Monthly Archives: March 2013

Rising From the Shards

I have given Rising From the Shards a new cover, tell me what you think…and if you have read or plan to, please, please, please give me a review on Amazon. Thank you very much.Shards eBook Cover 3-11-2013



downy_woodpecker_1[1] downy_woodpecker_2[1]We are having the most beautiful pre-spring day so far this year, and I can’t wait to get out on the deck to see what nature has in store.

Huh-uh-uh-UH-uh…huh-uh-uh-UH, uh, remember the call from the Woody cartoons way back when? Well, maybe it is my aching sciatica, lately, or the wind that threatens to blow me off the wood framed deck, but the sound of a real woodpecker is not nearly as soothing to the nerves at this moment.

“It is mating season,” my husband announces.

“He surely isn’t going to attract a mate to that ugly, dead Cottonwood. I have been in hopes our neighbors would remove the eye-sore for months.”

Tony laughs at my strange reaction to the observation.

“Look, he must be doing something right, there are two of them.

“They only make all those piercing noises when they are mating,” he continues. “Woodpeckers are known for tapping on tree trunks in order to find insects living in crevices in the bark.”

“Is that all they live on, Tony? No wonder their sound is so unpleasant.”

“No, they also eat acorns, nuts, and fruit, too. But, primarily insects.”

It isn’t easy to carry on conversation during the urgency of the mating call.  Then the commencement of the tap, tap, tap, tap begins.

“They will probably find more then a ten-course meal in the dead tree,” I insist.

“They are not very big, like Woody,” I mention as I imitate the mating call. “Huh-uh-uh-UH-uh ! Huh-uh-uh-UH-uh!” Tony rolls his eyes.

“Woodpeckers have bristle-like feathers over their nostrils to help keep wood particles from being inhaled.”

“What else do you know about woodpeckers?”

“I know these two don’t have the red top-knot like your Woody, Tony continues.  Woody was a Pleated, over 16” long and with raucous call similar to a peacock. There are many different types though. Probably hundreds. The smallest woodpecker in the world is the North American woodpecker or perhaps it is the Downy. They only get 6-10 inches long and I would guess one of the species is what we are watching.

“Male and female woodpeckers work together to excavate a cavity for a nest, and then incubate eggs for approximately two weeks. Babies are born blind and without feathers. Normally, I think they leave the nest within a month.”

“Well, my darling woodpecker encyclopedia — I love Woody, but these two raise more ruckus than a whole school yard of young children.

“And with that quip, I shall take my achy back, frayed nerves and wind-blown mop back indoors. Maybe I am not ready for spring after all. Enjoy the drummin’ courtship.”

Apple of My Eye

The Apple of My Eye

images[3]Sometimes months seem long, especially while I wait but I know patience is also a virtue. Not that I claim to have the stick-to-it-iveness to do nothing — sit back, sedentary.

My Bromeliad is not a plant I purchased while it was in bloom and I did not expect re-bloom. It has reached toddler stage (referred to as a “pup”) and it has never bloomed so I did some research.

If it were an old plant, it would not bloom again on the same rosette of leaves.  But since it is a new “pup” just a few steps of care should bring me the bloomin’ results I seek.

I recently watered the “pup” and placed the suggested sliced apple (halfed) on each side of the potted specimen. I covered it with a plastic bag as my investigation of information revealed I should do. The bag needs to be air-tight so I could either tie it at the top with a twisty or tuck it under the heavy pot very securely. I have followed the instructions to the letter.

Then it was time to wait again, exercise the laid-back persona, which is not easy for some of us – keep an eye on the apple – talk and sing to the plant persuasively. The apple turned very brown and shriveled. I‘m not sure if it was the sound of my voice or the cold, silent stare.

The Bromeliaceae are a family of monocot flowering plants. There are thousands of species native to the tropical Americas with a few species found in the American subtropics one in tropical west Africa, called the Pitcairnia feliciana.

Many bromeliads are able to store water in a structure formed by their tightly-overlapped leaf-bases.

The largest bromeliad is Puya raimondii, which reaches 3–4 m tall in vegetative growth with a flower spike 9–10 m tall, and the smallest is Spanish moss.

After ten days of eye balling my controlled green-house, I removed the plastic bag and tossed the shriveled, rather disgusting apple. I still stare at the “pup” often and have yet to see signs of color.

I haven’t stressed though, as the refrigerator is well-stocked with luscious, ready to go to work, apples and I think I carry an adequate tune. I can always consider voice lessons.

But, in merely six to fourteen weeks I should have a colorful bloom, oh boy!