Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June so Soon!

The Seasons are going by so fast, today the last day of May! In the evenings lightning bugs can be seen shining their little lights and as the sun goes down a bullfrog croaks down in the valley. Grandson has not been to my house for sometime so when we got here he was astonished at how everything has grown along the sidewalk path. “How did THIS happen?” he exclaimed as he surveyed the lush growth of plants.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Fear Not

After losing my Grandmother, his wife and companion of 75 years, Grandpa took a small number of items with him to his tiny room at the assisted living residence but their home and most of the possessions that my Grandparents had collected throughout the years were sold and given away.

My heart ached for Grandpa through this transition yet he reassured me that he was holding tightly onto what he called, The Unseen Hand. He reminded me that there are some things we will never have to give up. The love lavished on us, and the love we bestow on others can never be taken away and the love of our Creator is always with us. It is the promise of being united someday with The Lord and our loved ones that sustains us. Grandpa implored me when life gets rough to cling tightly to the Unseen Hand.

Prayer: Lord please help us to know when it is time to leave the earthly nests we have built. Help us to listen to your call. Amen

Thought for the DayWe build ourselves shelters of wood, brick and stone but the only shelter that will bring total security is the loving arms of God.

Psalm 18:32-36

So, do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NRSV)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium)

I love my blackhaw tree. Blackhaws bloom at the same time Dogwoods do but they get kind of overlooked next to these showy neighbors. My Blackhaw came up uninvited right behind my house where I can see it from my kitchen window. This is one uninvited guest that is welcome to stay. I was fascinated by this newcomer that I did not recognize at first.

With very opposite branches and shiny leaves that are reddish bronze in color, I knew it had to be something special and so I let it grow until I figured out what it was.

I was rewarded the next year when in May it gifted me with a cluster of beautiful white flowers which turned into green, elliptical fruit which changed from a bright green to blue/black color in late fall. After most of the autumn color is gone from the other trees this little darling rewarded me with crimson and burgundy leaves.

I have since found out that my blackhaw has a large variety of common names such as cramp bark, sheepberry, shonny, sloe, sloe-leaved viburnum, stagbush, sweethaw, American sloe, king's crown, sheep berry, snowball, tree stagbush.

The name cramp bark must have derived from this little trees reputation for comforting those who suffer from menstrual cramps as it is reputed to ease such discomfort as well as the symptoms of menopause. Was it fate, luck or divine providence that this medicinal tree landed in my back yard just as I began my changing years?

Blackhaw seems to definately be a friend of womenkind and has also been used for false labor pains and threatened miscarriage. In addition, it has been used to lower blood pressure in hypertension and as an anti-spasmodic herb for the treatment of asthma.

I look forward to learning more about this beautiful understory tree and will post more information as it is gleamed.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Children know what most grownups see as pests of lawns, the lowly dandelions, are really the keepers of the wings of wishes. For a child knows that if you blow on dandelion puff and all of the fluff flies away, your wish will come true. "Thistle-down Angels" is what we used to call them. How did the world ever get so messed up that it tries to persuade us that anything as yellow, as cheerful, as independent and as inspirational as the flowers that make Thistle-down Angels can be something to despise?

My husband, who is a beekeeper, says that when he sets up to sell his honey the number one question asked by concerned customers is, “Where have all the honey bees gone?” or “Why are there no bees on my lawn anymore?” He will answer them with more questions, “ do you spray your lawn for weeds? Do you let the wild plantains, clovers and dandelions bloom?” He reminds them that it is not only pesticides that affect honeybees but herbicides and fungicides take their toll on honeybee colonies as well. Honeybees are not at all attracted to the golf course type lawn that many Americans think we have to maintain. Birds, butterflies and other wildlife cannot survive on our deserts of pristine green. Just like we need a varied diet, the wild ones also need a variety of food sources in order for them to be healthy and survive.