Lady Bird Johnson

Tomorrow is the hundredth anniversary of Lady Bird Johnson’s birth. I’ve been reminded of it by the stamps issued in her honor by the US Post Office.

But today I am thinking about what I remember over the years about Lady Bird. Of course - my impressions are through the veil of the way the media portrayed her….but they are overwhelmingly positive. When I read her A White House Diary, her interests and approach to problems seemed so rational.

Every time I see wildflowers growing along a high way - the mowers avoiding cutting them before they go to seed - I think of her. Her advocacy to remove the eyesore of litter and excessive billboards has been so long lasting that many people in our country don’t really remember that ugly aspect of 60s.

So - here’s to legacy of Lady Bird Johnson.


3 Free eBooks - November 2012

The Internet has a growing number of online books….and many of them are free. This is the second monthly post highlighting 3 that I have found within the past month.

Cooper-Hewitt. Kata-gami : Japanese stencils. Washington: Smithsonian Institution; 1979. Available at - Another feast for the eyes. It is hard to pick a favorite but I keep coming back to “Grain Plants on a Lattice” on page 19 (partial image at left).

Mathew, Frank James; Walker, Francis S., illustrator. Ireland. London: A&C Black; 1907. Available at - Look at this one for the illustrations. They are in color and depict Ireland in the early 1900s. 

Clock, Emma Graham. Wild flowers from the mountains, cañons and valleys of California. San Francisco: H.S. Crocker Co; 1915. Available at - How many of these do you recognize? The flowers are ‘reproductions from water colors’ - strikingly vivid against black backgrounds (example at right). 

The previous post is here

10 Years Ago – In July 2002

Many years ago I started collecting headlines/news blurbs as a way of honing my reading of news. Over the years, the headline collection has been warped by the sources of news I was reading…increasingly online. Reviewing the July 2002 headline gleanings - I forced myself to pick 10.   


  1. "Power Nap" Prevents Burnout; Morning Sleep Perfects A Skill
  2. AIDS will claim 70 million by 2022
  3. U.S. millionaire Steve Fossett became the first solo balloonist to circle the globe nonstop
  4. The monuments of ancient Egypt may have stood for thousands of years in the desert sands, but now they face a new threat -- from rising groundwater.
  5. There are approximately 100,000 more wild flowering plants in the world than previously thought
  6. Sesame Street to introduce HIV positive muppet
  7. Weeks into the state's effort to kill every deer in part of southwest Wisconsin to halt an outbreak of chronic wasting disease, wildlife officials still don't know how they're going to dispose of the tens of thousands of carcasses.
  8. Glowing lava set trees afire and oozed into the ocean before dawn Saturday as thousands of spectators braved Kilauea Volcano's scalding spray to witness the spectacle.
  9. Sea temperatures around Australia's Great Barrier Reef reached record highs this year, doing major damage to the world's largest living entity
  10. During excavations last week at a Roman era palace in Butrint, Albania, researchers working in an upper level reception hall found a tiny ivory object dating to 465 AD. They believe it is Europe's oldest known chess piece.


As usual - the list is heavily skewed toward science and technology although the two about HIV/AIDS reflect how prominent that topic was in the news 10 years ago this month.

Road Trip in May 2012 - Shenandoah National Park Day 2

Our second day at Shenandoah started out at a very foggy Pocosin Cabin area (mile 59.5). There was a lot of birdsong - almost as if they thought it was still dawn. The hike is along a gravel road. There was a collection of walking sticks at the marker post at the entry to the hike.


Franklin Cliffs (mile 49) is, as the name implies, cliffs. It is an easy and short walk from the parking area. The green of the trees in the valley extends gradually up the hills - not quite to the top yet. There are different kinds of flowers here - lots of lichen on the rocks - and pools of water in the depressions from last night’s rain. It was quite windy and the trees made eerie creaking sounds as they swayed back and forth.

And finally - a slide show of trillium pictures taken at Shenandoah. The flowers start out very white and then turn pinkish as they age. Enjoy!

April Celebrations

April is just about here. What is there to celebrate? Here are some ideas:

Wild Flowers. This is the time of year that many wild plants bloom; hikes to photograph then are a beautiful way to celebration spring. Don’t forget the flowering trees as well - dogwoods and redbuds are my favorites. Information about the wild flower festival in Smokey Mountain National Park can be found here. The one in Shenandoah National Park is planned for early May but the program schedule is already published and could be used to plan your own hikes in the park in late April.

Kites. March is the month most associated with kites but many communities hold kite festivals into April and early May when it is a bit warmer and still breezy.

Palm Sunday on the 1st, Good Friday and Passover on the 6th, and Easter on the 8th.  Observe the days in April that sustain your spiritual health.

Gardens. Formal gardens are greening in April too. Depending on the area of the country - there could be rows and rows of tulips or iris just getting ready to bloom of camelias. This time of year orchards are quite beautiful as well - full of blooms. Just as with the wild flowers - noticing the unfurling of spring is a great way to celebrate spring time.

Spring Break. Some schools have already taken a spring break…others have it early in April. A mini-vacation before the sprint to the end of the spring semester is always welcome. Celebrations can be as simple in a picnic in a local park on a warm day. In many parts of the country, showers are frequent in the spring so have a backup plan for if the day turns rainy and cool (or cold!).

Earth Day on the 22nd. Some communities have celebrations or festivals associated with Earth Day. One in my area is at Brookside Gardens.