Category Archives: Fauna

On the First Day of Spring


“Andean goose, Chloephaga melanoptera, sat in daisies”, 14 May 2014, by Francis C. Franklin of England, via Wikimedia Commons.


Virginia Gambardella sent a “Welcome to Spring” poem to me this morning. Within minutes, I found this image of a goose in a bed of chamomile. A charming goose, a charming little poem—our offering to you all on this first day of spring. (Thank you, Jinny.)—S.K.

Earth Born Stars

A hundred stars shoot from the earth
To kiss the sun at their rebirth,
They call hello and wave to all
Who wander by my garden wall.

Then petals fade, they smile no more,
My daisies at the kitchen door

June 1, 1989

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Virginia Gambardella lives in New York. She has one son, three grandchildren, and enjoys the following: people, holidays, antiques, nature, gardening, fishing, decorating, fashion, sharing knowledge, cooking, and baking. She’s a cancer survivor, a pancreatitis survivor, a widow, and the re-inventor of her life, “as necessary.”


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Filed under Fauna, Garden Writers We Love, Green Poetry

Monthly Museletter – January 2018


“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

Two full moons this month—tonight and January 31st (a blue moon!).

Thinking ahead for next winter:
Grow your own snowman! This spring plant white pumpkin seeds (check out “Casper”  here or here) and keep three sizes to stack for Frosty days!

Chocolate-Bean-Chocoladeboon-by-Oriel-WC (2)

“Chocolade boon” (chocolate bean – or – technically cacao bean), by Oriel, via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing Like Chocolate, a documentary by Professor Kum-kum Bhavnani, is about the slavery-free products from the Grenada Chocolate Company. Watch it for free on Vimeo (search: Nothing Like Chocolate).

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“Nothing is softer than water, yet for overcoming what is hard and strong, nothing surpasses water.”Lao Tzu

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Did you know? Two of the worst global catastrophes occurred as the result of sleep deprivationthe Chernobyl Meltdown and the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Lack of sleep can also wreck our immune system and can doubles the risk of cancer. (From Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker)

Collective Eye Films, who brought us Queen of the Sun has now blessed us with another informative beauty Seed: The Untold Story. Reserve it at your local library or buy it for your kids & grandkids . . .

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Jane Goodall on Mother Earth! 

Iceland’s new Prime Minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, is a 41-year-old feminist and environmentalist . . . could we please follow suit?

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“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness—it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.”—Brené Brown

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I’m thankful for intrepid photographers, camera technology, and the web—all of which give us glimpses like these into the hidden beauties of Mother Earth, like these emerald pools in Zion National Park.


“The Emerald Pools were rushing with water as rain and snow continued to fall on April 14th, 2012.” (Upper Emerald Pools, Zion National Park), by Jonathan Fortner, via Wikimedia Commons.


How to reduce your use of single-use plastic products and keep a lot out of our Oceans from the Canadian Wildlife Federation:


India’s Forest Man:
“You’ll have to kill me first, before you kill the trees. . . . Nature is Godas long as it survives, we survive.”  Jadav Payeng (of the Mishing tribe of India) who’s planted 1500 acres of forest on his home island since 1979. Learn about him here.

One of my favorite quotes:
“If you’ve ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, or rebelliousyou’re on the right track.” Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves


“Quebec Wild Wolf” by Peupleloup, via Wikimedia Commons


Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


A Happy New Year to all!—Karla and Sandra




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Filed under Fauna, Garden Writers We Love, Mother Nature, Power to the People

A Fishy Miracle


Collage by Sandra Knauf. Image of “Giant Snow Globe in Braga, Portugal” by Joseolgon; “Angel Fish” by Carlosar – both via Wikimedia Commons.

This is a story I wrote years ago and adapted to republish today; the events are all true, but the story combines two years, this year and one special day about eight years ago when I heard a fishy plea for help.

This is also one of the stories that didn’t make it into my forthcoming book, The Chicken Chronicles, so I’m excited to share it today. I hope you like it.

Best Holiday Wishes to all!

—Sandra Knauf

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A Fishy Miracle

The temperature outside read six degrees as I sipped my morning coffee and brooded about Christmas The year had been one of the most disappointing ever. An election year of fear, name-calling, exposed corruption, fraud; so many were pointing fingers, lately at Russia, so few doing what we had to do to get back on track, finding shared ground. Horrendous military actions continued around the globe in our name, as did assaults on Mother Nature. We were lucky in that we had lost no close friends or family members this year, but several friends had not been so fortunate. Now it was Christmas. I’d been scanning strangers’ faces and they mirrored mine. Stressed. Scroogy. A friend who manages a toy store said she dreaded the season. “Every year, when we run out of sale items, at least one person says, ‘You’ve just ruined my kid’s Christmas.’ ”

I thought about pettiness—the argument over whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” the peace-sign wreath condemned by a homeowner’s association here in our own city. Then, sitting there at the table, I felt something. In the aquarium by the window, just a few feet away, three palm-sized angel fish stared at me as if trying to communicate. I got up and checked the floating thermometer. My heart leapt. It was at fifty degrees, the cut-off point between dangerously cool and dead tropical fish. The heater had become unplugged.

I plugged it in and added hot water, hoping the angels would be okay. Then I settled once more into dark thoughts about this holiest season of high expectations. Carols and hot chocolate weren’t going to cut it—not this year.

As the fish warmed up and became active, I remembered how for a couple of months that summer I’d thought about giving them away. Along with two canaries, three rabbits and four chickens—animals collected for the education of my daughters and myself in our country-living-in-the-city experiment. Fodder for life, fodder for writing, it now all seemed, after seven years, as worn out as I felt. Still, I’d been unable to give them up, animal friends who, in their own quiet ways, had brought so many joys and insights.

In our fifty gallon tank we had started out with two small angel fish among the assortment. When the angels reached maturity, we discovered we had a male and a female. Regularly, they spawned. Our family watched, delighted, as they performed an aggressively beautiful mating dance, laid hundreds of eggs, and guarded them fiercely from the other fish. When the eggs hatched, the parents hovered over their tiny fry. About a week later, the babies disappeared. This cycle was repeated several times before my curiosity got the better of me. I spoke with a breeder and learned that they had not been eaten by their parents as I suspected. They had starved. If I wanted to breed them successfully, I’d need a second tank where the fry could be fed a special diet of brine shrimp.

I decided against the second tank; we just did not have the time or space to devote to another project. Still, the thought of the couple’s hopeless endeavor haunted me. Then one day we noticed a survivor. A minuscule swimmer, unmistakable in his diamond shape, riding the tank’s gentle current, bobbing around the leafy vegetation. Thrilled, we rooted for him. As he grew, I wondered how he’d found nourishment and flourished in spite of the odds. I named him Miracle.

On one frozen Colorado morn, I decided that these fish could serve as our herald angels. Their message was clear. If they could weather loss and harrowing events, if they could survive and flourish, then, surely, so could we.

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Sandra Knauf is the one-woman-show behind Greenwoman Publishing. Her books include the six-volume series Greenwoman, (a literary digest), 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. Sandra lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado with her family, dogs, huge urban garden, and lots of books.

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Filed under Fauna