Wednesday, March 26, 2014

End of March

When I opened my patio door early this morning to let the dogs out, I couldn't believe it, but I really smelled S p r i n g. Oh my gosh, what a feeling! What a smell! And I am not talking about the smell of freshly cut grass - I am talking about that strong perfume smell in the air coming from the blooms of wild plums and black locust trees. This must be my favorite smell in the whole wide world. It is the smell of rebirth, of new beginnings, of new hope. Winter is finally over!
Yesterday I searched our nature walk for signs of spring and found such beauty. The first spring beauties are blooming, the wild plums are starting to bloom. I found lots of bluets, some wild lettuce, lots and lots of stork's bill that seems to have invaded the yard around the house. The first shy blooms of shepherd's purse are up. And, of course, the henbits are blooming everywhere.
I also visited my barrel cacti colony and couldn't believe my eyes. They all mutated and don't look like barrels anymore. I suspect that drought and heat is causing the mutations. I am curious if they do bloom in a month or so. Or has the drought affected their blooming? I guess, I will have to wait and see.

This year I have dedicated to learning all I can about wild flowers and edible wild herbs. So, I have been busy learning the common names as well as the botanical names and the German names, their edibility and medicinal uses, and I am trying to collect all the legends that accompany the plants. I found an Oklahoma wildcrafting group on Facebook that I joined and I was able to attend one of their nature walks in Coyle a week ago. What an inspiration! It was a day full of learning and meeting fascinating people. I am already signed up for more walks and can't wait to be up there again. 
I will start having my own nature walks on our trail starting in April. Hopefully, we can have at least one walk per month for the rest of the year. I welcome everybody who is interested to come and walk with us and if we all pool our knowledge, we can learn a whole lot about the beautiful nature around us. The walks will be followed by the usual German afternoon Kaffee und Kuchen. Can't live without my German Sunday afternoon ritual of Kaffee und Kuchen :)

Greeting from Oklahoma,

Ingrid
The Stone Turtle - Lodging


580.492.5581


This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Nature Trail of Stone Turtle!

Time for a post close to home. Literally. While taking a break from Project (Color) Madness, I found myself strolling along The Stone Turtle's nature trail. It's a pretty awesome feeling to be able to randomly decide to go for a walk and be able to do so without having to drive anywhere or walk on a road or sidewalk. Whether it's the 1-mile version or the full 2-mile walk, there's always something to see. The birds are chirping, the hawks are swooping, and the neighboring cows are grazing.In the summer, the cacti and sunflowers are everywhere. In the winter, the cedars still add a touch of life to the trail. Even when it's the dead of winter, the dried out weeds and wildflowers are still gorgeous!

Did I mention the awesome view from the picnic area?! Okay, enough basking. As, I strolled through the cedars, I came up with idea of a treasure hunt. How cool would it be to have a small treasure hunt set up along the nature trail! So many cool opportunities. Hm, maybe following that blue bird was a good idea after all.

"The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man."     — Author Unknown

Check out pictures taken on the nature trail on our Facebook page.

Check back in two weeks to read about Ingrid's adventure to Coil, OK!

Greetings from Oklahoma,

~Danielle

The Stone Turtle - Lodging
www.stoneturtlelodging.com




This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!
 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Stone Turtle and Bees

      I have been playing with the idea of having a beehive or two for many years now. I love bees. I love to watch them flitting from flower to flower. Their industriousness is always so inspirational to me when I am procrastinating in my lawn chair and feeling a little guilty because they are so busy and I am just sunbathing. They always seem to tell me, "Get up and get busy." In actuality, I am doing a lot of mental work when the bees see me in the lawn chair. Somebody has to do the thinking.
      A few years ago, I decided to get a little bit more serious about introducing a hive on our farm. I ordered some beekeeping books for beginners and started to read them in my lawn chair while all those worker bees that came along to pollinate my herbs and tomatoes were busy, busy, busy.
      I watched a swarming hive or two move past my house and was not only totally impressed by the sight but also really intimidated by so many bees that could possibly sting me. It really brought home the concept of building or buying a bee box and then trying to install a hive of a few thousand bees, plus the queen in a cage, in that box. How in the world would I get those bees in the box without them all swarming around me, enveloping me in a dark bee fog. And, how in the world do you get that queen out of the cage??? So, the books went to the book shelf and I stopped thinking about bees for a while......until I saw a post on Craig's List about a beginner's beekeeping class in Tipton, Oklahoma, a few weeks ago.
      I attended Tipton Valley Honey Company's class last Saturday. All I can say is that it changed my procrastinating attitude about getting a beehive. Gary Gorse is a master beekeeper and the day was packed with information and stories from the life of a professional beekeeper. Did you know that there is a huge difference between a beekeeper and a bee-haver? As a beekeeper, you need to know as much as you possibly can about your environment - from soil type to fauna and flora around you to the effects of adverse weather.  It brought home the fact that a little insect like the bee shows us how everything in our environment is intertwined and connected and how important it is that we are keepers and not havers, so that the magical web of nature can go on doing all the magical things it does everywhere around us.
Photo by Dani Blaylock

      Our modern life style, that does not allow a single weed to grow in our manicured lawns, does not make it easy for the bee to survive and go about her daily business of ensuring our food supply. Therefore, I will do as much as I can in my small world to help the little bee out a bit. I will plant lots of bee-friendly herbs and flowers, seed out some red clover, hope for many dandelions to beautify my lawn and hope for some much needed rain. And I will get my first bee box this spring.
      I am ready for my next farm girl adventure - beeware, here I come. I have dreams of honey and all things wax can make and lots of happy little bees visiting my herb garden. What a beautiful dream, what a beautiful life!

Lots of Bee-Happy Greetings,

Ingrid
The Stone Turtle - Lodging
www.stoneturtlelodging.com



This blog is brought to you by the lovely (biased opinion, we know) Stone Turtle – Lodging, a small family owned and operated hotel / lodging business near Lawton, Oklahoma, Fort Sill,  the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Meers and Medicine Park. Yeah, that’s right we’re a small lodging business close to all the awesomeness Oklahoma has to offer!!