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Reading Nature’s Signs

George Adamson, the African lion whisperer of Born Free fame, once said,

“I’ve not taken a morning paper for 40 years. The news I need is printed on the ground.”

Photo by Robert G. Price, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service via Wikimedia Commons.

Considering the increasing noise of our nation’s news sources these days, I can relate to Adamson’s approach.

Nature’s news is something I can relate to …

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Marvelous Monarchs

We know pollinators are precious.

And we know that, among pollinators, monarchs are particularly marvelous.

Not only are their delicate wings dressed in a daring, dashing fashion reminiscent of tiny sky tigers, they use those fierce little wings to migrate hundreds of miles each year.

Like I said, marvelous.

Photo by Jiuguang Wang via Flickr

“But have you ever seen what exactly millions of monarchs in Mexico looks like?” asks Treehugger’s Melissa Breyer.

Admittedly, few of us have actually witnessed this famous phenomenon. So, to bring the monarch’s marvelousness into focus, up close and personal, filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg created a short film for all of us to, well, marvel at.

“I’ve seen photos; they’re lovely. But this short film, ‘Wings of Life,’ offers a glimpse into this phenomenon that is nothing short of magic,” Breyer shares. “[Monarchs] fill the sky like paper in a tickertape parade; clouds of confetti, orange and fluttering. They sleep on the branches of oyamel trees, sometimes in numbers so dense that they break the branches. And to see them all together, as shown in the film, is a thing of unforgettable beauty!”

See for yourself, and feel your heart take wing …

P.S. If you’re a Midwest farmgirl, you may be able to help monarch butterflies on your property.

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Driving Miss Norma

We’ve talked in the past about passing—dying, and doing it your way.

But what about those precious months, weeks, days … moments … leading up to the big event?

If you could suddenly hear the ticking of your life clock, what would you do with the time remaining?

Many people, right or wrong, throw themselves desperately at the feet of the medical profession, hoping beyond hope for a cure. They are willing to suffer through brutal treatments to try and extend life, often trading quality for a shot at quantity.

But not Norma Bauerschmidt.

Photo courtesy of Driving Miss Norma on Facebook

Last fall, two days after her beloved husband Leo’s death, 90-year-old Norma received the news that she had uterine cancer. Surgery, radiation, and aggressive chemotherapy were options, but she didn’t even pause to consider them.

“A tiny woman at 101 pounds and under five-feet tall, an exhausted Norma looked the young doctor dead in the eye and with the strongest voice she could muster, said, ‘I’m 90 years old, I’m hitting the road,’” recalls her daughter-in-law, Ramie.

And, by golly, Norma meant it.

Photo courtesy of Driving Miss Norma on Facebook

Norma’s son Tim knew that his mom couldn’t—or, rather, wouldn’t—sit still, living out her days in the quiet of a home she had shared with Leo for most of her life.

But what did that mean, exactly?

“Having recently read Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (please put this on your reading list), our best idea was to take her on the road with us. Norma currently is not in pain, her mind is sharp, she loves to travel, and she is remarkably easy to be around,” Ramie shares on the Driving Miss Norma Facebook page, where you can keep up with Norma’s adventures.

Photo courtesy of Driving Miss Norma on Facebook

Photo courtesy of Driving Miss Norma on Facebook

So, together, the family “hit the road” in an RV for the journey of a lifetime.

Ocean in a Bottle

For all of you landlocked ladies who feverishly need an ocean fix …

Photo by Skeeze via Pixabay

I have one word … well, it’s an acronym, really:

D.I.Y.

That’s right—a do-it-yourself ocean.

This cool concept puts a lusciously liquid spin on the dusty ol’ bottled-ship idea.

We’re talking real water here,

BLUE water.

Whether you call it your captive Caribbean, personal Pacific, or mini Mediterranean, you’ll love this simple craft from Rose Matthews of Dream Gem.

“This miniature bottle charm creates an ocean in a bottle just by using oil and water. When you turn the bottle side to side, the oil and water create the effect of a wave,” Rose explains.

Here’s her video tutorial:

I love it that you can actually wear a bottled-ocean charm, carrying a smidgen of sea with you wherever you go. Bigger bottles, by the way, look beautiful illuminated against a sunny window.

Rose offers another watery craft on her Dream Gem You Tube channel that you might want to add to your coastal collection. Take a look at this marvelously mesmerizing jellyfish in a jar: