Monday, May 31, 2021

Motherhood Eve

On this day in Munich, 30 years ago, I recall wondering out loud to my husband which day in June our firstborn would arrive, as we climbed into bed. Little did I know, it would be my last day of not being a parent! I had a due date of June 3rd, but had been told to take things easy for quite some time since I'd apparently begun dilating a little too early. (I remember the feeling of a wind blowing right up inside me, I was so 'open' to the world.) My obstetrician, Dr Jutta Sadlik, was overly cautious (she WAS German), but in Germany ... you MUST follow the rules! Though she wrote a prescription for me to attend pre-natal exercise classes, she expressly dictated that I was not to participate in the pelvic opening exercises during class. I stopped going once I found that there was very little I was allowed to do - the instructor kept telling me not to do this one, then that one, and the next, and the next.

On the afternoon of Friday, May 31, I had taken a bus to the grocery store at the end of the day with the intention of Dale meeting me there after work. He had to help carry the shopping bags and lift them onto the bus since I had been instructed not to lift heavy things (even the basket of wet laundry was 'verboten' territory for me). He'd arrived a little late, and by the time he got there, I'd had to pick up the bags myself and carry them out onto the sidewalk since the store was closing. I waited for him on the sidewalk next to my bags - he'd been delayed due to a colleague's birthday celebration at the end of the work day.

When he met up with me, we boarded the bus together and headed 'home' to his boss' apartment, where we'd been living since our arrival in Germany. We ate 'frikkadels' (a meat patty not unlike a burger, though eaten without a bun) bought that afternoon at the grocery store for dinner. (I'm often teased at how often my detailed memories are tied to food and mealtimes!). As we headed to bed, we were unaware that the next chapter in our lives was imminent, and about to unfold.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Bunches of Beauty


Bunchberry! I love the way the leaves frame the white petals like a background rosette. They're one of my favorite native plants, especially when they carpet the woods in large numbers.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Pink Anthers!

Happy birthday to a long-standing botanist friend! This one's for you.

What a delight it was to see this beautiful shrub in bloom at the water's edge. It's a black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), a pollinator magnet. The berries that appear in fall are apparently edible, but astringent enough to make one want to ... choke, hence the common name.

I read that this is a good 'insectary' plant - a simple, self explanatory word, but also surprisingly, a new word for me. Is there also such a thing as a bugary (buggery 😃), I wonder?

Friday, May 28, 2021

Ode to a Lady's Slipper

Demure and bashful,
Peculiarly beautiful
In the shade of pines

Why do we call it
Lady's Slipper? It's scrotal ...

I'm not fixated
On wrinkled, pink testicles:
What do YOU see here?


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Hummingbird Memory


A hummingbird visited my yard on May 16, looking intently at my trumpet honeysuckle, whose blooms had not yet opened 'for business.' He hovered and flew around, inspecting the entire vine for possibilities. I can only think that this individual remembered visiting and being rewarded here last year - isn't that incredible and amazing?

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Monday, May 24, 2021

American Toads

Trilling, (horny) toads
Serenading for a mate
In dusky days' end.

We sit together
On the deck, both listening
Side by side - old mates.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Coiled Cone


The coils of this fresh-leaved skunk cabbage are exquisite - I thought of the swirls of a soft-serve ice cream.

It had grown this way through an opening in a decaying leaf, which was strong enough to prevent it from opening out fully (I intervened - naughty me - now I'm worrying that I destroyed a very special, nurturing habitat ...).

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Green V's

Verdant, vivid, vibrant greens:
Viridescent light

Friday, May 21, 2021

Nature's Phalluses!

I guess I have a one-track mind ... does anyone else see what I mean by phalluses? (or are they falacies?)

All I can think of is a byline for Trojan ... ribbed for her pleasure!

Now don't get me started on the scrotal lady's slippers ...

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Spots I Love

This assortment of spots are not geographical locations, nor skin irritations, but rather lichen spots, forming different blotch patterns on the tree bark. Some cover the entire trunk, while others are more sparse. 

They're an intriguing life form - a combination of a fungus and an algae that live symbiotically on trees (they don't penetrate the bark, or kill the tree. They just use the surface to gain purchase) or rocks.

They're all pretty colorful and have different shaped edges, like moles on our skins! 


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Canadian Beauty

The Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense) is such an overlooked little beauty. It carpets the forest floor with fresh green undergrowth, making the woods seem alive early in spring. And then it produces an awesomely delicate bloom, like mini fireworks and stars. This one hasn't opened yet, but is bursting with potential. 

I always feel saddened when development and industry obliterates these fields of green life for a 'more humanly useful' landscape. Heavy machinery and vehicles crush and damage them, and all the other woodlands' hidden beauties.

For some strange reason, I've become fascinated by the shadows flowers make on their leaves ... 

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Caught Out!


Oh, dear! ... I've obviously been feeling too carefree and casual these days, too relaxed and normal! I drove to the Post Office to drop off a package for mailing, but when I arrived, I realized I hadn't picked up my mask from my front door next to my purse. Now what? It clearly stated on the door that face coverings were required. The package was taped, labeled and paid for online. All I needed to do, without any real interaction, was place it on the counter for mailing and leave.

I rummaged about, and searched through every compartment and cup holder in the hopes that I'd left a surgical mask in the car after a doctor's visit, to no avail. I KNOW there are at least FIVE in our other car! Should I drive back home to fetch it? This thought kept running through my mind. I inspected my reusable shopping bags in the back of the car with a fine toothcomb, finding the smallest cloth one and actually experimented putting it on my face (like a horse hay bag) with the handles over my ears (you can disown any connection to me if you wish 😀)!

Nope. I wasn't prepared to go through with that. Also, it hung too low off my face, so it wasn't really effective. Aha! My blouse ... I very handily was wearing a small cowl necked shirt ... I was going to risk it, I thought. Be a little edgy. I tucked my chin downwards, pulled the loose fold upwards onto my nose, and placed my sunglasses over the top edge to hold it on. With my shoulders hunched to be sure I didn't extend my neck too much, and waiting till there were no customers about, I huddled into the office, dropped the package on the counter, declaring loudly I was dropping off a package, and left hurriedly, without waiting for the clerk to come to the desk. 

Phew! That felt like a bit of a scrape, but once home, I wasn't able to stop laughing at the thought of my attempts to get around my negligence. And it provided me with a great escapade to write about.

Sunday, May 16, 2021


Catkins, like larvae, 
Mimicking caterpillars
Dangling from branches ...


Saturday, May 15, 2021

This is the Life

Perspectives from a hammock - the bugs (blackflies) and I, enjoying the view:

And, the blackflies' perspectives of a hammock: BAIT

Friday, May 14, 2021

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves

The soft delicate hairs on freshly emerged beech leaves (Fagus grandifolia) remind me of the waxy vernix that humans are born with ... well, similar concept, I guess. The furry-looking covering looks so soft, and ... touchable! No wonder the species name is grandifolia - meaning large leaf in Latin, but I prefer my take: grandiose foliage.

And then, there are these delightfully wrinkled convolutions on the beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) leaves, that have a little brown streaking on them. I've identified a little grove of these shrubby plants in an opening in my woods, and now that I know what they are, I'm seeing them everywhere.

The fresh green leaves shine luminously like chartreuse gems amidst the drab browns of sticks, branches and last year's decaying leaves on the forest floor in the spring sun, bright and vivid with life.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Debbie Shops Again ...


Oh dear! Am I becoming a shopaholic? I came home from yet another visit to the grocery store, feeling giddy and bubbling over with stories to share! Is this the new highlight of my life? A COVID side-effect? Collateral damage from quarantining?

Hannaford has been refurbishing the interior look of their stores over the past year, and changing things around (making it very confusing). The bakery section looks quite welcoming - this is the Standish store, where I used a $10 off coupon I got in the mail, to encourage people to come in and see the new layout and décor. It worked!

I felt so relaxed and confident about buying and handling groceries, that I EVEN brought my own shopping bags that I allowed other people to touch! It felt so good to get back into the swing of what had been my normal, and to go back to using net and string bags instead of plastic for my produce.

The flower display was quite lovely:

I was impressed to see an employee going back and forth through each aisle with sanitizer and cloth, systematically wiping down any handles and surfaces that customers would handle or touch. The elderly gentleman whose sole task it was to keep the store sanitized, made the best of his time in each aisle by having playful interactions with each and every customer. He was friendly and delightfully cheerful each time I encountered him in a different aisle.

And then when I got home, there was no sanitizing procedure to be done either. That's behind me now, thank goodness.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Natives Rule!


What an exquisite leaf arrangement and coloration! It doesn't get more gorgeous than this - Swida alternifolia, the pagoda dogwood (or more boringly, the alternate-leaved dogwood), another native I discovered as an understory shrub in my woods some time ago. The green color is stunning, the reddish-brown contrast superb, the form beautiful and the leaf tiers elegant. And this is even without the flowers!


Don Stokes, of Stokes Field Guides, ranks dogwoods as “fifth among all woody plants in North America for their food value to wildlife” in The Natural History of Wild Shrubs and Vines, so plant some!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Sensitive Sunset

The last of the day's light catching the fronds of sensitive fern, in my paradise

Onoclea sensibilis


Monday, May 10, 2021


Low to the ground and tiny, this little beauty can easily be passed over. But when it covers the forest floor in a mass of green and white fragility, it's eye-catching. I have some growing naturally on a bank beside my cove - they're wood anemones or also called windflowers. Their white blooms bob playfully  in gentle breezes, making it seem as if the forest floor is moving. Quite amazing.

Anemone quinquefolia

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Fun in the Bog!

The Saco Heath Preserve is one of my favorite spots to visit. It was closed during COVID-19 since there is no way to really step aside and keep 6 feet away from other people. If you step off the boardwalk, you're in the bog!

The paucity of trees (pines and tamaracks dot the landscape) gives blueberries, rhodora, sheep laurel and leatherleaf a chance to thrive in huge quantities in the wet, acidic bog.

It almost looks barren where there are no trees!

The mosses are plentiful, exquisite and radiant in the sun.

Resting spots are available in a few places, even though this walk is not at all strenuous or long. Nevertheless, the boardwalk meister had to test out the seating:

If you want to visit, here's the info:

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Mise en Place

Mise en place for another custom pizza, chez Arrowhead

Black olives, mushrooms, bacon, broccoli, chicken breast, sharp cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan and wine

Friday, May 7, 2021

Learning New Plants ...

Whilst enjoying the raindrops on my honeysuckle, I noticed these small, white flowers on a shrub near my elbow for the first time. Most of the time it just looks like a twiggy, nondescript and unidentifiable bush to me.

But when I saw these opened flowers, the name Amelanchier came to me. I looked it up in my 'go to' book of native northeastern shrubs, and yes, it appeared to be a serviceberry (also called shadbush), a good food source for wildlife.

Somehow, my brain had subconsciously absorbed the name and gist of this plant whilst paging through the volume. I had not identified it previously. The tools we have in our minds, and our capacity for learning new things, is amazing to me! And, I've just discovered, I'm still not too old to learn!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Raindrops (not on Roses)

This is our native honeysuckle, Lonicera canadensis, after a spring shower. The petals look so papery and fragile.

 These are the bold, paired fruits they turn into

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Trillium erectum

Stinking Benjamin,

Wake-robin, red trillium -

Which name would you choose?

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Gorgeous Greens

The greening and unfurling of tall meadow rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum) is a spectacular sight. It starts like this ... part rose, part artichoke!


... and then looks like this for a while

... to eventually become a tall, nodding, fern-like plant, beautiful in all its greenness, with sprays of white flowers. What an amazing transformation it is!