Yarrows & Verges – Achillea Millefolium

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What beautiful words ..Yarrow and verges! It’s the ‘y’ and the ‘v’ sound…

I’m so fortunate living in a rural area where many roads have wide grass verges. Dandelions glorify in Spring. Autumn sees the white heads of Yarrow accessible for herbalists who list many uses for the tinctures. Whilst Yarrow’s white multiple heads and dark green ferny leaves can lie unnoticed in the grass, it has an ancient history. Legend tells of a tincture that Achilles smeared all over his body, apart from his heel, to ward off arrows. Today its uses include body temperature control, hormonal problems, cramps, swellings, bruises.

PLANTLIFE’S Road Verges Campaign note it as a significant plant in its work to encourage Local Authorities to improve management of verges to benefit wildlife…birds, bees, insects. (see HERE )

Learn about free herbal food & medicine :-

Whispering Earth –   HERE        

Herbarium Blog  –  HERE  

Woodland Trust – foraging – HERE

Permaculture – sustainability & free food – HERE

More about Yarrow – HERE

Photo – Ralph A Lewin, Getty Images

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Cassini Spacecraft and Saturn

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On 15th September 2017 the 13 year journey that Scientists made alongside CASSINI ended as they crashed the craft at 70,000 mph, into Saturn. Fuel had run out. The 22 ft. Robot took 7 years to travel the 200 billion miles to Saturn where it photographed, for the first time ever, Saturn’s majestic Rings. It cost £2.9 million; a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency & the Italian Space Agency.

This exploration & the pictures of Saturn received back, start off our website’s idea to focus on AWE & WONDERMENT, as the Blogs from now until the December year end.

We’ll alternate  between Cosmology and Nature; very big to pretty small !

Why ? You may ask … Because whilst the website tells stories about minutiae … everything we do is set in evolution; are all part of the evolution of the Cosmos and of the details of changes in the Natural World.

Sources : Cassini – The Grand Finale:-

Photo – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft about to make one of its dives between Saturn and its innermost rings.  Credit: NASA


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National Poetry Day – 28 September

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by Joseph Coehlo

Not the first to sit.
Not the first to get arrested.
Not old (she was 42).
Not tired (‘just tired of giving in’).

One of many, unable to sit
with the injustice of years.
A rider on an old road
walked by millions on tired legs.

These riders fought for a feat,
years in the trudging,
of sole-worn protest
walked in frustrated miles
over landscapes of lives.

One day became thirteen months
of continued mapping,
of hitchhiking and car pools,
of walking and tattered shoes,
because the bus
wasn’t going anywhere they planned to go.

National Poetry Day is 28 September, and this year’s theme is ‘Freedom’  –

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an activist in the Civil Rights Movement, whom the US Congress called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement” –

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Can’t Do That !

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“Can’t paint” has been THE Response to a suggestion that “having a go at painting” is a brill idea… in my experience. Going to a taught art class, might be considered. Just having a go, on the kitchen table…altogether inconceivable. Forget all the miniature painters of The Slosh & Splatter school of fun. Forget our own excited moments discovering COLOUR .

From which hidden volcano does CAN’T DO arise? Because it doesn’t ‘alf hold us all back from ‘possibilities’… and needs some delving.

Fr’instance…I can re-enter a maths class, aged 10. Called up front by Miss Leigh…”work that out, Anne”. (Me off school previously for a whole term following major op.) ‘Me’ couldn’t. Me never caught up with the mystery of ‘sums’…

Question: who told your unconscious that you couldn’t do…well any ole thing ???

Here’s an inspiring woman mathematician and scientist – Ada Lovelace whose day was celebrated on 10 October 2017 – HERE and HERE

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Centenary of the Russian Revolution 1917 – 2017

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I spent one summer when I was 13, reading about Russia and a book entitled ‘The lives of the great composers’ …..many Russians.

I LOVED Russia. Knew nothing of the political implications of the Revolution. Just loved the Soul of Russia. 

The 2017 Proms ended on 9/9. They had celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution throughout the Programme.

One performance broadcast the day before the Last Night, was Shostokovitch 5th Symphony. This was composed in 1937 at the height of Stalin’s purges.

A small point…Valery Gergiev conducted the Marinsky Orchestra from the floor not from the rostrum.

A sense of those times … those aspirations…sounding in the music.

Acknowledgements : Royal Academy of Arts – Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932

Poster: The Bolshevik – Boris Kustodiev 1920

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‘Again … How Come We Don’t Know ?’

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Today’s Blog echoes the Story and Tales about OUR local NHS services and the importance of knowing what’s happening locally so we can be involved and respond with IMAGINATION.

The leaked 82-page government Brexit-immigration report should ring alarm bells for the NHS as it tackles the greatest workforce crisis in the health service’s history.

The Home Office proposes measures to reduce the number of lower-skilled EU migrants by offering them residency for a maximum of only two years, whereas those in “high-skilled occupations” would be granted permits to work three to five years.

[ Acknowledgement  – The Guardian, Article by Ben Howlett 7/9/17]

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Stay focused on Climate Change

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There’s some encouraging global news about technological innovation in response to Climate Change. One aspect of relative public inertia is the fact that information is not easily accessible and understandable in terms of ‘my pocket’ relevance.

For instance, did you know about SUBSIDIES TO FOSSIL FUEL COMPANIES ? 

Report in the journal of World Development estimates that in 20115.8% of global GDP was expended on fossil fuel subsidies, rising to 6.5% in 2013. The subsidies exist in part because consumers don’t understand their size. The authors note that environment, fiscal & welfare gains from subsidy reform would be substantial.

So, local Environment groups importantly encourage local environmental awareness: ITS RELEVANCE TO DAY TO DAY LIVES… schools, at community events …popping up all around the place !

Ref. John Abraham, Guardian, 7 August 2017  –  World Development vol.91. Pages 11-27

Please have a look at TALES  – which provides details of the ASCENT Festival and its coverage on Climate Change. 

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Saw this caterpillar ….

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Almost under the car wheel. After much squiggling by insect and adult…it was extracted from near squash-of-a-death. Moved to flower bed.

A friend said had seen such a caterpillar in his garden. Apparently, a glut of the Purple Elephant Moth this year. The caterpillar enlarges its eyes to warn-off a predator.

The caterpillars’ preferred food is Fuschia and Rose Bay Mountain Willow Herb.

Adult night-flying moths feed on Nectar.


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Leaf-Cutter Bees

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A  friend has a ‘bee hotel’ hanging from a tree branch in her flower-filled garden.

AMAZED is she !! to see little holes cut from leaves which perfectly fit the ‘hotel’ entrances. Maureen saw different sized holes nibbled from the leaves by the bees who enter the hole which fits  their size… pull the accurately sized leaf- door over the entrance… and lay their eggs.

 These are Solitary Bees. Essential pollinators. See ref. article  below.

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