A Touch of Nature – 05/15/02 – The Herbs Place

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May 15, 2002 Issue

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A Touch of Nature

The wildflowers are blooming everywhere here in the Piedmont of Virginia. I was delighted to take a hike with two others in the Shenandoah National Park and view Trillium for the first time. There was a whole hillside of them in the forest along with many others shining brightly in the speckled sunlight. I’ve fallen in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains since we moved here over a year ago. It’s a different world for me when I’m in the middle of the forest.

I chose to go there for Mother’s Day also with my husband. Our son is half way across the country, but he loves mountains and trees also, so I felt like we were together as we drove down Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is no distance that love cannot travel in a flash of time. Speaking of forests, here’s the last of the rain forest facts that I began giving you a couple of issues ago. If you ever visit a rain forest you will never be the same again. We visited our first rain forest in Alaska and then another in Costa Rica, and recently in Singapore. There is no experience to compare.

Have a splendid Springtime!



Pygmies are a sub-population of humans with an average height of less than 60 inches (152 cm). Pygmies live in the rain forest of Central Africa, Malaysia, the Philippines, New Guinea and the Andaman Islands.

Leaf Cutter ants forage for leaves and flowers, bring them back to the nest, and chew them to a pulp. The ants then spit out the pulp, which provides a growing medium for the fungus they later eat for survival.

Seventy (70) plants identified by the National Cancer Institute as useful in cancer treatment are found only in the rain forest?

Vincristine, one of the world’s most powerful anti-cancer drugs, comes from periwinkle, a rain forest plant. Vincristine dramatically increases the survival rate for acute childhood leukemia.

Click once a day and support rain forests at:

Choosing a healthy pet food prevents many vet visits and much heartache. Learn about what
your pet food contains. You need to know. Then switch to Flint River Ranch! Even cats love it! 100% GUARANTEED or YOUR MONEY BACK!




28-36" (71-91 cm). A large, heavy-bodied loon with a thick, pointed, usually black or dark gray bill held horizontally. In breeding plumage, head and neck black with white bands on neck; back black with white spots. In winter, crown, hind neck, and upper parts dark grayish; throat and under parts white.

Best-known call a loud, wailing laugh, also a mournful yodeled oo-AH-ho with middle note higher, and a loud ringing kee-a-ree, kee-a-ree with middle note lower. Often calls at night and sometimes on migration.

Nests on forested lakes and rivers; winters mainly on coastal bays and ocean.

2 olive-brown or greenish, lightly spotted eggs in a bulky mass of vegetation near water’s edge, usually on an island.

Breeds from Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and northern Canada south to California, Montana, and Massachusetts. Winters along Great Lakes, Gulf Coast, Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Also breeds in Greenland and Iceland.

The naturalist John Muir, who knew the Common Loon during his early years in Wisconsin, described its call as "one of the wildest and most striking of all the wilderness sounds, a strange, sad, mournful, unearthly cry, half laughing, half wailing." Expert divers, loons have eyes that can focus both in air and under water and nearly solid bones that make them heavier than many other birds; they are able to concentrate oxygen in their leg muscles to sustain them during the strenuous paddling that can take them as far as 200 feet (60 meters) below the surface. Their principal food is fish, but they also eat shellfish, frogs, and aquatic insects. In recent decades, acid rain has sterilized many lakes where these birds formerly bred, and their numbers are declining.

This information was taken from eNature.com. To see a photo, hear the loon, and get information about this species and others in specific regions, click here: http://www.enature.com/birding/birding_home.asp


Spending a lot of time digging and living in his earthen den, the woodchuck would appear to be a dirty animal, but such is not the case, since it is extremely fastidious in personal grooming and in the care of its surroundings.

The woodchuck takes great care to remove burrs from its fur with its teeth and has a regular program of licking its paws and fur. The feature that distinguishes the woodchuck from most other animals is the way it keeps its surroundings perfectly clean. It’s very unusual to see the excrement of this animal. When it eliminates waste, it looks for a spot some distance from the den and digs a hole 2-3 inches deep. Afterward, it carefully covers the hole with dirt and then, using its head, hammers the earth to compact the loose dirt around the deposit to ensure that it will not be uncovered.

When it is not convenient for it to go outside of the den, it digs a chamber to provide its own indoor plumbing, and takes care to construct this compartment for waste well below the sleeping chamber. The waste is buried with great care and is periodically removed and reburied outside the den. The woodchuck is also tidy in its sleeping quarters, especially when the female is rearing her brood. When the baby woodchucks are young, the mother routinely replaces soiled nesting material with clean, dry grass. Hot summer days are pleasant because pesky insects are not attracted to the odorless area.

The orderliness with which the woodchuck maintains its surroundings makes it the model housekeeper of the animal world.

Source: Character Sketches, Vol. I, Institute in Basic Life Principles

GARDENING FOR WILDLIFE- Restoring the Balance


When you put your tomatoes in, plant some dill between the plants to prevent the tomato hornworms from chomping your tomato plants to nothing.


Four free garden designs for your use. You can take these designs and adapt them for your own landscape design. For each design, we discuss the design principles used and why each plant was selected. Each of these garden designs uses deer resistant plants. (1) Plantings around a mailbox, (2) A garden "wall" to block the view of a road, (3) A garden wall providing more interest to a rock wall and is to replace grass that died in last year’s drought with drought resistant plants, and (4) a rose garden with plants and techniques that will slow the deer down.

Make your efforts count with tried and true methods for discouraging deer in the garden. Links to plants, vines, ground covers, and trees that deer don’t like.
http://gardening.about.com/library/how to/htdeer.htm

"GREEN" INFO- Making It a Way of Life!


Combine 1 tbsp. of pure vanilla extract with 1 c. of cool water. Put it in a spray bottle, and spray on to your skin.


To make the air inside your home and office cleaner, bring in some plants. A NASA study found that spider plants, Golden pothos, and philodendrons absorb as much as 80% of toxic formaldehyde through their leaves and roots.


QUALITY NOT QUANTITY – Buying Toys for Children

Children can become overwhelmed at gift-giving occasions to the point that they don’t know what to play with or can’t concentrate on one toy long enough to let their creativity bloom. It may not be due to the wrong kind of toys or simply too many options! Long term exposure to excessive gifts can actually be harmful to children. Check with orphanages and children’s services to find a place that you can donate toys to knowing they will bring joy to a needy child. Here’s a few tips on choosing quality toys for children which will save you and the planet in many ways:


Psalms 104:10-15

He sendeth forth springs into the valleys; They run among the mountains; They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild asses quench their thirst. By them the birds of the heavens have their habitation; They sing among the branches. He watereth the mountains from his chambers: The earth is filled with the fruit of thy works. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, And herb for the service of man; That he may bring forth food out of the earth, And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, [And] oil to make his face to shine, And bread that strengtheneth man’s heart.


"Give thanks for the blessings
that daily are ours –
The warmth of the sun,
the fragrance of flowers."
Helen Steiner Rice



We share our planet with myriad forms of life, but the habitat that sustains these animals and plants is disappearing at an alarming rate. In what scientists describe as the greatest mass extinction since the age of dinosaurs, the world may soon lose one in every three species of fish, one in every four mammals and one in eight plants.

Environmental Defense is doing something to preserve threatened wildlife and habitat. Ecosystem Restoration experts have pioneered the Safe Harbor program, which encourages landowners to restore habitat by guaranteeing that their good deeds will not lead to any new restrictions on their property. Safe Harbor has already enrolled about two million acres of private land which will assist species like the red-cockaded woodpecker, aplomado falcon and San Joaquin kit fox.

Find out more about our Ecosystems Restoration Program

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The content, suggestions, and web links in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and not necessarily endorsed our sponsor "The Herbs Place.com" This is a personal publication by Donna Watkins. The ideas and information expressed in it have not been approved or authorized by anyone either explicitly or impliedly. In no event shall Donna Watkins or "The Herbs Place.com" be liable for any damages whatsoever resulting from any action arising in connection with the use of this information or its publication, including any action for infringement of copyright or defamation.