Taking Care of Myself

Lately I find myself having to walk away from the news,  turning off the TV. Newspapers pile up on the counter for a few days until I’m brave enough to sort through them. I have all but checked out of some social media sites because of the mean spirited political climate. Don’t get me wrong. I am interested in and want to be informed of what’s going on in the world, and I want to do my part to make the world a better place. But for the time being, in light of the violence, chaos, the constant turmoil and heartache in our world, I now need to take it all in small doses.

I firmly believe that despite the evil we know that exists, it is still an incredibly beautiful world filled with good hearted, thoughtful, kind souls everywhere. There is beauty beyond measure to behold. We don’t need to judge; we don’t need to agree on anything at all to be kind to one another. Let’s extend more compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and love. Let’s work on finding the best in everyone.

As for me, I’m taking care of myself: I plan to keep going on early morning walks with this sweet girl,IMG_0083I’ll keep hiking and  seeking solace in nature,IMG_8265I’ll spend all the time I can with these grand loves, IMG_0524IMG_0020IMG_0450I’ll keep writing, reading, listening to music, baking and trying new recipes, looking for good news, visiting with the wonderful friends and family members I’ve been blessed with, I’ll have morning coffee under the pergola. IMG_0488I’ll keep my eyes open for hearts,IMG_9247and I’ll be in the garden.IMG_0354IMG_0361IMG_0358IMG_0356IMG_0366IMG_0465IMG_0492IMG_0194I’ll be counting my blessings and praying for our world.

Peace to all.IMG_6973

“When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden.” ~Minnie Almoner

Nearly Spring!

 

IMG_7773“The year’s at the spring

And day’s at the morn;

Morning’s at seven;

The hillside’s dew-pearled;

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn;

God’s in His heaven-

All’s right with the world!”

~Robert BrowningIMG_7958“A wizard must have passed this way

Since – was it only yesterday?

Then all was bare, and now behold,

A hundred cups of living gold!”

~Emma C. DowdIMG_7720“A little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the king.”

~Emily DickensonIMG_7933“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”

~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

IMG_8116IMG_7971“Spring is nature’s way of saying Let’s Party!”

~ Robin WilliamsIMG_7920Everything is blooming recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. ~Ranier Maria RilkeIMG_8077IMG_8067Wishing you all a week of blooms. Go out and take in all the beauty surrounding you!

 

Effie Yeaw Nature Center

We recently shared a delightful morning exploring nature trails with our grandchildren at the wonderful Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located along the American River Parkway. Inside the nature shop were many hands-on activities that the children were engrossed in. Push a button and hear the call of a red shouldered hawk. See a display of natural habitats. That sort of thing. Also, living in the nature shop are a number of non-releasable (due to injuries, becoming orphaned, or having grown too accustomed to people) animals.

Resident birds include :

  • a Northern Saw-whet Owl, Sophia (this was a highlight for the children!)
  • a Great Horned Owl, Echo
  • a Red-tailed Hawk, Tanner
  • a Red-shouldered Hawk, Skye, and
  • an American Kestrel, Rocky

In addition to the birds, there are reptiles, and amphibians on display.

Outdoors, well-marked trails meander through 100 acres of this nature preserve.

IMG_7630IMG_7645We had just gotten started walking on a trail when we came upon the deer. They’re obviously used to being photographed and gawked at!IMG_7633I must share that I have a love/hate relationship with these guys. To see them here was such a joy, but that’s not the case when I see them in my gardens at home, or the aftermath of all the damage they have done. I know they’re hungry and need to eat too; I just don’t want to encourage the chomping on my favorite flowers and foliage! Late last summer while shopping at the feed store, I noticed blocks of deer food. Standing there in front of the display, I contemplated buying a few blocks and placing them on some undeveloped acreage in our neighborhood. I didn’t, but I may in the future. I do use some deer deterrent products in our yard, that work well most of the year, but come late summer those pesky deer are eating everything.IMG_7646We followed a trail that led right down to the American River.
IMG_7658IMG_7710This crew must have been the official welcoming committee!IMG_7662IMG_7661IMG_7666There was so much to discover and admire as we walked along the trails, turned over rocks, climbed on some old tree stumps, and listened to birdsong. A great place to explore, learn and appreciate Mother Nature, for people of all ages.
IMG_7676“If you truly love nature you will find beauty everywhere.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh

River Walking

With family members still in town the day after Christmas, we took advantage of a chilly but beautiful day to go birding along the American River trails. Well, we called it birding, but really it was a nature walk and we noticed not only birds, but majestic trees, brilliant blue skies, interesting bark, rocks and so much more. Come along with us.IMG_7082Can you make out the silhouettes of about ten vultures in this tree?
IMG_7079Oh yes, we had a few heart rock finds!IMG_7073IMG_7070IMG_7074Hard to see, but in the photo below, a white heron is hiding at the base of the tree on the left. You have to take my word for it!IMG_7081A tangle of branches.IMG_7080A nest, safely cradled!IMG_7076Along with many varieties of woodpeckers and water birds, we noticed lots of chickadees, and a deer couple bounding gracefully through the scenery (too quickly for me to capture with my camera).

Another fun find was a natural heart shape in the bark of this treeIMG_7098And speaking of hearts, mine was full with the blessing of a lovely morning out in nature with my dad, my brothers, Jim and Tom, and my dad’s dog, Keeley.IMG_7092“Keep close to nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”

~John Muir

Autumn Wreath for the Little Ones to Make

This is a simple and fun activity that my grandchildren, ages 18 months and two and a half years, and I made last week.

Gather leaves, flower petals, seed pods, acorns and small pinecones with the children. Some of the nature items from our collection came from my yard and some from theirs.

IMG_6693Ready to begin, we covered the table with our trusty vinyl tablecloth, and while I cut out the circles on two Chinet brand paper plates, the toddlers got to work choosing which treasures to glue on. IMG_6559They each enjoyed squeezing the glue out and pressing leaves on. We chatted about the different colors, smells, and shapes of the leavesIMG_6560IMG_6561Once the creations were dry, I tied a bit of twine in the back to hang and added a twine bow in the front. So easy. Such fun!

One for Mama and Daddy’s house and one for Grandma and Grandpa’s.IMG_6567 (1)A perfect added touch to welcome Thanksgiving guests.

Gift from the Heavens

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.

~Ralph Waldo EmersonIMG_5066 IMG_4894

Isn’t it breath taking? Majestic and mysterious? Sometimes as I’m driving I can scarcely keep my eyes on the road and I have to find a place to pull over and just take it all in. The wonder. The sheer beauty. The magnitude. IMG_3554 IMG_4380 IMG_3557 IMG_3562 IMG_4475 IMG_3567Remember lying in the cool grass as a child and looking at the sky and the cloud formations? I could spend long periods of time searching the sky and finding turtles or unicorns. These days I still notice the sky throughout each day. On my walk with the dog first thing each morning. Looking out my second story office window at home. While  driving (of course, being careful to keep my eyes on the road too!). I see a lot of hearts within the cloud shapes. Not daily, but often. Did you notice them too in some of the photos above? Sweet messages from above. Nature’s awe inspiring glory blessing us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.