Archives

Inspiring Women over 50: Siggy Buckley, Author

Inspiring Women over 50: Siggy Buckley, Author

Siggy Buckley, inspiring women over 50

Siggy Buckley, author of I Once Had a Farm in Ireland.
One of the inspiring women over 50 that I have the pleasure to know.

As Siggy puts it…”we over 50s can rule the world!”

Author, organic farmer, matchmaker…given all of Siggy’s qualifications…I believe she is one of the most inspiring women over 50 that I know!

She has a new book out: I Once Had a Farm in Ireland. She writes about her experience on her organic farm in Ireland. Funny, touching,and full of information….you will want to read it.

Siggy Buckley Bio:

A former English teacher, Siggy Buckley’s life took an unexpected turn when her husband, a CPA, opted out of the rat race in Germany and made his family emigrate to Ireland to become organic farmers.
Her new life only produced a crop of misgivings and the breakup of her marriage. Single again, she reinvented herself, launched a dating service in Dublin. Remarried, she now lives and writes in Florida. She is a member of the National League of American Pen Women.

Amazon author page

My blog: www.SiggyBuckley.blogspot.com

My books http://amzn.to/YzIr9J

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

Dreams of becoming a journalist were thwarted early on; I became a college teacher instead.

What or who inspired you to write?

I had kept a diary through my formative years as a farmer’s wife and then as a matchmaker. My now husband encouraged me to put my accumulated memories and experiences into a book while blogging about several topics. Authors who inspired me are strong female voices like Benoit Grout and Irish writer Nuala O’Faolain.

What is your favorite part of your book?

My Favorite part of Next Time Lucky is the beginning of the last chapter on p. 230:

“ Homeward Bound

The only obstacles that could keep us apart were visa issues.  A European resident is allowed to visit the USA for up to 180 days a year but only 90 per visit.  My first 90 days were up.  At the end of January, shortly before I had to leave the country, I started to feel blue.

“What’s up, Sweet-pea?” He wrapped his arms around me on the sofa.

“I don’t want to leave you.  For once I’ve found a man I love whole-heartedly, who respects me, who fulfils my needs, and I have to go away for silly reasons like a frigging visa.”

“We’ll find a way.  I’ll visit you in Germany next month.  And then you come back to me here in the US.  Are you sure you want to come back to me or do you want to think about it while you are over there? Maybe make a trip to Spain and check it out as planned?”

“Why should I go to Spain if all I want is to be with you, Connor? Start all over in yet another country? I’ve felt uprooted for such a long time; I don’t know anymore where my home is.” I leaned more into him, and he caressed my neck and shoulders.

“After my break-ups in Ireland, I didn’t know where I belonged.” I continued.  “I didn’t want to stay in Ireland any longer and now I miss it.  Imagine!”

“Well, it was your home for a while.  It all makes sense to me.”

My head snuggled even further into his arm that embraced me.  “When I am with you it feels like belonging again.”

Connor took my face in his hands.  Our eyes interlocked.

“My poor darling! I want you to be with me, I want to take care of you and spend my life with you.  You are my partner, my friend, and my beautiful lover.” He placed a gentle kiss on my lips.  “We have so much in common though we come from different backgrounds.  Quite extraordinary, really.  You are like the female version of me – maybe at long last the proverbial soul mate I have been waiting and searching for all my life.  We’ll figure something out.”

“But how?”

“Something will come to us.” This line from Meet Joe Black had tickled us both when we watched the film together.  In the eyes of adversity, that couple kept looking for a way to master their future together.  Sometimes all you can do is keep trying. “

 What have you learned from writing?

Patience, persistence and that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Product Detailshttp://www.amazon.com/Next-Time-Lucky-Find-Right-ebook/dp/B00B0K1M9C/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385282046&sr=1-3&keywords=Siggy+Buckley

Product Detailshttp://www.amazon.com/Next-Time-Lucky-Lessons-Matchmaker/dp/1456392441/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385282046&sr=1-5&keywords=Siggy+Buckley

Product Detailshttp://www.amazon.com/Intrepid-Swapping–Insider-Successful-Homeswapping-ebook/dp/B005N0N3CO/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385282046&sr=1-6&keywords=Siggy+Buckley

September Grass

September Grass

by Peggy Browning

 

September Grass

Watching Ants moving a leaf… September Grass
photo by sweetcrisis/freedigitalphotos.net

For a long time now – months, even years—I have wanted to lie in the grass and watch ants. I know, I know…that seems weird. But I don’t care about being weird.

What I do care about is the neighbors’ opinion…not so much what they might think, but what they might do if they saw me lying prone in the grass in my yard. Their first thought probably would not be “Oh, there’s Peggy. She’s watching ants again.”

No, their first thought would probably be “Oh no! She’s fallen and she can’t get up!” And because I have thoughtful, caring neighbors, they would probably call 9-1-1. And then I’d have to explain what I was doing.

So, until lately, I have not spent a whole lot of time lying in the grass, watching ants.

But today…on this glorious day…I lay in the still-green-and-soft-September grass with my three year old granddaughter and we watched the ants moving leaf parts that were twice as big as they were. They worked diligently and unceasingly, moving leaf parts from one area of the grass to their anthill.

One little ant moved forward…backed up…backed over a tiny obstacle…turned around…moved forward…dropped his leaf…picked up his leaf…backed over another obstacle…and walked backward carrying that leaf until he finally reached his destination. His struggle seemed particularly hard. It was harder for him than for the others we watched. His leaf was bigger. He was obviously an over-achiever.

A Magic Rock

A Magic Rock

Today was a beautiful day of observation. My little red-haired granddaughter watched patiently and offered quiet words of encouragement to the ant. We think that was why he kept trying so hard and finally succeeded. Then we found some tiny rolly-pollys and we watched them, too.

Then she found a magic rock to add to her collection of magical things.

We sat in the soft September grass, under a blue September sky and simply enjoyed everything around us. We looked at ants. We looked at fluffy, white cumulus clouds. We felt the warm breeze on our faces. We giggled and laughed. And we loved it all.

“Well, the sun’s not so hot in the sky today
And you know I can see summertime slipping on away
A few more geese are gone, a few more leaves turning red
But the grass is as soft as a feather in a featherbed
So I’ll be king and you’ll be queen
Our kingdom’s gonna be this little patch of green” — James Taylor, September Grass

 

Today, if you have time, I encourage you to lie on the ground in the September grass and watch ants and clouds and feel the warm breeze on your face.

Live. Laugh. Love. That’s what this  is all about. Ants…and rocks…and soft grass…and the magic of Life…

 

What I Did This Summer

What I Did This Summer

by Peggy Browning

image from freedigitalphotos.net

image from freedigitalphotos.net

This summer I have dropped out of the fantasy world of what some people call “Real Life” and I’ve just been attending to my own business. My nose is stuck right where it needs to be…out of everyone else’s business and in my own.
I do this almost every summer. I get tired of hearing the news …good and bad… and I just drop out. I like to listen to the birds sing, the frogs croak, the kids talking to their imaginary friends as they play.
Because here’s the deal…when I listen to the news about what is happening in the world, I draw my own conclusions and it quickly becomes a fantasy. That seems weird, doesn’t it?
How can the REAL become FANTASY?

Here’s how. I over-react when I hear the news. So does everybody else.

Those news reports cause me ( and I suspect many of us) to fantasize about worst case scenarios and play those scenes in our mind instead of simply digesting the words and saying…Oh, well this happened.
No, I (and every stinkin’ “expert” on TV) go forward…if this happened, then that could happen.

And if something else happens, then…well, that would be terrible…and we would just all be doomed.

Doomed, I tell you.

Let’s all freak out and worry and buy handguns and carry them strapped to our waists because we can and because there might be someone who decided to shoot up the Kroger’s store and we need a gun handy so we can protect ourselves and everybody else who came in to buy a bag of baby carrots.
So, is the world of news reports and breaking news the real world or is it a fantasy world that we conjure with worry and personal anxiety?
See how it goes? See why I drop out of the “real” world every summer?

What I Did This Summer

I would much rather watch ladybugs crawl on my tomato plants and look at the stars each night. I like to think about fairies and stardust and I like to listen to crickets chirping.
I like the warmth of a summer day that cools in the summer evening. I don’t like hearing the weatherman warn about heat advisories. Damn, it’s only 93 degrees. This is the South. It gets hot here in the summer time. Deal with it. This is NOT news!
So that’s what I did this summer.

I dropped out and lived my life. And I had a really good time talking nonsense with the fairies who live among the flowers in my backyard.

What Frogs Tell Us … Amphibian Watch

What Frogs Tell Us … Texas Amphibian Watch

Amphibian Watch : What Frogs Tell us

Green tree frog
image: BJ WOK/freedigitalphotos.net

 

After a good rain, the Rolling Plains Master Naturalist group that I belong to often goes out on an amphibian watch to listen to and record the different kinds of frogs that are singing after a rain. I don’t live close to my group any more, so I no longer participate on the amphibian watch with them. But I’m still interested…I’m still a master naturalist, even if I’m not hanging out with my peeps.

Saturday afternoon I drove along a country road with the car windows down, radio off… just enjoying the  cool damp air after one of the downpours of rain that we’ve been simultaneously enjoying and fearing this last week. I was just driving along, loving the day, when what to my wondering ears should I hear? Frogs! And lots of them.

I was driving past a “froggy bottom” when I heard them. The area was a little creek/draw/bottom land that acts as a wetland, no doubt harboring many different kinds of frogs no matter what the weather. I pulled over to the side of the road and merely listened to them for a little while. It was a beautiful sound.

 They were out, singing after the rain, in their own distinct voices. I couldn’t identify what kind of frogs were calling except for bullfrogs. I simply enjoyed listening to them. Later, I looked up the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department website and queried “frog calls.” There was a large list of links to various frog and toad calls. I listened and tried to identify what I’d heard. I’m not sure I identified the frog calls correctly, but it was interesting to listen to the various sounds.

The Rolling Plains Master Naturalist group is involved in the Texas Amphibian Watch. After a good rain, the group goes out after dark to a specified wetland area and listens to the evening sounds. This activity is an extension of the class on amphibians that participants attend as part of their training to be a master naturalist and citizen scientist. After listening, identifying, and counting the different frog and toad calls, the group turns in the results of the observation to the Texas Amphibian Watch.

Frogs and toads are more important than one might think.

Toad Amphibian WAtch

Toad
image: James Barker/freedigitalphotos.net

They do more than eat flies and mosquitoes. Amphibians are a clue to the impact man and pollution has on the environment. Observing what’s happening to the frogs is a sign of what’s happening to our water in lakes, ponds, and rivers.

All amphibians use wetlands in at least a part of their life cycle. They have permeable skin which causes them to be readily affected by any changes in their environment. Because of these two traits, ecologists believe that amphibians and any changes in their population in an area are the first signal of a changing ecosystem.

In 1989, scientists became alarmed at significant declines in the populations of some amphibians. This decline seemed to be happening all over the world. In 1995, a group of Minnesota school children noticed frog populations that had malformed limbs. There had been a surge in the number of frogs with deformities. The frogs were the first indicators of a broad change in the ecosystem.

“Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species — man — acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world. ”
Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

The Texas Amphibian Watch relies on citizen scientists and master naturalists to report observations about amphibian populations. The amphibian watch helps us to understand the clues that frogs, toads, and salamanders leave us about the ecosystem.

To become involved with the Texas Amphibian Watch, you can join your local master naturalist group or go to the website at : http://tpwd.texas.gov.

Watch this video by Joe Furman and listen to the frogs singing. Oh, and watch out for those alligators!

‘Rollie Pollies’ Remove Heavy Metals From Soil, Stabilize Growing Conditions, & MoreREALfarmacy.com | Healthy News and Information

I always wondered what role Rollie Polies played in the grand scheme of things… you know…Nature and what-not. Here’s the answer to my questions.

‘Rollie Pollies’ Remove Heavy Metals From Soil, Stabilize Growing Conditions, & MoreREALfarmacy.com | Healthy News and Information.

Common Wildflowers in Texas

Common Wildflowers and times of year they bloom

Common Wildflowers

Texas Wildflowers … just one of the subjects covered through the Texas Master Naturalist Program

The bluebonnets are appearing in swaths of color along the roadsides and in pastures here in the Rolling Plains. It’s the sign we wait for, that annual oasis of blue in the greening countryside. It’s the sure sign of spring here. Most folks have at least one photograph of their children or grandchildren posing in a patch of bluebonnets.

The formal name for the bluebonnet is lupines texensis. If you look closely at it, you’ll find the flower resembles an old-fashioned bonnet. The flowers that we see here are the shorter, more common variety that reaches the height of 15 to 24 inches and grows east of a line that runs through northeast to southwest Texas. In west Texas another variety, the tall Big Bend bluebonnet, grows up to three feet tall. Bluebonnets bloom from March through May, depending on its location in the state.

Bluebonnets are lupines and lupines also bloom in other colors. In 1901, the bluebonnet was named the official state flower of Texas. However, in 1971, the state legislature named the lupine (in all its colors) as the state flower.

The lupine’s blossoming heralds the arrival of other spring blooming wildflowers like the Indian paintbrush, Mexican hat, evening primrose, and Indian blanket.

The Indian paintbrush is another beautiful flower that is often seen as a companion to bluebonnets. They vary in color from scarlet to orange, cream, and yellow. The Indian paintbrush is a parasitic plant and relies on the roots other plants to grow. Like the bluebonnet, it grows from northeast through southwest Texas from March to May, being at its best in April.

The Mexican hat is part of the sunflower family and grows throughout Texas. Its yellow to yellow-orange to reddish-orange flowers resemble a Mexican sombrero because it has a tall, finger-like stem that grows in the center above the multi-colored petals. It grows from 12 to 36 inches tall and blooms in May through July.

The primrose is also called a buttercup. It can bloom in colors of pale yellow or pink. The pink primrose is the most common species that we see in the Rolling Plains. It belongs to the evening primrose family. It is low-growing in nature and grows from 8 to 18 inches high. Its broad petals may be pink, light pink, or creamy white with pink or red veins and yellow centers. It blooms from April through June.

The Indian blanket is also called firewheel or gaillardia. It’s hardy in the Texas heat, prefers sandy soil, and is drought tolerant. The Indian blanket flowers are very showy with their shades of orange, red, and yellow and the inter-linked colors in the petal make them look like a woven blanket. They grow profusely in pastures and can easily cover a large area. Like the Mexican hat, the Indian blanket is part of the sunflower family. It grows from 12 inches to 30 inches tall and blooms from April to July. The Indian blanket is the Oklahoma state flower.