TBGDN's blog

Posted on Nov 13, 2018 2:00 PM

Thumb of 2018-11-12/TBGDN/48b778 Thumb of 2018-11-12/TBGDN/2dcabbChristmas is my favorite holiday. I guess I can blame it on my childhood from the time I began to remember my life. It wasn't a time filled with "glitzy" trees, decorations, bright lights and presents overflowing everywhere. My memories tell me the truth. Childhood taught me to understand reality. And the reality was we were a farm family in the countryside with six children at home. It also made me understand a nasty four letter word called W-O-R-K. I realize this does not sound like a "Christmas" story. But believe me it has everything to do with the holiday, the festivities and celebrations involved. Getting back to the WORK part; we were a family of never ending chores, jobs and challenges. Each child was assigned specific duties according to age and abilities. These ranged from cutting fire wood, feeding livestock, hoeing crops, weeding gardens, hand picking corn, mowing grass, shoveling snow, harvesting potatoes, onions and the list goes on without end. From the age of six I remember performing more than one of these jobs. This was in another era of American life. The time was a late part of the industrial revolution, and before the modernization of farm life. There were no TV's, internet, or many modern appliances. And smart phones were not even on the drawing board then. Forget about digital cameras!

Christmas was a big event. The biggest for me was the school program where each grade level put on a Christmas program for the parents and community. My first participation was in my kindergarten class when we sang "Silent Night". That was well over a half century ago; and to this day that night is still embedded in my psyche. The teachers gave each student a gift; the boys got small pocket knives and the girls got hair brushes or other girl things. (Yes, we knew what gender we were back then!) All were given a small bag of hard candies. (Lord knows that would be an act of terrorism in today's insane world!) I suppose it's a little nutty for an old man to write things like this. Some might see it as an act of senility. Others might say "he's gone off his rocker"! But I say, it is experience based on real lifetime events. And the best part of all are the memories of those long past days.

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Thumb of 2018-11-16/TBGDN/eac899 Thumb of 2018-11-16/TBGDN/728e26 Why then shouldn't we make some new memories at each Christmas season? They would be for our children and grandchildren to make memories of their own to cherish when they are old. Making memories requires action such as Christmas events of all kinds. Below this paragraph are examples of events and items that help foster the Spirit of Christmas in both children and adults. Like my memories listed above, their memories will long be remembered when they are old. (And getting old is a fact of life. We must accept it with honor!) Our children made ornaments using colored paper, glue, photos and string when they were in class. The good part is that each one is now a priceless keepsake.

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Activities like those shown above become treasures that last forever. I realize that I am probably over-doing this Christmas post. As I have stated above Christmas is my favorite Holiday. And yes, I acknowledge some have differing opinions of the season. And yes, I know the season is too commercialized. And yes, there will be those who could care less. And yes, there are those who don't have a clue! The shopping malls and streets are beginning to be over populated with shoppers and crowds. TV commercials are out of control with "alleged bargains". I could write much more about the big snowfalls, the bitter winters and the many hardships my family faced. But all those are for another time; and today is only for good memories.. Are we missing the true meaning of the holiday?


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Christmas, What It Means To Me
Posted on Dec 18, 2017 7:37 AM

What is Christmas? How do others see Christmas? And how could anyone not believe in it? We are all of the human family and cherish certain traditions, beliefs and practices. I will grant that one's environment and culture could have a profound influence on certain beliefs, traditions and lifestyle. As I continue to age I am challenged to understand the enormous changes that have evolved on the world scene. And I feel some changes are less than good or beneficial to mankind! As a child I was drawn to Charles Dickens the English author and his work "A Christmas Carol". At the time the only film version that I can recall was available in 1953 as a young lad. (probably filmed in 1938?) This black & white version starred; Reginald Owen, Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart, (actual husband and wife) Terry Kilburn and Barry MacKay. Somehow when I first watched the film and after reading the novel, I was amazed at how an author in 1843 could transfer a message of hope, faith and charity to a world 100+ years later! His writings were quite simple and easily understood even to children such as myself at that time. His messages seem lost to many in the world of 2017.

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I will attempt to answer my first question above by answering for myself. Christmas to me can be summed up in one word "L-O-V-E". Family first, then neighbors, everyone we meet or come into contact with and people of all walks of life, including nationality, ethnic back ground, and race. If each of us demonstrate acts of concern, care and understanding to our fellow humans then the world would be a much better place. The word "love" must never be treated as something profane, demeaning or derogatory. And let me make known right here, it is not some "phoney"* thought or impulse! The original Greek definitions say it best! It should guide us in our daily lives no matter what. We see in our newspapers, TV news, and internet sources some who degrade, destroy, plant falsehoods and even commit violence to harm innocent people. This is all wicked and horribly wrong. Christmas to me has (and always will be) acts of kindness, promoting care and concern, and doing good to all people! God only knows there is enough wickedness in the world doing great harm. But I submit that by following and doing positive things for others will overcome evil; or at least diminish it!

Thumb of 2017-12-15/TBGDN/6ed5b6We all know a little of world history pretty much. Also known are the unrighteous and horrible acts of violence perpetrated against innocent law abiding people everywhere. Mostly these acts are committed because of hatred, injustice and disregard for human rights. So many things in world history could have been changed if law abiding, positive thinking citizens would have shown more compassion, care and concern! All of these things are opposite of what the word "Christmas" means to me. Let us look at three original Greek definitions for this word called love. The Greek language distinguishes at least four different ways as to how the word love is used. We will look at three. 1. Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē) means love: especially charity. 2. Philia (φιλία philía) means "affectionate regard, friendship," usually "between equals". The third is Storge (στοργή storgē) means "love, affection" and "especially of parents and children". With these definitions in mind I have quoted partially from an ancient Greek manuscript below.

Thumb of 2017-12-16/TBGDN/7c7ad4"If I speak the language of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become useless and vain. And if I understood all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I sacrifice my body & soul, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love endures always and is kind; love does not envy; love does not boast; does not behave rudely, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in wickedness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know (things) partially, but later I shall know just as I also am known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

A final thought for Christmas 2017: This link is for a song which best sums up my complete definition of Christmas. I have lived with its words for over 65 years, and even sang it with my entire Kindergarten class. Of all music in my lifetime it is my utmost favorite. Its beauty and reality cannot be surpassed! I consider it the most beautiful song ever written. It is sung in German and performed in Rotterdam, Holland. MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG EVER and of course Elvis' BEAUTIFUL VERSION

*made-up, false, pretended, etc.

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There's Something About Zinnias
Posted on Sep 4, 2017 7:13 AM

Thumb of 2017-09-04/TBGDN/bafd33 Thumb of 2017-09-04/TBGDN/c7b1feAs far back as I can remember as a child we've always had zinnias in the gardens about the house. These flowers have always been an attractant for insects like bees, and assorted butterflies. In recent years as I have grown older I've tried to recapture some of the memories that I once had as a young lad. These were memories of everyday life on the farm, and in the woodlands, creeks and meadows. Of all the experiences in my life none compare to the happy memories of my childhood. For me those were carefree days of freedom from adult life and the responsibilities associated with it. Plants, animals and all living things were an adventure to be cherished and explored. There was nothing dull or boring about them. These were my "classroom studies" long before the school room and written books. These were happy years when I learned things about nature; things like plants, animals, trees and birds. Each of them held a spell of interest and appeal to me that lasts to this day. Children today miss some of life's simplest pleasures because of lack of environment and encouragement from adults.

But I digress; this post is something to do about zinnias. Oh yes, I guess it's the memories of them from childhood. It is strange how things from a half century or more can enter into the memory of an aging body and bring about happiness. I guess that is the reason I still plant and grow a large assortment of flowers and vegetables each year in my gardens. And I must admit the memories don't help me to keep everything neat and clean and all the weeds pulled. There is so much work associated with my happy memories, not to mention the reality of "real-life" gardening and hard, sweaty, dirty fingernail, grubby WORK that is mandatory for success! Here are some present day pictures that contribute to my "memory file" of 50 years plus.

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I suppose I could not write about these words called "gardening" and "zinnias" without including the four letter dirty word called W-O-R-K. It takes a lot of that word to be successful. And our nation has even set aside a SPECIAL day for us to celebrate our year-long work. It is called LABOR DAY, and is celebrated each September on the first Monday! May you each enjoy the fruits of your labors on this special day!
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A Bird Story
Posted on Jul 22, 2017 7:47 PM

Tom's story of the Birds In A Bucket caught my attention today. The thread "Birds In A Bucket" in Gardening for Butterflies, Birds and Bees forum https://garden.org/forums/view...
Thumb of 2017-07-20/TBGDN/3178b7It reminded me of another bird story a few years back. A storm had ravaged our gardens and trees that summer, and I had gone out to check for damages near dark. Suddenly this near naked little form appeared in front of me lying helplessly on the cold, wet grass. I looked all around and found no nest, and no parent birds. My thoughts were "Oh no, I can't save this tiny bird; it's too small!" With darkness and more storms coming on fast I cradled her in my hands and warmed her with my breath. Looking around for final hope of a nest I took her into the kitchen where I (we, wife now involved) made a nest of tissues and paper towels in a small pail and placed it on the kitchen counter in a warm spot.. She would surely not survive the night we thought.

Thumb of 2017-07-20/TBGDN/b14b72We knew she was a Chipping Sparrow baby since the shrubs around the yard are a favorite habitat, and we've long encouraged them. They are migratory, going south in the winter, and return each spring for summer habitat and nesting. They are seed eaters meaning we had to find something for nourishment if she was to survive. So I headed out to the supermarket to get strained baby foods and a syringe. The next morning we carefully uncovered the "nest" to find this tiny head reaching for us with mouth open. A small amount from the syringe was immediately swallowed by short periods of rest and more faint "cheeps" with raised head and open mouth. To our surprise and relief she made improvements throughout the day and well into the following night. By next morning she was making faint cheeps which stopped only with small bits of food. It was encouraging to see, but never ending feedings and nest cleanings were mandatory.

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This tiny life would be saved, but we worried about her adapting to outdoors and other birds. So the answer was to condition her to other birds and outdoor environment. It would be a big job for this small creature. But we were determined to see it through no matter the cost in time and effort. Over the coming days and weeks we had to treat her as though she was in the "wild" by leaving her outdoors for extended hours, with each day adding longer hours. We grew increasingly worried about attacks from other birds, the possibility of hawks and the risk of cats. But she grew, fledged, and loved the freedom of the open landscape. She would sometimes fly down and sit on my shoulder or lap and ask for food. Then she would hop down on my shoe and pick at some imaginary insect, then off she would fly.

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After several weeks she stayed away longer, and longer; but if she saw us at 200 feet away she would come and greet us. We knew in our hearts she needed to be without us in her now expanding environment. So other than minimal garden work and mowing we stayed out of her world as much as possible. Somehow it was heartbreaking not to be near her, but it was her life that mattered, and that was what we were trying to preserve, not ours.

As summer faded into autumn she eventually failed to return to us again. My only consolation was that my prayers would be answered for her safety in the wild, especially in migration. I was so reminded of the TV story of "Born Free" starring the lioness cub Elsa. I could only imagine what it was like to let an animal return to the wild after intimate contact. I never knew a human being could form such a strong bond to such a small species of bird or other animal. Even now I must force myself to stay away from young animals and birds, knowing that their natural instincts are better than mine. There is only one emotion that I can use to describe the feeling of separation and that is loneliness and heartbreak. And to this day I can still experience that emotion.

Thumb of 2017-07-23/TBGDN/c614afHello, and welcome to my blog. I am known here simply as TBGDN (tall bearded iris garden)This story is true and occurred more than seven years ago; and it remains a part of my memory to this day. The most important point I can make from this experience is to always show compassion, concern and care for nature's creatures, especially the little ones. But there is also another emotion of the human heart that tells us not to get so deeply involved in nature's work! That is so difficult for someone like me who spent a childhood in the fields, woodlands and streams among every part of nature! Whenever I need to make a decision of this sort in preservation of wildlife I try my best to follow the laws of the area where I live. But when there is immediate danger of loss of life, then I must let my heart make the final decision. By no means does this mandate what others must do in similar situations. We are all put together differently in body, mind and spirit. Each of us must follow our own conscience.

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Irises In Indiana May, 2017 Part Six
Posted on May 29, 2017 7:19 PM

May 29, 2017 It is Memorial Day week-end and things have been very busy. There is garden work of all kinds including, weeding, planting, tilling, de-bugging, etc. etc. This post is concerned with irises and likely will be the last one for 2017. The medians and dwarfs were a disaster this year because of up and down weather patterns. And now that the tall bearded ones are about done we get slammed by a series of storms with driving rain, hail and high winds. Long story short: Nasty, bad weather all spring! The last one was Sunday evening about 6:32 PM when everything cut loose; thunder, lightening, strong winds, hail and I don't know what else! I thought the west windows would break from the pounding hail. Needless to say, that put a stop to my iris season for 2017. Everything was either shredded, blown down, or snapped off.

I'll look for pre-storm pictures when time permits. Meanwhile I'll close out the iris season with this blog post. It will become a record of what happened and when. It just was not a good year, but we march on!

Pictures of Vanity before and after the storm
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May31, 2017 Today marks the end of May, and June will soon arrive on our doorsteps. It has been somewhat frustrating this month caring for and protecting iris plants. With the frustration comes the reward of all the beautiful blooms, as well as gifts to friends, elderly and just plain people. I did look (and find) a few pictures that I had taken before the bad storms of Sunday evening, May 28th. I'll post them here just for the record, and just because they were part of my garden this year in 2017.
Below are Silverado, Sierra Grande & Song of Norway
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Then there were these three, Holy Night, Heartbreaker, and Starship Enterprise
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I cannot close out the year without adding these: Presence on each side of Harlem Hussy. They are all excellent quality irises.
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