Monday, September 29, 2014

Nature Talks...and Reforms us

The Earth is our First Teacher
Through her ancient wisdom we learn patience, connectedness and gratitude.
Through her infinite nurturing beauty, we experience an intrinsic bond with her life-giving power and vast well of replenishment.  We learn throughout the transforming changes of her seasons and the ebbs and flows of her spiraling cycles. We learn throughout the awakening of each new day and the velvet darkness of each evening. (Sophia Roselyn Breillat)

Glass Beach ~ Recycled by the Ocean

In the early 1900's, Fort Bragg, California, residents threw their household garbage over the cliffs above what is now Glass Beach.  It is  hard to imagine this happening today, but back then, people dumped all kinds of refuse straight into the ocean...including old cars and their household garbage which of course included lots of glass.

Beginning in 1949, the area around Fort Bragg became a public dump and locals referred to it as 'The Dumps'.  Sometimes, fires were lit to reduce the size of the trash pile (up to 30 feet high).  However, in 1967, the city leaders closed the area. Various cleanup programs were undertaken through the years to try to correct the damage, without success.

Over the next 30 years the pounding waves  cleaned the beach by breaking down everything but glass and pottery.  The pounding waves washed the trash up and down, back and forth.  Tons of polished, broken glass were created by the pounding surf. These smoothened, coloured glass particles then settled along the sea  shore in millions ~ and so a magnificent beach was formed.  The  name was changed from 'The Dumps' to what we currently know as...The Glass Beach.

The sea glass that was created is the product of a very long and interesting process, taking anywhere from 10 to 30 years to make sea glass, the name for any piece of glass that finds its way to the ocean and tumbles around in the water long enough to frost and smooth its surface.  Once it makes its way into the ocean, the glass is broken up into shards and is tumbled around in the water where sand and other rocks  act like sandpaper to smooth out its rough edges.  Sometimes as  the sea glass  is passed through fire, it becomes fire glass, the rarest of sea glass with certain inclusions just like precious gems.

In 1998, the private owner of the property determined that Glass Beach should belong to the public and in 2002 it became part of MacKerricher State Park, open to the public. Within a period of a few years, the Glass Beach won fame, attracting a large number of tourists every year.  Way back in time, people wanted to dump their glass products on this shore; now they would try to get one of these pieces to take home as a souvenir.  It is ironic but true that where once it was illegal to dispose the glass on the shore, it now is a crime to remove it.  Visiting Glass Beach today is a unique experience.  What makes it even more remarkable, are the sounds produced by the glass pebbles as they are being washed away by the gentle waves.

A Brief Fact Summary

For years, the water beat against the different kinds of trash being dumped.
Glass, household appliances and even motor parts were discarded on the beach.
The waves and weather conditions wore down the  overwhelming amount of garbage in the water, creating millions of beautiful smooth rocks.

It was a disgusting dump due to carelessness, but nature corrected what humans ruined.
The beach's moniker was soon changed from 'The Dump' The Glass Beach, a more attractive name for the now-beautiful beach.

The Glass Beach and the surrounding twenty acres were purchased by the California State Park system and were incorporated into MacKerricher State Park.

The miraculous beach was finally under the protection of the state.
It's hard to believe the short-sighted mistakes we were making that could have  potentially ruined this beautiful spot. But, thanks to natural processes, the ocean transformed the trash into the sea glass.

Each coloured gem on the beach has its own story.
The ruby red glass stones are typically from old car tail-lights.
Then, the sapphire rocks are the remnants of broken apothecary bottles.

The beach at Fort Bragg isn't the only glass beach in the world, as strange and beautiful as it is. There are other places in the world where Mother Nature put a stop to our foolishness.

If you want to see the sea glass for yourself, you can drive to Fort Bragg and be in awe of the power of nature. Even if we didn't mean to pollute The Glass Beach how we did, it's inspiring to see just how hard Earth can correct our mistakes!

Compliments I extend to Tom for this lesson from Mother Nature.

Our planet is full of amazing sights ~
if only we take the time to look!
(Author Unknown)

Of  Interest: Fort Bragg is located along the Coastal Highway #1 north of San Francisco...half way to Eureka...and only a few miles north of  Medocino, also along the coast.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written September 23, 2014
Your comments are most welcome...e-mail to:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Dangers That Lurk in Nature's Playgrounds ~ Part 2

 Just as in marriages, when the couple tenderly love and care for each other...exchanging vows that they'll eternally keep ~ then, ‘Life in the True’ may become discombobulated!  The moments lose their luster...their sentiments cloud with doubts...and day to day seems like weeks and months of mere existence.  Corrective means must be taken!  Negativity can be erased with forgiveness and Positive conduct.

For each of Nature's foregoing Dangers in Part 1, I endorse the following assured concepts.

The Rose: “Won’t you come into my garden?  I would like my roses to see you.”  (Richard Sheridan)
“The sharp thorn often produces delicate roses.” (Ovid)
“A single rose can be my garden ~ a single friend my world.” (Leo Buscagia)
“If you enjoy the fragrance of a rose, you must accept the thorns it bears.”  (Isaac Hayes)

The Bolsa Wetlands:  Restoration programs are improving the habitats with the removal of non-native plants; removing trash along trails and wetlands; protecting endangered species of birds and animals.

Florida’s Everglades National Park is one of America’s last grassland landscapes. It is Florida’s  Rocky Mountains &  Black Hills; it is her Finger Lakes & her High Desert...spanning 11 million acres.

Diseases: Large parts of the world have not enjoyed the remarkable global progress in health conditions that have taken place over the past century.  Millions of deaths in impoverished nations are avoidable with the presentation and treatment of options that the rich world already uses.

Cosmetics without any synthetic ingredients are preferred as synthetic ingredients can be harmful to the skin.  Cosmetics are regarded as a means of enhancing one’s complexion and beautifying the skin.  Cosmetic surgery is performed to enhance one’s appearance (whether male or female).

Health Supplements:  Nearly 71% of Canadians use natural health products (vitamins and minerals).  Eating according to Canada’s Food Guide is the required way to having a healthy diet.

Tea (as a supplement):  Drinking 2 to 3 cups per day of black or green tea helps to maintain your circulatory system…reducing the risk of strokes…helps maintain a healthy weight…may improve your vision…and help reduce stress levels.

Water:  Clean Water is a Fundamental Human Right!.  Only 1 in 8 people in the world have “clean water” because they lack access to it.  It is said “Prescription for Life…just add Water.”  A marine biologist states that getting close to water increases our brain experience…and often releases tensions.

Plants:  The neurological, psychological and emotional changes need Humans and Humans need Plants because plants breathe out oxygen and we need oxygen.  We breathe out carbon dioxide and plants need carbon dioxide.  The same is true for trees.

The Food Chain varies in length from 3 to 6 levels or more.  A flower, a frog, a snake and an owl represent 4 levels.  Grass, a grasshopper, a rat, a snake and a hawk represent 5 levels.  There is also a “Short Food Chain”:  Corn…hens…humans;  grass…cows...humans; or potatoes…humans; and lastly... water plants…small fish…large fish…humans.  Which takes the least energy???  

Natural Disasters:  Did the great FIRE that swept Yellowstone in 1988 devastate the park…or did they just ravish an image of the park  as a fixed unchanging natural treasure?  Seth Reice contends that we can better address the wide environmental problems that seriously face us. Disturbances  are a benefit to ecosystems in order to accomplish what is possible…such as the production of  clean air and water.  Wolves have been introduced back into the park which has been most beneficial.

Every tornado’s funnel cloud, every forest fire’s billowing cloud of smoke…each has tremendous benefits for the ecosystem it impacts.  “This is the cloud’s real silver lining!”

John Muir, a Scottish born American environmentalist,
naturalist and scientist wrote:
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in…
where Nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.

What makes a desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.
(Antoine de Saint Exupery)

All things share the same breath ~ the beast, the tree, the man.
The air shares its spirit  with all the life is supports.
(Chief Seattle)

Merle Baird-Kerr…written August 19, 2014
All comments welcome…e-mail to:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dangers That Lurk in Nature's Playgrounds

 The world in which  we live in is a contrast of “positives and negatives” and the choice is ours to understand, to cope and to develop solution strategies to combat dangers that may affect us. The rose is such example with its thorns.  Anne Bronte stated, “But he who dares not grasp the thorn...should never crave the rose!” And Alphonse Karr with a positive attitude wrote, “Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses!

For every “upside” ~ there's likely to be a “downside”
so there's good reason to heed the possible negative outcomes!

Consider the following:  Wars and Victories...Win and Lose Sporting events...Weather both Good and Inclement...Rich loam soil and Quicksand...Calm Waters and Turbulent Rapids...Shoals, Rocks and Lighthouses.  Along our fairway of life, Mother Nature contributes much to our daily living...offering wind, rain and rainbows; thunder and lightning; blue skies and billowy clouds; glorious sunrises and sunsets;  magnificent seasonal colours and temperatures escalating from frigid cold to blazing heat. And yet, scenic landscapes inspire  photographers & artists. Each unopened gift from Mother Nature.

“Not Everything in a Bed of Roses.”

The Bolsa Chica Wetlands (an ecological reserve in the City of Huntington Beach, California)
Along the Pacific Coast Highway, it is a haven for runners, hikers and nature lovers.  It's also home to some of North America's most endangered species..  Helen Clark, 60 of Westminster is a frequent birder who once was caught off-guard at Bolsa Chica by a Southern Pacific rattlesnake.  Carol Taylor,  a Cal State Long Beach zoology and herpetology student identified 4 snakes, spiders and scorpions common to the area. The “diamond-back-rattlesnake sports fangs around 2 ½ inches long; its venom can cause cell damage and hemorrhaging.

Florida's Everglades National Park: Some swamps, marshes and bogs are more dangerous than others...bear in mind depth, animals in the swamps, plant life that can tangle or trip you and reptiles that can attack.  Giant alligators grow up to 8 feet in length; swarms of mosquitoes, spiders and snakes are ready for a meal. There are 4 species of venomous snakes, if disturbed, awaiting you. Vultures can damage your vehicles...windshields, wipers and best to cover your 'wheels’ with a tarp.

I detest snakes, dislike crocodiles and alligators, so this true story really “gives me the creeps!”  Linda, a local bridge friend and her husband spend several weeks in Florida each winter in a townhouse complex that backs on a waterway. Her neighbour one day was  tending to her garden with  back to the brownish water.  Suddenly, her arm was grabbed with teeth sunk deeply into  it and the creature was dragging her toward the waterway.  She screamed which drew attention to  her neighbours.  Frantically, they were able to free her from the alligator at water's edge. Unfortunately, her arm had to be severed just below the elbow.  No one in their neighbourhood had ever seen alligators in this waterway!

Diseases ~ the Ebola Problem: No one knows exactly where the virus comes from or how to stop it from seeding new outbreaks. “First  and foremost is to get the outbreak under control, then go back and find where the source is,” said  a scientist who helped find the bat source of another Ebola-like disease called Marburg. Jonathan Towner works  for the U.S. Center for Disease and Prevention. Plaque was halted after the germ was tied to rat-riding-fleas. With the respiratory disease, Sars, civet cats played a role.  With Typhus, it was lice and with Bird Flu live poultry markets.  Efforts to control Mers, a virus causing sporadic outbreaks in the Middle East, include exploring the role of camels.

Dangers that Lurk in Your Cosmetic Bag: When 2 journalists discovered that formaldehyde was the miracle agent behind their sleek hair-dos, they decided to dig a little further into their beauty products' ingredient lists.  What they found was most terrifying!  That lipstick?  That mascara?  All full of toxic chemicals, as it turns out. The products that we buy and trust they have been vetted and approved by some kind of health organization and that's NOT the case.  (The U.S. Food and Drug Administration of Cosmetics and Colours really oversees the industry in name only.) Some ingredients are also contaminates that enter during the  process of manufacturing.  Consider the “soap lady” at the Farmers' Market, she wouldn't exist if strict laws were regulated.

Dangers that Lurk in Health Supplements: In a world where health consciousness is increasingly more popular each day, major corporations have entered the health supplements  marketplace under new health brands in an attempt to soak up some of the profits.  In doing this, these corporations tend to cut costs by using dangerous fillers and additives that pose a serious risk to your health. These 4 common fillers are your worst nightmare and mega corporations' dreams come true!  Avoid the following:  Nanoparticle Titanium Dioxide (may result in DNA and organ damage); Hidden Hydrogenated Oils (found in Health Food Stores, Pharmacies and Grocery stores); Artificial Colours (used to make vitamins and foods more appealing especially to children); Synthetic Vitamins which actually disrupt the entire endocrine system.

Hidden Dangers Lurking in Your Tea: Tea is a miraculous thing, bursting with antioxidants and health benefits galore.  Drink it iced in the throes of summer or steaming hot to stave off that winter flu.  Guidelines when purchasing tea: Always choose an organic, non-GMO tea.  Celestial Seasonings is loaded with pesticides; even loose-leaf high-end brands have tested positive for dangers. Don't buy tea that lists “natural flavours” as an ingredient  “Natural Flavours” is a sneaky way to hide ingredients from the consumer, thus making the product appear more natural and pure. Make sure your favourite brand uses safe packing material or stick to loose leaf.  You know those luxury silk sachets...the ones that display your tea so beautifully?  Well, these are not made out of silk...they are made out of plastic!

Hidden Dangers of  Water: Drinking too much water too quickly can kill.  There is such as thing as a fatal water overdose! More than 1/3 of all waterways are reported to be unsuitable for fishing or swimming due to pollution. Rip currents (undertows) can be killing...accounting for more than 80% rescues performed by surf beach life-guards. Storms at sea and on the Great Lakes can result in ships and freighters sinking with lost lives. Extreme flooding can result in excessive damage to properties in both urban and rural areas.
In a Mutts cartoon…
he and Mooch, watching  from the prow of a boat in ocean water, observe a crab enjoying his swim… stunned to be facing a huge whale who opens his wide-gaped mouth saying,  “Ha! Ha!”, then devours  him.  Whale leaps high out of the water joyfully in front of Mutts and Mooch.  Mutts says, “WOW!  Why do whales do that?”  Mooch  replies, “It’s a mystery of life.”

Hidden Dangers Lurking in Plants (with crafty ways to fend off hungry animals). From the Philippines to America there are 10 dangerous plants, most with colourful blossoms.  These plants can can cause pain, sickness or  near-death symptoms.  Even the parts of the oleander are potentially murderous.  Locally here, we are familiar with the Venus Flytrap which can clamp tightly shut in ½ second. Poison Ivy grown in partial shade contains a resinous sap causing severe rash and itching.

The Food Chain:  Green plants are considered producers and are the beginning of the “Food Chain.”
Next are the consumers.  These living things need the producers to be their food.
Animals who eat plants  are called herbivores.
Animals who eat other animals are called carnivores who need the herbivores for their food.
Animals and People who eat both animals and plants are called amnivores.
Last part of the ecosystem is the decomposers.  They are the living things which feed off the dead plants and animals, reducing their remains to minerals and gases again. Did you know that Cowbirds help the majestic bison living in Yellowstone Park get rid of insects…while they get a meal?

Natural Disasters:  Climate change is expected to result in more frequent and severe we have been experiencing in various parts of our planet Earth over the past decade and more:
Tornadoes...Hurricanes...Cyclones...Typhoons...Tsunamis...Monsoons...Volcanic Eruptions!

Be sure to read Part 2 of  Dangers That Lurk in Our Neighbourhood.

Merle Baird-Kerr...written August 18, 2014
To comment...e-mail to:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Nature's Secret Wonder ~ Grains of Sand

“Every grain of sand is a jewel waiting to be discovered.”  That's what Dr. Gary Greenberg found when he turned  his telescope on beach sand.  Gems like minerals...colourful coral fragments...and delicate microscopic shells revealed that sand comprises much more than tiny beige rocks.

Dr. Gary Greenberg is a visual artist who creatively combines art with science.  He has a Ph. D. in bio-medical research from University College, London and holds 17 patents for high-definition 3-D light microscopes.  He lives in Haiku, Hawaii.  His book, The Amazing Microphotography of Dr. Gary Greenberg can be purchased through  The pictures are stunningly beautiful.

(Thank you, Tom for this picturesque article)

Carl Sagan remarked, “The total number of stars in the universe is greater than all the grains of sand on all the beaches on the planet Earth!”

See the World in a grain of sand and Heaven in a wild flower;
Hold infinity in your Hand and Eternity in an hour.
(William Blake)

We look at people, regardless of race or colour, and fail to see that each person is a unique individual.  Too often we generalize...slotting them into the “ordinary category.”  Consequently, we miss opportunities that may benefit us.

Spring Lambs

Years ago, my father bought several Shropshire sheep ~ including ewes and a ram or two for breeding.
When the lambs were born, my sister and I loved and cuddled them, gave them names and observed their growth carefully. At the onset of summer there were many lambs.  We could call them by name; they would perk up their ears and with their finely growing woolly coats, come scampering toward us. To farm visitors, ALL LAMBS LOOKED ALIKE and were amazed that we recognized differences in each lamb and could distinguish each one as it approached us. To each ram and ewes we gave names. My father monitored the mating of ewe and ram and gave us the approximate dates that Sarah, Maggie and Agnes would birth their lambs.

Do we, as humans, when we meet people actually attempt to discover the personality behind his/her facade?  Do we have the interest to find out if this person would be beneficial to have as...a friend...a business associate...or as a socialite in our circle of acquaintances?

Pearl of Wisdom

What makes a desert beautiful
is that somewhere it hides a well.
(Antoine de Saint Exupery)

Merle Baird-Kerr … crafted October 20, 2013
Comments welcomed...scroll down...may sign in as “anonymous”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nature Gem in my Backyard ~ Part 3

Scotty Gave our Rock Garden His Life
Paul Wilson (Journalist with The Hamilton Spectator)
wrote the following article in today's Spec.
(excerpts only)

They're running a contest at the Royal Botanical Gardens that's linked to the $20-million rebirth of the Rock Garden, which was really the beginning of the RBG more than 80 years ago. 

Margaret Long, now 84, stated that her father, David Graham Brunton who grew up in a Scottish coastal town, earned no degree in horticulture, but came to know every flower and shrub.  Scotty sailed  to Canada in 1926 and soon got on with the Hamilton Parks Board. He saved his money and within three years was able to send a diamond ring and a one-way first-class boat ticked to Anne Campbell, his girlfriend back home.  She landed on his birthday.  Five days later they married.  So 1929 ~ the year of the great stock market crash ~ was turning out to be a banner year for Scotty.

It got better yet on November 13 of that year, when they placed the first stone for the new Rock Garden.
The project was the idea of T.B. McQuesten, a visionary Hamilton politician.  He thought the old gravel pit at the city's western entrance did not make a good first impression.  A world-class garden would.  And Scotty was made foreman of the project. 

In the spring of 1930, Scotty got to work in earnest.  He kept a journal of each day's activities.  From June 16, 1930 he wrote:  Planting geraniums in rockery...finished carpet beds on east side...laying water pipe on top of on water wagon (team of horses, that is)...trucks hauling stone from the escarpment.  Scotty had pencil sketches in his journal too, plans for displays in the garden which looked like stained windows.

Margaret remembers her father sitting at the table in his house beside Cootes Paradise (a 2-storey brick home that came with his job where the 403 highway now exists) and doing those sketches.  She remembers walking over to the Rock Garden with brother Bill to see Dad at work.  Sometimes, he would hand them a trowel and watch them plant while he sipped his tea. She also recalls watching her Dad and his men put the water lilies away for the winter and covering them with straw.  Come spring, they were returned to the garden pond.  It's all described in father's journal which Margaret has kept safely in a cedar chest on the farm in Canfield (near Cayuga) in the house where she's lived for nearly 60 years, ever since marrying Joe Long.

The RBG is still trying to raise funds for the Rock Garden.  Ottawa kicked in $7 million and so has the province.  The RBG approached Hamilton late last ;year about a $1.75 million contribution.  The City is still thinking about it. You can learn more about plans for the Rock Garden and how to donate ~ at 

The old Rock Garden closed last year.  The new one opens next year.  Margaret hopes there's room somewhere for a plaque that mentions her Dad.  He was still on the job at the Rock Garden when he died of a heart attack in 1960, age 60.  “I never went back there after that,” Margaret says.  “Too many memories.”

Albert Einstein said it best:
“Look deep into  nature and then you will understand everything better.”

“Flowers have an expression of countenance so much better than man or animal.  Some seem to smile, some have a sad expression; some are perverse and diffident; others again are plain and upright like the broad-faced sunflower and hollyhock.”  (Henry Ward Beecher)

The Royal Botanical Gardens, today, is a Nature-Mecca displaying gardens, shrubs, many trees and a presentation centre to enhance our botanical knowledge and appreciation.

Plant a Tree for Tree Day…September 25, 2014
Trees play an important role in our world and we need them more than we think.

1 LARGE tree provides a day’s worth of oxygen  for 4 people
It takes 98 TREES to absorb 1 ton of carbon dioxide every year..
Trees provide SHELTER and FOOD for many birds, mammals, amphibians and insects.

Kathy Renwald writes about Dahlia-Land
“These cheerful, cosmic flowers poke their heads high in the sky…some as small as ping pong balls and others as big as dinner plates at a steakhouse.  Dr. Mike Parrish states, “There is something about dahlias that guys love. Most of the members of the Hamilton & District Chrysanthemum and Dahlia Society are men.”  September 20  and 21 is its 50th Anniversary Show at the RBG.  Dahlias each have  personalities and they’re packed with energy.  The speed at which they grow is spectacular.”

The “Dahlias” send you this Invitation
(and they don’t need flowery words to do so.)

Come visit Cornell, a deep maroon, ball-type
with petals placed in a mathematical precision.
Come visit Max, a showstopper
with a fringe of petals exploding from the center.
Come visit Pooh that turns its big face to the sun
 like a polar panel ready for charging.

Bring a vase or a bucket…and prepare to fall in love with us!

“Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty
outvalues all the utilities of the world.”
(Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844)

“Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom.
They just open up toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”
(Jim Carrey)

Merle Baird-Kerr...written August 5, 2014
Comments are appreciated...e-mail to:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nature Gem in My Backyard ~ Part 2

From gravel pit ~ to Rock Gardens

The following message appeared in the Hamilton Spectator end of April:

Royal Botanical Gardens is embarking on the final twelve months of renovating our beloved Rock Garden.  Time has not been kind to this garden and it is receiving a much needed makeover.  To help us remember the history of our iconic Rock Garden, Royal Botanical Gardens  invites you to share your memories  through a submission of photos, stories and/or video with the grand prize winner receiving a trip to New York City.

Praise for the Royal Botanical Gardens
(my submission dated May 2, 2014)

A Blissful Event:  The day was extremely hot and humid.  My Wedding Day was the last Saturday in June, 1962...after a teaching year.  My dress, custom-designed in the Spring by Mary Thornton of Hamilton, was fashioned from white Swiss cotton with sprawling satin-embroidered white daisies;  Svarovski crystals centered them on the front and long tapered sleeves.  My attendants wore below-the-knee light royal blue satin dresses (Mary-designed).  Our bouquets were of blue trailing lobelia and white daisies. I was sweltering from the heat and humidity of this tropical-weather-day!

Following the ceremony at All Saints Church, the wedding party and guests adjourned to the scenic Royal Botanical Gardens for photos and celebration.  It was a soft-blue-sky-day with drifting clouds.  The Gardens was a park-scape of lush green lawns, of stately deciduous and evergreen trees, of  flowering shrubs, of dramatically sculpted rock and a trickling stream winding its quiet flow through this horticultural paradise.  Truly a “Garden of Eden” setting!

A Little Boy's Joy: After our son was born, we frequently spent summer evenings at the RBG.  It was a great escape from our warm apartment on the East Mountain to leisurely enjoy the pathways, the nature-induced created wonder ~ the essence of being totally inspired by this Garden of Beauty.  Our son, mesmerized by the stream, was fascinated by the tiny fish that flitted playfully through the cool flowing waters.  At home we had a fishbowl with a couple fan-tailed goldfish.  When they outgrew this small aquarium, our family chatted about releasing them to a bigger and better habitat.  After water-bagging them, one evening we visited the RBG stream and with a prayerful farewell, our son gave them a more suitable home. Thereafter, when we visiting the Gardens,  to the stream he would go, ensuring his fish were happy.

To compensate for this loss, his father helped him to make small paper boats...a delightful activity as our son in bare feet would set his boat afloat on the stream and to be caught by his bare-foot again be re-floated and captured again and again and again.

Appreciation Days:  Such a thrill it was when we moved to Burlington, now having this nature magnet  of green including the Rose Garden and those of Lilacs and Irises in our neighbourhood. Over the years, we enjoyed the Mediterranean Garden, the Tea House and Garden Cafe, the lower level recently built waterfall cascading over a limestone wall, the informative displays throughout the complex, the available conference facilities and banquet rooms.

The camera and I were constant photographic partners for several years.  Expressing the essence of nature through my eyes and lens inspired me to capture the subtle beauty of colour and environment.  Several of these on-site-prints, I crafted into cards mounted on pastel-toned linen-type paper with matching envelopes.  The RBG Gift Shop was receptive to marketing these innovative “write your own message” inside the cards...a new idea at that time. 

I praise the Royal Botanical Gardens and its staff
for the numerous developed endeavours
which endear the public and tourists who frequent this Gem!

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted August 5, 2014
Comments appreciated...e-mail to:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Grandparents' Day

What a bargain grandchildren are!
I give them my loose change ~
and they give me a million dollars' worth of pleasure.
(Gene Perret)

Grandma often has better practical sense
...whereby, Grandpa can afford to project his humourous, yet cynical view of Life.

Why Grandpas are Different
(Thank you, Carolyn for this submission)

There was this loving grandfather who always made a special effort to spend time with his son's family on weekends.  Every Saturday morning, he would take his 5-year old grand daughter out for a drive in the car for some quality time ~ pancakes, ice-cream, candy ~ just his grand daughter.

One particular Saturday, however, he had a terrible cold and could not get out of bed.  He knew his  grand daughter always anticipated their drives and would be very disappointed.  Luckily, his wife came to the rescue and said that she would take their grand daughter for her weekly drive and breakfast.

When they returned, the little girl, anxiously ran upstairs to see her grandfather who was still in bed.  “Well, did you enjoy your ride with Grandma?” he asked.  “Not really, was boring!

“We didn't see a single asshole, a queer, a piece of shit, horse's ass or socialist left wing Obama lover...nor a blind bastard, dip shit, Muslim camel humper or son-of-a-bitch anywhere we went!  We just drove around and Grandma smiled at everyone she saw.  I didn't really have any fun.”

Almost, brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?

Remember Grandma's Clothesline?
(We are probably the last generation  that will remember
what a clothesline some places today, they are illegal.)
Thank you, Tom, for this enlightening rendition!

We had a long wooden pole (clothes pole) that was used to push the clothesline up, so that longer items (sheets, pants, etc.) didn't brush the ground and get dirty.  I can hear my grandmother now...relating the Basic Rules for Clotheslines:
You had to hang the socks by the toes...NOT the top.
You hung pants by the BOTTOM (cuffs)...NOT the waistbands.
You had to WASH the clothesline(s) before hanging any clothes ~walk the entire length of each line with a damp cloth around the lines.
You had to hang the clothes in a CERTAIN ORDER...always hang “whites” first.
You NEVER hung a shirt by the shoulders ~ always by the tail! What would the neighbours think?
Wash day on a Monday!  NEVER hang clothes on the weekend or on Sunday, for Heaven's sake!
Hang the sheets and towels on the OUTSIDE lines so you could hide your “unmentionables” in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y'know!)
It didn't matter if it was sub-zero weather...clothes would “FREEZE-DRY”.
ALWAYS gather the clothes pins when taking down the clothes.!  Pins left on the lines were “tacky”!
If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did NOT NEED two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.

Clothes off the line before dinner time, neatly folded in clothes basket, ready to be ironed.  IRONED??!!  Well, that's a whole OTHER subject!

Messages from the Clothesline

A clothesline was a news forecast to neighbours passing by;
There were no secrets you could keep when clothes were hung to dry.
It also was a friendly link...for neighbours always knew
If company had stopped on by, to spend a night or two.

For then, you'd see the “fancy sheets” and towels upon the line;
You'd see the “company  table cloths” with intricate designs.
The line announced a baby's birth from folks who lived inside,
As brand new infant clothes were hung so carefully with pride.

The ages of the children could so readily be known
By watching how the sizes changed, you'd know how much they'd grown!
It also told when illness struck as extra sheets were hung;
Then, nightclothes and a bathrobe too, haphazardly were strung.

It also said, “On vacation now” when lines hung limp and bare;
It told, “We're back!” when full lines sagged with not an inch to spare!
New folks in town were scorned upon, if wash was dingy and gray,
As neighbours carefully raised their brows and looked the other way.

But, clotheslines now are of the past...for dryers make work much less.
Now, what goes on inside a home, is anybody's guess!
I really miss that way of was a friendly sign
When neighbours knew each other what hung on the line!

Sam Levenson's Philosophy
The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate ~
is called a Grandparent!

Merle Baird-Kerr...scripted July 14, 2014
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Monday, September 1, 2014

Collage...for September 2014

From Planet Earth Calendar
Sands of Time:  As one gazes upon the great rocks on the oceans' shores, it is difficult to imagine the tiny grains of sand on the beach are one and the same.  Much as sand flows through an hourglass to measure the passage of time, so the shifting sands on a beach change with time.  Tides and waves slowly break down rocks and seabed, producing sand over countless years.  Beach sand is comprised of many minerals, depending on the surrounding rocks and currents.  A major component of sand is silica (unrefined).  
 To produce silicon, silica sand must be reduced in a furnace over 2732 F degrees...(1500 degrees C).  Silicon is used in wide range of electrons from televisions to cell phones and will be used for many years. A mineral that has come from so far in the taking mankind into the future!

Did You Know?
(From the Canadian Wildlife Federation 2014 Calendar)

The Green Heron is a relatively small heron, measuring only about 40 centimetres in length.  Their diet consists of small fish, frogs and aquatic insects.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation published its first issue of Canadian Wildlife magazine in was geared to teens and adults; it is full of leading-edge stories.  Canadian Wildlife boasts some of the best nature photography in the world.

Message from the Canadian Red Cross
When a disaster strikes at home or abroad, more than 6,000 volunteers across Canada are prepared to respond.  One rapid respond reduces suffering and paves the way for people to recover with comfort.

A recent study found that 1 in 4 teens say they don't use a seat belt on every ride.  The top reasons teens gave for not buckling up were that:  they forgot was not their habit to do so...they were not going far...the seat belt was not comfortable...they were going to a party!

Now for some startling statistics:
39% of teens said they have ridden with teen drivers who were texting.
95%  said they think other teens have ridden with drivers who are texting.
43% of teens reported riding as passengers with a teen driver talking on a phone.
More than half  the teens have seen a parent talking on the phone when driving.
28% have been riding in a car with a parent who was texting.
49% of teens felt concerned for their safety when riding with a teen driver.

Three Tips for Parents of Teens to Remember While Riding in a Car:
Buckle up on EVERY Ride, EVERY Time...important for both Driver and Passengers!
Be a Good ROLE MODEL in all your driving habits!
TALK to TEENS about ways to speak up if a driver OF ANY AGE isn't driving safely!
Teens Model Their Behaviour From Their Parents!

Niagara Falls and Great Gorge
(From Niagara Falls Canada Calendar 2014)
A colour photo, taken from a low-flying-helicopter,
illustrates the magnificent beauty of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls
as it thunders into the rapidly flowing Niagara River.
Autumn-hued tree foliage covers a nearby island.
Water rushing north from the Falls is forced through a narrow Great Gorge, churning into some of the wildest white water rapids in the world. Down-river is The Whirlpool where the River sharply bends.

Special Event Days
September 1 (Monday) ~ Labour Day
September 7 (Sunday) ~ National Grandparents' Day*
September 13 (Saturday) ~ World First Aid Day
September 16 ~ International Day for Preservation of  the Ozone Layer
September 21 (Sunday) ~ International Day of Peace
September 23 (Tuesday) ~ Autumnal Equinox
September 24 (Wednesday) ~ National Tree Day

*Celebrated also in United States since 1918,
it is symbolized by “forget-me-not-flowers”.

Flower and Garden Philosophy
An old friend can be a garden of true delight.
(Nick Bellenson)

September Musings

My favourite quote is because it actually tells you something.
It states...Thirty days hath September, April, June and November.
All of the rest have 30 days except February alone
and that has 28 days clear and 29 in each leap year.
(Groucho Marx)

Released September 1997 in his album, “Destination Anywhere”,
Jon Bon Jovi wrote a song called...August 7
in memory of Katherine (his personal manager's daughter)
who was killed when she went to the community mailbox
1/8 mile from her home and never seen again.
(Her lifeless body was found one mile from her family home.)

Lyrics of many other songs: “September Girls”..."September”...“September Already”..."September Baby” ..."September of  My Years”...“It's September/Just One Moment"...etcetera.

If the events of September 11, 2001 have proven anything,
it's that the terrorists can attack us, but they can't take away
what makes us Americans ~
our freedom, our liberty, our civil rights.
(Jon Stewart)

Merle Baird-Kerr...compiled August 2014
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