Kristi’s Book Nook reviews my book about butterfly

New Ventures Garden Seminar

Kristi’s Book Nook reviews my book about butterfly.

Cassie and I exhibited the book and sold many copies at the New Ventures Garden Seminar at Northwood School, Minong, in March 2012. Cassie is the model for Sarah Reynalds, the girl in the book.

You can read the review at

Enjoy Insectamonarca friends wherever you are.


Friends and Visitors come to see me while in DC metro area

Friends and Visitors come to see me while in DC metro area. This is a short piece about my trip to Southern Maryland to speak and network about my book.

Orchid Mystique – Nature’s Triumph

Orange orchid
Orange orchid

I was in Washington, DC, the first week in April 2012. One of my favorite flowers is the orchid. Orchids were on exhibit. I felt privileged to be drowned in the beauty and fragrance of orchids. All time slipped away. I even forgot my companion who was with me and had to page her. I just sort of wandered off.

The annual orchid exhibit, in collaboration with Smithsonian Gardens, features orchids from around the globe.

A visit to tranquility
A visit to tranquility

Some of the orchid gardens exhibit the tranquil setting evocative of Japanese gardens.

Near the refection pool, I felt overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounded me. Inticing fragrances wafted the air and drew me in.

Then a walk in the Japanese garden was a moment of introspection. How could I have moved from a few blocks away from my favorite United States Botanical Garden to far away Calvert County, MD in December 1994? It was a time when my husband’s federal career moved to the suburbs and it was no longer feasible to live in the city.

How I missed seeing and swelling the intoxicating blossoms.  There was a time when I saw orchids in the wild, when I lived in South America in the 1970s.

I used to see this orchid on trees in Venezuela and Colombia when I lived there in the 1970s.
I used to see this orchid on trees in Venezuela and Colombia when I lived there in the 1970s.

Princess Diana is remembered with orchids. There is an orchid named for her.

Princess Diana Red Baron Orchid
Princess Diana Red Baron Orchid

This orchid is called Red Baron for the princess who gave her heart to humanity.

Time is so fleeting. Tears well up as I remember how blessed I was to live the life I dreamed. Since I was a child, I wanted to go to South America. As a young woman I did. I found work abroad so that I could live there.

Like this orchid, I am fading too. I turn 67 years old on April 30.  Going back to DC reminded me that I really did  live the life I wanted to experience. Nothing lasts forever, my grandmother always told me. Why our spirits feel so young in an aging body is beyond my understanding.  I am grateful for everything. Even the bad times taught me something valuable. I am writing more in this later years because I know this is a way of staying connected.

Be well insectamonarca friends where ever you are.

While away – a wild creature moved in

woodchuck Google photo
woodchuck Google photo

Woodchuck (Marmota monax). Also known as groundhog and marmot.

Well, I am back from DC but still not up to stuff.  A few days ago I noticed a fuzzy medium-sized animal in a tree. He was grabbing small, lime green colored leaves to eat. I thought to myself, “Isn’t he a sweet looking animal.” I called my sister in MA. She thought it might be a woodchuck. It turns out it is. Copyright photo is by Marg Rines. Photo was on Goggle.

Today, I was out in the back yard when he popped his head out of the den. I said hello softly and walked away slowly. Within a matter of minutes he came outside of his den and then made a dash to his home again. I can watch him from the house. He appears to be enjoying the grass which I haven’t cut so far this season. I am working on creating more prairie and less lawn. First thing I need to do is get the fence up so the Minong Senior Center next door won’t mind my sustainable way of living.

Last year after the blow-down of 100 mph winds tore up the 1/2 acre around the house, I decided to turn the property into an edible landscape and wildlife habitat. Never did I dream that I would be gone only one week to Washington, DC, and a new neighbor would move right in.

I hope we can coexist together and that we won’t find each other a bother. I did some reading up on my new neighbor. He likes to eat grass, clover, and other forbs. Sometimes a woodchuck will eat insects and small birds.  I sure hope he doesn’t take a liking to my crop gardens. I also hope he doesn’t tear up the whole back property. I understand that he does have a deep den and an escape route. I think I saw the escape hole. I had already turned this area into prairie with native wild roses and chokecherry trees in 2011.

A few years ago photo of campfire pit with my dog Tia
A few years ago photo of campfire pit with my dog Tia

If any of you out there know more about the woodchuck, I sure would appreciate a few words from your own personal experience. I know that he will probably like to be out on the property in the early morning. This is usually when I go outside (in season) and do Tai chi. I also like to garden so I am outside most days when the days are warmer. I understand that he likes to be outside in late afternoons. It will be interesting to see if we can get along together. No, I do not think of him as a pet. The woodchuck is a wild animal.