Category Archives: Love

Strawberry Fields Betrayal

The post below is from a local woman I greatly admire. Sue Spengler’s a local middle school teacher who for many years ran her own school. She’s so many things to many people, one of those members of society who adds intellect and heart and sparkle every day of her life. She is also one hell of an activist. This year (and last year) she’s been very involved in trying to save one of our open spaces, a park  right next to the mountains where the people of Colorado Springs can hike, bike, and enjoy Nature.

What she worked to save this land from was a billionaire (x 10.5), by the name of Philip Anschutz, who moved to our city some years ago. He bought the only local daily newspaper, bought a famous 5-star hotel (The Broadmoor), bought several of our biggest tourist attractions, like the Cog Railway that takes a couple of hundred thousand people up to the top of Pikes Peak every year, and Seven Falls (another attraction) . . . and then decided that wasn’t enough. He wanted our public park that happened to be right next to his hotel.

I don’t know how exactly the deal went down. He owned some land that the public was already using on a daily basis for hiking, so his lawyer-minions finagled a “swap”: The land (that we were already using and which would have created a public relations nightmare if he took from the public) in exchange for some pristine parkland that he wanted as place for picnicking and pony-riding for his rich hotel guests.

I don’t know what kind of razzle-dazzle went on to make the people of our city (who are supposed to be in charge of protecting our parks and our properties) make a swap/deal with this billionaire. But once word got out, the taxpayers, the people who have lived in Colorado Springs for many years, even for generations, became furious. How dare they swap our land without a public VOTE? These are our PARKS!!! They belong to us ALL!!! This has been a public park since 1885!

A group got together, and protested publicly, making their voices heard. To no avail. There was nothing to do but gather the money and sue. They did, and they lost (a District judge named Michael McHenry ruled against the people of our city). And so the people appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

This week we got word that the Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.

— SK

Now that you’ve heard the backstory, here’s Sue’s “Master Plan”:

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“Panorama at Strawberry Fields” from KRCC.org

 

Well, heck, I finally did it. It took me all day. I’ve been crafting a letter to the editor about the North Cheyenne Canon Master plan in my head for weeks, trying to figure out how to pare it down into something digestible and understandable, when the Plan itself is a 130-page behemoth of a hodgepodge of ideas with no real substance that is basically a “blank check” of plans with nothing specific — it just has a “tool box” of things that they can choose from if/when they’d like, including: paving Gold Camp Road (so shuttle buses can drive on it), closing Mesa Avenue to only Broadmoor shuttle buses, closing down all the pullout parking at the picnic areas along S. Cheyenne Creek and making people walk in from a brand new trailhead/parking lot, and closing S. Cheyenne Canon Rd to all traffic. There ARE some good trail ideas up around Stratton Open Space, and plenty of carrots for our high-level mountain biking community (making the Chutes downhill only, e.g.), but overall, it’s a plan with a premise of: “How can we cram more people IN?” (yes, it includes a “Marketing Plan”… !!), instead of a plan with a premise of: “How can we make our city park great for the people we serve?” Anyway, I finally sat down to write my letter today. But what came out was a poem…

My Master Plan

I sit with my notebook and write at a wobbly,
splintery picnic table, one of many under
this public pavilion.  At least some underpaid
city employee was told to paint them brown.
Through the scrub oaks, I see:  four
old ladies with hiking poles and sun hats,
three hardcore mountain bikers, a snake
of multi-generational hikers, two deer grazing,

a young couple from Palmer Park stringing
up a hammock, an elder couple with binoculars,
a mother and teenage daughter looking for a trash
can in which to place their pooch’s poop.

I scramble up a short social trail to the mesa
above the pavilion, and there it is: a spectacular
view of Strawberry Fields, where King Philip
plots his Broadmooresque stable and bbq party venue.

Up here, I watch a hawk hover, hear a bluebird
call, and discover a decomposing coyote.
Below, in the south canyon, I watch white whales shuttle
up and down, as a blaring ambulance struggles

upstream towards Seven Falls. The trails
on this wild and unnamed mesa below Mt. Cutler
are slated to be closed in the new Master Plan —
a plan meant to deflect from the city’s neglect.

What should a Master Plan have?  What does a City Park need?
Closed public roads? More trailheads and parking lots for tourists?
Private-public partnerships where somebody profits?
Ideas that will never be funded because we can’t even afford to take care of what we’ve got?

Nah.  What we really need is simple and more cost-effective than that:
picnic tables made from those newfangled recycled weather-resistant materials
pullout parking areas that make the creek and its coolth easily accessible to all
trail systems that respect and reflect the needs of the locals who use them
a limited number of cars, but only during peak summer weekends
a regular maintenance crew to keep the picnic areas beautiful
friendly city park rangers to enforce the rules
a budget that reflects our values
trash cans near picnic sites
clean, open restrooms
and above all else…
that playground
you promised
the children
in 2003,
but never
built.

 

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Bee Mine

If you haven’t seen this video yet, it’s a bee-youtiful story. ❤

When Fiona Presly found an injured bee in her garden, she took her in and helped her live out her life. The bond that she and “Queen Bee” developed —  so soulful!

Here’s a link to where you can learn more about saving bees.

And here’s another story, from Scotland (where Fiona lives) on her Bee friend.

It’s amazing to me how scientists are “scratching their heads” – can’t they see and feel our interconnectedness, the intelligence in all things, and know we can communicate?

Sigh . . .

— SK

 

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Trees, Trees, Beautiful Trees

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“Bamboo and Tree Canopy”, October 19, 2015, by Kazuend, via Wikimedia Commons

My friend Karla (who supplies all the great links and quotes for the “Monthly Museletter”) sent me a poem last week that she’s turned into a song. (We were corresponding about how happy the trees were to finally get some much-needed RAIN!)
Karla shared that, “on morning walks I often sing this to honor the Trees.”:
Trees, Trees, Beautiful Trees
Trees, trees, beautiful trees,
They sway and they bend in the bountiful breeze.
In summer they shade and in winter they freeze,
Make new little homes for the birdies and bees,
Make new little homes for the birdies and bees.
The sap goes up and the sap goes down,
The trees turn red, orange, yellow, and brown.
The seeds fall off and stick in the ground–
Make new little beauties when spring rolls around,
Make new little beauties when spring rolls around.
I asked Karla if she’d created the song. She said no, it came from a BC cartoon strip she’d kept from years ago.  “Then,” she said, “my friend Judy Feeney wrote a song called ‘The Ants Dance’ (on her CD of the same title).  Out walking one morning, I realized the tree poem perfectly fit the melody of the ants song!”
Thank you, Karla, for sharing this poem and your story!
—S.K.
(Note: I tried to find a link to Johnny Hart’s BC strip with this verse, but had no luck.)
 
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Monthly Museletter—July 2018

 

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Thank you, Karla, for sharing your Wisdome News!❤ —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 @ gmail.com.

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“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” —MLK

YAY for COSTA RICA—no fossil fuels by 2021! (Share if you think your country is capable of great things!)

“The noblest art is that of making others happy.” —P.T. Barnum (in The Greatest Showman movie)

No gas, no license, no insurance, no plug-in . . . a covered pedal & solar-powered trike. ELF- SHARING webs are being formed among friends, family, neighbors, students & co-workers. Hmmm—shall we get Tangerine or Lime or Zebra?

Scientists project that without intervention, there’ll be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans by 2050.

“We did not leave the stone age because we ran out of stones. Why are we waiting to leave the fossil fuel age until we’ve consumed the last coal, oil, & gas?” cleoinstitute.org

“When your enemy is making mistakes, don’t interrupt him.”— Brad Pitt
(Does this go for presidents?)

“ . . . the larger the animal, the more it has to be fed, and a goat produces five times as much milk in proportion to her body weight as a cow.” —MILK, A 10,000 YEAR FOOD FRACAS by Mark Kurlansky. (Is it time for us to give up raising cows?)

Milking_an_artificial_goat_at_Grubighütte_(31816547712)_WC

“Milking an Artificial Goat at Grubighütte” by David Short from Windsor, UK, via Wikimedia Commons

Is your sunscreen destroying coral reefs, which are the supermarkets of the oceans ?

How does the Volcan de Fuego volcano in Guatemala and the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii differ? CBS gives an excellent science lesson about two types of volcanos!

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Photograph by E. Klett on 27 January 1994; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Wikimedia Commons. “Snow-covered Kanaga Volcano in Alaska erupts a small column of tephra, gas, and steam. Kanaga is a stratovolcano. View is toward the west.”

A MUST-SEE!
SING THE WATER SONG with Algonquian Elders & Women & Girls.

Did you know?
CORAL REEFS cover only 1% of the ocean floor, but are home to more than 25% of marine life.

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“Coral Reef, Elephant Beach, Andaman, India,” by Harvinder Chandigar, via Wikimedia Commons

Bee hives and solar panel farms make happy partnerships!

“It may feel dangerous for a woman to actualize her full potential because it may mean risking some form of rejection by her mother.” A friend shared with me she’s taking HEALING THE MOTHER WOUND , an online course from Bethany Webster. Their free 18-page e-book is an excellent way to get the flavor of the course.

Until next month . . . have a beautiful July!

 
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On Being “Normal”

This meme made me think about all that we are facing these days, especially with our beleaguered Earth’s health (which is inextricably tied to our health).

It takes courage to throw off “normal” and embrace activism, but if we don’t work to solve the world’s problems, who will?

X and Os to all,

Sandra

dear-girl-wild-woman-sisterhood

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The Chicken Chronicles book is About to Hatch!


(One mock-up of a cover design—not the final version!)

 

Big Announcement: I’ve nearly finished a project I started on two years ago!

It feels great to finally get to this place. And, as this project is a memoir of our family’s “country in the city” experiment over nearly two decades, I’m happy that these adventures are soon to be in book form.

For those of you who haven’t read stories from the collection that have appeared in Greenwoman Magazine  or on this blog, here’s the book description:

THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES is a collection of essays and stories written by an unapologetically quirky plant and animal lover who dives deep into creating a “country living in the city” experience for her family. Engaging, erudite, and often hilarious, THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES follows Colorado author Sandra Knauf as:

She and her young daughters meet neighbor Grandma Ruby, an 80-something-year-old cottage gardener/chicken raiser, who inspires Sandra to start her own backyard flock of exotic breed bantam chickens.

She confesses and explores her shocking and insatiable lust — for seed catalogs.

She becomes involved in a garden tour fundraiser for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and gets a close look at her city’s partisan politics — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

She examines 21st century lawns, “the biggest waste of water in suburbia,” and shares her experiences — from working as a teenager at a lawn care company in the 1980s to becoming an ecology-minded gardener hell-bent on getting rid of the bluegrass.

She introduces us to unforgettable animals: an ill-fated Neatherlands dwarf bunny, Puff; an out-of-control black Labrador puppy, Broonzy; a coop full of exotic breed bantams with the names of Greek goddesses, and more.

She gives the lowdown on her city’s green fringe through other adventures that include: capturing a swarm of bees, joining a garden club, and becoming a gardener-for-hire in her city’s richest neighborhood.

She ponders life and discovers that the most important lesson is to love it, participate in it, and live it exactly how you want to.


A picture taken during The Chicken Chronicles era: Daughters Zora (with chick “Kayley”) and Lily with “Jessica.” As we bought unsexed chicks, the girls were hoping for egg-laying hens and named them accordingly. Their two favorite “hens” turned out to be roosters.

 

While I’m writing today to announce this upcoming collection, I’m also here to ask: Would any of you be interested in being beta (test) readers? I have a PDF ready and I would LOVE to hear what you think of this book!

If you’re interested, just send me a note at maefayne(at)msn.com. I would need your comments by the end of the month and I’ll include a list of questions to guide your critique with the PDF.

I hope you can participate; I would love for you to be a part of this project!

Sandy

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Monthly Museletter – June 2018

Lunar_libration_with_phase2

“Lunar Libration” by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s getting very close to the longest day in the northern hemisphere. Can you believe it? The days are their longest, yet if you’re a gardener you’re probably still short on time, right? I still have things to plant!

Thank you, Karla, for sharing some of the interesting links and quotes you found last month.❤ —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 @ gmail.com.

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The_planet_Earth,_view_from_the_American_Side,_view_type-_Satellite_WC_2018

“The planet Earth, view from the American side, View type, Satellite”. 2018 by Educator57, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”
— Martin Luther King Jr.

 

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“Honey Bear Backlit”, 2015, by Eric Kilby from Somerville, MA, USA via Wikimedia Commons.

My fave ideas in “50 Ways to Save the Honey Bees (and change the world)”, a book by J. Scott Donahue, are:
1. Bee Bathfill a wide shallow dish or plate with water & a pile of gravel in the center for bees to land on.
2. Ban the Bear—those plastic bear-shaped honey containers likely contain non-local honey and mostly high-fructose corn syrup & cooked honey.

 

Biomimicry at work: 14 inventions inspired by Nature.  See the “Very Fish Wind Farm” and “Firefly Lightbulbs”.

Check this out (below). A real “green team”!

 

Put a house for non-stinging pollinators like mason bees in your backyard! The Giving Tree Montessori teachers found this one at Costco.

What looks like a toy train, swims like an eel, and gathers pollution information? Find the answer to this riddle here.

Today I dug out Bernie Krause’s 1988 audiotape GORILLAS IN THE MIX, on which ALL songs are mixed voices of NATURE, from Hippos, Fish, Sand Dunes etc., . . . then I bought a new CD of it!

 

Some Bad News (from The Years Project):

For every dollar the oil/gas/coal industry spends on campaign contributions and lobbying, they get back 83 dollars in handouts from our taxpayer pockets!

The Lullaby of Our Language:
“We will never, we cannot, leave animals alone, even the tiniest one, ever, because we know we are one with them. Their blood is our blood. Their breath is our breath, their beginning our beginning, their fate our fate. Thus we deny them. Thus we yearn for them. They are among us and within us and of us, inextricably woven with the form and manner of our being, with our understanding and our imaginations. They are the grit and the salt and the lullaby of our language.” —Pattiann Rogers

Visit aurorasaurus.org where the crowd-sourced data about the Northern Lights is compiled.

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“Aurora Borealis and Australis Poster”, posted February 9, 2012, assembled by 14jbella from images found at English Wikipedia, via Wikimedia Commons

We are praying for Hawaii, even as we are lava-ing this song!

And . . .

 

“If you need sunshine to bring you happiness, you haven’t tried dancing in the rain!”
—Unknown

 

Until next month . . . have a beautiful June!

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