Monday, July 15, 2013


We call this spot, The Woodland Cathedral because, well, it just feels holy when you sit there. You will undoubtedly hear the crescendo of the Ovenbird song in the spring. Up on the ridge in the tangles of underbrush, a Hooded Warbler faithfully sings his "witcha-witcha-wee-oh" each summer.  A Pileated Woodpecker may also startle the silence with its loud, staccato call, as it swoops through the colored canopy in autumn.

This is a good place to contemplate whether your own voice is being heard in the world...

"Don't try to figure out what other people want from you; figure out what you have to say.  It's the one and only thing you have to offer.  
 -Barbara Kingsolver

 If you prefer not to trek up the hill, another spot at the bottom of the trail awaits. This Adirondack chair sits across from a small patch of newly planted woodland flowers, anchored by one Mountain Laurel bush that I planted several years ago. This summer I planted Virgiania bluebells, Jacob's ladder and wild geraniums. If all goes well, next spring these will flourish alongside Giant Solomon's Seal, Bellwort, Mayapples and Two-flowered Cynthias.  

This is the third and final spot in the woods for reflection, should you come for a Personal Retreat.  There is nothing more relaxing...more quieting...more comforting than being surrounded by such beautiful gifts of creation.  

To find out more about taking a Personal Retreat visit the 
Heart by Nature Retreats Website

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Pond -April 2006
Ahh...the pond...of Prairie Pond Woods.  To appreciate this tranquil, yet active, hidden spot, a little history is in order. 

When we first bought the property in April of 2006, the pond was a lovely, albeit strange, shade of turquoise...much like you would see off the coast of Bermuda. You could see straight to the bottom. Nothing lived or grew in it, except thousands of whirly-gig beetles...pretty creepy really. It just had no life.  

The pH was 3.86 due to the shale, clay and sandstone bedrock through which the water seeped up.  So, the following fall we threw agricultural lime into the pond to sweeten the water...and hopefully attract new life...which it did in the form of amphibians, herons, ducks, vegetation, damselflies and dragonflies.
Now, you can relax by the pond in the spring...and you'll probably hear the invigorating chorus of frogs...or you can enjoy watching mist as it rises in the morning hours...or take photos of the myriad of dragon and damselflies species flitting about as they defend their territories.


Yep...all those little metallic turquoise lines are damselflies!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Continuing the series of where to sit and reflect when you visit...we move to the Prairie..of Prairie Pond Woods.

Now, this chair is not IN the prairie but possesses a wonderful view of the colorful grasses and forbs spread out across it in the summer and fall. Shaded all day by a wild black cherry and willow tree, and with the sound of the spring flowing just below the edge of the yard, it creates a peaceful and cool micro-climate.  

This is the perfect spot to bring a book or your journal while you listen to the sounds of birds overhead, peepers and tree frogs.

These are the views you would see from under the cherry tree...lavender wild bergamot, orange butterflyweed, and the blue-green blades of big bluestem grass above...the yellows of green-headed coneflower and black-eyed susans below.

If you want a little sunshine on your face, meander the mown paths such as this one (we call it The Refresher Course) through the prairie until you reach the upper ridge, where the soil becomes more acidic. Here, Virginia pines, black and white oaks, hickories and dogwoods surround you and will cool you off again. 

This is prime real estate in the spring to just sit back with a pair of binoculars and watch kinglets, prairie warblers and pine warblers. 


It is also a prime spot to experience a counter-culture form of silence and solitude. Are you willing to be still?

 “Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone.  It has created the word    “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone.  And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone.”
- Paul Tillich-theologian