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The 7 Wonders Of The World August 15, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness, Nature.
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42 comments

If asked to list the 7 wonders of the world, most people would include at least a few of the following:

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1. Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. Great Wall of China
7. St. Peter’s Basilica

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On further reflection, perhaps we might revise the list to include:

IMGP1676a1.  Seeing

2.  Hearing

3.  Tasting

4.  Touching

5.  Smelling

6.  Laughing

7.  Loving

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  E-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Free of Charge! July 23, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, Nature, Synchronicity & Mystery.
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41 comments

IMGP1097bLike the sun, our inner spark never dies.

Sometimes we can’t sense the flame because it’s obscured by the “clouds and fog” of daily living.

Battered and bruised by a barrage of distractions, we become limp with nothing to fill our sails.

The whisper of the wind or the wash of waves on the sand may be all it takes for us to soar again.

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Nature recharges our batteries.

Free of charge!

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Even when we are grounded.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Related: Keep Close to Nature’s Heart (Find Your Middle Ground)

Bok Tower Gardens June 25, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
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45 comments

Early May, we drove across state to Bok Tower Gardens, a national historic landmark in Lake Wales.

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Established in 1929 by Edward W. Bok as a gift to the American people, the 50-acre garden was designed by noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

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The acres include ferns, palms, oaks, pine, flowering foliage, fountains, and wide expanses of manicured lawns.

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This flower waved at us from its shady perch . . .

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This plant’s radiant spikes caught our attention . . .

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Here’s some perspective on the size of its spikes . . .

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In the midst of the greenery stands the 205-foot-tall marble and coquina Singing Tower.

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Each day, a carilloner climbs into the tower to present a concert on the 60-bell carillon.

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The bells range in size from 22,000 pounds to 12 pounds.

After the tower’s construction, the bells got lifted into position through an opening now filled with this sundial.

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The grounds include a Visitor Center and Museum with changing art exhibits and a 9-minute introductory video about the Tower and the Gardens ~> an air-conditioned oasis on the HOT day we visited.

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The gardens are quiet, peaceful, and contemplative, especially when the carillon’s peals ring out from the Singing Tower.

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The site also includes Pinewood Estate and Gardens ~ a one-of-a-kind 1930’s Mediterranean style home surrounded by rolling hills and crowds of blooms.

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Wandering a remote path near Pinewood Estate, we found a baby scrub jay out of its nest.

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After giving it water and building a lean-to to shield it from the sun, we returned to the 20-room mansion to alert a director ~ she hoped to find someone knowledgeable enough to save the baby bird.

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Also on site ~ a Gift Shop, a Plant Shop, and the Blue Palmetto Cafe.

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After admiring the sights and sounds while walking 2-3 miles around and around the grounds with the blazing sun beating down, we climbed into our air-conditioned chariot for the ride home.

Aah . . . that’s better!

And now a few quotes for the Three Quote Challenge (thanks, Sylvia!):

* The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul. ~ Alfred Austin

* My family lived off the land; summer evening meals featured baked stuffed tomatoes, potato salad, corn on the cob, fresh shelled peas and homemade ice cream with strawberries from our garden. With no air conditioning, the cool porch was the center of our universe after the scorching days. ~ David Mixner

* If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

If you want to play along, consider yourself nominated.  Then swing by Another Day in Paradise to see how many rules I failed to follow.

There’s A DAY For That! June 5, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Bulletin Board, Humor, Nature, Special Events.
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40 comments

Today is National Donut Day!

Yay!

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It’s also World Environment Day which, for whatever reason, donut seem to stir up the same level of enthusiasm as National Donut Day.

At the ArchIf you donut read this in time to plan a suitable celebration, donut worry, there are lots of other days to celebrate this month:

June 6: National Trails Day

Dedicated by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day is a celebration of trails, when people across the nation take to the trails while hiking, biking, horseback riding, paddling and more.

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June 8: World Oceans Day

June 15: Nature Photography Day

June 18: Go Fishing Day

June 18: International Picnic Day

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June 21: First Day of Summer

June 21: Daylight Appreciation Day

June 26: Canoe Day

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Aah . . . that’s better!

From See To Shining See May 21, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Mindfulness, Nature, Word Play.
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44 comments

Florida is not all blue skies and palm trees.

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We also enjoy pink spring blossoms.

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Framed by palm fronds.

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And budding families of Sandhill Cranes.

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Brilliant reds dot the landscape.

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While Great White Egrets patrol for lizards al fresco.

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Gardens may be a wild riot of competing colors.

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Or a single shade of shade-loving ground cover.

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That’s why I keep my eyes open when prowling from see to shining see!

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Here . . . see for yourself:

Aah . . . that’s better!

Creating A Zen Garden May 13, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Mindfulness, Nature.
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36 comments

Ego’s appetite for accolades, approval, acclaim, acknowledgment, applause, admiration, etc., etc., etc., is insatiable.

The bigger it gets, the more often it asks to be fed.

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It is up to us to cut it down to size.

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Allowing the rest of the garden to emerge from shade to sunlight.

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TIP:  To remove tenacious roots, use a bulldozer.

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Once we evict overgrown and overblown tenants, we can replant.

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Mulching new blooms with care to prevent weeds from taking root.

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Buoyed by success, we expand our efforts to encompass other beds.

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Transforming a landscape of uncontrolled chaos into an oasis of peace.

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Aah . . . that’s better!

3 Pelicans & A Spoonbill May 5, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Amazing Animals, Humor, Nature.
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42 comments

A wonderful bird is the Pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belly can.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week!
But I’ll be darned if I know how the hellican?

~ Dixon Lanier Merritt

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Like other snowbirds, pelicans flock to the region during season to commune on our lagoon.

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The resident snappy dressers, Roseate Spoonbills, happily share space with their snack happy northern cousins.

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As they glide across the mirrored surface of lakes, ponds, and lagoons, well-pouched pelicans scan for fish, dipping nets at the ready.

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Snatching fish in shallow stocked ponds is a *SNAP* for these sushi loving birds.

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As each fish gets scooped up and swallowed down, a resounding *SNAP* from the pelican’s pouch echoes across and around the pond.

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With every snatched snack, these voracious visitors smack their lips, keeping count in song:

100 tasty fish in the lake
100 tasty fish
I grab one out
And “SNAP* it about
99 tasty fish in the lake

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Spoonbills, in contrast, are less obvious in appetite as they silently sweep, swirl, and sift through silt at water’s edge:

The roseate spoonbill spends a lot of its time in shallow water feeding. It sweeps its open bill from side to side in the water to sift up food like small fish, shrimp, mollusks, snails and insects. It has touch receptors in its bill that help it feel its prey. Like the flamingo, the roseate spoonbill’s pink color comes from the food it eats. Some of the crustaceans it eats feed on algae that give the spoonbill’s feathers their rosy pink color. 

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Spoonbills don’t sing silly fish songs . . . but they do practice Tai Chi and Yoga.

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A good after-meal S~T~R~E~T~C~H aids digestion.

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Worst First Date February 21, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Joke, Nature, People.
Tags: , , ,
52 comments

Brian-Oh-NoWhen Jay Leno asked audience members to share embarrassing first dates, this story took the prize:

I had the worst first date ever.  My date took me skiing in the mountains outside Salt Lake City, Utah.  The outing was fun, until we started for home.

Driving down the mountain, an hour away from the nearest rest room, in the middle of nowhere, nature called.

I realized I should NOT have had that extra latte.

After holding it as long as I could, I asked him to stop the car so I could go beside the road.  As soon as the car stopped, I jumped out, ran behind the car, yanked my pants down, rested my butt against the rear fender, and let go.

My date stood at the side of the car watching for traffic.

TimonDespite the embarrassing nature of the situation, all I could think about was the relief I felt.  Finished, I bent to pull up my pants and discovered my cheeks were glued to the car’s fender.  Thoughts of tongues frozen to metal flagpoles came to mind as I attempted to disengage my exposed flesh from the icy perch.

When I told my date I needed assistance, he came around the car and burst out laughing at the sight of me freezing my butt off!

After we stopped laughing, we figured out the best way to free me . . . I looked the other way while he unzipped his pants and peed my butt off the fender.

As the audience screamed with laughter, Leno said, “This gives a whole new meaning to being pissed off.”

Mickey-and-Minnie-kissHow did the date end?

Her date became her husband and was sitting next to her on the Leno show.

Aah . . . that’s better!

E-mail from an unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Has a first date ever pissed you off?  :mrgreen:

Related articles:  Frozen Assets (Snopes) * Rumors (TruthorFiction.com)

How To Cripple A Butterfly January 4, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Life Lessons, Mindfulness, Nature, People.
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46 comments

Mickey-DiverIf we rush to comfort a baby every time he cries, he doesn’t learn to comfort himself.

If we toss a “fish” every time someone’s hungry, they won’t learn to fish for themselves.

When we rush to empathize or sympathize every time someone has a “hang nail,” we are training them to look to OTHERS to meet their needs rather than looking WITHIN for guidance.

We are encouraging them to share every minor annoyance and aggravation in their lives because it “feels good” to get attention from others . . . and we can give ourselves a pat on the back for “being there” for them.

We need not refrain from helping others when they really NEED help, but we may do more harm than good if we rush to help without allowing others the time needed to process things.

ButterflyThe best way to cripple a butterfly is to interfere with its efforts to emerge from the cocoon.

Our struggle to emerge is part of the path.

 Aah . . . that’s better!

A Sense of Wonder January 2, 2015

Posted by nrhatch in Animal Welfare, Books & Movies, Life Balance, Nature.
Tags: , , , ,
42 comments

As Rachel Carson considered the impact of pesticides and DDT on the environment, she realized she did not want to undertake a writing project of that magnitude, but she knew the book needed to be written.

When every author she contacted declined to get involved, she decided to write an article, just that.

As she researched, the material grew.  She contracted to write a short book, and allocated 7 months to the project.  Two and 1/2 years later, she was still researching and hadn’t started writing.

A year before her death from cancer at the age of 56, Silent Spring was published.

The chemical companies were outraged and lambasted her.  She was called a paranoid old woman.  She was likened to Joseph McCarthy and his “witch”hunt.

It was publicity her publisher could never have afforded.

President Kennedy assigned a task force to look into the effects of DDT and other pesticides on the environment.

The EPA was born.  DDT was banned.

Rachel Carson continued to make speeches, addressing audiences about the dangers until shortly before her death in 1964.

Some authors create ripples.  Rachel Carson started a tidal wave.

Aah . . . that’s better!

“Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?” ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

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