Blog, music, nature, Plants

Back to the Routine

Day 253

Today was back to my routine. It is so easy to fall back into old habits and justify it all — tying it up in a beautiful little package. My determination eventually wins out. I want to stay on a healthy path.

It was a nice 69° F this morning with a light breeze. Perfect walking weather. I tried to do a mental walking meditation, but I found too many distractions walking with someone else. Walking meditation will wait until I strike out alone.

Summer is not my favorite season. I do love a good thunderstorm, but the last two weeks have been fairly dry. Most of the flowers have long ceased blooming, except for a few. Even the birds are less active in the heat of the day.

The garden is still flourishing, but we are watering it daily. I have a cucumber almost ready to pick. Lucky for me, hubby does not like cucumbers. Along with tomatoes, cucumber sandwiches are one of my favorite summer lunches.


Last night we stopped at a roadside farm stand and picked up the first South Carolina peaches of the year. They are not fully ripe, but in a few days, they will be ready to eat. Maybe I can add some sliced peaches to my morning cereal.

What I’m Pondering

I still find myself sometimes fighting things I really want to do. Why is that? I get so enthusiastic about things but as the day approaches, I find myself trying to talk myself out of the very thing I was pursuing. Fear of failure? Feeling undeserving? What the heck?

Definitely worth meditating about.

What Stuck With Me

On our artist studio tour this weekend, I discovered a piece of art inspired by by a song written by eden ahbez (all lower case) called “Nature Boy”. The story of abhe, as he was known to friends, and this song is a very in interesting read. The song was originally recorded by Nat King Cole.

When I came home, I looked the song up on YouTube, It has a haunting feel to it which sticks with me.

Over the years, it has been recorded by artists Natalie Cole, Michael Jackson, and David Bowie among others. I am no John Holton, but this song deserves a better tribute than I can give it.

That’s my Monday morning. I hope Monday is being kind to you.

birds, Blog, gardening, nature

Taking in Nature’s Gifts

img_9934Day 229

The weekend was odd. I thought I had recovered from my cold and sinus headache only to be a mess all day Saturday. I was in full-blown cold mode. I had Kleenex stuffed in every pocket I had. I was running errands and as the day progressed, I got worse. I finally called it a night early, took some NyQuil and went to bed. Sunday I woke up with no symptoms at all. Maybe it was an allergy attack but whatever it was it just disappeared.

This morning I slept in and am just relaxing a bit. I am so excited to have my children here and Saturday I hope to have my son and his children here as well. It is so important that the kids grow up knowing each other and forging a family bond. I am so glad my children feel the same way.

I thought it was time to go out and check out the garden. We have several tomatoes, a pepper, and some very tiny cucumbers coming on. I just hope they make it. We are expecting some very hot weather through the weekend. I understand it may be record-breaking temperatures.

I was hoping the weather would be cooler so our family from Florida would have a break from the heat they live with every day. At least where we live we have a lot of trees which helps keep things a little cooler. These are the days when my husband laments about our need to move higher into the mountains where it is cooler.

We only have a few flowers blooming now, but what is blooming is beautiful. The heat takes a toll on them very quickly.

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For now, I will water and try to nurse the plants through this heat wave. There is no prediction for rain in the short-term so the plants will need some extra TLC.

As I sip my last bit of coffee, I am watching the Downy Woodpeckers fly to the suet and bring the food back to the camellia bush and feed their young. The Cardinals will do this as well. They look like they are sharing tiny kisses. Such a sweet moment and one that begs you to stay and watch for just a minute longer.

Blog, flowers, gardens, nature, Plants

How to Garden On a Rainy Day

Day 191

Today is overcast with intermittent rain. I love spring so much and love being outside and enjoying all the gifts of nature and working on our predominately natural landscape. The forecast for the weekend looks to be much of the same.

Last weekend we went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Southern Highland Craft Guild to see art demonstrations by metal and glass artists. It was an interesting day. As we were preparing to leave, I went into the gift shop to browse for t-shirts. What caught my eye, however, was a book: Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains &Piedmont: a Naturalist‘s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia by Timothy P. Spira. I thumbed through it and knew I needed to add it to my collection.

I have never met the author, but he is married to a relatively new friend of mine, Lisa, who authors the blog Natural Gardening. I have learned so much about the plants and trees native to this area through them. I am really enjoying trying to put my new knowledge to use.

Yesterday, I snapped some photos of new blooms which happens almost daily during this time of the year.

I also see non-native plants like this wisteria along the road where we walk each morning. Look at the size of the vines! The wisteria vines are completely taking over this native dogwood. You only need look around at the kudzu in this area to understand what non-native species can do to an environment.

So back to my original question. How do I garden on a rainy day? Well, I am making use of a wonderful book my sister-in-law gave us, The Naturalist’s Notebook, by Nathaniel T. Wheelwright & Bernd Heinrich, to document what is blooming and when. It is nice to know from year to year how things change.

(I am thinking about purchasing one of the new Polaroid instant cameras compatible with Zink instant peel and stick film so I can put photos directly into the book.)

Of course, as I am preparing to publish this blog, the sun is breaking through the clouds. I might get a little outdoor time today after all.

Blog, Food, nature

Foraging for Food

Day 184

Yesterday as I walked through our local Fresh Market grocery, I ran across a very familiar sight. There in the middle of the produce section was a plastic shrink-wrapped package of fiddlehead ferns with an accompanying placard explaining what they are.

When I lived in Maine and then in Alaska, we frequently foraged for fiddlehead ferns. They were cleaned, blanched and then frozen for consumption during the winter months. It was laborious especially if you gathered a large volume, but so delicious!

Seeing the fiddleheads reminded me of a place in Asheville, No Taste Like Home which offers foraging tours to learn about foraging for wild foods in this area. This is something I have wanted to do since we moved back here and this is the year!

It is a very cool concept. No Taste Like Home promotes itself as an ecotour company that specializes in foraging. Their tours vary in length and location with each including an appetizer whipped up with the findings of the day. There is also an option to take the items you foraged to one of four well-respected restaurants in Asheville where they will create a free appetizer using your provided ingredients. The dinner is on you and that’s as it should be!

I remember going into the woods with my grandfather as a young child. He taught me a lot about plants and he gathered many for health purposes. We were closely bonded through the experience and it has had a life-long impact on my respect for mother nature.

Growing up, we planted a garden, of course, but we also picked wild blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. We also gathered the plentiful black walnuts for drying and eventual cracking for consumption — finger smashing work — and also chinquapins (a dwarf chestnut). Oh, how I loved chinquapins! There were also apples and grapes but most of those were no longer wild when I was growing up.

Thinking about my foraging roots brings back memories of my little blackberry bucket. We each had one — they resembled a beach sand pail. We had our own responsibility for filling our buckets but only after the blackberry patches had been checked for snakes.

April is upon us and it is almost time for ramps to be gathered, too. Another wonderful one of nature’s bounties. Their flavor is very similar to a strong garlic/onion combination. They are only here for a short while and, unfortunately, they have been over-harvested. This is why learning the proper way to forage is so important.

Last year I made ramp butter which is divine on top of a grilled steak. I also made some fantastic scrambled eggs with ramp leaves. I cannot wait!

Have I mentioned I love where I live?

Blog, hiking, nature

Today Was a 10

Day 177

I started the day with my hour of meditation. Nothing much came up for me, except that I was hungry and thought “Great. Now my stomach will growl for an hour”. After that declaration, my mind quieted down and I enjoyed an hour of peaceful quiet. I think I released so much the first three days I am having a few days of clarity.

Kyle Cease asks how much of our time we spend doing the things that are 10’s in our life. Today I was determined to make it a 10 day all around.

Hubby and I started the day by hiking a short 1/4 mile trail to Pearson Falls. I really wanted to see what wildflowers were blooming and, of course, seeing a waterfall is always delightful. There were not as many wildflowers as I had hoped, but it was still a gorgeous day to be outside.

This environment reminded me so much of how I spent my life as a child. Weaving in and out of mottled light along the creek bank. I just breathe deeper and feel alive in this environment. It feels like home.

IMG_9216Leaving the falls, we were fortunate to see a great blue heron just hanging out looking for food I imagine. I haven’t seen one since I left Florida so it was neat to see it in this environment.

IMG_9207 2Afterward, we had lunch at The Purple Onion, a local restaurant in Saluda, NC. It was such a great day we sat outside on the patio and enjoyed our lunch. I had a wonderful salad and half of a turkey and avocado sandwich on bread made at the local bakery. It was amazing.

From there, we journeyed up to Arden, NC to visit B. B. Barns — a larger plant nursery. It was fun enjoying spring and thinking about buying some new plant material for the yard. I was so excited to find organic cilantro and dill for my raised garden. Yum!

We decided to splurge and have a small steak tonight. The first red meat in 4 months. A few sautéed peppers and some asparagus made a perfect dinner and a rare treat.

I wrapped up the day having a short video call with my 18-month-old granddaughter and then a nice chat with a dear friend.

The day was a 10 all the way around and I feel it in my heart. We should do more 10’s. It is way cheaper than therapy or medication.