A Summer Sunrise and Owl

The magic of mornings! 

The first light of Dawn warmed a tree trunk with a soft orange hue.

tree trunks get the light

A brilliant burst shines on one branch!

watching the morning sun shine on the woods

sunlit branch

No sooner than I could adjust my digital companion, the woods lit up like fire!

first morning light

I always feel lucky to be awake at sunrise, but after a long sleepless night, the beauty I saw in all that color was a blessing from nature; a true Green Healing!  I knew I was going to get some good sleep.

As I headed inside to bed, I looked in the other direction, toward the creek, and perched on a tall dead tree trunk was my friend, the Owl!

I couldn’t believe my eyes at first, even though I often see our two resident Barred owls.  Usually, I’ll hear or sense them before I see one, but not on this early summer morning.

The mystical bird hadn’t made a sound and when our eyes literally met, I felt instinctively that it had watched me all along. 

I had an odd feeling that this owl was not one of our residents.  There was an unfamiliar look in its eyes and each time I tried to get a little closer, the bird flew five or six feet away, which is most unlike the owls who live in my corner of woods. 

Perhaps it was one of the resident owls that was merely hungry and not too happy that I was interrupting breakfast.

After my long sleepless night, and then my  having seen the woods slowly come alive in a great orange light, I suspected the owl was a spirit animal.

Whoa!  As I was writing this post,  shortly after midnight, an Owl hooted as loud as I’ve ever heard one from my window!  It was no ordinary hoot either.  It sounded like a happy celebration, and as if the Owl was telling the whole woods about it! 

Barred Owl hissing and hunting

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The Resident Robin Leaves Home

Robin spends Winter in North Carolina

My fat little Friend

Dear Robin,

I’m writing to say thank you for being my Winter guest.  I must say, your sudden departure was a surprise, but what a glorious day it was when out of the blue, Robins surrounded my home! 

I didn’t know much about Robins before you spent the Winter here.  I thought you were going to use my yard for mating in Spring, but I realize now, you were here for the berries.  I felt sad when I first realized that you had left.

I so enjoyed your company, especially during a long and rather lonely Winter.  I even reported my sightings of you here!  Your photo is available to the entire world.  You are as good as famous, my fat little friend!

I’m very happy you found respite from Winter in the green covered branches of the tall Pine and a great aerial view of the Holly from the big Sweet Gum tree.  I noticed your friends liked the view from up there as well.

One Robin Waiting

One Robin Waiting

I was outside today looking at those trees, remembering you perched on the branches in the snow.  They have blooms now.  Things changed in such a short time dear Robin.

You were strong to endure those cold days.  I was proud to have you as a guest and honored as well.  Watching you was a true Winter blessing!

Even as I miss seeing you on the porch rail, guarding the red berries with an intensely continuous keen watch, I am glad you have since joined a flock.  They were certainly a beautiful and energetic group! 

I tried to get a photo of several together, but that didn’t happen.  I couldn’t believe how powerful they each flew when I slowly peeked around the corner of the house. 

The sound of Robin’s wings in flight is a sweetness to the ear!

Robin on Holly berry!

Yummy Holly Berries for Robins!

The enthusiasm you and your feathered friends exuded over the little red berry-filled treasure made me wonder how in the world the other Robins heard about that relatively small tree. 

Did you sing them a message through the wind? 

In less than two days of light, they ate every single berry! 

I bet you are leading them to a special place where your babies will be born. 

Robin, I hope to move before next Winter, so I doubt if we will meet again, but I sure wish you and your feathered brothers and sisters a bountiful Spring! 

Thank you for being my guest.  You brought beauty to my life and graced me with a lesson in acceptance. 

Each time I saw you, which was every day for more than two full moons, there was a Green Healing in my Spirit.

With love, gratitude and admiration, 

Your amateur bird-watching friend,


Green Healing Note:

My friend, the Robin, and the flock it left with, invited me to accept the way of Mother Nature.  Much like my personal life, I cannot expect one thing to happen when something different is in the making.

 Related articles

The Winter Resident

Robin on a cold day in North Carolina

Winter Sighting, American Robin

A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.  ~Chinese Proverb

I watched, as our recent winged visitor, a fat and sassy Robin, walked along the porch railing by the Holly tree.  Big white fluffy snowflakes were falling.   Everything was quiet, except for the beautiful bird songs, both of which I love.

The Robin didn’t seem to mind the snow.  I wasn’t surprised.  He (or she) has guarded the Holly tree and it’s cherished bright red berries since arriving a few weeks earlier.

Holly Berries

Note: I’m not experienced in identifying birds.  I made my best guess that the Robin pictured above is a male that has come to breed.

“Male robins arrive about the time that the average daily temperature is 37 degrees. (This fits the pattern of when the Robin arrived.  The bird also perches in a coniferous tree, with a clear view of the Holly berries).  “During cold or very wet weather, the males grow more silent and concentrate on feeding and taking shelter in thick conifer branches.”

Source: Journey North, American Robin (learner.org)

The above listed site is full of interesting facts and information about the American Robin.  You can take part in, “Winter Sightings,” and learn their five vocalizations.  (Listen to the Robin’s song: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/sounds/RobinSong_LangElliott.mp3).

Worms, please...

A Warmer Day

The Robin has certainly made his presence known to all.  I am quite sure he has claimed, at least temporarily, complete rights to the Holly tree and its bountiful fruit. 

Several species of birds have made it to my porch rail by the Holly tree, but not for long.  The few that ventured into the branches, trying to get a mere berry or two, well…

Without delay, the Robin lashed forth, thrusting his body at theirs.  The birds took flight in haste!

One day, the Red-bellied Woodpecker that’s usually seen in the backyard, visited the Holly tree.  Something was up that day, because all of a sudden, several birds came at once to the tree.

The Robin watched this spectacle, waited for about a minute and swoosh!  He went first for the Woodpecker.   Amazingly to me, that big Woodpecker flew away after one jolt from the healthy Robin. 

The other birds followed the Woodpecker, returning to their backyard haven, safe from the large-breasted Winter resident.

The recent soft snow brought with it a few birds I haven’t seen this year.

Wintery Day

a cold snowy winter day

One of the new birds (below) came to the Holly tree and it did meet the resident Robin on the porch rail.  I don’t think it flew into the tree, but I was able to get a few photos before it left.

snow falls on new visitor

snow falls on new visitor

Winter Birds Visit in SnowI haven’t yet identified the pretty little bird (above).  Do you know the name of this winged visitor?

Thanks for your visit to Green Healing Notes!  Please feel free to comment.  


Sunlit by Rosa Blue
Sunlit, a photo by Rosa Blue on Flickr.

After visiting our dog’s resting place, which we only did for a few minutes because we want to think most about his life and all the joy he brought to us, we were taken by the warm sunlight shining on this old building as we rounded the curve on our way home.

Thank you again, Tiny.  You continue to show us the good parts of life!

2012 in review ~ Green Healing and a Dreamliner

Beautiful Visitors, Thank You!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  I love seeing the posts and photos my beautiful visitors liked most and I hope you’ll take a look too.  Thank You WordPress and especially, the people who made my day a little lighter with your ‘likes’ and for truly enriching my life with your comments. 

See below for link to a Green Healing Memory Lane!

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report (A short trip down Memory Lane)


My Summer Love(s), Baby Turtle (BT) and Frog (Possible Prince Charming), was the Number 1 post in my first year of Green Healing Notes!

Serendipity, again!  The comparison of this blog to a Dreamliner is perfect! From Wikipedia:  “Boeing states that it is the company’s most fuel-efficient airliner and the world’s first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction.  According to Boeing, the 787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized 767.” (Boeing 787 Dreamliner)

I look forward to sharing another year with you on WordPress.  Thanks again for your visits!  Wishing You Peace and Joy in the New Year!

With Love, Michelle aka “Lady DogKisses” and on Flickr, Rosa Blue.

Baby Turtle and Frog

Several days of hard rains caused me to wonder about “Baby Turtle” (BT), along with the more senior resident at one of the water gardens, “Frog”.  I’ve observed these two critters many times, but only on warm and almost always, sunny days.

The heavy downpours had slowed to a light mist.  My son and I headed out to visit the gardens.  Sure enough, I saw Baby Turtle right away.  Frog, however, was MIA. 

(Below: Click to see the larger image for the best view of Frog and BT’s habitat).

New Baby Turtle in the Lily Pond (image for Green Healing Notes, the blog)

Baby Turtle’s Home

Shortly after the staff at the Botanical Gardens discovered Baby Turtle, they placed a nice flat rock in the middle of the pond.  Baby Turtle likes the rock, but more often than not, it sits near Frog ‘who’ spends most of the time, at least on sunny days, sitting in the mud or shallow water beside the Bald Cypress.  I imagine the tree is why they like that particular water garden better than the others.

Frog's Face

I don’t know much about turtles or frogs and haven’t spent much time around them until this summer.  Alas.  I’m in-love, again!

New Water Garden Resident Baby Turtle aka BT

BT has a very cute head!

Frog doesn’t mind being in pictures, but BT is much more concerned by my presence than is Frog.  He likes for me to stay at least five feet away, but sometimes my wish for a closer look gets the better of me.  If I’m not careful, BT will take off, chase Frog along the way and they both end up leaving the scene.

Frog and Baby Turtle in Water Garden

I hear Baby Turtle will grow into a very large critter.  I wonder if ‘he’ will always live in those water gardens.  I hope he does, and Frog too.

 Baby Turtle swimming to the rock in the water garden

Above image:  The Real Deal

Another surprise during our visit to the water garden was a creative and fun colored set of sculptures depicting water-wildlife.  My favorite just happened to be the turtle. 

Below images:  Artsy Turtle

Turtle Sculpture

Sea Creatures

Art by the Pond Gardens

We enjoyed our short visit to the gardens. 

Thank you for visiting Green Healing Notes! 

Between Summer and Fall


2012, 25 August

August is almost over.  The days of 100 degree temperatures in North Carolina are most likely gone for the year.  A few leaves are falling.  Pale yellows and a few red ones have blown with the light winds landing on my small front porch, where my little Green Healing garden grows.  Amazing how time goes by when you reach a certain age.

Fall planting has begun in Horticulture Therapy.  We planted Kale and Radish seeds.  The soil is still warm, so these will be good plants to start with.  Both are of a variety that will make for a pretty garden.  The Radish are ‘White Ice Cicle’ and the Kale will have wide leaves that are rather pale in color compared to the more common green varieties.  We’ll enjoy a lovely white (and nutritious) garden if it grows well and I sure hope it does.  The garden always offers hope.

Hand and Seeds for Fall planting

Planting seeds is one of my favorite things to do in a garden.  I think it is also one of the most hopeful tasks, because there are many events that could cause the seeds not to germinate.  The first evidence of germination makes a horticulture heart a happy one!  (Click on an image to view Gallery)

Oarlocks and Tranquility

“I get to row the boat this time,” my son said.

“You better believe you’ll get to,” I answered, nearly gasping at the thought of rowing a boat myself.

We both laughed.  We recalled our ‘wafting’ trip on his eighth birthday.  Almost twenty years ago.  He’d wanted to lead the boat and wasn’t happy when I had to say no. 

He started singing to himself while we got ready to go.  I haven’t heard him sing in a long time. 

I wish we had gone in a Canoe, which is what we had expected, but our boat had flat sides and square ends.  An old friend was renting the boats and had offered us a free entrance to the lake.  He and I were once Cub-Scout Den leaders together.  I didn’t want to ask for a different boat since he’d been so generous.  Plus, upon reflection, there’s a large chance my son and I would have been IN the water if we’d been in a canoe.  Maybe our friend knew that. 

(I love the images of the water, sky and trees.  As always, they look better enlarged.  Right click/View Image for a closer look).

The Oar

Next time, and I’m hoping there will be one, we’ll definitely get a different boat.  I’ll leave my camera behind and wear a vest.  I felt like I was on a wagon-train built a long, long time ago.  In fact, several times I had visions of being on one.  I was in emotional survival mode.  I felt that if I could make that trip work, then we could get to where we truly need to be.

I hadn’t expected the trip to be frustrating.  I don’t think I would have gone if I had, but as usual, there are always lessons to take from difficulties.

I’d like to return with a few tools in my bag, including an unwavering ability to hold patience and empathy.

Most challenging to my physical senses were the loose and inefficiently positioned oarlock sockets.  The sound of metal against metal interrupted my plan for a tranquil outing on the quiet still water lake. 

Our inexperience meant us working together, which became our next and biggest challenge.  My son and I need to meet at a place in life where we both feel good.  A Mother and Son relationship can be challenging.

Beautiful Still Water

Resting in the Shade

The cloud’s reflection in the water and the love that lives in the heart of my small family, I guess, like most things beautiful and worthy, at times take effort or strong intentions for us to see and feel them.

I thought the day had been a complete failure, other than the short time we sat listening to the sound of the still water.  A Tiger Swallowtail came fluttering by and we drank cold orange sodas.  We did laugh and have some fun moments.

We talked after we got home.  My son explained his reluctance to be more cooperative with me when we had such trouble with the heavy oars.  I hadn’t understood that his way of coping was out of utter frustration.  I’m grateful that he talked to me and I really do look forward to another chance. 

I learned a few things, one of which is that I need to calm down.  Also, when two people are rowing the same boat, you absolutely must be headed in the same direction.

Air and Water


Next time, I’ll be more ready, however I may not get any photos 😉

Thanks for visiting Green Healing Notes!

Winged ~ Perched and In Flight

Skippers perched drinking nectar and a little hummingbird on the way.

Silver-spotted Skipper and a hummingbird on the way!

(Right Click / View Images for a Closer Look)

It was the hummingbird I was looking for when I walked over to the flowering gardens and met up with a zealous group of butterflies, which I believe were Silver-spotted Skippers.  What a fun group of butterflies!

The Skippers may not seem as spectacular as the bright Zebra Swallowtail or awe-inspiring like the Monarchs, but these winged friends are very playful.  They fluttered and flitted to and fro, hovering only briefly and often gathering together on a single flower.

According to Geyata Ajilvsgi, in my all time favorite Butterfly reference book, Butterfly Gardening for the South, these winged garden friends are, “pugnacious in character and will attack just about anything in its range, especially other butterflies, no matter which species they happen to be”  (pg 150).

I would never have guessed that what I thought was simply a family  generously sharing in their source of energy, might instead have been a combative rivalry.

Butterfly Images "Silver-spotted Skippers" drinking sweet nectar

I’ve missed a few Horticulture Therapy group gatherings, but I’ve tried to keep  a connection with the gardens by visiting.  The images I come home with help me remember the Green Healing moments in time.

Image of Skipper Butterfly "Green Healing"

Thanks for visiting Green Healing Notes!

Works Cited:

Ajilvsgi, Geyata. 

     Butterfly Gardening for the South. 

     Dallas, Texas: 

     Taylor Publishing Company, 1991.


The Audubon Society Pocket Guides.

     Familiar Butterflies, North America. 

     New York:

     A Chanticleer Press Edition

     Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.,  1990.

Sunflowers, Plant People, Big Color

Well, I’m back sooner than expected to share more Sunflower photos.  I really can’t help myself.  If I wasn’t tired, which I am, I’d give fun names to the ones I saw today!  I guess some folks might think if you’ve seen one Sunflower, then you’ve seen them all, but today only strengthened my personal observation that each one is unique.

Note:  Click on images to see the original size.

Drop Dead Red Sunflower, Green Healing Notes Blog Images

My friend and I had gone to the gardens to have lunch under the naturally vine-crafted Gazebo by the herb garden.  I thought it would be cool spot to sit, but I used all except one napkin for wiping the out-pour of sweat on my body, and I had on a summer dress! 

I may be a mountain woman in my heart, but I’m not sure.  We lived in the mountains when I was a toddler, but soon moved to the Piedmont area of North Carolina, which is where I’ve spent most of my life.  We’ve always had rather hot and humid summers in NC, but they’re hotter now than they were twenty (or so) years ago.  I later moved to the mountains with my teenage son.  After living there for several years, I learned that I like temperatures around 72 degrees.  We had to move back to the Piedmont area for medical reasons, but I’ve never forgotten those beautiful blue hills.  I’ve regressed.  Back to Sunflowers…

Sunflower Green Healing Images, Drop Dead Red

My friend, Camila, who is also a volunteer in Horticulture Therapy at the Botanical gardens, was watering the Sunflowers when my friend and I arrived for our lunch outing. 

Camila likes the heat.  I salute her for enduring it because she is now solely responsible for tending the Horticulture Therapy gardens, which includes the Sunflowers.  Yay for Plant People, especially ones who volunteer their time.

As much as I love the ‘Drop Dead Red’ variety of sunflowers, an amazingly large yellow one in the back of the garden overlooking the hill and the woods where the nature trails are was most worthy of our attention.

Camila had earlier tied the plant’s thick stem to a bamboo pole.  “That one is so big it was falling down,” she said with a loving little laugh.  We’re a lot alike in our love for the Sunflowers, as for all plants.

Yellow Sunflower and Woman


Green Healing Sunflower Images in Yellow

Is that a hummingbird hovering above? 

I think perhaps the big bloom (above) is prepared for a special event.  I mean who knows what goes on in that garden when the humans are sleeping and the Moon is shining.  For all I know they have parties and beauty contests!  I especially like the blown petals with fashionably curled tips on the big one with a very heavy head (above), but I must say, they were all beautiful!

Below is the tallest flower in the garden, not yet blooming, and Camila, a special one of the Plant People.

Beautiful woman standing in Garden of Sunflowers

The Horticulture Therapy group is harvesting Watermelons today, so I gotta go!

Thanks for viewing my Sunflower and Plant People images!

A Sunflower Summer

Every Sunflower I see has a different personality.  I love each one of them!

Big Yellow Sunflower

This Sunflower is a surprise from last year’s seeds at the Botanical gardens.  It stands alone and wonderfully tall by the back corner of a building.  I especially like this beauty because it’s taller than the others and when my dog and I hike along the nature trail below, I can see it smiling down on us from the hill where it lives.

I’d like to share more Sunflower images with you because they’re all lovely, but life is demanding me to be elsewhere much of the time lately.  I hope to have more time for blogging in the very near future.

Thanks for visiting Green Healing Notes!