Monday, August 1, 2011

Newsletter - 8/1/11

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Hello Dear Friends,

Donna at Edith J Carrier Arboretum
We had some cool weather a couple of weeks back so we headed out one Saturday to enjoy some time over in the Shenandoah Valley (links to the posts are below).  V

We visited the Edith Carrier Arboretum at James Madison University where we had been before and also went to the Eden Arboretum at Eastern Mennonite University, which wasn't very large, but very peaceful, as was the campus.  Another first for us was the White Oak Lavender Farm and Barnyard.  All of these were in the Harrisonburg, Virginia area.

My favorite spot was at JMU's since there are a lot of woods and a very large garden area with a huge pond that has a path around it.  A truly lovely setting.  Amidst a part of the woods is a short suspension bridge that brought back memories of La Selva's long suspension bridge between the jungle and the dining hall, office, etc. Oh how I miss Costa Rica!

When we arrived there was a guy singing and playing a mini-guitar.  It was across the bridge with a couple standing,  listening and looking at each other.  It became obvious that they were practicing for a wedding that was to begin later that day.  The area on the other side of the pond had been set up with chairs for the event.

Here in the mid-Atlantic the second brood of hummingbirds begin to appear at our feeders and flowers around mid-August. The Monarch Butterfly migration begins this month too and our Joe Pye Weed has begun to bloom to be ready for them. A number of butterflies loves this plant. so we'll be watching a great show for the next few weeks since we planted Joe Pye at the downspout by the deck.

© 2010 Donna L. Watkins - Monarch on Joe Pye Weed
If you want to help the survival of monarchs, be sure to read the post on Bring Back the Monarchs Campaign. We are a part of the Monarch Waystation Program and it's been fun to know we are helping these gorgeous butterflies to continue to reproduce and survive. Read my post about our joining the Monarch Waystation Program.

August is peak month for summer wildflowers to bloom and I must admit our garden is full of blooms. This is the time of year to visit a natural meadow. You'll be mesmerized by the colors and flittering delights of hummingbirds, butterflies, and busy bees. You also might see a hummingbird moth. These beautiful little critters visit our garden regularly drinking nectar night and day.  Be sure to read my post about Clearwing Hummingbird Moths to see photos, a video and learn more about these delightful little creatures.

Entry to Our Home - Y'all Come!  
We're finally finished painting inside and the carpet has been installed. We are very happy campers presently. My house is actually back in order. The whole upside down turn of the house contents created an opportunity to go through each and every drawer and nook and cranny to find things that we don't need any more.

I love to clear things out!  It's really a hobby for me. Making life a little bit simpler by unloading some stuff. I've heard it said that when we remove any amount of stuff from our lives, we open up more space for God to fill in our life. I like the thought of that.

We're now working on trimming up some of our bushes that have outgrown our windows.  I love the jungle look and so does the wildlife, but there is a point where you have to realize it's a bit much. So we've been cutting back hollies that the birds did not choose to nest in this year.  Not to the extent that they can't nest there, but the area has grown in so much that the deer that used to lie in the midst of these hollies can no longer get in and out ... nor is there much ground space for them to lie on.

Hollies make me itch, so I guess I'm allergic to them as I am with many plants.  When I go inside to wash up I have to use Herbal Trim Skin Treatment. It's an aloe-based product with some detox herbs in it, so when I rub it on, it takes out the sting and itch with a side benefit of getting softer skin.  I love the stuff.  Randal has used it as his aftershave for over 20 years and he has such great looking skin.

Another step in the process after gardening is to use Tei Fu Massage Lotion on my hips, wrists and various joints that are fussing at me for over-doing in yardwork.  I consider this my most favorite product of all since it saves me from so much pain.  It takes away the inflammation and loosens up the joints and my back and neck/shoulders that get tight.  I am so blessed to know of such simple solutions for this aging body.

How about a frugal tip to make your lotions, sunscreens, toothpaste and anything that is dispensed from a tube last longer?

When it seems you've squeezed the last of what you can get out of that tube, squeeze it downward from the top to be sure you get everything from the top part of the tube down to at least the middle. Then get the scissors and cut a portion of the tube off at the top part. Not the part below where the lotion, etc. comes out.

You will find that there is a lot more of whatever was in the tube, settled along the sides and bottom. You can scoop this out and use it. After doing this I still get 4-5 uses, so to keep it from drying out, I put a small herb bottle lid on top so air can't get into it.

Randal used to use the Tei Fu when he had headaches by rubbing it on his temples and brain stem area of the neck to get relief.  I love the smell because it has wintergreen oil in it, which reminds me of my grandfather who used wintergreen linament for his bad knee.

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Box Turtle
While I was trimming one of the hollies I heard something rustling in the leaves below.  Looking down I saw a Box Turtle scrambling to get under cover.  I haven't seen turtles here for a few years, although I know we have some having seen them before.

Box turtles do not travel far, usually living within an area less than 650 feet in diameter. When it gets cold they hibernate through the winter in loose soil at a depth of up to two feet. This seemed to be a younger one. He was real feisty and wasn't in the mood for play with a human, but I did get some photos and a video of the Box Turtle.

We had a very exciting day last week when we made the drive to witness five (5) eagles being released at the Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia.   

© 2011 Donna L. Watkins - Eagle Release at Berkeley Plantation
View photos of this grand experience at Berkeley Plantation.

Last, but certainly not least, pray with me for the safety of the Gray Catbirds nest.  They lost their first nest and have built again.  I've been praying over the area every day since we do have black rat snakes where they have built nest #2.

I sprayed Cedar Oil around the area which is supposed to keep all snakes and most pest type of insects away.  I caught the male one morning on a video running around eating bugs out of the mulch.  They are such beautiful birds and sing wonderful songs to each other while nesting.  View Gray Catbird's Breakfast on the Run Video.

May your life be filled with the amazing joys of His Creation that brings everlasting peace in Him.

Love and Hugs,

View Posts By Topic

being 60

going green
travel-costa rica
written by Donna

Posts Since Last Newsletter

Unloving Spirit and Fear

The USA - A No-Kill Nation for Pets

Hotspots for Birding

Berkeley Plantation - Release of Five Eagles

Clearwing Hummingbird Moths

Surviving Extreme Heat and Power Outages

Easy Activities for a Nature Walk with Children

Traveling Without Your Pet?

Eco Bulbs From Family Business

Premature Baby Back From Dead After Two Hours

Eastern Mennonite University and Eden Arboretum

White Oak Lavender Farm and Barnyard Animals

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

How Will I Cope?

Basics of Bird-Friendly Yards

Free Audio Books

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Create a Field Guide to Your Yard

EPA Slow to Remove Pesticide Blamed for Honeybee Collapse

Focus on Fleas

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Envy and Jealousy

Newsletter - 7/1/11

Being 60, Finding Life in Today #56-60 Plus Two

When Suffering Seems Insurmountable

FDA Cigarette Warning Labels Get Graphic

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Don't Use Colored Hummingbird Food

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Abiding In Victory

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The photo(s) and article are copyrighted. You may use either of them if you include the following credit and active link back to this website: © 2011 Donna L. Watkins - This article was reprinted with permission from The link to use is:

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