Arboretum, January 6, 2019

Last year this time the temperature was in the single digits. Today it was 60 degrees and the wildflowers on the south-facing bluff at the arboretum were coming up under the leaves, insects were hatching.

Spent witch hazel blossoms by Mary Isabelle’s grave (Hamamelis virginiana)
Beech forest (Fagus grandifolia)
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Full Moon, 12/22/2018 (day after solstice)

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Thanksgiving and Forest Park Eagle

Time is flying by- it’s true what they say, it goes faster when you get older. Thanksgiving at Liz and Chuck’s house was memorable, not least because Chuck shot a deer on Thanksgiving morning, of all times, and so Dennis and Dent helped to butcher it while Liz and I prepared the usual feast. Now they have a rooster named Ted who just happened upon their house and has set up shop with them. He crows in the mornings so it’s good they are early risers.

I hate the news and all our national dysfunction but can’t keep away from it. So to counteract the angst we take walks in the park; I say “we”, Dennis goes with me but he does not suffer from a news affliction like I do, he mostly stays away from it, reading instead more soul-satisfying stuff like The Psychoanalysis of Fire by Gaston Bachelard. So we keep each other informed.

Our holidays are quiet. The office is even quiet now, most folks having gone to join family, or out to buy presents. We just stay home, have a friend or two over, walk in the woods, eat chili or spaghetti or whatever we feel like fixing. But to all, a blessed holiday with family and friends!

This is the eagle who has been frequenting Forest Park. I have seen him 2-3 times a week, in the mornings, sitting in this cottonwood tree at the base of Art Hill.
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Full moon, November 2018

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Fall beauty-

Ah- sweet respite from the news. We took a walk at the arboretum today. I do so love the fall smells and colors, and the wind blew all the hateful news out of my head for awhile. We saw a pileated woodpecker, buzzards (whom I thought would’ve migrated back already), finches, sparrows. In our back yard are finches, nuthatches, little woodpeckers, those stripey-headed sparrows, goldfinches and warblers migrating through. We even had 2 black swallowtail caterpillars in October, eating the parsley that grew back after the last batch of their kind had eaten it, but they disappeared- we think the paper wasps who have a nest in the garage door recruited them to feed their queen larvae through the winter. Who needs spooky Halloween movies when you can just look at the life cycle of insects. 

Solomon’s seal
Beauty Berry
Baptisia seed pods
Cricket on Rattlesnake Master
Beech bud
Beech seed pod
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Full Moon, October 24, 2018

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Liz and Chuck Get Married

This weekend I went to Frankfort, Kentucky because my sister got married! Liz and Chuck had their ceremony at their friend’s house on the Elkhorn Creek. The attendees were all members of Church of Elkhorn, a gathering of friends by the Elkhorn that started some years ago- gathering to kayak, float, talk, drink, be in nature. So it is an informal “church,” but Steve, one of their number, got ordained so he could marry Liz and Chuck. It was a cold day but the ceremony was outside and whisky was the drink of choice for most, Frankfort being the hub of the now-popular Kentucky Bourbon craze. Last night was a party at Liz and Chuck’s house- I’d guess 50 or so people showed up, among them musicians who played into the night.



Richard Taylor, owner of the local bookstore, read some poetry.



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Newfoundland, 2018

We are in Newfoundland again, this time on the West coast, in Norris Point, where we were the first time we came here in 2016. It is just as beautiful now as it was then.

Friday, August 24

Coming in to Deer Lake on the plane, you can see the place is essentially a big rock with lots of water on it:

Saturday, August 25

Bonne Bay from Norris Point

Neddie’s Harbor, where our cabin was

Graveyard in Norris Point. Anglican. There are Catholic graveyards as well. There were tensions between the Anglicans and Catholics early on in Newfoundland.


Sunday, August 26

We drove up to Lloyd’s house, where Lloyd came out of his house and greeted Dennis with a whoop and holler, like a long-lost brother. Something about these two that fits.

Dennis sharpening knives for Lloyd Major

Bog and Long Range mountains

Full moon

Monday, August 27

Lloyd took us out on his boat Monday evening. Lloyd does a lot of fishing for cod and halibut, both of which have strict limits on numbers allowed to Newfoundland fishermen and residents. Because of some old treaty, the Quebecois are allowed a much more generous quota, the source of much grousing on the island. Lloyd’s been fishing and working oil rigs and other tough work his whole life. He was born here, as were his parents and their parents before them. He and all his sibs were born in a house up the hill where the midwife came to help women through labor. By the looks of it, the young people leave the island; not many people in their 20s and 30s around here. But some do come back. Some folks say they could never leave.

This cod would be dinner on Wednesday night. 

Neddie’s HarborDennis finds a feline friend, the cat-about-town.

Tuesday, August 28

Today we went with Lloyd and Joyce to Deer Lake and Corner Brook to accompany Lloyd for a medical test and to pick up groceries.

Wednesday- Today my packing of long-sleeved shirts and sweaters was finally vindicated, as it was cold and rainy. It had been so warm and sunny that it was nearing time to find a laundromat to wash the few warm-weather clothes that I brought. Rain, Lobster Cove Lighthouse, Fished off wharf, walked Burnt Hill. Dinner at Lloyd and Joyce’s.

Thursday- Cold and rainy today as well. Glad we brought rain gear. Lobster Cove Lighthouse- history of Lomond, walked Berry Head Pond- pitcher plants, bot, sphagnum moss, Rain

Friday, August 31, 2018

We stayed up late to watch the Cardinals win another game against the Pirates last night on my computer. Those boys!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Not quite 50 degrees here in Norris Point this morning. We got up early, as always, but this morning Dennis went down to the dock, which I can see from our cabin, to meet up with Lloyd and Gerald for some fishing. I watched from the window as they put the boat in and headed out, Lloyd in his orange rubber suit from oil rig days (he was a medic on the Ocean Ranger rig off Newfoundland that sank in 1982, was not on the rig the day it sank; everyone on board died), Dennis in his blue rain jacket, Gerald nondescript in jeans and jacket. Lloyd is hoping for a halibut.

Tonight will be our last here in Norris Point. Tomorrow we spend the night in Deer Lake before catching a 5 AM flight on Monday back to St. Louis via Toronto. This is a beautiful place to visit, but I can see why young folks leave. There isn’t much room to grow here. The old ways are baked into the folks who live here, even as the times change around them. And times are changing- tourism is becoming a dominant industry, replacing the fishing and logging that sustained the settlers and generations that followed. It is easy to romanticize a place like this from afar, but I imagine growing up here would be difficult, especially if one didn’t adhere to cultural norms.




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July 4 wildflowers

Last week 2 caterpillars that will become tiger swallowtail butterflies helped themselves to our dill. They have not slowed down Dennis’ dill pickle-making, however. He has already made dozens of quarts from a very active cucumber vine this year.


Walked at the arboretum on July 4. Saw:

Fire pink


Hoary puccoon


Butterfly weed




Solomom’s seal


And in Forest Park this morning:

Bull thistle and lilies





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Wren update

Yesterday the last fledgling of our wren family flew, or rather, was chased off by mom and dad. This last one was slower to fly than the other nestling, who flew a week or so ago, and the parents had been encouraging this one ever since. We suspect that the upset of the owl incident, loss of one nestling, plus perhaps a more robust nest mate, slowed this one down. At any rate, he/she has flown off, and this morning Mr. and Mrs. Wren are courting and singing and taking in fresh nesting materials for a THIRD clutch! Hard work, this wren business.





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