Remember sunscreen and hat when spending time outdoors

Published 12:01 pm Thursday, July 28, 2022

Its hot voice sizzles from some cool tree nearby
It seems to burn its way through the air
Like a small, pointed flame of sound
Sharpened on the ecstatic edge of sunbeams.

~ Leonora Speyer, “The Locust” 


Time and time again, I get busy in the garden, forgetting to put a hat or sunscreen on until I’m almost ready to head back in. I know better. “Just five minutes” turns into an hour, two hours, or the best part of the day when you’re happily working away, listening to windchimes and birds, intent on a project. One thing always leads to another. And another. 


Yesterday, I was out roasting in the morning sauna, watering and dead-heading flowers, with no hat, and no sunscreen. After all, I’d just planned a quick run-through because it was waaaay too hot and humid to move more than an inch. So much for the plans of mice and gardeners.


Sweat rolling and flying, I spied our town master gardener, Walter, driving by. He then stopped to say hello and offered fresh-picked squash. In a small town, you get such serendipity, along with a reminder to wear a hat and get out of the sun. Both Walter and I agree we are top-runner-fair-skin-cancer candidates—my teenage years of slathering baby oil/iodine on are long gone! 


Taking the proffered squash, I held my cheap dollar-store scissors up and bragged on them as such handy pruners—so Walter then held his cheap dollar-store scissors up in reply, as we laughed about our “fancy” pruners. 


I thanked him for the squash, and hustled to the shade with cheap scissors in hand, sweat still rollin’. The lovely gift of small towns is caring about one another, and it feels good. Things are a-changin’, but I sure hope that never does!


Saluda Tailgate Market is every Friday at the west city parking lot located off Main Street, 4:30-6 p.m. 


Saluda Community Land Trust (SCLT) keeps busy with land conservation, trails, projects and more: visit or call 828-749-1560 for information. Support SCLT with donations, volunteering, and Amazon Smile. Contact “Trail Boss” Chuck Hearon at about hike info, leading a hike, or helping clear trails. 


The next Walk in the Woods is August 7 to the Missing 40, a moderate hike that’s kid/pet-friendly. Water shoes are recommended. Meet at Saluda Library’s parking lot at 2 p.m.  


The Saluda Visitor Center at 20 W. Main is open 11-4:30 daily this summer, and for monthly First Friday Strolls from 5-8 p.m. 


The Saluda Pop-Up Pantry is Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Saluda Presbyterian Church, 54 Carolina Avenue (behind Saluda Library). Call Saluda Church of the Transfiguration to volunteer at the Pantry, at 828-749-9740. You can mail tax-deductible donations to Saluda Pop-Up Pantry, P.O. Box 428, Saluda, NC 28773 or donate online at 


Readers’ Corner: After last week’s hummingbird column about the importance of fresh nectar/clean feeders in summer, I heard from a hummingbird pro, Heather T. in Landrum. She says, “Many new enthusiasts don’t realize how important it is to have fresh nectar almost daily in this heat! One of my (FB hummingbird) groups put together this chart that seems to get the point across about mold, cloudy feeders, and no red dye or even clear store-bought nectar. Also, any feeder with a metal bottom is bad for hummingbirds. They eventually rust on the inside. The rust has iron which is toxic to hummingbirds. Even copper feeder bottoms are corrosive and toxic. Many people only clean the top portion of the feeder. The entire bottom, flower ports, and inserts should be scrubbed, too. Always use an Ant Moat, not Ant Guards (those upside-down ones filled with insecticide) those are definitely no-nos!” 


Take it from a pro—thanks, Heather!  


Happy July Birthday to Debi Thomas, Rheta Foster, Nancy Weinhagen, Lisa Obermiller, Kathy Thompson, Bill Jameson, Emily Rose Ford, Jeremy Ford, Mike Cass,  Nathen Honeycutt, Melissa Justus, Hunter Justus, Alyssa Justus, Lin Savage, Doug Taylor, Amanda Anderson, Gail Slaughter, Diane Ballard, Amber Grant, and Marianne Blazar. 


Feel free to contact me at, (828) 817-6765, P.O. Box 331, Saluda, NC 28773, Facebook, or visit