Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

An old-fashioned necklace
April 27, 2015

After my mother passed away last fall, we found in her possessions an old-fashioned  “necklace” that I recall from my childhood. In our extended family it was a children’s toy rather than a something an adult would wear. Here are two views of it because the background contrast shows the color of the beads in a bit of a different way.

2015-03-24 17.41.38 RE


DSCN5316 RE 2

And above is a closer view, to give a clearer idea of the shape of the beads.

I had to do some research to learn what this necklace is made of. It consists of the seeds of Job’s Tears, also known as coixseed or tear grass. The scientific name is  Coix lacryma-jobi. This grass is a tall, grain-bearing tropical plant that can be grown in United States. It produces a pearly-white seed with a hole through the middle and a shiny coating, so the seed serves as a natural “bead”  readily suited for being made into necklaces and other objects. Sources say that Job’s Tear seeds were used by for decorations as long ago as 2,000 B.C.

You can learn more about Job’s Tears from the internet or other sources.

Have any of my blog readers seen this item before? Do you remember it from your family or your childhood? I would be glad to hear your stories.


A Fall Wildflower
October 4, 2012

Calling all amateur naturalists!

This fall I am seeing a wildflower in abundance here in PA – one I don’t recall paying attention to before. It consists of clusters of tiny white flowers that are little tufts, with hardly any petals. Check it out.



Identifying it in the wildflower guide is not easy because there are so many similar plants. From what I find, this seems to be a Late-flowering thoroughwort, in the Composite or Daisy family.

Do any of you see this plant where you live? Do you give it the same name I have given? Or do you have a different designation? Either way, I would be glad to hear from you.

Birds in Florida
February 6, 2011

We have had sunshine most of the week, with some clouds a few days. Temperatures from 70 to 80 degrees. To all my friends in cold and snowy PA, I wish you were here!

I went birding on several days, at Fort De Soto Park, Lake Seminole Park, the beach behind our condo, and any pond anywhere that looked interesting.

How many robins are too many?
April 2, 2010

The robins are active, singing early in the morning before the sun comes up, and carrying nesting material to their nesting spots.

Roger Tory Peteson described the American robin as “the one bird that everyone knows.”

Every year the Cornell Lab of Ornithology sponsors the Great Backyard Bird count, a weekend for any interested person to record all the individual birds he sees and send in a report to Cornell. This year the Count was on February 12-15.

As of the most recent report that I saw, the most-reported bird across Us and Canada was the Northern cardinal.

Back to the robin. Saint Petersburg, FL, had a roost of robins topping one million birds. Now that is a lot of birds for one city!

My own report to the Count showed sightings of 19 species within about a mile of my house, with the American crow being the most individuals, namely 12.

Snow and Snowdrops
March 22, 2010

With warm weather having arrived, our big snows are just a memory. Here is the work of some creative people. Can you imagine what label they gave to the photo?

“Two feet of snow.”

The earliest flower to bloom in our area is the snowdrop. Sometimes it blooms under the snow.

In our back yard we have only one small clump. A small clump is pretty in its own right.

But nearby neighbors have a yard full of them – probably 10,000 blooms.

Snowdrops are a beautiful promise that other flowers will soon be coming.

Summer Time 2009
July 7, 2009

With summer time upon us, here are some of the flowers we have blooming in our back yard as of early July.

Bird Migration
March 8, 2009

Yesterday I saw a spectacular scene in nature.

I went with my son-in-law Ed and his two sons to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, northeast of Lititz, PA.

March 5, 2009

The snowdrop is aptly named.

A small clump of them began to bloom in our back yard three weeks ago. Then came our 5-inch snow on Monday, and the snowdrops were covered. Now, with the snow melting, they are standing up an blooming.

They are stronger than the storm.

I would show you a photo, but I have misplaced my camera!

While Walking
December 26, 2008

Today, as on many days, I was taking a for-my-health walk behind and through St. Anne’s Retirement Community, near where I live. Along the small creek in the pasture I saw, as I frequently do, two like-to-live-near-water birds.