Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Ode to the Dandelion

Image result for dandelions

I get excited almost as much as my great-niece about flowers, but not about the dandelion.  Even this herb thrills her 4-year-old heart.

"Flower," she exclaims.  "There's a flower," Reagan adds and races with her blonde curls bouncing to pick the weed.

To me the dandelion is just a weed.  It's invasive and will take over my lawn.  I'll need to spray the yard, but Reagan sees the beauty in this plant.

Maybe I should view the world through the joyful eyes of a child.  Little Reagan finds beauty all about her, but I see the "work" involved with mowing the lawn.

So what's so pretty about the dandelion?  Maybe the color.  The bright fringed petals twirl like a ballerina waving yellow streamers.  It's like lemon drops or Grandma's churned butter.  It's like a sunbeam splashing the verdant grass.

Despite Reagan seeing the beauty in this simple plant, the dandelion has medicinal purposes.  The local health food store recommends dandelion tea as a diuretic.

The dandelion is a common herb used to reduce fever in Chinese medicine.  It contains several anti-inflammatory constituents.  The dandelion has not been tested for fever-lowering properties by conventional scientists.

Additionally, this small yellow flower dots meadows around the world.  Its roots are known as a powerhouse of healthy benefits.  Dandelion's use traces back to the 10th century when Arabian physicians revered the root for its cleansing properties and as a natural aid for digestion.

Maybe little Reagan knows more than I do about both the beauty and value of the dandelion.  Perhaps I could learn from this child if I would take time to appreciate the beauty of God's creation.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

Image result for dandelions

Image result for dandelions

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Irish Tea

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

My sister and I took a heritage tour to Ireland in 1988 with Western Carolina University.  When we landed in Ireland, our tour director served tea and scones in a cute thatched-roof cottage.  I don't drink tea at 11 am, and this was a new experience for my taste buds.

They served strong tea with lots of "rich" milk.  I had never eaten scones and found them to be a bit dry and not too tasty.  This popular pastry was cut into circles, baked, and sliced in half and served with berry jam and stout tea.  The Irish are known for their hospitality and served plenty of this to us Americans.

My sister and I were amazed how they served the Irish tea.  Milk was first poured into tea cups to prevent the hot tea from cracking the china.  What started as a custom to preserve the china, became tradition.  The Irish have discovered that pouring milk into hot tea makes it taste badly.  They call a cup of tea "cupan tae" or "cuppa tay" on the Emerald Isle.  Our tour director told us that "taking tea" is an Irish custom that has been enjoyed for centuries.  Farmers and fishermen drank the hot drink to warm up on cold, winter days.

After our trip to Ireland, my sister and I developed a taste for Irish tea.  We especially enjoy sipping the hot drink during the holidays and munching sugar cookies.  It really "hits the spot" taking hot Irish tea on cold winter days.  It's like a taste of Ireland that we brought home to the United States.

This story appeared online:  "Good Life Tea"
                                               January 04. 2019

A thatched-roof cottage in Ireland.

An Irish trap transporting "rich" milk to the village.

I wish all my blogger friends a very happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Memorial Sculpture

                                                  Photo by:  Ashley Kairis, staff writer
                                                                    "Clay County Progress"


At Moss Memorial Library,
a cub sitting on Mama Bear's lap
reading a children's book.

Everett and Jane Devaughn,
pillars in our historic town,
the memorial sculpture at Moss Library.

A hummingbird sipping nectar,
Mama Bear wearing a flower,
a cub sitting on her lap.

Seeking knowledge as silver,
a memorial to the mountain couple,
Mama Bear reading to her cub.
                    --Brenda Kay Ledford

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Singing Christmas Tree

Snow usually spread a blanket across the Blue Ridge Mountains in December, but that Christmas in 2,000, seemed like spring.  We wore light-weight clothing and flipped on the air-conditioner.  The forsythias glowed like pots of gold and robins chirped.  Cherry trees bloomed on the streets of Hayesville, North Carolina.

I was in no mood for Christmas, but a friend asked me to join the " Singing Christmas Tree" at Truett Memorial Baptist Church.  We practiced a lot for the program.  Our director wanted us to get the music just right.

Some members quit attending the practice sessions.  I was exhausted after teaching feisty fourth graders, and almost pulled out, too.  I stuck with the program, and finally the music came together.  The director praised us for working hard and predicted it would be a great "Singing Christmas Tree."

We members relaxed and actually began to enjoy the practice sessions.  One person kept us in stitches with his pranks and jokes.  Garland was a born comedian.  One evening he marched into the church wearing a big, shaggy white wig and beard down to his waist.  Everyone including our director had a good, long belly laugh at Garland's "Santa Claus" personification. 

It was just like a miracle when our "Singing Christmas Tree" program came together.  The attendance grew each evening until the fire marshal had to limit the number of people jamming into the church.  Our program was filled with energy and the spirit of Christmas touched me until I was filled with the joy of Christmas.  I'm glad I was part of the program that I'll never forget.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

This story appeared in "Tis' the Season,"
                                       Old Mountain Press, 2018

                   I wish all my blogger friends a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.  I really enjoy blogging with my friends and visiting your beautiful blogs.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Fabulous Fall

Early this morning,
dewdrops sparkled
like diamonds on the grass.

A cardinal speared
seeds from sunflowers
and twittered autumn's arrival.

Poplars waved golden palms
in the cold wind,
a wedge of geese

honked through the azure skies.
The corn shocks rattled
tambourines in the pumpkin patch,

and Shewbird Mountain
blushed with mauve foliage
as fall made her debut.
           --Brenda Kay Ledford

This poem appeared in "Pancakes in Heaven,"
                                        September, 2018.

I wish all my blogger friends a very happy Fall!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


As a child savors
her first lollipop
full of wonder
licking her lips

simple joys of nature:
sunflowers pulse on the wind
layers of sapphire mountains
unfurl as a scroll

the wild geese honk in v-shape
marshmallow clouds swirl
through pink lemonade
stars dazzle on black velvet

like a girl tossing glitter
and the Harvest Moon
casting golden coins
on Shewbird Mountain.
           --Brenda Kay Ledford

This poem appeared in:
"West End Poet's Newsletter,"
September/October/November 2018

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Georgia Mountain Fair

Georgia Mountain Fair
July 28, 2018
Prose Poem

     Mauve-colored crape myrtles, buttery cone flowers, and hydrangea with blossoms large as soccer balls, pulse in the wind.  The human cannonball explodes as the performer whizzes 65-miles-per-hour through the azure skies.  Ripples ricochet on Lake Chatuge, a thousand diamonds sparkle on the waves.  A waterwheel spins, children splash through an icy stream.  You savor a cup of fresh squeezed lemonade.  Viewing the photography show, a pink cloud shaped like an angel dazzles the senses.  Another photo depicts a cherub dancing on a flame in the fireplace.

by:  Brenda Kay Ledford

An exhibit of canned goods at the fair.

Beautiful quilts are also exhibited at the fair.

Children enjoy milking the cow at the fair.

The delicious smell of fried apple pies wafts across the fairgrounds.

Ode to the Dandelion

I get excited almost as much as my great-niece about flowers, but not about the dandelion.  Even this herb thrills her 4-year-old heart...