Nature verses the local grocery...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

TRAIL'S END; maybe

A dear friend lost his Mother this past week. In passing conversation, my writer-friend and I exchanged the thought of his Mom still being here through the many stories he writes about his childhood and the other stories of his youth that he shares occasionally. Personally, I find this thought, consoling. I recently celebrated the 11th year of my Mother's departure, so death and life and all it's complexities continue to rattle around the corners of my mind this month. Several questions thread through these philosophical ramblings.

1. Do our Loved ones truly live on in our memories? Or is this wishful thinking? Is that crocheted doily of My Mom's that I so treasure, really her still in my life, or a ghostly representation? She bought the thread, she spent the effort and talent for its creation; it would not exist without her existence.

2. Are we physical beings, having an occasional spiritual experience along our lives, or vice versa? The latter leaves many open questions about our passing while the former presupposes a predetermined continuing of one sort or another. It surely makes for sweeter dreams when we go to sleep each night believing that a greater place than our physical lives, awaits our immortal soul.

3. Is this the only time we live in a physical body, or do we pass through this life more than once? Many written words suggest that we get more than one chance to learn our worldly lessons in preparation for a higher level of existence. If so, are we always a human, or do we take our chances as other animals as well?

In Nature, everything is recycled. And we know scientifically that we humans share many of the same ingredients that make up our surrounding world. For example, our veggie scraps live on to feed the compost pile - which feeds our garden - which sooner or later makes it back to the table - and again to the continuing compost pile. Is the garden...a veggie's idea of heavenly bliss? Maybe not.

Back to my friend. As a staunch believer in a hereafter, I sensed a peace in his voice when he spoke of his Mother's passing, as opposed to panic or overwhelming sadness. And as for missing his Mother, I know he will. I've listened past the words in his stories of his youth; his Mother and family are threaded through, around and inside every story he has - and still will write. And through these stories, I too have grown to sense a bit of who his Mother was through her quoted words, the ways he responded to those words, the gentleness with which he has described her on numerous occasions. So in some ways, I too, will miss his Mother.

In my heart of hearts, I guess I believe that we leave behind parts of ourselves in the crocheted doilies we create; or the certain twinkle we recognize - though not as our own, in the mirror each morning; or the memories of our Loved one's peculiar ways they behaved or a special way they Loved us.

My friend told me; 'This evening as I was bringing in the stove wood for the night, I could hear her again telling me when I was a boy, "When are you going to learn to fill the woodbox before dark." '

Yes, I believe we live on, in one form or another...or maybe in many different ways. I know my friend experienced that belief as he fed his wood stove last night.

As always, Nature prevails.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Winter Trails; the 'fabric of our lives'




Winter
snows howl outside today. As I sit by the window, gazing through the blowing snowflakes to the far away thoughts inside my cozy brain, it seems it's the small things - the everyday, 'no biggie', collection of on-going moments, that seem to fill me. I used to believe the big events were the 'markers' of life...getting married, climbing the social and professional ladders, getting a raise. But are these bigger events really as important as the tiny parts of life that grease the gears of our 'every-days'?

When a loved one passes, what is it that comprises 'the memories' we so treasure. Is it..the way they smiled when they tried to hold back from telling about a secret gift? Or the way their eyes looked just before they said 'I'm sorry'? Or was it their particular walk that you watched for years as they left for work? How about their yen to take off fishing every Sunday morning? It used to annoy you, you wanted more time with them...then. How did their hug linger, the smell of their perfume, the toss of their head and the shine of their hair?

Yesterday, you were planning your vacation, your new move, the big party at Christmas, the "rest of your life." Tomorrow, your health may change, disease may creep in, and time will not stand still; it never does. What then, of your tomorrows? My dear Colorado friend always says..."T.C.! Things change."

Weave carefully, the fabric of your life. Choose the thread, gather it with forethought, add many colors, tie knots in the lose ends, wear it with reverence.

Nature is sunlight and sadness, growth and grief, forethought and forgetfulness, birth and death.

TODAY

"Possess this day with awe and caring.
It is a gift given quickly and only once;
Stain it not with tears of regret.

Look to yesterday with reverence,
For it is a teacher - a wise one,
A pathway for tomorrow, a memory, a vision.

Tomorrow is also a vision, but without substance.
It is a dream, a wish, a story - yet to be told,
A feeling waiting to be birthed.

Yesterday passes,
Tomorrow waits;
Ah...but for today."

Danielle Simone
1983
(copyright, 1991)


Nature prevails.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sunset Trails; A Song of Life

Bridge Across Forever

There's a time for many seasons,
Many songs, and lovely names.
Feelings strong and spirits empty,
Who will ever know we came.






















As the day begins to nighttime,
As the stars fall into view.
Are we now...or are we ever,
Is this old, or very new.
Take my hand and take me farther,
Show me lifetimes lived and gone.
Bring me closer to the future,
Oh please sing to me, your song.





















If today will last forever,
If tomorrow's never here.
Can I ever be my future,
Am I anything...I fear.
If time is but a journey,
And life is but a tear.
Will we meet in our forevers,
Doesn't anybody...hear.






















Are my dreams no more than fancy,
Are my songs a wish for time.
Can we bridge across forever,
Were you ever...really mine.
We begin and then we follow,
We grow and then we die.
Are we moments full of meaning,
Or does time...just pass us by.





There's a time for many seasons,
Many songs, and lovely names.
Feelings strong...and spirits empty,
Who will ever know we came.


Danielle Simone
written 1991
(copyright 1991
)







Nature prevails.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Math Trails; a game of numbers

I chuckled as I read my friend's post on her dislike of Algebra. Gosh, I thought, how can someone NOT enjoy Algebra!? It's the neatest game since Tinker toys. Then, my famous, solitary attempt with Calculus...slowly crept into my brain - painfully. (It's amazing how fast that proverbial pedestal can crumble when you look it in the eye.)

Indeed, math is all about how it fits for your particular brain. A whiz in Algebra, I did well my first two weeks in Calculus; after all, it's really all about Algebra, right? For the beginning, yes. Then, slowly, painfully, the word limits appeared on the new chapter page. My mathematical whizzing...whizzed right out the door! Stress entered my life - in a new color called OVERWHELMED! The next 14 weeks were a constant struggle, filled with hours of re-reading chapter explanations, numerous trips to the prof's office, three page-long problems and a hired tutor, who yawned through most of my teary sessions. (Poor guy).

So, that said, I now empathize with my friend, and we do occasional Algebra problems together.

If you are struggling with Algebra, there are free resources available. The easiest I've encountered is a website called Purple Math. (I Love purple!) The folks at Purple Math (they even have a forum), not only have the clearest, most simplistic explanations I've seen anywhere, but they offer free help, too.

But this is a Nature blog, you mention; how is Nature involved in math? Well, maybe it's not exactly her cup of tea. But the key here is, to understand certain parts of Nature, math is a golden key.

To set up the perfect trajectories for space flight, Calculus rules. The concept of limits I mentioned before, is the basis for formulating these trajectories. I'll bet the Astronauts are REALLY glad their counterparts at the consoles in the NASA control centers did their homework!

When you begin a new addition to your horse barn, the Geometry you may have struggled through, lets you arrange triangles on the ground (the 3, 4, 5 kind), to assure your foundations are straight and squared correctly.

The measurements you hated to figure out in math, now help you make a perfect bread recipe.

And the conversions you dealt with, taking inches to centimeters, now give you the tools necessary to interpret sewing and wood-working patterns.

To function in Nature, to understand her complexities and to be able to move through the world she provides, math is an invaluable partner, tried and true. It will not forsake you; its formulas are precise and their perfection supports your correct decisions through many of Nature's problems.

So now I smile with a bit more understanding for my friend. Besides, she's extremely intelligent, and has several mathy friends; she'll do well in her Algebra homework. When she explains the technicalities of creating a website - I cry! She's an awesome writer, too.

If you have Algebra headaches, check out the Purple Math website. They know their stuff over there and more importantly, they have a knack for simplicity, the key (IMO), to understanding any math.

Nature prevails.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chicken Trails in the Sunset


Our beautiful, productive girls rode off into the sunset tonight. But not too far. Just next door, helping to entertain - and feed - two lovely young teenage girls...and their parents. We heard they were already named...before they entered their new pen!



Goodbyes were sad but understandable, since they have a great home, other pretties to relate with, and we can visit.





This third year with our girls was the most productive, though they always more than earned their keep. But for some reason, only known to them, our six pretties gave 4 to 6 eggs a day - regularly, all summer long. Bless their generous egg-laying hearts.



Our pets won't make us breakfast any more, but they will continue on with their egg-laying careers.






Goodbye pretties. May Nature watch over your chicken trails with Love and caring.

Nature prevails.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Butterfly Trails; 11 Years and Counting

My mother died 11 years ago today. Among the many things which occurred during those few horrendous weeks following this trauma, was the purchase of a tall candle; my intent was to light it each Oct 18, to commemorate, remember, forgive...heal.

Each year, I remembered as October approached...and remembered again...at the end of the month. By the 3rd or so year of this nonsense, it occurred to me that I wasn't fond of the game my mind was playing, so I tried harder - to be more 'punctual'.

By the 6th year, I caught on; my subconscious was just not ready to face the unpleasant reality it had endured.

Last year, I reunited with my sister, following an 11 year hiatus, birthed from the turmoil of pain and anger during those ensuing months, 11 years ago. She and I have shared a growing year, filled with learning and forgiveness and the rearranging of a few of my memories. Interesting...how memories sometimes have the convenient power to arrange themselves in the most 'comfortable' places. Stress...may not be the forte of the human subconscious.

So, here it is - today, the 18th of October. 11 years ago, our Mommy said her goodbyes to her children in the 'comfort' of her living room. We all were there, around her bed, comforting her; holding her hands, wiping her forehead, carefully marking the clock for pain meds, attempting to deal with the horribly painful human trauma of death and separation.

Today...is a 'different' year. Today, my sister and I spoke about butterflies instead of separation; Love instead of anger; memories, instead of loss. Today, during the numerous passes by her candle with it's 'eternal' flame, Mommy and I shared words, feelings, memories...healing.

I'm not sure I understand the 'meaning' of life or what pre or pro-cedes our physical time spent here. But my Love and attention to 50 some years of Nature, assures me that life always pre and pro-cedes as it should. Fierce and sometimes lethal thunderstorms bring new growth to the Earth and life-giving water. The sometimes dangerous Sun, gives warmth and light. Death is a part of life, a part of the natural cycle of the planet we call home.

Today I commemorate Mommy. I salute Nature and life...and Love...and healing. This 11th year, I remember...and hug my memories, instead of my pain.

As always, Nature prevails.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lunar Trails; NASA Success

Success marked NASA'S space record, yet again, a bit after 5:30 AM MDT, 9 October, 2009. 40 years after the world watched American astronauts wave at us while standing in moon dust, we've again - raised a bit more moon dust...twice, in a matter of minutes. NASA says we're checking for water, which over recent years - through many avenues, seems to be present in the polar regions, deep in dark craters. Safe from searing solar rays, it may hide intact in its frigid and undisturbed state.

I have to admit, it was a bit eerie, watching the last few seconds of video from the second craft as it approached the lunar surface at thousands of miles per second. Felt a little odd to be cheering...the demise of something so special, that made it so far - exactly as programmed.

But the end justified the means - we hope. If lunar water exists in any marked amount, our ability to use the moon in space travel will be more feasible; water is used not only for obvious reasons (thirst), but for fuel and insulation against solar damage.

Though a bit different from her earthly home, Nature prevails, thousands of miles into cold, dark, space.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Little Lamb Trails

What is it about babies that conjure up the human need to aide and assist? It is not always narrow-focused toward humans either, as anyone knows who has held a little kitten or goat or helped a new-born foal to its feet.

I’d like to continue believing, in my heart of hearts, that this ‘help’ gene we possess, is bigger than all of us combined, and surpasses all understanding. Nature is indeed bigger than all of us, while being part and parcel of not only who we are, but more importantly…who we can all become.

Ruth Schwinn, a novelist with more than her share of this ‘gene’, has a new book to offer, Henry the Lamb. A true story, Henry the Lamb is but one of many critter stories that make up life on their farm in New Jersey.

Picture by Justin Flores



Every person should have a Henry come into their life and experience the joy of giving from the heart – giving more than you ever thought you could – and the reward that can never be matched,” says Ruth, on her website.




Don’t miss this heart-warming story of Love and life and yet- another time when Nature shines, bringing out the specialness in both man and beast.

Drop in on Henry’s website and enjoy a story…from the heart.

As always…Nature prevails.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fall Trails; Seasons of Change

Fall is fast approaching. It's the saddest time of the year for me, thinking about all that cold sitting around the corner...waiting to descend on everything - including me!

So, I counteract this malaise by thinking SPRING thoughts.

-I am planting some Blackberry bush starts today that I received from a very kind and generous fellow 'chicken-tracker' from the Backyard Chickens forum. Thank you Russ!








-I found a nursery magazine - February, 1997 issue- where prices are ridiculously normal! (The "good-ole-days" are only a wisp of memory lately).

-I plan on digging my swimming suit out this afternoon...if I can remember where it lives since 1998 when it last endured chlorine water...

-And lastly, I peruse all my leftover chicken magazines...Murray McMurray, Cackle Hatchery and Backyard Chickens. I know, I know...people buy chicks in the SPRING! (My point, thank you!) Daydreaming is NOT overrated.

Ah yes, SPRING; all those little green things poking their stems out of the ground..birds rushing around putting their nests together with ANY little thing they can find that works.

Those big, puffy white clouds floating around with no particular plan in mind..watching the sun climb slowly higher on the horizon every morning..enjoying the increasing daylight moments.

















What is your favorite season? Is it the quiet, cozy feel of winter, the rush of spring, the warm, balmy days of summer or the frantic, dying days of fall? We'd enjoy hearing your comments.

Remember to take Nature into your life; watch a sunrise over a lake, or a thunderstorm coming over the horizon; enjoy the geese as they fly their perfect "V's" overhead, take the time to watch a line of ants do their amazing work - with such a tiny brain, extend your hand for a weary butterfly.



Most of all, "feel" Nature as you walk through your garden or dash through a rain shower or shovel into a snowdrift. Keep Nature close to your heart, your soul - soak in her energy, balance, her beauty and strength.

Know and appreciate her seasons for the uniqueness they provide, the learning and lessons.

Nature prevails.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chicken Tracks in the City

The economy is working to pull itself out of the sewer while Americans struggle with their increasing budgets and disappearing dollar values. Chickens to the rescue?

As nostalgia reminds us, chickens and other friendly critters in our backyards, used to be everyday fare. An increasing number of homeowners are choosing to raise a couple of hens in their backyards again, to offset their food budgets. A reasonable choice you say? ‘Reasonable’…may be subjective. Some city councils are raising their hackles at the thought of bringing the ‘farm’ to town!

Rob Ludlow, who runs www.backyardchickens.com, has a following of over 10,000 who agree that keeping a couple hens in the backyard is just good sense. “People are realizing chickens are a multipurpose pet. They eat bugs and weeds; they’re really fun to watch. And how many pets make you breakfast?” he was quoted in a 2008 article by Dave Phillips.



Research shows that the city councils that prefer to keep their cities ‘chicken-free’, such as New Haven, Connecticut, are no longer the leading edge of the chicken – yes or no – issue. Peter Applebome, a New Haven writer throws around this issue in his article of April, 2009, Envisioning the End of ‘Don’t Cluck, Don’t Tell. He brought out some research by Jennifer Blecha from her doctoral dissertation that said…53 (cities) allow hens, 16 prohibit them and 9 make no mention.”

In Salem, Oregon, the noble fight continues for the lowly chicken. Nick Timiraos writes in the Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2009, Some City Folk are Mad as Wet Hens When Chickens Come Home to Roost. He states in his article that Randall Burkey Co., a Boerne, Texas, hatchery, “…credits a doubling of small orders for chickens and supplies in urban and suburban areas…” Mayor Janet Taylor is “…guardedly supportive of the measure and ready to vote…” says Timiraos.

Trevor Hughes in USA Today says New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon and Seattle allow a maximum of 5 hens (no roosters). “Longmont, Colorado, city planner Ben Ortiz says elected officials in his city of about 85,000 near Fort Collins are considering whether to let residents raise chickens. Ortiz says many residents have cited financial sustainability as a major reason. ‘There may be some pent-up demand for this kind of thing.’ ”

The current thinking on ‘city chickens’ seems to be increasingly in favor of the quiet critters with the edible side product; the sinking economy seems to be the major catalyst. Cities such as Fort Collins; Missoula, Montana; South Portland, Maine and Ann Arbor, Michigan are successfully removing chicken ban ordinances. How goes it in your city? If you are considering bending the ears of your city council on this issue, here is some ammunition. Keep in mind that dogs are allowed in most cities. Here are a few comparisons:

Dogs bark; chickens quietly cluck – occasionally.
Dogs leap fences; chickens stay cooped – with the help of an occasional wing-clip.
Dog poo is pretty stinky; chicken poo grows beautiful gardens and other green things.
Dogs give Love – absolutely; chickens make quiet, Lovable pets as well – AND – give about an egg-a-day!
Dogs chew up ‘stuff’; chickens chew up all flavors of insects – usually the kinds that live in your garden!
Dogs die; chickens die too, but sometimes make it to the soup pot along the way.

Mother Earth News says, "Eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:

1⁄3 less cholesterol
1⁄4 less saturated fat
2⁄3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene"

Eggs are close to being a perfect food. According to the American Egg Board,
"Eggs are a naturally nutrient-dense food, which means they have a high proportion of nutrients to calories. One large egg has only 75 calories and provides 13 essential nutrients in varying amounts. Eggs are an excellent source of choline and a good source of the highest quality protein and riboflavin. Many of the egg’s incredible nutrients are found in the egg yolk, including choline, folate, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin D. The yolk also includes healthy monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats and almost half of the high-quality protein found in eggs."

This is an example of a well researched, documented presentation to a city council supporting chicken-keeping in city limits.

In the end, life boils down to the basics of food, water and Love – according to most of the literature. While Washington goes about its own flavor of ‘economic stimulus’, we folks on the lower end of the food chain have to take more control of what and how we eat with a tighter and tighter budget in mind. Egg-laying hens are an economically feasible choice, a choice that… just makes tasty, wholesome sense!

As always, Nature prevails.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Graduation Trails

A family member graduated recently. We shared these words.

"Good strengths and energy along your journey. Remember that you are the only person you will/can ever be. So be your best in your own unique way.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone! Always be open to learn from others, but never compare yourself; it will distress you and sap your energy. Each and every person – even identical twins, are separately unique.

You will discover your strengths and your limitations as you progress down your road. Build on your strengths and use them with humility, because nothing and no one lasts forever, that wonderfulness might disappear tomorrow. Strengthen your limitations, when and where you can; but mostly - embrace and respect them. That respect and acceptance of yourself – of all and everything that is you, will energize and sustain you, and keep you strong.

Be ever so particular about the person you choose for your life partner. Make sure they can be your best and life-long friend. Chemistry can sometimes wane as you age, but friendship won’t. Friends hold you when you cry, stand by you when everyone else is gone, understand you in your anger, support you with your dreams, and respect and take care of you as age plays its horrid game.

A solid work ethic is a good and necessary precursor to any success as very little that is worthwhile, comes easily. But do schedule in some healthy fun and play into your days. It will energize you, keep you young and keep you smiling.

Work hard at holding hands with Nature. She affords us unlimited avenues of beauty and constant opportunity for learning and humility. Revere and respect her, and use stewardship with the Earth she provides.

Search your heart and spirit for a Creator of some sort, be it a higher power within you, Nature, or some other form of spirituality. It will sustain you in your hopeless moments when no human can; it will teach you a respect and understanding of the universe, a universe that can give and take life in the same breath, and seem unduly cruel at times. A spiritual belief system can engender your inner peace; it may be your leaning post, your inner strength when sometimes…life just doesn’t make good sense.

Love and care for yourself, your family and your friends, no matter how intolerable or unbearable they may seem at times. Love is not easy; contrary to modern culture, you do not fall in Love. Rather - you choose Love. And Love - real Love in any of it's myriad of forms, takes work, respect, energy, patience and perseverance. As elusive and beautiful as the hummingbird, Love is the glue of life. For the times when your human nature will abandon Love in favor of ego, always keep a hug and sincere I’m sorry available. Pride never won a war, but I’m sorry and a hug…are always a sure victory! You can’t buy these two treasures any where in the universe; but they are yours for the taking – anytime, anywhere. Don’t lose them. You will lose your way without them.

All creatures, no matter how small, are part of Nature and deserving of basic care and respect. How we choose to care for entities smaller/weaker than us is a direct statement about our capacity for Love, respect and understanding of the Universe.

Learn all the lessons afforded you along your journey, bar none! For it is only you and yourself that must ultimately dance to the music of life.

Take good care. Congratulations on your graduation, one of your first major accomplishments!"

As always, in youth and in age, Nature prevails.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bumpy Chicken Trails OR Chicken Track Trails in Trouble


For those of you who are fortunate enough to have an e-mail subscription to the newsletter from BackYard Chickens, you may have noticed that there are over 20 linkable references to cities across the country that are hearing increasing noise from owners of backyard chickens...within city limits - cities that have codes against these quiet, friendly, egg-producing animals.

I just wrote an e-mail to a reporter of such an article from Salem, OR. My points are simple - even easy to understand for city council members (who seem as a rule, to have hearing difficulties when in the vicinity of citizen's opinions with which their may personally differ). Government anyone?

Keep in mind please, that dogs are everywhere! And certainly allowed in cities (to my continuing chagrin).

Dogs are not usually a quiet animal; they can bark incessantly. Hens quietly cluck.

Dogs can and occasionally do, bite people - which on rare occasion, can be lethal. A hen can try to peck you if she is setting on a clutch.

Dogs have a genetic feud with restraint; they are challenged by fencing of any kind, digging under, climbing over or simply leaping them. Hens (with an occasional necessary wing-clip), respect their fences.

Dog poo is more repulsive to me than a year-old chicken coop! And cities don't 'crow' too much about it, interestingly enough. Hen coops are easily cleaned - AND - hen poo is a welcome addition to a compost pile as well as a great fertilizer for gardens, trees, etc. Haven't seen much dog poo on anyone's Azaleas lately...

Dogs give a lot of Love; point taken. Hens...give Love too...and eggs.

Dogs don't seem to have a hankering for grasshoppers and other insects that plague back-yards gardeners. Insects are a hen's caviar!

When dogs die, (I lost 2 lifelong pets last year and still deal with the painful loss), they go to doggie heaven. When hens die, they can pass through the dinner table, first.

The price of food at my grocery stores has doubled, generally speaking; how are the prices at yours? An increasing number of people are turning to their 'backyards' to supplement their decreasing buying power. In addition, considering the detriments of eating increasing amounts of 'high fructose corn syrup', 'monosodium glutamate' and other unpronounceable chemicals added to store-bought foods, I look longer and harder at my 'backyard' lately, to feed me in a cheaper, healthier manner. Plus, I can use the exercise!

Nature may have her temper tantrums and bad moods, but overall, she provides for all our needs from medicinal herbs to edible wild plants to animals that can add protein to our diets. Nature is all around us, ready to support us in this life we live.

What are your thoughts? How do you feel about having a couple hens in your backyard? Please leave us a comment.

As always, Nature prevails.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nostalgia Trails; Oris George


It's ready folks; push a few buttons and a touching, newly published e-book by Oris George is now available at http://orisgeorge.com/books/man.htm.

Oris George writes nostalgic stories of his boyhood, many years ago, when milk came directly from the cow out back, eggs were only as far away as the coop out back, and hours of chores to keep up all that entailed "out back", made up the responsible person that looked back at you in the mirror.

Life was not as easy then, but dinners and homemade apple pie were something to crow about, the grate in the corner of your bedroom in the old farmhouse grew you up sometimes, and strangers along the side of the road...became life-long friends.

THE MAN AT THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, by Oris George, will not only keep you turning the pages, but will also leave a warm and memorable footprint on your heart.

For $6.95, (temporary, introductory price), this e-book is a steal you don't want to miss.

As always...Nature prevails.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nature Prevails

Whether you study the comeback of an endangered species or patrol your park on your morning run as a park ranger, keep up the grounds in your summer seasonal city park position, dig up fossils for your next book on Dinosaurs, head your scout troop on a trek through the high Sierras, film a documentary on volcanoes at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, take rafters down the Colorado River, pick up trash along the road, drive semis long haul, fly emergency supplies to a hurricane struck New Orleans or serve on a search and rescue ski patrol, Nature is your guide, your worst enemy and your avenue of travel. There is no avoiding Nature in this Universe; she is everywhere, everytime, everyplace...so long as we continue to breathe her air.

Accepting Nature in her complete attire takes understanding of her pervasiveness, acceptance of her power and our minute position in that schematic, as well as preparedness for her more grand gestures such as frigid temps, high winds and tsunamis. Nature is high-maintenance; boating in the afternoon sunshine under gentle breezes may evolve into a powerful thunderstorm in a matter of minutes, packing tornadic winds and killer lightning. Skiing down an expensive, blemish-free slope in the high mountains may instantly turn into a life and death avalanche. Basking innocently on a beach in India may be your last vacation as you realize the ocean that just rose 100 feet in front of you leaves you no avenue of escape. Living at the base of a volcanoe may end your life.

Nature also warms us, quenches our thirst, provides our food, calms us with her breezes, protects us from the ravages of space, keeps our feet planted firmly on the ground we call home, and most certainly provides the profound air that keeps our heart pumping.

Nature watched over the microbes as they blossomed into life in our oceans four million years ago, she applied her creativity as she continually rearranged her continents into their ever-evolving shapes and positions, she cried over the millions of lives lost during the history of wars, she surely smiled with pride as her myriad forms of life rebounded on Earth after thousands of years of planetary disasters.

Nature surrounds us in the vegetables of our gardens, the butterflies on our flowers, the breezes in the trees under which we rest on a hot afternoon; she brings us peace and relaxation as we enjoy the tapping of a gentle summer rain on a tin roof; she certainly feeds our soul in the gentle embrace of a friend as we mourn a Loved one.

Embrace Nature in your life. Help a turtle across the road; separate your recyclable items; plant a tree; leave your car parked once in awhile and walk. Look around occasionally and count your natural blessings. You'll improve your blood pressure, slow down your heart rate, bring a little peace into your soul and last...bring joy into your life.

As always, Nature prevails.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Healing Trails

I have to confess; I copied this saying from Jan Verhoeff's blog this am, a friend who wrote a profound article yesterday on changing hurt...into healing.


“A pearl is a beautiful thing that is produced by an injured life. It is the tear [that results] from the injury of the oyster. The treasure of our being in this world is also produced by an injured life. If we had not been wounded, if we had not been injured, then we will not produce the pearl.”


Stephan Hoeller

If you harbor pain in your heart, or stress in your soul, go over and take in the words of healing and Love available on Jan's site.

Nature feeds us in surprising ways and angels take many forms. Maybe your rainbow's end lies in a few simple words today that will give your soul the wings it needs to take you through this day, week, year.

Nature prevails.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Freedom trails; false alarm, this time

After receiving numerous calls from all the messages left at Senator Michael Bennett's office last Friday, it seems the bill S2099 is dead. As one clerk told me, "When a session of Congress closes, all bills that did not go into law are dead." S2099 died in committee in 2000.

For anyone following this, Bennett's office directed me to www.thomas.gov for any further information on bills. Seems one can find just about anything related to bills on this site.

FYI, Senator Mark Udall contacted a fellow blogger Jan Verhoeff and confirmed the same information on S2099 as Senator Bennett's office did above.

We all (yes, I've learned yet another lesson in responsibility), might check the Thomas site on a regular basis to keep abreast of legislation in progress. Being current with our information makes it of course, easier to make our voice heard...before the fact!

This human nature of ours is wondrous and deep and worthy of respect. Our capacity for learning and growth are unlimited.

Nature prevails.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Nostalgia Trails; Ol' Blue and Charlie

As we celebrate this fourth of July, 2009, Oris George’s new story brings you back to a time frame when the fourth of July also meant learning how to grow up.

Some say freedom is about speaking your mind. Others say it’s all about moving anytime you wish and living where you choose. Freedom includes the ability to choose your career, the size of your family, the books you choose to write – or read. Living in a nation that allows public gatherings without fear for your safety as well as being able to safely walk the streets of your town at night, are also part of America’s freedoms.

There is also something to say for the freedom to think and learn and grow and hold events and ideas and yes – people, dear in our hearts.

Ol’ Blue and Charlie, takes the reader into the heart of a young man trying to grow into his ‘man-full-grown’ view of himself even as he also struggles with the pains of being ‘only’ eleven. Here are some excerpts:

-"I don’t care what your dad said. You have no business up there alone.”
What did she know about anything anyway? I had my donkey, ol’ Blue, and Ring, my trusty black dog going with me. I was eleven years old and didn’t need anyone telling me what I could or couldn’t do.



-“Thanks for the lunch, Mom. You make the best lunches.” I figured it wouldn’t cause me pain to elaborate on the lunch. (Moms like to hear those kinda things.) “Don’t worry. I’ll be home in time to do chores.”

-I responded by saying, “You don’t look like much of a cowboy to me.” As soon as the words dropped out of my mouth, I was sorry I’d said anything. (All at once I didn’t feel very smart.) I could tell at a glance he was in bad shape. His right leg was twisted and lying at an awkward angle. A trickle of blood showed at the left corner of his mouth. I felt as dumb as the knots on a potato. I knew he needed help.

-That September morning in 1945 started like any other Saturday morning – out of bed by 5:00 a.m. Mom snapped from her bedroom, “Quit clattering around and let the rest of us sleep.”

Don’t let this nostalgic peek into the past slip by. You’ll leave this story (as with all of Mr. George’s stories along the backroads of yesterday), with a refreshed feeling that times past really do matter and growing up in the harsher times during WWII may leave you with a broader, deeper sense of what life really means…to an eleven-year-old who believes he is a man-full-grown.








"A mule is everything a horse wishes it was!"
Oris George











Visit Oris George down his backroads of yesterday at orisgeorge.com.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Freedom Trails

Consider this: a world where our words are our greatest weapons. And the word 'stranger' is unknown. In 2009 unfortunately, this reality can only be found on bookshelves, under fiction.

I was jerked awake and fearful when I read a "letter to the editor" in The Local Buzz by Jim Faull, the Prowers County Sheriff. After contacting a fellow blogger Jan Verhoeff who writes the local Lamar site, lamarco.us, we spent our first few waking hours searching the internet and firing up phone lines researching the authenticity of this SB-2099. In part, I quote Faull's "letter to the editor":

Senate bill SB-2099 if passed would require us to put on our 2009 federal tax form all guns that you have or own.
it may require fingerprints and a tax of $50.00 per gun
.


Mr. Faull's heart was in the positive place of concern and caring as his letter urged citizens to fight this potential travesty of American rights granted under the Constitution, (remember that little document that is sometimes referred to as 'out of date' and other insanities?). I particularly appreciate and respect a law enforcement person who outwardly agrees with the 2nd amendment.

Checking Snopes, about.com and other internet sources, however, the bill was apparently introduced in 2000 and the wording may be different than stated above. It may be that there is no current bill as such; we'll know more Monday, hopefully, as I left messages on all 9 of Senator Bennett's phones and 1 of Senator Udall's 3 numbers (2 of his voice mail boxes were full). I also have a call into the bill's sponsor, Sen Jack Reed, Md: 202.224.4642. BIG NOTE HERE folks; if Sen. Reed were to receive a taste of Colorado "opinion" on Monday, he - and other people's reprsentatives of like mind - might think twice before ripping away at our 2nd amendment rights!

Look up this bill folks; it'll spike your B.P. and aggravate your heart arrhythmia's! The never-ending push to dis-arm Americans and leave the weapons in the hands of criminals and government, continues. I am not aware of any time/place in history when/where this tactic strengthened a country's citizenry. Comments are welcome.

FYI, I quote the 2nd amendment to The Constitution of the United States of America;

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Please watch the video listed below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeiK8tEtLv4

This 4th of July, give some time and consideration to the life we lead in America. We are here because some very wise folks early in our history as a nation, realized the need to prevent any future oppression as we had endured in our beginning struggle as a new nation, as a young America. They wrote a document, The Constitution of the United States. How do you feel about this? Did it serve our purposes for the first 200 years? Will it stand the test of time? Is it 'fanatical' to stand behind the backbone of our freedom? You decide.

http://www.jacquielawson.com/viewcard.asp?code=1221321706636&source=jl999

Nature prevails.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The NATURE of man; neighbors

It's a part of everyday living - neighbors. Unless you have your own private island or own a 2000 acre ranch, neighbors are a fact of life.

Sometimes their dogs wake you at 2am (never much fun). Or their music overshadows your peace and quiet (very irritating). Or they intrude on your privacy for that never-ending cup of sugar.

Or, you are fortunate enough to live near a special neighbor family who offer you a key to their basement for protection against the ever-present tornadoes that plague the high plains of Colorado. And, they entrust you with the care and safety of their 4-H animals that are more precious to their children during this time of summer in southeast Colorado (local and state fair times), than any type of new toy.

And for the minimum work you provided and the maximum enjoyment you gained interacting with the cutest goats on the planet, the nicest young gentleman and young lady bring you gifts from a far away place near a beautiful ocean. Not just any gift, but ones personalized with your names - in addition to the biggest box of salt water taffy you've ever seen! Did I mention it's my husband's favorite candy?! And they didn't know that...till now. Yet another synchronicity in life.

This is a time for considering...the Nature of man - my nature, in particular. What of the times my nature was grumpy and not the most understanding...of my neighbor? These are parts of my human nature I am occasionally tempted to disown. But life isn't quite that easy.

Today, our neighbor family reached out yet again, displayed a part of human nature that is connected to the creation and design and artistry of life, rather than the negative, self-serving side, (as I have shown in times past). And as such, I continue to learn, and grow, and rise just a little more, above the recesses of humanity that reside in corners of my psyche that are much younger than my chronological age, that still have lessons to learn, and understanding and patience to gain.

I have watched this family over the years, the way they cater and interact with their small children, spend quality time with them, include them in their lives in so many ways. I admire continually how they teach them kindness and understanding...such as having them deliver small gifts to their sometimes not-so-nice neighbor, (me, not my patient, loving, understanding, nice husband), in return for a little help while they vacationed.

The Nature of man is complex and confusing and sometimes misplaced. And then sometimes...angelic.

Our appreciation and heartfelt thank you to our special, angelic neighbors.

Nature prevails.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nostalgia trails, Down the Backroads of Yesterday

In the next few days, Mr. Oris George will publish a new e-book, "The Man At the Side of the Road".

If you enjoy serious writing about the 1940's era, when the trails of nature were a bit tougher, more palpable, then trot on over to the orisgeorge website and take a closer look. Mr. George not only lived those days but will shortly be sharing one of his more serious stories of that era, The Man At the Side of the Road. This touching story will allow you a peek into the thoughts of an 8 year-old during the WWII era; it will warm your heart and leave you a different person with a better understanding of the difference that 50 years can make in a culture.

The Man at the Side of the Road is written by southeastern Colorado's premier writer of nostalgia. Don't miss the chance to buy this touching story.

Nature prevails.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Chicken Tracks: Nature's Eggs at Hasty Acres

According to the American Egg Board,

"Eggs are a naturally nutrient-dense food, which means they have a high proportion of nutrients to calories. One large egg has only 75 calories and provides 13 essential nutrients in varying amounts. Eggs are an excellent source of choline and a good source of the highest quality protein and riboflavin. Many of the egg’s incredible nutrients are found in the egg yolk, including choline, folate, lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin D. The yolk also includes healthy monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats and almost half of the high-quality protein found in eggs."

Mother Earth News says that hens - such as the spoiled girls at Hasty Acres, may be 'better than the average bear', (in egg-speak!):
"Eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene"


The following American Egg Board site gives egg recipes. One particular recipe looked yummy enough to munch off the page:

Breakfast Biscuit Quiches

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes
Makes: 10 mini quiches

What You Need

2/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped ham
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
3 EGGS
2 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 pkg. (12 oz.; 10 biscuits) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

Here’s How
1. HEAT oven to 350°F. COMBINE cheese, ham and green onions in small bowl; mix well. BEAT eggs, milk, salt and pepper in medium bowl until blended.
2. SEPARATE biscuits; press or roll each into a 5-inch round on lightly floured surface. PLACE 1 biscuit in each of 10 greased muffin cups, leaving the 2 cups in center of pan empty. PRESS biscuits firmly against bottom and sides of cups and form rim at top.
3. SPOON 2 Tbsp. cheese mixture into each cup. POUR IN egg mixture, dividing evenly.
4. BAKE in center of 350°F oven until filling is set and biscuits are deep golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. REMOVE from pan; serve warm.

Please let us know here on trails of nature, your success (or not) with this recipe. We want to know what our readers think.

We truly enjoy our 'girls' here at Hasty Acres. If you are in an area that allows keeping of hens, give some thought to raising 3 or 4 of them for your improved diet and added enjoyment of life.

Next time on Chicken Tracks, we'll look at some of the popular breeds and their different rates of egg production.

Have to run and throw my pretties some vegetable leftovers from last night's soup.


"HURRY UP! Mom's got scraps!"















"I'm first!"





Til next time, Nature prevails.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Nature's Perfect food; The Perfect EGG at Chicken Tracks on the Trail



The American Egg Board has this to say about the 'lowly' egg; "WHAT’S IN AN EGG? Eggs are rich in nutrients and a very affordable component of a healthy diet. They contain, in varying amounts, almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by humans as well as several other beneficial food components. In fact, egg protein is of such high quality that it is a standard against which other proteins are compared. Take a look at the nutrition statement and see what you get in today’s incredible, edible egg."



Under sunny, warm, breezy Colorado skies, our 6 healthy, free-ranging pretties, here at Hasty Acres, keep us stocked with all the incredible eggs we need - and then some. Just ask Mr. George over at www.orisgeorge.com. He will gladly explain just how to perfectly cook our perfect eggs; Donkey and Mule aficionado, published numerous times in The Brayer and other mule publications, Mr. George has recently taken up the art of egg-cooking. But I digress.

Hens don't always lay eggs and Roosters don't have the least inclination. But more about that on the next Chicken Tracks on the Trail.

Nature prevails.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"You are Not Alone".


Synchronicities surround us, if we open our minds and hearts. Even at 62, I do not comprehend the "truth" that creates and surrounds us every day - here and to the ends of the Universe. But I do see - more and more - that if I am in need of support or a life-lesson or guidance of any kind, it always seems to appear out of 'nowhere'.

Please enjoy the linked article by my friend, writing buddy and leader-of-the-pack of my writer's club. Sometimes, (as I think we all do on occasion), "Charger", wears her angel wings. This 'found me' when I needed it.

Nature prevails, sometimes incognito...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

CHICKEN TRACKS...Next Stop on Trails of Nature

We're finished on the kitty trails; the kitties are settled in. Time to set out on another Nature trail.

"DID SOMEONE SAY TABLE-SCRAPS?"










Hasty Acres lays claim to the best incredible-edible-eggs - according to Oris George from The Backroads of Yesterday. Why, only Thursday, Mr. George gave my Acewriters writing group, a detailed explanation/presentation/specific rendition of the simple cooking, cooling and serving process for the perfect egg! This perfect egg is born - ONLY - at Hasty Acres.

Here at our spacious country dwelling, our six, feathered beauties enjoy the amenities necessary for prolific, perfect egg production. They have free range - which adds grasshoppers and other delectable bugs to their diet, creating bigger, brighter yolks. For breakfast, our pretties get a bowl of hen scratch (grain) to supplement their egg-layer pellets. Scratching in our bulb bed fills their afternoons. They thoroughly enjoy themselves, and my garden soil gets aerated, energizing any lazy worms (they have to be fast to out-dig our pretties)! Given a chance to return to their primitive way of life, they produce their best eggs.

Did I mention they donate free fertilizer all over Hasty Acres?! We do have to occasionally chase them away from the front door - fertilizer on the front steps seems to agitate Mrs. Barn Builder, for some odd reason...

But back to the perfect egg....next time on Chicken Tracks.

Tip of the day
; "An egg is its own perfect container!" (courtesy of Don)

Nature prevails.


Friday, April 24, 2009

The End of the Kitty Trail

Our three little kitties that blessed our lives for the past days, are en route to their new home as I write.

My heart is breaking. As we put the kitties into their carrier after the new owners left, Visitor stayed close by, longer and closer than her usual comfort zone. She watched me so closely/intently...I know...she knew the outcome. I know she knows...that this is the end of her little family.

I keep running this decision over and over in my mind, and the outcome remains the same. If only it didn't break up such a close, Loving family. I watched them interact the other day; one of the tiger kitties walked over to Blackie while he was enjoying breakfast and snuggled down at his hind foot. Blackie never flinched. When he finished eating, he slowly walked away. He and Visitor and the kitties spent over an hour together that morning, laying around, interacting...just being a family.

The new owners tell us the kitties will spend awhile inside, while they acclimate to their new surroundings. There are two young ladies in the family who Love animals - particularly kitties. I sense these three kitties will be Loved and happy in their new home.

In the days ahead we will obtain a wildlife cage and get Visitor and Blackie to the vet for spaying and neutering. Then they too, will embark on their new life in the wild, with Nature.

The trails of Nature are sometimes difficult. But Nature prevails. There will be other days, and other kitties.

Trials on the Kitty Trail


Nature and her beauty, abound around us yet again this day. The stunning blue of a Colorado sky holds up the wisps of clouds that hang in the air above Hasty Acres.

But the trails of Nature are not so natural, or fun, for our kitties.

Three unhappy kitty faces peer at the camera from their new kitty trail, a few hours into captivity. A difficult maneuver for us, since this goes against our belief in the 'nature' of Nature. But, if these kitties are to be adopted and cared for by humans, they need to go down this road. The alternative allows them to reproduce in the wild, in an area filled with their predators, human and otherwise, and few safeguards.

They are temporarily in a large cage with a shelf in the back third for climbing/exercise, food and water below, and one end open to a tray in the bottom filled with a mixture of sand and kitty litter for now, since they are used to sand.

The cage is in the chicken coop feed room; we left the feed room door open last night so Mom and Dad could visit, to minimize the stress on all concerned. We saw both Visitor and Blackie nearby, resting with the kitties in the afternoon and evening. Starting tonight - for about a week, we will leave the cage door open and the feed room door closed. Mom and Dad will still be able to visit through the chicken coop chicken-door where the hens go in and out. They will be able to interact through the screen door that separates the feed room from the main coop.



"CAN"T A GIRL LAY AN EGG IN PEACE THESE DAYS, WITHOUT PREDATORS ROAMING IN AND OUT OF HER HOUSE!!!"


We will supplement their dry kitten food with a kitten milk supplement.

Hopefully in about a week, the kitties will understand that food now comes from humans so when they are transported to their new home at the nearby farm, they will stay there and become 'at home' in their new environment.

We are of course, getting our kitty fixes with holding and cuddling them several times during the day. We think that this too - is best for all concerned!

The kitties on this kitty trail
...are not the only ones learning hard lessons. We are less than comfortable with Nature...not so naturally...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thunder on the kitty trail


Our first storm of the spring season! Nature rumbled and roared from lots of low, dark, churning clouds.

Meanwhile, kitties were feeding/sleeping with Mama up in the loft, earlier in the day. With one exception! (Click on the picture and check out that adorable, little tongue!)



It's obvious who's the 'leader-of-the-pack' in this family. He/she hogs the entire breakfast bowl and is first in line to head out on the kitty trail at Hasty Acres.

Newsflash!! Our neighbor has put his dibs on all 3 of our kittie cuties; these little furrballs will have the life of Riley...10 acres to roam in, a big barn full of mice and a nice family with youngsters to cuddle up for kitty purrs when available. We couldn't be more pleased.

Nature said goodnight through a stunning Colorado sunset. Days end on the kitty trail.



Nature...naturally.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Return Trail of the Kitties


Nature prevails on the kitty trail! Blackie, Visitor and two of the kitties, waited for breakfast this beautiful Colorado morning. We saw 3 kitties yesterday intermittently, so are assuming everyone is well and back in the barn.

LITTLE MISS HISSY "Did someone say breakfast?"
















"Hey! Mom said you're supposed to share!"















"I wonder if something yummy is swimming in here..."


Friday, April 10, 2009

The Nature of Waiting...Blackie on Guard



A quiet day on the kitty trail. Visitor and babies are hiding, at least for today. We caught a quick shot of Blackie on guard at the "restaurant/living room door."

We're a bit concerned, but are persevering to trust that Nature is progressing...as it should.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

NATURE SNICKERING...Kitty sightings

When will I learn the lesson of "mereness" in my human capacity, of "thinking" I know what Nature...knows better?!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it. We are thrilled to announce that -at least two - of the kitties are still in the barn, in a "safe" place, behind a cabinet, under "stuff", thank the powers that be. There was a big commotion in the barn about 1:30 AM. Apparently an intruder interloped, and was quickly EXtruded by Blackie. Blackie may only have very limited, living room visitation for the time being, but he's still guard of the castle. GO BLACKIE!!

We freshened the kitty water - just in case they are drinking yet. We freshened and filled dishes and water pails, did the necessary restaurant chores.

Stay tuned for more updated kitty trail news on trailsofnature.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

End of the Trail

The trails of Nature are different from day to day. They are at Nature's beckon call, within her profound understanding which many times goes unexplained to us mere humans; Nature is everything.

Checking the upper apt in the barn this morning was sad...the tenants have moved. It appears that for whatever reasons, Visitor moved her babies to parts unknown. We caught a glimpse of her leaving this evening but quickly lost her trail in the tall grass of the field.

My cats have always enjoyed the safety of our home, behind closed doors. To know that these three new kitties will soon have to fend for themselves, be at high risk in the wild, tears at my responsible, nurturing side. I keep reminding myself that these kitties were never under my control to begin with. I have to give my trust to Nature, to the laws that existed long before I did, long before I thought I could really control life around me.

We will still endeavor to trap Blackie and get him fixed, then return him to his element. In six weeks or so, we will do the same with Visitor. But for the time being, we can only hope that Visitor does her job and that the kitties survive.

Thank you for sharing our few days of kitty trails, for peeking into the lives of these three new creatures.

Each day in the trail of life is an adventure, a gift to be treasured.