Saturday, November 09, 2013

A Garden To Remember...

"Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there."                   ~Thomas Fuller~

I bought a new book, and I have carried it over to the cabin all week to read and admire after my morning chores at the barn.  It is a beautiful tribute to a lady and her garden. It is written by a friend from high school. Martha Tate has had an exciting life writing, working with HGTV, and traveling while meeting gardeners and seeing fabulous places and plants.  The garden in her book was discovered close to her home.  It is the journey of  Margaret Mosley, a late bloomer herself ...who started gardening after raising her children.  The book is filled with colorful photos, quotes, and an insight into this remarkable woman's life.  It also speaks volumes about its author, Martha Tate, who has given this 97 year old woman one of the most precious gifts and tributes that anyone could ever receive. 

 I suppose this book has hit close to home because my Mom is almost the age of Margaret Mosley. I found myself reading through, it is a very uplifting story, but yet it left a lump in my throat.  I began thinking about the movie, "Blazing Saddles"... that line about the secret to life...that "one" thing. I now believe that one thing to be "passion"..a reason to get up every morning...something to look forward to seeing and anticipating...something that lights a fire in your heart and soul.  It may be gardening or it may be something else, but it gives a person a reason for living.  I know that my Mom is constantly plotting and planning something in the future...and yes, add a streak of stubbornness, but looking ahead instead of dwelling in the past is important.  My Mom lived through a depression, a World War, having a spouse that was missing in action and then a POW..and then later lost him to Alzheimer's.  She lost a child, too...and her parents, siblings, and now most of her friends. Not everyone will live to be 97, but however many years we are given on this earth, I hope that they are filled with our passions and a true will to live. This is my Mom a few weeks ago with her granddaughter!!!! She enjoyed a ride around the lake..on a 4 wheeler!! Something she had not done since the golf cart fire!

  My Mom has always loved plants, too.  At one time, she grew the most beautiful African Violets.  Later years, it has been Christmas Cactus. About 3 years ago, she began giving away all of her flowers. She gave our oldest daughter one of her favorite cactus saying she could no longer see well enough to take care of it.  The next year, my daughter brought her that cactus back as a gift at Christmas.  It was in full bloom and thriving!  My Mom told her that she would keep it until January and then give it back to her...but it still sits on her "bar stools and boards" planter in her kitchen window!  I don't think my daughter minds! Just this week, we went on a great Christmas Cactus search, but we discovered it is a little early for them to be at the garden centers.  My Mom plans to give all the grandchildren a cactus for Christmas...and add a few to her collection!

 Lately, I have thought a lot about my life.  This fall has been a little nostalgic.  So many friends and family have passed away in the autumn months.  I have written many more names on my Beech tree leaves this year. How grateful I am to have known them. Certainly family and friends are important, but within us all, I think that spark of our own passion needs to be in a self preserving part of our soul to help us to be who we are. I have thought about my passion...this place and all of its plants and critters, and I sometimes think that it has become an obsession. I have always felt a deep connection to this place.  A Lakota Elder once told me that I have always been its caregiver.  I simply know it's home.

Thank you, Martha...your book, A Garden to Remember, will find a special place at The Cabin Path. I am so glad to reconnect with you after over 45 years!  When I think of all of the friends I have met through The Cabin Path, I do feel there must be a mystical force working! Martha, you have inspired me to regroup and find a way to resume my workshops, and to also finish and publish my books! I would love to meet Margaret Mosley, and through your book, I feel as though I have. 

Friday, February 01, 2013

“A friend is someone who dances with you in the sunlight, and walks with you in the shadows.”
 ~ Anand Singh~

Some of my morning greeters yesterday after a rough day of storms on Wednesday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Baby Blue

                  “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
                                                   ~A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh~

     I had forgotten that the deer were called White-tailed Deer.  Usually, they don’t run from me, but for the last few weeks, they have. I suspect that someone has been in the woods, probably hunting, but their trust in humans is gone. That is probably a good thing..for them, but I enjoyed their greetings every morning.  They are starting to come back…a few does and their growing spotties come up for breakfast, and I have notice a single little guy that hangs around the horses and the cabin. The deer can be hard to identify, although some have faces that look almost like llamas, some are more of a tan color, some have scars or jagged ears, and of course the bucks can be identified by their antlers and coloring.

     Last week, while drinking my morning coffee and waiting for the sunshine, I saw the swirling circle of a group of buzzards.  Now buzzards seem like disgusting creatures, but they play an important role in nature.  If there were no scavengers and cleaner uppers, the woods would reek! They are interesting to watch.  It seems that they have spotters that report back to the pack when something is discovered, but to one who has ancient horses, it was a disturbing way to start the day.

     Arriving at the barn, I saw that the horses were fine and hungry.  I went about feeding them, and I was relieved to hear Shadow meowing from under the cabin porch. After morning chores were finished, I decided to investigate a little further.  I took the trail above and behind the cabin.  I didn’t have to go too far before I spotted the frenzy of eaters…and a deer on the ground.  I didn’t go too far, but I could see that it was a doe.  I don’t know if she had been shot or hit by a car or what caused her death, but I knew she was one of the girls.  They had been too scattered lately to know who was missing.


     Tonight at the barn, the little spring spottie was at the barn, and again, it was by itself. By now, I had decided that it was the baby of Little Blue, one of my favorites.  Deer have personalities just like people and pets.  Some are grumpy and selfish, and some are gentle, giving, and loving.  Little Blue was the doe that befriended a little mallard duck. (She got her name from her hound dog like face and big brown eyes.) The duck had an injured foot.  It could fly, but it was hard for it to stand or walk.  Almost every morning, it would fly up to where Little Blue was eating, and she would run off the other deer and ducks so the little guy could eat.  I posted about them several times. She had her baby late in the spring, and I had worried when she stayed in labor for several days.  This little guy had spots up until hunting season, and Blue was very protective of it…She would never leave it alone for so long. I’m sure she taught Baby Blue well (a name I gave it as I sat on the cabin porch tonight in tears)…and I’ll do my part to watch over it.

Nature can be both beautiful and harsh.  Death is a part of life, but it seems that there have been too many losses lately…and it has taken some of the most loving and gentle souls…I sat on the cabin porch until it was almost dark. I realized that my tears weren’t only for Little Blue, but also for my sister and for friends that I’ve lost this year, but like Pooh, I’m lucky to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard. 

                                              Little Blue and Baby Blue back in the spring.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blue Mushrooms

Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
 Class: Agaricomycetes
 Order: Russulales
Family: Russulaceae
 Genus: Lactarius
 Species: L. indigo
Me:  That Blue Mushroom

Over the weekend, I discovered some blue mushrooms.  I did not remember seeing any before, but now that my eyes are watching for them, I have found them in many different areas around the lake! I called on my friends from the  Mushroom Club of Georgia, a group that has visited TCP several times. They quickly identified it as Lactarius indigo. Fascinated by the rich, deep color, I decided to read up on dyes and mushrooms, and I began experimenting with a batch! If all goes as planned, I hope to dye some cotton squares for new prayer cloths for the labyrinth cove.  I am planning to use natural plant and mineral dyes found around here, and blue will be a wonderful addition!

I started with the mushrooms.  Immediately, I was surprised by the oozy blue “milk” all over my hands from simply picking it.  I knew the mushroom was edible, so I was not worried about any toxins, but it reminded me of an almost permanent blue medicine I once used on horse cuts and scratches.  (I was thinking I might have to hide my hands for awhile!)

I boiled 2 cups of water, and I added about ½ cup of vinegar.  I sliced the mushrooms and added them to the pot of hot water.  I let them steep until cooled, and then I poured them into jars to “age.”  In reading more about these mushrooms, they turn greenish when exposed to air, so one of the mushrooms may have been too old…the batch seems to have a greenish tint, but I’m learning!! In looking at the paper towel I used to clean the dirt off of the mushroom, I saw that the dye is that bold blue…maybe I need to use my mortise and pestle and smash them up and use that for stamping….maybe that’s tomorrow’s project!  Here are some pictures from today:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mushroom Club of Georgia

The Mushroom Club of Georgia had a mushroom hunt here at The Cabin Path!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Dam Beavers


     Sounds like a few thunderstorms for the afternoon, so the dogs and I set off to check on the spillway. Yup, the beaver has been busy again, and we have decided that before summer, we need to get a tractor in here to scoop out all of the beaver's handiwork so the spillway for the lake will not be such a daily worry. As I dug, I began remember an article that was sent to me several years ago when we were dealing with another clan of beavers on the lake. Laughing and digging in almost knee deep water and mud, I decided to hunt up that article..and I found it!

This is an actual letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries regarding a pond on his property. It was sent by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of Pennsylvania.  

SUBJECT: DEQ File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County 

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity: 

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond. 

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity. A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated. 

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming t he dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 2006. 

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action.. 
We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions. 


David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.

Here is the actual response sent back by Mr. DeVries:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County 

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 12/17/02 has been handed to me to respond to. I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane, Trout Run, Pennsylvania. 

A couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood 'debris' dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natures building materials 'debris.' 

I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose. I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

These are the beavers/contractors you are seeking. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

My first dam question to you is:

(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or

(2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? 

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. 

(Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.)

I have several concerns. My first concern is, aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation -- so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causing flooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling them dam names. 

If you want the stream 'restored' to a dam free-flow condition please contact the beavers -- but if you are going to arrest them, they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to read English. 

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams). 

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/2006? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a real environmental quality, health, problem in the area. It is the bears! Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persec uting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! The bears are not careful where they dump! 

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam office.




                                                       Enough said!!!!  ♥

Friday, March 30, 2012

Native Azaleas

The Native Azaleas have been beautiful this year.....(click on the Full Screen Mode at bottom right!)