Articles & Stories

Raise Food? Raise Beds!

Raise Food? Raise Beds!

Photo © Dreamstime.com. One of the best ways to reduce tillage and increase our enjoyment of gardening is to construct permanent beds. When we stop tilling, it is important to avoid compaction as...

Ursa Major

Ursa Major

Ursa Major, the Great Bear, is a large constellation in the northern circumpolar region of the sky. Ursa Major is known best for the Big Dipper, which makes up the northeastern part of the...

Raising Mealworms

Raising Mealworms

Eastern Bluebird eating mealworm. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Thank you to the Amstutz family who asked about raising mealworms for bluebirds (February issue). I can hear and see your bluebirds’ happy...

Books, Brothers, and Birds

Books, Brothers, and Birds

Yellow Warbler. Photo © Darren Shank. It was not a good day for birds, I decided. The trees swayed in a brisk spring breeze, and gray clouds scurried overhead. The birds were probably hunkered down....

Once Upon a Wildflower Walk

Once Upon a Wildflower Walk

Photo © Dreamstime.com. “Look, Mary Ella, another contest!” my brother announced. I hurried over to the sofa where he was poring over the pages of the latest Nature Friend.“Wildflower ‘Learning by...

Dandiest Lion of Spring

Dandiest Lion of Spring

Photo © Dreamstime.com. Another school day was over. Eager students burst from the schoolhouse doors and headed for the road toward home.Danny waved and watched them leave for a minute before...

Gardening without Tillage—Why?

Gardening without Tillage—Why?

Photo © Dreamstime.com. I realize that having a garden without tilling might sound strange. My earliest memories of gardening include plowing, disking, and tilling. For many years I never knew there...

Monoceros

Monoceros

Monoceros the Unicorn is one of the most overlooked winter constellations. This is probably because the constellation is sprawling and faint, without an eye-catching shape. Fortunately, Monoceros is...

Our Birding Day

Our Birding Day

Sunday dawned a beautiful morning. The first birds I saw were cardinals—male and female. There were Chipping, English, and House Sparrows at the feeder. Out the kitchen window I saw a Junco and a...

How to Build a Rustic Cottage Flower Planter

How to Build a Rustic Cottage Flower Planter

STEP 1:Build a simple 24” x 36” x 8” box with a bottom, using sturdy old fence boards. STEP 2:Now you are ready to construct the cottage front. Cut five weathered barn boards to make a cottage...

In Our Skies, March 2022: Planetary Conjunctions

In Our Skies, March 2022: Planetary Conjunctions

Where I live in Virginia, March brings the signs of a new season. The days are slowly warming, and the evenings, which were quiet all winter, are now enlivened by the calls of spring peepers and...

The Big Dipper

The Big Dipper

Most people who can pick out at least two constellations in the night sky can point out the Big Dipper. As it turns out, the Big Dipper is not a constellation. It’s an asterism within the...

Exploring Nature, March 2022

Exploring Nature, March 2022

Snow trillium. Photo © Kevin Shank. Snow trilliums bloom mid-March to early April. This trillium was photographed near Franklin, West Virginia, March 21.Sharp-tailed Grouse are displaying on...