d’Verse ~ Creepies and Crawlies

Photo by sillyfrog

You judge me as a killer,
But how may I survive?
An instinct more than thriller.
My fight’s to stay alive.

I’m equipped with natural cover,
And armed, not size endowed.
Would I become a lover,
Might starving make you proud?

Don’t watch if my life shocks you.
Arachnids shan’t be blamed!
Just do the things you like to,
Know Nature won’t be shamed.

Going Wild

51gpiNPzMPL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ (1)As I’ve stated before, this blog is meant to be a journal for my grandchildren. I wish I could have one from my grandparents. I would love to see their inner thoughts and principles documented to be shared with future generations. I was lucky. I spent a great deal of time with my grandparents. Their memories and principles are a part of who I am.

Even though I spend an enormous amount of time (by today’s standards) with my granddaughters, I still enjoy accumulating thoughts for their pleasure and reflection one day.

I am currently reading a book which touches something very dear to me. It is The Nature Principle by Richard Louv. I suspect there will be a greater need for the wisdom, presented between these covers, in the future and want to document my first impression of this book.

The connection between human beings and “Mother Nature” is fading. I believe that we must not allow our kids to grow up in, what I believe, is a two-dimensional environment. When we are out-of-doors and surrounded by natural things, we absorb an appreciation of our worth and rejuvenate our sense of well-being. Just the other day, my granddaughter (age 8) was feeling ultra-emotional about being left behind by her mother. I said, “Why don’t you go outside for awhile?” She did. The transformation was immediate. She calmed and came back indoors wearing a smile. This method, of adding balance, works for me everyday. I sometimes just step outside for a few moments yet find my mood benefits very much.

I’ve hardly dipped into the book but already know what, I believe, the author knows about our integral connection to the natural world and its importance to human health. I have described my feelings in the forest as “comfortably insignificant”. Somehow, the realization of forces and life struggles outside of one’s own “bubble” put things in a wonderful perspective.

The first evidence this book cited, was the “instinctive intuition” available to those who have had a nature connection in their lives, as opposed to, those who have not. A study of soldiers who have avoided roadside bombs simply from their “whole view” of their surroundings is quite revealing. Those soldiers who came from rural settings, and/or had hunted or hiked the wilds, somehow noticed the “something’s wrong with this picture” element. Their success in identifying “trouble”, well out weighed, those who had spent their youthful time in front of TV and video realities. I call the latter, a “two-dimensional” view. These people are not accustom to using ALL of their senses in order to navigate the world. They have never felt fully vulnerable like one does in the wild. Total safety, allows us not to need the details and detective work of survival. Interestingly, the other group who was “in tune” with danger, and had highly developed instincts, were those from rough neighborhoods in the cities. Feeling vulnerable, obviously, makes us wise and sharp.

My time in the woods has offered me the view, of a deer approaching, from my sense of smell alone. On a few occasions, I have smelled the wet fur (somewhat like a wet dog) before I have heard or seen the animal. We humans have many amazing abilities that our indoor existence has atrophied. These instincts are not simply meant to be kept alive but, may be crucial, in keeping us alive.

As far as detective work, I use it all of the time. Until now, I thought everyone did. For instance, this may seem weird, but I have a bird feeder within view of my bathroom window. It is very close to my parking area behind the house. In the morning, I am often in the bathroom when my day care friends arrive. If I believe I hear a car in my driveway, I look to my bird feeder. If the birds are still boldly feeding, I know a car really did not enter the area. If the birds scatter, then I expect a door slam to follow.

Everyday, I tell my kids to be detectives. Just last week, I was changing a diaper, right after the “drop off” time. I turned to one kid and said,” Your mom left the diaper bag in the car last night, didn’t she?” The 6-year-old was surprised and said, “Yes…she did!”

Then I asked her, how did I know that fact? She shrugged.
“It’s in the clues. Your brother’s diaper wipes are very cold. If she had just put them into the car, they would be warm.”

We use the “detective method” all day long. I believe it is very much a part of keeping kids really engaged with their environment. The skills for logical deduction are very important.

So, I will post other enlightening finds from this exceptional book. In the meantime, make time to be “wild”. 😉

Boys to Men

So few people pay attention to trees because, well, they are the strong silent types. If you never have cut them down or even have sat and marveled about them, they don’t become part of a person’s consciousness until they fall. Our storm has made a few folks take notice for sure.
Although cutting down trees looks easy, it is one of the most dangerous of activities. The seasoned (pun intended) lumberjack takes a long look at the tree… how it is leaning, its weight and height, and flaws that might cause it to crack prematurely. These are very important variables to study. Lumberjacks deal with gravity, as often as, skydivers!
I don’t think I’ll ever relax when I watch a tree being cut down but it is an exciting event, none the less. It is an endeavor that can claim or maim a novice in the same way catching rattlesnakes can. If you live long enough , maybe, what you know can keep you from harm.
In general, men are a foolhardy bunch. Just watch the TV shows devoted to fatal accidents and see how many women are involved for that statistic. There’s nothing like the cutting down of a tree to bring all the “boys” out for fun. You can almost smell the testosterone.
I must admit the element of danger arouses my interest too but I’m around several men who KNOW what they are doing and it is inspiring to watch. Being a “country mouse” gives me great pride. Real men can watch their kids AND cut down trees, in my opinion. There’s a pervasive attitude about “education” and “degrees” in our country that overlooks the intelligence of life experience. No wonder manhood has become so blurred when the “city boys” have so few survival skills beyond gang activity. I’d like them all to have a stint in the country to see what “real” men do. In fact, I buy flowers every Spring from a school for troubled kids. It is a working farm and greenhouse that introduces city kids to hard work and getting their hands dirty. They seem to prosper under those conditions.
So, when I see an “educated” blowhard looking down his nose at a common man, it makes me want to ask him to build a house, run a backhoe or cut down a tree. HA!

Click my link for a short home video…

Tree Cutters

Survival: A Balancing Act

The Olympics made me consider the age old formula of having balance in our lives. Even our food choices are best when there is balance. The Olympians were outstanding! Yet, I always wonder about their “inner” health when I realize how much of their existence is focused upon a few days, sometimes seconds, of time.

So, I created a chart of what, I believe, is true of life for human beings. As I was creating the chart, I couldn’t help but think of examples of extremes. As for Olympians, they are dedicated people who make sacrifices that I do not understand but who make me endlessly proud.

First, and foremost, our need is for survival. Whatever we do, survival comes first because everything else simply counts upon it.

There is wealth. I define wealth as anything tangible in excess of what we need to just survive. We all want comforts and wealth is not a bad thing at all. Wealth makes for prosperity and, often, longevity. You may call wealth, “comforts and currency”. Greed is at the center of those who lopsidedly surround themselves in wealth but no one should be ashamed of pursuing wealth. Wealth inspires innovation and progress which, most often, benefit humankind. We can easily name world leaders and professionals who specialize entirely in the pursuit of wealth and they are, in my mind, detrimental to us all.

There is discovery. It could be subtitled adventure. Ah, what would science be without the hunger to discover. Many of our forefathers came to this country from the need to discover. And we continue to question and learn everyday of our lives from the engrained human impulse for discovery. The Olympians fall primarily into the “overindulging in discovery” crowd. Their mission is to discover the limits of the human body and to test its endurance. Although many of them become wealthy, I believe that their excessive commitment belongs to a zeal for personal discovery. On the down side, scientists who ignore the ethics of scientific study are guilty of placing way too many “eggs” in the discovery “basket” and are my example of a dangerous group. I think arrogance is their primary motivation but greed also plays a role.

Finally, there is enlightenment. Religion and philosophy are the tools in this search for answers. Most often religion and philosophy are at the center of what separates us from our id of savagery. Generosity, forgiveness, and introspect all come from our search for enlightenment. When enlightenment outweighs the two previously mentioned needs, we have the jihad. Holy wars even misplace the human need to survive. Suicide bombers seem the best current example of the danger to humankind from weighing too heavily upon enlightenment.

So balance is still the key to the “good life”, and in my estimation, the spread of imbalance is a direct danger to our survival.



The link above is to a short video that I made several years ago. It is about these amazing frogs. I’m sure that I’ve posted it before in my blogging adventures but thought I’d like to add it to my new NATURE KNOWLEDGE series.

Wood Frogs are being studied for their amazing ability to keep from freezing solid while buried only inches beneath leaves and woodland debris. They spend most of their time on the forest floor but this time of year, sing into the night while gathering to lay eggs in vernal pools and ponds.  Once you’ve heard their serenade, it is hard to ever consider not noticing them before!

The act of reproduction is called amplexus. Males cling to females while waiting for her to deposit eggs which they then fertilize with a cloud of sperm right after she deposits them. (On rare occasions, the number of males clinging to one female can weigh her down to the point of drowning her!)

Spotted salamanders lay their eggs during the same time period. In the case of spotted salamanders, the males leave sperm on the pond/pool floor. The female scoops up the sperm, beneath her tail, and her eggs are fertilized internally.

Often, the wood frog offspring and salamander offspring compete and eat each other in their journey to mature.

There are always dramas for survival taking place in nature, especially in the Spring.

Sissies are made, not born.

When placing a new status update on my FB page, I often touch on subjects of interest that I feel the need to expand upon. My status today reads:

There’s something about a kid having a panic attack over their peas touching their potatoes on a plate, or their fingers getting dirty etc., that makes me crazy! It seems such a small problem in a world where people starve. Let’s not raise a weak, self-centered generation.

Even my own granddaughter is subject to peculiar demands for special eating utensils or the removal of something from a plate of food with disgust. Some may think this is cute or well-mannered behavior. I think it is nuts.

If we consider all of the real problems that life may send their way, it IS nuts.
As far as germs go, the whole nation has become obsessive compulsive on that issue. Our immune systems need exposure to germs in order to become strong. I still recommend washing our hands after visiting the bathroom and ,as always, not have sex with any one without protection. (Try it with a lifetime partner, only, for the best safety.)

Over sanitizing our lives may create a generation incapable of survival in the event of natural disaster alone.
For a long time, schools were teaching skills that were necessary for a well-rounded life. Learning how to make a meal from scratch,or sew on a button,or sterilize water for drinking, might be great additions to the modern curriculum. How ’bout starting a campfire without matches? The way things are going only boy and girl scouts may be prepared. Heaven forbid our kids were lost, without a can opener, in a time of crisis.
The ,seemingly insignificant, cute, leaning of kids not to get dirty or refuse to eat anything that is not name-brand should be a wake-up call. Sissies are made, not born.

The most important tool we ultimately have is good sense.

Homeless chptr 5

People sometimes call us lazy…

Cats are such explosive predators that the conservation of energy often makes the difference between eating and starving. We can sleep, or at least, rest for many hours at a time.

The next time I awoke, my stomach growled. I lifted my head to see Missy meticulously washing the calico kitten, which we would call Lil Bit. Actually, Lil Bit was almost a year old. She either came from small stock or had suffered malnutrition most of her life. They purred hypnotically in the corner of the cement barn, a fellowship of females that I would never know. If I hadn’t felt such hunger pangs, I may have considered a longer nap with their soothing sounds, my lullaby.

Missy had more than recovered from her initial terror and led us from the building. The foreign sounds were plenty yet Missy stepped with a confidence that I could not have gathered. That primal instinct to provide had made her strong. She approached a group of pigeons as she may have, sparrows in a dooryard. It was not successful and we ended the day in an alley scarfing down scraps from a Chinese restaurant. Egg noodles were extremely satisfying to our empty stomachs. A stack of wooden crates offered sanctuary to us for the night. We had no idea what dangers could creep up on us at any moment. The next day would be eventful, indeed.