Friday, November 29, 2013


I am posting this info from the Charter for Compassion website in hopes that some of you will tune in. This should answer some of the questions I have received.

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NOVEMBER 2013 Newsletter

"We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world... indispensable to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community."

                                                         ~ The Charter for Compassion


Meeting of the Minds: On Compassion

Tuesday, November 26, 8 pm at the 92nd St. Y, Lexington at 92nd, New York City.  Join two of the world’s preeminent interfaith scholars and historians in a lively and provocative conversation about compassion and its crucial place in both modern and ancient times.

How do we lead compassionate lives? Why should we care? What has happened historically when we allow compassion’s opposite, the ego, to take over? Karen Armstrong and Thomas Cahill will explore these essential questions. Moderated by Rabbi Jennifer Krause.Visit the 92Y site to post questions for the panel and watch and participate in the event as a free live webcast:

Oprah's Super Soul Sunday: Oprah & Karen Armstrong

Twelve Steps to Compassion Compassion" airs Sunday, December 1 at 11 a.m. ET/PT on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

Oprah sits down with bestselling author and TED prize winner Karen Armstrong who shares her groundbreaking insights into the world’s great religions.  After conducting decades of research, Karen reveals the thread that she says is common to all the world’s great religions:  compassion.  In our perilously divided world, she says we need to live more compassionately now more than ever.  In her book:  Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life, Karen outlines simple practices anyone can do in hopes of making a lifelong commitment to creating a more harmonious world. Whether you’re waiting in line at the supermarket or sitting  at your desk at the office, we all can put ourselves in another person’s shoes and offer them our understanding and respect.  Check the Super Soul website for exact time in your location.  The show will be repeated on December 8 and archived after that.  Twitter questions and comments: #SuperSoulSunday.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013


DID YOU HAVE AN IMAGINARY FRIEND WHEN YOU WERE A KID? Well, most of us did. But my imaginary friend was a dog because my mother was allergic to animals so I could not have pets. There were plenty of kids in the neighborhood, tho they were all boys, but my yard was the meeting place and our big 3 car garage was like having a gym to play in in bad weather. Grandpop always got a good fire going in the old pot-belly stove to take the chill off. So I did not need another kid for my invisible friend… I needed a dog. I did not like little dogs, one tried to bite me when I was real little. “My dog” would never bite anybody! And he or she would be big but not DSC_0366huge. An aunt had a Great Dane we kids used to ride when we were toddlers. We all got photographed on that poor dog’s back. I could not decide what color my dog should be so I decided on her having all of them, and definitely long silky hair I could brush. She would be excited to see me and would walk with me out in the woods and roll over to let me scratch her belly.

Well, most of you know how old I am. So you can figure out how long it has been since I had that imaginary pet. One year I found a little dog ornament of a dog that looked just like my make-believe pet. I bought dog ornaments for my friends, pugs, golden retrievers, a black lab, a yorkie, and there my dog was… I bought her for me. Now how dumb is that? I don’t even have a tree! LOL! Oh well.

Then a couple years ago a friend lost his dog, Gracie. She was a real sweetheart and he missed her terribly. She was his constant companion. But, at home, he kind of had another dog. She was a bit standoffish. He did not know where she came from. She just started hanging out and probably sleeping in his barn a couple years before. It took some work to get her to become a travel companion like Gracie had been, but she has come a long ways toward making friends with him and his friends. It is amazing how a couple “milkbones” can break the ice. Ruggie has become my very visible friend. And I do my best to spoil her. When her owner comes to visit, she comes to visit, too, flops over in front of me to get her belly scratched, and takes walks with my out in my woods. It took a long time for my friend to become visible, but here she is.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013


SHATTERS are a valued commodity here on the Shore. To inform you folks from other places, shatters is the local name for long pine needles. Further down the county, they are sometimes called Shatts. They are used as a mulch or ground cover, for weed control and also as a ground conditioner for acid loving plants like camellias and azaleas, daffodils and even strawberries. In the Old Days, one could buy a shatters rake at the local hardware or farm supply place. They were hand forged and set in a special way on a long handle. Today they are a rare find. When our old place was sold, I grabbed our old shatters rake and brought it home. I wish I had grabbed the hand plow, too and the old wooden wheelbarrow. They were real treasures!

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The tines on the shatters rake are longer, further apart, and angled. When I needed a new handle (the old one was older than I and actually in worse shape) I had to find someone who had an understanding of the value of the old tools. The first guy that looked at it told me they didn’t have those things in New Jersey, where he came from, they used “normal” rakes. Well, that told me not to let him get his hands on my rake! Phew! He said, along with putting a new handle on it, he would straighten it, “See how crooked its got?” (Yeah, it was made that way!) See the difference in a “normal” rake and a shatters rake? My shatters rake is close to 100 years old dating back to around the time the old house was built, 1914.

My Uncle has been talking lately about carving new tines for his hay rake. I have another friend who makes (carves and assembles) his own hay rakes, too. I am so impressed. I would love my Uncle to get a picture of his rake. I wonder how big it is. Another friend made one to go behind his garden tractor to rake shatters as well as hay. It is about 5 feet across. Impressive. That must be on my project list, but when would I have time? I guess that is one advantage of having long cold snowy winters… nothing else to do. That doesn’t ever seem to happen here.

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Anyway, I found someone who was as impressed as I at the age of the rake… it took him about a week to put a new handle on it. He was so careful to not damage any more than he had to since the old rake had a metal piece go right thru the old wooden handle and was welded in place. No wonder it never came off! So, the other day,  I happily got it out of the barn and raked up a few loads of shatters and bedded down the newly transplanted camellias and azaleas. I discovered the late December camellias were starting to open. Well, it was 70 degrees. The bees were happily buzzing along in the open camellias, it really looked and sounded like springtime. I also noticed the new miniature holly bush is in bloom! Go figure that! Someone suggested I decorate this camellia (with the first white bloom) for Christmas since it is shaped so perfectly.

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Then, this morning… well, you know, every once in a while the light is just perfect, there is that special glow things get first thing in the morning… I am so glad I am not one of those folks that lay in bed half the day – mornings are so magical! Anyway, the little maple out front was just glowing… I guess it was showing me that we really could have red maple trees here! That is Yule Tide next to it on the left. Those green spiky things on the right are yucca.

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As I walked back to the house, I noticed some bright yellow out at the edge of my woods… I am not sure what these trees are. They get pink flowers in the spring, but I never see any nuts or fruit. Any idea what they might be? Tomorrow it might be even prettier! Stay tuned!

Friday, November 15, 2013


It was a chilly, frosty morning this morning… the sun finally peeked thru the trees and lit up bits and pieces of the maple trees, Yule Tide, and the Pyracantha. The contrast with the leftover night and early morning shadows made me grab the camera and head outside. The leaves crunched under my feet, a couple birds scolded me for disturbing their space. The sun struggled with a couple clouds and the shifting of the leaves still on the trees across the street quickly changing the early morning glow on the leaves, colors changing by the second, it seems.

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How lucky I feel to be able to live where I can see these things out my window… to be able to walk out in my yard and touch their beauty. It is easy to get lost in the sounds of daybreak, a dog barking for its breakfast down the street, dry leaves tapping on empty branches on their way to the ground. A flock of geese fly over somewhere in the distance hidden by the woods behind me. The Carolina wren scolds as I trespass into his territory. A squirrel rattles his way thru the pile of leaves blown under the bushes now devoid of their flowers by the heavy frost of the previous morning. A little cat peeks out from under a faded hydrangea, his tummy full, he begins to wash his whiskers. I hear the Redtail hawk off to the east way above the newly cut cornfield hunting for his breakfast. I feel so blessed to be surrounded by nature even though I am actually in the Town limits and only a mile away from the highway. The hum of traffic has not started yet – or maybe the breeze is blowing the sound away from my ears, for it is quiet enough to be miles out in the country.

I shuffle thru the fallen leaves amazed by the colors as I am every year… always amazed by the beauty around DSC_0342me, and think how lucky I am to live in a place with flowers almost all year long. I wonder if this will be a hard winter since we had 37 snowflakes go past my window a couple days ago. Didn’t anyone tell them this is only November? Did they get lost? Are they warning me of things to come? Of days, maybe even a few weeks of NO flowers? Looking around I can see huge amounts of berries starting to redden. Is that to make it easier for the birds to find them in the winter drab colors or to give us humans something bright to break the monotony of the dull winter landscape? Well, whatever, I will enjoy the beauty that is here today and be grateful I can see it and walk well enough to get out and photograph it.

I wish the people who gave me these plants were still here to see how big they have grown, how beautiful they are after all these years… and I think how their loves goes on in the beauty that lives outside my windows.

Sunday, November 03, 2013


The leaves changed suddenly this year. One day they were green, 2 days later the yellow was blasting away from the tree tops making people stop and look as if they had never seen those colors before. DSC_0309 DSC_0329 DSC_0331 DSC_0313 DSCN2589

Personally, I love the contrasts that we have this time of year… with the camellias starting to bloom, the deep, deep green of their leaves and the bright yellows of autumn on the Eastern Shore. We have very few bright red leaves. Generally bright red warns one of poison ivy here. The red maples of the Poconos and New England are few and far between. So for reds, we seem to have a plethora of berries. Old wives tales tell us that this many berries mean a bad winter. Well, we shall see. The birds definitely will have plenty to eat here! Of course, not all berries are red… the beautyberry bush is loaded with rich purple berries, branches so full they are all the way down on the ground.

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The St John’s Wort continues to bloom, 2 or 3 blooms at a time. I liked this view with the golden carpet of leaves behind it. Next to the St John’s Wort is one of the few reddish leaves from a young dogwood. A new azalea is in bloom as the pink and lavender azaleas start to fade.

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The sidewalk is pink from my birthday camellia, the hosta is changing color.a different pink camellia is in bloom, and Ice Angel made the camera take her picture again this time with a yellow tree in the background.

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With all this color going on in Mother Nature, we started coloring up the old Train Station. We had several days with temps in or near the 70s, so we took advantage of that and finished priming, then painting the track side of the Station. On Saturday then, Niall and Tom climbed up and began to paint our trim. Another coat will be awesome! Paul started the door… Between taking pictures and passing buckets of paint around, I played inside with an N scale train that will be going in the old showcase. See how tiny it is? I can get an entire layout in this 2’x6’ showcase. I just need to decide what I want to do. (A note for Ginnie, it is perfect height for laying it out from a wheelchair!) 

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