Along the Natchez Trace

Friday, June 21, 2013

And... The Rest of The Story....

My last blog I wrote about my quest for the Painted Bunting...  an unbelievably colorful bird that I was in search of for several years before finally seeing.  I kind of added some background stuff about how I got into birding.

As I wrote, my Mom had bird feeders and had her favorite birds.  She loved the mockingbird for it's song, and the bluebird, because it signified happiness...  but her favorite was the little wren.  So drab and unassuming...  always busy with making a home for it's young...  I think she kind of related to her "Jenny Wren".

But she also was a reader....  the book mobile came to our neighborhood when I was really young and we lived in the country... later we lived just a few blocks from the library.  So, not only did we have access to whatever "borrowed" book we wanted, we had all kinds of books in our home.

One book my mom bought was things to make from "nature".  I made terrariums from those huge pickle jars...  I collected rocks, bird egg shells...  any and everything.  I came home with my pockets full and my mind full of questions....

I took my first biology class in 9th grade...  really excited about learning about it all.  But, as it happened, a classmate told our teacher that I was spreading rumors about her.... which was untrue.  My biology and English teachers lived next door to each other and were very close friends....  I never got above a C in either class all year.  As much as I loved biology I never took another class until I was in college.

Move forward a few years....  married...  2 kids...  stay at home mom.

My sister gave me a book....
Yep!  The very book Cynthia gave me in the early 1960's
My introduction to the world of nature writing.....

I read Thoreau...  John Burroughs, John Muir...  read about Luther Burbank...  found books about living off the land...  bought all kinds of field guides....  I could go on and on and on and on.....  This genre was fairly new on the bookshelves back then, but I managed to find all manner of reading material.  Until we had a water leak in our storage area, I still had these until a year or so ago...  I haven't had the heart to see what's still there.

Yeah... I bought and read the rest of the books in Edwin Way Teale's series...
(They may be 50 years old...  but they are still among my favorites...  if you look real close you'll see that they cost $2.25 each).  I have several other of his books and treasure them all.

I even wrote to this author (and got a hand written answer!) telling him how much I enjoyed his writing.

I read a lot of blogs....  many of them about birds, nature, and the like.  I have no idea how those writers got interested in birds.... whether it's been a life-long interest, or a new love affair....

But I love carrying around Cynthia's gift to me all those years ago.  I re-read parts of it now and then....  who knew, way back in the 1960's that I'd be travelling many of those same routes... seeing some of the same sights and hearing the same bird songs that I read about 50 years ago?

Frankenstein....  my fellow "bird-watcher" here at Celeste's.

That's All For Today!


  1. I liked biology a lot also. BUT I was always absent on lab day... my teacher said I had an A average but without lab day? I would go to a B- ... that's okay ... no way was I going to dissect stuff. gag a maggot

    English was also my best subject. This let me get into Speech class. I got a B- in this class. I knew I had an A average. Speech Class was a fun class to take and it was kinda special.

    I asked her about my grade. She said I indeed had an A average but she didn't like MY ATTITUDE ??? I asked why?

    I had two older brothers ... both of whom she had in her class. She liked my older than me by three years brother but disliked tremendously my older than me by eight year old brother.

    I reminded her more of my oldest brother. She couldn't make up her mind about me. Oldest brother was a goof off and a football star player. Other brother was an honor student and not a goof off.

    I was nothing. A playful kid. kinda popular at times … other times … bah … who knows what I was and been that way all my life.

    I thought, what??? You didn't sass teachers in those days. I asked very politely and responded with … I don't understand. She said 90% of a grade is scoring and the other 10% is due to her discretion and attitude played a huge part. What was wrong with my attitude, Mrs. Henderson? Take your seat, Carolyn. … over and out.

    she failed my oldest brother in English (thank goodness I didn't have her for English or I'd never gotten into Speech class) and faced a bunch of hoopla from the people who cared about his failing English. He can't spell worth a hoot. Mirror … mirrar. and so forth … but he could dance well.

    I would give a speech on something I read in the library before class that interested me. I had the little recipe cards with the outline ... and proceeded.

    I liked all sorts of stuff. Various methods of burial techniques... mythology ... current events ... on the various methods of embalming ... she told me to sit down.


    I needed those As too because I was a dismal failure in Algebra and such. I did like Physical Science and Geometry. Am I writing an essay? HAHaaaa… sorry … waiting on Stephanie and stuff and I'm … antsy. this surprise wedding business is oh man

    oooooooh love Frankenstein! Hi guy! what a sweet face... ready for action ...

    My favorite birds ~ I had never seen a bunting until a few years back when I was in Texas... absolutely took my breath away.

    The Mockingbird is Arkansas' state bird... nice bird ... not colorful though but very perky and pretty with a great tail. AND the Cardinal ... oh, the Bluebirds and yes... I like the little wren guys too.

    Grackles are gorgeous in the sun... AND those red winged blackbirds ... wow! in flight? just gorgeous... all creatures great and small are well... to use my overworked adjective ... wondrous ;)

    oh she's here with Charlie and now for surprise No. 2… oh, lord?

    1. oh good grief, Sharon ... so sorry to post that ol long thing... delete it ... your post just reminded me of them ol school days ... ;)

  2. I love nature!! If you know about nature you can always eat, keep warm, find shelter, etc. I spent a lot of time in the woods when I was growing up. Nature has always been my friend.

  3. Oh my. Let's not get started on awful high school teachers. :| I enjoyed reading how your interest in nature has developed.

  4. Having been a kindergarten/first grade for 32 years, science was my favorite thing to teach! I loved it when I could read stories about owls, ducks, pumpkins and evergreen trees, etc....just any and everything about the wonders of nature. Teaching children that age was so rewarding...they are like sponges! "Big" words like camouflage, talons, chrysalis were such fun, new vocabulary words! I enjoyed every minute of it! At the time, there wasn't much time to get out and enjoy we are trying our "bestest" to catch up!

  5. My 9th grade biology teacher did not like me, because I read books. Go figure. My two brothers who came along behind me denied being related, a smart move on their part. I have books on plants, flowers and birds, but birds are the most interesting. Easiest to identify.

  6. I checked and those books are available new ($$$) and used--I may have to get a set!

  7. Enjoyed this post and the previous one detailing how your interest in nature and bird watching started, Sharon. Glad you got to realize your dream of seeing a painted bunting and being able to get photos too.

  8. Hi:
    I just came across your blog for the first time - I absolutely love the name! Very creative! I just came home after buying a used Fleetwood Flair 25 ft. I'm so excited. If you like to take a look at my blog you'll find .... I'm a retired nurse and biologist who went on my first RV adventure to Mexico with my Standard Poodle and two cats this Winter for four and a half months in my 1994 Toyota Dolphin. Needless to say, I fell in love with RV life and am now preparing my house in Roseville, CA to rent. I want to head out in my new RV in August for at least a year - Canada, US and maybe more of Mexico. I can't wait to read more of your adventures. Where are you now?

  9. The joys of reading. When we travel in the U.S. we stop at the library for a map, internet, etc. and find not a lot of users outside the internet area. I worry that younger people are losing that joy of reading.

    I am starting a reading program at a local school our here in the country. Out of 75 secondary students, only one reads for entertainment :( Lots of work ahead.

    I enjoy digging around the house and finding an old book I have read. I open it and start reading somewhere and before you know it, it's time to reread the book!

    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Like your mother I like the wren best but then I learned, and saw with my own eyes, that, to reduce competition, wrens do break the eggs of other birds nesting around. It is "nature red in tooth and claw". I still like them, but it is difficult not to look at their behavior in human terms.
    So I end up feeling guilty at a subconscious level for liking wrens!!! It makes you understand why, in Medieval Europe, some animals were put on trial!

  11. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I'm new to your blog. And, I'm just beginning to be really interested in studying birds of North America (or anywhere). I found this clip on YouTube and thought some may like to see and hear this little guy in action .....