A Very Large Water Snake and Other Discoveries

We checked out a new-to-us little park nearby, Carriage Hill Metropark, a historic farm with a beautiful manmade lake, horseback riding and hiking trails, and wetland areas.  We were pleasantly surprised to encounter many species of wildlife, including a goose couple with adorable goslings, a very large water snake basking on a log in the wetland, many frogs and tadpoles, fish, and best of all, some turtles hanging out by a beaver lodge.  Unfortunately (a park guy told us) they had to relocate the beaver up north; maybe it didn’t fit in with their park management plans(?).  Next time we’ll check out the trails.




Here are some flowers closer to home.  Most are perennials that were already planted before we moved in, some I added.  Can I help it if I love irises, columbines, etc?  They are taking over the beds, which I’m fine with.  Their design is so intricate and ornate, for such commonplace flowers.  Humans may have tweaked them, but no engineer or artist could ever recreate  the genius of the natural world.




Fun with Fauna at the Fen

Park two of our two-park series was Siebenthaler Fen on Thursday, where the native flora were transitioning to the next phase of spring, and fauna were out in force.

We were happy to see many turtles (spotted and painted?) and frogs in the wetlands, now deeper thanks to beavers and rain, as well as many species of birds, and even a big fat raccoon crossing a bridge ahead of us (too fast to photo).

Note the famous iconic dead tree from many seasons’ photos past, still standing in the deeper water.  Many wetland trees were flowering and dispersing seeds, and native flowers were proliferating more than usual, or getting ready to.


Going Native at the Narrows

Between all the errands and gardening, I’m actually two hikes behind in my posting, so I’ll do this in two parts.

Wednesday at the Narrows Reserve, it was a native flower explosion in the woods along the river.  There were masses of deep purple larkspur (delphinium), phlox in all shades of lavender and pink, silvery blue wild hyacinths, pink/lavender native geraniums, bright yellow Packera (?), and a glimpse of the beautiful red trillium, not to mention many others.  It was like a wild garden paradise.

Not as spectacular, but colorful nonetheless, were these Middle Eastern-inspired dishes I made–shakshuka with homegrown (TN frozen) tomatoes, herbs, spices, and eggs, and my own version of tabbouleh with bulgur wheat,  homegrown mint, parsley, romaine, and other greens fresh from the garden.

Through it all, Queen Misu basked decadently in her boudoir on the porch.  No shame at all.



After the Gushers

The ground is still one big soaking sponge after all the gushers, but it was a balmy, sunny day in the 80s yesterday, so we took a walk in Glen Helen Nature Preserve, home of the yellow (irony) springs.  There were masses of native spring ephemerals in bloom… phlox, geranium, white violets, mayapple, jack-in-the pulpit, trilliam, ginger, and many others.  I even spied some tiny red ginger flowers.  All the various falls were in gush mode.  In fact, the main trail was closed due to flooding.  The beavers have done their work well.

As per habit, we adjourned to the Tavern, where I enjoyed this fruity Yellow Springs Harmonizer kolsch.

Later I had to mow again, as all the flooding produced a thick crop of hay and dandelions.  I’ll be back at it today, finishing off the swampiest area.  I know, “No Mow May” and so on, but this is the suburbs, and we rent.  I keep it set high, so as not to destroy all the beneficial critters too drastically, and I reduce lawn area wherever possible.  Here’s an interesting tree sculpture in the far back corner of the yard, where I cleared brush.

Hate-spewer vs. Zombie-mewer: You Decide

No rants today, you’ll be relieved to know.  I got it out of my system yesterday.  I do have a mother’s day ponder, though.

People say it’s better to have a Mom that’s still technically alive, whatever the state of the relationship, but I wonder.  In E’s case, her mother (a trump type) is hateful and ignorant toward her, and it’s better to avoid conversations for the sake of mental health.  In my case, my mother is so demented she can no longer speak human, just eerie animal noises.  It’s hard to tell if she’s even there, or if she knows who I am.  I hope for my son’s sake that I never get to that state.

Anyway, I’m still fairly lucid (I think), and gardening is good (i.e. affordable) therapy for anxiety and depression.  I’ve been working on this back corner of the yard, clearing much of the exotic invasive honeysuckle, planting native trees and shrubs, to approximate a micro-woodland setting.  It’s what I do wherever I live, even if I don’t live to see it.

Here are some more flowers for all you Mothers.



My M-Day Right to Rant

As an official Mom on Erev Mom-Day, I think I may be entitled to use my platform for one rant allotment, after all my self-restraint and boring garden posts!  This one is difficult to keep silent about.  It’s terrifying, and will hurt us all if left unchecked.

Let’s be honest: Republicans a.k.a. Repugs won’t stop at overturning women’s reproductive rights.  If you think it doesn’t affect you, think again.  If repugs via their stacked Supreme Court can come for women’s medical rights, they will come for LGBTQ+ rights, racial equality, voting rights, and any other target they oppose.  In fact, states have already begun to restrict and criminalize basic constitutional freedoms, and will only escalate these attacks if/when Roe v. Wade is overturned.

It appears we will have little or no legal, constitutional recourse.  This is a dangerous precedent that will immediately take effect and could affect each of us personally.  It’s just a matter of time until repug nazis infiltrate every level of state and local government.  They’re already restricting access to voting and women’s healthcare in many states, so don’t assume your most basic right to vote your conscience or access medical help is safe.

I’ve personally witnessed healthcare discrimination against trans patients in extremely red states, but when it becomes a criminal offense for doctors to provide reproductive choices or healthcare, or for anyone to assist patients in obtaining that care, not to mention restrictions on whom you can marry, what you can read or teach, or access to voting options, to name just a few, we have seriously entered into nazi territory.  If you know your history (not the repug-sanctioned version), you’ll recognize all the signs.

I’m a proud Mom.  My only childbirth was difficult and almost didn’t happen, so I don’t take my son for granted.  He was what the religious right would call a “miracle”.  My later sudden miscarriage was hellish, and not only because the father wanted to save the unviable fetus even at the cost of my life (for religious reasons), if it came to that.  I’ve never talked about it much, I just moved on, literally and mentally.

All I know is, if you call yourself “pro-life”, you can’t be selective about whose life is sacred and whose is disposable.  You can’t play god with people’s lives and right to choose.  You can’t demand unwanted children be born and then not provide the help and homes they and their Moms desperately need.  Hypocrites! (as Jesus would say.)  You’d better examine your personal ethics and justice system, before you throw the first stone.

OK, there you have it.  I wish I could do more than simply vote, but I’m grateful I can still at least do that.  It may or may not help change the course of events, but I try not to lose all faith in our democracy.  I’m a realist, but somewhere deep down my inner hippie still wants to believe!  And my inner Mom will always support the right to choose to become one or not.

Vote as if your life depends on it, because it may.

Happy M-Day to all the single parents struggling to raise kids, all the kids who’ve lost a Mom, all the parents who’ve lost a kid, and to my son who would make a fine Mother!  And now back to our normally-scheduled program.  Here are flowers.




Not Voting for Civil Rights: Not an Option

To review–we voted in the Ohio primary (US Congressional, Ohio gubernatorial, other state positions).  Ohio legislative candidates will be on a later primary ballot, due to the whole redistricting court battle.  This continues to be a predominantly red state, with trump lunatic fringe winners, though there are some exceptions.

Especially right now, with the GOP-loaded Supreme Court attempting to overturn Roe v. Wade women’s medical rights (and what next?), voting for judicious leaders is the minimum we can do to protect all constitutional civil rights, and yet the Dem turnout here was lukewarm compared to Repubs, which is typical.  Discouraging.

That same day, Tuesday, we drove to Columbus for a routine procedure for E.  The sky was threatening severe storms and possible tornadoes, but we managed to dodge that bullet.  There have been quite a few infrastructure improvements since the last time we saw the city years ago.

The rest of the week I worked on my own modest improvements to the garden, adding more plants to the perennial gardens and “salad bar” bed, and starting to plant my leafy greens garden with seedlings I grew.  All the rain and cool weather have effectively extended early spring growing conditions, helping ephemerals and cool-season veggies to gain a foothold.  I also started a whole new batch of germination trays of more veggies, herbs, and flowers on the porch.  All of which was closely supervised by Misu and her feral fan club.



I neglected to mention the exceptional batch of challot by E last week.  Something about coming off Pesach drywall rations must be extra-inspirational!

Here are misc. flowers around the yard and house, representing annuals, perennials, native wildflowers, and leafy greens.

Once again I have no photo evidence of the ghostly possum who reappears at dawn strolling through our yard, but I’m happy to play host to such a beneficial, harmless critter feeling at home.  The herd of stray cats doesn’t seem bothered, either.

I’m also happy to report the tiny twigs of paw paw and persimmon trees I transplanted from TN to OH are at last showing some signs of life.  Soon the whole back yard will be lined with native trees and shrubs to welcome more local native birds and creatures.

Shaggy Old ‘Possum Sighting

Sorry I didn’t get a photo of the ginormous shaggy old possum who shuffled across the yard early one morning recently; I was too busy gaping in surprise.  It was one of the first actual wild animals I’ve seen here.  One of the dozen or so ‘hood cats was sitting there lounging under a tree, and it jumped! but then just settled back down unconcerned.  The possum was larger than the cat, and merely ignored it.

Since I neglected to do my photographic job, instead here is The Countess Misu basking on the settee.

I did get some nice domestic pictures of flowers, both native and not, around the house.  The native chokeberry bush is just starting to bloom white.

It being “post-frost-danger”, naturally it’s been freezing the last couple of nights, so I’m holding back on planting,  keeping my latest acquisitions protected until it’s safe, whenever that is.