themselves. It makes sense in a lot of ways. They get the pictures they want but it doesn't hold up the wedding itself.
There doesn't seem to be a bad place to take pictures in the garden and the surrounding areas around Thanksgiving Point itself has lot of places also. Jared and Willie came down here for their engagement pictures. I don't think Willie did her Bridals down there but I might be wrong about that.
This is the main visitor center at the beginning of the gardens. This is looking back from the middle of the garden.

Paul enjoying the views.

Maggie doing the same.

More pretties.

In the background you can see what the area looks like without added water.

Grand Staircase. Really I don't remember what it is called but it was large, long and pretty. If I remember there was water coming down the middle.

I don't know if you can see the mountains in the background or not. Click on the picture to enlarge it and maybe you can see them better. What really surprised us was that it was hot, in the 90's and there is still snow on the mountains!!

What did the ad say, the largest man made waterfalls in the west?
If you are in the area I would suggest a visit here. For a new man made area it is great. Now I will have to say I like our "wild" garden here in town a little better but for a formal garden it is great.
(P.S. Just don't plan on stopping on Sunday!! They close up everything in the whole area!! The museum gardens and restaurants!! Remember you are in Utah!!)

Friday, July 04, 2008

I wonder what it would be like

July 4th
On this day in 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into his cabin on Walden Pond. It was 10 feet wide by 15 feet long, had an attic and a closet, two windows, and a fireplace. It cost twenty-eight dollars and twelve cents to build. The single biggest expenditure was three dollars and ninety cents for nails. Thoreau boasted that he was a good builder, but when the cabin was excavated a hundred years later, the investigators found hundreds of bent nails in the cellar hole. He had two knives and forks, three plates, one cup and one spoon. He had a huge garden, seven miles of bean rows altogether, and he spent a lot of time weeding them and chasing away the woodchucks.

Taken from today's "The Writer's Almanac" by Garrison Keillor

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Poem: Naming the Animals by Anthony Hecht

Naming the Animals
Having commanded Adam to bestow
Names upon all the creatures, God withdrew
To empyrean palaces of blue
That warm and windless morning long ago,
And seemed to take no notice of the vexed
Look on the young man's face as he took thought
Of all the miracles the Lord had wrought
Now to be labeled, dubbed, yclept, indexed.
Before an addled mind and puddle brow,
The feathered nation and the finny prey
Passed by; there went biped and quadruped.
Adam looked forth with bottomless dismay
Into the tragic eyes of his first cow,
And shyly ventured, "Thou shalt be called 'Fred.'"

"Naming the Animals" by Anthony Hecht, from Collected Later Poems. © Alfred A Knopf, 2003. Reprinted without permission but with gratitude. (buy now)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Waxwings and More

Out of anything bad there is usually a "good". How often have we heard this and still it is true. We have ivy on the side of the house. Now ivy is a "bad plant", nonnative and invasive. Invasive, did I say invasive? Well that is sure true. We got it off the trees last year and now after the rains it is half way up the trunks again. It makes a wonderful hiding place for all those little four footed lifeforms that we don't like to talk about. What could be wonderful about this plant? I will show you some pictures of what can be wonderful about ivy.

The last week we have had flocks of Cedar Waxwings enjoying the ivy berries!!! I have pyricantha planted for them to eat but they would rather have the ivy berries. For anyone that loves these beautiful birds I would say Ivy is a Great plant!!! Two years ago we had a flock of Western and Cassin's Kingbirds, at least 40, eating the ivy. We also have Starlings coming though dining on our specials.

The pictures aren't all that great but I haven't had the camera out when I have been sitting closer to them. They are in the trees next to the house and then they come down and line up for the fountain on the pine or this tree.

They come down, sometimes 15 at a time and take a drink and then go back up into the ivy for more lunch. I must admit the fountains are getting pretty messy with ivy seeds that are running through these wonderful birds!

I was sitting out on the back patio yesterday morning eating breakfast when
the whole flock came down into the trees and fountain. I was only 5 feet away. Of course I had my coffee and not my camera so you will just have to picture it in your head!! It was a quite a sight.

Here are two of them. Click on the pictures to see a little better.

The yard has been very busy the past couple of weeks. Here is a lady goldfinch waiting her turn at one of the feeders.

Mr Goldfinch looking as handsome as he can. There have been lots of babies in the yard. Mainly House Sparrows so far but a few House Finch and one set of Lesser Goldfinch that I have seen. I think the funniest sight is the parents bringing the babies to the feeders and the babies will be sitting in the feeder right in all the food and they are begging to be fed. They catch on pretty fast though.
Other birds that have been here over the past two weeks:

Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Brown headed Cowbirds
Brewer Blackbirds
Western Kingbird
Cooper's Hawk
House Sparrow
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Hooded Oriole
Downy Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Oak Titmouse
American Crow
Scrub Jay
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen Hummingbird
Blackchinned Hummingbird
Blackheaded Grosbeak
Mourning Dove
Ringed Turtle Dove
European Starlings
Turkey Vulture flying over the house.
Redtail Hawk flying over
Mallard Ducks flying over
Think that is all but I might be missing something.
The flowers are bursting out with all the wonderfully warm weather. I replanted the rose garden last fall and it is showing off some beautiful flowers. I was going to make sure I wrote down all the names before the plants grew too much to get to the tags but guess what I didn't do. You will have to do with the pictures without the names!!! Maybe next year.....

This is a minature rose

Jerusalem Sage looking good.

Martha Washington Geranuim flowering and a few more pots of stuff.

Thanks to the Crows we also have some "fun" thing in the fountains. I had to clean one of them the other week as there was something dead in it. I couldn't tell what it was as they had just brought a part of the fur down to eat. I might have been part of skunk that they found. Something like that. Disgusting anyway. They like to bring all their found treasures down to a water source and get it wet before they eat it. If I didn't like the crows so much I would be very, very unhappy!!! I guess it is one more of those good things with the bad. Here is what is normally in the birdbath. Some kind of chicken bone.

I do try and get out in the morning to check out what they have left because if I don't guess who likes to get out there to get something to eat!!! Luckily he can't get into this birdbath but if they drop in on the ground when they are done it can be a problem. They say chicken bones are bad for the dog and I don't want any more Vet bills!!! He hasn't been stung by a bee or anymore foxtails in his eye yet this year so that is good!!