Posted in For Readers, For Writers

Green Mind Seeing

1483549199570I’m doing something a bit different over on Wattpad; in addition to occasionally posting short fiction there, I’ve also begun a sort of nature journal, Green Mind Seeing. Short pieces with observations and thoughts on the natural world. Some pieces are fanciful, some natural history, some gardening. If you, too, enjoy green things, give it a look. This week I delved into my archive for “Orchid Reverie”, which provided the inspirations (after sitting in my mind for many years) for the “Cha Buddhism” mentioned in my most recent book, If Wishes Were Spaceships, and explored in more depth in the sequel I’m currently working on. If that’s a bit too mystical for you, last week I wrote about radishes. 🙂 If you’re only interested in sci-fi and fantasy, never fear, I’ll be posting more of that in the coming weeks as well. Unlike last year, I haven’t set a schedule to release material there. My writing schedule is taking some hits this year; sometimes real life has to take precedence over imaginary worlds. I’m still writing, mostly working on books, but I’ll be doing a bit of shorter stuff, both fiction and non-fiction, for immediate consumption. I’ve got three pieces currently in Green Mind Seeing, and will be adding more to that ongoing work, as well as adding new short fiction to Wattpad. The best way to keep up is to follow me on Wattpad.

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Things to Make & Do: Pinecone Birdfeeders

Pinecone feeder, hanging in pine tree
Pinecone feeder, hanging in pine tree

Saturday I made pinecone birdfeeders. This is a nice quick winter project. I got the idea from the Houston Arboretum at their Arbor Day celebration. It’s really easy and fun. An excellent “things to make and do” project for kids, but not just for kids! It’s fast, easy, requires almost no prep before getting started, cheap, satisfying, pleasantly messy but not too messy. In fact, if you do this outside, the birds can clean up after you! All you need are: peanut butter (natural or not, just don’t get any with artificial sweeteners like Xylitol — or any other “*-tols*; it’ll kill your dog so I can’t think it’d be good for birds, either), a small bag of bird seed, and pinecones (my neighbor’s pine drops huge ones which I scavenged from the sidewalk while walking the dogs. Me juggling pinecones and dog leashes; it was crazy.)

Making pinecone birdfeeders
Making pinecone birdfeeders

I made them on the counter, on a long sheet of paper and some seeds did skitter off the paper. Pouring a small amount of seeds in a bowl would be a better way of doing it. (Doing it outside, spillage doesn’t matter.) Also, dip out the peanut butter and put it on waxed paper or in a bowl so you don’t keep dipping into the jar, risking contamination between pinecones, seeds, and your food.

Smear the pinecones with peanut butter. I used a knife, painting the nooks and crannies of the pinecone with peanut butter. You don’t need it to be thick; you just need it to stick. It’s a nutritious glue for the seed coating. Roll the pinecone in seeds, use the knife to work it in a bit, tie a string around it, hang it in a tree.

Squirrel follies. Hours of acrobatic entertainment!
Squirrel follies. Hours of acrobatic entertainment!

You’ll want to put it as high as you can reach otherwise you’ll just be luring birds down to dog-and-cat level. I had to raise the one I put in the backyard because the foster dog was leaping at it and almost got it!

I made two. One I put in the tree-shaded, squirrel infested, backyard where the bushy-tailed tree rodents went absolutely crazy over it. The other I put in the front yard where the birds have been pecking away at it, unmolested by squirrels.

 

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Rain: One Good Thing…

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Rain lily after the storms.

I suppose you’ve heard that parts of Houston (and the greater Houston area) flooded. The pics and video are spectacular (though no more jaw-dropping than pics of other flooded areas). We aren’t among those flooded out. Though the yard is sopping wet, nothing is under water. But the one really, truly, bright spot about all the rain are the rain lilies!