life

on punctuation and butterflies

    I saw my first butterfly of the year on March 20 – the first day of spring. It was a Comma butterfly. Named for a comma-shaped marking on its underwing, This butterfly is similar to it’s cousin, the Question Mark and, like you may guess, sports a mark shaped like a question mark on its underwing. They are collectively sometimes referred to as punctuation butterflies for this reason.   Most people think of butterflies as sweetly sipping nectar delicately from beautiful flowers. This particular species prefers tree sap, rotting fruit and even dung! It overwinters in bark or …

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when it snows in April

Sigh. Winter is reluctant to depart this year. There is nothing we can do. All we really want is a gentle day with sunshine and soft breezes and singing birds. We can feel it in the sun as it shines through our window, but the shadows remain cold and devoid of life. I’m starved for color and scents and sounds and can’t wait for those first brilliant green busting leaf buds, those vibrant pink blooms and the sweet scent of violets and cherries blossoms. And though the birds have been singing for many weeks, I long for their dawn chorus …

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Hello, Cassie

The dawn of personal computers in the 1980s brought on wonderful challenges for me. I got started with creating a custom database for tracking schedules and statistics. I had no idea what I was doing, but I read the effing manual and figured it out. Was it perfect? No. But did it make my job easier? Yes! Macintosh computers were introduced in 1984. For me it was love at first sight. I’ve been self-teaching ever since! When I’m working on a website or a new CMS, I often type in a greeting to my cat: “Hello, Cassie.” This helps me …

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weeding by species

I am a gardener. I am also a hoarder of sorts. Not the flat cats under 15 years of newspaper kind of hoarder, but the kind that likes to see the usefulness of things with a tendency to hang onto them for too long. This is why I weed by species. My garden is a collection of primarily native plants. It plays right into my love of nature: birds, trees, bugs, flowers. I gather seeds. I collect them even. I have some invasive plants that overwhelm me with their presence, so I choose a species and work on weeding that …

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healing gold

Herbs and their medicinal uses are fascinating to me. Many herbs I’ve grown from seed, others have been wild-crafted from my neighborhood haunts and my own back yard. I make an insect repellent using ordinary catnip and alcohol. It’s very effective — especially against those little no-see-ums that seem to love me and it’s a perfect cooling spray on a hot summer evening. I also make salves with herbs from my garden. Calendula salve is a favorite. These golden sticky blooms are infused in olive oil for several weeks, then heated gently with local beeswax to make a soothing salve. …

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