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Too Busy, But Sticking With It

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm still here, but I have been very busy. This is the time of year when school really takes over my life between conferences, the spring musical, and the end of the year camping trip. I have not had time to either post or read very many blogs, or do tracking on any regular basis. Nor have I had time to get to the gym for body pump or zumba, both of which I really miss.

These are the sacrifices of the season, but I have been getting in my miles in three walks per day usually logging in 4 to 8 miles each day. It is a gorgeous spring and all of my exercise has been outside, involving walks and heavy yard work clearing brush. The honeysuckle has been taking over and Mike and I have declared war on it.

I have also been clearing my woods path so I don't trip on walnuts or get smacked in the face by stray branches. This has become more important since adding running into my 'walk' routine. Stella isn't quite certain what to make of this development. If she has a stick or a ball in her mouth, she runs nicely beside me, otherwise if I'm running she thinks she has to goose me. Our nickname for her is the Austrian Tush Nipper.

I have also committed at least an hour a day to playing my guitar. This is my time, a time to focus on something I love without distractions. Other concerns melt away. It is a moving meditation for me; focusing on each note, or having everything working together. Both being outside and playing my guitar bring me joy and help keep balance in my life. Otherwise, I am working too hard - teaching is demanding and this time of year it is my tyrant.

I am loving the jack-in-the-pulpits that are blooming in my woods!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 4/23/2012 9:02PM

    Always love your blogs! We all know this is your tough time of the year . . . . glad you're still making time for the guitar and the walk/runs!!

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SALSIFY 4/23/2012 5:04PM

    I love your picture of the jack-in-the-pulpit. Similar plants used to grow in dank places in my Mum's garden - we called them cuckoo pints. Many congrats on getting your guitar practice in!

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    I know what you mean about being so busy. Love ya, my dear friend! You're amazing! emoticon

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DDOORN 4/19/2012 12:19PM

    BIG kudos to adding running to your routine...! Running is something that has absolutely NEVER taken hold in my workouts. I need to get going though as my one and only 5K of the year approaches in early May...oof!

Wish I could shoehorn more guitar time into my routine...feel badly over allowing that to gather so much dust!


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KOMAL53 4/19/2012 2:40AM

    I've missed you My Friend--specially your Monday Picture Blogs!!!However I know that this must be a busy time for you---so can really appreciate the fact that multi-tasking can be difficult to achieve sometimes!!!Glad to know that your Walks continue--that means those many more beautiful Pictures for us---and I'm glad that you get that 1 hour to yourself---best way to touch base with oneself--through Music!!!Thank You for that one Picture----wish I could smell the Honey Suckle too!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MILLISMA 4/18/2012 8:34PM

    I'm impressed with all you are doing. Don't push too hard. emoticon

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MARY1313 4/18/2012 11:54AM

    haha I can just see Stella goosing you to go faster! Be careful with the running thing because of your back. It's hard on a body.

Good on your for refusing to give up the things that make you calm down and feel peaceful.

I can't wait to hear the camping stories and see the pics!!


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HKWEST 4/18/2012 10:57AM

    Even with the busy feeling, it sounds like you've got some great things going in your life. Thanks for the reminder about what's possible.

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BILLTMAN 4/18/2012 8:22AM

    I understand being too busy. I'm in the middle of it myself. Things will settle down soon and you will be able to get back to your routine. Meanwhile enjoy your walks and your guitar. I too love the pictures you include from your strolls in the woods.

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CHALLENGER15 4/17/2012 8:42PM

    Ah, the never-ending war on the honeysuckle! We wage it here as well! I DO love the smell of the blossoms, though.

I think your 4 - 8 miles sounds wonderful. I prefer to be outside myself.

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IUHRYTR 4/17/2012 8:11PM

    It is inspiring that you get in exercise during this busy time. Many people would skip it. And the time for yourself and your music is important. Mine is when I read every day. Great nickname for Stella. emoticon -- Lou

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CLAIREINPARIS 4/17/2012 3:45PM

    4 to 8 miles each day, wow, it sounds fabulous to me! And I loved the photo of the new leaves. We don't have this plant here it seems, it looks very pretty.

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ROCKMAN6797 4/17/2012 2:49PM

    Good to know that you have other pressing priorities! Hang in there and soon it will be summer! Meanwhile, great job on continuing to take care of you!

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FABBYMAY 4/17/2012 1:35PM

    I can tell you are getting your walks in from your awesome fitbit records!!!


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OLDERDANDRT 4/17/2012 1:30PM

    Does My Lady Stella know of this new name you have dubbed her??? emoticon emoticon I know you are really busy this time of year, but before you know it, school will be out for the summer! Hang in there, baby!!
Love the Jack in the Pulpit!! I've never seen one close up and personal, but you have provided a fabulous picture of one! Thank you!

emoticon Take care!!

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0309COOKIE 4/17/2012 8:52AM

    Austrian Tush Nipper, lol.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 4/17/2012 7:45AM

    I have never seen this plant before. Awesome!

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GUITARWOMAN 4/17/2012 7:21AM

    Good for you...working on balancing....nice!


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JLITT62 4/17/2012 7:19AM

    Good job on making sure you get me time!

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FCARMICH 4/17/2012 7:08AM


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And the Morel of the Story is......

Monday, April 09, 2012

Sometimes having morals is hard on your morale, especially when you find the first morel of the season...


it is in the nature preserve!

Well, I did get a nice photo of it, but it just about killed me to leave it there.

Can I get angel wings, or at least Browne points?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 4/18/2012 11:35AM

    *PERK* did she say brownies???? LOL


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AQUAJANE 4/16/2012 1:04PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    emoticon on your will power! What a beauty! emoticon

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STRIVER57 4/11/2012 9:07AM

    angel wings or at least lots of positive karma. and thanks for the word play and the smile.

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BILLTMAN 4/11/2012 8:49AM

    A thing of beauty and yes you do deserve your angel wings, but for far more than leaving that morel alone.

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DUSTYPRAIRIE 4/11/2012 8:48AM

    That brings back memories. We used to gather morels near the first territorial capitol at Fort Riley, Kansas.

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CLAIREINPARIS 4/11/2012 7:17AM

    Ohhhhhhhh beautiful beautiful beautiful! I can imagine how hard it was to leave it there. You definitely deserve angel wings!

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MAWRTIAN 4/11/2012 3:50AM

    Great, now I'm hungry!

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TRULYVISIBLE 4/10/2012 11:43PM

  Love your first line. Never saw how they grow so very interesting. They are very delicious!

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WILDHONEYPIE1 4/10/2012 9:22PM

    emoticon You at least get a halo. Can't a certain number of people per year get permission to mushroom hunt in said preserve? Or no? emoticon

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W82GOWHEE 4/10/2012 9:18PM

    Hmm, it's just a fruiting body so you should be able to take it! Thanks for sharing the nice photo.

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MILLISMA 4/10/2012 9:17PM

    Very proud of you and yes, you should get lots of brownie points

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WATERMELLEN 4/10/2012 8:48PM

    What a beauty . . . especially sauteed in butter!!

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PUDLECRAZY 4/10/2012 8:47PM

    They may look funny, but they are seriously delicious!

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ROCKMAN6797 4/10/2012 7:58PM

    What a beuatiful picture, kind of scary though LOL!

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KOMAL53 4/10/2012 1:28PM

    I'd call you a Saint!!!So definitely all the Points and everything else you want is yours!!!I How ever for me it was the great "Punning" that I actually enjoyed--that play of Words was truly inspired!!! emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 4/10/2012 8:44AM

    Wow! Can't say that I've ever seen such a critter! I've heard morels can be pretty tasty!


But looks like one has to beware the False Morel of the story!


ps...thx for the SparkGoodie! :-)

Comment edited on: 4/10/2012 8:45:06 AM

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JLITT62 4/10/2012 5:31AM

    That's kind of freaky looking . . . and you REALLY need to know what you're doing when it comes to mushrooms, altho it sure sounds like you do.

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MEDDYPEDDY 4/10/2012 4:14AM

    Yes you get many points because I would never had been that angelic....

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IUHRYTR 4/9/2012 10:13PM

    I hope we will have morel of your pictures to enjoy (groan). -- Lou

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PENNYAN45 4/9/2012 9:07PM

    I never heard of a morel before.
But this is a great photo! Congratulations.

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OLDERDANDRT 4/9/2012 6:57PM

    emoticon and emoticon for leaving it in the preserve! I know that was hard! Maybe next time you see it (have an envelope in your pocket) you could bump a few spores into the envelope and try getting some to grow on your own property. That would be ok, wouldn't it? I dunno. emoticon You know best, but ........just sayin/!


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GUITARWOMAN 4/9/2012 6:57PM

    Loved your play on words!

Don't know much about wild mushrooms, guess morels are good to eat?

Brownie points for sure!

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RRP546 4/9/2012 6:41PM

  very nice

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    What a beauty that one is!!! Yep, you deserve Brownie points for leaving it there!!! emoticon

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Slowed Down by Foot Injury - a Little

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Vacation has been very good for me. I am feeling more relaxed and more 'together.' Several people have mentioned how relaxed I look; a testament to how stressed I looked before. The next two months at school will be busy to the extreme, so I am gathering up as much 'me' time and friend time as possible so I have the inner resources as possible to make the big spring push. Upcoming events include the spring musical, Mary Poppins (which includes my class and the 3rd graders), graduation, end of year testing, taking my class camping for 3 days, and the end of the year work bee. April and the first week of May will be the big push towards the production of Mary Poppins.

I have not been able to get the walking in that I would have liked to. My foot injury is not healing well and causing me quite a bit of pain. I had been able to push through and walk with my toe brace on, but I totally re-injured my foot when I tried lunges at Body Pump on Monday. I should have known better than to try the lunges, but I just wasn't thinking. I knew after the first lunge that it was the wrong thing to do, but the damage is done. I need to substitute the lunges with squats, and now I think I need to substitute walking with swimming for a while. Miss Stella will not be so happy with that and it is hard for me not to go out hiking. I love to grab a camera and investigate the progress of spring.

It has been wonderful to finally have some long stretches of time to practice my guitar. I have been struggling with the flamenco form, bulerias, which has a fast tempo and difficult techniques in it. Having extended periods to really concentrate on technique has been really helpful; I feel like I am making some breakthroughs.

Here is flamenco great, Paco de Lucia, playing bulerias. He is amazing!


My mini camper project is underway, but going slowly. I have been getting sanding and some staining done. Without a deadline, I am taking my time. The beginning part of a build is always the most tedious - lots of prep work and figuring out 'special effects.'

Spanish class was on hold this week because my friend's wife, Josephina, has been in town. I haven't seen her for 20 years, so it has been wonderful to spend time with her. She goes back to Cuernavaca tomorrow. I will miss her when she leaves. I am hoping that we might be able to visit her home in Cuernavaca in a couple of years.

This may be the reverse for me, but my diet is so much easier to be in charge of when I am on vacation. It is too easy to snack on empty calories and salty things at work, and I am more inclined toward stress eating during the work week. I want crunch and salt during the day, and chocolate and a glass of wine in the evening. Without the pressures at work, I really am not craving the crunch or the chocolate.

Today is a special day. It is my youngest son's birthday. Exactly how did he turn 36???

Here he is with his grandma (my mother) and his big brother. He has certainly been and continues to be a wonderful part of my life!

Loving this spring!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECCABOO127 4/15/2012 2:20AM

    Hope you heal soon from the foot injury. I love to go walking in the Spring, too. I am still healing from the knee injury. I start warm water physical therapy next week, and am very excited.

Love your pics---the blooms are beautiful!

The pic of your son with your mom is really sweet too.


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TRULYVISIBLE 4/10/2012 12:05PM

  Sorry to hear about your foot injury. I just stopped by to see if you have written any blogs lately as I no longer see your blog entries on my friend feed. I only see that you leave comments on other Sparkers blogs. I don't know if you have that setting on purpose or not so thought I would mention it. Great old photo and love the hand on his head, such brotherly love.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 4/10/2012 6:49AM

    Oh good thinking about the swimming, you will love doing that instead, the support of the water is a joy and your stress will just float away... And remember you can do lunges etc in the pool, you are only fraction of your weight. I'm so glad I got my head properly around exercising in the pool, I used to RESENT it when I had to go there because of injury and fret. And now, pure pleasure! Maybe this will be easier on you during this busy time, your wise body might have had this in mind? Typing this as I listen to Paco de Lucia's bulerias (and thinking of some flamenco Zumba moves, hehe). You are so clever to be able to play these.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IUHRYTR 4/9/2012 10:16PM

    You did with your foot as I do with my back -- push on when we should know better. Hope it feels better soon. -- Lou

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DDOORN 4/6/2012 10:20PM

    What a mighty fine player Paco is! Enjoying that video now...

Have a wonderful Easter!


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MAWRTIAN 4/6/2012 4:46PM

    Great pictures as always! Be gentle to your foot. I love flamenco!! I studied flamenco dance for a while but it was too hard my ankles. Happy Easter!!

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OLDERDANDRT 4/5/2012 8:21PM

    So sorry you hurt your foot. Yep, Stella is not going to be very happy about it, either. On the other hand, I bet she likes to lounge around and enjoy your guitar practicing!
Happy Birthday to your 36 year old!

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    Such lovely pictures! Thank you for posting them. I am sorry you reinjured your foot. I have been doing that lately too - struggling to find the balance after spraining my ankle in December. I hope your foot will fully heal very soon!
Please keep posting photos of spring around you, it is a treat!

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ROCKMAN6797 4/5/2012 1:12PM

    Sorry to hear about your foot injury Chris, take it easy and allow it to heal! The swimming pool activities sound perfect for the time being. I, too, watched the youtube video and thought it was awesome, I was especially impressed with the gentleman doing the hand clapping, boy his arms must have been tired after that long song! emoticon
Continue to enjoy your spring break!

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GUITARWOMAN 4/5/2012 10:46AM

    Hello Chris, sorry to hear about your injury.....hope you heal soon and well!

I watched part of the flamenco video...all I can say is oh my......looks very challenging!


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Flaked Out

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I just shouldn't get this tired. My 6th graders went to visit their next school yesterday, so I went over there early to greet them at the office door before they went through the school day with a former grad. The children are always nervous about going on to their new school, so I arrange for them to visit in early spring to take the anxiety about next year out of the rest of the school year. I am looking forward to their feedback today.

After teaching the rest of the class all day, then having a faculty meeting until 6:00, it ended up being a 10 hour work day. I had dinner when I got home, and took Stella for a 3 mile hike. Then I was DONE! Or so I thought. I entirely forgot I had Spanish class and crashed. I would have felt bad enough about this, as there is only one other student besides me, but the worse part is that I am hosting this class in my classroom at school. Which means my teacher (and friend) and fellow student, were locked out when they got there last night. My cell was in my car, so if they tried to call, I did not get the call. I am feeling some remorse today. I sent out emails of apology this morning. Ugh! I hate it when I flake.

Tonight is a board meeting, so another 10 hour day. Come hither, spring break! I desperately need you!

The parent who bought the Lovely Lavender Cottage took this photo and sent it to me. I gives an idea of scale.

This is my inspiration for my next build, which will be just for fun.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECCABOO127 4/6/2012 2:28AM

    I hope you have a good time on spring break! You deserve it! Hang in there, and the dollhouse is simply stunning.


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IUHRYTR 3/29/2012 11:41PM

    I remember the camper, Chris, and am eager to watch your progress with it. -- Lou

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MARY1313 3/29/2012 4:20PM

    Awww you know what, you shouldn't feel guilty too much because you body is the smart one, it knows when it HAS to crash. You would keep on pushing. We are human and we all miss something every now and then.

Hugs girlie! You do a wonderful job and have lots of long days. You are AWESOME!!!!


emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAWRTIAN 3/29/2012 3:44PM

    Love your smile there! Please take time to care for yourself too!!

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0309COOKIE 3/28/2012 8:00PM

    That cottage is just magnificent!

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ROCKMAN6797 3/28/2012 6:51PM

    Can't wait to see the trailer in progress!
I hope Spring Break arrives very soon for you, this burning the candle at both ends can be dangerous for your health. emoticon
I hope you are able to get some much needed rest very soon....

Comment edited on: 3/28/2012 6:52:44 PM

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BILLTMAN 3/28/2012 8:05AM

    Chris, I say this in a loving way: too many 10 hour days dear. We need for you to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. I just don't want you to overdo it. The cottage was quite lovely but the trailer is really neat. I can't wait to see where you go with it.

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If it's Monday, it must be Chris's wild flower blog....

Monday, March 26, 2012

And it is!

It was a chilly, breezy day with bright blue skies and sunshine; truly a gorgeous March day. I have been looking forward to today's walk all weekend to see which new wild flowers are in bloom. There are many that I really look forward to; hepatica which I posted last week, trillium, trout lilies, yellow violets, and Virginia blue bells among them.

Today's walk was a red letter wild flower walk for me.

First I found the white violets, which are pretty, but a lot more common than the yellow ones.

After hiking quite a while and looking very carefully, I finally found one of the yellow violets. They don't seem to clump at all; you are fortunate to find a little singleton sitting off by itself. When I first met Mike and took him out for a spring hike, I told him about yellow violets. I was excited about showing him one because he is very color blind and the one color he can see clearly and identify is yellow. For the whole walk, he thought I was kidding him. When finally found one he was amazed by it. They are very sweet little yellow gems.

Last week, I found only one snow trillium, but this week, they were liberally sprinkled through the woods. They don't have a long blooming season, so you have to time your walks just right. I missed them last year.

The Virginia blue bells looked positively vibrant in the sunlight.

They are such a cheerful splash of color.

I have been seeing trout lily leaves for a couple of weeks now, and waiting for them to bloom. I found exactly two today. They look so graceful with their nodding blossoms.

I love the unassuming red/brown blossoms of the wild ginger. You really have to look to find them. They are dark in color and lie on the ground under the heart shaped leaves of the ginger plant. Can you see the blossom?

Both the Dutchman's breeches and the red trillium were blooming on last week's walk, but this little vignette was so pretty today, I had to include them in this photo collection. Such a pleasure to have them still blooming this week.

This was such a pleasant way to start the week. I hope you had a pleasant Monday as well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CITYZOZO 3/29/2012 9:37AM

    a lovely way to start my day.. looking at this blog

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W5VEOTX 3/28/2012 10:18AM

    Great photos - thanks for sharing.

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OLDERDANDRT 3/27/2012 2:20PM

    You sure know your wild flowers! And they are so precious!! Love them all!! Thanks for posting all these little beauties. Love your pics from your hikes!!!

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GUITARWOMAN 3/27/2012 11:52AM

    Soooooo beautiful!


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DDOORN 3/27/2012 8:54AM

    Beautiful shots, as always...hoping our overnight temps in the high teens haven't wiped out TOO many flowering plants...!


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ROCKMAN6797 3/26/2012 11:51PM

    Wow, it really is the beginning of spring time! Beautiful pictures!

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FIFIFRIZZLE 3/26/2012 10:08PM

    This must be so exciting, I so wish we had wild flowers here. I have tulips and daffodils to plant soon, into the fridge they must go!

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WATERMELLEN 3/26/2012 9:10PM

    This is like a preview of "coming attractions": all my favourites! We don't get the Virginia bluebells growing wild here (although I have a few planted in my garden): I'm wondering if you get spring beauty: pale pink with darker pink stripes? They are usually a bit earlier than the flowers you're showing this week.

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 3/26/2012 7:03PM

    How pretty Chris!

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2012ISNOW 3/26/2012 5:26PM

    OH BOY - what a treat! We still have some snow here, so I have not seen any flowers yet, but I can't wait. Your pictures make me antsy with anticipation ... Thanks so much for sharing! emoticon

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0309COOKIE 3/26/2012 5:26PM

    I really enjoy these blogs where you identify the wildflowers. They are each so beautiful and unique. Thanks for sharing.

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MARY1313 3/26/2012 5:18PM

    I love your wild flower blogs!!! It brings a really happy smile to my face!!!


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KOMAL53 3/26/2012 5:06PM

    These are so very lovely!!!You're really lucky to have access to such Beauty near you!!!Thank You for sending a breath of Crystal clear Air all the way to me----Ienjoyed each of the Pictures very much!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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