Monthly Archives: November 2016

Weekly Puzzler #139:Tangerine-Sized Nuts

Hey all! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are enjoying the weekend. Is the weather nice where you live?

Rather than spend Black Friday in the stores shopping, my family went to the woods to enjoy a hike to a beautiful spot overlooking the mountains. Ahhh, it was so much quieter than the stores!

Check out this photo of these large nuts. Have you noticed this year’s bumper crop of NUTS? The squirrels and other animals who eat them are going to be in Heaven! So many! Have you seen any like this in piles where you’ve been hiking?



Do you know what they are? I wish it was possible to convey the smell through the internet. Have you ever picked one up and given it a whiff? Oh, I love the smell of these!

Check back next weekend to see if you are correct. And don’t forget to add your guess in the comment box below–chances to qualify for this quarter’s drawing are running out! A winner will be chosen on the first day of winter, just a few weeks away. Good luck!

See you again soon.

Weekly Puzzler Answer #138

m3-6725Were you one of the people who knew the answer to last week’s puzzler? The beautiful low growing plant with bright red berries?

It is Cornus canadensis –Commonly known as Bunchberry, Bunchberry Dogwood, Dwarf Dogwood, Canadian Bunchberry, Dwarf Cornel, or Creeping Dogwood.

In the spring and summer it has lovely white flowers which resemble those on our flowering dogwood trees, hence the name of Bunchberry Dogwood. You can see a photo of these flowers here.

Here is the next puzzler!

See you again soon.

Quote of the Week #79

Happy Thanksgiving! On this special day I want to say THANK YOU my dear readers for joining me on this journey, for reading my blog posts and caring about our beautiful planet. Thank you for your interest in our fascinating outdoor neighbors and in the things that make our earth special. Thanks for helping me dispel myths about the plants and animals we love and for encouraging respect and appreciation for all living things. I appreciate you! May your holiday be filled with the love and laughter of family and friends, good food, good health and lots of reasons to be thankful.

There are troubling things happening in our world everyday, but there are also amazing blessings and examples of lives changed by kindness.  Of course, these inspiring stories don’t get the press of the negative ones, but if we look hard enough we can find them. (Check out this site for some feel-good stories that will make your heart smile, like the video of the dog racing down the dock and jumping in the water to swim with the dolphin or the cops who gave out this instead of tickets)

Think of your own life. Everyday there are things we can be grateful for, things we may overlook because we are focused on what is wrong with our lives, what is lacking, what challenges we are dealing with.

What are you thankful for today?

Here are a few of my favorite quotes picked for today, as well as a collection of some of my favorite pictures–all of which show the beauty of our world –beauty that is right outside of our doors–if we have the eyes to see.


and here’s another one that I think is fitting, especially in thinking about last week’s post, or in considering some of the difficulties getting together with family members sometimes presents:


and lastly:

Life is full of give and take. Give thanks and take NOTHING for granted.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite images. Enjoy! And Enjoy this special time of year.


Weekly Puzzler Answer #137

rowan-0013Did you recognize the stalk with bright red berries from last week’s puzzler? These are the berries from a plant called Jack in the Pulpit, or Arisaema triphyllum. Have you seen it? It looks like this:

m3-4435 m3-7067

This plant has the rare ability to change its sex based on the area where it grows. It may live for 20 years and can change again and again and again. When it has the right nutrients and moisture and has reached a sufficient size to provide resources to support a flower and fruit, it will be female. When it lacks nutrients, it reverts to a male plant. A jack that makes male flowers has only one main leaf whereas a female has two.


Since it has only one leaf, it is a male.

Check out one more puzzler with RED berries.

Weekly Puzzler #138: More RED Berries!

So since we’re on a role of seeing RED, let’s do one more. Check out this plant, which, by the way, grows throughout most of Canada, Alaska and the northern United States, south in the mountain regions, to Virginia in the east and to New Mexico in the west.

Have you ever seen it on a hike? Isn’t it beautiful in the fall with its bright red berries? Do you know what it is?


If so, add your guess to the comment box below for your chance to win the next give-away–a drawing on the first day of winter. All correct responses will be entered.

See you again soon.

Quote of the Week #78

As you likely know if you’ve been a subscriber for very long, I try to do a weekly quote and usually this is something inspiring. When I first began this category I simply put a nice quote on a nice picture and that was that. But at some point it occurred to me that doing it that way, without any story or text with it was not very imaginative. And so I began using what was going on in my life as inspiration for the topic or theme of the quotes.


In this case however, I have been conflicted about whether to talk about my current state of mind because in doing so, it is bringing up a controversial subject that is apt to offend.

But I can think of nothing else.

Since Wednesday morning when I found out the election results, I have been in a state of despair and have accomplished next to nothing. Each day has been a struggle and honestly, the best part is the sweet bliss of sleep that makes me forget for a few hours. Are you feeling this way too?

There are many who say “Get over it! It’s time to move on! Stop being a sore loser!” But what they may fail to understand is that I–and others like me– are not grieving because our candidate lost, WE ARE GRIEVING  for the loss of so much of what we believe in and what we think this result says about our country.

When was the last time you saw a movie or read a book where the villain was not defeated at the end? We all want, and expect that GOOD will triumph over evil. No one wants to see the bully win at the end of a movie. No one wants to watch the mean character come out the winner.

In our world we have lots of people who are not exactly good role models–celebrities and athletes who do or say dishonorable things. But with these people we can chose not to watch them, not to support them. We can skip their movies or games.

When it comes to the President of the Untied States, we cannot make any such choice. Sure, we can NOT watch the news or read the papers, but neither will change the fact that the President sets the tone for our country and represents us to the rest of the world.

How could the first qualifications necessary to be President not be a person who RESPECTS OTHERS?

How can it not be required that this person is compassionate and caring, someone who puts others first and considers the good of everyone BEFORE  what’s good for himself?

And so I grieve…

I grieve for the triumph of greed and bad moral character over common decency and respect for other people, including those that have a handicap or have different colored skin, those that practice a different religion or come from another part of the world. I grieve over the fact that we have put a bully into the highest office in our land, a man who repeatedly attacks other people, who encourages violence, who gets ahead by insulting anyone who stands in his way. I grieve for all women and girls because we have said with this election that it is okay to belittle them, to say they are fat or ugly, to compare them to pigs, to make them feel like they aren’t good enough, that they can’t succeed because they were born girls rather than boys, that they don’t “have the right look”, and worst of all, to sexually harass them and then brag about it. By electing this person for President, we have said, “Yes, this behavior is acceptable.” This sickens me…and it baffles me as to how anyone could have chosen to overlook this shameful behavior, the same behavior that if we saw in our kids we would punish.

In addition, as someone who loves nature more than just about anything, I fear for what this means for the environment. I suspect protecting our natural resources and beloved animals will not be a priority of this administration.

And so, I grieve.

m2-20…And cannot come up with anything inspiring to say for this week. I am sorry… Here’s the best I can do, along with some pretty fall pictures, which make me forget, if only for a few minutes:

“You can close your eyes to the things you don’t want to see, but you can’t close your heart to the things you don’t want to feel.” –Johnny Depp


“All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they will never notice how broken you really are.”  –Robin Williams


Weekly Puzzler #137: Tight Red Cluster of Berries

This week’s puzzler features another plant with bright red berries, though these are much closer to the ground, on a plant rather than a tree. Have you ever seen these while out walking in the woods? Do you know what plant they are from?


As always, if you want to guess, feel free–just use the comment box below the post. I’d love to hear from you and remember, all correct guesses will be entered to win a free prize. I give away a prize 4 times each year–on the first day of winter, spring, summer and fall. December seems like a long way off, but really, it’s just around the corner! Some prizes have been a sampler pack of my greeting cards as well as a blank notebook. 

Have a great weekend! See you again soon.