A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

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HAPPY WEED APPRECIATION DAY—I’m Celebrating”Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies”

Weed Appreciation Day, March 28—is on its way—and so are those amazing monarch butterflies! It’s the perfect time of year to plant milkweed to ensure the survival of these endangered butterflies as they embark on the journey north from wintering grounds in Mexico. My limerick tells a bit about the monarchs’ dependence upon milkweed. The photo of his female monarch (Danaus plexippus) on a milkweed plant (Asclepias syriaca) was taken in my garden in Central Maine, where milkweed plants flourish and monarchs can find the perfect leaves to lay their eggs under each summer. Read on to find out more about milkweed and the crucial relationship this native plant shares with monarchs and how you can help these endangered butterflies by planting milkweed in your own backyard.

Why Do Monarch Butterflies Need Milkweed?

  • Milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies. Monarchs have a dynamic relationship with plants in the milkweed family and are completely dependent on them for reproduction. Butterflies are the reproductive phase of their life cycle. Females lay their eggs on the undersides of milkweed leaves because when the eggs hatch and the caterpillars emerge, their only source of food is the foliage of milkweed plants. The growing caterpillars feed on the leaves until they are ready to form a chrysalis and metamorphose into adult butterflies.

Mating of monarch butterflies has begun and the orange and black butterflies are flying north. Along the way, females will lay eggs on milkweed plants, recolonizing the southern United States before they die. The first spring caterpillars will hatch and metamorphose into adults. These newly emerged monarchs colonize their parents original homes. Summer monarchs live only three to five weeks compared with the eight or nine months for overwintering adults. During the summer, three or four generations of monarch butterflies will emerge, and before summer ends there will be millions of monarchs all over the United States and southern Canada.

You can play an important role in the survival of  monarch butterflies by planting the correct native variety of milkweed in your yard or garden. Learn how to create a Monarch Waystation in your own backyard and report your monarch sightings too. Helping our monarch butterflies is a great service project for families, community groups and schools. Contact Monarch Watch (an educational outreach based at the University of Kansas): www.monarchwatch.org

About the author 

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book adventure that follows the life cycle of a monarch butterfly; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource  incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP—coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

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Winter Tale (HAiKU) by Bette A. Stevens

There’s nothing quite like a twilight sky to fill the soul with awe—even at the close of a bitter winter day. Photo taken at the farmstead in central Maine in mid-winter inspired this writer to pen a winter tale. What’s inspiring you today? ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author 

Winter Tale

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens

Periwinkle sky
Sings a winter lullaby
Twilight paints its tale

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry:

Find out more about author Bette A. Stevens and her books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

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Writing Haiku: Winter Ensemble (Haiku) by Bette A. Stevens

Enjoying another snow day at the farmstead in Central Maine. My current WIP (work in progress) is a poetry collection that I plan to publish this year. The photo shows the east side of our barn (I love that spruce tree we planted a few years back.) here at the farmstead.  Today I’ve written Winter Ensemble and invite you to join the fun and write a haiku too. If the kids are around, you can make it a family affair—get them writing haiku with you!

Nor’easterly winds
Lead frozen boughs in tempo
Winter ensemble

~Bette A. Stevens

HAIKU

noun hai·ku \ˈhī-(ˌ)kü\
  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry:

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Writing Haiku: “Winter Interlude” (haiku) by Bette A. Stevens

Original photo from Pixabay (Display version edited by Bette A. Stevens for this haiku poster.) Writing haiku is not only easy, it’s fun. Find out all about it in this post. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Winter Interlude

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens

Lakeside interlude
Sings winter’s song—ice skaters
Hail the performance

This week, I was reminiscing about my teen years in Upstate New York. Although winters there were not at long as they are here in Maine, families and friends often took advantage of frozen lakes and ponds, gathering on weekends to light a bonfire and skate to their heart’s content. The memory of those bygone days inspired my to write Winter Interlude.

What events from the past are inspiring you this winter? 

It’s a perfect time to write a haiku of your own and share your memories with the kids and grandkids. Not only is writing haiku fun, it’s easy to do…

HAIKU

noun hai·ku \ˈhī-(ˌ)kü\

  1. :  an unrhymed verse form of Japanese origin having three lines containing usually five, seven, and five syllables respectively; also :  a poem in this form usually having a seasonal reference — compare tanka

Discover more about how to write haiku and other poetry:

[Explore Bette’s Blog]

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Winter Game (haiku) by Bette A. Stevens

Winter Game

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens

Frozen window pane
Plays peekaboo with the sun
A seasonal game

It has been a long, cold winter here at the Farmstead in Central Maine. Last week’s ice and wind storm left a perfect canvas for the sun to paint its magic on the living room window, inspiring me to write “Winter Game.”

What’s inspiring you this winter?

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Celebrate National Puzzle Day with “The Tangram Zoo & Word Puzzles Too!” by Bette A. Stevens

Happy National Puzzle Day! This celebration is held every year on January 29th. It’s an opportunity to reflect on those puzzles, games and even challenges in life that we embrace every day but sometimes take for granted. Puzzles also offer us a great way to spend quality time interacting with family. In fact, puzzles are an awesome way to celebrate any day! ~Bette A. Stevens

REVIEW

The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! by Bette A. Stevens

January 2, 2018

Very Clever! 

I bought this book to give as a gift to my grandchildren. Reading through the book before giving it to them, I found it taught me a few things, too. First, I had no idea a tangram is a seven-piece puzzle with specific shapes. A pattern is provided to cut out and get started along with the history of it. There are many ways to put the pieces together, but the book supplies shapes to make– with clues or riddles as to what they are. Although, this is a very clever and educational book for children, I appreciated the added bonus that an adult can sit down and enjoy it with the kids! ~D.L. Finn, author

Ready to give Tangrams and Word Puzzles a try?

Here’s the handout the author uses with students.
Click the link or the image below.
Download, print and you’re ready to go…

TZ Handout 

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Have an Amazing New Year! (+poem by Bette A. Stevens)

May your New Year be Amazing
as a Monarch Butterfly

May your days be blessed and beautiful

May your nights, sweet dreams supply

May your New Year be amazing

As a monarch butterfly

Wishing all of you and our amazing monarch butterflies…
“An Amazing New Year!”

~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

All About Monarchs

Monarch butterflies offer an amazing view into the intricate nature of the wild. Their science name, Danaus Plexippus, Greek for “Sleepy Transformation,” gets part of the story right, but not the epic whole. International conservation efforts to protect and restore monarch habitat are ongoing. These efforts may help improve the near-endangered/endangered status of the species; but we, as ordinary citizens, can easily help the monarch butterfly recovery right in our own backyards and gardens. Find out more at the links below.

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Believe in Miracles—poem by Bette A. Stevens

 

Believe in Miracles

Poem by Bette A. Stevens

The whistling of the wind at play
Sunrise marking each new day
Rainfall crafting flowers to grow
Bright hues of every new rainbow

Planning skills for birds and bees
Conifer seeds becoming trees
Seas with creatures great and small
Land or sea, God made them all

Stars that mark the sky at night
Waning moon soon waxing bright
Seasons as they come and go
Wonders in each day they show

Wonder of wonders is mankind
Of every persuasion, you will find
God’s miracles are everywhere
Here to treasure, here to share

God made each one of us to show
His love and mercy as we go
About our life on earth each day
To all God’s wonders on our way

The greatest miracle you’ll find
God made the world with us in mind
He made it so that we might see
The love He has for you and me

John 1:3 (NIV) “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

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CHRISTMAS: poem by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Luke 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Holy Bible: KJV)

He came as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Lived among us on earth…

God’s gifts to bestow.

 Christmas 

Poem by Bette A. Stevens

The last cookie baked, the final gift wrapped.

Christmas Eve is upon us…

It’s time to relax.

Christmas music is gently reminding us why

Lord Jesus, the Christ Child…

Came down from on high.

He came as a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Lived among us on earth…

God’s gifts to bestow.

Loving God, loving others —Christ bought with his life

He epitomized love…

Not anger or strife.

God’s love is a precious gift we’re to share

With all those we know…

And with folks everywhere.

Wishing you the love, joy and peace found in Jesus—the Christ Child. ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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Respite for the Soul (Haiku & more Maine coastal photos) by Bette A. Stevens

Whenever we need a respite from the doldrums, Maine’s coast is calling…and no matter the season, Belfast, Maine is always a relaxing, scenic 45-minute drive from our 37-acre farmstead in Central Maine. The photo inspiring the haiku Respite for the Soul was taken at Moose Point State Park in Searsport, Maine. Photo collage below is from our latest visit to the nearby town of Belfast. Hope you enjoy the haiku and our visit to two of Maine’s  coastal towns too! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

Ocean waves calling

Visitors from near and far

Respite for the soul

Haiku by Bette A. Stevens

A Day in Belfast, Maine

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