Life Nature


“Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring soon. And the orchards will be in blossom. And the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And they’ll be sowing the summer barley in the lower fields…and eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

Nature Neato


Yesterday, I read about the discovery of a new species of whale in the Gulf of Mexico.

The new species has been named Rice’s Whales. They were originally thought to be Bryde’s Whales, but some scientists suspected there were differences. These scientists collected genetic data a few years ago, which gave preliminary confirmation of their suspicions. Then, a dead whale was found in 2019, and the scientists were able to verify their hypothesis.

At first, it seems surprising that these whales have been swimming around, unidentified, for so long. Scientists estimate, however, that there are fewer than 100 Rice’s Whales left in the world; they are in danger of extinction. Combine that with the size and depth of the ocean as well as the challenges of locating specific types of fish and animals in the sea, and it’s not so surprising after all.

The discovery of this new species isn’t going to make much, if any, impact on the lives of most of us here on Earth. We would have gone on with our human existence even if we’d never learned about these whales. Likewise, the whales would have gone on living their watery lives regardless of our awareness. With that in mind, maybe this news isn’t such a big deal, especially considering everything else that’s happening these days.

On the other hand, maybe it’s the type of news we need right now. It’s a reminder that, as smart as we are and as much as we know, there is still so much for us to discover. So, here’s to curiosity, to riddles and mysteries, and to all that we have yet to learn.

On the other hand, maybe it’s On the other hand, maybe it’s a nice little reminder of what can happen through a combination of curiosity, perseverance, and the belie

Good Nature


I went outside this morning while I was waiting for the coffee to perk. In my yard, flitting about, were seven Red-breasted Robins.

There are numerous meanings and symbols associated with Red-breasted Robins. Generally, the stories and legends share a common theme: hope and renewal.

Whatever the reason might have been for these feathery visitors today, they were a treat to watch. Here’s to happy little moments in the sunrise.

Fun Nature


Well, it actually happened. We got some real, bonafide snow.

The Big Event was yesterday. It started around lunchtime and lasted a few hours. Big, fat, fluffy snowflakes, the kind you see in movies, coming down pretty heavily for a while. It was delightful. It all melted quickly, however. No accumulation at my house, although areas not far from here saw some real Winter Wonderland action.

I suppose it’s silly to get so excited about it, especially considering that snow tends to create inconveniences. Because it’s so rare for this area, there’s a bit of a freak out when it happens. Roads get shut down, traffic is a nightmare, schools close, grocery stores become crowded as people stock up on staples like milk and bread.

Thunderstorms, tornadoes, heat advisories – we’re experts at that stuff. It’s expected and normal; we’ve got systems and steps and lots of practice. Frozen precipitation? Not so much.

But it’s the rarity that also makes it fun, makes it worth celebrating. Snow is a big deal because it doesn’t happen very often. When it does, it feels a little magical.

So, I’m glad that this time, the snow happened on a weekend and that it didn’t stick around for long. It was the best kind of snowfall; not enough to create many complications. Just enough to enjoy.

Adventures Nature


Today is International Mountain Day. Established by the United Nations in 2003, International Mountain Day is focused on the protection and sustainability of mountains.

I once read that, when choosing recreation-y, vacation-y options, Introverts prefer mountains, while Extroverts prefer water. I don’t know about the scientific accuracy of that information. As somebody who leans Introvert, however, I do know that I’m more likely to head for the hills.

There’s something about being in the mountains that makes me feel free. That’s strange, perhaps, because being surrounded by ancient stone formations isn’t typically associated with feelings of freedom. But when I’m in the mountains, I don’t see barriers. I don’t feel surrounded, closed in. What I see are expanses, vistas, views – green and blue and brown and white, stretching out into the distance and into the sky. What I feel is clear, unconstrained lightness.

I’ve also never really considered mountains to be something that need protecting. After all, they’re solid rock formations, tall and strong, ancient and unyielding.

Then again, rocks can be crushed. Time and water can carve canyons and valleys. Mountain life can disappear due to fire, climate changes, and man-made circumstances.

The fact is, nothing on our planet, this home we call Earth, is indestructible. Even mountains.

So, here’s to International Mountain Day and its goal of protection. And, here’s to the tales of time and nature that exist within the ancient rock and stone.

Family Nature


A few years ago, at our youngest son’s request, we planted an apple tree in our yard.

Last year, the tree produced four apples. Unfortunately, a storm shook them out of the tree before they were ripe. Nevertheless, we were quite excited by our bounty.

This year, the tree has given us one apple. One perfect, beautifully ripe apple. It seems a shame to eat it. It also seems a shame not to.

It won’t keep forever, so eat it we will, after we’ve admired it, photographed it, exclaimed over it. I suspect it will be the tastiest apple we’ve ever enjoyed. The best of both worlds, the experience and the outcome.

Here’s to simple treasures and delicious moments.

Food Nature


We added peas and brussel sprouts to our garden yesterday, so I chose my Garden Cheerleader cuppa today.

If our new garden babies are doing well by Thanksgiving, I plan to include peas and brussel sprouts in our holiday menu. We may not end up with a bumper crop; it’s more likely we’ll get just a few from each plant. Still, it may be enough for all at the table to enjoy a bite or two. I expect they’ll be the tastiest of all the veggies, coming from our own backyard, served to the people we love.

Here’s to homegrown and the joy of sharing the bounty.



Today, Yosemite National Park is 130 years old.

Congress passed an act creating the park on October 1, 1890. It was then signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison.

I imagine that, on that day, the boulders and trees and streams quietly smiled, grateful for the designation granting them honor and recognition. Perhaps they also uttered an indulgent sigh, patiently and lovingly allowing us to believe that our existence validates theirs, knowing that, in actuality, the opposite is true.

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” – John Muir

Animals Nature


We’re all coping in the best ways we can during these crazy times. Perhaps this info will provide a bit of happiness and bring a smile.

Today is the start the annual Fat Bear Week, sponsored by Katmai National Park & Preserve.

Fat Bear Week celebrates the Katmai bears and their preparations for hibernation. They’ve been gorging themselves on salmon and berries for months in anticipation of the long, cold months ahead. Now, it’s time to determine which one will wear the Fat Bear crown.

Voting happens here:

More info about Katmai National Park & Preserve can be found here:

Here’s to fat bears and celebrating the lighthearted moments in life.

Life Nature


The grapes from our backyard grapevine are finally ripe.

I did nothing more than cheer them on. They blossomed and grew and ripened all on their own.

It is possible, however, that the smiles and encouragement they received throughout their journey tipped the scales toward success. Perhaps they grew a bit faster, stayed strong through the rain and sun and heat and chill, because of those little cheers, because of the excited energy, the trust in positive outcomes, the messages of appreciation.

Don’t we all?