Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On this Blog's two year anniversary... a poem to Lily by Suzanne Byerley

Suzanne Byerley

Lily, I missed you this morning
          but here's what I saw......

Dozens of big and little white daisies
Bazillions of buttercups beaming
Lotsy of flopsy-winged creamy butterflies clapping
Just two teensy yellow ones fleeing
One dark green oak tree (you know the one)
Fat purple clover blossoms
Lavender wild geraniums jiggling
Two kissy-red wild roses
Milkweed coming along
Calf high corn
A solo orange tiger lily singing (just for you) and four billion buds
Packets of weensy gold pocketbook posies
(Somebody filled up the big groundhog hole in the road!)
And from its skinny little stem, one bedazzled blue chicory blossom
hollering "Lily, Lily."

Come home soon!

Suzanne wrote this poem to her granddaughter, Lily, while Lily was visiting her father. They were in the habit of taking 'nature' walks. What a gift Suz was to all of us.


Monday, July 22, 2013



I've been out of town for a week, and the rest of this week will be taken up with our 24th annual Mendocino Coast Writers conference. www.mcwc.org  

P.S. For writers suffering in the heat, the fog is in on the coast.

In the meantime, enjoy this little film.


A reminder to Suzanne's friends, her
 memorial will be Friday the 26th, 4 p.m. at
the College.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Amelia Island Osprey by Sandra Baker-Hinton


An artist friend in Florida, Sandra Baker-Hinton, sent this to me after I sent her the link to the Maine Osprey nest Live Cam. Sandra is also involved with sea turtle nest monitoring. This is her blog

We have a little drama going on with our (Osprey) nest here on Amelia Island. I snapped these photos this morning as I left the park after turtle patrol. (The nest) was mounted high on a pole just beside the original nest after the old nest kept falling piecemeal onto the power lines below. Nice to have them care enough to do that for the birds rather than just tear their nest apart. The ospreys took to the nest right away and built yearly right on schedule, except for the year the owls beat them to it, but the minute the owls left with their youngsters, the Ospreys moved right back in.  We have a rather informal group which communicates by email and tries to monitor and report to each other any news from "the pole".  We call ourselves the "pole watchers", and have taken the names for the Ospreys from another fellow who works down the street and watches them also. He calls them, Alpha (the male) and Little Girl (the female of course). Last year we were very sad when the storm, Beryl, drowned the new chicks in the nest.  Alpha and Little Girl went through the motions of rebuilding their nest but when the nesting hormones subsided they finally abandoned their efforts and did not get to raise any in the 2012 nest.  This year things were off to a good start, with no damage from any of the early storms, and two hatchlings in the nest it was determined by "the pole watchers."  Then we began to suspect something had happened when we could only spot one of the parents feeding and caring for the young. Usually the male hunts while the female stays at or nearby watching the nest. Now there was never anyone there except at feeding time. Then a report came to one of us that an Osprey had been found very nearby in the middle of the road with a badly broken wing. Our worst fears were confirmed, tempered by the glimmer of hope that the other osprey was at least alive. The bird was taken to B.E.A.K.S, a wild bird sanctuary, where we found out it did indeed have a very badly broken wing, and although it will live, the bird will never fly again in the wild. The next chore is to identify which bird was hurt, as none of our photos of the remaining parent have been good enough to see if it has the distinguishing "necklace" of the female but we feel pretty sure that Little Girl is the one now feeding and nurturing the chick. We will know for sure when I go to B.E.A.K.S. to get some photos of the Osprey, there and do a story about them.  We have one chick remaining in the nest and are hoping the other one just fledged early and did not get eaten by an owl or eagle. The photos today are of the remaining osprey chick which is almost ready to leave the nest.  Poor Little Girl is such a trooper to work so hard as a single mom to hunt, feed and raise the chicks alone.  


This is the live cam on the Maine Osprey nest. The babies are growing like weeds.
Learn more about ospreys

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Responsible or irresponsible?

During a recent classroom interview, the teacher asked me to tell her students what I'd like them to remember. They'd read Hurt Go Happy. You would think, after 30 years of writing, I'd know what I wanted my take-home message to be, but I had to stop and think. What was my sound bite? What could I say that they would remember?

When I was growing up my mother took me to the Sanford (Florida) Zoo. I was only 6 or 7, but I remember feeling sorry for the animals. Sixty years ago, it was a horrible place. All the animals were is small cages, and people would throw peanuts or popcorn or the butt end of a hot dog bun at them, trying to get a reaction--some display of emotion. I've never been to another zoo, or a circus, or to a Sea World-like aquarium except to do research. Decades have passed and we still keep animals in cages, and whales and dolphins in concrete tanks, then starve them so they will do tricks for food. We lock monkeys and chimpanzees, dogs and cats in cages and test chemicals on them.

So what do I want from you? I hope, if you go to a zoo, a circus, or an aquarium, or see a commercial or a movie with an animal in it, that you will ask yourself where did that animal come from, and what was done to it to make it do what it is doing to amuse me? Then I want the life it's living to break your heart.