My Purple Hepatica in the Leaf Litter photo is featured this week in Wild Flowers of the World at Redbubble. here
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Monday, March 25, 2013
From These Hills
with Trendle Ellwood
As I write this I am sitting by the woodstove with a pile of fire warming hickory logs beside it, waiting for what is hopefully the last snow of winter, which might or might not arrive. Our new weather alert radio came on yesterday for the first time ever, jarring me with a Severe Winter Storm Warning from the National Weather Service predicting an accumulation of up to 6 inches of snow with possibilities of ice, sleet, and or rain. At first it was to arrive at approximately eleven then not until four. The temperature is holding and it is simply raining at nine p.m.
On the last weather radar update I looked at online, we are circled in the area of uncertainty, in what they are calling a very complicated storm and it states that everything is liable to change. Sounds like life to me, uncertainty in a very complicated storm where everything is liable to change at any given moment. Often I ask God, “How are we suppose to live like this?” He doesn’t offer me a rope out, but shows me an anchor.
It finally started snowing here at one a.m. From our windows the next morning we could see that a heavy, wet snow cloaked every shrub and tree. Off Jim and I took on a short drive down to Clearcreek to witness one of our favorite places on earth, with a fresh face of snow. The sky was clearing and it had stopped snowing, but as we stepped out of our car, we soon discovered that in the area around the creek, accumulation was still in process.
The snow did not fall from the sky but from the trees. The temperature was rising and all that had stuck to limb, twig and hemlock needle was now liquefying, losing its grasp, sliding down to splash on the ground in globs of melting moisture. Some great swaths of snow were plunging down with such a vengeance that we proceeded cautiously along the trail, scanning above before crossing below. Among all the splatter sounds the snow made as it hit the ground the whole area gurgled with the saturation of water. The overflow turned into rivulets that gathered together and cascaded down through the rocks and crevices of the hills to unite with the creek below.
We had to pull our hats over our heads for safety and tuck our cameras under our coats, drying them off between pictures, as we walked through the baptism of the forest. We came to the incline on fern trail and had just risen from the hemlocks and the forest rain when I turned around to look back from where we had come. The sun, perhaps for the only moment that day, came out in full and as I looked back on the eastern hemlock trees, their graceful branches bending towards the cove I was captivated to see that they were sparkling with color. The moisture pockets in the tree branches caught the light of the sun and reflected it like crystals. They were twinkling prisms of color more beautiful than any ornaments I have ever seen. Like stars, like God winking at me.
Grandson and I talk about how we can tell God anything and He is always listening and we can learn how to listen to Him too. Then somehow the subject of my hair turning gray comes up, (maybe it was because I was looking in the mirror wondering why my hair had to do that) and the boy asks me if God has anything to do with my hair turning gray. I tell him with a sigh, it is nature for babies to grow into young people who turn to middle age and finally grow old. “Are you middle age?” He wants to know.
Yes, I am middle age, I tell him, secretly wondering if I am old. The boy is silent for a few moments before he looks at me and says, “I talked to God and he said there isn’t anything he can do about your hair turning gray because it is nature's fault.” This made me laugh, and think like they say, from the mouths of babes. I can hardly believe the boy has grown from a babe to a boy and time is going so very fast! Can the time to plant really be here? Yet I do look forward to daffodils and I am happy to hear the flocks of grackle birds as they meet up in our maple tree on their spring excursions.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
A cold nip in the air and darkened skies makes me want a warm bowl of chili.
Black bean and Venison Chili
Brown 1 pound of venison
Peel and cut up 7 medium tomatoes
Chop 2 medium onions
Grate 1 medium zucchini
Finely chop 4 cloves garlic
Add all to the browned venison along with
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1-tablespoon black pepper
1-tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 can black beans, drained
1 small can tomato paste
1-tablespoon brown sugar
Cayenne pepper to taste
Optional- top with tablespoon of sour cream and or cheddar cheece
Fresh Corn Muffins
Grate the corn from three ears of corn to measure 1 cup
1 cup of flour
1 cup of cornmeal
3 teaspoons fast acting baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 egg well beaten
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
Sift the dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder, salt and sugar)
Combine the liquids ( milk, melted butter and beaten egg)
Add the corn kernels to the liquids and mix the dry ingredients in thoroughly. Pour into buttered muffin tins or a shallow baking dish.
Bake at 425 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes or until puffed and brown on top.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
It saddens me that all the wayside meadows, hedgerows and edges of weeds
are being eradicated from our landscapes to give into paved roads and sidewalks
with the only natural areas heavily controlled. Where does the wild one have to live?
In the old days there was a tale that it was ill advised to cut down all the wild,
instead you were told to leave a place where the wild could be free because that was
where the fairies lived and what kind of world would we live in where fairies didn't live free? Sigh..... but nobody believes like that anymore and we think we can just cut it all down and remake it like we want it and not let any of the wild back in.
So, we don't let the thistle, burdock, nettle and milkweed grow because they look too weedy and wild. Yet, without them we lose many butterflies and birds that depend on them for survival. I don't think we even know yet what all we might be destroying with our need to change and control without learning first.
Seems we cannot change the world but we decided to change our yard. There are many wild places here, prime fairy habitat. We brought in native weeds and after many tries and failures we finally had milkweed growing in our gardens and one sweet morning I discovered what I believed to be Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars munching down on the milkweed leaves.
I ran in the house to find my butterfly field-guide books and sure enough it was future monarchs devouring our milkweed plants. I only had two of the specimens and I thought for sure the three caterpillars, at the rate they were eating, were going to eat the plant all up. They left little brown balls of their poop all over the leaves, rather sloppy fellows ( :
When they slept they hid under the leaves. Then one day I looked all over the plants and under the leaves but they were gone. I looked for them everywhere as I have read in, Anna Botsford Comstock's, Handbook of Nature Study, " The monarch chrysalis is, I maintain, the most beautiful gem in Nature's jewel casket;" I also read that they could crawl up to 20 feet away from their host plant to mutate and try as I might I could not find their well hidden chrysalis.
|Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar|
|Monarch Butterfly on the Ironweed in our front yard.|
The caterpillars thankfully did not eat all the milkweed before they disappeared and hid their chryslis from me. Just the other day there were two brand new monarch butterflies drying their wings on the ironweed in the front yard, it must have been them!