Thursday, June 28, 2018

Smokey Mountains Hike

Spotting wildlife in the Great Smokey Mountains is free and fun.
There are many opportunities to experience nature.
Day hiking trails, camping in back country,
or just taking your family on the loop drive are all joyful surprises.
A couple tips:
Animals are most active early morning and before sundown.
Look for berry bushes and wildflower fields that they love.
Stay fifty feet away from them, they are unpredictable.
Do not feed them, block them, or taunt them from their lives.
Have your cell phone or camera ready for the moment, as
in the field above the bears only peek their heads up to spy
for seconds.
The park is free to visit. Day parking is no cost as well.
Bring mosquito repellent or a natural oils
such as citronella or eucalyptus and reapply often.
Do not leave any food out.
All firewood must be USDA approved because of beetles
and diseases.
Reservations for camping are made online here:
There are horse trips, car camping, Glamping, RV parking -
many options for inexpensive $20 a night fees

Tuesday, June 26, 2018


this plot has elaborate doors, windows and weeping white pine

raised bed with lettuce and concrete pavers 

sunflowers in the right corner ready to bloom

concrete urn planter, brick walk and stone for a future project in this garden

I'm taking care of my sister recovering from major surgery
in Boston. On a break, a walk from Beacon Hill through
South Boston to visit the Art Museum, I found the Berkeley
Community Gardens. I share with you this morning.
The weather here is different than my home where it is dry
and hot, thus burning my vegetables perhaps until the Fall.
Tarot, herbs, flowers, squash and tomatoes grow in gardens.
Much like the community gardens at home in San Juan and
the one I once frequented on the way to the office in Laguna,
each stall has a unique home with planters, a seating area, or
recycled garden art.

Saturday, June 23, 2018


From the air, the tan serrated edge blends to white salt center
Gone dry
From on foot, the heat trembles upwards, creaks sticky red clay
Oh my

Zinc oxide slides on bridge of nose, doesn’t blend to pink
Sandstone houses rabbit, voles, and night creatures dance
Hold their tongues quiet in the caverns, wait for a chance
Snakes seek those who trolled on sky moonless octopus ink.

From the air, cars are ants rushing to be winning first
From a cage, space blankets don't keep the children warm
Gone dry
Oh my.

No work in coca fields ~ or rain on a roof of rust
Four families hide in the belly of the dump truck
Don’t cough or hiccup,pee in paper cup if you must
Ice won’t find us, if we pray to Saint Joseph for luck.

Gone dry
Oh my.

From a cave in darkness, eyes go blind and hair grows pale.
From your room, keeping silent adds power to evil

The gramophone sings music winding in stale air
Mine government bounces lies not plain human care

Gone dry.
my my.

copyright poetry images and video Caroline Gerardo June 2018

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rainy Day

Rainy Day

Met a man from Nashville on a rainy day
his children's faces hide behind computer games in an elevator.
The boy recites his home address, in case he's abducted, 
Daddy sends them home to Momma early
have a happy summer.

Met a man in Pigeon Forge on a rainy day
he tows a crucifix size of a phone pole, pretends it's heavy. 
The cross is wood grain vinyl over foam core,
his flyers talk about damnation
have a nice day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Met a man from Roanoke on a rainy day
he works security for MVP, with an arsenal of weapons.
The money's good, cash pays off his pickup truck, 
he doesn't answer about the beatings
it's blowing up a storm.

Met a man taking videos with his Ipad
he stands in the meadow of flowering berries and bears.
The elk watch him scare turkeys aloft,
he says he swam with sharks in a cage
good luck with that on a rainy day.

Met a man sweating more than a sinner in church
he locks immigrant children in prison camps,
believes it's okay to collect and sell rare hydrangea, or 
poison water in the name of Jesus 
have a rainy day.

copyright June 20 2018

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Epi Epiphyllum Care

Or Queen of the Night

She's easy to grow in my arid climate.
Snails are few on the ranch; but, I squirrels, rabbits, deer
and fire ants that nibble on soft tissue when hungry.

There are twelve varieties of Epi's in my garden. 
This one is from a single stem piece transplanted
three years ago. The secret is in my potting soil. 
The dirt is 50% home grown compost + 10% gravel + 
10% per-lite with oak wood chips in the bottom of the pot 
for drainage (the other 30% of the mathematics equation).
We lost an old growth oak to drought, beetle and woodpeckers.
It feels criminal to use it for firewood, so I've found justifiable
means to make three hundred year old wood recreate epis
for friends.

Pot your epi with the notion that you are not going to re-pot her
until she breaks out. By this I mean: one piece in a large vessel.
Choose a pretty pot with drain holes, as she blooms once a year.
Though her fronds are green she's not that fabulous the other
seasons. She's a stumpy cactus without thorns. See my coral 
fuchsia carnival next to my daughter's C J of the same hue.

I water only when the medium is dry, stick your finger in to check.
In spring, I water her twice a week. When I see the edges slightly
red, this means she gains strength to push out flowers.
The flowers flow from year old growth tips.
Do not move her while blooming. The basketball sized flowers 
are fragile. If you vainly haul the pot to a more visible location 
you'll lose many of the blossoms. 

Be generous with admirers and promise to give them a cutting
after she blooms, as there is such joy in sharing something
gorgeous. Ask me and if the post office allows, it is on its way.

In my zone the epis are outdoors under pine trees and recieve
full morning sun, and filtered mid-day sun, with good amount of
full light after 5:00 P.M. They rest under pines because we get frost.
When temperatures go below 30 degrees I cover with old bed
sheets for the night, then they appear to be squatting ghosts. I've
often thought of attaching masks, flowing plastic bags with glow
sticks or mylar clown balloons to the covered plants as branches
act like scarecrow arms. 

I don't fertilize. I let them rest after flowering by slowing 
my water schedule a bit; but not letting them go bone dry.

Epi's live forever if you don't let the snails get them.

Plant high and hang if you have wet climate and snails, 
leave bowls of old beer for the snails to get drunk and drown.

Epi's are easier than making pie crust, yes I love a buttery
flaky crust that your fingers barely touched and deep reds
of raspberries and rhubarb. Do the deer believe they will
taste of currant, or they seek water?

To play the videos - you have to click both arrows. Play
them together and listen to the mockingbird and woodpecker
in the background.

Caroline Gerardo Copyright June 7, 2018

Wednesday, June 6, 2018



Dionne pretends she is not stealing oranges.
She tip toes as her nose sniffs the blossoms.
The last seconds of the video: view the doe
leaps with her sister Betty and baby June; 
like butter on bread over the ridge above.

Hunters never admit to the voice of a kill
sounds of chainsaw broken from the post.

May you allow them bites of flowers and
salt drink on pewter platters out for kings,
because deer have a purpose in the wood.

C. G. Copyright June 6, 2018

Click the video on, and the arrow on, then make full screen to
see them at the end as they hop in the distance. Fifteen seconds of joy for you today.