Wednesday, April 1, 2015

'Tis the Ah-Chooo Season!

Well ... I've been waiting and wishing for winter to be over and spring to begin.  It has.  Weeds are "springing" up alllll over!  Husband's heart surgery and rehab last year hindered all but basic lawn care so this year is a riot of lovely yellow dandelions and purple blooming henbit!

I've about convinced myself they aren't weeds at all - they're actually as lovely as "flowers" and I should simply learn to appreciate them as such rather than expend the physical labor to eradicate them!  A little research shows me that they also have valuable "medicinal" properties therefore they are to be encouraged.  Now then.  Rather than appearing "lazy" for not "weeding" I can be considered "enterprising" and smart, yes?  ;-)


General Information
Asteraceae Taraxacum officinale 

Dandelion root is a registered drug in Canada, sold principally as a diuretic
Dandelion leaves and roots have been used for hundreds of years to treat liver, gallbladder, kidney, and joint problems. In some traditions, dandelion is considered a blood purifier and is used for conditions as varied as eczema and cancer. As is the case today, dandelion leaves have also been used historically to treat water retention
Dandelion is commonly used as a food. The leaves are used in salads and teas, while the roots are sometimes used as a coffee substitute.
T. officinale is food for the caterpillars of several Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), such as the tortrix moth Celypha rufana
Dandelions provide fair to good forage for livestock and wildlife, and are readily eaten because they are relatively succulent. Antelope, as well as sage and forest grouse, use it heavily. It is a species that inhabits disturbed areas. It is generally abundant on overgrazed rangelands, but can also occur on well-managed ranges.
The milky latex has been used as a mosquito repellent.
Yellow or green dye colours can be obtained from the flowers but little colour can be obtained from the roots of the plant

****  And then we have the lowly Henbit

A common weed, yes ... and very aggravating if you're set on having a perfect lawn. But, really ... aren't they lovely and perfect if you REALLY look at them closely? If I were a tiny fairy I would be enchanted to walk among a field of these beauties!  Be sure and click on the image for an even closer look!

 Henbit Deadnettle, Lamium amplexicaule 

General Information
Member of the Mint Family, Lamiaceae. Winter annual.

Some say their name comes from the fact that chickens love to eat them, Hen-food or "Hen-Bit".
Has a square stem with strange leaves that look like they are all skewered by the stem in a mini-skirt configuration. The leaves have palmate veination and crinkle around the edges. The leaves are covered with hair-like filaments.
The flowers are extremely interesting with a weird trumpetlike snout, and a snap dragon mouth. They are light pink to purple to orange, and decorated with little spots. These flowers grow out of the top of tufts of hairy leaves like alien worms craning their necks into the air searching for food.
Henbit is edible, and healthy for you.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Brightness WILL Flame Up Once More

We actually had a full sunny day today!  Yardwork ensued all up and down the street (our house included).   - mowing, edging.  Kids - ours, neighborhood friends, visiting family - all playing in the driveway ... up and down the street - almost at a feverpitch of play and not a jacket or hoodie in sight.  They went from bikes to skateboards to basketball ... all the things they've missed during the cold and rainy days.  They wanted to do it ALL!  No one wanted to go inside even as daylight dimmed ... and there was no pile of muddy shoes left outside the door to be cleaned.  All the scents and sounds of the day - fresh cut grass, buzzing mowers, neighbors standing in the sun to rest on their tools and chat,  kids voices and laughter at play  - I felt spring actually "click" into place.

The events around this world have drained me worse than winter and just as I was feeling the dark and drear of overwhelm Spring is here - as promised - to give me respite, refueling, recharging, rekindling, renewal - spiritual hope and reassurance that my faith is well placed - in Good and Powerful hands.

“Now winter, the winter I am writing about begins to ease. And what if anything has been determined, selected, nailed down? This is the lesson of age–events pass, things change, trauma fades, good fortune rises, fades, rises again but different. Whereas what happens when one is twenty, as I remember it, happens forever. I have not been twenty for a long time! The sun rolls toward the north and I feel, gratefully, its brightness flaming up once more. Somewhere in the world the misery we can do nothing about yet goes on…”



As a bird soars high
In the free holding of the wind,
Clear of the certainty of ground,
Opening the imagination of wings
Into the grace of emptiness
To fulfill new voyagings,
May your life awaken
To the call of its freedom.

As the ocean absolves itself
Of the expectation of land,
Approaching only
In the form of waves
That fill and pleat and fall
With such gradual elegance
As to make of the limit
A sonorous threshold
Whose music echoes back among
The give and strain of memory,
Thus may your heart know the patience
That can draw infinity from limitation.

As the embrace of the earth
Welcomes all we call death,
Taking deep into itself
The right solitude of a seed,
Allowing it time
To shed the grip of former form
And give way to a deeper generosity
That will one day send it forth,
A tree into springtime,
May all that holds you
Fall from its hungry ledge
Into the fecund surge of your heart.

~ John O’Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

Lukas and His Puppy-cat

Just a quick snap ... I tried to get close enough to show the fur mustache attached to the sticky face, but didn't want to wake him before we'd all had a rest.  ;-)  Lukas is one busy, five yo bundle of energy - and Puppy-Cat is the perfect calming influence to help settle him.

Puppy-Cat is the most kind, patient and loving bit of fluff we've ever had in our home.  She doesn't simply "tolerate" Lukas' rather (ahem) "intense" loving - she loves him back. She is his last hug (and sloppy kiss) goodbye each morning before school and the first hug (squeeze) when he gets home.  We just learned something interesting about Puppy-Cat .... her breed is also known as "Ragdoll" ... because of the way they go "limp" and fold in the middle when you pick them up.  They also love to be slid across a slick floor or lay across your neck or shoulder.

I learned - when Puppy-Cat was a wee kitten - that if I curved my arm "just so" on my computer desk while working that she would take that as an invitation - hop up, curl and situate herself in the crook of my arm and stay there until I no longer could move my fingers! lol! Now she's much, MUCH larger - and heavier - and she still does the same ... squeezing her body into the eight inches of free space until my arm goes to sleep.

Another odd bid of info in the article about "Ragdolls" ... they are also called ... Puppycats (NO LIE) because they demonstrate so many "doglike" qualities.  !!!  How on earth did 3yo Lukas know that when he chose her funny (to us) name?!!  ;-)

"Cats know how to obtain food without labor,
shelter without confinement,
and love without penalties."
- Quote by W. L. George

Saturday, March 28, 2015

And MORE Spring Fever!

Did I mention that I'm so spring-fevering?  It's been a long time since I really felt passionate about picking up my camera again - and now that I do I'm beyond ready for the photo ops that luscious spring brings - but spring is coming much more slowly than normal in my part of Texas!  I looked back at the missing two years at almost the same time and was amazed that budding, blooming, buzzing was much further along than now.

So, please bear with me if I double up (or triple) postings on some days.  I missed posting so many "seasons" that I as I was archive diving I was reminded of one of the JOYS of photography -- it's the absolute RUSH of the moment when you saw, felt, and snapped your image.  I FELT the sun, soft wind on my face and hair; I heard the buzzing of insects; I smelled the sweet grasses and wildflowers.  And for now - It is Enough:


Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath,
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

Until now.


I can scarcely wait ...

“…I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.”


Spring Fever

"Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eyes level with her smallest leaf, and take an insects view of its plain. "  ~  Thoreau

It's Gecko time ... Athena's own "big screen tv entertainment"!


I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcome the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Wave of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Maddie

My Maddie by Sparky2*
My Maddie, a photo by Sparky2* on Flickr.
This was a "throw-away" that wouldn't let go of my heart. It was one of the final shots ... she was so over playing model and threw herself down on the floor in a heap of skirt, backdrop and floordrop. One of the very few times we see our little spitfire so still and contemplative. ;-) It's blurry, a bit double-exposed, etc., etc. But her relaxed arms, those eyes and mouth - made me play with it until I got something that at least pleases me. A guilty pleasure.

Sorry I've been out so long, my friends! I know I have so much catching up to do ... soon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Door to a Temple

Door to a Temple by Sparky2*
Door to a Temple, a photo by Sparky2* on Flickr.

"The poem is not the world.
It isn't even the first page of the world.

But the poem wants to flower, like a flower.
It knows that much.

It wants to open itself,
like the door of a little temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed,
and less yourself than part of everthing.

. . . ~ Mary Oliver, from "Flare - 8." The Leaf and the Cloud