Ugly Lovelies

Some things in nature aren’t beautiful. They just are as they are, like ball moss growing on a branch: a plant that is not a parasite (as people often think) but an epiphyte, getting a living by perching on a convenient limb, minding its own business and making its own food. Its roots only cling, […]

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Journaling: Notes From Past Lives 1

I recently celebrated my eightieth birthday, which—in an unexpected way—has given me permission to publicly claim my age and document this part of the journey. (Funny how that works, isn’t it?) In my reflection on times present and past, I began reading through the two memoirs and the many blog posts I’ve written over the […]

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Loving Eleanor Goes to the Movies?

Contest update, Sat. 1/11: Thanks to all the great readers who helped Eleanor come in close to the top of the pack. But not quite close enough. She was overtaken by projects about an Aussie rollerskating champion and an auto racer. That’s Hollywood for you. 🙂 But over 17,000 people visited the site, so Eleanor was seen […]

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Adventures in Research: Becoming a Writer 4

The thing is, I’ve always loved research even more than writing. Which is a curse, really. Plenty of writers simply simply sit down at their computers and spill out stories, their imaginations fired by nothing more than . . . their imaginations. I have a problem with that. It’s my problem, of course. There is absolutely nothing […]

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Whoo-dunnit?

One of the pleasures of living here at MeadowKnoll is the close company of animals, some domestic, many wild. Over the years, we’ve raised cattle, sheep, geese, ducks, peacocks, guineas, chickens, dogs, and cats. Our 31 Hill Country acres are a permanent home to coyotes, raccoons, possums, nutria, foxes, deer, squirrels, snakes, and (unwelcome!) feral […]

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The Tale of the Priscilla Hollyhock

The Hollyhock [Alcea rosea] was once eaten as a pot-herb, though it is not particularly palatable. Its flowers are employed medicinally for their emollient, demulcent and diuretic properties, which make them useful in chest complaints.—Mrs. Maud Grieve, Modern Herbal, 1929 When I was a girl, I loved the frilly hollyhocks that grew along the garden fence […]

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