Being weak showed me what being strong really is.

Photo by Zach Reiner on Unsplash

Marilyn Flower posted a recent article in which she asked readers to respond to this question: Freedom, Independent, Inter-dependent, Limited, or Trapped — Which are You?

Thinking about it, I knew, like Marilyn, my instinct was always to be independent. If I need nothing from anyone, I can’t be disappointed. At least, that had been my modus operandi for most of my life.

Life didn’t get better from there. My mother was unpredictable, and so was my entire life. …

Naturalist. Humanist. Teller of tales. Autodidact. Lover of people, plants, places, and ideas.

Image by M.C. Lloyd. My dad, me, one of my brothers. Alaska, 1958

When I was a child, I listened to the words of Big Wicked Bill and cried for the dog.

Now my heart knows why Stuart Hamblen sang, “Sometimes in the hush of an evening when the winds have grown tired and are stilled, By the fire, I sit dozing and dreaming letting memory bring back what she will…

Trying to write about myself, back through time, my mind wanders; I smell high-bush cranberries ripening in Alaska autumn, creosote bushes after a summer cloudburst, my horse loping through the Arizona desert. The silken feel of a newborn baby nursing at my…

Nine tested crops that will definitely expand your hot weather menu.

Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

It seems oddly unfair somehow. It’s July, day after day, the temperature stays over one hundred degrees and the nights are seventy-five and humid.

All I want from my garden is crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes, and yes, maybe a watermelon.

I’m talking HOT weather.

Not midwest hot and humid with nights in the mere sixties and days in the eighties. This is Texas hot, Arizona hot.

And no, we can’t grow lettuce outside in the summertime. Now, December, yes. Primetime for greens is in the winter for us down here in the Sunbelt.

I spend a lot of time talking to new gardeners, and…

Childhood monsters of loss, sadness, and pain might hide under the bed.

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

I never expected it to be this hard. Possibly, writing a memoir while feeling lonely during the forced isolation of a pandemic is not the wisest choice I’ve ever made. Or, just maybe, it’s given me the time to dig deeper than I might otherwise have done.

“In some ways, writing a memoir is knocking yourself out with your own fist, if it’s done right,” Karr writes in The Art of Memoir.

I was born in July 1953. In August, Alfred Kinsey released his book Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. …

5 simple techniques to create a reader persona or avatar.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Have you ever published something and gotten a resounding echo in response? Nobody read your article, the editor rejected your book, or you sold one lonely e-book?

What went wrong? You thought your writing was interesting, structured properly, and your grammar was correct. I’ve had this happen, and it sucks!

The answer, “Because I think it’s good,” or “Because I think it’s funny, interesting, or educational,” won’t work.

Next question. “How do I discover what my reader cares about?”

Most of my writing is for business blogs and websites. I must know what my reader is interested in. …

Why I went back to my roots—even if they’re gray.

Photo by Maksim Chernishev on Unsplash

My older sister came to visit; I still remember the day. It was a hot Texas afternoon, and we were sipping sweet tea in the shade.

She held up her arm and poked her formerly trim tricep. “Look at this. I’m getting old lady arms like mom had! Where did all this flab come from? I haven’t gained any weight.”

Indeed, there was a noticeable amount of oddly swollen tissue, neither quite muscle nor fat. “Let me see your other arm,” I said. It looked normal.

“Something’s wrong. It looks like edema to me. …

Cheap, delicious, nutritious. What more can you want?

Image by PurpleOwl from Pixabay

I missed out on eating this amazing vegetable for most of my life. Now, I’m making up for it. My school cafeteria served them once—a straight from the gallon can, pea green, sloppy mess with a sheen of unappealing ham grease floating on top. Yuck!

Collards, Collard Greens, Collards Greens.

Or just yummy. It doesn’t matter what you call them, but they’re easy to grow and simple to cook.

Collards are a member of the brassica family. That huge group of plants contains cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and more.

All the brassicas prefer cool weather and rich soil. A temperate climate with daytime…

And we will be nicer to others, too.

Image by my best in collections — see and press 👍🔖 from Pixabay

This week Marilyn’s prompt is to write about. How do you treat yourself? And How do you give yourself treats? Great questions, as always.

Treat can mean something yummy that I splurge on, like some Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Or it can ask how do I care for myself?

Over the last few years, I’ve had several conversations with friends, always women, in which they speak terribly about themselves. They say things like I’m dumb— I’ll never be able to figure that out, or My fat legs. …

My happy list includes books, bubbles, and good coffee.

Image by GimpWorkshop from Pixabay

Serendipity is the good luck of making amazing discoveries by accident. How cool is that?

Serendipity frequently brings me just the right book at just the right time. Or possibly, when I have been thinking about a subject like happiness or how to live strong, fit, and sexy—until I’m 80 and even older, my vision is set up to notice the books? Either way, it’s reliably happened to me throughout my life.

This week, I realized I’d been spending a lot of time thinking of heavy, even dark topics—cruelty to animals and the despair of climate change, for instance. …

A bumper crop of Armyworms this year.

Image credit Casey Reynolds, Ph.D. Texas A & M

All across Central Texas, I’ve been reading this question on social media,

Help! Thousands, maybe millions, of caterpillars or small worms are covering my yard. Caterpillars are covering my lawn, consuming my vegetables. Will they eat everything?

And they’re heading north.

Yes, it’s a great year for caterpillars.

Armyworms belong to the insect order Lepidoptera and are the larval stage of a common moth. Species here in Texas include the fall armyworm, the yellow-striped armyworm, the beet armyworm, and the true armyworm.

No doubt, after seeing the quantities of caterpillars this year, you know where the name armyworm came from. …

Nature and learning inspire me. People and writing make me happy. Follow me at:

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