A Swab of Hope

I’m sharing my friend’s story. Please consider getting swabbed for Be the Match. What a blessing for her.

Diary Of A Not So Wimpy Mom

November 13. A date, in my mind, that will forever denote hope, faith, love and life.

Five years ago, on November 13, 2012, an amazing young woman named Megan donated her stem cells to me. Her healthy cells replaced my diseased bone marrow after a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive blood cancer. She was a complete stranger to me at that time, who gave selflessly and unconditionally, simply because she knew she had the ability to save a life. Today, my five-year transplant anniversary marks an important milestone. The chance of relapse after five years is highly unlikely (that’s your cue to knock on wood). Today is my 5th “rebirthday”.

IMG_0150A swab of hope: the beginning. When my brother and sister had their blood tested, wishing to give me a second chance at life, neither of them was a “match” to be my life-saving stem cell donor…

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Happy Birthday, Forrest Fenn


Cupcakes, of course.  

And from my backyard to yours:  A gallery of purple flowers and other wild things to celebrate your 87th!




All the best!   I hope to get out west to see you next year.

P1020613 copy


P1020611 copy

Swallowtail on Ironweed

Blue-winged Teal

And then these dropped out of the tree...
(And then these drop out of the tree)

The Junior Oxford Dictionary is Losing Touch with Nature

Forrest Fenn wants to get kids off the couch and out of doors.  What does this news say about our culture when “selfie stick” & “hashtag” replace words like “acorn” and “otter”?                    : (

Sharing this post from Lady Muir:

I was shocked to read the list of nature words removed from the Jr. Oxford Dictionary in the last decade. What follows are excerpts from an essay that explores the intersection between language and life.

via Let Nature Words Live — LadyMuir


I love a good meteor shower.  And I once stayed up with the kids to watch the Russian Mir fly over.  Pretty cool.  I missed Friday night’s sky show here, but it put me in mind of a story which circles around to broken potsherds.  Well, I guess all sherds are from broken pots, and Forrest has a slew of them in his backyard and at San Lazaro.

According to Alan Eckert in The Frontiersman, the night Tecumseh was born, March 9, 1768, a brilliant meteor flashed across the sky.   This shooting star was, according to the old tales, The Panther, a great spirit passing over seeking a home in the south and it was a good sign.  The Shawnee newborn was, therefore, named Tecumseh,  The-Panther-Passing-Across.

English: Possibly a painting of Tecumseh, the ...

English: Possibly a painting of Tecumseh, the Shawnee Indian who tried to unite all Native Americans to defend themselves from the growing Unites States of America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia 


Tecumseh’s brother was called the Prophet, but according to the author, Tecumseh himself foretold the coming New Madrid earthquake several years before the event.  In addition, another great meteor blazing across the sky  would be a sign for the tribes to begin the countdown to the earthquake, which was itself the sign for them to gather as one to defend their land against the Americans.

Tecumseh had given each tribe a slab of red cedar with symbols on it and a bundle of red sticks.   Each month they were to toss one stick away.  When there was one stick left, they were to watch for the sign.

Just before midnight on November 16, 1811, the flash of light came out of the southwest and crossed to the northeast.   The chiefs were to cut the last stick into thirty pieces when they saw the meteor.

At 2:30 am on December 16, 1811, the earth shook, from the south of Canada where the Great Lakes sloshed,  to the western plains where bison stampeded and earthen vessels shattered.  And those tribes that kept their pledge headed for Detroit.

An observer in Louisville recorded 1,874 separate quakes between December and March.  The diary of George Crist is compelling reading:

16 December 1811 —“It was still dark and you could not see nothng.  I thought the shaking and the loud roaring would never stop…..I don’t know how we lived through it….”

23 January  1811 —“What are we gonna do?  You cannot fight it cause you do not know how….We lost our Amandy Jane in this one…. A lot of people think the devil has come here…..”

8 February 1812  —  “If we do not get away from here the ground is going to eat us alive….”

20 March 1812  —  “We still have not found enough animals to pull the wagons and you can not find any to buy or trade.”

14 April 1813  —  “We lived to make it to Pigeon Roost…..From December to April no man…would dare to believe what we lived through.”

Another great eyewitness account was written in March 1816 and published in 1849:  Lorenzo Dow’s Journal.

Can you say, “Teremoto“?

But, back to the pottery.  I’ve been digging deep in the chapter of Too Far To Walk, the one where Charmay and Forrest are doing archaeology at San Lazaro.   Not to put too fine a point on it, I was going to email Forrest about another rabbit trail I was on.

Now, I’ve always been a bit cryptic about my ideas, even when emailing him.  Not that I didn’t trust him.   I do.    I just figured  some 12-year-old whiz kids could tap into people’s communications, if they so chose.  Have I been cryptic enough?   Too cryptic.  Hmmm.



You read all this way and it’s a dead end.  No clues for you.

No.  Really.  Sorry.

Fade to music:  Gordon Lightfoot singing “If You Could Read My Mind, Love, What A Tale My Thoughts Would Tell…..”

From Forrest Fenn’s Collection See more at Old Santa Fe Trading Co dot com

Or, Kermit, the Frog, singing “The Rainbow Connection”

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Gators in the Gallery

(Okay.  This is not about Forrest Fenn‘s book tour, but certain things just remind me of his backyard “pets”!)

Now showing—

Gator Jowls

Gator Jowls

Artist, photographer, poet, naturalist Susan Van Wassenhove illustrated her book of poetry by making 19 finely-detailed quilts. The book The Seldom-Ever-Shady Glades was inspired by her sojourn in Florida and is published by Boyds Mills Press.

Her next collection, poems and photos of butterflies….

The traveling quilts can be seen here:

The Quilts back-1

English: Eureka College, Eureka, Illinois

English: Eureka College, Eureka, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Alma mater of—

Ronald Reagan on the Eureka College Football T...

Ronald Reagan on the Eureka College Football Team 1929 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Blackberry Moon

Tiny thing

Tiny thing

Yes.  Another frog.  This little guy posed for me this morning while I was gathering wild blackberries.

(Courtesy note:  no new Forrest Fenn/Thrill of the Chase Treasure Hunt clues in here.  Just frogs and flutterbys….)

By the time I put the last batch through the juicer to take out the seeds on Tuesday, I ended up with only 9 half-pints of jam.  Not enough for Christmas gifting and a year’s supply for us.  Not a problem.  There are plenty more out there.

Blackberry thorns are meaner than the wild raspberry’s, which ripen in June.  So, I armored up, grabbed water, my phone, and my camera.  Ready or not, I still missed a shot of the deer and fawn getting a drink.  And darn it—the butterflies just won’t sit still for me.

I’ve seen several black and blue swallowtails, very large yellow butterflys, small ones, a tiny blue one, but only 3 monarchs fluttered by this year.

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly.

English: Photograph of a Monarch Butterfly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The monarchs are in some distress.



I’ve got plenty of milkweed plants for them (want some seeds?), but I heard they’re not making it past the Texas drought area.  There are several generations per summer.  The final generation flies all the way back to Mexico to winter in a particular area.

The bigger disaster for their population was 2 winters ago.  I remember hearing that a  hailstorm hit their winter haven and decimated the flock.Crop Duster

Another issue is the ubiquitous use of pesticides which don’t discriminate between life forms based on desirability.  Don’t you wonder what they’re spraying up there?  Fungicides, pesticides, herbicides, peoplecides.  And why, if the biotech transgenetics are so wonderful?

US distribution of Japanese Beetle, (This map ...

US distribution of Japanese Beetle, (This map is not entirely accurate. Infestation is established much farther west at least to the Oklahoma line.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About the berries.  I don’t pick along the fencelines where the neighbors are raising corn and soybeans.  So, yes.  There are occasional bugs in the bucket.  But, I’d rather remove them myself than pollute my food.

Still.  I’m really not happy with the voracious Japanese beetles who moved into the neighborhood 3 summers ago.  First it was the grapevines.  Then the rosebush.  This year the orchard.  The bright side?  The chickens come running when I shake them out of the trees.

Japanese beetle foraging on  grapevine

Japanese beetles foraging on grapevine

Chasing Idaho

The Fisherman

The Fisherman


Not a long post.  Just wanted to mention the 2 new pages on this site:  Flywater, filed under The Book, and Idaho, filed under The Diagrams.    (A great and future destination.)IMG_0028

Okay.  I have mixed feelings about crossing Idaho off my top three TTOTC list, but that’s okay.

Raspberry Trove

Raspberry Trove

There’s so much to be done.

Count all the bees in the hive.

Pick another batch of berries.


Pit the cherries.IMG_0091

Meadowlarks and “Flutterbys”

Western Meadowlark

The most beautiful birdsong is that of the meadowlark. I miss them. I’m a hundred plus miles distant from where I grew up. Even twenty-five miles away from the farm, and twenty years later, the song was not the same. It was truncated, not as sweet somehow.

I can’t imagine they’d make very good eating, but I won’t judge what hunger necessitates. (See the TTOTC book and One of These Things is Not Like the Other.)

Lewis and Clark, other early explorers, traders, and the emigrants that followed, even contemporary travelers, have found themselves in dire straights in cold mountains and hot deserts.

This image was selected as a picture of the we...

This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 1st week, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know a woman who didn’t learn until she was nearing fifty that her father had spent a year in Stateville for stealing a chicken. Four kids to feed. Had lost a farm and home due to fire before the Depression hit. Even so.

She remembers at four or five overhearing adults discussing an eviction. One of them saying, “Well, I can’t kick them out in the cold.”

Purple Prairie Coneflower

Purple Prairie Coneflower

Summer always returns. Here we have Indigo buntings, hummingbirds, cardinals and vultures. Prairie flowers and butterflies galore. (At least, until the chemicals and transgenics get them.)

I’ve never known hunger. Not like that. And I hope our children never do. It’s so much nicer when they can enjoy and observe the “flutterbys”.



The morels and asparagas already gone, I wandered a washed field on Mother’s Day afternoon and found a trove of arrowheads, mostly pieces.  Like gold and fish, they are where you find them.  I think luck plays a part, but also some logic and imagination.  To find Forrest Fenn’s The Thrill of the Chase treasure, it will take all of the above.  And research.  He says the lucky finder will be able to walk right to it, deliberately.

And so, we seekers continue our research and refine our plans.  A simple Venn diagram (see Wikipedia) is a series of overlapping circles yielding useful data.  A Fenn diagram is going to look more like a flow chart


Flowchart (Photo credit: BWJones)

branching off each time a clue has more than one solution.  There are so many diagrams because no one knows where to begin.  Well, we might think we do.

I thought at first it would be a simple fill-in-the-blank game.  Decide where the warm waters halt, where to put in, and what the blaze is.  Okay.  But ‘halt’ has many meanings, likewise ‘warm waters’, even ‘warm’.  And then you start to wonder, what does ‘it’ even mean!

A couple weeks ago, I came up with an utterly unique answer for “where warm waters halt”.  This week, I even found a butterfly connection.TTOTC book jacket

So, maybe the Chase isn’t keeping me away from the internet, but it has gotten me into the library, especially the  history section.  Here’s to all your discoveries made along the way.  Enjoy.