Category Archives: Love

Creating the Greenwoman Doll – Part III

I didn’t have to wait long to see if Bee could make our girl’s somber expression brighter.

Two days later, on May 7th, Bee wrote:


“Great article Sandy, love how it’s all coming along.

I’ve shaded two more layers and nearly finished the face; she has a smile now and looks much happier. I will be doing at least another 6-7 more layers of shading to the body, so a ways to go. I use Pan Pastels for the shading, fixing each layer with a non toxic UV Matt varnish spray which needs at least 30 mins of drying time in between.

Here’s a couple of pics of the progress so far . . .

I’ll be adding more and more green to the tattoos. This is the base shade and her eyes need more green too.”

She’s smiling! And looking so close to what I imagined!

I was thrilled!

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Zora and Lily loved her too. Both commented: “Who does she look like?” Lily (who has a film degree) said a combination of Angelina Jolie and Faye Dunaway. I just think she looks like herself. 😉

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Superhero power stance! (Notice Bee’s cute bee-themed fabric/ doll styling center wallpaper.)

Now I was holding my breath. We were at the final stages. I was happy, but what would the final doll look like? What would her hair be like styled? Would the tattoos look awesome? I was shocked to hear that it took so many layers of coloring. A truly labor-intensive project! A labor of love. I told Bee how happy and grateful I was. I also mentioned that I’d researched the USPS (United States Postal Service) site after seeing one Etsy artist comment on international mail experiencing big delays. On the USPS site I read that some deliveries to Europe were now taking as much as 4-6 weeks as there were fewer air carriers and much of the mail was being transported by ship! I told Bee I wasn’t worried; that this pandemic has been a lesson in cultivating patience.

Bee wrote back:

“My dolls are actually getting to their owners with in 2-3 weeks because I send them via International ‘track and sign’ post. They are also insured so I think that it’s just Standard shipping you’re looking at maybe for the long delays?

I’ll be finishing your doll over the next few days and will send it to you on Tuesday the 12th, after our bank holiday. I’ll send you pics for your blog after it’s all completed.

Have a good weekend.” ^.^ 

Two to three weeks would be fantastic!

And then . . . four days later (May 11th), the final photos.

Bee wrote:

“Here she is all finished, apart from glossing the eyes and lips. I think she looks amazing, especially up close, so much detail. Hope you can see it all in these photos. I’ll wrap her up and send her to you on either Tues. or Weds. next week.”

 

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The back design was all Bee’s creation. Again, excellent!

 

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I love these garden photos!

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Gorgeous.

And, last but not least, the creator’s hand at work . . .

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My response? I was a tad excited:

“OMG. SHE LOOKS SO EFFING COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m over the moon!
Thank you so much!!!!
I know it’s evening there, so I will write and gush some more tomorrow.
She’s really beautiful and it just looks fantastic.
I cannot wait to show her off to the world!”

Our Greenwoman is now on her way. We just have to wait for her to cross the Atlantic Ocean, go halfway across the United States, and arrive, safe and sound, in Colorado!

Then the real adventures begin!

Stay tuned for the naming contest!

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!

—S. K.

P. S. Thank you again, Bee. You have made a dream come true. There’s still magic in Cornwall and throughout the world. You’ve proved it. ❤

 

 

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Creating the Greenwoman Doll – Part II

Last week, as I was writing the first post on the Greenwoman doll/mascot, I was also learning a little about our doll’s creator, Bee Hale. When I told her I’d be writing two more posts about the process of creating this doll, I asked if I might share a little about her and her life. I asked a few questions: how she got into creating dolls, what it’s like to live in Cornwall—and if her real name is Bee!

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Bee and her Mini-Me

One of the first things I noticed when I looked at Bee’s Etsy site, Bee Real Dolls, was that Bee was from Truro, England. Truro, I discovered, was in Cornwall. I’d heard of Cornwall, the rugged southwestern tip of England, with it’s wild moorland, hundreds of beaches and towering cliffs, and, maybe most famously to some of us, the home of the legendary King Arthur. So romantic! I’ve not had the privilege to visit (it’s on my list of dream vacation destinations), but my daughter Zora has. She attended graduate school in Dublin where she met her Irish husband, and during their courtship they took a trip to Cornwall. You see, Zora grew up with plenty of mythology, fairy tales, and legends, and she really wanted to see the birthplace of King Arthur, Tintagel Castle.

When I learned Bee was from Truro, I asked Zora if she’d visited there. “No, we wanted to but didn’t have time.” Then she added, “You know that’s the town in Poldark.

(Ah, PBS Masterpiece‘s Poldark—the riveting story of Ross Poldark, a redcoat who returns to Cornwall after the American Revolutionary War. I loved that show! Maybe If I wasn’t so distracted by the dashing, I-will-fight-for-my-people Ross Poldark, the name Truro might have stuck with me. Alas, it did not. But I digress.)

Zora loved Cornwall. She was surprised and delighted by the mystical vibe, telling me, “There’s a lot of hippie/Earth worshipper stuff there.”

What a perfect place to create the Greenwoman doll!

I visited Bee’s Facebook page and saw more of her artistry. She’s created dozens of one-of-a-kind dolls, including a custom Prince, Spock, Daenerys Targarian, John Snow, and a David Bowie. She also up-cycles secondhand dolls and says she enjoys using all her skills (sculpting, painting, and creating clothing and accessories) in one project. She says it’s “pure delight working on my dolls as their individual characters come to life,” and that she loves transforming “these little discarded toys, from head to toe, into the true and REAL beauties they deserve to be.”

On May 5th Bee wrote:

“I’ve made a start on the body tattoo and the doll’s face, still needs a few more layers on both to make them pop.

The little bra and skirt also made, pictured next to the doll. How short do you want the skirt? I’ve made it to come above the knee but can take it shorter.”

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Wow,
I thought, lovely. I was so pleased by how it was coming along, but . . . there was a problem. Her expression wasn’t the fun-loving smile I was thinking of. When this doll’s out on her Instagram adventures, I want her to look like she’s having a great time!

Within minutes I’d figured out how this happened. Bee had created her exactly like the logo, with a serious expression.

Bee hadn’t been able to read my mind.

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I saw that I’d failed in describing what I wanted with the tattoos as well. While Bee had beautifully recreated Mike’s design, I was imagining colorful filled-in tattoos, like the Pict images in the last post. I hadn’t shared that information with Bee either, and she’d drawn outlines, exactly as in the logo.

Oh, no, I thought, I really messed up!

I sent her a longish letter telling her about my mistakes and apologizing, asking if she could make changes, telling her I’d be happy to pay extra. We also decided we’d prefer a little shorter skirt, mid-thigh.

Bee wrote back within an hour:

“Hi, yes, this is the early stages so can make those alterations. Giving her a smile and raising her brows slightly and was going to ask you about adding shading to the tattoo, so good to know that I can do that.”

She said she’d soon get to the questions I’d sent her too.

She added:

“I’m excited working on this project with you, it’s right up my street.”

(So cute! It’s “right up my alley” in America.)

I breathed a sigh of relief and sent her a couple of images of tattoos, just to be clear this time.

tribal tattoo green and brown

tribal tattoos green and brown

Two days later, Bee sent me a message sharing a little about her life:

My actual name is Rebecca but everyone, including my family, calls me Bee. I didn’t like Becs or Becky so chose Bee when I started a new hairdressing job with someone else who worked there called Rebecca. So ever since, Bee has stuck, besides it suits me and I adore Bees, even if I am allergic to their stings.

I am also a freelance hairdresser specializing in vintage hair for weddings. [That business is called Beehave Hair. Adorable!—S.K.] Thank goodness for my doll business right now, keeping me in pocket whilst this lock down is in place ^>^

Here’s my FB shop page link if you’re interested- www.facebook.com/www.beehavehair.vpweb.co.uk/

As far as my dolls and art, I’ve always incorporated some form of art in my life, from making glass panels, stained glass, drawing comic books, sculpting, painting and the list goes on . . .

As a young girl, I have always felt that I could not relate to the dolls I was given to play with, so I would end up making my own using Plasticine or clay. In my creative works, later on in life, I have added clay to fashion dolls to enlarge them in my “Barb Plus More” art projects in 1996. I was part of quite a few art installations in London with my pieces—I would cast their reliefs onto walls in plaster or mold them into silicon rubber to make fuller figured dolls. These projects focused on the subject of the “Body Beautiful” and what was accepted in the world we live in.

So in 2015 a new movement to repaint dolls to be more suitable for young girls hit the circuit, which I jumped on with gusto. I got a big mention in Bored Panda and coverage on our West country ITV news and in the papers. I haven’t looked back since, my business is growing and growing, with inquiries everyday. Most of them become commissions, so busy busy Bee ^.^

I’ve been living here in beautiful Cornwall for seven years now, had to break away from the smoke of London. We love it here, so lucky, we can actually see the sea from our window, facing east, so the sunsets are amazing every day.

I’ll go a head and start filling in the tattoos with shading using greens and browns. I’ll update you with pics over the next few days. ^.^

I loved learning about Bee Hale! How lucky we are to be able to do this project!

I’m looking forward to the next step.

—S. K.

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As a Child, Divine

(And aren’t we still all children, deep inside?)

A couple of months ago I began a spiritual quest, trying to pull out of the negativity I felt to be surrounding me (surrounding so many of us). I wanted to get back to a time when I knew, with every fiber of my being, that magic (which to me means LOVE + WONDER + ANYTHING’S POSSIBLE) was absolutely, 100% REAL.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’m getting there. I now spend about an hour each morning meditating and writing, reading, feeling deep gratitude. And my life is changing for the better, every day!

The quote below came from one of the books I’ve been reading, The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. I know that some are not into some aspects of “The Secret” that focus on materialism (I get it), but most of what Byrne writes about centers on positive thoughts, love, and gratitude. This particular book instructs the reader on how to create “the magic” through gratitude in all areas of life (through daily exercises and keeping a  gratitude journal). I liked the book so much I bought extra copies for friends.

Byrne writes: “There is an exquisite feeling many of us had as children, that everything is good, that every day promises more excitement and adventure, and that nothing could ever thwart our joy for the magic of it all. But somehow as we grew into adults, responsibilities, problems, and difficulties took their toll on us, we became disillusioned, and the magic we once believed in as children faded and disappeared. . . . I’m here to tell you that the magic you once believed in is true, and it’s the disillusioned adult perspective of life that is false. . . .”

That resonated with me. A little later, I read this, and connected with it deeply (so I wrote it on a white board).

 

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I choose magic and love and work that is play.  I hope you do, too.

 

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Illustration from Przygody Piotrusia Pana, published by J. Mortkowicz, Warsaw, Poland, 1914.  Via Wikimedia Commons

 

I’ve also just finished The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. Highly recommended. As is a course I’m taking via Sounds True: Powerful Beyond Measure, by Marianne Williamson.

How is your aura these days? I hope it’s as bright and beautiful as you are.

XO,

Sandy

 

 

 

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Please Don’t Piss on the Petunias—a Memoir

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My memoir is coming out this month!

Yes, I know. I announced that it was coming out “soon” in JUNE (over six months ago). This baby is late, very late. As some of you know, I’m a self-taught publisher. Over the last eight years, I’ve published six issues of Greenwoman, a YA novel (Zera and the Green Man), a book of short stories (Fifty Shades of Green), a few e-books, and many articles and posts. I’ve had the honor and pleasure of working with many talented writers of fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. I’d published so many things, but I’d never published a memoir—so here, once again, was another huge learning curve.

I thought I had all the material, all the stories I’d written over the years, and it could be easily put together. Oh, ha ha—wishful thinking! Luckily, my daughters (thank the heavens for them, always bringing me back to reality and keeping the bar set high) told me that the first draft was too incomplete and too inconsistent.

Those were not words I was hoping to hear.

My daughters urged me to rewrite several of the stories in past tense. A significant undertaking.

Then I discovered that the book, about our menagerie of pets over the years (among other things), really needed a story about our dog Chancho.

More importantly, the book needed an “origin” story.

That story took another month of writing, but first I had to time-travel back twenty-five years. (And let me tell you, time-travel is not easy!) The process was difficult emotionally, reliving those days, the tough times back in the early days, before all the fun started with raising kids, chickens, and a garden. Andy and I were just starting out in business and in parenthood, paying student loans and the mortgage on two houses for an entire year, living paycheck to paycheck (having to borrow money at times from his brother Danny to keep the utilities on), as Andy worked seven days a week to fix up a beautiful yet humble home with (finally) a space to garden . . . Oh, and did I mention I was pregnant with Lily and we had no health insurance?

I wrote the origin story. We went over the manuscript, again. And then again, reading it aloud this time and making over 600 more editing changes.

Two days ago I received what I hope will be the final proof. One more fine-tooth comb reading and a only a few (I hope!) minor edits.

I was reminded: Anything worthwhile takes time and thought and care. More than you imagine!

But today, finally, a sneak peek! Here she is. Almost born!

(Consider this an invitation to the baby shower.)

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Now for the backstory on the title, because some of you might remember that it was going to be titled The Chicken Chronicles. A good friend alerted me (thank you, V. G.!) that there was already a memoir with that title, by the illustrious Alice Walker (the Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Color Purple). Her book was also about chickens. So . . . I had to think of another title. Not easy, as that was my “working title” for years.

For a while I was stuck on Mother Hen . . .  but no one seemed thrilled about that one, and the only male beta reader (hello, Geno!) gave it a thumbs’ down in appeal to male readers. A clever friend (again, G. V.) , suggested a few alternatives. Her favorite was Chicken Scratches, which had its charms, but as I always prided myself on good penpersonship, it didn’t connect with me the way it needed to.

Sidenote: Wow, while writing this, I just thought of another title . . . Clucked Up. Ha ha! Maybe that will be the title of the sequel! Goodness knows there have been many more challenges and harrowing adventures this last decade— and especially these last two years!

Anyway, back to the subject at hand: One day I was rattling off title suggestions to Lily, including “Please Don’t Piss on the Penstemons,” the original title of one of the stories about our dog, Broonzy, and his destructive puppyhood. The back story on that title is that it’s a play on the old book/movie title Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, a work I’d never read, but I remembered vividly from childhood.

Lily said, “I like that one.”

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I said, “I do too, especially the alliteration, but . . . I don’t know. It has a swear word. And I think there are a lot of people who don’t even know what penstemons are!”

Lily said that readers could look up penstemons—and that it wasn’t a big deal about “piss.”

I still thought it could be a dangerous move, a title with both “penstemons” and “piss,” so I decided to change penstemons to another “p” flower. What would sound best? We asked friends their preference: poppies, pansies, petunias or peonies?

“Petunias” won.

Now, to take a look at “piss” (ha). I researched: “book titles with swear words.” It seems that it can actually help sell a book these days!  Who knew? I brought it up to a media-savvy friend (hello, Mary Ellen!) a decade older than I am. She was, to my surprise, very enthusiastic. She said, “Our book club chose to read The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu  because of the title. Do it, Sandy!”

Still searching for a bit more reassurance (this was a big move!), I brought up the subject of swear words in book titles in Facebook-land. My mother immediately commented that she would never have a book with a swear word in the title on her coffee table! (Protecting the grandchildren and great-grandchildren, you see. I didn’t even disclose what the colorful word would be, but she was against it.)

So “Piss” it was!

The book is very sweet (and only slightly pissy). More than anything, it is a love letter to our home and garden, our family, and Nature.

I hope you’ll make a note to buy a copy this month. I’ll let you know when she is born!

With much love and appreciation to all who have helped bring yet another dream to fruition,

— Sandy

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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

 

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“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.

* * *

“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?)

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“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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