Friday, May 28, 2010

Peony

Oh, the Peony.

A not so flattering name, yet one of the fullest most beautiful flowers.

The single flower is intriguing.

The full bush is breathtaking.

This is one plant that I have wanted for some time.

I just have no idea where to put it.

My neighbor gave me this one and promises me a full bush after the blooms have run their course. My father has old plants from his mother's house from long ago.

Something new, something old is definitely in my future.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

C 2 5K


A little less computer, a little more family.
A little less crafting, a little more exercise.
A little less couch, a little more running.

My brother is an Ironman.
My sister in law is an Ironman.

I'm going to be a 5K'r.

I know, not quite the same, but a girl has to set some goals.

Following the Couch to 5K plan at Coolrunnings.com is the only plan that has worked for me. I'm not a runner. In fact, not much of a biker, either.

I love to bike slowly on my cruiser, I like to walk through woods taking more pictures than steps.

I signed up to run a 5K on my 39th Birthday. I'm pretty excited about it, especially right now. I just did day one of week four on the C25K plan. First day of new week is always the best.

But I'm mostly excited to run with my little brother. He has been such a great support through this. Encouraging me from miles away.

And on my birthday, he'll encourage me from an arm's length away.

Baby Archives

Oscar at nine months.

This kid.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Simple

When things get tough

I like to think simply

Find joy in the obvious

The obvious that might be missed

If you walked by too fast.


Relax and set down yourself.

Breathe.

Think through slowly

Simply.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cattail Soup

On our hike at Beaver Meadow, we walked through a swamp, loaded with cattails. I've always loved the brown, dried out remnants of the prior years' bounty. The symmetrical tail in the fall is transformed to this blob that reminds me of a matted dog coming in from the rain.

Getting this close, I wonder if anyone has used the cattail fiber in spinning or weaving. Off to Google I go. Yes, some have spun cattail fiber. Interested in Cattail Paper? This is an old article about other uses for cattail fiber.

Here are some other ideas:

The leaves were twisted together and formed into rings to use between the neck of a draft horse and the collar to provide a cushion.
The down was combined with ashes and lime to make a cement said to be quite strong.
The seeds are said to kill mice.
The flour of the root has been fermented to produce an ethyl alcohol.
The fibers of the stem were once used to make a burlap fabric.
An adhesive was obtained from the stems.
The fuzz (down) was compressed for insulation.
The seeds were once processed for oil and the residue fed to chickens.



And if you have access to live cattails, perhaps you would like to try Cattail Fried Rice? Or perhaps you are on the raw diet and would be up for the challenge of Raw Cattail Soup?

It also carries medicinal benefits:

In Chinese traditional medicine the dried yellow pollen of several species is used uncooked as an anticoagulant and the cooked pollen as a coagulant. The pollen is also roasted over a slow fire until black and used as a wound dressing to stop bleeding; has been combined with Cuttlefish bone for bleeding injuries. The pollen has been used to treat bloody urine, other urinary problems, angina, amenorrhea, painful menses, postpartum pain, abscess (combined with honey), abdominal pain, tapeworms, vomiting of blood, internal bleeding, cancer of the lymphatic system. The underground stem has been used as a tonic, febrifuge, diuretic, lactogogue, and to treat dysentary. Also: the pollen has been combined with honey and applied to painful swellings and sores.

Who knew???

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Beaver Meadow

When I was a kid, we would go to Beaver Meadow Nature Preserve in North Java once per month, or at least it felt like it. The folks that ran it were so friendly and knew my family as if they were my Aunt and Uncle. I just remember being there all the time.

I remembered Chipmunk Run and the boardwalk that opens onto the Beaver Pond. That same boardwalk is a lot smaller now. There is a picture somewhere of me as a kid, perhaps my own son's age sitting on the corner seat on that boardwalk. Those little planks of wood are gone, but the nostalgia runs high.

What has changed, everything else. The main building is a great nature center, complete with screech owl that we thought was mechanical, plenty of frogs and tortoises, snakes and lizards, and many taxidermy animals. They have done some wonderful things there, although I slightly miss the 'old' style.

We had a great time. The kids were great, they really do love discovering things and exploring.

As I did as a kid.

On the same paths.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Red Bud, Red Bud

I am loving this tree.

I promise...next post will be a craft or food. Not another nature photo.

Better get working!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Pocketfull of Posies for Mother's Day


Happy Mother's Day to my Mom and all the mom's out there that give everything they have for their children. We've done good!


My favorite Mom realization: Those kids suck the life out of their mothers.

This is the little bundle of flowers given to me by my German Neighbor...the one that taught me how to use a split pea to propagate.

The best thing about these flowers is their size. They hid under their leaves that surround her tree.

And I thought they were weeds.

Go figure.

Even weeds can be beautiful.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hummingbird on My Tree


Okay, perhaps not a real hummingbird, but it did make you look!

This is my Red bud tree that was given to me one year ago on Mother's Day from my boys. It missed the flowering time when I got it, so this was the first we had seen the flowers. From afar, it is just a tinge of pink, almost purple. Close up, a whole new world.

I tweaked the shadows on this one, love how the heart shaped leaves appear orange.

Hope you take a moment every day to walk your grounds and see what the earth is showing you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Washington DC

I'm a little slow posting. I thought I'd share my three favorite pictures from our trip to Washington, DC.

My boys and I had a great time. It was relaxed and delightful. We stayed with family which makes the trip all the better.

Boys were very impressed with Abe.

Did you know that the arms on the chair he is sitting on are a bundle of sticks, representing all the states? They are wrapped in leather because one stick alone can break, but when bound together (literally and figuratively) the sticks withstand any breakage. I asked the docent, I had originally thought they were bound books. Always ask!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Baltimore Aquarium: Jellies


Major kudos to the lighting folks at the Baltimore Aquarium. The blue background and the fancy lighting makes these guys (or gals?) glow. Effervescently.

Absolutely mesmerizing.