Sunday, June 23, 2013

june's firefly moon

`~~Lizelle Lourens
Flower moon, leaf moon, Honey moon , Peony moon, Gardening moon or Planting moon, but tonight it is called the Super Moon, the correct name would be the Perigee Moon, , because the moon is near the earth, as it travels along its elliptical path making it appear about 30 percent larger and brighter. 
In Europe it is called the Rose moon, here the Strawberry moon, strawberries are not native to Europe, or so  have been told.  Junes is a gentle and romantic month by tradition, the name Honey moon  though refers to the color, and is more literary than factual.
Late last night really early this morning I watched the moon break through the clouds , surrounded by a soft hallo, hanging there, peaceful, the glow illuminated the roses and peony and countless weedy flowers, I don't even know the names of, and fireflies gliding along, I felt like dancing along with them, OK I did try.
~~Anthony Lynch

Thursday, June 20, 2013


On this summer Solstice, under a perfectly cloudless sky, on the perfect summer evening, a soft breeze carries the aroma of wild roses, rambling vines with huge, fragrant pink blooms, who's petals will litter the ground the day after they reach full bloom, we in the northern hemisphere begin our decent back into winter.  Even as the temperatures rise, and amid all of the trapping of summer, the days are growing shorter, though it will be awhile that is apparent.  Beyond the circle of light and warmth from our bonfire there are fireflies signaling for their mate, singing their courtship with a twinkling,  continuing circle of life.
In the southern hemisphere it is the winter Solstice, as their days slowly lengthen,  during their winter.  The Circle that is the Wheel of the Year and the circle of life, some light in the dark and cold and some darkness in the warmth and light.
Well beyond the circles of light cast by our bonfire, under the waxing gibbous moon my mind wanders and wonders back to ancient circles.  Though the trees can be fooled into leafing out early, and the birds might migrate late because of the weather, somewhere back in time someone or more likely many someones realise that the sun and moon were constants.  But I ask myself how did they reckon the solstices?  I think perhaps they used the moon to at least begin their calculations.  that may just be my romantic notion, but then may-be not. Just a part of the circle and the cycles, the heartbeat of earth and sky.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dear Puff the Magic Dragon.

One of the great things about PBS is that it's programming reflects the variety of interests of it's viewers.  And another  good thing about it is that most pledge  fests, they show a reprise of a Peter, Paul and Mary concert, and I get to hear and see, a performance of "Puff the Magic Dragon". 

In 1959,  Leonard Lipton, then  19 and a student at Cornell, wrote the poem about Jackie paper and that "rascal Puff" a magical dragon, but then aren't all dragons magical. who lived in the "Land of Honalee".  {The poem was inspired by "Custard the Dragon" by Ogden Nash.}  And a friend of his, Peter Yarrow set his words to music. 

We are much the richer for that.  I remember the first time I heard  "Puff" on that old grey Zenith radio in the kitchen, late in the evening over some algebra that I was never to master.   A sweet kids song, I thought, with pretty lyrics and a prettier melody.   The thought of Puff loosing his friend made me cry, how I love that song.

Dragons, are mysterious and you never know what their character will be like, will they like humans as friends or will they prefer them as a snack.  I was and still am totally absorbed in all things dinosaur, and I wondered if there was any connection. Decades later I learned of the dinosaur bones  were kept and venerated in Greek temples, and the theory that these bones had been refleshed by the minds of those ancients as dragons and griffins and chimeras  OH MY!  

But I love that "rascal Puff". and wished that I could have a ride on his tail, and share adventures on his island when I was a kid.    And when that gray day came that I, well no that is too scary a thought as  obviously I have worked hard to keep from growing up, but if i did I would bring my children back to enjoy the a voyage of imagination. 

Custard the Dragon
by Ogden Nash



By Ogden Nash

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.

Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard. Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes. Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage. Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon. Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Week!, which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage. Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda. Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good. Belinda paled, and she cried, Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink was strategically mouseholed. But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm. The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit. Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pyrate. Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon. Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.
© Copyright Linell Nash Smith and Isabel Nash Eberstadt


words by Leonard Lipton
music by Peter Yarrow

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Little Jackie Paper loved that rascal Puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. Oh

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on Puff's gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow whene'er they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flags when Puff roared out his name. Oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giants' rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more
And Puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his lifelong friend, Puff could not be brave,
So Puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave. Oh!

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee.

I think I was 11 or 12 when this song came out. Immediately, I thought Puff was a kite. He is made from paper (Jackie Paper). Jackie would bring him string and sealing wax (which used to be used when making a kite) Jackie kept a look out perched on tail, could be the string you hold when flying your kite. The wind is used to keep a kite going (billowed sails). And then Jackie gets older and moves on.
Real Meaning | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/27/11
  Peter said, "What kind of SOB would write a drug propaganda song in diguise as a children's song?". In other words, he would not



by~~Sun Gazing

A tiny dragon discovered in Indonesia.
 She was found laying eggs in a nest in the Lambusango Forest reserve and was immediately released after this photograph was taken.
 Species may be related to the species Draco Volans, and no word yet on whether or not this thing guards castles or breathes fire.

Friday, June 14, 2013

And I still play in the mud.

When I was a youngster, I used to love to play in the mud.  I had the best time digging holes, and building  dirt piles,  pouring water into the holes and making my own mudpuddle.  Once I tried planting some  pumpkin seeds and a few kernals of indiuan corn, must o0f them got shyrned into the next mudpuddle, but a few did grow to maturity.  Damnation i was was one proud little kid.  A couple of scraggaly ears of Indian Corn and a pumpkin TWICE the size of a baseball.

So far this year summer could be described as cold and very wet, but the tomatoes needed to be planted.  I like to plant my tomatoes, in fact any plant right before it rains,  and since last week promised to be rainy, my plan was to get up bright and early, because it was still supposed to be bright early.  But the rains had already begun. o watched out the window, a few very determined robins were searching through the grass, under a sky filled with low clouds. 
What to do? what to do?
Either I waited  several more days, or I planted in the rain.
No raincoat, just my garden trowel, and trays of plants, I made my way to the back of the garden and began to plant.  I was not getting as wet as I thought I would, and without having to carry watering cans and water each plant, things went much faster. 
The ground was already muddy enough to capture my clogs and many times I walked out of them, muddy feet were just one of the joys of my childhood mud puddles, and  planting in the rain made me feel like  that kid again.  Smells of damp earth and fresh rain stayed with me the whole day.
By the time i got finished, i was tired, cold, wet, muddy, and very very happy.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"follow. follow. follow me"

Pulling the weeds that grow along the garden fence is not only slow and tedious, it is mindless,  and after awhile not only did my mind wander off ,so did my feet, I had spent some time cutting down the blackberry briers that grew where they shouldn't, and now it was time to see how the ones I would be picking my winter supply from were doing, and from there

it was was only a few feet to the woods.  the woods where I always see something interesting and always feel refreshed. The woods where you can be lost in time, the woods where you can pretend that you are far, far, away and may-be even long ago if that is your wish.....the woods did beckon.
And soon, the path was before me, not like those paths in fairytales more like the path in the song, I did "follow, follow,follow" 

Farther along the path, I was not only walking farther back into the woods, but farther back in time, and farther back in into my own time.   
On my way back I turned off  off the path to check out the woodpile, the saying goes that people who heat with wood are warmed by it twice, when the cut it and when they burn it. It should be when they cut it, when they split it, when they haul it, and when they stack it to dry and then finally when they burn it.

Come follow (traditional)

Cone follow, follow,follow me
Come follow, follow follow me.

Whither shall I follow, follow, follow,
Whither shall I follow, follow thee.

To the greenwood, to the greenwood,
To the greenwood, greenwood tree

Whither shall I follow, follow, follow,
Whither shall I follow, follow thee

To the magic, to the magic
to the magic, to the magic magic tree.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Waxing philosophically on what makes a weed

A weed is but an unloved flower. ~Ella Wheeler Wilcox

But a weed is simply a plant that wants to grow where people want something else. In blaming nature, people mistake the culprit. Weeds are people's idea, not nature's. ~Author Unknown

Once upon a time not all that long ago I volunteered to help weed some one else's garden.  It was  a learning experience in many ways.  Firstly everyone weeds differently, some on their knees, laboriously pulling or digging out roots, some chop into the ground with a hoe and while it does give the weeds a migraine, it doesn't usually prevent them from growing right back.  And then there are those who simply tear the green and growing  bits above the soil away...which could be compared to shaving.  My favorite is the person who refers to the so called weeds as "some french plant"  the name of which they have forgotten because most people won't know the difference. i know how arrogant that sounds, but it also true, because a weed is just a plant that grew where it wasn't planted.

A rose in a field of peonys is a weed, as much as an peony in a field of roses.  It is all a matter of perspective.  

I don't get too fanatical about weeds in my own garden, they have their place and purpose.  Weeds,like purslane, which is also an edible, shade the soil  and slow the evaporation  of water from the ground.  Some weeds like dandelion, absorb toxins from the ground.  Some like mullen, are large,and can be turn into the ground and return their nutrients, the also attract bees, as does the humble and good smelling gill0over0the ground.   And then there is the tasty wild mustard.  Does anyone know anything redeeming about quack grass?  I can only think of it is good exercise digging it out.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

tilly and I are getting old and cranky together

I can still remember the day Tilly arrived, the only package on that huge freight truck, how they got something that big and that heavy into a cardboard box is a real mystery to me.    There she was all shiny red and black, not a spec of dust on her.   Now she has a few dents and dings, she has churned up a lot of earth and a lot of potatoes that escaped the spading fork.   Her paint is scratched, and even when she is spit-polish clean and ready to be put away for the she doesn't shine anymore.  Yeah, she is sorta like me.

Sorta like me only I wear the work boots, the same ones I bought a a going out of business sale a couple of decades ago, about the same time I bought Tillly. 
They have lasted so long, maybe because they were well made, but may-be because they only get used when I till.  I prefer to believe that it is that pride  and quality of old fashioned craftsmanship.

There are always plans and intentions, when the snow covers the ground. But when spring finally comes  the first taste of fresh produce green onions and potatoes overlooked from last year  comes to the table, it is time to put those often unrealisable plans into action.  Spading takes a little  longer each year, but it is time to think and time to enjoy the world around me.  A time to reflect. and be grateful. Tilly, who is also a bit harder to start  grinds those clumpy shovel fulls of earth into a smooth surface, pleasing to look at, like a Zen garden of raked stones.  

Sitting on the steps, after we are done, I peel off my boots and socks with dirt firmly ground into and staining them and look back across our work, I feel an overwhelming sense of calm , satisfaction and connection.   I also dread messing up that beautiful pattern in the dirt with footprints by taking the compost out and burying it.
Me and Tilly we are growing old and cranky together,  mature and determined, awestruck and happy; enjoying  and rejoicing in every minute of it.   

Silent Sunday~~~Hedgehog Picnic

thanks Coleman