Forsythia Petals and Daffodil

Poems From Oostburg, Wisconsin

The forsythia petals are falling, and they look so pretty on last year’s leaves.  This back garden is wild.

This photo of a daffodil, from the little garden by the back door, is also beautiful.


Photos by Ellen Grace Olinger
May 18, 2015

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Readers’ wildlife photographs

Why Evolution Is True

First, reader Diana MacPherson goes all abstract on us with an artsy photo of a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale):

Here is something completely different…I was trying out my Sony NEX-7 camera with an adapter (metabones) that allows me to use my Sigma (with a Canon mount) macro lens with it. I just wanted to see if I could make it work. The dandelion seeds look like neurons to me.


I have a substantial backlog of great photos from Stephen Barnard, which I’ll release slowly. These are from April 25:

A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) bringing material to the nest. I’ve determined that there are at least two eagle chicks and I have video to prove it. [JAC: We’ve seen it.]


American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) attacking a Cinnamon Teal (Anas cyanoptera):


Reader James Billie sent us some of his local birds:

The turkeys (

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The “most embarrassing moment” contest winner

Why Evolution Is True

When Leo Glenn won the contest with his story about having to bathe nude in a Japanese hot spring with his nether parts dyed bright red from his bathing trunks, he wrote this response (I asked him what kind of cat he’d like drawn in it):

What a thrill to win the contest! Thank you so much for holding it. It was great fun both to enter and to read all of the other entries. Of course, I had already pre-ordered your book, which works out great. Now I will have a loaner and not have to fret about losing the signed copy. This will be our second autographed book of yours. We are proud owners of an autographed copy of WEIT, with a drawing of our cat Baxter, a former World Cat Day honoree on your website. (He was the cat found by the side of the road with a…

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Friday Fun — How to encourage blog comments

Live to Write - Write to Live

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: How do you encourage comments on your blog posts?

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson: I take the direct route: I ask questions (and bold them) to open a dialogue that encourages readers to reply.

wendy-shotWendy Thomas: Ah, and I tend to take the indirect route. I try to create content that is thought provoking and that raises questions within context. I know that reader’s comments are the Holy Grail of blog posts, but it seems like such an artificial measurement of the post’s worth. People comment if they want to, I don’t get bent out of shape if they don’t.

JME5670V2smCROPJamie Wallace: I love to receive and respond to comments. It’s nice to feel like…

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Do you walk in Beauty?


Inspired by Books

UnknownNaive as it sounds, I thought at first that Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild was about hiking.

I love hiking.  Introverted at heart, the idea of walking solo for three months on California’s Pacific Crest Trail sounds glorious to me (although I would prefer staying at a cute bed and breakfast to camping in the rain).  Having wandered through over ten countries with my own pair of boots, the ones on the cover seemed to promise great stories of adventure.  Sort of like Into Thin Air, but hotter and less dangerous.

Yet there is more than mere physical danger in this compelling book, which is not really about hiking at all. Though Strayed does give gripping accounts of backpack disasters and wildlife encounters, this book is really about an internal hike we must all take, at some point, through grief and loss.

Strayed’s decision to make the trek “began before I…

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Welcome Spring

Martha L Shaw - Poet, Writer, Artist

Dark and rainy days

dry ground be satisfied

tulips awaken

By Martha L Shaw – © 4-15-2015


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