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

Up My Creek

IMG_20140926_095709_595Play day.

A week and a half late but a perfect day for it.

(Inre:  Warm waters/Putting In— I made a less than graceful re-entry after the picnic lunch.  I need more practice.)

Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Purple Cone...Monarch Butterfly Danaus plexippus Purple Coneflower 3008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monarchs everywhere lately!

IMG_0018Once the harvest is over, I may have more time for the Chase.


nursery rhymes5





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)

Related articles

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.