Universal Needs

The past few days, I’ve been fixated on what all of us human beings have in common. I guess a lot of this has been because I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book on the Congo, The Poisonwood Bible, for the neighborhood book club. I’ve also been learning about life in the 1930s for members of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico in the book, Spider Woman, by Gladys A. Reichard (it’s a memoir that just got reprinted). On top of that, the PBS television show Finding Your Roots has focused on family life of slaves in the US, families dealing with wars in Asia, and other times of difficulty and stress for people. I have learned a lot from the photos and documents they show.

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Here are two minor helpers for keeping me well: yet another reblooming orchid, and my sign remniding me to breathe.

I keep seeing families and communities that manage to do well, in spite of the many challenges life throws at them, and also how they sometimes break down. I kept wondering, what do all of us need to have a “good” life?

For my real estate blog, I wrote up some of my thoughts as they relate to what we do to create homes for people, not just houses. I came up with what, to me, are the minimum requirements for a good life.

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These are my stab at a list of basic needs. It may not cover everything.

Just having food and a roof over your head is not enough, to me. You need a community around you, so that you can give and receive love and friendship. You need to feel like you have a purpose in life, which is what I mean by fulfilling work. I don’t even know that pay is important, if you can meet your needs otherwise, but life is pretty hollow without the ability to do something that makes you feel like a part of the big picture.

And freedom from fear is the clencher for me. So many people live where they feel unsafe. You can’t be happy if you are worried about war, physical/mental cruelty, prejudices, or environnmental dangers. Every human deserves to feel safe.

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We have our loving community, a home, food, and the meaningful work of being companions for our mommies. So, we are happy, say Pickle and Vlassic.

I’ve seen (and read about in my books) many people who don’t have much by way of possessions, money, or property, but they are happy because they life surrouded by a safe communty, have enough to eat, and are contributing to the greater good. That’s all I really want, too.

What other things would you add to a list of basic needs for a happy life? I’d be interested. Certainly there are a LOT more things that would add to happiness, like health care, education…and?

 

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Winter Coastal Blooms

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Here are the bluish ones. These may be “regular” spiderworts, because those are not such hairy buds.

Some of our readers are still recovering from the polar vortex of last week. Here, it’s suddenly up to no-jacket weather (though another polar front is on the way). It’s not too early for some of our hardier plants to start blooming away, and I found some really pretty ones in Galveston, as I was doing my best to identify beach plants without flowers.

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Some of the shades of purple in this spiderwort species.

My absolute favorite were these hairyflower spiderworts (Tradescantia hirsutiflora). First, they came in so many lovely colors, ranging from the purplest purple to almost pink. It was a striking look.

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These are the pink ones. Just look at those hairy little buds!

Second, I discovered on iNaturalist that the hirsutiflora (hairy flower) version of spiderwort existed! I’d originally identified it as the more common T. ohiensis, but I’d obviously not looked close enough. Daniel, who corrected my observation, pointed out the hairy buds on the flowers, which you can plainly see here. Regular ole spiderwort has smooth buds. Now I’ll look at every one I see!

Continue reading “Winter Coastal Blooms”

Birding in the Fog

Admittedly, I was excited to go to Galveston Island, because I had the thought that a lot of the migratory birds would still be hanging around and I could see them. I didn’t count on it being a rather dismal day for photography, in which everything around was the same shade of brownish gray.

We certainly couldn’t see anything from our hotel room other than exotic Beach Pigeons (same as any other pigeon). The birds were probably all frightened away by the belching pseudo-volcano at the Rainforest Cafe that was the primary view from our balcony (we could also see the Gulf, when the fog lifted slightly).

Here I am pretending that the Rainforest cafe is 1) open or 2) fun.

Once we were awake (-ish, since the hotel didn’t have any reasonable coffee), we took a walk on the beach. This proved to us that it doesn’t have to be a warm and sunny day to enjoy the shore.

Look how well these birds blend in with the rocks and surf.

At first we didn’t see anything other than gulls, pigeons, and grackles, but once we walked down the jetty, we adjusted our eyes, and boom! There were some beautiful little ruddy turnstones busily picking at the moss and seaweed growing on the granite (from Marble Falls!). They were very industrious and blended amazingly well among the blocks. You really only noticed them when they moved.

Evrybody’s head is all tucked. Nap time?

We kept walking down the jetty until Lee stopped me and said, “Look!” Sure enough, there was a flock of what appear to me to be sanderlings, huddling together to stay warm, or something. They were at least a little easier to spot. They let us get nice and close, so I could get a good photo.

Continue reading “Birding in the Fog”

Beachy Keen

Tree trunk with ocean decor

We spent last night in a misty Galveston Island, Texas. I’ll write more about it later, but thought I’d share a few pictures of things I found washed up on the beach.

The tree looks like a whale from this angle.

One particular piece of wood that had been in the water enough for barnacles to grow on it really seemed beautiful. Such a mix of land and sea.

What’s your guess as to what this is?

We also found another rock or piece of tree or coral. It was hard to say. But there were some cool worm tubes on it, too.

Little shells in a heap.

Of course there were shells, mostly broken up, but in many shapes and colors. Where they washed up in piles I kept thinking they’d make a great computer monitor background.

Coral, and my Valentine nails, which are red, pink, coral, or watermelon.

I did find a small piece of coral, too. I have to say these and the oysters in the bay kept distracting me from my bird and plant recording duties, but that’s okay. I had time to enjoy all the gifts the ocean and wetlands gave me.

Eww. Ocean foam.

More tomorrow!

More Teeny Tiny Flowers

Today I am on a trip (so I wrote ahead of time), but I’m still thinking about the power of teeny tiny flowers to lift our spirits. You don’t have to be big to sparkle, shine, and make a difference in the world. Here are some of the little guys who brighten up the area near our old church building.

This henbit deadnettle looks like an orchid from this angle. It’s a teeny tiny thing of beauty.

When you get down on the level of these ground-hugging darlings, you often see even more tiny life. I mean, look at that little fly, or wasp, or bee (not sure, Master Naturalist Fail). That’s probably just a centimeter long.

Speedwell and a tiny friend. You can barely see these flowers if you are standing up.

I have noticed we have a lot of yellow and white tiny flowers. Perhaps those colors make them easier to see for pollinators that find them visually. In any case, this time of year, anything cheerfully yellow is fine with me.

Tihs is screamingly yellow creeping woodsorrel. I’m guessing those leaves are tasty and sour. There sure are lots of sorrels around here!

And I do need to share just one flower that’s not so tiny, because I was so happy to see it, an anenome! They were among the first spring flowers at my old Austin house. Some are white, some are deep purple, and some are a mixture. I always had to convince people that to me, they are not weeds, so I kept them. They die back quickly, anyway.

Anenomes pushing up from among the dead leaves.

Y’all have a good Saturday. No doubt I’ll be back to my “deep thoughts” series, but I’ll never give up sharing what’s blooming around me!

Egg Production UP!

Hooray! I can’t wait until tomorrow to share this! The winter slump is over, and the ten or eleven remaining hens are starting to lay again. Mandi and Seth (the weekday gatherers) report that every day this week there are more.

Buckbeak is very proud of his remaining ladies.

Today’s 7 is pretty darned good! The owl deterrent measures seem to have helped, and we think it went to other hunting grounds.

We’re the big mamas. Ready to make you some eggs! Thanks for feeding us all winter!

Now maybe we can get a few more. We’re still going to do more coop work. But I’m so glad they’re out of the winter doldrums.

Reblog and share please!!

I’m sharing this blog post, because the author coincidentally said pretty much what I was saying yesterday about why I like blogging. And yes, you can reblog my posts, too.

Forty Something Life As We Know It

As a Forty Plusser I learn about blogging on a daily basis.   The what, the how, etc.

This blogosphere world is real exiting.  I love to connect with fellow bloggers.   It is like meeting new friends, but not in person. My experience with blogging so far: people from all around the world connect with each other in a peaceful manner.  Bloggers connect and relate with each other about daily life and mutual interests.   I have not experienced  a single “social media fight”or snotty comment on WordPress.   Yes, I really like blogging on WordPress…  no keyboard warriors…   Maybe my circle of fellow bloggers are the “peaceful type”.  Lol!

Image result for image of wordpress

When I first set up my WordPress account I read about the rules, how to set up a beautiful blog, what to do and what not to do.   You know, technical stuff, but also stuff like blogging etiquette.

I absolute love the reblog button.   I have no problem with fellow bloggers…

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