Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bittersweet Nightshade

(Solanum dulcamara) Bittersweet or Woody Nightshade is like a mysterious lady dressed in a gown of purple and black lace. Intricate shaped leaves, purple flowers with shocking yellow stars in the centers, fruit that changes from deep green to red, and a dangerous past, all add to the magnetism of this lovely, secretive plant.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Allegheny Mountain Grandeur

"When through the woods and forest glades I wander and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze, then Sings my Soul my Savior God to thee; how great thou art, how great thou art."
2nd verse from hymn How Great Thou Art

"Hi Tren ... did you snap this photo? If yes, tell me a bit about the location and what led you to compose this specific scene.
I love the song you selected to go with this photo. Nice choice. Yup, I love this song too. Joseph Babinsky

"My mom used to sing that to us when we were little kids.She had a big booming alto voice and the could vibrate the windows when she got to the choirs! thanks for the memory!" Peggy Mclaughlin

Ah Peggy, what a memory, your Mom booming that song. I have to admit I have trouble with the high parts and it turns out to be a whisper when I sing the chorus sometimes, lol.

Joe thanks for asking, yes I did take that shot. My husband and I were on our aniversary trip to the highest points of West Virginia. There we hiked Dolly Sod and Spruce Knob.

The soil there is a sponge of sphagnum moss, lush with ferns, wildflowers and blooming mountains laurels. The brooks are rushed and vibrant with spring rains and the air is a mist. There we found ourselves singing our new verse like a prayer, as we drove over mountains and viewed raging waterfalls and rambling brooks and as we walked the trails to lofty views. We even sang that song to scare off the bears when we found out There Really Were Bears in There! But that is another story.

We went through a baptism of water while we were there, I swear the West Virginians were playing a trick on us by telling us that the creek beds were trails as all the trails soon turned into rocky streams of water, I kept trying to figure out how there could be SO MUch Water up on the mountaintop. It just didn't make sense to me that if all water flows down into the streams how could there be so much up there after just two inches of rain.

I was fascinated with the fresh pools of water on tops of the rocks at Bear Rocks Preserve and I just wanted to sit on a rock forever looking at the reflections of the Appalachians in that little pool of water.

Mountain Thoughts

Just because you are on the mountain doesn’t mean you always see the view.

Moon Folly

I will go up the mountain after the Moon;
She is caught in a dead fir-tree.
Like a great pale apple of silver and pearl,
Like a great pale apple is she.

I will leap and will catch her with quick cold hands
And carry her home in my sack.
I will set her down safe on the oaken bench
That stands at the chimney-back.

And then I will sit by the fire all night,
And sit by the fire all day.
I will gnaw at the Moon to my heart’s delight
Till I gnaw her slowly away.

And while I go mad with the Moon’s cold taste
The World will beat at my door,
Crying, “Come out!” and crying, “Make haste,
And give us the Moon once more!”

But I shall not answer them ever at all.
I shall laugh, as I count and hide
The great, black, beautiful Seeds of the Moon
In a flower-pot deep and wide.

Then I shall lie down and go fast asleep,
Drunken with flame and aswoon.
But the seeds will sprout and the seeds will leap,
The subtle swift seeds of the Moon.

And some day, all of the World that cries
And beats at my door shall see
A thousand moon-leaves spring from my thatch
On a wonderful white Moon-tree!

Then each shall have Moons to his heart’s desikre:
Apples of silver and pearl;
Apples of orange and copper fire
Setting his five wits aswirl!

And then they will thank me, who mock me now.
“Wanting the Moon is he,”
Oh, I’m off to the mountain after the Moon,
Ere she falls from the dead fir-tree!

Fannie Stearns Davis

Thursday, June 9, 2011


This time of year, my husband is especially intertwined with his bees. I can hardly talk to him without there being a bee in the vicinity, crawling across his neckline, coming out of his shirt or flying about our heads. He must pay utmost attention to his emerging queens and be prepared to catch a swarming hive at a moments notice.

The honeybees are prone to swarming in the spring. Part of the hive will separate and set off to make a home of their own. The beekeeper can keep the hive the right size and try to keep the bees happy but if the weather is just right and their mood just right those bees will up and run away from home just because they feel like it. Spring fever, youth, you know.

One lively spring we had three swarms in one week right in our own back yard. Three times I became aware that I was listening to this big hum, and looking up saw a mass of bees whirling like a hurricane in the sky. That was the spring that turned into a dry summer. I wonder if that had any precedence on the abundance of swarms that year?

Witnessing these insects gather their energy and make punctuation marks in the atmosphere reminds me of this old picture that I once saw. A farm wife had her arms up in the air and she was wailing as the her bees, like a receding black cloud, grew smaller and smaller on the horizon until they were about to disappear down into a valley. The picture caught the feeling of the moment. Somehow it portrayed just how spooky it seems when the bees do that swirling disappearing act of theirs.

Bless their little ole hearts, daring to be free. Funny how you can be sad that you will not get as much honey out of them and proud of the insects for being independent enough to fly off on their own, both at the same time.