A Good Night’s Sleep!

Have you seen those Westin Hotels ads?

A weekend in the heavenly bed makes it easier to come back to earth.

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I stayed in the downtown Phoenix Westin a couple Christmases ago, and I’m here to tell ya, it’s the God’s honest truth. Most comfortable bed ever.

(I didn’t necessarily intend to endore the Westin; I paid for my nights there out of my own pocket. But, in fact, I had a lovely time, and would absolutely stay there again. I’d allow plenty of time for lazing around in the bed too.)

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The Butterfly Garden

We’ve had a very warm and very wet spring, which means everyone’s garden is just sparkling right now. I was reminded of this when I got out to go to the Rutherford County Farmers Market early this morning at the Lane Agri-Park.

First look at the Butterfly Garden in 2014.

First look at the Butterfly Garden in 2014.

It was cool (for June) and a bity rainy, and as I pulled up I noticed the Master Gardeners’ (of Rutherford County) butterfly garden was looking very fresh, so when I was done shopping, I stopped and had a look at what’s going on there.

Looks like they’ve installed rain barrels this year!

Looks like they’ve installed rain barrels this year!

Another rain barrel.

Another rain barrel.

It’s a very pretty tableau.

It’s a very pretty tableau.

I always keep a little snapshot camera in the car for spur-of-the-moment photo ops. So these are just that—snapshots. If I remember, I’d like to come back with one of my Canons.

A friend of mine recently gave me some rue for my birthday, so I was interested to see what’s in store.

A friend of mine recently gave me some rue for my birthday, so I was interested to see what’s in store.

The lacey foliage is very pretty, but it looks like I’ll get some flowers too!

The lacey foliage is very pretty, but it looks like I’ll get some flowers too.

The yarrow is looking lovely.

The yarrow is looking lovely.

Yarrow up close.

Yarrow up close.

This is kniphofia (red hot poker) and Echinacea (coneflower). In the distance another rain barrel, at the site of the vegetable garden.

This is kniphofia (red hot poker) and echinacea (coneflower). In the distance another rain barrel, at the site of the vegetable garden.

I think this is just spectacular.

I think this is just spectacular.

These are a favorite in my garden; they're hardy plants and the flowers are long-lasting when cut for an arrangement.

These are a favorite in my garden; they’re hardy plants and the flowers are long-lasting when cut for an arrangement.

Because I really wasn’t quite awake yet, I failed to get shots of all the ID tags. But I believe this is a pale lavender veronica.

Veronica.

Veronica.

Dill.

Dill.

Shasta daisies.

Shasta daisies.

Phlox.

Phlox.

Phlox.

Phlox.

Asciepias tuberosa (was also labeled “butterfly weed”).

Asciepias tuberosa (was also labeled “butterfly weed”).

Another project on this site is a rain garden, which was implemented last year. I didn’t know what I was looking at, so I didn’t walk out there …

But you can see it in the distance, beyond the red bushes.

But you can see it in the distance, beyond the red bushes.

So pretty!

So pretty!

I have seen small weddings, receptions, even private dinners and photo shoots held here at the little pavilion. It’s a pretty view overlooking a pond.

View from the pavilion. Can you see the duck and her ducklings (lower left)?

View from the pavilion. Can you see the duck and her ducklings (lower left)? Remember, you can click on the image to enlarge, then click again to zoom in.

Here’s a closeup. The ducklings were headed for the swampy area (we’ve had a lot of rain, but this area isn’t always submerged) and became difficult to pick out.

Here’s a closeup. The ducklings were headed for the swampy area (we’ve had a lot of rain, but this area isn’t always submerged) and became difficult to pick out.

Two males. You can see the raindrops on the water.

Two males. You can see the raindrops on the water.

I really needed to get home to breakfast and work, though, so I took a last look …

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OK, a couple last looks. :)

OK, a couple last looks. 🙂

Oh! The farmers market! Everything looked so good!

Bell peppers, lettuce, yellow squash, cucumbers, and cabbage.

Bell peppers, lettuce, yellow squash, cucumbers, and cabbage.

 

Safety on the River

This time of year—that is, summer in the Northern Hemisphere—when the powers that be get concerned about river safety. For example, here’s an article from Friends of the River (“the voice of California’s rivers”) with a list:

• Tell someone where you are going, when you expect to return, and where to call if you don’t.
• NEVER BOAT ALONE.
• Wear a properly fitted Personal Flotation Device (PFD) at all times when you are in or near the river.
• Know early signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and dehydration in hot weather.
• Reduce threat of injury by wearing protective footwear and proper clothing.

… and so on.

But the Washington Post has an interactive article that has the lists beat. Apparently the Potomac River Gorge is “one of the deadliest stretches of whitewater in the eastern U.S.,” according to the National Parks Traveler, a website dedicated to covering the National Park System and the National Park Service on a daily basis. The message is this: “If you enter the river, you will die.”

Whoa.

The WaPo article—“The perils at Great Falls”—begins with a similar message:

THE RIVER CAN KILL — STAY OUT. That blunt warning greets visitors at Great Falls Park because subtlety hasn’t deterred people from illegally wading, swimming and diving into this treacherous slice of the Potomac.

Since 2001, 27 people have died in river accidents in the area, including three since June. Few wore life jackets.

The death toll is low in the raging falls, because the danger is obvious and few people venture there. More often, the river’s victims are people who came to hike, fish or swim and who disappeared after entering tame-looking water downstream.

Have a look at this fantastic interactive piece. From the seemingly 3D photo at the top with markers to click that explain the dynamics of the river, to maps, drawings, and other media explain the unseen dangers. From a science standpoint, it’s fascinating.

But the lessons here can be applied to any river, whether you know it well or not. Check it out!