Monthly Archives: October 2017

Monthly Museletter—October 2017


“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

The Museletter is late again (I’d like to get it out when I receive it, but this month I was away!).  As usual, it’s a list of goodies with a focus on the feminine, the soulful, the green. Again, thank you so very much, dear Karla, for sharing! —SK

P. S. If you’re from Colorado Springs and would like Karla’s full newsletter that includes local events, you can write her at karlaann45 @

* * *

Every child in the world can have a pocket microscope! Here’s the accompanying YouTube video. This made me think of famous American scientist George Washington Carver, who a century ago at Tuskegee, had to go through the city dump to find materials in which to make equipment for his laboratory (beakers and crucibles, etc.).

We have more environmental refugees than we have refugees from war.” Says Anita Sanchez in her seventeen minute TEDx talk seventeen minute TEDx talk . Her long-gestated new book The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Ttimes is in the library now.

Tina Hovsepian started to provide her insulated, waterproof, pop-up, portable , private, inexpensive cardboard shelters to homeless persons and disaster victims around the world.

“It’s not about a good death, it’s about a good LIFE all the way to the end.” – Dr. Atul Gawande in his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. Pets and plants in nursing homes really add to quality, if not quantity of life!



Our First Written Communication? This fascinating TED Talk with paleoanthropologist and rock art researcher Genevieve von Petzinger is about the 32 symbols that recur in ancient cave art worldwide – she was the first to thoroughly document this.

“You’ll never see a hearse with a u-haul behind it.”  —Denzel Washington
(Yep, you can’t take it with you!)

Did you know? Cinnamon sticks will deter, but not kill, spiders from haunting your basement steps and garage corners! Here are some more suggestions for keeping Charlotte and her webs at bay.

How to Go Green Without Really Trying. Lauren Singer tells how she fit four years of trash into one jar in the video that featured on CU’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative website: “Going Green Shouldn’t Be This Hard”. Learn more on the steps of going green (a lot is really pretty easy!) here.


An exciting new book, Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats by Maryn McKenna is now in the library. McKenna’s not trying to make us all vegans, just more aware carnivores. * * *

Have a beautiful rest-of-your-October!



* * *

Be Our Patron


Filed under Great Scientists, Monthly Museletter, Power to the People

Woolly Bears and Rose Hips


“Wooly Bear” by By Gerry Dincher from Hope Mills, NC (Uploaded by GrapedApe), via Wikimedia Commons


You could opine that leaves burnished too early,
too hot this summer, too dry, the drifts
of wildfire smoke cured garden plants
like old tobacco. Then the woolly bears
seek sun-warmed cement, roses force
dwindling charms to make hips on forked canes,
last tomatoes announce they will only get green,
and powdery mildew silvers up the cucumber vines
like a harvest moon. Then it is fall.

—Tricia Knoll


* * *

Tricia Knoll’s most recent book is Broadfork Farm, a series of love poems for the creatures, family, and gardens at a small organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington. In a time of urban disturbance, retreating to the farm brings a measure of peace.




(Note on wooly/woolly bear from the photographer on the Wikimedia Commons page:
“Legend in my part of Pennsylvania states that you can predict the winter weather by looking at the coloring of a wooly bear caterpillar (Pyrrharctia isabella). This guy says that Pennsylvania will have a cold start and finish to winter with a mild period in between. Either way I am glad I live in North Carolina. This critter was photographed at

Cowanesque Lake in Lawrence Township, Tioga County, Pennsylvania.”)—SK

* * *


Be Our Patron





Filed under Garden Writers We Love, Green Poetry

Autumn Sonata


“Chrysanthemums” by Franz Bischoff (American Painter, 1864-1929); via Wikimedia Commons.

Simone Martel sent in a short story that evokes so much: the restlessness and awkwardness (and secret thoughts) of youth, the old watching life through the actions of the young, gardening in autumn.

Always, life brings us flowers. Thank you for this autumn bouquet, Simone! —SK

* * *

Autumn Sonata

Laura trudged up to Peter’s duplex, past Mrs. Chen standing in her half of the front yard among her yellow and orange flowers. In Peter’s half, dandelions sprouted in cracked soil; takeout menus and free weeklies bleached and curled. While Laura waited for Peter to answer his door, she unzipped her backpack and found her dad’s check.

All she ever saw of Peter were his hands, pale and pink-knuckled, first as they opened the door and took the check, then as they cleared sheet music off the piano bench and finally as they poised beside hers on the keys. “I think he never goes outside,” she’d said. “He’s like something disgusting under a rock.” Her dad had laughed: “He’s an innocent music student trying to pay his tuition.”

“Have you…mmm?”

“Every morning before school,” she told Peter, not mentioning that she’d practiced with the TV on and an English muffin dripping butter over the piano keys. She liked to twist on the bench and work out the notes one at a time. Then she’d lick butter off her fingers and try again. A satisfactory rhythm would begin to develop and by the fourth time through, the rhythm had taken over. Now, on Friday, it was fixed, inevitable. Laura played the tune for Peter twice, with all the same mistakes.

“Again. Only this time, read the music.”

Slowly, painfully, they picked her song to pieces. After five minutes, nothing of it remained. Laura sat with her face close to the music book, her fingers clumsy, her body tense with un-learning. Outside, an ice cream truck’s jingle grew louder. She wished they could go outside and buy Popsicles and talk. They’d look into each other’s eyes, instead of at their hands on the piano keys. She’d show him the drawings in her art binder. Just because she was bad at piano didn’t mean she was bad at everything.

Now that the ice cream truck’s song had faded, they were both listening through the pinging piano notes for her father’s footsteps on the porch. The sun had begun to set, the room growing orange and even dimmer. Dusk fell like a judgment, a doom: too late for this day, anyhow.

“Rats.” Laura had let loose a stream of notes–trying to get to the next line–and in her rush had lapsed into the old way.

“Try again.”

Laura said goodbye to the bottom of the page and started over.

* * *

Dorothea Chen paused with her secateurs above her gold and rust-colored chrysanthemums as a white BMW rolled up to the curb. A man in a suit hurried along the walkway that ran parallel to her own, returning a minute later with the girl walking quickly at his side. The expensive car bucked away down the street, leaving silence. Soon the light would be too dim for Dorothea to continue deadheading her spent flowers. Her eyes moved to her neighbor’s door. On the other side of its blank face of chipped brown paint she heard a stifled cry or scream. Then the notes began–a waterfall of music that would stop, return as a trickle, then pour forth again more forcefully. He would be at it all evening, practicing, practicing, as though trying to exorcise a spirit from the piano. Poor boy. And poor girl. Each week she dragged herself up to the door and flew out of the house an hour later as though a demon were after her.

Dorothea returned her secateurs to their leather holster. In the dirt border that mirrored her own, dandelions shed their fluff in the evening breeze. Dorothea’s eyebrows rose toward her hairline. To share a yard with a boy who grew weeds instead of flowers crowded her as surely as sharing a piano bench for sixty minutes a week seemed to crowd those two young people. She’d been growing flowers for forty years, though, and knew that a garden was an invitation to aphids and mildew and dandelions, that success and frustration were inseparable and that, most of all, beauty was a private thing, difficult to share with anyone. She kept trying, of course, offering a view of mums to passersby on foot or car or bus, but mostly she cherished the autumnal blooms for their own sake and for herself: a worthy love, if solitary.

As the streetlamps flickered on, Dorothea turned toward her own front door, then paused again before going in, as an orange dragonfly, bright and shiny as hard candy, whirred past her ear. She turned to watch it hover over her cement birdbath and shoot out toward the road, buzzing, into the steady grind of commute traffic, flame-colored, vanishing under the street lamps’ moonlight glow.

* * *


Simone with roses

Simone’s short story originally appeared in the Irish magazine Crannog.

Simone Martel’s debut novel, A Cat Came Back, was released last year by Harvard Square Editions. The novel is a subversive love story about a woman trapped in the body of a cat. Simone Martel is also the author of a memoir, The Expectant Gardener, and a story collection, Exile’s Garden. She’s published essays and stories in many journals including Hip Mama, Horticulture, GreenwomanThe Main Street Rag and The Tishman Review. Her work is online at Carbon Culture, F(r)iction and Fogged Clarity. After studying English at U.C. Berkeley, Simone Martel operated an organic tomato farm near Stockton, California. She’s working on a new novel based on that experience.

* * *

Be Our Patron


Leave a comment

Filed under Garden Writers We Love

Vintage Halloween


As we harvest our pumpkins and begin to fully enjoy the fall beauty of chrysanthemums and colored leaves, I thought it would be fun to share some Halloween images of the past. All are from Wikimedia Commons. The featured photo of the baby (unidentified) sleeping in a pumpkin is a 1906 lantern slide from the National Library of Australia.


This photo, showing three boys carving pumpkins, is from 1917 and came from the Library of Congress.


The well-known Canadian photographer Conrad Poirier took this shot of Barbara, Pauline, and Dorthy Luck looking out on a spooky scene in 1940. With the permission and cooperation of Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec and Wikimedia Canada under the Poirier Project.


These two boys are from the Book of Halloween, 1919, by Ruth Edna Kelley. Titled “No Hallowe’en without a Jack-o’-Lantern.” (So true!)


An 1890 image from a student Halloween party at the University of Southern California. That’s a LOT of pumpkin carving!


This sweet toddler comes from the California Historical Society Collection, 1860-1960. Scratched on the pumpkin is the year “1901,” the pumpkin’s weight of “230#,” and “Raised by J.J. Teague.”


This photo came from a collection from the Waterdown Public School, Waterdown, Ontario, Canada. It’s from 1928. I’m not quite sure if it’s a teacher or a student, but I like her outfit! By UNK photographer: uploaded by WayneRay.


* * *

Sandra Knauf is the one-woman-show behind Greenwoman Publishing. Her books include the six-volume series Greenwoman (compilations of literary garden writing and art), her young adult fantasy novel, Zera and the Green Man, and an anthology of sexy gardening stories that she says is the feminist gardener answer to Fifty Shades of GreyFifty Shades of Green. She was a 2008-09 featured “Colorado Voices” columnist for The Denver Post and her humorous essays have appeared nationally in GreenPrints and MaryJanesFarm. She has also been a guest commentator on KRCC’s (NPR’s southern Colorado affiliate) “Western Skies” radio show. Sandra lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her family, dogs, huge urban garden, and lots of books.



Filed under DIY, photography