Category Archives: Nature

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

.

Thank you so much for your visit to support Denise and

her excitement of the new release.

We welcome your lovely comments!

.

.

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)

.

.

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

.

.

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

This week, the theme from Sheetalbravon is ‘A Glimpse into your world’She invited us to show the things we love that make our world spin or things about our world that make us delirious with joy.

The immediate world that fills me with inspiration and amazement is my garden. My morning routine, especially in the summer, is to visit the garden while I drink my coffee. After coffee, with the gardening tools in hand, I check the flower bushes, trim the dead branches, or dig up weeds.

I started feeding birds from 2014 and the regular visitors are Ruby Throat Hummingbirds, mourning doves, American Finch, American God Finch, Scrub Jay, Song Sparrow, White-Crowned Sparrow, and a few I couldn’t quite identify. Over the years, there were baby Mourning Dove, baby House Finches, and One baby Hummingbird born in my garden.

There are other animals such as squirrels, stray cats, and lizards roaming during the day or at night.

I have many hobbies, more than I have time to fully enjoy each of them. Not included in the images here is photography, which I started as a teenager when the photos were black and white. Another hobby is ceramic. I did the whale free hand with clay. I made it into a nightlight for my baby daughter. When my daughter was nine years old, we took a ceramic painting class together in the summer. It’s something we continue doing separately until these days.

I learned to draw and watercolor painting as a young adult. After retirement, I took classes on both and used some watercolor painting to illustrate the poems in my book.

My immediate community of 35 years is a church fellowship and the group of ladies. They are a part of my world for fun, for friendship and support. Some of these friends’ kids and my daughter grew up together. The ladies gave a bridal shower to Mercy for her wedding. Some friends still send gifts to my granddaughters as their own.

Music has been my world since I was a kid. I didn’t have a family background to nurture my love of classical music. It seems to be a natural favorite. The first time I performed Handel’s Messiah was when I was still in Hong Kong.

Most of my family except for one sister are in Hong Kong. Lynton’s family is my extended family, and we see each other regularly.

The biggest world to me is my daughter’s family. My granddaughters lighten my heart and give joy every day. My daughter has a TinyBeans.com account where she posts multiple photos and videos daily to chronicle the kids’ growth and family activities. There was not one day I go without checking on what they do. Nora’s birthday on March 22, and I wish to visit them.  

.

Thank you for reading. I hope to hear what the things you love that make your world spin or things about your world that make you delirious with joy.

Lens – Artists Challenge #135: Glimpse into your world

.

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122, we are excited to have Ann as the guest host. Ann invited us to look at the theme, “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”

I follow the theme to meditate on the sun will come out tomorrow. This thought also led me to contemplate the idea that on a cloudy day, the sun is shining bright in the sky even when we don’t see it.

“What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder.” – Opera Winfrey

When something went wrong, instead of spending too much time asking why it happened, I found myself asking, “What should we do next?” It’s valuable to assess what went wrong so we could avoid making the same mistake. Staying in the pity pit for too long and we could be drowned.

Sunrise at a beach

“Hope abides; therefore, I abide. Hope abides; therefore, I bide. Countless frustrations have not cowed me. I am still alive, vibrant with life. The black cloud will disappear, the morning sun will appear once again in all its supernal glory.” – Sri Chinmoy

On one Maui trip, we drove up to the Haleakalā or the East Maui Volcano. The tallest peak of Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). Halfway up the mountain, the black clouds gathered, and it started to rain. We droved past the low clouds. I saw the bright sun in the clear sky. It was an experience I never forget. How often do I stay below to see the black cloud and forget the sun is still there even though I don’t see it at the moment? The similar experience applied to traveling on the plane. I could see the sun above the fluffy black clouds.

Haleakalā National Park
Key West sky

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people say they don’t have any pleasant memories in their lives. I wonder if we could create a good memory today. When tomorrow come, we would have one day of good memory. It’s like making a deposit of one positive day at a time to the “Good Memory” bank.

Anchorage, Alaska

“Grace comes into the soul as the morning sun into the world: there is first a dawning, then a mean light, and at last the sun in his excellent brightness.” – Thomas Adams

My husband Lynton said to me, “I kiss you and tell you ‘I love you’ before we go to bed every night because I don’t know if we would die asleep. I hold you tight in the morning because I’m happy that we are alive to welcome a new day.”

Laguna Lake, California

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” – Helen Keller

There’s no doubt we have shadows in our life, the matter is our choice. We choose to face the sun and focus on the energy that carry us through the darkness.

A local park in Portland, Oregon

.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

.

.

Lens-Artists Challenge #115 – Inspiration

This week for Lens-Artists Challenge, Tina invited us to explore the theme of Inspiration. I could name many aspects around are my inspiration. I finally decided on three for this post.

Gardening is my hobby and my joy. My life is enriched by the inspiration from gardening. There are several basic things for a healthy garden. 1) Good soil. I started a butterfly garden and vegetable garden this year. Several sections have heavy clay soil. I dug at least one foot, soaked the soil and drained, mixed in several inches of organic soil. Use the correct amount of fertilizer periodically. 2) Watering. Test the daily watering to ensure the soil is moist, not just wet on the surface. 3) Proper planting space. The full-grown milkweed will be several feet in diameter in the butterfly garden, whereas the Zinnias are several feet tall but several inches wide. 4) Trimming the withered limbs according to different plants by season or regularly.

Learning from gardening, I need to continuously cleanse, nourish, and make changes to my mind, my heart, and my action to be a healthy person.

Traveling gave me the opportunity to see the wonderful nature near and far. We were at awe with the vast Denali wildness in Alaska, over 10,000 hydrothermal features such as geysers, hot springs, mud pots, travertine terraces, and fumaroles in Yellowstone, and four active volcanos in Hawaii, to name just a few.

Nature comes in all shapes and forms, all kinds of temperature, and different colors as reflected in our human life.

The maternal instinct in the animal kingdom was my inspiration and touches my heart at the deep spot. Humpback whales migrate farther than any other mammal on earth. They can travel around 3,000 miles between their breeding and feeding grounds regularly. During the migration with the newborn, the female Humpback would lift the calf above the water for it to breathe. The female and the calf are caressing each other constantly for affection.

A nest in my front porch was a cradle for four births of baby Mourning doves. The dove eggs are smaller than chicken eggs. I observed the female doves lay two eggs at a time. It takes about 35 days after hatching for the baby doves to fly. Last year, one baby was ready to fly and left the nest. The female dove left for a while but came back in the evening to stay with the second baby, kept him warm until he was ready to fly. The bigger baby also came to keep the little brother company. Then they flew away together.

Even though I was not able to be a stay-home mom when my daughter was a baby, I’m now a big fan of stay-home moms for them to treasure and enjoy those precious moments.

~

LENS-ARTISTS CHALLENGE #115 – INSPIRATION

~

~

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge theme from Amy for this week is “Under the Sun.” It’s about photo captures anywhere under the sun. I applied the theme to both indoor and outdoor.

Last year in June I babysat my granddaughter, Autumn, by myself while my daughter, Mercy, and her husband went to Iceland on vacation. Some friends said I was brave. Some said it would tire me, but I could handle it. The advice was, “When she sleeps, you sleep.”

Mercy made a spreadsheet of suggested daily schedule and activities, a list of her friends and phone numbers, the doctor and phone number. My mind was at ease without worrying of what to do to fill the days. They rented a car even though I wasn’t planning on driving.

They took a late afternoon flight to arrive early the next day to make the most of their trip.

“I missed Autumn already. Please send us a lot of pictures.” Before boarding, Mercy sent me a message.

“I will do that.” I returned her message.

When Autumn woke up in the morning, she looked for mommy and daddy. I said, “Mommy will be back. Daddy will be back.” She said, “Daddy went to work. Mommy went to work. Daddy will be back. Mommy will be back.”

We went to the park in the afternoon. There were kids playing with the water feature. I looked at the backpack, there was a change of clothes, no I let Autumn play with other kids.

1.20190609_161123

2.20190609_161236

The next day before nap time, Autumn had a temperature of 101.2. After she woke up from the nap, the temperature went up to 103. I kept Mercy updated. Deep down, I regretted to let Autumn play with the water for too long on the previous day. I hoped her temperature wouldn’t prolong. Most of all, I didn’t want Mercy to cut their vacation short.

I called Mercy’s friends to pick up a few items from the store for me. They came after work. One of them was a nurse. She checked on Autumn and wrote some instruction for me. The other friend bought what I needed, plus some Popsicle.

3.20190611_093342
Autumn had a good night sleep. I put her on a soft diet, plus the Popsicle. We didn’t go to the park and just did some quiet activities around the house. By the afternoon, her temperature came back to normal. It was such a tremendous relief for me. My first-time babysitting Autumn full time was okay.  I’m glad Mercy didn’t have to cut their vacation short.

“It seems to be a 24-hour thing.” Mercy messaged me.

“I think so. I’m glad it was a 24-hour thing.” I returned the message.

The remaining days, we went to the park, the library, and walked around the neighborhood.

4.IMG_4602

5.IMG_4651

6.IMG_4574

Mercy and Will had a fabulous trip. We exchange messages and photos many times a day. They got home in the late evening on their return. Autumn was excited to see Mommy and Daddy when she woke up the next day.

6

Iceland by Mercy Rossi

7

Iceland by Mercy Rossi

 

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #109: Under the Sun

 

Thank you for reading. Wishing you a fabulous day under the sun.

 

 

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Xenia at Tranature is the guest host for Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge this week. She invited us to look at the theme of Sanctuary.

We have been in lock down because of Covid-19 since March 11. The initial projection was to close schools and stores for several weeks. Five months have gone by, we see new surge of cases in many countries. This is an unsettling time of the history.

Xenia’s theme is timely for us to think about and find sanctuary among the chaos.

 

Sanctuary is the tranquility where the mind and soul find serenity and peace. It could be in the ocean, a park, or your garden.

1.IMG_8899

It seems to be miles away but Laguna Lake is in the midst of the residential homes.

1.IMG_20200303_123204

My garden

Sanctuary is the harmony where the chaos, strife, and discords dissipate. It could be somewhere in the forest or the perception through our filtered lenses.

2.IMG_0593

Trees find their way toward the sun at Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is the quietness where the demands, interruption, and disturbance fade away. It could be a bench under a tree or in the depth of your heart.

3.IMG_9886

Benches like this one are facing the water around Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is a resting place where the struggles, conflicts, and confusion subside. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.

5.IMG_20200721_102746

Tucking the head under the wings is a perfect way of napping for the ducks.

Sanctuary is a hobby you emerge yourself in for leisure and pleasure. You may find it in reading, hiking, or fishing. I find mine in singing and painting.

7.IMG_9516

This family enjoyed fishing at Laguna Lake

8.Cacoon Butterfly

My watercolor painting

Sanctuary is a haven where one finds security, love, and care for the young.

8.IMG_1233a

A content mama duck with eight fuzzy ducklings

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

 

I love to hear where you find your sanctuary. Please share with us in the comment. Thank you!

 

 

 

Sunday Stills: #Plant Life in My Garden

This week’s photo challenge by Terri Webster Schrandt is about plant life. Many folks are still limited to where they can go, but we can all walk in our backyards and gardens and enjoy plant life.

Garden is a sanctuary where my soul rests, my mind cleared, my strength renewed, and my heart rejoices. It is a place where I go every morning to listen, listen to the voices of the plants and the small creatures, and listen to the voice within. The garden nourishes my being more than the time I put in it to nourish the plants.

One Daylily plant I have is Wineberry Candy. They are low-maintenance perennial and have showy colors of flowers all summer. The bulbs multiply and I dig up the fresh growth to transplant in various spots.

1.IMG_6109 (3)

Both Lily of the Nile Blue (Agapanthis africanus) and Society Garlic (Tulbaghia violace) multiply continuously. For years, I transplanted the fresh growth to landscape my garden. It turns out the hummingbirds love to suck the nectar of both plants.

4.IMG_6161a

6.IMG_6177b

The Society Garlic is below the Lily of the Nile Blue

This Salvia started out with two-2.5 Qt. plant and has grown into a lush bush. It is the most favorite of the hummingbirds. It is also where the bees congregate. I bought several more pots and planted two pots by another hummingbird feeder in the backyard, and two pots by the plum trees.

2.IMG_5890 (2)

3.IMG_6162b

The always cheerful hibiscus regardless the attention I paid to it yet greets me with the gorgeous bloom every morning.

7.IMG_6112 (3)

 

Have a peaceful Sunday and a wonderful week ahead!

 

Sunday Stills: #Plant Life in My Garden

 

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – The Koala Kingdom

July 11, 2019, prompt: “My kingdom for a koala!” In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a koala in a kingdom. You can create a character out of Norah’s koala and give it a Vermont adventure. Or you can make up a story however you want! Can you pull off a BOTS (based on a true story)? Go where the prompt leads!

Koala

 

The Koala Kingdom

“Welcome to the Round Table. The top agenda today is on Koala.”

“We had that six months ago.”

“I’ve met with Koala King. His concerns are about the millions of acres of their kingdom being destroyed.”

“By the developers for housing?”

“And the wildfires too. There’re no consistent legislation or adequate resources from the government to protect them.”

“What do we do?”

“The researchers suggested upgrading the Koala status from Vulnerable to Endangered. We’ll recommend that the government declaring the Koala habitat a sanctuary.”

“Yes, the Koala Foundations will jointly go to the government for securing the Koala Kingdom.”

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge – The Koala Kingdom

 

 

 

« Older Entries