Saturday, October 30, 2021

Happy Halloween.... And Pumpkin Planning Ahead for November!

Have a mighty keen, safety scene, candy cuisine, super duper Halloween!

Be safe out there this Halloween weekend!

Come Monday....

Haunted houses will have shuttered their doors.

Pumpkin patches will be harvested and sit empty.

Ghosts and goblins will float away on to vacation.

Jack-o'lantern lights will have all blown out.

Countless costumes will have been tucked away for another year.

And candy bowls have only scraps of wrapper left inside.

....Welcome to November. 

With the weekend festivities, November is a mere calendar flip ahead. Once Halloween is behind us, nature will start to settle in on your jaunty jack-o'lanterns. If the weather is warm, it might speed up the decomposition process, leaving you with a wrinkly version of Grandpa Pumpkin Jack. 

Rather than just toss your decaying, done pumpkin in the trash where it will land in a landfill, why don't you check out some of these ideas, fresh from Proptalk: Chesapeake Bay Boating. Be sure to click this link to learn more! (Unpainted pumpkins only for these reduce, reuse, recycle ideas.)

  1. Compost it.
  2. Turn it into a planter (great for an uncarved pumpkin).
  3. Make it a "snack-o'lantern" for backyard birds.
  4. Set out unseasoned seeds for treats for your yard critters.
  5. Plant your own pumpkins for next year with those seeds.
  6. Chunk down your pumpkin for your four legged backyard buds.
  7. Make your own roasted pumpkin seeds.
  8. Bake to create a serving bowl for your Thanksgiving themed events ahead.
For some fun ways to ready your pumpkin for the compost heap, check out Treehugger's "How to Host a Pumpkin Smash (And Compost Jack-O’-Lanterns)." A "pumpkin smash" might be just the fun you need way to get any frustrations out that's been stockpiling during this crazy Covid pandemic time! 

Images created at

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Ode to Cheat Lake

Earlier this month we had a 3 day weekend. 3 day weekends bring about the magic of that bonus time. More time to sleep, rest, and just “be.”

I found myself on that beautiful 3rd day basking in unseasonable warm 80 degree autumnal weather. Taking in the early sign of fall, soaking in the sun at Cheat Lake Park in West Virginia, I found myself feeling a little nature-fixed, inspired, and poetic:

hanging leaves, tipping the tops of trees, transforming from their summer green.

Healing body in the warmth of the October sun, breathing in the view.

Eager for time to stand still while surrounded by the panoramic beauty.

glow, lightened, and a-livened by the sun dancing on the water, slowing my breath.

Touched by the slightest of breezes, enamored by the serenity of the scenery.

ooking around at the vista that surrounds, I am 

Abundantly filled with grace, gratitude, and tranquility. I am

Keenly aware of this moment in time, and how
Each day these leaves will redden, yellow, orange, and fall—shifting deeper into the crisper, cooler, later season of Fall.

For that reason, we must soak it in while we can, sitting in the stillness, taking in the moment.  

Catching it before it moves on.

Pictures from my camera.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

'Tis the Season to Be Carving

Every day of October is one day closer to Halloween. It's a different kind of "decking the halls" than you do in December, but one that a lot of people do. Finding that perfect front porch pumpkin then carving it into a work of art is a big part of the Halloween season.

If you still haven't found the perfect pumpkin carving plan, here are some resources that may spark inspiration!

Carving Resources:

The National Park Service has issued a Park Pumpkin Carving Challenge, complete with print-friendly templates and photo gallery so you can step up your carving game!

The Pumpkin Lady has a slew of free templates too. You can click through multiple pages of images and ideas, all listed alphabetically and many inspired by nature. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the "Show me the Pumpkin Carving Patterns" at the bottom, then click through all the options until you find the template that suits your taste.

No Carve Options:

Let natural finds from the woods or your backyard serve as inspiration by using Fireflies & Mudpies "No Carve Nature Pumpkins" with these no carve ways to deck out your pumpkin into something special.

Image from

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Fall Foliage 2021

Leaf Peeping. Color Touring. Finding (and photographing) the fall foliage.

Chasing the colors of the leaves is a real thing.

Here in later mid-October, the peak times for fall leaves hitting their prime for colors is starting to shift from north to south, with many areas already surpassing their peak season of colors.

But fear not, in many places it is not too late. Additionally, color variations often depend on the temperatures and amount of precipitation of the summer and early fall. Not to mention, later dates land the further south you travel.

Click the link for The Farmer's Almanac to check out the state-by-state-show-the-date chart for 2021. For me in Maryland, it looks like peak season is this week! Check out this chart and plan accordingly to set your sights on the vibrant colors of fall. (Here's a screenshot of this year's peak dates from their website.)

Banner created at Screenshot from

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Climate Change + Gender Equity = Global Solutions

More and more I'm running across items that directly showcase environmental concerns as social justice concerns. The interconnectedness is undeniable.

In this January 2019 TED Talk, Katherine Wilkinson, who worked on Project Drawdown to draw down atmospheric emissions, highlights the importance of gender equity at helping to make a significant difference with climate change. In her opening remarks, she said that two powerful things are on the rise: global warming and women and girls. Of course, in 2021, this feels dated given that this talk was just 2 months prior to major onset and shutdowns due to Covid. However, I believe very few things in her speech would change today, other than moving the number of global impacts up to 3 things in order to include the Covid. This pandemic has been another major impact on environmental injustice. 

In her talk "How Empowering Women and Girls Can Help Stop Global Warming," Katherine details just that. She showcases the power of a more equitable world and how it's benefits are far reaching. Let's be bold, as she suggests, and seize the opportunity to be in this together to achieve global solutions to our climate crisis. 

Video from, Image from

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Blue Mind to the Rescue

The day I wrote this, I had a really crappy day. One of those body shaking moments where I felt like I was going through my skin, bouncing out of my mind due to a "mood most foul." I needed to escape—and I probably needed to eat.

So I escaped to an area restaurant, one I'd purposely chosen for its water view. Luckily it was a downright gorgeous day. Outdoor seating called my name. I needed to neutralize my stressed "red mind," decompress, take hold of myself, take on some healthy food, and get in touch with my #BlueMind. Grab hold of a little #VitaminN. Breathe and chill.

Water does indeed have the ability to wash away some of what ails you. It slowed my breathing and my heartbeat. It helped me get through the mental and emotional exhaustion of the moment. 

Sometimes a change of perspective and a little time away can do wonders!

Thank you water for rescuing me.

Images from my camera.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Survival of the Fittest

We can thank Charles Darwin and his evolutionary theory for enlightening us to the concept of "survival of the fittest." (Frequently it leads me to think of Social Darwinism and how that same concept is at play, but I digress.)

The survival of the fittest is still at play today as animal adaptations are still underway, as Katie Hunt shares in her Sept. 7th CNN article "Animals Are 'Shape Shifting' in Response to Climate Change." Highlighting research from Australia (which is featured in the journal Trends in Evolution and Ecology, Hunt shares that some of the "shape shifting" include:

  • Beaks, wings, legs, and ears for some animals are getting bigger to help deal with the heat and regulate their body temperatures as global temperatures continue to rise. (Birds in particular.)
    • The Australian parrot's beak size has increased an average of 4%-10% during the 150 years between 1871 and 2021.
    • Shrews and bats have also been following suit with their ear, tail, wings, and leg sizes.
  • Some species are getting smaller. Smaller body mass holds less heat.

There is some question about causality and correlation--are the adaptations truly survival-related, are they just happening simultaneously, and are they positive or negative changes? Sometimes there are just too many variables. But evidence has shown it is a growing phenomenon. 

Time shall tell, and may prove Darwin right!

Quotes from

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

How is it October?

Every day the world keeps turning, spinning on its axis, traveling around the sun. 

Never is it more evident than when seasons begin to change. Same too with that monthly flip of the calendar. Last week with that flip to October and seeing the holiday decorations appear at school, it hit me harder than usual. In pondering the reason, it's probably because of the settling into school and the lingering of pandemic lifestyles. We've lived a lot outside, and the fall where I live is shaping up beautifully, but those outdoor experiences are starting to feel numbered. 

But, the comment in my image above struck me: autumn is the season that us that shows us that change can be beautiful.  We often get stuck in the quagmire of fear and the vulnerability or discomfort that is associated with change. But it is with this seasonal shift that we can take notice of the bounty:
  • Scampering squirrels, tucking away their treasure trove of nutty treats.
  • The color blast of reds, yellows, oranges, and browns adorning our trees.
  • The changing temperatures, still warming us under the sun, but refreshing breezes that tame the day.
  • The crispness in the air that are a welcome relief to summertime humidity.
  • The warmth of flannel, fleece, sweatshirts, turtlenecks, jeans, and snuggling under blankets.
  • Fireside chats by backyard bonfires with warm beverages.
  • Migratory birds making way overhead, squawking as they head to warmer territories.
  • Apples and pumpkins, cocoa and hot chocolate, flavors and colors that have been missing for the year.
  • Festivals that crop up that have us basking in it all.
Given the wealth that surrounds, it's time to soak all of the sights and sounds of the season while we have it! 

Image created using my photo of the school decor that greeted me this week, created at

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Continuing to Make a Difference, One Act At A Time

According to Wonderopolis, a video goes viral when it tops 5 million views, typically in a very short time and due to multiple shares on social media.

Over 18 million views strikes me as viral. 

This video, posted by Pall Sidgurddson in April 2019, showcases both how pollution in the form of marine debris has impacted nature AND how connected the human and natural world can be. The video details scuba divers helping an octopus replace its plastic cup shell with something far more protective. You can learn more about the dive and experience on Upworthy's article entitled "Kind Scuba Divers Try to Convince a Tiny Octopus to Trade its Plastic Cup for a Shell." This one small act of kindness potentially saved both this coconut octopus and any potential, future predators from consuming that plastic cup. 

One small act of kindness always makes a difference!

Video from