Nature verses the local grocery...

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Perfect Understanding

25 December 2016

This isn’t a Christmas story, per say.  It isn’t about presents and trees and Santa Claus.  And it doesn’t mention Jesus’ birth or midnight Mass.

But it does teach us about fallacious judgments and deep Love; tenacity in the face of poverty…beauty in both dressage form and deep human feelings. And – if I have some semblance of grip on the deeper meaning of this holiday, it is indeed - all about Love, its depth, its power and all that the story of Christ’s birth seems to represent…to me.

Oris George wrote a book called “Along the Back Roads of Yesterday; the 6th chapter is called “A perfect understanding”. In this story, which takes place in 1944, Mr. George talks about his experience with a disheveled man by the name of Bert who owned an ugly old mule named Toots. 

“Mom was convinced Bert owned only one pair of bib overalls, and she knew they had never seen the inside of a washing machine. Tobacco juice stained his thick, greying beard.  A greasy baseball cap crowned a head of long, wild, unruly grey hair. He lived down under the hill behind the feed store on a straggly little two-acre farm surrounded on all four sides by cottonwood trees and tall brush.  The small, dilapidated barn and the one room cabin reminded me of Snuffy Smith’s place in the Sunday funny papers.”

Most of the townspeople joked about – and laughed at Bert, and certainly Oris’ Mom wanted him anywhere but hanging around him.  Oris was close to his Grandpa and his curiosity drove him. 

“Granddad, where’d Bert come from?  Granddad set the feed bucket on the ground and leaned against the gate.  Well, Son, nigh onta twenty year ago Bert’s neighbors woke one mornin’ and found ‘im established in that old shack.  No one knew anything ‘bout ‘im or where he came from, and he never volunteered no information.  Ta this day he ain’t said nary a word ‘bout hisself.”

As the story continues, Bert begins to train a beautiful Palomino mule called Stella who is as wild as a bronc.  She is so vicious that Bert begins her training by knocking her out with a stump of wood in order to save himself from being savagely bitten. Oris begins to visit Bert, gets to know him as he watches him train this mule – which takes over a year to accomplish. He quickly realizes that there is more to Bert than meets the eye.

As their relationship grew, Oris learned that ...”He was born and raised on a horse-breeding farm in Warren, Tennessee. He was forty years old when his father died.” After dealing with complex family problems he left Tennessee a ‘lonely, bitter man.’ “

As Oris and Bert connect, Oris begins to see – what others do not; that Bert is more than his dirty overalls and is far from being the ignorant person they all assume – from his exterior appearance.

Bert enters the yearly rodeo at the county fair the following September.  The rodeo progresses, everything is as usual…until… 

“The crowd fell silent as a golden palomino mule entered the arena at a Fox Trot.  Her rider, a man in a black derby hat, black swallow-tailed coat, and shiny black riding boots, rode in perfect form – a sight never seen in this community.”

“The mule stood perfectly still, with her long slender ears pointed straight ahead, chin tucked under, and an arch in her neck.”

“A murmur rippled through the grandstand when the Mystery Man on the golden palomino mule removed his derby and the crowd recognized the eccentric Bert.”

After some discussion between Bert and the announcer, “Bert rode to the front of the grandstand, tipped his derby to the crowd, and Stella bowed.  Turning Stella to the left, they moved out at a Fox Trot.  The crowd was silent.  Halfway around the arena, Stella changed to another gait.  The crowd went wild!...poured out of the bleachers like a giant wave and surrounded Bert and Stella. Hands were extended to Bert.”

A new Bert, and Stella…exited the arena that day in 1945.”

I have only breezed over this chapter; treat yourself to the 'rest of the story',  and the numerous other chapters about his growing pains, hard work and hard fun on his family's farm during the 1940’s.  Enjoy the  bad red rooster dressed to the hilt; ride along with him on his donkeys as he explores down by  the river with his pal Henry (who at times may be his worst enemy!).  Feel his fear as he listens to his family deal with the atrocities of the war years in another special chapter, "The Man Along the Side of the Road."

To purchase this book, go to

As always, NATURE prevails, especially in the 1940's.

Monday, November 21, 2016


Searching the net for an inspiring quote this cool fall morning, I came upon a friend's website.  It is an 'older one' (secrets are OK!).  But - the insight, validity and profoundness of the ideas in print here are ageless and timeless.

Children are indeed our heritage, our future, our reason for living at times and certainly the objects of our hope for the future.  This includes a place for Mom as she 'greys up', we hope!

But seriously, children are who we are as a society.  Where would any of us be - without their existence.  And I might add...without their innate ability to teach us - when we think we are teaching them; to calm us in the face of our aged fears as they reach their tiny, courageous hands...into ours.  Oh yeah!

I have wondered for years, why our society trains and educates for all the myriad of careers that make up our society; yet...we do not 'train' for the most important - most valuable job we contain as a people on planet EARTH - parenting.  It does not come naturally to all of us  - particularly if we ourselves, were not parented in a most healthful manner (which includes a large populous of parents!).

Children are treasures which some of us are blessed to have in our family presence. You cannot find them in Sears bargain basement nor at the third floor boutique at Macy's.  They don't appear under Christmas trees and they certainly aren't available through Amazon.

Indeed - they are gifts presented to us - sometimes when we least expect them; sometimes when they ARE the plan; sometimes by choice from a foreign land or agency.  Always...they are the center of our lives, the sunshine in our rainstorms...the purpose for our pride and the reason, sometimes, why we continue in the face of...well, life.

Check out my friend's poignant words in her link above; hear her Love and kindness; smile with her joy as a parent.

And - if by chance you need a website, she may be the key to your future online success.

Kudos, Jan.


Besides the fact that our children have an impact on our lives, it is our responsibility to make an impact on their Besides the fact that our children have an impact on our lives, it is our responsibility to make an impact on their lives. We must first give our children the strength of a foundation to build upon, and then with unwavering joy, we must set them free to fly independently into the future. We must realize that we are influencing the choices of the next generation and set out in faith and love to do justice to the opportunity we have been given lives. We must first give our children the strength of a foundation to build upon, and then with unwavering joy, we must set them free to fly independently into the future. We must realize that we are influencing the choices of the next generation and set out in faith and love to do justice to the opportunity we have been given

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Trails of LOVE: Back Roads and Daisies

Whether we are 18 or 80, we all understand Love and deep feelings of family and life.

A friend sent me this song today. As my dear heart and I sat listening with tears in our eyes, I was reminded how important each day is – each moment especially; how the simple feeling of Love can heal us – in and out.

  • Did you watch your little one take her first step yesterday? 
  • Did you marvel at the way your rooster chortles at some bit-of-something on the ground that brings his girls running to eat it…while he stays back and watches? 
  • Did your friend call with a smile the other day – just about the time you were ready to bury your head in the oven? 
  • Did you notice the earthy, moist, fresh smell in the air this morning as you stood in the pre-dawn twilight, listening to the crickets sing their song?
Hug your pet chicken tonight; take your teenager's face in your hands for a moment - and smile; wave to your neighbor; heat up your dear heart’s tea water before he does; look into the eyes of your favorite pet and acknowledge their unconditional Love.

The simplicity in/of Love, is a map for an easier life with less stress.  Simple Love can un-complicate our moments, re-connect us to earlier days when youth held eons of time and untold hope. 

I was re-reading a book about such things last week; a book that reminded me that life in the 1940's – though very different from life today in so many technological ways, still resonated the power of human emotions.  It yet again, gave me moments of smiles, of tears and yes – Love.  Along the Back Roads of Yesterday by Oris George may not include computers, moments on the moon or same-day surgeries.  But it does include the more simplistic elements of life that connect us all.  Love…apple pie…child rearing…and child-learning. 

One of my favorite stories in this book is The Dunfee Mule, a story about our human ability to judge and be judged...sometimes mistakenly, based on our exterior appearances instead of our inner humanity, inner beauty...inner capacity for Love.
"The loudspeaker crackled and the announcer said, 'Our own Albert Montague, formerly of Warren, Tennessee, has agreed to give us a demonstration ride on Stella, his gaited mule.' "

"Bert rode to the front of the grandstand, tipped his derby to the crowd, and Stella bowed. Turning Stella to the left, they moved out at a foxtrot. The crowd was silent. Halfway around the arena, Stella changed to another gait. The crowd went wild! Whistling and shouting, the spectators poured out of the bleachers like a giant wave and surrounded Bert and Stella. Hands were extended to Bert.

A new Bert, and Stella - no longer the Dunfee mule, exited the arena that day in 1945."
Take life’s moments today, embrace them thoroughly.  Count your seconds…and be grateful; for your mate, your family, your friends, the safety of our communities, the food we enjoy, the privileged life we live in America.

And yes...for the rivers that still run, and the four winds...that still blow.

AS always…Nature prevails.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

LifeTrails: "I did it MY way!"

I dedicate this post to my dear, wise friend; her footprints cover many parts of my heart.

She shared this in an early morning e-mail;

“Success; to be able to spend your life in your own way”

Some of our world’s definitions of success include;

            -a high salary
            -many children
            -a large family
            -many friends
            -a large home
            -peace of mind
            -good health
\           -a high education
            -owning a business
            -getting married
            -your children at graduation
            -weight loss/weight gain
            -personal creation of art
And the list goes on. Even Webster’s definition connects us to more material, worldly items:

"The fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame."

As I contemplated my friend’s definition, it occurred to me that hers can cover most of these other definitions.  It’s simply a matter of perspective.

One can choose (their own way) their place of higher education, the career they like, raise their children to their own set of standards, control their family planning, etc. Maybe we don’t choose our intelligence though we can choose how we use it: we may not choose our genes which chemically – may have some impact on our weight and general mental health.

How do you determine your life success?  Is it from the list above?  Or something different? 

Or – do you agree with my wise friend who always seems to have an ‘extra clue’ to some of life’s complex innuendos that elude my view at times?

Leave a comment; give us your take on this profound question. Share your own definition of SUCCESS.  We’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime…grab a hold of this day –YOUR DAY…live purposefully.  Give life a personal nod today.

Live this day….”In your own way”.

As always, Nature Prevails.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

CHICKEN TRACKS; Barnyard Chickens

Okay.  My English Prof said “Write an article about something you Love to do.”   
I said ‘No, not ready.’   
He said “It’s easy, give it a try.”   
I said ‘Don’t think so.’   
He said “You have to.”   
I said ‘Not really, it’s only the first week of class.’   
He said “Write it now.”   
I said ‘No.’ 
He said “Would you like your F now, or later?”   
I thought about that for awhile.  They should fire this guy; he’s obviously unreasonable and has an overgrown, false sense of authority!  But, I am above all – reasonable; just ask my sainted husband.  So, to bring everlasting peace and tranquility to the entire Universe, 
I said:

Have you ever looked into the eyes of a chicken?  I mean up close? There’s history there.  Think about it. Their distant, DISTANT cousins are dinosaurs, folks!  Remember…those overly tall spooky giants who rattled the mountains when they walked (who knows what moved when they ran?!).

They ate things.  Lots of things.  We too, might have been on their menu, had we been there.  Anyway, chickens remain.  Here.  Now.  And they are awesome.  And thank the powers that be, we are not on their menu.  Sometimes…they are on ours, but for sure – not my pet lovelies!.

My barnyard flock includes A Golden Laced Wyandotte, Blue Andalusians, Leghorns, Easter Eggers, a Black Sex-link, a gorgeous, huge, did I mention superb-looking…Blue Cochin? And several other mixes totaling 20 birds at present.

My goal?  To let this flock naturally reproduce themselves into lots and lots of beautifully colored chicken lovelies.  I’ve carefully chosen the traits (and colors) I want in these future birds; heavy egg-layers, larger stock for meat birds, colored eggs, flashy feather-patterns/colors and of course - brooders, for natural hatching, a trait that seems to be disappearing from modern hatchery stock.

I will change out each of the several different roosters for each batch of lovelies to add in the different characteristics. Results will be interesting, and I hope to gather feedback from my barnyard-chicken-buying customers to educate myself with the ongoing results. 

I do Love my lovelies; each and every one of them have their own unique character and personality.  I can stand by the fence, head in hand - by the hour, watching my flock.  They are smart, instinctive and rarely sit still. Neatniks by nature they constantly preen their feathers, and will drink more clean water than dirty.

Think about bringing some chickens into your life.  A large amount of cities are changing their codes to allow ‘city chickens’; that usually means a few hens and no roosters. Several large websites have intelligent, informative forums to help you out with everything from making your own chicken feed to learning how a chicken lays an egg.

And that overly authoritative, pushy Prof of mine is correct about one thing; it is easy to write about what you Love to do.

Next post on City Chickens.

Chickens rule!       

Nature Prevails

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

John Muir: Trails of Nature

"Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail."

I knew previously that John Muir was a Naturalist, that the Sierra Club was affiliated with him.  But only recently, after watching a public television series on our National Parks, did I begin to learn to what amazing extent Mr. Muir related to Nature - ALL of Nature.

If any readers here wish to add their thoughts or interests in John Muir, please DO leave your comments.