The Vine Lesson

All my life I have tried to be a tree.

I wanted to stand on my own.  I wanted to be tall and strong.  I wanted to shelter others.

But I am not a tree.  I am a vine.

I reach out toward enlightenment.

I cling to things that I love.

I grow in all directions, not just up.

I get attached to things.

I am not independent. I am interdependent.

I must embrace my vine-ness.

I cannot be a tree, you see.


Grandiflora: Gamrath Glass

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens has a magnificent exhibit on display throughout the  grounds right now.


It consists of many giant, colorful glass flowers created by Jason Gamrath.


I will share just a few to give you a sampling of this wonderful installation.


He made large-scale renderings of flowers with colorful glass.


There were various types of orchids, pitcher plants, Venus flytraps and more.


I loved the colorful Corpse flower.


The pitchers in water were especially lovely.


The flytraps looked beautiful but dangerous.


These beautiful blooms towered overhead along the paths.


I sure do hope I get to see the Gamrath Glass at night before it leaves on

September 29, 2019.




Grandfather Mountain

We spent a magical day with a fun friend on Grandfather Mountain.

Our picnic spot had a view of the whole world.


We then visited with a sweet bear who posed like a pro.


We spied a pair of otters napping.


This rescued Bald Eagle seems relaxed in its new home.


There were few elk resting among the trees.


The museum had a wildflower exhibit that was a work of art.


My favorite part was the mile-high swinging bridge.


I just love our mountains!

Flower on the Move


Why Not Butternut?

Okay, I admit it.  I did not plant the butternut squash.  It came up from the compost.

It has taken over my vegetable garden and the neighbors’ yard.

The leaves are lovely.

It has produced dozens of giant squash.

I have made various delicious recipes with them.


When I try to give them away, there is a pause, then a polite ” No thank you.”

Why are folks rejecting my gifts of yummy squash?

The ones who do take one ask “How do I cook it?”

So I figured I would do some Butternut squash PR for my poor rejected produce.

First, a stout knife is needed to cut off both ends. This is the secret to easily cutting up the rest.

After the ends are removed you can do one of two things.

Baking requires removing the seeds, brushing the flesh with olive oil,  and putting the halves skin side up on a sheet covered with parchment  paper. Bake the halves until you can easily stick a knife in them.

Then let them cool and scope out the flesh or use your knife to cut off the skin.

I then go either salty or sweet with this. It can be sauteed with onions and garlic OR baked with nutmeg, ginger, pumpkin spice… It’s good no matter.

I ate some last night with no spices at all.

I also make soup in my Instant Pot.

Saute onions and sage in olive oil. Then saute a couple handfuls of the raw squash cubes with that. Then add four cups of vegetable broth with fresh ginger and nutmeg with the rest of the squash cubes.

Cook on the “soup” setting. Then I pour some out into my Ninja blender. Do NOT over-fill or it blows out the spout onto the wall and the coffee maker and the bag of coffee and the tea bag box…

This is COMFORT FOOD! I feel like I am drinking vitamins.

So now you know.

Embrace a BUTTERNUT and get cooking.




If you plant it, they will come.

I have treasures I do not own.

I have waited for years for Monarchs to come to my Butterfly weed.


Finally, they came and laid eggs on the Asclepias tuberosa.

Now there are caterpillars eating the Asclepias leaves as they should.


I hope they pupate where I can watch over them.


(I do not interfere with wildlife unless necessary.)

I am thrilled they are here. They are treasured guests.

I hope the cycle continues for years to come.

More Monarchs…More caterpillars…


Thanks to some seeds that I saved from another garden.


My dreams are small. My treasures are alive.

Life is precious.




Following Caterpillars

This is so much easier than chasing butterflies.

My three Saddlebacks, Acharia stimulea, have stayed on the coffee tree for weeks now.


They are slowly getting bigger as they nibble leaves away from end to stem.


I caught a photo of one just as it molted.


One paused on top of a bean for hours.


I have been stung several times trying to find them. I pester pests.


They have a face on their backside to trick predators.


I will miss them when they pupate.

It’s been one of my daily tasks to check on them.

Beautiful but toxic.


Not everything cute should be petted.



The Painted Lady and the Garlic

I appreciate my gap-filling plants that keep the butterflies around all summer.

One of the butterfly favorites is garlic chives, Alium tuberosa.


These lovely white bloom clusters are full of fliers in August.

I can count on getting photographs of something on them any time of day.

This morning I had the good fortune of finding a Painted Lady.

These have four eyespots with a cobweb pattern on the underside of their hindwings.


The garlic chive plants keep them busy until the sedums bloom.

This plant is so hardy that a clump has survived out of the ground for over a year.

I cut the blooms as they mature because it will seed itself everywhere.

It is deer resistant and beautiful. The butterflies are an added bonus.



A Darner Darning

I learned something new today all by myself without books or the internet.

I was trying to get a photo of a giant dragon fly.

My daddy calls these “Snake Doctors” which makes no sense to me.

I thought I understood why they had the other name “Darner.”

I thought it was because they were big and straight like darning needles.

I was trying to get a photo of this dragon fly zooming by.

I put my camera on the action setting. I took dozens of blurred photos.

Then I paused to watch it fly back and forth, back and forth, over and over.

There was a pattern to its flight.

An epiphany occurred in the Flower’s brain.

It was not named for the shape of the needle.

It was named for the act of going back and forth like darning a hole in fabric.

Now that I knew this, I waited for it to fly back by.

Here is a  flyby photo of a darner darning.

I love my little life!