MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

An epic battle has started; the battle between spring and winter. As spring peeks from around the corner, winter jumps back into the arena with mighty force.

A bright blue spring sky with temperature in fifties. 

On such spring days, I see the squirrels clambering up and down the trees, licking, sucking and tugging at the bark. Do they eat bark? Or are they eating something that's there on the bark? Anyone knows? 

Strong gusty wind and blankets of white snows are the weapons she employs first, followed by icy rain and sleets.

A Caroline Wren (or just a wren) enjoying the winter. It is a gorgeous bird with a upright, pointy tail, round body and sharp beak. It loves suet, and prefers it over black sunflower seed. 

What Mother Earth takes thousands of years to create, feisty Winter creates the Stalactites by the sides of houses, on tree trunks in a matter of minute.

The sparkling diamonds are actually smaller sized stalactites on the branches. 
More Stalactites by the side of the house. 

Spring loses; winter wins, and the birds gather around feeders to survive the winter.

European Sterlings on the suet-feeder. Many people are opposed to feeding these birds as they are not native. I cannot control who comes to my feeders, and I do not mind these birds. It was not their fault that they got introduced into this country. They also need to eat and survive. But, when this flock comes to a feeder, they finish everything within a matter of minutes. 

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Rambling WoodsSt Germain's , and My Views of NZ.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Is Spring Around The Corner?

The weather has become mellow, in the past one week, with temperature rising above 40 or 50 degree Fahrenheit in the morning. All the snows have melted, and green grasses peeking out from here and there. Squirrels are chasing across each other up and down the trees. I see them do that every spring. I guess that is how they find their mates. Birds are singing out loudly. And, I have started planting in seeds or ordering out plants. That's what happening in the nook of my world.

Here is a red-bellied woodpecker pecking out food that I leave around:

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Rambling WoodsSt Germain's , and My Views of NZ.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Weekend Journal

I am participating in Weekend Journal of Art hosted by St. Germain's.

This was a picture drawn and painted by me when I was very young. Thus, you see what I call "youngish" or "childish" theme -- village, church, school, house, etc. I think children/younger people start by drawing such familiar things/concepts, and thus I call them such.

Sorry about the reflection of our book-shelf into the picture. Though lights were off but still the reflection came. Now, I could have taken down the picture, and take it somewhere to photograph. But, I have injured my wrist and thus avoiding any extra work as much as possible.

Monday, January 8, 2018

An Unusual Vegetable Plant And A Big Thank You

Do you know of an animal that is indestructible? Neither space, nor radiation, atomic blast, high pressure or temperature as low as minus 325 degree Fahrenheit can kill it? If you don't know about it, then learn about such an animal -- Tardigrades -- here. I think I have a similar plant which is nutritious, beneficial and can be thus eaten. It's almost indestructible unless of course one burns it down or put it outside in freezing temperature. It is called Longevity Spinach, Gynura Procumbens.

House Plant: The plant has reddish stem, and big dark-green oval leaves. It can be grown in a small pot (and of course in a big pot or in ground). It can be grown as a tree (with hard-stem), or as a vine (if you let it grow and don't chop it off), and as a shrub (if you trim it and also grow side-shoots). It can also be grown in a hanging-basket. As the leaves mature, the underside of the leaves become rich burgundy in color. Thus, it can be grown as just a house-plant if you don't want to eat it. It can be grown in both sun and real-shade. In fact, the leaves taste better if grown in shade.

Food: It's name give out its real importance -- it is an extremely beneficial plant for our health. The plant is originally from China and South-east Asia. It can also be found in certain regions of Africa. Natural doctors (folk-medicine) in both Asia and Africa have long used this plant as cure against many diseases. It has high anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-carcinogenic properties, and contains many beneficial alkaloid and steroids. Modern medicine has found it to lower blood-pressure, blood-cholesterol, blood-fat and blood-sugar.

How to eat it: It can be eaten both raw and cooked. It has a very nice fragrance but of course one needs to like that fragrance (much like how some people like the fragrance of Cilantro; others hate it and like that of Parsley). I chop off the leaves and tender stems in manageable pieces and saute them with garlic and salt (just like 1-2 minutes on low-medium heat) and eat. One can put fish or meat in the saute; or put the leaves in soup/stew.
Propagate: To prepare the dish, I cut down branches as shown in the picture above. Those stems that are not tender, I put them either in soil directly or in water. And, voila! after about ten days, they start growing roots and leaves. Here I have put them in water (as I am experimenting) but most of them time, I do not put them in water. Just put them in soil; they do not need any rooting hormone or anything. They will just grow and become another tree/vine/plant/shrub, depending on how you are trimming them. That's why I called it AN INDESTRUCTIBLE PLANT.

A BIG THANK YOU to all of you who wished good luck for my fur-baby. He literally gave us a heart-attack with extreme drooling and complete loss of balance. We thought he had a stroke; or brain tumor, which we were not aware of, suddenly ruptured, and we would lose him. But, luckily (may he live for another twenty more years, fingers-crossed, wood touched) it was just vestibular infection or in layman tongue -- middle ear infection. He is on medication and recovering.

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Rambling WoodsSt Germain's .

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year. I woke up to a white Christmas, my favorite. But, my four-legged baby has been having some emergencies since Friday, and thus it has not been a good Christmas for me. Here are some white Christmas scenes and sky from our backyard.


A Cold Morning

Sun is rising on the morning of December 25, 2017

And, it has risen some more

The Minion came to my garden to wish you all Feliz Navidad :-)

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Year of the Bird

National Audobon Society along with National Geographic, Cornell's Lab of Ornithology and others have declared 2018 "The Year of the Bird" to mark the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. You can find more about the treaty here. You can sign up for the centennial celebration here.

Every year more than 50 billion birds migrate from one place to another all over the world. During this worldwide phenomena, they face many problems -- they are shot dead for food, plumes, feather and trophy hunting; their food and water sources are dwindling due to habitat loss; electrocuted by properly constructed electric lines; collide into skyscrapers or other such taller structures; get affected by EM radiation by TV, Radio and Cellphone towers (as birds depend on the magnetic fields for migration) -- and many other such hazards. However, the biggest threat is loss of food and water. For example, 80% of the US yards (whether home or office) have non-native plants, and such plants cannot provide any food for the migratory birds. You can find the native plants for your yard (based on your zip-code) here.

I tried and found out that there are seventy-three native trees, evergreens, grasses and plants that I can have in my garden. Out of those 73, I already have twenty-eight of them. My garden is small, and thus I will not be able to plant any of the trees :-(. Some of my native plants in my garden, and some of my friends who visit my garden are as shown below:

Joe-Pye Weed (native) along with Hollyhock and Tansy

Rudbeckia (native)

Milkweed (native) with Monarch

Coneflower (native) with  Swallowtail

Native Sunflower

Coneflower (native)

Native Sunflower with Grayfeather (native)

Finch or Sparrow

Male Cardinal doing peek-a-boo
Female Cardinal
Here is a list of native plants that one can plant in a North-East American garden. This is just a small selection as most of the native trees are excluded. Only plants which one can easily find, and which can be easily grown in a home-garden are included: Allegheny Service-Berry (Amelanchier laevis), Alternate-Leaf Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), American Hazelnut (Corylus americana), American Mountain-Ash (Sorbus americana), American Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana), American Witch-Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Anise-Scented Goldenrod (Solidago odora), Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), Black Raspberry (Rubus occidentalis), Black-Eyed-Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), Canadian Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), Canadian Lily (Lilium canadense), Canadian Service-Berry (Amelanchier canadensis), Cardinal-Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana), Coastal-Plain Trumpetweed (Eutrochium dubium), Cock-Spur Hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli), Common Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Common Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Dense Gayfeather (Liatris spicata), Downy Service-Berry (Amelanchier arborea), Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), Eastern Red-Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), Eastern Wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus), Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus), Farewell-Summer (Symphyotrichum lateriflorum), Frost Grape (Vitis vulpina), Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa), Gray Goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis), Great Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), Hard-Leaf Flat-Top-Goldenrod (Solidago rigida), Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), King's-Cureall (Oenothera biennis), Late Purple American-Aster (Symphyotrichum patens), Little False Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Nanny-Berry (Viburnum lentago), Narrow-Leaf Fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium), New England American-Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae), Northern Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Orange Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida), Oswego-Tea (Monarda fistulosa), Pink Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides), Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida), Possumhaw (Viburnum nudum), Pussy Willow (Salix discolor), Red Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa), Red Spruce (Picea rubens), Seaside Goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), Short-Leaf Pine (Pinus echinata), Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa), Smooth Arrow-Wood (Viburnum recognitum), Smooth Blue American-Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve), Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra), Southern Arrow-Wood (Viburnum dentatum), Spotted Crane's-Bill (Geranium maculatum), Spotted Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis), Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), Trumpet-Creeper (Campsis radicans), Trumpetweed (Eutrochium fistulosum), Virginia Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), Virginia-Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia), White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Winged Sumac (Rhus copallinum), Woodland, Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus), Wreath Goldenrod (Solidago caesia), Wrinkle-Leaf Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Eileen,  Rambling WoodsSt Germain's meme.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Kabul's Peaceful Garden

I want a garden like this. Do you know many of our common garden flowers and vegetables like Roses, Onion, Garlic, Poppy, various nuts, etc, originally came from Central Asian countries like Afghanistan.