Image #234 – Blown Away


Wind blown farm in central Kansas
Wind blown farm in central Kansas



The entire country has suffered from this latest bout of “weather”.  It should actually be WEATHER!!!!  So many died in Arkansas from the tornados and who can say how many others died in isolated, small incidents. There were times on Monday when I thought my van was going to be pushed right off the road. I have no doubt that some were.

I had hoped to leisurely tour Kansas and take pictures of the new season. Fields were plowed everywhere which made the dust all the more prevalent in 40-50mph winds.  Pictures were often out of the question. At one point I stopped but could not open the door!! It was a sustained gust and eventually subsided but it removed any interest I had in venturing outside.

I managed a few shots. This one show the grasses bowing before the wind and the light gave the scene an odd, Andrew Wyeth look. Clever stuff, grasses.  They can bend right down to the ground, as these did, and be back proud and tall the next day.  There’s a lot to learn from grasses.  One thing is for sure, both the grasses and the humans are ready for the winds to stop. ❧

Thunderstorms in Kansas

Tango and I are in Salina, Kansas tonight.  It has been a long short day.  I had hoped to visit the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene but the weather had other ideas. About two hours into our drive we encountered this: DSCN1810 That’s my iPad propped up on the car dashboard showing the thunder cell that descended on us as we entered Kansas City, Missouri. We were under the red section at the time. Being from Florida I thought I knew about thunderstorms but this Missouri thunderstorm was incredible. Hard, blinding rain that did not move on nearly fast enough.  I pulled off the road and parked in a hotel parking lot where I sat for almost an hour, eventually stretching out for a nap.

After the rain the winds began and have continued all day. The van, with its cargo carrier on top, was a prime target for wind gusts.  It made for an interesting day.  I was glad that I had planned a short day of driving but disappointed that I did not get to see Ike’s museum. By the time we reached Abilene it was after 4 and the museum closed at 4:45.

Still, the day was not a loss. The heartland is so beautiful right now. The vast fields are lush and green. Coming out of Topeka the road descends into the plains and for as far as you can see the countryside is a patchwork of green and brown. The winds kicked up quite a bit of dust, giving the view a hazy look that made it all the lovelier.

Tango was quite distressed and disoriented with the wind. He was not a happy camper.  The sun finally emerged and I pulled into a rest stop that was nestled into some hills. Here we were protected from the wind for a while and we sat in the sun under the redbud tree watching the traffic go by.

Tango in Kansas



…traffic that included two very large trains. It had been a long while since I had see a train but to see two in a short period time only accentuated the fact that I was in a different place.

Tomorrow we will press on to Denver. The winds are forecast to continue and a planned photo shoot on backroads in Kansas seems less appealing. I’m certain I could not live on the plains. Much too gritty for me. ❧

Image #232 – Kentucky Splendor

Image #232

I’ve completed the first leg of my cross-country trip and I am safely arrived in Columbia, Missouri.  This morning I awoke in Oak Grove, KY, just outside of Ft. Campbell. During the night a storm had passed through and everything was wet and gray. Fortunately the storm was moving east and I was headed west.  The gray skies disappeared after about an hour of driving and the rest of the day was splendid. The spring colors are everywhere, an endless paraded of pinks, mauves, and whites with backgrounds of soft green or coral colored buds.

Yellow mustard plants are everywhere but nowhere as exquisite as this field that I passed not long after entering Interstate 24West.  Farmers plant mustard for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is harvested, other times it is plowed back into the earth, a sort of green manure.  I do not know the intent of this farmer but I am grateful to have seen his crop in full bloom. It reminded me of another spring, 24 years ago, when Robert and I were in Italy. We traveled from Rome to Florence by train and along the way there was acre after acre of mustard plant in full bloom, painting the hills in broad swarths of happy yellow.  All the world celebrates spring. ❧

Image #227 – Tango and the Bronco

Tango and the Bronco

That’s Tango behind the wheel of a classic Ford Bronco.  I chose this picture to inaugurate a new category, Travels with Tango, which will become a staple on this site in coming weeks. Tango will be my co-pilot on a cross-country trip and you can bet there will be lots of pictures.

I’m heading to Oregon for the 8th National Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics sponsored by Patients Out of Time.  I’ll be speaking on the history of the issue at a pre-conference meeting for nurses. There are some great papers that will be presented at the meeting from a number of international researchers. Patients Out of Time has been at the forefront of cannabis therapeutics education and they deserve a lot of credit for their consistent focus on education.

Along the way I will be stopping in Columbia, Missouri to speak at the statewide Show Me Cannabis conference on April 26th and from there I will head to Denver where I hope to meet with many people and learn about Colorado’s medical marijuana program as well as the general legalization that was implemented this year.

Becoming re-engaged in the medical marijuana issue is fascinating and I plan to write about my adventures, what I learn and how I feel about the current state of affairs. For those of you who are interested in this sort of thing I encourage you to visit and follow my other (new) blog Writings of a Medical Marijuana Pioneer.  I want to keep the mellow site that it has become so I will refrain from any medpot postings here. But stay tuned for lots of happy pictures from across this great county.  Oregon here we come! ❧


A Little Help from my Friends

This is a blog from Chris Condello, a young fellow I have been following for some time. He has reached out through his words and pictures but this blog reveals how hard his life can be. Please send good thoughts his way. He is a fragile thread in this weaving we call life but the tapestry is better with him in it.


The following post was not easy to write… before the emails and comments start I have to say that I am alright… I won’t be accepting comments on this particular post… Read it for what it is… A deeply personal piece of art… Enjoy…

TulipSnowfall “Snow on my Dreams of Spring” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – Yesterday… Snow fell from the mid-April skies… Last night… The temperature fell to 21F… Snow is truly falling on my dreams of spring…

PlumChurch “Plum Blossom in a Neighborhoods Bottom” – Second Presbyterian Church of Wilkinsburg – Hay Street – Wilkinsburg, PA – Took a walk through one of the neighborhood food forests the other day… It had to be a quick walk because it decided to start raining the moment I walked out the door… This garden was a project done by a local artist/resident and a few non-profits… And I honestly don’t…

View original post 536 more words

Image #231 – The Small Stuff

Image #231

Spring is about cherry trees, glowing tulips, and forsythia … big, bright things.  But spring is also about very small things. Like this little yellow flower that has popped up all over my driveway. The Roosevelt dime gives you a good idea of just how small it is.  We pass these small things by without a thought. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” we say. But in the time that I was sitting, observing this flower it was visited by multiple flying insects, enjoying its sweet nectar. Those insects moved on to pollinate other, larger flowers and also become a morsel for the many birds that are back and very busy.  The small things feed the big things and make it all happen.  So, it’s okay to sweat the small stuff sometimes. . . .we couldn’t get along without it. ❧

Image #230 – Caesar, the family goose

Image #230

Meet Caesar, the large white goose standing between two of his harem members. Caesar is a Roman Tufted Goose and according to Wikipedia:

The Roman Tufted was developed for exhibition. Due to its small size it is not suitable for commercial meat production, but is well suited for weed control and as a table bird for small families making it good choice for a backyard flock.

“[A] table bird for small families. . .”!!?? Yikes!  Well, this particular Roman Tufted Goose does not need to worry about such a end. Caesar has landed among a harem of three Tolouse geese at Mary’s farm in Sarasota. His job is enviable. He is to provide companionship, protection and, perhaps, an heir. He is a replacement for the recently departed Doodle who was excellent in all three required areas. Mary wondered if any goose could fill Doodle’s . . . webbed feet.  Well, I am happy to say that Caesar has not only met the mark,  he has surpassed it.

When I arrived in Florida last February Mary had only just gotten Caesar and wasn’t quite sure how things would work out.  It’s the old Romeo and Juliet, Tony and Maria thing. Would Tolouse geese accept an, ahem, goose of a different color? Things were a little tense at the start but then Caesar led the gals to the pond and, well, let’s just say that geese like to do it in pond. Love ensued. Eggs were laid… 20+ eggs is the last count I heard.  Of course not all eggs breed chicks but Caesar and the girls are working on that … clearly.

But the best part is that Caesar is a modern dad. Mary discovered him sitting on the nest a couple nights ago. She was quite amazed but we all know that Romans are definite familia-oriented. He is also definitely into protection. He attacked poor Tango on a couple of occasions, nipping his back end and inflicting no pain except for surprise. Tango would run away and Caesar would puff up, extend his wings and, if he could, crow.  But geese can’t crow. They make the most awful noise and it would take one to love one. Thankfully nature, and Mary, has taken care of that.  ❧


Image #229 – Fawn Hill spring

Image #229(3)

I’m back at Fawn Hill in western North Carolina where spring has arrived. You can almost feel the land exhale in a collective sigh of relief. Today it is cool and rainy but on Saturday we had a very nice day with sun and mild temperatures. Tango and I decided to take a walk in the neighborhood.

Image #229 (2)

Green grass is popping up and Potts Branch, the stream in the center of this picture, is swelling with plenty of spring rain.  The old shed up the street from our house seems warmer in the spring air but is still very foreboding to me. I half  expect Jud Fry to walk out. If you’ve never seen the 1955 movie Oklahoma you won’t know what I’m talking about but I can tell you that Rod Steiger made a lasting impression on an eight-year-old girl and smokehouses still give me the willies.

Image #229(4)

But I digress. This is about spring! Nature celebrates spring in many ways and humans follow suit. There are some who make bold proclamations, like these magnificent blooming trees. They are, I think,  bradford pear trees.  I suspect their owners hold their breath every winter, praying that an ice storm won’t take them out. They seem vulnerable on the hill crest but they are beautiful.

Image #229(1)


Lots of people enjoy the forsyth bush. And why not? Anything that screams “Yellow” with such exuberance is okay in my book.

Image #229(2)

And daffodils are always in abundance. The previous owner of our land planted quite a few around the property but they are the miniature variety and most had faded by the time I got back. Down the road a bit, however, I found this great stand.  So many eager faces, they make me think of children vying to be on camera.

Image #229(6)


So many beautiful flowers at this time of year.

Image #229(7) Image #229(8) Image #229(10)








And a final blossom, just peaking out, was found on one of our apple trees. It holds such promise. Yum, I can already taste their fruit. ❧

Image #229(11)


Image #228 – Cataloging Life

Anyone who has ever traveled for an extended period or has a second home knows the anxiety of return. You’ve made all the preparations and you hope that all will be okay when you walk back through that door. But this is life and things happen…things beyond our control.

So it was that I set out on Thursday to return to my home on Fawn Hill in Franklin, North Carolina.  It had been seven weeks since I locked the door and headed south to Florida.  My good friend and neighbor had looked out for things but, still, there was some anxiety. At first things seemed okay. Everything was here, the utilities were working and, most fundamental, the structure was still standing. It wasn’t until the next day that I discovered my home had been invaded.

The invader was not human, mammal or insect.  It slipped into my home under the guise of commerce. It was … they were … catalogs!  OMG, there were stacks of them. Some were old familiar friends — L.L. Bean, Land’s End, Duluth Trading. But the majority, the hordes, were cheap, unfamiliar competitors with cute names like Soft Surroundings or Woman Within. The latter felt compelled to send me two identical catalogs with different covers. There was Viking Cruises with travel tours I will never be able to afford and Serengeti with cute, too cute, stuff I will NEVER need.  A dozen unwanted visitors in seven weeks time.  Here they are.

Seven weeks


I trashed them immediately. Like some unwanted insect that you grind under your heel I cast them into the recycle bin with disdain. I had never asked for them; I had never bought a thing at Maryland Square, Sahalie, Cabela’s or Footsmart (two catalogs!).  Why did they descend on me? Initially I blamed it on a gift received from a friend that was, undoubtedly, purchased from a catalog of this ilk.  Perhaps it was mail list companies that had been informed, courtesy of the U.S. Post Office, that Rita D. died years ago and Alice now lives in her place. The catalogs don’t care. If I’m not here they will happily be received by “Current Resident.”

What a scourge. I awoke in the night and actually found myself thinking about them!  OCD brought on by blind capitalism.  I realized, as the quiet mountain night surrounded me, that I was under attack. It wouldn’t stop with these twelve. They were hucksters and had already sold my name to others. Counter-attack was necessary. Like any invasion you MUST beat them back ASAP.

So this morning I tore off the back covers (one of which admonished me to “Please Recycle”!) and returned each one to the sender marked “Please remove me from your mailing list.”  Will it work?  Probably not at first. Catalogs are like roaches. Keep beating back. ❧

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: