New Year’s Day promised to be a beautiful 60 degrees outside, so my husband, younger son and I decided to head to the beach for a winter’s walk. We began at our favorite little cafe in Lewis, Olive and Oats, then fortified with a delicious lunch, which included the obligatory black-eyed peas, we headed to the Cape.
Below is the beautiful boardwalk towards the beginning of the trail…
leading to the spectacular scenery just beyond and along the path.
All along the path were the subdued and peaceful colors of winter, and many other friendly New Year’s Day walkers/cyclists as well.
Before exiting the park, we happened upon the white-tailed deer, always very plentiful here…
One last look at the sea, then back home to a cozy fire and the promise of more winter walks ahead.
One of my absolute favorite things to do with my children when they were young was read aloud to them. I collected many nature books, both fiction and non, to teach my sons about the beautiful world around us, and the book What Birds Teach Us by Ashley Hewson is one I truly would love to have had in my collection. The below description of his book is taken from his site:
The author and his wife are both avid ‘recreational birders’ This interest integrated with the author’s family counseling studies, fulfills his desire to encourage and build into the lives of our youth, so that they can make healthy life choices and do life well.
The book is a collection of the author’s observations and photographs from his beautiful country of Australia. I have enjoyed his blog for the past year, so I was looking forward to having a collection of his pictures and words of wisdom in book form. The book surely did not disappoint, and in fact, exceeded my expectations in the amount of content it contained.
It is a collection of very positive words of wisdom and advice based on the traits observed by the author and his wife of the various birds they have watched in the wild. In short, it compares the traits and habits of the various birds to different character traits we humans, both young and old, would be wise to incorporate into our own personal lives. In fact, there are so many more character traits than the ones that would first come to a person’s mind, and that is where it truly exceeded my expectations.
My one son has pointed out to me repeatedly how much he hated Aesop’s Fables as a kid. I read it aloud to he and his brother many times and had no idea of its traumatizing effects…I guess I should have known that turtles smashed on rocks due to their pride may have been a bit too much! I wish I had a book such as this one, to teach those positive character traits, and many more, in a much more gentle way! Not to mention, the photographs are simply beautiful.
I really can’t recommend this book highly enough. It would be a wonderful gift for any child in your life, starting as early as age four or five and upwards. Honestly, there are even a few good reminders for adults as well-my personal favorite is the chapter on creativity. It truly is a gift that will keep on giving!!
Well, I certainly never thought I would do a part two on a blog post having to do with weeds, but here goes! This post has to do with my statement about my intense dislike of Round-Up, and I have been asked to explain why I hold that opinion by fellow blogger Michelle at one of my favorite blogs, https://rabbitpatchdiary.com. I’ll add some pretty pictures to hopefully charm it up a bit!
The material out there is vast, but I will do my best to sum it up in as brief a post as possible. I will post links at the end of this post so you can do your own follow-up studies and draw your own conclusions. Hopefully for the sake of the environment and ultimately your health and those you love, you will reach the same conculusion as I have come to, and look for alternative methods to control weeds. When I am not pulling, this recipe is a simple one to use and it works!
One of my main sources for health news is Dr. Mercola, and I have read many articles relating to the dangers of Round-Up on his website alone. I will use other sources for this post, however, to give a broader analysis of the topic. According to the Dr. Mercola article, Monsanto is Inside Everything. this so called crop-saver is showing up in urine samples, breast-milk, blood samples, water supplies, and in the very air we breathe.
A study reported by The Detox Project reported that glyphosate, the active main ingredient in Round-Up, was found in women’s breast milk at 760-1600 times higher than the level allowed by the EU in drinking water. So the purest form of food for the tiniest among us is now contaminated by man-made killer chemicals! Further studies showed glyphosate crosses the placental barrier with 15% reaching the fetal compartment.
To quote Angelika Hilbeck, Ph.D., senior scientist at the Institute of Integrative Biology in Zurich:
This is reckless and irresponsible conduct in a democratic society, which still has a living memory of previous reckless chemical contaminations, such as DDT.”
Blood samples and urine samples in Canadian and US women respectively were found to be at maximum levels for urine and levels similar to the concentration found to have endocrine-disrupting effects in vitro in the blood samples.
While on the topic of embryonic health, the inert ingredient, polyethoxylated tallowamine, or POEA, in Round-Up was actually found to be more deadly than the active ingredient, glyphosate, according to the article in the Scientific American Weed-Whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly to Human Cells. In this article, evidence is shown that just because an ingredient is listed as inert-Federal law classifies all pesticide ingredients that don’t harm pests as “inert,”-doesn’t mean they aren’t necessarily biologically or toxicologically harmless. “This clearly confirms that the [inert ingredients] in Roundup formulations are not inert,” wrote the study authors from France’s University of Caen.“Moreover, the proprietary mixtures available on the market could cause cell damage and even death [at the] residual levels” found on Roundup-treated crops, such as soybeans, alfalfa and corn, or lawns and gardens.
So what if you don’t use Round-Up… why should you care…doesn’t it simply disappear after it kills the weeds, isn’t it “biodegradable” like we are told in most places that sell it.
In 2009, a French court found Monsanto guilty of lying; falsely advertising its Roundup herbicide as “biodegradable,” “environmentally friendly” and claiming it “left the soil clean.”
So what exactly is Round-up ready and GMO crops? Simply put, they are crops from seeds altered to withstand the effects of Round-up while the weeds around them die. It is argued that GMO crops increase food supply thereby helping to curb world hunger. There is no evidence to prove that this is the case according to the New Soil Association in 2008. In fact not only does it not increase yield, it leads to terminator seeds-seeds that are grown for a second generation that are sterile…leading to just the opposite of increased yield. In addition to less yield, GMO corn is shown to have 18 times the safe level of glyphosate set by the EPA…I would argue there is no safe level, period. About 75 percent of the food available at the grocery store contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), grown from Roundup Ready crops, in particular alfalfa, corn and soy. (https://draxe.com/monsanto-roundup/)
To help yourself and your family, look for organics and foods labeled non-GM0 whenever possible; shop at local organic farm markets if available and if you eat meat buy only organic, 100% grass-fed or non-gmo food fed animals, ideally from a local farmer you can get to know; on-line sites such as Vita-cost sells organic non-perishables, and they offer great sales from time to time. Shop around, your health is worth it! A list of the top pesticide ridden foods and ones you can get by with not being organic can be found here: http://borntogrow.net/dangerous-pesticide-ridden-foods/ Also, soaking veggies and fruit in baking soda for 15 minutes can remove some of the pesticides, depending on the food, but even that labeled organic should be soaked.
So what are some of the other affects on our health from this ignorantly loved chemical…autism, breast cancer, Parkinson’s, depression, anxiety disorders, gastrointestinal disorders and diseases, inflammatory bowel conditions, obesity, cardiovascular disease, infertility, ALS, multiple sclerosis, infertility, allergies, cancer and much more…
A very interesting chart, one that would be very hard to argue with, shows the instances of autism rates with the rise of glyphosate usage, please use the following link to see the astonishing chart as well as watch a very informative interview with Dr. Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), revealing how glyphosate wrecks havoc on human health.
I am going to stop here, but trust me, this only scratches the surface! There is so much more that can be said and explained, but this post is very long as is!! And please note, though this post is about Round-Up, pesticide use in general should be thoroughly looked into. Please see the links below, and especially read ways to avoid consuming this chemical, and many others, even if you are against using as I am. I may add a third post for nutritional ways to combat toxins and another on the beauty and nutrition of certain weeds, inspired by Barry.
I will say in closing, it is a shame that those of us who try to protect the earth we have been entrusted to take care of are sometimes dismissed as hippies, crazies or over-zealous earth-worshippers. I don’t worship the earth, though my “About” picture certainly portrays me as a tree-hugger 😉 I do, however, worship the God who gave me this beautiful place to live and I believe as a Christian I am responsible even more to show gratitude for what He made and gave as a gift…this incredible creation, including ourselves, that we are to treasure and take care of.
Until next time, please let’s all do our part…the adorable subjects in the pictures, and those in the future will be glad you did!
Last night we were under torrential downpours with lightening strikes all around us and a tornado watch in effect. Both our sons had not yet returned home for the night, but my husband and I went to bed, saying prayers for their safe return while keeping one ear open, as all parents do, when awaiting their kid’s return.
I think of my own mother, how on earth she survived raising five children, and how many nights she and my father must have prayed as they waited for their children to return home each night.
My mom was not only a terrific mom, she was also my confidant and friend….sticking with me through thick and thin….cheering me on, encouraging me when down, and always believing in me no matter what.
She was and still is a source of inspiration to myself and so many. One of her greatest accomplishments, which still amazes me, was earning her nursing degree while raising five children. I can still see her in my mind’s eye sitting at the table doing her homework after we finished dinner, which she had also prepared.
Now that I have raised two sons myself, I am even more amazed at her accomplishments and am not sure which is more amazing, earning the degree or raising five children….probably the latter!
Eventually our first son came in with a few friends in tow, an hour later our oldest son safely returned home as well. Both stopped in to give us big hugs before heading off to their own beds, and my mother’s heart could rest peacefully knowing my beloved treasures were back safe and sound, and all was right in my little world.
Happy Mother’s Day to my fellow mothers!
Until next time,
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1
It is a quiet Sunday morning as I write this. The air is cool enough to leave the door cracked just slightly, allowing the sounds of nature to flow inside. The birds are singing their morning songs as they flit around in their busy springtime activities. A tufted titmouse pair are continuing their gathering of nest-building material for the box just outside my window, while a hummingbird stops to sip at the nectar feeder just below the future titmouse abode.
Gabby cat is enjoying an early morning walk around, simultaneously keeping a lookout for possible adventure with one eye and the approach of our neighbor’s dogs with the other…
A squirrel enjoyed an early breakfast of sunflower seeds scattered beneath the feeders before attacking the feeders directly. In due time he was joined by two other squirrels that soon gave him chase before they all raced up a tree, resembling a reverse playing of firemen sliding down a pole.
The male cardinal is visiting another feeder closer to our pond, and the sounds of the waterfall flowing fills the air with its soothing sounds, in perfect harmony to the music of the wildlife surrounding it.
The creek is at high-tide and is still and deceptively quiet under a misty haze and overcast sky. In the surrounding trees, the birds and squirrels make up for its silence aided by honking geese in the distance, while cinnamon ferns, jewel-weed, and iris decorate its banks as they continue to spring more to life with each passing day. Somewhere nearby a wood duck couple are certain to be enjoying its serenity, while playful otters and busy beavers are certain to be disturbing it.
At any given moment an eagle is likely to do a fly-by low along the creek, or perch in one of the nearby trees watching for fish and other small creatures to fill its stomach and feed its young.
Harold, our resident blue heron, has yet to my knowledge made his daily appearance, but that too could happen at any given moment and may even include a sighting of Henrietta, seen accompanying him of late…tis the season!
Peaches, the cat of unknown origins, who has unfortunately decided to adopt us, draws my eye away from the creek again as he takes up one of his favorite spots beside the pond…much to the dismay of Gabby, and Bitty as well, who is perched beside me now glaring at him from her window seat.
The cardinal seen earlier is now perched closer to my window, almost hidden in the lush leaves, until roused by a blue-jay who was earlier hopping up and down on a branch above him and making a general ruckus. For whatever reason, Mr. Jay felt the need to antagonize the cardinal until deciding to fly off towards the creek with the cardinal giving chase.
In a break from nest-building duties, Mr. Titmouse flies over to give his wife a morsel on a nearby branch, and the lone squirrel is back posing for a picture.
Our door is now shut and the fireplace is lit to chase off the chill-enticing kitty with its warmth-as my husband and I enjoy the quiet of early morning. The wood ducks paddle into view, and all seems right with the world.
I purposefully laid aside my camera for the most part this morning-deciding to add in older pictures later-and purposed instead to just sit still and enjoy all the sights and sounds outside the lens…
…because sometimes in our single “focused-ness’ of life we miss the peripheral beauty going on around us, and that is a lesson in and of itself.
With three Nor’easters in the last several weeks, March has certainly come in like a lion. It still remains to be seen if this transitional month will exit like a lamb-one can only hope! As I look out my widow, spring is literally budding forth…time for one last look back at this year’s winter memories.
American robin, below, enjoying morning sunlight on rocks before getting drink from waterfall…
Geese oblivious to the icy waters…
A variety of birds decorate the bare branches like natural ornaments…
Tufted titmouse enjoying a sunny morning at the feeder…
Sparrows breakfasting together…
Grey squirrel gone rogue… enjoying an acorn instead of raiding my bird feeders…
Male cardinal enjoying what’s left of beauty berries…
…and posing beautifully on dried hydragenea blooms….
Downed holly tree, one of a handful that fell in creek in past few months…lots of spring clean up awaits, but on the bright side, our main creek view has greatly increased….
The hammock became a convenient platform feeder during the deep snows..
And many other seeds were enjoyed under the protection of a sleeping vine…
Blue jays continually beautified our landscape….
The below adorable site I happened to catch one morning made me really glad I have not gotten around to fixing this bird home….
I was so glad my husband came to get me one morning to watch a flock of robins enjoying the holly tree berries…
Our bench sat vacant as a silent watcher over the frozen creek and snowy landscape…
And so, another winter is almost past in our part of the world, and the beauty of spring now begins to bud forth, replacing one natural beauty with another. Whichever natural tapestry God is weaving in your part of the world, I hope you enjoy the daily show!
Until next time!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8
Christmas decorations have been put away and the New Year has cheerfully been rung in around the world…now to mentally adjust to the new date of 2018. I can still remember back in high school when we had an assignment on what we thought the year 2000 would be like….back then, that was like trying to imagine living in outer space. Eighteen years into this millennium and it still sometimes feels surreal to me.
We had our first snowstorm of the season in early December which gave me some beautiful pictures to look back on. As I sit writing this, we are in the midst of our first blizzard, dubbed a “bomb cyclone.” Thankfully, we have not lost power, and I have been baking off and on for two days. Something about snowstorms puts me in the baking mood, which my family always appreciates.
I was out early the day after the December snowfall taking pictures before I even had my morning coffee….for me that’s saying a lot. I wanted to get some pics before Princess and the neighbor’s dogs started leaving their tracks.
Something about the morning after a freshly fallen snow is just magical.
The snow was the kind that clung to the branches, and the snow-laden limbs overhanging the creek were indeed picturesque.
I had plenty of bird food, with one area in particular resembling a southern smorgasbord, minus the grits, of course. Between the sunflower seed, peanuts, a variety of suet cakes and mealworms I was a shoo-in for birder of the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, it has also become a natural hunting ground for the neighbor’s cats and at least one hawk. I try to keep everything in as safe an area as possible for them, which can be a challenge… a place with no hiding spots for the furry intruders but with a covered brush area for the ground feeders, to hopefully hide from dastardly Mr. Hawk.
Whenever I see the little dark-eyed junco around the feeders, I know a snow is in the near future-he certainly lives up to his nick-name “snowbird.”
He was caught below doing his happy little “snow victory dance.”
This is a good article about how to welcome the little guy and other wintering birds that may come to your area.
The snow only lasted a few days before the weather warmed up, only to plunge us into a bitter cold streak a week later. The birds kept me entertained as the cold brought them to the feeders early each day.
The secret to keeping blue jays happy and continually coming back is found in the power of the peanut!
Though the male cardinal is known for his beauty, I find the female equally beautiful…
The little group of finches gathered together at the feeder one morning reminded me of little old men meeting up at a country store to gab over breakfast…
The wood thrush is a rarely seen visitor, but he makes his presence known by his hopping about and flinging through the leaves so violently with its beak it’s a wonder he doesn’t give himself whiplash.
Besides birds, the squirrels are always good for a show, and I really don’t mind them raiding the bird feeders or grabbing the jay’s peanuts.
He was not the only wild mammal to visit our yard…before I had barely opened my eyes one morning I spied a fox trotting off with something in its mouth. I was relieved to see it wasn’t my cat but a little sad to think one of my squirrels had just become his breakfast.
The geese didn’t seem to mind the frigid water temperatures and they delight me each morning as they honk their goodbyes when leaving the peninsula. They don’t wander into our section of the creek often, so I enjoy it when they do.
I end with a morning view from our anniversary getaway. The deck was obviously too cold to enjoy, but the scenery was well worth waking up to.
I hope my dear blogging friends going through the blizzard with me are staying warm and cozy and enjoying the beauty of the snow and the wildlife it highlights.
Until next time,
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17
Well, today is that glorious day we set aside here in the states to give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us from our gracious Heavenly Father.
It’s usually a day spent with family, enjoying one another’s company, grateful for each one gathered, while recounting another year of the many things to be thankful for. Our family is fortunate this year that we will all be present and accounted for…with a family of five siblings, that is no small feat!
Usually, I would be scurrying around preparing the corn pudding, baking pumpkin pies and the usual things I contribute to the feast. Today I will be doing those things and a few more at a leisurely pace, as our family will gather tomorrow so that all can be present.
I am reminded this year, as in many past Thanksgivings, of the importance of counting our blessings and truly being grateful for what we have, even in the hard, and sometimes lonely times which we all go through in life.
In doing so, I usually look back to a trip I took with members of my church to Haiti as a young adult. I vividly remember my first sight of the poverty-stricken country… I wanted to run back to the airport and catch the first flight back. I had never seen such conditions up close and personal, and it left an impact on me I will never forget.
What impacted me more, though, was the absolute joy and gratitude, and what could only be described as graciousness, from the Christian people we had the opportunity to meet with while there. I recall going to a church out in the country-dirt floor, rough lumber for pews, no electricity-and the absolute spirit of thanks these people had as they showed off their prize possession. We were also invited into their homes, where they shared enthusiastically from their very meager supplies, meals served with the greatest of hospitality.
After experiencing such phenomenal gratefulness in the face of such abject poverty, I remember getting back to the states where hearing complaints for the smallest of things felt like being slapped in the face with an ice-cold cloth. And, after determining I would never grumble or complain again, sadly, I too, soon fell into my old ways of not always being thankful for even the littlest of blessings in life.
Oh,there are many times I thank God just for hot running water, as there we experienced just a trickle in the shower, while some of the locals were bathing in mud puddles in the street. And when I take my first sip of steaming coffee in the morning, I am usually very grateful.
But, there are those times, when I simply forget and grumble about the smallest of things when I have so, so much to be thankful for….a loving family, friends, a warm home, food, clean water, books to read and the ability to read them, the love and care of my Heavenly Father… the list could go on all day.
My prayer continues to be that I will always be grateful for even the smallest of blessings and be mindful of those less fortunate than myself.
Wherever you are, whether celebrating Thanksgiving here in the States or elsewhere in this big, wonderful world, may you celebrate all the things to be thankful for in your life, this day and each day forward.
Until next time
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:1