Author Archives: Miriam Hurdle

Up in the Air

I visited my daughter’s family in Portland, Oregon for six days and had a wonderful time with my granddaughters. I asked my daughter and her hubby to take a short getaway to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. Even though they didn’t go on an overnight trip, they took a day trip to a river for paddle boarding. Nora takes a nap every two hours. I got to spend time to watch The Little Mermaid with Autumn in the morning and did a project with her in the afternoon before their mommy and daddy returned.

Alaska Offering 30% Off Flights Through Valentine's Day Weekend | Travel +  Leisure

On June 22, I flew home and expected to arrive in the early evening.

“Do we have any doctors or nurses on board? We need medical assistance.” A flight attendant announced on the speaker. The passengers in front of my row turned their heads around and kept looking. Apparently, something happened.

A slim, tall, middle-aged gentleman from the first-class section walked past my row and said, “I’m a doctor.” He continued to walk toward the back of the plane.

A few minutes went by, and he didn’t return to his seat. My curiosity nudged me to have a glimpse of what caused the commotion. I got up from my aisle seat to go to the restroom in the back of the plane.

The doctor stood in the aisle three rows behind mine, slightly leaned forward, looking at the woman in the middle seat. Behind the mask, the woman’s face was as pale as a piece of white paper. A flight attendant approached from the back, carrying a gray cylinder of oxygen tank. At the foot of the doctor, there was a red briefcase size first aid kit.

I walked slowly toward the restroom. The concern, questions, worries, and prayer came simultaneously to my head.

What a bad timing for this woman to be sick.

What kind of illness does she have?

Can the doctor and the flight attendant have enough resources to help this woman?

What if she has a serious condition that requires emergency landing?

God, help this woman to hang in there for a couple of hours so that we could reach our destination without delay.

The doctor and the flight attendant were in the middle of the aisle to leave me not too much room to squeeze through back to my seat. I stopped and leaned against an empty aisle seat. The woman’s white mask was replaced with the yellow mask connected to the oxygen tank. With a violently trembling hand, the woman held the mask covering her nose and mouth but lifted it up from the mouth a little to answer the doctor’s question. The flight attendant was holding a chart, and the doctor took a quick look and said something to her. Another flight attendant gave something and a cup of water to the woman. They then stopped and waited to see how she responded. I thought it would be a good time for me to return to my seat.

Shortly after that, the voice came from the speaker again. “Thank you for your patience when we had a medical situation. We will serve the snacks and beverage shortly.”

When the snacks and beverage cart came by, the woman at the window seat in my row said to the flight attendant, “I’m a nurse. If you need any help to follow up on that lady, I can help.”

“Thank you. She was afraid of heights. She had a vertigo and vomiting. With the doctor’s help, we gave her some medicine, and she seemed to do better. Her son is with her, and she handled it very well.”

“It’s good to know she is doing better,” the lady at the window seat said.

“Yes, thank you.”

Thank you, God. She is okay.

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Welcome to Day 5 of the “SIR CHOC” Book Tour! @bakeandwrite @4WillsPub @4WP11 @RRBC_Org #RRBC

Welcome to Day 5 of the “SIR CHOC” Book Tour! Sir Chocolate Books – Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook

Giveaway:

(7) Paperback copies / 1 of each book in the series

(2) 15 Amazon gift cards

Please leave Robbie a comment anywhere along the tour for your chance to win one of these awesome prizes.

Sir Chocolate and the Sugar Crystal Caves story and cookbook introduces the Baked Alaska Dragon and the candy stripped Roc, two lonely creatures who live in the Chocolate Chip Hills on the other side of the Chocolate Mousse Swamp.

Readers also meet the fondant ghost and the marshmallow sheep. Something is making the Sugar Crystals in the cave melt and become soggy, and Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet must find a way to solve the problem.

“Inside the great cavern,

you’ll see a wonderful sight,

spectacular sugar crystals,

sparkle in the dim light.”

This book is a little different as it does not include recipes but rather instructions on how to make sugar crystals and racing cars, windmills, and aeroplanes out of biscuits and other treats.

How to make a chocolate clown

You will need the following:

A six pack of Cadbury’s Sweetie Pies;

Six square tea biscuits;

Six wafer ice cream cones;

A selection of smarties; and

Royal icing.

Use royal icing to attach the flat bottom of the Sweetie Pies to the tea biscuits. Attach the ice cream cone to the top of the Sweetie Pie using royal icing to form the pointed hat. Attach the eyes and mouth chocolate buttons as per the picture above.

If you would like to be more adventurous, you can add chocolate buttons to the hat for decoration as well as a pom-pom made of a round chocolate sweet.

If you would like to make the bigger clown as per the picture below, you will need a medium sized chocolate Easter egg for the body, two long chocolate bars for the legs, two shorter chocolate bars for the arms, and a chocolate square for the feet. Use royal icing to attach all the body parts and sit the clown up against a cold glass until the icing sets. Decorate using chocolate buttons or other sweets of your choice.

BOOK BLURB:

Sir Chocolate and Lady Sweet get sugar water from the Sugar Crystal Caves to make delicious goodies for their shop. Unfortunately something is making the crystals melt. What can Sir Chocolate do? Includes four lovely new recipes.

AUTHOR BIO:

Robbie Cheadle is a children’s author and poet.

The Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Robbie Cheadle

Website: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

TSL Books Author Page: https://tslbooks.uk/robbie-cheadle/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15584446.Robbie_Cheadle

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bakeandwrite

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site. If you’d like to schedule your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE. Thanks for supporting this author and her work!

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Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to you and the fathers in your family!

60 Quotes about Dads for Father's Day - Animoto

“Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song.” – Pam Brown

California lifted the Covid restrictions on June 16, 2021. It was an incredible journey we’ve been on over the course of the last 15 months. I came to Portland, Oregon on this day to spend time with my daughter, son-in-law, and my granddaughters, Autumn and Nora. We planned to have a great outing to celebrate Father’s Day.

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Smorgasbord Children’s Reading Room – #Safety Miriam Hurdle, #Malta Darlene Foster, #Environment Kathleen Jae

I’m over at Sally’s blog in the Children’s Reading Room. Please head over to read the updates. It’s a wonderful place to meet children’s book authors and find out more about their delightful children’s and YA books.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the Reading Room update with reviews for books on the shelves for children up to the age of twelve.

The first author with a review is Miriam Hurdle for her first children’s book Tina Lost in a Crowd t

About the book

Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. What would the girls do?

This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults…

View original post 1,519 more words

The Monarch Journey in My Garden

Photo taken on June 5, 2021

There have been excitements every day since I discovered the monarch caterpillars nine days ago. It felt like I just adopted new pets and learned how to care for them. Checking on the caterpillars and collecting babies became my new morning routine.

Collecting babies with the popsicle stick

As soon as I discovered the baby creatures, I went around the fourteen milkweed plants to find caterpillars and eggs, stuck the popsicle sticks next to the plants and marked the number of babies or eggs on each plant.

The next day after the discovery, one bigger caterpillar, hung crisscross on a leaf, died. The biggest one about 1/2” long was missing. I could only think of the birds, lizards, or other insects just had a delightful meal.

My research showed only 2% of the caterpillars in the wild made it into butterflies. The 98% vanished by the harsh nature. One way to save some caterpillars is to raise them in the butterfly cages. One website recommended separating the bigger caterpillars from the babies because the bigger ones may eat the babies.

There are different types and sizes of butterfly cages. Sellers ask for different prices on the same sizes of the cages. It seems to be reasonable to have two cages, so I ordered two of the 15”x15”x36” white cages on Amazon and would like to have them as soon as possible. My husband has Prime Membership for the next-day delivery, so I asked him to order them for me.

Guess what? It was Memorial Day weekend. The delivery was on the following Tuesday, June 2, four days after the order. I couldn’t leave the babies out in the open for the birds or lizards to snap them. In fact, I saw two babies dropped on the soil crawling away.

It was Friday afternoon. I rushed to the fabric section in Walmart and got one yard of white mash. Then I transplanted one milkweed from the ground to the pot, collected all the baby caterpillars, put them in the potted plant and wrapped the pot with the white mash. I got the idea from watching the YouTube on how to make an easy home-made butterfly cage.

After that, I watched how the bigger and smaller caterpillars settled in the wrapped plant. To my horror, I saw one bigger caterpillar with a baby in its mouth! Good thing one website forewarned me. I went to Walmart and got another yard of white mash, repeated the transplanting and transferring to separate the bigger and littler ones. I wished to say to the bigger guy, “Be nice to your baby sister!”

It was a lot of work that day, but I slept better knowing the caterpillars were safe.

The cages arrived on June 2, and I wasted no time to move the two pots of milkweed into the new homes. The pots looked small in the roomy cages. It would have been okay, except the caterpillars were continually crawling. One website calls them escapers. The next day, several of them escaped from the plants and dropped to the bottoms of the cages.

I remembered the butterfly kit with the caterpillars in a sealed container. To contain those wigglers, I inserted several letter-size transparencies into the soil around the edge of the 6” pot to form a shield. Yet there was another problem again. The shield was like a tube, and several wigglers crawled up. They could crawl out and fall again.

Oh, no! More work! I put the crawlers into a container with a lid, transplanted the milkweed into a 5-gallon pot and built a large shield around it.

The pot for the bigger caterpillars
The shielded pot in a butterfly cage

There is no guarantee to protect all the caterpillars. There are seven bigger ones in one cage and about ten babies in another cage. It takes 10 to 14 days for the caterpillars to become full grown, about 2 3/8” long. A monarch caterpillar sheds its skin five times during the larval stage. Similar to the way a snake sheds its skin when its body has outgrown the skin. When the caterpillar is full grown, it sheds its skin one last time to form the chrysalis, or cocoon, and go into the pupa stage of metamorphosis.

Seven bigger caterpillars
The plant with about ten baby caterpillars

I learned a lot about how to care for the monarch caterpillars. In the meantime, I’ll grow more Narrowleaf milkweed and will be more prepared next summer when the monarch butterflies return. I had one Showy milkweed. The babies munched on that plant the first few days have lighter colors and grow slower. The rest of the caterpillars were eggs on the Narrowleaf milkweed and ate only from Narrowleaf milkweed. They are healthier and have brighter colors. I put the cut Showy milkweed leaves in the pots, but the caterpillars don’t munch on them. So, I’ll stick with growing only Narrowleaf milkweed.

Please stay tuned for the monarch journey in my garden.

Previous Post:

The Monarch Caterpillars Are Here

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Tina Lost in a Crowd by Miriam Hurdle: A Children’s Book.

I’m over at Claire Fullerton’s blog. She is featuring Tina Lost in a Crowd with her delightful and insightful review. She also included Carla’s review from Carla Loves to Read. Please head over to visit her. While there, browse around to learn more about her many awarding-winning books

Claire Fullerton Author

Book Description:

Tina invited her friend Erica to attend a popular Tchaikovsky’s Spectacular concert on a summer evening with her parents. During the intermission, her dad left the seat to buy some snacks. Tina and Erica followed him wanting to use the restroom. The shoving crowd pushed them away, and they lost sight of him. It would be impossible to fight through the 18,000 people to find him or go back to Tina’s mom. This story tells about what happened to Tina and Erica after they got lost. Children can adapt to the learning from different situations they may observe or encounter. Adults could have discussions with the children about the situations to help them develop problem-solving skills.

My review of this delightful children’s book:

Third grader, Tina Tyler, looks forward to summer. It is the last day of classes, and she has had such a great school year that…

View original post 725 more words

Poetry Treasure Blog Tour – Featuring Colleen Chesebro

It’s my pleasure to feature Poetry Treasure on my blog today. Poetry Treasures is an anthology of poems by a number of talented poets. During the blog tour, each of the poets is introduced.

The editors of Poetry Treasure have a treat for you:

Follow the tour and leave a comment at each stop for a chance to win one of three digital copies of Poetry Treasures to be given away. (Winners will be randomly selected following the end of the tour.)

Blurb

A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2020. Open the book and discover the poetry treasures of Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria (Tori) Zigler, Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jude Kitya Itakali, and Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Purchase Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Treasures-Sue-Vincent-ebook/dp/B0933KSJR9

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poetry-Treasures-Sue-Vincent/dp/B093QLNGC5

Today I am thrilled to introduce poet Colleen Chesebro who is the contributing author. Please help me welcome Colleen and get to know her and her work.

Hello everyone! My name is Colleen Chesebro. I’m a prose metrist, which means I like counting syllables in my poetry. I worked in accounting as a bookkeeper for over twenty years, and that love of counting followed me into my poetry writing.

I wrote the poem, “The Weather Witch,” based off my love for all things magical, but there’s more to this story.

For years now, my husband has teased me, saying I’m a weather witch! We’re retired Air Force, and for many years we’ve traveled around the United States and various other parts of the world.

Every new place we settled in the weather acted strangely. For example, when we lived in Montana, the state was hit with the worst drought in decades. That continued until we left. I’ve heard from friends that the weather has now resumed a more seasonal pattern.

Last year we lived in Arizona. For over one hundred days the temperature in northern Buckeye, AZ soared to over 110-degrees F. The 119-degree F. days were too much for me! Now we live in Michigan… where the temperature has remained cool with a few mornings of frost well into the middle of May! You guessed it. My husband blames me. LOL!

If I was a superhero, I’d control the weather. Everyone needs a little magic in their lives. Think of all the possibilities—you could change the weather to fit your mood. I guess being a weather witch has some advantages.

This was a perfect day from last weekend when we visited with Dustin and Molly, are dear friends who live on the Grand River in Michigan. I want more days like this one! POOF! I guess being a weather witch isn’t so bad after all!

This poem is written as a double inverted nonet, twenty lines with a syllable count per line of 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 syllables which looks like an hourglass when centered on the page. I thought it resembled a tornado.

There’s a lot to unpack in this poem. I prefer the idea that we all have natural talents or powers that we can tap into to make the best versions of ourselves. All it takes is finding the good inside and projecting it outward.

“The Weather Witch”

My guiding light was a weather witch.

She taught me to mix the winds and

to call down the lightening.

Yet, I’ve seen her in rain

not utter a spell.

Her power was

natural—

bound by

trust

in

magic

and with the

understanding

that choice designed with

the use of elements

held no power over them.

Her strength lay with separating

the light from the darkness held within.

©Colleen M. Chesebro

Bio:

Colleen M. Chesebro is a Michigan Poet who loves crafting syllabic poetry, flash fiction, and creative fiction and nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of syllabic poetry.

Along with JulesPaige, Colleen is also a co-editor of “Word Weaving, a Word Craft Journal of Syllabic Verse,” at wordweavingpoetryjournal.com. Submissions open May 15, 2021. The debut issue of this journal will publish in October 2021.

Colleen’s syllabic poetry has appeared in various other online publications. Recently, she created the Double Ennead, a 99-syllable poetry form for Carrot Ranch. Colleen’s poetry has poetry in various anthologies and journals including “Hedgerow-a journal of small poems,” and “Poetry Treasures,” a collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on “Writing to be Read” in 2020.

Colleen published “Word Craft: Prose & Poetry, The Art of Crafting Syllabic Poetry,” which illustrates how to write various syllabic poetry forms used in her Tanka Tuesday challenges; and a collection of poetry, flash fiction, and short stories called, “Fairies, Myths & Magic: A Summer Celebration,” dedicated to the Summer Solstice. She contributed a short story called “The Changeling,” in the “Ghostly Rites Anthology 2020,” published by Plaisted Publishing House.

Find Colleen at Word Craft: Prose & Poetry at wordcraftpoetry.com.

Find Colleen’s author blog at colleenchesebro.com.

Personal Links

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The Monarch Caterpillars are Here

I have overlooked my garden for many weeks. This afternoon, I did some gardening. In the late spring last year, I renewed the interest to save as many Monarch butterflies as possible by planting some Milkweed plants from seeds. By the time the seeds germinated, it was autumn, and the planted didn’t grow too much without the sun.

Early spring this year a few plants came back. I thought the rest of them died. Just when I wanted to plant something else in the same spots, the plants showed signs of growth. Two of them are about eight inches tall, and the rest of them are from two to six inches tall.

There is a monarch butterfly flying around and occasionally I saw it resting on the milkweed plants. I was happy that the monarch recognized the plants but expected to see some caterpillars in the summer when the plants get taller.

I planted the Showy milkweed and the Narrowleaf milkweed last year. When the plants grew back this year, they all have narrow leaves. In the middle of the flower bed, there is a plant with broad leaves. I don’t remember planting anything with broad leaves. This afternoon I wanted to transplant the yellow Lantanas that the butterflies like, close to the milkweed. I dug up this broad leaf plant and transplanted it into another spot. As I pressed to the soil around the plant, I spotted two caterpillars.

Oh, no, this is a Showy milkweed with broad leaves. I planted many but only this one grew. I quickly moved the plant back to the original position, but it went through a shock and the leaves were drooping. The caterpillars are doing fine.

I proceeded to check on seven or eight plants, and six of them have tiny caterpillars on them! Oh wow! That’s incredible! There are about a dozen caterpillars.

I couldn’t contain my excitement. I have been waiting for this moment for an entire year. But wait a minute, how can these little guys survive? The plants won’t sustain them through the second or third week and they will die.

The following images 1 to 4 are Narrow Leaf milkweed, and image 5 is the only Showy milkweed.

I quickly did my research, found a “Save the Monarch” website, and asked them how to raise the monarch. After further research, I came across some alternative food for the monarch because of the shortage of milkweed. One common food used to feed the caterpillar is butternut squash. But vegetable doesn’t have the nutrients of the milkweed. I will do some more research this evening on alternative food.

Monarch Caterpillars Butternut Squash – Butterfly Fun Facts

My fun journey of raising the monarch butterflies has just begun!

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Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories by Denise L. Finn – New Release Tour

I’m excited to have Denise L. Finn on my blog to share with you about her new release Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories. She’ll also share with you about her love of nature, the forest where she resides, and the facts about the redwood trees.

Thank you, Miriam for having me and the fairies here today to celebrate “Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories” release day!

Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories is set in a place I adore. I have a deep love of nature and have lived in the forest for 31 years. Although, I visit the ocean often, as it still calls to me. I have considered living in the trees above the sea… maybe someday. Redwood forests have always felt magical to me, and anytime I can visit one, I do.

For Mother’s Day 30 years ago, I received a sequoia tree to add to our forest. It has grown faster than I expected, and with it comes that redwood/sequoia magic that is so strong in my story.

STUNNING Redwood National Park (Guide + Award-Winning Film)

Here are some redwood tree facts:

1. They can grow to over 200 feet tall.

2. They are believed to have been around in California for over 20 million years.

3. There are redwoods over 2000 years old still standing.

4. They are resistant to insects, fires, and rot.

5. There are three types of redwood trees: Dawn Redwood, Giant Sequoia, and Coastal Redwood (this is the one in my story.)

Fun Finn Facts:

  1. The forest sounds at night from foxes and mountain lions are chilling.
  2. I’ve driven through a giant redwood.

Blurb:

When reality and magic meet in the forest

It’s 1969, and twelve-year-old Daniel Burns is camping in the redwood forest with his family. Danny wants to listen to his music and read, but his family has other plans. S’mores around the campfire and stories end their first day. The family is sleeping soundly in their secluded tent when Danny wakes up and finds his sister, Colette, is missing. Assuming she went to use the outhouse, he goes after her. When he finds his sister, they discover there is a thin veil between reality and fantasy.

Two bonus short stories offer a glimpse into the magical world that finds Danny and Colette. These hidden beings not only share our world but have a role in protecting their forest.

Excerpt:

“I had a dream about them,” I replied before I could stop myself.

Colette was studying the treetops like she was hoping to find fairies.

Dad tossed me another marshmallow. “Tell us about it, Danny.”

I pushed the dirt around with my sneaker. “I don’t think—”

“Please! For me? Pretty please with sugar on top!” Colette’s eagerness was contagious.

“It’s just a dream, but I guess I could try to tell it like a story. You know, because we’re around the campfire and all.”

“Good idea! Thank you for sharing this with us.” Mom’s smile gave me the courage I needed.

“Well, okay, but don’t expect much. I’m not a writer like you.” I cleared my throat and finished my cherry Kool-Aid. The silence was heavy with expectation, which made my palms sweat, but part of me wanted them to hear this. So, I took a deep breath and started. “There is a forest where the fairies live in the trees. No one sees them except the squirrels and birds. Until one day, this boy and his family were camping in the woods. The boy went off by himself while wishing he had his tunes to listen to on his new radio. Bummed, he sat down below one of those giant redwood trees.

“He hung out for a while, watching two squirrels run up and down a tree. A nearby stream and a bird’s tune lulled him to sleep until a small branch hit his nose, waking him up. Rubbing his nose, he looked around and saw a bird directly above him. He shrugged and sank back against the tree and fell asleep again.

“Another branch hit him, startling him awake. This time there was no bird, so it had to be a squirrel. The sun had set, and the moon was rising. Soon it would be dark. He knew it was time to get back to his campsite, but he heard humming coming from above as he got up.

“He squinted and tilted his head back. All that he could see were needles, branches, and a darkening sky. He turned to head back to camp when a female voice began singing. It was beautiful, like he imagined an angel’s voice would sound, but he couldn’t understand the words. That’s when he saw the colors and thought they were dragonflies until they got within a few feet of his face. They were tiny, humanlike beings with silver wings. He almost fainted when the green one spoke to him.

“‘Hello . . .’ I reached out to her, and then I woke up, so that’s the end.”

Tree Fairies and Their Short Stories by [D.L. Finn]

Purchase Links:

Amazon

SMASHWORDS

Author Bio:

D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

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Thank you so much for your visit to support Denise and

her excitement of the new release.

We welcome your lovely comments!

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Lens-Artists Challenge #149 – Blue and Green Peacocks

This week Tina is returning to the color wheel and its cooler members, which include blue (primary) green (secondary) and blue-green or blue-violet aka purple (tertiary). 

When I think of this group of colors, my first thought took me to the post last week in which I included one photo of the peacock. This week I wanted to return to the Los Angeles County Arboretum to share with you what I learned about the history of the Arboretum, the original owner of the land, and the origin of the peacocks in the United States.

Elias Jackson “Lucky” Baldwin (April 3, 1828 – March 1, 1909) was one of the greatest pioneers of California business, an investor, and real estate speculator during the second half of the 19th century. He earned the nickname “Lucky” Baldwin due to his extraordinary good fortune in a number of business deals.

Baldwin was born in Hamilton, Ohio in 1828, the fourth of 14 children. At age 18, he married a neighbor girl named Sarah Ann Unruh and started to farm and train horses. In 1853, at the height of the California Gold Rush, he decided to relocate to California. He joined a large wagon train in Iowa. During the five-month journey, he got lost and save by friendly Native Americans who brought him back to the wagon train. He made a fortune during his remaining wagon journey and became a key player in the San Francisco Stock Exchange. His building materials were used to construct the U.S. Mint, Fort Point and the fort of Alcatraz Island.

In 1875, Baldwin moved to Southern California, purchased Rancho Santa Anita and constructed its buildings and grounds. With cash in hand, he opened the original Santa Anita Park racetrack, a few blocks east of its current location, in what is now Arcadia Park.

Baldwin was married four times. When he married his fourth wife, Lillie Bennett, the Queen Anne Cottage was built at the location where the Arboretum is as a honeymoon present by Lillie’s father.

During the 1890s, his wealth diminished, but Baldwin maintained an interest in horse racing and poker. His wife Lillie and his daughters Anita Baldwin McClaughry and Clara Baldwin Stocker were among many relatives and friends at his side when he died at the Arcadia ranch on March 1, 1909.

The Arboretum began in 1947 with California and Los Angeles jointly purchasing 111 acres to create an arboretum around the Baldwin site. The first greenhouse was constructed, and the first 1,000 trees were planted. In 1956 the Arboretum was open to the public. Construction and renovation of both greenhouses and gardens continued.

In addition to the gardens, the arboretum is home to a flock of some 200 peacocks, which are descendants of original birds imported by Baldwin from India. The peacock is a symbol of the city of Arcadia. The first record of peacock in what is now the United States was the introduction by Frances Sinclair on Kauai, Hawaii, in 1860. However, the first reported introduction into the continental United States occurred in 1879, when Elias J. Baldwin brought 3 pairs to his vast ranch in the San Gabriel Valley of California. Currently, peacocks can be found throughout neighborhoods surrounding the arboretum.

Queen Anne Cottage

The cottage was constructed in 1885-1886 for Baldwin and his third wife, Lillie Bennett, the daughter of the cottage’s architect Albert A. Bennett. Upon Elias J. Baldwin’s death in 1909, his daughter Anita closed the cottage and disposed of all furnishings. Some of the architectural elements of the cottage, such as the stained-glass windows, black walnut doors, and marble fireplace mantels, were stored in the coach barn. The stored items were reinstalled in the cottage during the 1951-1953 restoration.

The cottage has been used for many films and television shows, most famous for the opening of Fantasy Island where the character of Tattoo is ringing the bell in the cottage’s tower and Mr. Roarke is exiting from it.

Sources: Elias J. Baldwin, Los Angeles County Arboretum, Queen Anne Cottage

Peacocks in Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden- Arcadia (CA)

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #149 – Blue and Green Peacocks

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