Welcome to Wiser Now’s weekly email blast which reflects my eclectic interests and, I hope, yours. This week, in honor of Earth Day (today), Arbor Day (24), John Muir’s birthday (yesterday) and Audubon Day (26), I am offering essentially a double edition of WNW. I have chosen Muir and Audubon, representing trees and birds, for my Earth Day heroes. I know I just covered gardens two weeks ago, but we need nature now more than ever.

I hope you are finding these offerings fun, and perhaps even useful, and I welcome your feedback. ( And if you haven’t yet pressed the subscribe button so this newsletter doesn’t go to spam, please do so now.


The Quote

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and
give strength to body and soul.
~ John Muir

The Quirky Observation

I am forever torn between the beauty of capturing nature with a camera and with the artist’s eye. Painter Wolf Kahn died recently at 92. I have long loved his luminous stands of trees. You can see more of his paintings here.

The Quirky Fact
John Muir (1838-1914) is best known for his conservation work in the American West. He founded and presided over the Sierra Club and was influential in establishing Sequoia, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon National Parks. But you may not know that his love of walking started further east on milder terrain when in 1867, he walked 1000 miles from Indiana to Florida and then sailed to Cuba. Or that his other expeditions took him on multiple trips to Alaska, and to every continent except Antarctica.

I suspect many of us tend to think of Muir and John James Audubon (1785-1851) as nearly contemporaries, but as you can see, their lives overlapped by only thirteen years. The artist-ornithologist we know as James Audubon was born in what is now Haiti, raised in France as Jean-Jacques Fougère Audubon, and came to his father’s estate in Pennsylvania at the age of 18 to avoid being conscripted into Napoleon’s army. While his interest in birds and art was lifelong, he didn’t gain fame and fortune for the 400 drawings in his magnificent portfolio until his early 40s. Once they were published, the adulation never lagged and continues today. Napoleon’s loss became the world’s gain.

Featured Product
Naturally, Bird Brains is our featured slide show this week. You can see a free excerpt at Among the 120 slides are multiple trivia quizzes, word games and more. Be prepared to take flight with it! Order it now.  


The Quiz
The following quiz is an excerpt of a longer one that was inspired by (and partly adapted from) Will Shortz’s The Puzzlemaster Presents 200 Mind-Bending Challenges, specifically #105 “Up a Tree.”  To order his book, Click here.

Directions: Fill in the blanks in the following sentences to make a pun from the names of well-known trees. For example, To see how to work this copy machine, watch me cypress  (as I press) the button.

The 6 choices are listed below the sentences, but see if you can guess the answers without looking at them.
  1. When Susan scored the winning goal, she became the most __________ girl in school.
  2. If Bill loses this poker hand, he _____________ us $50 dollars.
  3. I have so much studying to do for this exam, I __________ an all-nighter.
  4. From a very early age, Bobby Fischer could be described as a _____________.
  5. I can’t wait to get to the _____________ to build sand castles.
  6. He thinks I’m perfect. I’ve got him in the ____________ of my hand.

Beech  |  Chestnut  |  Maple  |  Palm  |  Poplar  |  Willow

Answers are at the end of this document.

Bonus Exercise

One of my favorite quirky holidays and one that I like celebrating all year long is Draw A Bird Day on April 8 ( As you can see from the illustration at left, my creations aim for the whimsy of Dr. Seuss rather than the perfection of James Audubon, and still fall short, but I find it a relaxing pastime nonetheless. Sadly, although the link to the DAB website was still working at the time of this writing, the homepage announcement said it was closing and that we should post our birds instead to If Dabday is still active, you’ll find loads of inspiration there.

Whether or not you post them, I urge you to draw a bird or several, and if that’s too much for you, try this alternative instead:

The Question
If you take me up on either of these bird challenges, will you please send me the results at or let me know if you have shared them on your own Facebook page or with others? 

The Shameless Request

  1. I believe these weekly posts could be used by activity leaders in senior centers and residential care settings, as well as home health aides with their patients. If you know one – or know a senior – please pass this post on.
  2. I also believe these weekly posts could be used by families and homeschooled students. If you know one of those, please pass this post on.
  3. If you represent an organization that would like a customized version of Wiser Now Wednesday, please send me a note at

The Kiosk of Resources

Answers to the quiz
  1. poplar
  2. willow
  3. maple
  4. chestnut
  5. beech
  6. palm
My multiple goals are to amuse and inspire you, to share what I and people whom I admire am doing, to stimulate your curiosity and spur you to action. I hope you enjoyed this offering. You can access previous issues here. We welcome your feedback. (
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Copyright (c) 2019 Kathy Laurenhue | All rights reserved.

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