Prompts: Know Your Neighbors

Hi there! I hope everyone reading this is staying healthy, or recovering. I was sick for a month myself and am just regaining my normal rhythm, routine, and (mostly) energy. This is not a good time to be sick, my friends! Take your vitamins, get some exercise, turn the news off, and do what you…

Wildlife: Painted Lady Butterflies

Last summer we had some borage come up as volunteers in our garden. Did I say “some”? I meant thousands of plants. We didn’t have borage plants, we had borage patches. This was our first year with a borage explosion, so we thought we’d let some of it live, not realizing just how hardy it…

On Aging and Growing Older

Over the past several years I have noticed something about growing older: I feel the same as I did when I was a little girl. I assume I am not the only one who feels this way – and I think this is one of the biggest misconceptions young people have about their future, adult…

Native Plants: Elkweed

On a recent hike I was excited to discover a plant I was unfamiliar with. For those of you who grew up in the Western US, you probably are familiar with this meadow-dwelling plant. I had never seen it until recently and spent quite a lot of time getting some close up looks of its…

Quotes: Allowing Nature to Return

“Although it would be highly arrogant of us to think we could actually design ecosystems, we believe that we can create a balanced ecological agricultural landscape by allowing nature to return to the land.” – Darrel Frey in Bioshelter Market Garden

A Miserable Hike that Makes You Feel A Lot Better

Fellow hikers, does this sound familiar? I have certainly been there. Usually I love hiking. Being outdoors, observing the plants and animals, pondering the geology and topography – these things just make me happy. But occasionally I find myself on a hike that I’m not really enjoying in the moment. Maybe the weather is miserable…

Quotes: Rooted in the Land

“One cannot predict what a long-term sustainable future will look like. But we believe it will be rooted in the land. It will come as an organic outgrowth of a rekindled, dynamic relationship between people and their landscape.” – Darrel Frey in Bioshelter Market Garden

Quotes: Nature for Calm and Focus

“Compared with people who have lousy window views, those who can see trees and grass have been shown to recover faster in hospitals, perform better in school, and even display less violent behavior in neighborhoods where it’s common. Such results jibe with experimental studies of the central nervous system. Measurements of stress hormones, respiration, heart…

A Natural Resolution

In her book the Nature Fix, author Florence Williams says that the Finnish recommend being in nature for 5 hours a month to reap health benefits. That seems like a pretty good thing to add to a New Year’s Resolution list – just an hour and fifteen minutes a week spending time outdoors in a…

Our Ancient and Long-Standing Debt

“Although tragically diminished, the natural world that made us is out there still. With effort and some passing luck, we might find our own way of reconnecting, and in doing so, learn to honor our ancient and long-standing debt to life on earth.” – Graeme Gibin, The Bedside Book of Beasts

The Resonance We Need

“How happy I am to be able to walk among the shrubs, the trees, the woods, the grass and the rocks! For the woods, the trees and the rocks give man the resonance he needs.” – Ludwig van Beethoven, 1808

Nature: Love is a Two Way Street

Author, Professor, Botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Robin Wall Kimmerer asked her students this question one day: You love nature but do you think that nature loves you back? Her students, all very respectful of the earth, had never thought about it that way. I bet most of us haven’t either!

The Difference a Window Makes

Consider the exterior doors on your home. Are they solid or do they provide views to the outdoors? Even a small window like this half circle window in an otherwise solid door provides a view to the backyard, lets in a bit of natural daylight, and provides information about weather and time of day. As…

Native Plants: Milkweed

Milkweed is one of the loved, cherished weeds we have growing on our property. The plant is very important for monarch butterflies and may be edible (this subject gives rise to much debate!). And they are beautiful! We were wondering, though, if this was the RIGHT milkweed for monarchs in our area of the country. So I…

Native Plants: Curly-Cup Gumweed

This summer, anytime we walked up to the end of our lane, Chad would point out a plant with bright yellow flowers growing along side it and tell me he heard it had medicinal properties. He told me it was called Curly-Cup Gumweed. We looked it up and found out what it’s good for: primarily…

How to Attract Birds to Your Backyard

Last weekend I took a class on birds. It was a great crash course in ornithology and I was delighted to learn all sorts of interesting things about our feathery friends. The main purpose of the class though was to learn how to attract birds to our backyards with native plants. Because I love to share, here are…