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Monday, March 31, 2014

Two questions and a nuthatch

The final thing Laura and I planted last fall
was anemone bulbs, and lots of them.
My local nursery offered to order them for this fall,
but my gratification cycle tends to be much shorter, 
so I ordered them from Belgium, and had them in two weeks.
The instructions said to soak them for, as I recall, a week or two.
It was pouring rain, the ground was muddy to the core,
So Laura and I went out and planted them. 

Plants like these two have begun to appear.
Are they anemone?

I turned around from the anemone
And saw the elusive nuthatch.

He sees me, too, but I got him twice before he left.

Here's another woodpecker, since it was out there, too.

The anemone was my first question. The second is,
who can tell me about pen pals?
Little Laura, the twelve year old, is a letter writing child,
who has been disappointed in her cousins and others
as reliable correspondents.
We're talking paper and pen and postage stamps, here.
I explained old fashioned pen pals, and she is so excited.
 I should have researched before I offered to help her find a pen pal.
I am not confident in anything I've turned up on the internet.
Can anyone give me some guidance on finding a reliable source of names and addresses of children who would like to correspond by snail mail.
Thank you so much.
PS-she thinks Ireland would be perfect. Her social studies class read a story of an Irish lass and her mother emigrating from Ireland during the mid eighteen hundreds. Perhaps you remember being twelve years old.


  1. They are indeed anemones - and I have never heard of the need to soak them before planting. It seems yours didn't need it.
    I hope Laura does find a pen pal - there is a real magic to holding an honest to goodness letter in your hands.

  2. Letters are a gift, it's something to take out and read something wrote you 50 years ago, and just remember. I hope your young girl finds someone suitable.....just be careful out there.

  3. Perhaps you could talk to the a teacher or principal at her school to find a suitable, approved pen pal. The world is such a different place today and beside children not using snail mail, there is that safety factor out there that our generation and even our own children did not have to be concerned about.

  4. Don't know about the anemones. I would say probably since that is what is coming up where you planted them. But the pen pal! I had a pen pal and we wrote for years. I even still remember her address and her name. I was about 12 I think. She lived in England. I got hooked up via a comic book. Back in the day they had ads for different things in the backs of comic books...Mail order stuff like art lessons and x-ray glasses and...pen pals. I filled out the form and sent it in and they sent me back a name and address. I have no idea how someone goes about getting a pen pal now. But if the goal is correspondence, why not electronically?

  5. I can't remember what anemones look like.... only remember that years ago I planted some... they came up and were starting to bloom... and aphids or something totally destroyed them in about an hour. So... I don't even know what they're susceptible to..... As for the pen pal... when I was about 12 I wrote a letter wanting a pen pal... addressed it to the postmaster in Pocatello, Idaho.. asked him to give it to a 12 year old who would like to write to someone in Ohio. He did and the girl, whose name I don't remember, and I corresponded for a couple of years. I hope Laura finds a suitable match... it's such a shame kids these days don't know about writing letters or the joy of receiving one in the mail.

  6. All I remember about anemones is they are very delicate and think i have a patch of them at the end of the garden space. Saw the colchicum burst through my ground in several place today-thanks to you..About penpals..I guess my best bet would be to investigate some service organization for a serviceman somewhere in this world who get little to no mail..You know me.

  7. The nuthatch is such a pretty bird! How neat with the pen pal idea for Laura! I wonder if anyone through the blogging world has a 12 year old (or close by in age) that would be willing to be her pen pal. I do agree to be careful with screening on how to choose one since one never knows these days. I don't have a niece close to that age or if I did, I'd see if she was interested. Let us know if she is able to find one and how it goes!

    and I'm clueless about the plant; I'm the proverbial brown (black) thumb.


  8. Dear Joanne,
    as I nevrer read the comments first before I write one, I can only guess that everbody cried 'yes, yes - these are Anemones!' You might like E.Nesbit's poem on their wild sisters - windflower or wood anemones - wich you'll find on my poem-blog

  9. Pen-pals - here in the UK the Royal Mail service had a national and international pen-pal scheme for youngsters called 'Hola!' - don't know if it's still going....My daughter did it for a while and corresponded with a girl in France - certainly improved both their foreign language skills as they helped each other.

    Maybe you could contact your local postal service and see if they run anything similar?

    Alternatively - try an internet search for schools in Ireland and try emailing them to see if any pupils might like an international pen-friend - maybe one of the teachers might be willing to monitor it....? It could begin a wonderful friendship for Laura and be a great way to compare cultures for all parties concerned! I wish her luck! :-)

    1. Just found this: - might be a starting point for you?

  10. Hari Om
    Yes to the anemones.

    Sue got ahead of me a bit as I was thinking along those same lines. Contacting a School Principal over this side of the water (or anywhere in the world for that matter) would seem like the safest bet and could set up something worthwhile. One programme I do know about is that of a school which was local to me in Australia which had a letter writing exchange with a school in Bangalore. I have very fond memories of pen-friendships from Sri Lanka, Australia and Germany so do persevere with this! YAM xx

  11. I do indeed remember being 12 with my head in a book and my heart full of dreams. I know nothing about pen pals...perhaps a childrens web site like OWL or Chickadee would be able to steer you in the right direction. Tell her not to limit herself to children though....some old folks could be very interesting pen pals and it would be good for both of them.

  12. The pen pal idea is great. Maybe a trend could get started and the future generation will know more than texting short abbreviated phrase.

  13. So jealous that you have plants coming up. It's snowing here today. Sigh...

  14. I used to be pen pals with a girl in Iowa when we were in sixth grade. I got her name from a list published weekly in the local newspaper.

  15. It is nice that she is into writing. I would check with her school to see if they have any program for pen pals. May be exchange students?

  16. You might check children's magazines at the library to see if they have a penpal page. Or contact an Irish school via the internet and enquire if they have a student who would like to correspond. I know zero 12-year-olds at the moment - all my contacts are in their twenties/thirties or else two to five years old :)

    Hah! I just scrolled up and saw Sue H.'s suggestion!

    You got a photo of the nuthatch! What a beauty!

  17. I had both French and Japanese Pen friends when I was Laura's age. I hope your search is fruitful.

  18. I'm so glad the idea of pen pals is still alive. My son-in-law, who's 45, is still in touch with his childhood pen pal in China. Good luck on your quest.

  19. A grand idea for your Laura. I am a letter writer at heart and send them off to friends that don't use a computer. For Laura I would suggest that she, maybe with your help, find an older person to correspond with. Maybe the theme of her writing would be to establish a nice little pen pal friendship but also to have Laura ask him or her what they were doing when they were young -- games, parties, food etc. This would give them a start. I would enclose an addressed envelope to encourage a response. Also a photo of herself. Maybe even a nice card to enclose with her letter. Perhaps an older relative could be the chosen person or if you have a local senior center contact the director and they should be able to help. Maybe they would have a senior with an Irish heritage.There is something special, still today, about receiving a snail mail letter. Suggestions only.

    You soon will have flowers -- spring has recognized Ohio.
    -- barbara

  20. I'm no help with penpals, we had a class penpal action back in Primary school where the teacher presented us with a letter from another class of children overseas, all their names were listed with a general outline, age, gender, hobbies and we were all instructed to write to this person. So we did. I never knew if it was genuine or a letter writing exercise thought up by the educations committees of the times, since none of us ever received any replies. In high school I did briefly write to a girl in Scotland, but that petered out after two or three replies.
    The new growth certainly ;looks like anemones to me.

  21. A penpal! I had a penpal from North Umberland. He and I exchanged letters for the better part of a school year. He asked if we had heard of the Beatles--we had not at that point.

    Looking forward to see your anemone do some more growing.

  22. I don't know about the plant. However, if she ask her teacher the schools usually have programs to hep kids with that. My son had a pen pal for about a year.

  23. The anenome's are beautiful! As for letter writing, maybe check with her teacher or see if there's some sort of pen pal association online that she could sign up for and be matched...kind of like online dating for 12 year old pen pals ;)

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  25. Beautiful photos of the birds. I do remember having pen pals in the old days. I got them from children's magazines. I don't know if you have yahoo mail. If you don't, it is easy enough to sign up. Once there you can go to "Groups" (see menu at the top). The groups section of Yahoo has a search function and you can search for the subject matter you are interested in, example, "pen pals for kids". I've had a quick look and I think you will benefit from it. For example, one is called "Kids Safe Pencil Pals" and requires the parent/guardian to sign up for safety reasons. You can search a group that will meet your needs best and once you do you can send a membership request.