Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Nature About Us....

This post is about a person who has spent two of my lifetimes loving nature. Not only has he loved nature, but he has written and shared his love of nature with countless fans. His name is Joe D. Allen.

On my initial meeting with the editors of the Leaf Chronicle, Mr. Stevens spoke of Joe Allen. He said he used to write nature articles for the paper, but that his health had deteriorated and he was no longer able to write. What a sad loss for us all. It made me think of other writers who wrote articles for the paper and who no longer write. Jim Monday currently writes an interesting weekly article, as does Rusty Evans. I will miss them both when one day they stop writing. But I won't forget the writers. Just like I haven't forgotten Joe Allen.

I do not know Joe Allen, but I religiously read his articles each week. He taught me much about nature. My friend Ursula, personally knows Joe. She has never forgotten his kindness when he came to her home and shared his knowledge of nature with her. Joe now resides in Grace Nursing Home at 111 Ussery Road (formerly known as General Care Convalescent Center) here in Clarksville. Ursula visits Joe frequently. She prepared the posters of the birds Joe loves so much that now decorate his wall at the nursing home. Ursula and I are hopeful Joe will one day soon get a window bed, where he can look at the birds outside his window eating at the birdfeeder firsthand.

Ursula and I visited with Joe Allen yesterday. He was happy to see us and enjoyed our visit very much. Ursula is a kind friend who shows her care in all she does. She brought him some food; which he loved very much. I told Joe I also write about nature, though my focus is more on gardening than the wildlife, and that I would like to honor him on here and in the Leaf Chronicle as a wonderful writer, fellow nature lover, and a super person who shared so much with so many others. He agreed.

Knowing how much Joe loved birds I asked him which was his favorite. Can you readers of his weekly column and book remember which bird he loved most? Hint: It is the first bird he ever wrote about and the subject of the initial essay Stan Gower, then editor of the Leaf Chronicle in 1956, published. It is the Cardinal!

Joe was an integral figure in the establishment of the local chapter of the National Audubon Society, the Warioto Audubon Society. This chapter is still active today as I often read of it in the newspaper.

Do you know of Alan Jackson's song "Small Town Southern Man"? When I hear this song I always think of Joe. He learned about nature from observing wildlife on his family's farm here in Clarksville. He says in his book, Enjoying Nature About Us, that "birds do not consider a man on a tractor to be such an enemy as a man walking, so I could often pass very close by them." The cover picture of this very same book shows Joe sitting on his John Deere tractor. Joe is truly a good patron of nature and life and we need more like him in this world.

While Joe has always been a protector and lover of nature, his passion for writing is what has enabled the rest of us to truly appreciate nature and to gain an understanding of how everything in life is connected. He says, "From the beginning it was my aim to encourage others to understand, appreciate, enjoy, and conserve the wonderful work of nature around us." Joe, you have truly done this and touched my life, as well as countless others.

For all of you readers and friends out there, and I know there are many, a visit to Joe to talk about the nature we all love would truly lift his spirits. I hope everyone can find the time to visit loved ones (friends and family) members in nursing homes as it does so much to lift their spirits-and yours too! After all, we all may one day be in such a position where we can no longer write or do the things we love to do. It is a sad fact of life.

in the garden....Enjoying Nature About Us.


  1. What a beautiful article and what a knowledgeable man --so grateful for all his contributions. This was a nice article to read this morning. It truly makes you realize how someone can be your inspiration. I hope Joe gets a window bed soon so he can watch all the beautiful birds that he wrote and talked about. Very uplifting! Have a great day!

  2. good morning my friend. joe is wonderful. he did so much for us all. i love his book that ursula has allowed me to borrow. it is so real.

    how are you enjoying this rain? good for newly planted willows and blueberries and onions. smile. let it rain...let it rain...let it rain. tell the kids, especially the girl model i said she will win the county spelling bee if she is already getting it at such a young age! the word specific would be a bit hard! jimmy's word was something like extravaganza. he forgot a letter-though he knew it! i think bees are 90% nerves of the kids because it is a VERY formal thing with lots and lots of stress on the kids in front of an audience. i am amazed how they do it. i'll drop the clipping by soon. it is in my backseat so with me whereever i go. never know when i am in your neck of the woods.

  3. Very heartwarming post Tina.

  4. mom, did you used to take us to a nursing home when we were little? i vaguely remember visiting one with my elementary school, but that is all! i remember aunt vera but she wasn't in a nursing home.

  5. Oh darn I forgot but yesterday I went ouside and did some work. Cleaned out some deadwood on my roses and pulled the trellis out so I can put my new one out The Seven Sisters Rose had new growth.
    Little nubs of red that will become the pretty green leaves. That was exciting as it is early for that. In behind that is my little patch of Crocuses that are in full bloom. The amazing thing about them is that I planted them there back in 82 or 83 when we had first built the house and did not have the front deck. When the deck went on they got covered up so I thought they were gone forever. Then 7 or 8 years ago when you and Mr Fix It tore that deck off and built the new one you made it longer from front to back and shorter from side to side. Well that uncovered the spot the Crocuses had been plated. The last couple of years they have once again been blooming. After all those years!!!!! Just amazing!
    Sandra took a pic of them and is sending it to you.

  6. Tina when I worked at the Stevens Home I used to take you kids in to visit quite often. They loved you kids. It was small (only 7) and it was all ladies and they had to be able to mosty care for themself,
    had to eat at the large table with everyone else, walk on their own, ect. They were mostly ladies with a bit of money with not much family and they signed all their assets over to the owners. In return they were taken care of for life but shipped to a mursing home if they became unable to walk, ect. so it was like a family and they did'nt have many vistors due to not having much family so they really loved it when I took you kids there. The elderly usually love kids anyway and you were such cute little kids :)

  7. I read Mr. Joes articles and do miss them. I knew he was in poor health and had wondered how he was doing these days. Thank you so much for the update Tina! I think someone should petition to get him a window bed! It is not fair for such a nature lover to not be able to see outside!

    Jean, that was sweet to take the kids to the home. What a wonderful idea....

  8. Good Job of retrieving the comments Tina….

    Can Mr Joe receive mail at the nursing home. If so, get me the address and I would love to occupy his days with some letters and pictures of the nature around me. Lord knows I have lots of stories to share with him. With my new camera, I can pull the birds right off my feeders from my sunroom windows! Am sure he would enjoy that…

    It is windy as heck in GA today and calling for rain. Even though our yard is soggy I am kind of looking forward to the rain to wash out some of this yellow pine pollen. If any of you have ever been to GA this time of year, then you know what I am talking about! I have never seen such a yellow mess in my life as GA in late March and April.... all the folks that come to the city for The Masters dont only remember the golf course and Pimento cheese sandwiches but the pine pollen as well!

    Speaking of which, we got into a lottery to buy tickets to the Masters and guess what? After 8 years of living here, we will finally get to see the beautiful course! We are not big Golf Fans but are dying to see the grounds. We are thrilled to have tickets for the opening day of Practice and have planned our day to avoid the crowds at the Practice Tees and will check out the beauty of the land instead!

    Tina, did you know all the Holes are named after some type of plants or trees?

    I found this on the internet…
    ”The property was an indigo plantation until 1857, when Belgian Baron Louis Mathieu Edouard Berckmans purchased the land. He and his son, Prosper Julius Alphonse, formed a partnership a year later to start a nursery. Fruitland nursery was in operations for more then 50 years and imported many types of trees and plants from other countries. The land sat idol for many years after the death of Prosper in 1910. Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts bought the land in 1931 and started to build the golf course with the assistance of Prospers son Louis Alphonse Berckmans, for the plantings. Many of the plants and trees remain today! Over the years more then 80,000 plants of more then 350 varieties have been added! Many pine trees are over 150 years old! They have more then 30 varieties of azaleas! Magnolia Lane is lined with 61 magnolia trees planted before the Civil War! They have a Wisteria vine that is believed to be the largest in the country! The Privet hedge was imported from France in the 1860’s and is believed to be the source for most hedges of its kind in the south! There is a Loblolly pine the stands 65 feet tall and is believed to be more then 100 years old!”

    I can hardly wait to see the thousands of azaleas in bloom! Keep your fingers crossed that it does not rain on our parade! Last year on Masters Sunday was the big Freeze! I am not hoping for a repeat this April 7 on Masters Monday…

  9. Tina,
    What a lovely tribute to your new friend but longtime garden writing mentor.


  10. skeeter, joe's address is: 111 Ussery Road, Hall 1, Room 100, Clarksville TN 37043.

    i did not know anyone saw my gaff. i lost the post but it was under drafts-shoulda looked there first!

    i did not know all that about the golfcourse. i have been told that each time the masters is held, if the azaleas are not blooming, they truck in blooming ones and plant. let me know if it is true or not or if you can tell. i would love some pics. i hope you and the saint have a ball-no pun intended. should be exciting. you get to see all those greats?! lucky you.

    gail, he is such a powerhouse and did so much for this community. our local university, austin peay, published many of his writings into a book. i am reading it now. wonderful writing.

  11. Hi Tina --so excited just came back inside from a yard check. I have at least a dozen onions popping up:) The curly willow has a whole bunch of green on the top:) This rain is GREAT!! I can do without that wind though:) The lilac bush opened it's beautiful buds a wee bit more too. Great day today! Off to piano --as soon as the boys get in from school.

  12. Well this has been quiet day so I guess I will have to do something bout it. Girls in my catalogs I have a bunch of things that are susposed to help with the deer, squirrels, ect. If you want you can check em out and see what you think. Some are pricey and some not so bad.
    31-954 This one if for cats!

  13. An absolute fantastic writing on a person that has loved nature all his life. The memories he must have---to be able to transfer them to a book for others to enjoy would be the absolute height on ones dreams. I think I shall write him also.

    Windy here today. Not any better & Young'un sorry to. My Blue berry that I put out is already blooming. Told Young'un I needed to go ahead & make a cover for it so the birds won't eat the berries as fast as they get ripe. Thought about tomato cage upside down with tulle over it. Sun can still get to the plant but the tulle would keep the birds out. Can make the cover the size I need. Maybe even make some to fit over my tommytoes.

    Jean, go get it girl. Glad you were able to go out & garden. So good of you to have taken your kids to home for them to see. So many in those places that have no visitors. I was in one after the leg thing---don't want any part of them.

    Skeeter, hope yall have a blast at the golf course. It's gotta be beautiful to see. I like to find out about nurseries too, to see what they evolved from. One may be surprised.

    Anonymous, sounds like you have a salad going. It'll come along fast so best to watch it close.

    Hi Gail.

  14. I too have read and enjoyed many of Mr. Allen's articles and Mr. Monday's also.

    Your blog today touched a soft spot in my heart. As most of you know we had to put my Dad in a nursing home back in January. After my Mother passed away I got him started with feeding the hummingbirds. He always had three feeders on the front porch and hummers like you would never believe. I always stored the feeder for him in the winter and got them out around March 15th for him. I was saddened the other day when I got mine out and realized he would not be there this year for the birds. He does not have a window bed either or I would take them and put them outside his window.

    And yes the residents in the nursing homes do enjoy seeing children. My granddaughter went with me last evening to visit my Dad and take him some home cooked food. She took her baby doll and it was interesting the little ladies that wanted to hold it and parade over her.

    As Tina said we never know when it could be us.

  15. dawn with peachesMarch 19, 2008 at 8:10 PM

    Hi Guys,
    Monday afternoon while relaxing in the familyroom, I heard a odd noise, it was a pheasant outside my sons window. Close-up and trying like heck to hang onto a small branch. I've never seen one so near to me. Needless to say Jack of all trade made a scramble for the camera and grabbed the film one. By the time he got the digital, it was gone. Looked like it dropped from my big white birch but we couldn't find him. How awesome....very big bird. I'm with skeeter get a petition going, someone who spent a lifetime watching nature deserves a window with a view.
    Having worked in healthcare for 15 years, most of that as a nursinghome employee---take it from me, childern, puppies and halloween. Big events.

  16. Hi Tina --I think tomorrow is going to be nicer --I saw a few downed trees today when taking the oldest boy to piano. I am still pretty darn excited about the curly willow -is it too soon for it to be getting green on the top?

    Hi Lola, I'm sure those blueberries will be mighty tasty --I can almost taste a fresh blueberry muffin or cobbler --delicious!! I know you have warmer weather than us --but it's so hard to be patient, lol. I feel like the kids waiting for the Easter bunny.

    Hi Jean --glad you got out in the yard --a sure sign of spring if you can see something besides ice/snow and your breath from the cold:) And, I think it's great you took the children to visit a nursing home when they were younger. My mom used to work in one and we would go visit. It was sad at times but other times it was fabulous --the older generation had so much to tell us --if we would only sit and listen. My mom loved doing that but it was hard work and she hurt her arm so she moved into daycare work then --cute little people that were easier to lift. Not much conversation with them though:)

    Hi Skeeter --glad you got tickets --my hubby went to a golf tournament in Southern Pines about 12 years ago (the womens open)--we were stationed at Bragg. He said it was really cool --I'm sure he can't tell me about the flowers and such, hahaha. He still has the hat he bought. The course was incredible from what he described --not like the ones he plays on, hahaha.

    Hi Dawn with Peaches --you sure have alot of wildlife in your neck of the woods. I wish we had a little more land --so we could see more fun loving critters. I know my hubby feels the same way --he had to get a lease on some land so he could take the kids hunting --spring turkey this Saturday. He said he expects them all to get one --there faces looked like?????? He won't take the sidekick yet --but the girl model is so giddy about going. She'll be up and ready to go before the boys.

    Hi Nina, I'm sorry about your dad not having a window view either. Can you request a window? I'm sure that your granddaughter made many, many people smile --and bringing her baby doll along probably really spiced things up. Who could resist a cute little girl and her baby?? I wish my girl model played with dolls:( She likes stuffed animals but won't play with doll babies. I want to guess it's because she has all these brothers?

    I guess I better make sure the boys are in bed. One more day of school until the spring break, yeah!!!

  17. Thanks girls. It was my pleasure to take the kids to visit with the elderly as I always enjoyed them and got very involved with them.

    Good for you guys Skeeter. That will be a big day. Hubby had a cousin that was the head grounds keeper at the big golf course out in CA, can't think of the name now but it is a famous course. Guess if I was a golf person I would know it. My hubby worked at the one in the town next to us in grounds a couple of summers. It is quite a job so I can't begin to think what goes in to one like that. Very interesting facts about it.

    Dawn I have seen pheasants and partridge at the tank farm when I'd be out in the woods with the golf cart. They are very pretty birds. Mary used to have 3 wild turkeys that would come 2 times a day. Last week I went up to John's (the 90 year old swimmer) to help him with his computer and he had 3 turkeys outside his window. Made me wonder if they travel in 3's.

    Anonymous that is a good analogy with the weather and the kids with the bunny.

    Nina I sure wish your Dad and Mr Allen could have a window. Maybe if you speak to someone there and ask if one opens up could your Dad have it. If not is it possible that he would still see some birds from some window, like in a gathering room with a chair near a window.

    Hi Gail and Lola.

  18. you guys are so great. i go to school all caught up, come home and find a ton of comments! keep em coming as i am told this will be the new measure of success. i am thinking this blog is doing pretty well with its community! thanks guys!

    anonymous, so good with your onions. time to plant some lettuce now. it is not too early to see green on your willow. many trees are sprouting out. i notice it each and every day. the renewal of spring, which by the way, starts tomorrow. tomorrow should be nice. i have garden club so i will try to stop by and drop off the clipping, but i will be in the garden all day. my privacy fence should be completed.

    mom, it has been quiet-you definitely got it going! you just love to browse online don't you?! i don't unless it is for something specific. i will try to check them all out. wish the links would post in here, but they don't for some reason. cold here again. i plan to leave the heater off though. same some money on electricity, which seems to have gone up. got my taxes done. we hope to come visit with some of the refund. not sure when.

    lola, i am so glad you nina and everyone loved the post. it was very hard for me to be politically correct while getting my message across. i think you all got it. life.

    the birds eat my blueberries too! makes me so mad. the robins know just when they are perfect for eating and always eat the ripe ones before me! i think a cage with tulle would work perfectly. it is lightweight and will allow the sun in. make sure it is tied down well though. they will go under it if not.

    nina, you understand perfectly. my heart goes out to your father. he has always been a part of you on here and i am so sorry he does not have a window. cannot understand it. i think the personal touch has been lost on too many businesses. there are a few i would like to name that STILL have the personal touch in town, but many i can name that don't. that is a problem. i know not everyone can have a window, but if you have someone who only watches television versus the birds and nature, but the person who likes nature by the window and the other person in front of the tv. joe at one time had a window and we do not know what happened. we are hopeful he will get a window back for his bird feeder and i am also hopeful your dad gets a window. it was all i could do to keep from, well, you all know. sad. so sorry for your dad. he was a farmer just like joe and they are probably about the same age. many similarities. you are right, we will all one day grow so old we can no longer do what we love and may need help.

    dawn with peaches, you are usually on here early in the morning. i was wondering where you were on my way home from school. glad you signed in. maybe the pheasant will come back and make sure you have your camera handy. put some corn out and that may entice it. was it colorful? love the birds. had a duck land on our roof once. then lately there is a woodpecker loving our vinyl siding. what a pain. i could deal with a pheasant, just not on the house. did the kids see it?

    mom, we have a bunch of wild turkeys down here too. you saw them on fort campbell last summer? i always get excited seeing them as they are so big. how is your swimmer doing? guess he will not need a nursing home still swimming at his age! good for him. i wish that for everyone.

    i remember you working at the home, but really do not remember visiting it much at all. i just know that in my adult life i have not had a relative in a nursing home. you took care of nana and baba, and the rest of the family is fairly healthy and on their own, including you. it helps you have your baby next door too. ttyl in the morning i guess. in between gardening.

  19. Tina, I have heard lots of stories from underground temp controlled watering to ice packed around each plant to keep them from blooming too early and the list goes on and on. I dont know what is fact other then the Golf Course is on track on Opening day each year! Secret they may not share! LOL....

    Dawn with Peaches, I felt your excitement reading about the pheasant! Pheasant are a beautiful bird. We saw tons of them in the wild in Germany and England. We have not had a turkey in our yard as of yet but one day we will as they are around us and with growth, all wildlife is being pushed our way...

    Anonymous, I did not have many dolls as a child either but tons of those stuffed animal’s I called my friends. I am sure that is part of where my love of animals came from.

    Nina, I too wish your dad had a window. Wish that nursing homes were designed for all to have windows! My grandmother was at the home for many years that Mr Joe is currently residing...

    Jean, I will check out the web sights…

    Lola, Blueberry muffins. YUM-O...

    Gotta run...

  20. skeeter, are you still getting psyched about your surgery. we are thinking of you and hope you get all your planting done prior to it so you can relax. though for some reason i do not see you ever relaxing! lol

    our bradford, cherries and saucer magnolias are blooming. so i guess we are like a week behind you all? it is neat seeing the progression of spring from all these angles. when the apples bloom in maine, we'll know they hit it. florida, georgia, tennessee then maine. sounds right.

    let us know about those secrets at the masters. never know what to believe.

    gotta go to the fence...

  21. Thank you for this. I was looking all over for something about Joe Allen. Reading this was a bittersweet moment for me. Joe was a very unique individual. I was kinda a trouble kid in my early teens and Joe offered to spend time with me. He took me bird watching and we went on a bird count or two. Unfortunately even though I learned a lot about birds from him I never really understood what he was doing for me at the time. He invested his time and energy into my life to encourage me and show me that there was more to the world to be admired if only I would take the time to be still and focus on better things. I never got to thank him properly and I sure wish I had. He invested in my life and I only hope that I can be half as caring and insightful as he was. Again thank you for posting this

  22. Chad, It was my honor to have met Joe and heard about him. Though I did not know him I've heard nothing but good things about him and how he has touched so many lives with his kindness. I am judging by your comment that you have turned out to be a wonderful individual and one that Joe would be very proud of.