Re-thinking Life during the Pandemic

Stay-at-home . . .

I listened anxiously a couple days ago as Arizona’s Governor Ducey extended the stay-at-home order for the Coronavirus pandemic through May 15. For the past 30 days, this has been a familiar piece of legislation limiting the number of people in a building, social distancing, and leaving home only for necessary items.

I’m 62-years old, and I’ve never seen anything like this. The past few months have been eye-opening. Certainly, I’m not the only person re-thinking life.

As a community of people, we tend to get stuck in everyday living—work, school, church, and friends, forgetting that life can turn on a dime for any number of reasons. A pandemic, war, or ecological collapse. “That is not possible,” we tell ourselves.

Now, we know it is.

So, what do we do about it? Continue reading Re-thinking Life during the Pandemic

Emergency Toilet Paper

This Coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

My grandmother, Mamaw, though was a baby during the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak. She grew up on an Arkansas cotton farm, so she definitely knew how to deal without toilet paper — usually a Sears catalog in a drafty, smelly, dirty outhouse.

Something tells me the phone book is not septic safe.

And … do you ever think that filling your toilet tank with fresh drinking water, crapping in it, flushing, and sending it all to a treatment plant is a bad idea?

The outhouse is also a poor solution that sometimes taints the drinking water supply.

For people off the grid, there is a much better, safer alternative with composting toilets.

Check it out. You might be surprised.

Watershed Management Group

What is an Heirloom Plant?

You probably use the word heirloom when talking about great-grandma’s quilt or some other treasure passed down in your family from generation to generation. Plants are the same.

When you hear the word heirloom, think old, precious, rare.

An oft-heard story goes like this: “Great-grandma, Rita, grew these tomatoes in her garden all of her life. Her mother gave them to her and showed her how to grow them. They’ve been in the family for generations.”

Read more…

Red-Tailed Hawk

redtailhawkThis fellow is the most common hawk in my area. I’ve taken this picture today, one-half mile from my home in Buckeye, AZ.

The weather is dark and gloomy . . . been raining all day. I’m pretty sure the prey is all hiding, and that this guy is depressed and hungry.  Perhaps the hunting will be better tomorrow.

Recently, I wanted to get out into the Arizona desert to see different kinds of animals. I considered joining a hiking club. When I accompanied them on a wilderness hike, I stopped to identify “that plant” and later, “those birds.” After awhile, the group waived a polite goodbye, “Can’t wait! See ya down at the trail’s end.”

Fortunately, I’ve found two groups that share similar ideals and tendencies to stop and smell the roses.

Arizona Field Ornithologists (birding)

Sonoran Audubon Society

Now, I’m learning the bird species in my area. I can’t wait to share the picture of my Red-Tailed friend.

Saturday Fair and Plant Sale (Oct 29)

015 Jewelry


My book, Baskets for Butterflies.

Come join the fun!

Free Admission

Metro Tech Fall Festival and Plant Sale

October 29 (Sat)

Metro Tech High School
1900 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix
(Corner of Thomas and 19 Ave.)


My daughter and I will be dressed like hippies! Continue reading Saturday Fair and Plant Sale (Oct 29)

Fall Garden Festival and Plant Sale (Oct 29)


My daughter, Tiffany, and I will be at this event with bells on, literally — dressed as Hippies (my old leather-strip vests, ankles of jeans split up the sides, headbands, and more).

But we won’t come alone, we’ve been busy making all sorts of crafts which we will have for sale. We’ve reserved two adjoining spaces to accommodate all of the great stuff!



My book, Baskets for Butterflies.

Come join the fun!

Free Admission


About the event:

October 29 (Sat)

Plants grown by Maricopa County Master Gardeners, Metro Tech students and invited growers.

  • Food, fashion, gardening implements and more from Metro Tech student clubs.
  • Garden accessories from local garden clubs and vendors.

This premier Valley gardening event also features trained Master Gardeners providing how-to demonstrations and expert advice to help your plants succeed. The fundraiser supplements Metro Tech’s student programs, and supports community outreach and education by Maricopa County Master Gardeners, under the auspices of the University of Arizona’s Continuing Education and Extension program.

Metro Tech High School
1900 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix
(Corner of Thomas and 19 Ave.)

Monkees Concert in Mesa


The Monkees concert in Mesa last night was Groovy!
We sang, we screamed, we danced. . . .
Micky Dolenz was scheduled to appear with Peter Tork, but the latter member had to cancel due to family issues. (I hope all is well with Peter.)
Unfortunately, we lost Davy Jones a short while ago. (I miss him a  lot.) Mike Nesmith doesn’t often join the concert due to business responsibilities relating to other than ‘Monkees business.’

Continue reading Monkees Concert in Mesa

Craft Fair Saturday

birdfeed_090816aSept. 10, 2016

Glendale Landmark Middle School


My daughter, Tiffany, and I will be staffing a table of items for sale.
I’ll have copies of my book, Baskets for Butterflies, and assorted macramé projects. She is bringing lots of jewelry and some crocheted items.
The craft fair at the school goes from 10am – 4pm.
It is associated with the 12th Annual Teddy Bear Day.

Writing a New Book

Mesquite in the sunLiving on acreage in the middle of nowhere sometimes leaves me out of touch with the modern world.

For example, during a recent planning meeting for an event, the facilitator turned out the lights and began a computer presentation on some sort of digital board. I’ve never seen this contraption before. At one point, I attempted to help the instructor erase the chalkboard. (No kidding!)

I’ve never felt completely at ease with the year in which I was born. Surely, I should have lived during some prior time—some earlier generation, or even century.

Continue reading Writing a New Book

Metro Tech Fall Festival and Plant Sale

MacrameTulip1Mark your calendars for plants, crafts, and Groovy fun!

October 29 (Sat) from 8am – 1pm

Of course, I’ll have my book, Baskets for Butterflies.

But that’s not all . . . In honor of my macramé items, I’m going to celebrate the 1960’s and 70’s by dressing up as a hippie!

Friendship1Where did I find the clothes? (My closet). Where did I wear them? (West High School, which was the original name for Metro Tech High.) There are more embarrassing details below, but here’s the event info first:

Metro Tech High School
1900 W. Thomas Rd., Phoenix
(NW corner of Thomas Rd. and 19 Ave.)
October 29 (Sat) from 8am – 1pm

Admission is free.

Continue reading Metro Tech Fall Festival and Plant Sale

WWII Veteran and Volunteer

Steve, a WWII veteran, worked by my side for 15 years at a local non-profit organization.

I was a paid-staff member, and he was a volunteer, serving 40 hours per week. (You didn’t misread that sentence. Steve worked alongside of me for 15 years, all day every day as a volunteer!)

This remarkable man was also my friend.

The following recollection is a true story.

* * *

In the Basement




Macramé Plant Holder, Pagoda

Pagoda 1Here’s my latest craft activity in macramé. It’s called ‘Pagoda’ and was taken from a 1970 pattern.



Notice I’ve converted my craft room door to a knotting station by placing an adjustable robe hook panel over the top. The pillowcase protects the paint from the hooks rubbing. The three hooks allow me to do plant hangars, like this one, as well as narrow wall hangings from dowels. I have a series of bands and rings (not shown) that bring the work down to eye level.
I hope to have some of these, along with pots, at the next plant sale at Metro Tech Fair (19 Ave/Thomas, Phx) in October. In the next few months I should be placing some on my Etsy site as well, but without the pots (difficult to mail). Look for them.

My Etsy site:

My daughter’s Etsy site:

More pics: Continue reading Macramé Plant Holder, Pagoda

Healing and Seed Saving in a New Mexico Pueblo

As a clinical therapist in a New Mexico Pueblo, Jennifer talks about the healing properties of gardening and seed saving within the culture of her people. The piece is 16 min long; listen to it as you answer your emails or just sit back and hear this gentle soul describe her fear of losing, not only the seed, but the stories, songs, and agricultural practices surrounding them. For another perspective on similar information, read my article from October 19, “Heirloom Seeds, Garden Knowledge, and Folklore.”

Bitter Lettuce and Talking Plants

Loose-leaf lettuce_______________________I go into my Arizona garden each morning with a knife and a colander to gather the day’s harvest. _______________________

I bend over to slice the central stem of a pretty, green, loose-leaf lettuce. White liquid pools up in a circle on the severed stalk. I hesitantly guide a leaf into my mouth to taste.

“Ptooey!” I spit it on the ground.

Why does lettuce turn bitter?

It has to do with the turning of the earth over eons of time. Continue reading Bitter Lettuce and Talking Plants

Lazy Daisy Cake

Light cake with broiled coconut frosting
Light cake with broiled coconut frosting

Over the years, I’ve become an accomplished baker.


Surprisingly, most of my success in the kitchen did not result from the accumulation of knowledge and skills. Instead, many of my improvements were directly related to letting go of stubborn notions about not following directions. Baking is a science, and I used too many substitutions and too many shortcuts. 

This cake is a good example. In the past, I might substitute unbleached all-purpose flour for cake flour. And sifting? Isn’t that a thing of the past? . . . “Why don’t my cakes turn out as light and fluffy as the boxed mixes at the supermarket?” Continue reading Lazy Daisy Cake

Extend the Harvest with Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap PeasI’m in the garden this morning picking
Sugar Snap Peas.


So many tender sweet morsels cover each vine. I love peas!

When I order seeds for my fall garden, these guys always make the list. The plants produce prolifically throughout the mild Arizona winter but stop when the weather becomes too warm. Continue reading Extend the Harvest with Sugar Snap Peas

Sneak Peak

Heart doily
Heart doily





My daughter, Tiffany, has had so much fun selling jewelry and crocheted items through her Etsy account
( that I’ve decided to open my own Etsy site. I will announce the link as soon as I’ve uploaded my very first items.

While my daughter favors the modern approach, my style is toward the antique. I’ve been crocheting since I was 12 years old and have collected a wide variety of old books, such as the February 1950 WORKBASKET pictured here. The heart doily appeared on the cover of that issue.

I have two of the dainties completely crocheted. My task today is to hand wash them and let them dry flat overnight. Tomorrow I’ll lightly starch / iron both and add the big satin ribbon bow and the narrower organza around the scalloped edges. There’s also a small heart charm to sew into the heart’s tip.

I hope to have the items uploaded to a new Etsy account by the end of the week. I’ll let you know when that happens.

Asparagus and the New Year

Asparagus yellow and dormant
Asparagus yellow and dormant

I start each New Year by cutting down my asparagus plants.

These perennial vegetables may live for 15 years or more. The yellow stems show they’ve gone dormant for the winter. Now I can remove existing dead foliage in preparation for new, tasty shoots to emerge in spring. This is also the time to establish a new asparagus bed or expand an existing one.

The delicate, lacy foliage of this plant presents a false impression that the beauties are tender and require a lot of loving care to survive, especially in the hot, dry desert summer. In fact, these hardy guys love the searing sunshine, even during the hottest part of the year. Once triple-digit temperatures arrive in my Arizona garden, asparagus is one of the few crops that can withstand the extreme conditions.   Continue reading Asparagus and the New Year

Virus Attacks Banana Crop


A serious virus threatens the most popular variety of banana found in US supermarkets, the Cavendish. This plant disease causes concern worldwide among growers, distributors and consumers.

See link below for a host of great information from the University of Hawaii.

Photo courtesy of:
University of Hawaii at Manoa
College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources Continue reading Virus Attacks Banana Crop

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