Forget Lonesome Dove. This one’s all about the lonesome bees – and putting food on Earth’s tables. One of my 2023 goals is spending more time outdoors, taking more notes in nature observations, and learning more about the ecosystem and the creatures that do jobs I’ve taken for granted. A couple of summers ago, we bought a bee house to provide safe spots for solitary bees like mason bees and leaf cutter bees to nest. These pollinators help plants like fruits and vegetables thrive. We have enjoyed watching the little bees come and go – they’re so cute – and so helpful! In rural areas like ours where agriculture is the name of the game, bees matter! Help with pollination – NOT PESTICIDES! We are doing one small part to make a difference – and watching it happen thrills our souls!
Lonesome Bee Haven
lonesome bee haven
baby bees buzzing
busy building businesses~
hungry world feeders
One of my 2023 goals is spending more time outdoor, taking more notes in nature observations, and learning more about the ecosystem and the creatures that do jobs I never fully appreciated. Both my mother and grandmother, avid gardeners, died of Parkinson’s Disease, a neurological disease that has been linked to pesticides. If my fish are not wild caught, I don’t buy them (my takeaway from Silent Spring). I’m doing all I can – one small part in a big world – to make a difference where I can.
I was driving along our rural highway last week and felt tears well up when I saw a sign advertising 52 acres for sale. I drove back around the loop, looking at all the trees – all the homes where right now, there are baby birds and deer and foxes and squirrels whose homes will be felled with the blade of an ax when the money changes hands. It hurts my heart for them.
We have been considering ways to control our mosquito population (quite possibly the only critter in the entire universe I would vote to eradicate), and one of our ideas is installing a bat village. So this past Saturday, I raised my husband and grandson up in the tractor bucket to install our first bat house. We’ve seen bats out by our driveway for the past several years, and we hope we can attract them to the bat houses from wherever they are living (we checked the barn and see no signs). We’ll add to the village over the next couple of weeks, even though the boxes should have been up by now since they are more likely to be inhabited over the summer when the bats emerge from hibernation in the spring, according to Google. I read somewhere that the occupancy likelihood is only 35%, but we’re going to give it a go since we know we have them nearby.
Plus, Halloween. It will just feel a little spookier and more seasonally festive when the pumpkins frost over and moon shines through the trees. We’ll enjoy batwatching almost as much as birdwatching!
~~Bat Hollow ~~
erecting a bat hollow
Loblolly pine neighborhood
for night flight critters
welcome wagons circled up
I’ve spent the months of March and April writing among friends, celebrating the Slice of LIfe Story Challenge and #VerseLove – – and spiffing up my bird and butterfly garden. Each year, we discard any cracked feeders and add a couple of new ones so that we maintain the work that began in spring 2009, shortly after we moved to the Johnson Funny Farm on New Year’s Eve 2008.
I caught butterfly garden fever from my mother. Throughout her years, she planted fennel as host plants for butterflies to lay their eggs. Every summer, her fennel plants would sag with the weight of the caterpillars, each happily munching away to becoming a chrysalis before emerging as a black swallowtail. She also threw out rotting fruit for them to feed on, and taught me to do the same. She had attended a butterfly gardening workshop with one of the leading butterfly garden experts in Georgia and learned that butterflies like to feast on urea. So if you ever see an upside-down garbage can lid with rotting oranges and a wet sponge in a garden, you can bet that someone knew to invite their little grandson to go tee-tee on the sponge to make the butterflies happy. Mom grew nectar plants nearby, such as butterfly bush, azaleas, lantana and coreopsis. Every once in a while I can keep a flower alive, but it takes a modern-day miracle to make it happen.
A miracle. That’s why a week ago Thursday for the Open Mic, I changed up my whole reading plan less than an hour before the long-awaited event started. I’d stepped outside to toss a lemon rind out and to fill the bird feeders and birdbaths and check the bluebird house (again) to see if the eggs had hatched. I could see a tiny notch in one egg, and I knew the hatchling’s head would emerge within the hour if all went well. I waited awhile, watching from the front porch, and when I could see that no parents were coming and going, I returned in time to capture the moment of wonder! Watch the video at the top, if you haven’t already.
I headed out to the poetry reading, leaving my own poems at home, selecting one by by Mary Oliver instead. I stepped onto the stage and readThis Morning.
Sarah Donovan is our host for Day 30 of VerseLove and our host of this space each month for writers who crave togetherness each month as we come together to celebrate our words and thoughts ~to share the joy of writing. She helps meet a deep need in each of us. I adore the prompt today, and I ran for my journal from 2019 when I saw the topic. I thought back to the first year I participated in VerseLove and looked for that first prompt that changed the trajectory of my life from grief over my mother’s death to connection with others whose pain shone through their heart holes, too, who showed me how to use the sunspots to write and heal. To every writer who shares the journey, thank you for all of the inspiration you bring. This morning, my grandson writes along with me as I revise my first-ever VerseLove poem, Blackberry Winter.
Blackberry Winter, Revisited
It’s a Blackberry Winter I wrote in 2019 beginning a poem about all the good things
later this morning, my first grandson will make elderberry jam toast plus cheese omelettes on the Lodge cast iron griddle wearing my apron (he doesn’t know about the apron yet)
but first: raindrops on rooftop, fresh coffee, wi-fi (stronger than coffee, finally), computer charged, comfy chair, whisper-soft pajamas,
thoughts ready to materialize three schnoodles tussling on grandson’s sleepover mattress as we write together in the living room
words forming on pages: his pen, my keyboard to the first #VerseLove prompt of 2019 from Sarah:
….the good things in our lives….
there are those who bring more warmth than raindrops and coffee, more comfort than chairs and pajamas, more joy than words ~ ancestors whose cast iron presence and apron strings linger in kitchens hugging us tight about the middle
and those we ancestor ~ grandchildren who write right next to us about all the good things in our lives on this elderberry toast and cheese omelette morning.
Kernels of Truth
ten months after
four months after
you asked me
what I thought
and I told the truth
but y’all don’t fit
it was that woman thing
just didn't like her
you had it all wrong
there were those
I thought would be a
great fit for you
lovers of wine
whose blood runneth blue
this one wasn’t for you
you’ve held my
against me all this time
made me the
and now after
you finally realize
all those reasons
y’all don’t fit
so next time I’ll
tell the only truth
you want to hear
then I’ll go
post-ripple small talk~
reconnecting after a
but eyes tell the truth
might as well pass out peanuts
feed the elephant
which just grows bigger
eyes that will no longer meet
resentment sets in
Today, I've written a riddle-type poem (Haiku two lines short of a Haiku sonnet), open-ended, to invite readers to title this poem AND to add two seven-syllable lines to the end to make it a true Haiku sonnet if you wish. I'll add my title after the photo at the bottom so you can see what my initial title was. It's subject to change :).
never have I met
anyone who on first taste
liked its bitterness
sipping piping hot
swallowing its truth
ah, but sip by sip
its addiction is for real~
can’t live without it!
The title I initially landed on was Coffee and Poetry – original, I know! Perhaps you can figure out a better title for this poem! Leave ideas in the comments, please.
Anna Roseboro is our host at http://www.ethicalela.com today for Day 12 of #VerseLove, inspiring us to find our birth poets. I loved her nod to a line from Gorman in her own poem today – we must be the light. And I’m rather convinced that’s the only way to change the world. I found Angela Williams, who wrote the poem Almost Savages – born in northern Michigan – and born on the same day and same year as I. I chose to write a Golden Shovel with this striking line: small fish will scatter away from my steps.
Anna Shines the Light
Here’s to you, Anna Small Roseboro! Words glimmer like tiny fish in your sunlight as each of us will put pen to paper, fingers to keys, scatter in all directions far and away searching, learning, writing from the heart of our birth poets- my same-day-and-year poet and I shared first steps
Wendy Everand of New York is our host today for Day 9 of the #VerseLove challenge this month as we celebrate National Poetry Month. She invites us to break all the rules or share of a time we broke a rule in her prompt, which you can read here. It’s Easter. I’m breaking every diet rule I can break today, so I’m just going to go ahead and turn myself in. I’m guilty, and the day has barely begun. Happy Easter, everyone!
living with grater purpose
say there’s no eating ice cream
(i sho’ ain’t liss’nin)
i might gain ten pounds
who cares? it’s easter sunday
it’s lemon. homemade.
made with three ingredients ~
sugar, whipping cream
and meyer lemons
fran haley’s shared recipe
from a march blog post
today’s about life~
churn a zesty slice of life!
calls for celebrating life
with grater purpose
If you’d like the recipe for the grate-est lemon ice cream ever, you can find it on Fran’s blog post here. Warning, though: you will not want store-bought ice cream ever again.
Throughout my childhood, I was obsessed with one particular book. I spent hours on end reading it – – even took the flashlight into my closet so I could read it in there too and not be bothered while I was mesmerized. I not only fell in love with the words in the book, but also with the pictures – they were enchanting. I studied every detail of the pages in Childcraft Volume 1 – Poems and Rhymes – with the pink band on the gold-numbered spine.
One poem in particular was my favorite among favorites.
Overheard on a Saltmarsh by Harold Monro (14 March 1879 – 16 March 1932).
I lived near salt marshes in those days, on a coastal island in Georgia. I’d never seen any nymphs and goblins in the marshes, but I wondered – – could they really be there? How had I missed them?
I fixated on the goblin and the nymph in the illustration. That’s a water nymph – – they often have plants growing from their heads, I learned. She’s not afraid of that ghastly looking goblin, either. She is confident in herself there in the moonlight, wearing her green gown and green glass beads.
That’s what I’d wanted to be when I grew up – a beautiful nymph with a shapely figure, wearing a flowy gown and green beads, telling my goblins NO.
And so to celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day, I will not sport a shamrock. I won’t wear a green flowy gown or drink a green beer or flash a Kiss Me, I’m Irish t-shirt or paint my face green. Or get a tattoo.
Instead, I have framed my favorite childhood poem and will nymphatically wear these green jasper beads.
Hush, I stole them out of the moon.
Please join us at http://www.ethicalela.com Saturday through Wednesday for the March Open Write. We’ll be writing poetry for the next 5 days. Come write with us!