Monthly Archives: December 2017

Melting Snowflakes


“Melting Snowflakes or Тающие_снежинки”, an image from the European Science Photo Competition 2015, via Wikimedia Commons

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Jack Frost Mystery



A couple of weeks ago Virginia Gambardella sent me a few lines of this Jack Frost-themed poem (below). I “Googled” the stanza and found the rest of the poem in an old textbook. Then I found this image (above) on Pinterest. The strange thing is that I haven’t been able to find the artist of the illustration or the name of the poet. Hence, “Jack Frost Mystery”!

How fun it is to read the poems during grandma or great-grandma’s time. Can you imagine how magical it must have been to read classroom books that featured poems and stories about  fairies and Jack Frost?
—S. K.

The Little Artist

Oh, there is a little artist
Who paints in the cold night hours
Pictures of wee, wee children
Of wondrous trees and flowers;

Pictures of snow-capped mountains
Touching the snow-white sky;
Pictures of distance oceans
Where pygmy ships sail by;

Pictures of rushing rivers,
By fairy-bridges spanned;
Bits of beautiful landscapes,
Copied from elfin land.

The moon is the lamp he paints by,
His canvas the windowpane;
His brush is a frozen snowflake;
Jack Frost is the artist’s name.

(From Essentials of English: Lower Grades by Henry Carr Pearson and Mary Frederika Kirshwey, copyright 1921, American Book Company)

By Angela-Marie-from-NRW-slash-Germany-via Wikimedia Commons

“Ice-Crystals II” by Angela Marie from NRW/Germany, via Wikimedia Commons



Filed under Art & the Garden, Garden Writers We Love, Nature Poetry

Monthly Museletter – December 2017


“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

A fun and educational compilation of the green, the furred, the extraordinary, and the thoughtful. Thank you, Karla, for sharing your newsletter! —SK

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

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Prepare to Help Save Our Lands!
A Sierra Club article written by Adam Federman and published on October 26th explains how we must keep close watch on the Department of the Interior. A leaked draft of five-year plan reveals how the Department plans to prioritize “energy dominance” over conservation. This includes the possibility that “In the next five years, millions of acres of America’s public lands and waters, including some national monuments and relatively pristine coastal regions, could be auctioned off for oil and gas development, with little thought for environmental consequences.”

Just . . . Wow . . .
I (Sandra) personally have mixed feelings about zoos, but it would definitely be a thrill to walk UNDER a “flying” (swimming) polar bear! Several zoo/aquariums have clear tunnels under the habitats of these endangered mammals—all the better to see them with.


“And because I love this life, I know I shall love death as well. The child cries out when from the right breast the mother takes it away, in the very next moment to find in the left breast its consolation.”—R. Tagore

What about the other survivors in disaster areas (multitudes of plants and animals, large and small)? This article,  Wildlife Rehabilitators: The Hidden Heroes  of Hurricane Season, tells about the survivors and their saviors, and it will melt your heart.

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“Upper Loch Torridon, west coast Scotland. Panorama, from 7 Pictures,” from Stefan Krause of Germany, via Wikimedia Commons.


Some feel that the time of wilderness on Earth has passed. That since humans are cultivating most of the world and have put their mark on all wild places, Earth is destined to be cultivated, by humans, as a garden is cultivated. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this essay, “The Garden Reconsidered”, by Sierra Magazine’s editor, Jason Mark.

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Tree Talk
“How Trees Talk to Each Other”, a TED talk by B.C. forest scientist Suzanne Simard.

“A forest is much more than what you see,” says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery—trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.”



The idea that trees can communicate is awe-inspiring. What is not so inspiring is how we are hindering those social lives.

“In 2014 the World Resources Institute reported that Canada, in the last decade, has had the highest forest disturbance rate of any country worldwide. And I bet you thought it was Brazil. In Canada, it’s about 3.6% per year, now, in my estimation that is about 4 times the rate that is sustainable.”—Suzanne Simard

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How about Vegetable Fashion Collaborations among gardeners, designers, and dancers next summer/fall? Check out  “What a Fashion Line Made from Food will Teach You About Waste.”

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“You don’t conquer these mountains. You crawl up, like a child crawling to your Mother’s lap.”—quote from the 1st Sherpa to climb Everest, whose true name is Chomolungma or “Goddess Mother of the World”.

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You’ll never look at a tangerine the same way again—let Yoshihiro Okada’s art amaze you.


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I did it—maybe you can, too? Urge your mayor to join Mayors for 100% Clean Energy

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Some good things that happened in 2017: (from

• The rusty patched bumble bee became the first bee in the continental United States to receive endangered species protections.
• The government tightened standards for lead exposure in public housing.
• Multiple banks have sold off their investments in the Dakota Access pipeline.
• A group of 91 banks agreed to update its principles to reflect climate change and indigenous rights.
• Massive tourism development at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers was voted down by the Navajo Nation.
• Hardware chain True Value agreed to phase out bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides.

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“The clouds above us join and separate. The breeze in the yard leaves and returns.
Life is like that, so why not relax? Who can stop us from celebrating?”
—Taoist poet Lu Yu


“Movement of Clouds in Fast Camera, Santiago, Chile” by Jorge Barrios, via Wikimedia Commons.

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And . . .

How about a HOLOGRAPHIC Christmas tree? . . . no needless killing of live pine trees, no untangling of strings of lights, no space needed for storage the rest of the year . . . Santa can still find you & the kids can open presents.

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Happy Holidays (and, soon, a Happy New Year) to all!—Karla and Sandra





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The December Rose


Photo by Tricia Knoll.

The December Rose

From so many, so few,
survivors of first pruning,
waywards scrabbling
sideways for some sun,
as Lenten roses plump
up their buds, those faux
first flowers of late winter.

Where summer gives
lush of reds in silk,
just these, orphans
of short days, of freeze,
they narrow
the number
of months
without roses,
that darkness
of impossible

—Tricia Knoll

Tricia Knoll (2)
Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet whose rose garden keeps expanding. In 2018 her new poetry collection How I Learned to Be White is coming out from Antrim House. Her 2017 collection Broadfork Farm (The Poetry Box) focuses on life on a small family-run organic farm in Trout Lake, Washington where Knoll farmsits when the farmers need to go away.

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