Sunday, July 14, 2019

Trail Cleanup


Acorn will be 5 this Wednesday and we've been in full birthday mode over here. We celebrated with a big party with his friends and their families yesterday morning and will be going to the ocean for a few days including his actual birthday this week.

But Friday we took a break from getting things ready for his big birthday celebrations to join some friends for a morning of service by cleaning up a popular park and trail about 25 minutes away.

Adorably oversized safety vests were provided, as were trash grabbers and gloves. Acorn and several other young kids and their parents worked hard for nearly 2 hours collecting all kinds of trash. We ended up with less volume than we expected, which is great, but we picked up hundreds of little things like bottle caps and cigarette butts, which is fucking gross.

On the drive over Acorn and I talked about how important it is to put nature and others first, even when it feels like the world is revolving around us a bit. Most especially when we feel that way, honestly. And on the way home he chattered about how proud he felt for helping clean up the woods and how we saw cool mushrooms and a giant beetle and how happy those things must be now that there's less trash in their homes.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Backyard Birds

We've had quite the plethora of bird visitors in our backyard recently, which has made my bird loving heart so happy. Acorn and I have a good time identifying them and watching their antics. I managed to snap photos of quite a few of them; some while out in the yard and some with extreme stealth through the window on the backdoor.

Not picture are the dozen or so chimney swifts that are using our chimney as their home for the 9th Summer in a row. I love when I hear their strange loud chatter pick up at dusk for the first time each year. Also not captured by my camera is the great horned owl that has visited my yard a few times as I've watched the fireflies in the evening.

That bird is cheeky as hell! The one night it landed at the top of one of our pine trees and Joe ran to get the cameras. He came back, handed mine over, and it the 2 seconds I had turned towards him and away from the tree, the owl disappeared! It must not be a fan of the paparazzi. :)




Red Tailed Hawk
Red Tailed Hawk.

Not sure what this cutie is.

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird. My favorite songbird. <3 Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

YB Falls


Drove 2 hours, into torrential rain, to meet our friends for an adventure this past weekend. When we arrived, it was thunderstorming but we decided that since we'd packed up all the kids and made the trek we'd wait and see if they'd bugger off.

Luckily, they did! And we made a muggy late afternoon trek to this gorgeous waterfall. The kids stripped down and we all made our way carefully over the big rocks and into the shallow pools at the very base of the falls. Once up there, the kids splashed and the grownups climbed around a bit.

We've been trying to make more of an effort to document the grown ups while we're out, since 90% of our collective photos are of the kids. Good thing too, or this glory may not have been captured! Hehe.

That's me in the middle. I shaved off half of my hair since the hike I posted about the other day. ;)

Sunday, June 23, 2019

An Unplanned Solo Hike

On one of the last days of May, my girlfriends and I drove 1.5 hours North to a totally new to us trail. Kid free, because we all need our space, plus the trail was rated as "hardcore". We weren't sure what exactly they meant by hardcore, but we were up for a challenge.

10 minutes into the hike, it was crystal clear to me *why* people called in hardcore. Maybe it was the humid heat. Maybe it was my period showing up on the drive up. Maybe it was the fact that it was unrelentingly straight up. But I needed to keep stopping to catch my breath and it was stressing me the fuck out to keep holding the other gals up. So, I told them to go ahead without me. It took 5 or 6 times of telling them to do so, before they'd listen. But here's the thing. I actually enjoy being alone. Plus, whatever pleasure I may derive out of tackling a super hard hike is greatly diminished if I'm stressing about my ability level rather than working with it.

Also, we had carpooled. So it's not like I was gonna ghost them. ;)


No longer worried that I was holding anyone up, I was able to pick my way up the mountain to the first viewpoint; a waterspill down a sheer rock wall. This was 1 mile into the hike. And I honestly looked at the uneven stone steps climbing steeply beside it and considered just staying there until my friends came back down, but my fomo kicked in and I wanted to see what was at the top. I took a 15 minute break to snack and stretch and started slowly up the side of the mountain.


Fuck. More of these shits?!

It was a beautiful trail, with lots of moss, some views, mountain laurels beginning to bloom. There were some technical spots where I needed to watch my footing carefully. As I hiked, messages occasionally came in from the women ahead to check in.

When I reached the fork in the trail I scrambled up some boulders to the top of the rocks and caught this view. I had to make the decision here to either stop for lunch or climb back down and try to hustle up the trail to the mountain meadow where my friends were and eat along the way.

I opted to relax on top of the rock and skip the meadow. Seeing photos after, I had a tinge of regret, but my pride in making it up this fucking mean ass mountain trumped it entirely. It was a hard earned view, and I'm ultimately glad I chose to spend 40 minutes up there with the laurels, a lizard, and the occasional crow.


While I was out on that trail struggling, I went through so many, many emotions. I was embarrassed, and angry, and overwhelmed. A few times when I stopped, my heart pounding out of my chest, I realized my cheeks were wet with more than sweat. But as I kept stopping as I needed, and surrendered to this being the way it was going to have to be and accepted I'd make it as far as I could, all of those hot emotions evaporated and were replaced by cool determination to go as far as I could. And appreciation for a body and mind that's been through some shit, and keeps on going. Allowing me to be out in the wild and doing one of my favorite things.

And then, on the way back down, as I slowly and steadily navigated an ungodly number of rocks and rocks masquerading as stairs, I noticed about a dozen of these beauties. Gentle reminders from Momma Nature that slow isn't bad.

Me at the end of the trail, having met back up with my friends.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Merry Solstice!

2019-06-21 02.50.20 1

The fancy altars of a few years back are dusty and unkempt; places where rocks, sticks, feathers, and lint from pockets stuffed during adventures are emptied. And honestly, I'm ok with it.

I wasn't for a long time, but now. Fuck it. Being a witch isn't about being fancy, despite the instagram hype.

Today's celebrations included a stroll through a mountain forest and admiring the resiliency and speed of its growth after a forest fire a few years ago. We splashed in the cold water at the foot of a waterfall. I plucked some tobacco horn worms off of the tomatoes in my garden that seem bound and determined to put me through the ringer this year; first with high humidity making them attempt to root 2 feet in the air, then with the black spots of early blight, now caterpillars.

I haven't pulled anything out for dinner yet, but I'm thinking some grilled chicken along with zucchini from the garden will suffice. We'll stay up late to enjoy the fullest of sunshiney days, leave some wine and shiny things out for the fae. I may or may not find my way into my sketchbook; more likely I'll find my way into my bed with a book.

However you choose to celebrate today, or not, Summer Blessings to you and yours. <3

Thursday, June 20, 2019


I've had all these things I've wanted to write about lately, but of course as I sit down *poof* my mind's like, "ideas? What ideas?"

Guess I should start a page in my bullet journal where I can scribble them down and not forget in the future.

Anywho, it's been a busy bit of life, but in the best possible ways. We've been having lots of adventures big and small as a family and with our friends. Acorn keeps getting bigger and bigger... he'll be 5 next month. 5! I don't know how the fuck that got here so quickly; I feel like I blinked and here we are.

As I've done every Summer since I was pregnant with the aforementioned Acorn 5 years ago, I've been out watching the fireflies put on their nightly magic. This year my watching has been joined by the enthusiastic giggles of my bug loving son as he runs through our yard scooping bits of light into his still chubby fingers.

We took a trip a few weeks ago to see the blue ghost fireflies that live in North Carolina. They were not as vibrant or plentiful as the photos we'd seen, but there was a definite serene sort of magic to them.

Our friends and us had gathered at a lake inside a state park to watch the sun go down and wait for the bugs to come out. The dads were skipping rocks, the kids were running back and forth through fields and onto the docks, and us mommas hiked around the trails a bit to see where we'd walk when it got dark. Bullfrogs were calling and crickets were chirping. I caught a toad that immediately peed all over me, It was the most perfect early Summer evening, really.

As darkness crept in, we saw the occasional flashes of yellow in the grasses but nothing blue. We waited a bit longer and then walked the deeper wooded trail with our headlamps turned to red (per what we read online about watching the fireflies) but still no blue. Once we were back on the wide gravel trail again we turned our headlamps off and knowing the state park was going to be closing in about 40 minutes, decided to start heading out to the cars.

Once we'd resigned ourselves to not seeing anything, one of our friends saw a faint blue light tucked deep in the shadows on the side of the trail. It looked like a very dim blue LED, and you couldn't see it from all angles. As we all took turns looking at the lone light, more popped up on the forest floor around us, until there were probably 100 dim blue lights scurrying around.

Very few were in the air, but a single cheeky blue fairy flew up and around our group as if saying hello to each one of us individually. Acorn was up on his dad's shoulders and the wee light flew up and encircled his head a few times before descending back in to the forest.

If I hadn't already been a firm believer in magic, and in fairies, I would have been after that.

Friday, September 7, 2018

May your dreams be larger than mountains and may you have the courage to scale their summits.
Harley King

P.S. Acorn's dad is *way* more comfortable on mountain ledges than me. Maybe *too* comfortable. :-|