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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Resilience of Daffodils

New York City: If daffodils can make it here, they an make it anywhere!

"Words In Our Beak Volume One" Update

As some of you may know, the book, Words In Our Beak Volume One, that I wrote with Cam, a female cardinal, has been published and it is available in iBooks and on Kindle!*
The book's goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in a rooftop urban garden in New York City, the story is told in the voice of Cam, a female cardinal, who visits it. "Words In Our Beak" is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The book includes hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author. 

Additionally, Words In Our Beak, has received great reviews, including ones on Goodreads. 

*Don't have a Kindle but want to read books in this format? There are free Kindle Apps that allow you to do this on most electronic devices.

Monday, March 28, 2016

"EGGS--PRESSIONS" in honor of Easter Octave Monday

On this Monday within the Octave of Easter, two of my Easter visitors, Mr. and Mrs. Easter Egg took the time to teach one of their youngsters about non-holiday things associated with eggs, including some "EGGS-PRESSIONS."* I was glad they shared the convo with me for I had not heard of some of the "EGGS-PRESSIONS" that they sited and I've posted them below:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”

Earlier in the week, upon my hearing the news of the terrorist's attacks in Belgium, I thought of CB, a woman in my hood who died in February of 2014. Among others, CB was survived by her sister who, as far as I know, still lives in Belgium. I've only met CB's sister, once, and the occasion was at the luncheon which was held after CB's funeral mass.

As for CB, I initially met her in the 1980's when I was doing some volunteer work for SL, a widow of the man who had headed The William Morris Agency. SL lived in the luxury building, where CB and her husband had a penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park. There is an entrance to Central Park directly across that building, and it one that I’ve used numerous times over my many years in New York City.

And it is at that entrance one can see a tribute to Theodore Roethke, the American poet who lived between the years of 1908 and 1963. Many poets were influenced by his teachings and/or writings including the poet, Sylvia Plath.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

In Honor of Saint Joseph

Today, March 19th, is The Feast of Saint Joseph. He is known for many things, including being the patron saint of home as well as house hunting. I became acquainted with the latter aspect of Saint Joseph when I was looking for an apartment. After much fervent prayer in which I implored his intercession, I found the one where I am currently living and where I have my little roof extension garden.

Over the years, I've written about my garden in relation to the flora as well as foliage that I grow here. And I've also written about how I maintain my garden during the winter season. Winter season maintenance for a container garden in the northeastern portion of the United States has been an ambitious undertaking.

Every year I mulch what grows in each of the containers that "house" my array of flora types (flowers, herbs, ornamental grasses, plants, shrubs, succulents, trees and vines). After doing this, I wrap each container in a layer of bubble wrap, then I put a layer of burlap over the bubble wrap and tie it all together with jute.

The time frame for doing these tasks varies from year to year depending on the onset of winter. Some years that has meant that I've had to winterize as early as mid November, other years it has meant that I've waited until January to do any winterizing.

And when it comes to de-winterizing, the tasks of unwrapping everything and removing most of the mulch has occurred at different times, depending on the onset of spring. In bygone years I've had to de-winterize as early as February; other years I've had to wait until late April to do any such work. In terms of this past winter, I winterized on December 15, 2015  and completed my de-winterizing yesterday, March 18, 2016. The results of my recent de-winterizing can be seen in the first photo accompanying this Fb entry, whereas the second picture features how my garden looked after being winterized this past December.

In the second image, you will notice an arrow, which is pointing toward one of the bird feeders (with a Downy woodpecker noshing from it) that I have used in my garden to accommodate my avian friends who visit it.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Luck of the Irish — NOT SO LUCKY FOR PIGS!

A little over three weeks ago, March 1, 2016, I announced here on Blogger that it was #NationalPigDay. In that entry, I had pictures of pigs that have visited my home from time to time, including a different image of the pig that is featured in the photo (accompanying this entry) of her in my succulent garden, where she has been spending the month of March.
The month of March is known as Irish American Month, and today, March 17th, NYC will have its annual parade. The parade is in honor of this heritage, and in honor of of Saint Patrick’s Day.
At the time that I posted my March 1st entry re pigs,I did not know that they are a part of Saint Patrick’s history, but since that posting, I’ve read the following:
“…when (Saint) Patrick was traveling with some sailors on land after they docked their ship in Britain, they had trouble finding enough to eat while crossing through a desolate area of land. The captain of the ship on which Patrick had sailed asked Patrick to pray for the group to find food, since Patrick had told him that God was all-powerful. Patrick told the captain that nothing was impossible for God, and he prayed for food right away. Miraculously, a herd of pigs appeared after Patrick finished praying, in front of where the group of men was standing. The sailors caught and killed the pigs so they could eat, and that food sustained them until they were able to leave the area and find more food…”
I don’t eat meat and have an appreciation for these creatures as Charlotte (from Charlotte’s Web) did!
Therefore I found this information to be disturbing! For while pigs may have met luck to the persons traveling with Patrick, this animal type was not so lucky…

Monday, March 14, 2016

Rainy Days & Mondays (Reprised)

It's a rainy Monday in NYC and part of what Karen Carpenter had to say about days like this (in her song "Rainy Days and Mondays") was this:
"... Hangin' around
Nothin' to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down..."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Reflections on "MYSTERIES OF LIFE"

One of my favorite mini essays by E.B. White is, "Mysteries of Life." Recently I referred to it when commenting on an entry on The Writer's Almanac's Facebook Page. And I thought of White's "mysteries" essay again the other morning, prompting me to share it here:
MYSTERIES OF LIFE (9-22-28 E.B. White):
"About once a year the human soul gets into the papers, when British scientist convene. Once a year the mystery of life, the riddle of death, are either cleared up or left hanging. The reports of the learned man enthrall us, and there have been moments when we felt that we were really approaching an understanding of life’s secret. We experienced one of those moments the other morning, reading a long article on the chemistry of the cell. Unfortunately, when we finished we happened to glance into our goldfish tank and saw there was a new inhabitant. Frisky, our pet snail, had given birth to a tiny son while our back was turned. The baby mollusk was even then hunching along the glassy depths, wiggling his feelers, shaking his whelky head. Nothing about Frisky’s appearance or conduct had given us the slightest intimation of the blessed event; and gazing at the little newcomer, we grew very humble, and threw the morning paper away. Life was as mysterious as ever."
The essay came to my mind, not because I was reading through the newspaper to check on the reports of "the learned man," and missed the birth of a creature in the process; rather, I thought of the essay when I woke up this morning after a difficult night caused by my having spent too much time going over and over things I had or hadn't done that made me disappointed in myself.

Friday, March 11, 2016

"It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information." (REPRISED)

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, the Irish playwright, novelist, essayist, and poet is on the mind — as well as in the heart — of yet another visitor to my succulent garden.
He is pictured here — in my succulent garden — standing below my pencil cactus, and where he told his comrades,*"fifteen things (they) probably didn't know about leprechauns."
He thought they'd appreciate knowing this information, given the fact that Saint Patrick's Day (March 17) will be here in six days!
And before he told them fifteen things that they probably didn't know about leprechauns, he reminded them that "It is a very sad thing that nowadays there is so little useless information," which is a quotation attributed to Oscar Wilde.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Hat Trivia

One may carry a pot of gold. One may carry a pumpkin. But this leprechaun (first image top) and pilgrim (second image top) have similarities: They both enjoy spending time in my succulent garden, albeit during different times of the year!
However, no matter the season, they both wear nearly the same head gear! So… my question to them has been: Why a buckle on a hat?
They each had the same answer which is this: “Simple. Our hats are based on the one-size-fits-all pattern. The buckle is for a ‘belt’ which you use to adjust the crown to the head size!" (And I thought baseball caps were the first adjustable headwear….)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Seductive Looking Easter Bunny Causes Irish Eyes To Smile!

The day before yesterday — here on Blogger — I introduced you to a a girl who is visiting my succulent garden for Irish American Month. And yesterday she introduced me to one of her traveling companions, who happens to be a musician.
Both of them are well acquainted with an Irishman, who has also been traveling with them. And they've told me that he has a thing for the ladies. He can be seen here (in the image above) with an Easter bunny, who has arrived to help prep my succulent garden for Easter, which is only nineteen days from today!
She was doing some watering in my succulent garden, while wearing some very skimpy clothing, as she had a case of Spring Fever now that the weather is warming up a bit!
You can see that her attire — or lack of attire — was appreciated by the visiting Irishman, whose Irish eyes were smiling!
Like my visiting bunny, I also got a bit motivated by the warmer temps, as well as the weather reports, that announced the prediction of even warmer ones coming our way!

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Onset of Spring in a Leap Year

I’ve just learned that spring “will be off to a very early start in 2016, thanks to leap day weirdness… This year, spring begins March 19 or 20, depending on your time zone.”
And since the first harbinger of spring in a garden is often chive sprigs (AKA Allium schoenoprasum), it looks like we in the NYC area will be able to give into Spring Fever.

It's National Be Heard Day!

Yesterday, here on Blogger, I introduced you to someone who has come to spend time in my succulent garden in honor of it being Irish American Month.

My guest did not travel here alone, she came with a few friends, and one of them can be seen in the picture accompanying this entry. As you can see, he is a musician.

This morning he informed me that today is one of his favorite holidays, which is National Be Heard Day.

I can understand why he considers this to be one of his favorite occasions, for most musicians want to be heard.

However, they are not the only ones that want to be heard! We are in an election year and candidates, pundits, as well as pollsters, want to be sure they are being heard.

Cam, my beloved co-author, wanted to be heard too, which is why I helped her write the book, Words In Our Beak Volume One. But Cam’s book is NOT limited to her voice being heard. Words In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment.

Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The book includes hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.

And while Cam wanted her voice to be heard, the strength of the book comes from the fact that Cam knew the difference between hearing and listening!

Cam’s wisdom regarding the differences between hearing and listening, gives a deeper meaning to National be Heard Day.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Visitor Arrives In Honor of Irish American Month!

This is the first time that whimsical characters are visiting my indoor succulent garden in honor of Irish American Month, which occurs annually in March. Saint Patrick's Day is eleven days from now, and the figurine pictured here has suggested I get moving along if I want to prepare any treats for the upcoming holidays, something she has already done! This is evidenced by the platter of Irish Oatmeal Cookies she has on the platter that she is holding in her photo-op.
I'm not skilled at baking holiday treats, which is something I confessed (on Fb on Saint Patrick's Day in 2014), when I wrote about a NYC treat shop that featured special Rice Krispie Treats that were designed for the Irish Holiday (you can refer to this Fb entry by clicking here).
In any event, if I were to be good at baking, I probably would need to do it much closer to the actual holiday, to avoid eating any goodies before I had the chance to share them!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Hearing & Listening

I thought you would appreciate this passage (short) from "Charolette's Web," by E.B. White:
"I worry about Fern. Did you hear the way she rambled on about the animals, pretending that they talked?' (Mrs. Arable the wife of Wilbur's owner speaking about her daughter to her husband.)
''Mr Arable chuckled. '''Maybe they do talk,''' he said. "I've sometimes wondered.
'''I don't think it's normal. You know perfectly well animals don't talk.''' (Mrs. Arable replied).
'''Maybe our ears aren't as sharp as Fern's," "Mr. Avery said."
Cam, the cardinal who used to visit my garden (pictured below here in my garden) always believed that it is important for everyone of us to have sharp ears and she spent time taking care of hers! She included her philosophy in her book, Words In Our Beak Volume One, which I helped her write.

For Cam knew as Fern seemed to, listening is crucial! But doing so can be especially challenging during the pressures of day to day living.
Indeed Cam is correct! Listening to one another's needs, and tending to the needs of our animals and the things we grow in our gardens (which we can only do if we listen to them) is the most important thing we can do during our lifetime.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Oh, say can you see...? " Honoring National Anthem Today

Cardinals are  the state bird for seven of the United States (these include Illinois; Indiana; Kentucky; North Carolina; Ohio; Virginia, and West Virginia). This is  a fact that gave Cam (to the right of her husband in the first picture) bragging rights (as if she needed them) when she put together her book "Words In Our Beak Volume One."

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Remembering Dr. Seuss on His Birthday

One hundred and twelve years ago, #DrSeuss was born on this day of March the second. 
I have appreciated many of his writings as well as his illustrations, and I have written about his work on here on Blogger as well as tumblrBut its  #DrSeuss's perseverance with his first book, "And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street," 

that keeps me going, as I try and promote — as well as sell —  the book I wrote with Cam, Words In Our Beak Volume One.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Bit More Info Re #NationalPigDay!

Earlier today (here on Blogger), in honor of this March 1st holiday of #NationalPigDay, I posted an excerpt from E.B. White's, Charlotte's Web. I specifically referred to the passage where Charlotte advcated for a pig that her father was about to kill. (If you'd like to refer to that Blogger entry, please click here.)

Meanwhile, Charlotte can be seen in the first image accompanying this entry. She is holding the pig she saved. She ultimately named him Wilbur. However, Charlotte is not the only one who appreciates this animal, which may be fairly obvious, given there is at least one holiday dedicated to honoring this creature.

According to Holiday Insights, "Ellen Stanley, a Texas art teacher created National Pig Day in 1972. Her intent was to to recognize and be thankful for pigs as intelligent domestic animals." Holiday Insights goes on to say that "there is no evidence to suggest that this is truly a 'National' day, which requires an act of congress." BUT thankfully, lovers of this animal are not waiting for an act of congress to make this holiday official, for we all know congress can't agree on anything!

Celebrating #NationalPigDay with the characters from Charlotte's Web

Happy March! And with the beginning of a new month, there is a holiday! Today, March 1st, is National Pig Day! And in its honor, I thought you would appreciate this passage (short) from "Charlotte's Web," by E.B. White: