Two Songs for Mrs. Hauser

Helga Hauser is an immigrant. In the old country, she was a nurse. But she can’t work as a nurse in the United States, because she does not have the government certification. She and her husband brought all their savings … Continue reading

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Three Songs for Siren

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Some people, like Siren the Social Worker, are as elusive and attractive and maddening as butterflies. They flit around leaving havoc in their wake, totally unaware of their part in the damage. We all know people like that: bubbly, full … Continue reading

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Not Fit For a Dog to Eat

Dogs have been eating our leftovers since before they stopped being wolves. They deserve to eat a diet fit for a carnivore. Not all commercial dog foods are fit for a dog to eat. Look for a high fat content, not just high protein. Continue reading

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Milkweed Flowers

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Milkweed comes in three varieties, common, purple and butterfly. All three attract pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Continue reading

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The daisy is a typical grassland wildflower, growing in meadows and open fields, or pastures, and amid scrub brush or in woods with lots of open canopy, as well as in disturbed or transitional areas. Continue reading

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How the Peony Blooms with Help from Black Garden Ants


You would think that for a peony to bloom would be the simplest, most natural process. But in fact, the peony needs help from its friends, the black garden ants.


The flower head of the peony is so tightly bound up, that it takes a team of expert black garden ants working on it for at least three weeks with hardly a break to loosen things up enough so that the flower may bloom.

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From very early in the career of the flower, you can see the ants marching back and forth, drawn by the fragrant juices that the intact flower head is secreting.


Sometimes the ants will take a short break from their work when it is raining. But soon they return again.


There is something to be gained for the black ants by assisting the flower in blooming. There is something for the flower to gain by secreting the sweet juice that draws the ants to it.

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This is not altruism. It is not parasitism. It is different entities working together each trying to achieve its own separate goal, but helping each other in the process.


This is called symbiosis. It is called mutual benefit.

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And as each beautiful petal begins to unfold itself, we see all the good the ants are doing for the peony.


The peony thanks them for their help by feeding them.


Then, when the job is done, the ants go their separate way. They do not complain that they have been laid off, or that the flower is ungrateful  for all the help they have given it.


They are happy for the nutrition they earned from the peony, and proud of a job well done, and now they go about searching for food elsewhere.


Why can’t we all understand that we will be paid only so long as our help is needed? Why can’t we move on to something else when the job is done?


The peony and the ants have much to teach us about working together. But they also are a wonderful example of the mutual benefit in temporary partnerships.


When the benefit is no longer mutual, we should just move on.

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Posted in Animals and Pets, Flowers, Plants | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wild Roses

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Wild roses can be found almost everywhere. They attract small carpenter ants who enjoy their fragrance and taste of their nectar and gather their pollen for their own asocial purposes. Continue reading

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Communist Leaders Usually Come from the Middle Class

I am not going to repeat the content of the embedded podcast verbatim in this post, but I will explain the context that prompted me to make this recording.

On my Theodosia and the Pirates blog, I got a comment from a reader that suggested that the following facts indicated someone was not a real communist and joined the party only for power and not out of genuine idealism:

  • he came from the middle class
  • he had gone to college
  • he studied law

In my experience, communist leaders often do come from the middle class, are well educated and study  the law or something equally as abstract. They are political theorists, and they spend a lot of time trying to think of ways to create a better world for people “less fortunate” than themselves. This is known of important leaders such as Lenin and Trotsky, but was equally true of my great uncle, Juliusz Katz-Suchy. You can read more about Katz-Suchy here:

Chocolate Under Communism

It is only after the economic experiment fails and everyone in the country is starving for staple items that it begins to appear that the leaders are greedy for luxuries such as chocolate, meat and basic appliances.  In a free country, these things are not even luxuries, and everyone in the middle class  can have them. But under the communists, as basic necessities become scarce, the leaders do manage to get more of these “luxuries” than the average person.

Greed is not usually an impetus to becoming a communist. Idealism is the main driving force, and the people who set out to topple the bourgeoisie are usually members in good standing with full stomachs and heads in the stars. After the experiment fails, when all men are hungry, the leaders appear to be  greedy because they still manage to have more to eat.

To say “he was not a real communist because he came from the middle class” is to misunderstand the history of communism and to be ready to repeat the same experiment with different players.

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The Rosebush With the Built-In Clock

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Tucked away behind a house in the rural town of Miami, Oklahoma, is a climbing rosebush like no other, Edna’s rosebush. Not only does it put forth giant flowers resembling a peony more than a rose, this 60-year-old bush can … Continue reading

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The Tulip Tree Blossoms

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The tulip tree’s official name is Liriodendron tulipofera. It is a very nice tree to have, and I am lucky the previous owners of the property planted it. Continue reading

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