Humans and Nature is Human Nature

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit The Holden Arboretum in Kirtland, Ohio and for those of you who have stuck around long enough reading my blog, you may have realized how much I love nature. In case you’re new, just for reference I ordered sequoia tree seeds to grow my own Giant Redwood tree if that helps place my love of nature for you.

In a time when it seems humans and nature have some trouble getting along, think of the polar bears, visiting the Holden Arboretum was a testament to how well humans and nature can get along together and the amazing things they can create as a part of that relationship.

The Holden Arboretum was founded in 1931 when it originally occupied 100 acres but now occupies 3,500 and when it joined with The Cleveland Botanical Gardens created the 13th largest public garden in the United States.

The entirety  of the arboretum’s grounds is covered in beautiful landscape both human and nature made. The best part is that it is so large that its fairly easy to get lost, though with walkways throughout it’s not the kind of lost you can achieve in a national park.

The two amazing features at the arboretum though are the Emergent Tower and the Canopy Walk. By far I think it is these two experiences that really allow you to see the symbiotic relationship of  humans and nature.

The Emergent Tower allows you to climb 120 feet above the ground and get a glimpse of what it could be like to be a bird. The view is spectacular, not only to see all the tree tops for miles but to even view Lake Erie some 10 miles away!


The view from the top of the Emergent Tower in Holden Arboretum

The14355759_10154659718424180_5107037502093859895_n Canopy Walk is just as exciting an experience as you walk across 500 feet of canvas walkway 65 feet above the ground. Just as the Emergent Tower gave you a taste of a bird’s view, the Canopy Walk allowed you to view the forest from the eyes of a furry woodland creature. Though the challenge of this experience is the walkways do move and if you have the fortunate opportunity to have a child nearby that likes to jump on the walkway, you can imagine yourself in an Indiana Jones movie trying to make it across a drawstring bridge before it collapses.

Just like every good adventure you need a good partner and it certainly helps when that partner is totally willing to push you overboard because what adventure across a suspended drawstring bridge is complete with the possibility of going over! (PS: I don’t think she’d actually push me over, she just likes to keep me on my toes) It’s also nice when they don’t mind getting lost either, though that’s on me for thinking I could read a map.

In truth though, beyond the initial natural beauty the Holden Arboretum holds and its ability to show the harmony in which humans and nature exist, I took away another unexpected bond  between humans and nature, well specifically trees.

Trees like humans can be beautiful on their own and do amazing things but when joined with others they can create a much more beautiful, beneficial, and harmonious environment. So maybe let’s learn from our natural friends and do two things: first off, enjoy nature and second, keep up the symbiotic relationship so we can continue to live together with benefits for all.


Please Welcome Adelie Ink

13322114_945240142259146_8466130425317493786_nMany of you who have stuck around long enough to read this blog have probably realized by now that I’m kind of a nerd, I use this term in the most endearing way, of course. As a nerd, loving to read comes with the territory and with enough schooling I’ve learned to love writing as well. Couple those with my love of learning and what comes next makes next.

Not too long ago, a fellow bookworm and much more talented writer, and myself joined forces to create Adelie Ink. With our combination of 5 college degrees, we felt we could help make a positive difference and assist students of all ages with researching, writing, and editing. Luckily, since we live in the Digital Age, we can even help writers from all over!

Perhaps the best part of the whole process is being able to read other people’s writing about all sorts of unique topics. You get to learn a lot while working and who wouldn’t love that!

As for how we can help, we can assist with researching, writing, editing, and even tutoring if it’s needed. We can help with all sorts of projects from book projects, thesis or dissertation, college or scholarship applications, and just about any sort of writing. So whether you’re a high school senior working on those college applications or a PhD student working on a dissertation, we’d love to help you find the exact words you want to say.

Our business works best through referrals though so we ask that you take a moment to share our social media pages with any friends or family that you think might need our help. You can find us on Facebook Adelie Ink on Facebook and our personal website Adelie Ink Website!

We look forward to hearing from you and hopefully encountering some great pieces of writing!



The Decision

I recently had a job interview for a position that I wasn’t exactly in love with. It did have some interesting parts to it, especially since it did hold some promise for getting me that all too important “work experience” that is required for any professional job. I wasn’t sure if I’d take the position, especially since there was no guarantee of getting hired. But then they emailed the next day and offered me the position. At first reaction, I was excited I was employable after all! Afterwards, I thought about the first person I wanted to tell about the possibility but then I realized…if I took the position the person I so badly wanted to tell first would be affected as it would postpone our ability to continue our forward motion in our relationship. I have full faith we’d still get to where we are going but just on a longer plan.

Here’s where I think I learned two valuable lessons in life growth: first off, life decisions are never easy but when the decisions are easy it’s pretty clear you know what you want; and second, if you really want something career wise there are other ways to get there. And it was these realizations that made me realize while this position had its benefits, I was darn sure I could find another way into my dream career. I was certain of this, probably more so than I have been about anything careerwise this far. The other thing I realized is how passionate I am about that first person I thought about telling upon getting offered the job.

The prospect of moving forward in the relationship was far more exciting than the job offer and it was that career development I want to focus on more than getting that “work experience”. I’ll get where I want to be career wise I have no doubt, what’s more important is having that person in my life nearby that I want to share those exciting career developments with. I kinda sorta definitely know what I’m doing here and that’s perhaps the most exciting development life wise in this entire experience.

Perhaps part of growing up is being able to focus on both your career and personal development, so if that’s a sign of adulthood maybe I’m finally reaching it.

Find Your Americana

So many of the great writers penned some amazing  works detailing their travels. It seems there’s something about meandering about here and there that has a direct effect on someone’s writing. While I’m not sure if my travels have given me the inspiration to write the next great American novel, they have at least inspired a blog post.

Whenever I get ready to plan a long trip, people always encourage me to take the toll roads because they make the ride quicker and easier. While this may be true, I much prefer the ore scenic drive  you find taking the alternative route. There’s something about seeing the places of America pass by under the backdrop of their natural surroundings that stirs feelings of something I can’t describe better than feeling Americana.

267854_10150312292879180_7904414_nI love driving through small towns and imagining a story for the town according to what I can see from the car. I’ve crafted many a good story on my drives so maybe there will be a book in me yet. Until then what I can tell you is it’s a freeing experience to explore these random places along the drive. Perhaps, the best part is when you see people outside and they catch a view of your plates to see their reactions about how far you might have come to be there.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on a specific moment from my recent trip of when I pulled over at a rest stop to take a break. It was nearing sunset and I’m not sure there are many sunsets that can rival the ones you can see over the hills in Pennsylvania. It can almost give you an understanding of why William Penn chose the area to create his ideal colony. In that moment though as much as I enjoyed it, I couldn’t help but think about the person I would have loved to have with me at that moment. Some of you who actually read the stuff I write may have read a previous post I wrote about this fantastic woman in my life so you might have an idea of what I’m rambling about. But it felt like the perfect moment to share with her, especially since she has a knack for saying things at just the right time and it figured to be one of those perfect moments.

There is no doubt there are some compelling reasons to take the time to travel by yourself as many of those great American writers I mentioned earlier I’m sure wrote about. But to be honest, what’s in a moment if you have only yourself to share it with. I think it’s safe to say there are perfect trips for both occasions and what better reason do we need to travel!

What I can say for certain is on your next trip take some time to find your Americana on the road. Perhaps it’s in a small sea-side town that hearkens to a Thomas Kinkade painting or maybe it’s a town that appears like it hasn’t changed since the 1950s. Whatever your identity of Americana may feel like, I encourage you to take the more scenic route to your destination in hopes maybe you find yours.


DIY Grow Your Own Sequoia Tree

I want to open with two thoughts: First, I’d like to think that having a green thumb is a skill you can learn and second, even though sequoia trees are only found on America’s west coast I’d like to think they can grow anywhere (within geographical reason).

With these two thoughts, I want to introduce the point of this post: to help you grow your own sequoia tree! It’s really simple I promise and as long as you don’t live in an incredibly different geographically climate than America’s west coast, growing a redwood tree is a definite possibility.


sequoia tree kit

Items needed to grow a sequoia tree

To start with you’ll need sequoia seeds, dirt, and a pot so it’s a pretty simple endeavor! There are three different kinds of redwood trees though so you have options as to what kind of giant redwood you want to grow.

Sequoiadendron giganteum – also known as the giant redwood, is the largest of the redwood trees

Sequoia sempervirens – also known as the coastal redwood, is the tallest tree in the world

Metasequoia glyptostroboides – also known as the dawn redwood, the fastest growing of the redwoods

Once you have decided which kind of redwood tree you’d like to grow you just need to acquire the seeds. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where they grow wild, great! If not there are many tree farms you can order a packet of seeds from and in my experience they come with a great success of sprouting.


The seed package will generally come with instructions for preparing the seeds for planting. The redwood tree seed needs to first be soaked in water for 24 hours and then refrigerated for a month before being planted. These steps essentially prepare the seed for the elements it would experience in nature to stimulate it’s growing ability once it was planted.

In addition, keep in mind any extra seeds you may not plant should be kept in their packet and refrigerate for long-term storage.


Once you have done all the preparation steps for the seed, you should plant the seed about an 1/8th inch into the dirt. It’s important to consistently water the seed and keep it in a warm environment until it sprouts.

You can opt to create a greenhouse for the plant while waiting for it to sprout, which may lead to a quicker germination, or just keep it in a warm location. Either way, the average germination time for a sequoia seed is 21 days. It’s important to note you don’t need sunlight to sprout the seed, it just needs to be consistently warm.


sequoia seedling

A sequoia seedling

After the seed is sprouted you can feel proud because getting a sequoia seedling is the toughest part of growing a redwood! It may take several different seeds to be planted before you get a seedling, and because the germination time is so long I’d recommend planting several pots so you don’t have to wait another three weeks if your first attempt doesn’t sprout. It’ll be an awe-inspiring experience when you see the little sequoia seedlings and imagine that it can eventually turn into one of the world’s largest trees.

Once it is sprouted, keeping the seedling watered and with access to plenty of sunlight is very important for its continued growth. Since sequoia trees are native to a temperate climate of the Pacific Northwest that doesn’t get too warm or too cold, you must be careful about where to place your seedling. You can opt to keep it in a greenhouse as it grows to a larger sapling or you could put it outside to gain maximum sunlight and exposure to temperature fluctuations that could help it feel like it’s in its native climate (though if you live in an area with significant cold/warm temperatures it is important to keep your seedling indoors through these temperature extremes), and you can also keep it inside within view of a window with good sunlight exposure.

Sequoia trees are slow growers so whatever method you intend to employ it will be a long-term commitment until the seedling turns into a sapling. I have used both the indoor and outdoor and they have both worked equally.


sequoia at 6 months

A sequoia seedling at 6 months

As your sequoia tree continues to grow bigger make sure you’re keeping it watered, giving it access to sunlight, and house it in a large enough pot for it to grow. It’s a fun experience to watch the seedling grow over the months.

I’d encourage you to take a picture every month of the seedling to track its growth. You’ll be amazed to see how it grows over time! Depending on how fast your tree grows and the size of the pot you started your seedling in you’ll want to replant it into a larger pot once you see it starting to outgrow its current pot. A good indicator is if the branches of the tree spread out past the width of the pot.

Make sure that when you do transplant your tree you break up the roots slightly. This way the roots are stimulated to grow and reach out into the new soil. It’s also important to fertilize and water in the tree as well following the move.

sequoia about two years

Sequoia tree at two years old

Since redwood trees are the world’s tallest tree it would make sense at some point that you want to get it into the ground so it has the opportunity to grow to its potential. As a rule of thumb, you want to wait til the tree becomes a sapling at about two years old before it can handle being outside year-round in most climates.

Growing trees, in general, is a pretty great experience and not only is it enjoyable for you and your family to watch it grow, but it’s beneficial for nature too so it really makes sense to give it a try!

Oreos: America’s Cookie

It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one time or another: to dunk or not to dunk our Oreos. But perhaps, the better question is how did they become America’s cookie? Let’s be honest those Keebler elves make their cookies look pretty delicious. But Oreos with a glass of milk have become the instant image that comes to mind when I think of milk and cookies.

Oreos were introduced by the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) to the American public on March 6, 1912, in New York City. They were part of a planned release of three high-end varieties of biscuit. The oreo cookie contained two firm chocolate cookies with rich vanilla frosting inside.

The idea of them as a biscuit does explain the fancy design Oreos have. Although, there is something about calling them a biscuit that makes them sound less delicious somehow, but clearly the American public didn’t think so. Quickly, Oreos became popular among Americans and the other two biscuit varieties disappeared. Leaving them to become America’s favorite cookie. (Or I guess biscuit at this juncture)

However, Oreos weren’t the first introduction of this kind of cookie. Hydrox Cookies made by Sunshine debuted in 1908. The Hydrox cookie was made using firmer cookies with a tangy flavor and less sweet filling so they didn’t get soggy when dipped (A point that makes sense when considered they were designed as a type of biscuit). Though their flavor didn’t seem to appeal to the public and because of this, they became second to Oreos and considered a knockoff, even though they were the original creator of the idea.

Originally called Oreo Biscuits, the name became Oreo Sandwich in 1921 and finally Oreo Creme Sandwich in 1948. It is unclear where the name came from. Some say it was a combination of the letters of chocolate and cream, others say from the French word for gold since the original packaging was gold colored, and still others argue from the Greek word for mountains since the prototype was a hill-shaped cookie. Of course, some just say it was an easy name to say.

Whatever the inspiration for the name was, it clearly worked as coupled with the simple product it has for over 100 years cemented itself as America’s cookie and caught on in many other countries across the world.

In the 1920s, they experimented and created a lemon-flavored cookie, but the traditional style was favored. That experiment started a tradition that carried on with Oreo cookies to this day where we have had so many unique varieties. Double-stuff debuted in 1975, in 1987 fudge-covered Oreos, in 1991 and 1995 we were introduced to holiday themed Oreos with Halloween and Christmas themes respectively.

Today we have so many kinds of Oreos it’s fantastic. Some of these themes are limited-time offers and others have become fan favorites and have stuck around. (Peanut Butter Oreos are my personal favorite) Regardless, Oreos have shown a penchant for unique flavors, which perhaps is what made them an American favorite. It is important to note, through all these unique varieties the traditional design of Oreos has remained since 1952, except for the special holiday themed cookies.

Oreos are so important to American culture now that Ninth Avenue where the original factory resided in New York City is now called Oreo Way. And just as a  fun fact, there is research that posits the way you eat your Oreos can be a predictor of your personality. If you dunk your cookies, you tend to be more adventurous and social, meanwhile, twisters tend to be more creative.

So what’s your favorite way to eat Oreos?

Oreo cookies

I can’t eat Oreos without a glass of milk.

On a sidenote: I’d love to do more posts like this looking into questions perhaps we’ve always wondered about. Awhile back I started a themed post Questions & Answers Edition and I want to bring it back but this is where I need your help. Please take a moment to comment on this post with any ideas of something you may want covered and I hope I can answer it!



The House that Rubber Built

Stan_HywetI recently had the opportunity to tour Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio during their Deck The Halls Christmas lights display. It was their 100 year anniversary so the lights were set up accordingly and they certainly did deck the halls of the historical home.

For many people on the tour, I imagine they appreciated the history of the home as they walked through, especially since the estate does such a wonderful job displaying the home in its original grandeur. I perhaps took it a step further as I walked through vividly working with my imagination to imagine a family living in this home for decades in the early part of the 20th century.

Stan Hywet Hall was completed in 1915, it took three years to build. The home was commissioned by F.A. Seiberling, the founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, who helped transform Akron into the “Rubber Capital of the World”. The home was built in Tudor Revival style and used several historical structures from England as inspiration.

The main structure of the home was three stories, though the music room was two stories, and the tower climbed up to four stories. The home has a total of 64,500 square feet within which are 65 rooms, 18 bedrooms, 23 bathrooms, 23 fireplaces, 12 chimneys, 273 doors, and 21,455 window panes scattered throughout the structure.

The mansion’s name comes from Old English meaning “stone quarry”, which is what the land featured in which Seiberling bought to situate his home. The entirety of the estate spans 70 acres with the manor and gardens included.

Above the main entryway to the home is carved the motto “Non Sobis Solum” (Not for us alone), which is certainly what the Seiberling family ensured the home would serve when they donated it to the Akron community in 1957.

Stan Hywet Hall is the sixth largest home open to the public in the United States and the largest in Ohio. While the holiday lights was fantastic it is worth visiting anytime of year, I imagine it is especially so in the spring summer when the gardens are in full bloom.

100 Years of Natural Beauty


In 2016, the United States National Park Service will celebrate its 100th birthday. The organization came into existence when it was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 under the name the Organic Act. However, the national parks had a much older history than that, Yellowstone National Park was declared the first by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. There were eight other national parks dedicated from that time to the creation of the park service.

A great deal of the natural preservation can be credited to President Teddy Roosevelt, who was a conservationist himself. During his presidency from 1901 to 1909, Roosevelt established the U.S. Forest Service and created five national parks. Since the National Park Service’s founding many more parks have been founded with a total of 58 total across 27 states. In addition to the national parks, the National Park Service has taken over many other places of historical, geological, and ecological importance. Today there are 463 National Park Service related areas across the United States and four U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands).

While some of the national parks charge admission, there a few days a year the park service waives the fees to encourage more visitors to the parks. There are 16 such free days in 2016 to celebrate the park service’s 100th anniversary. The others are free to visit year-round.

  • January 18: Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • April 16 through 24: National Park Week
  • August 25 through 28: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 24: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

The U.S. National Parks average over 275 million visitors a year, which is encouraging considering just how beautiful these places are. Below is a map of the United States color-coded to display how many national parks each state features.



Location of National Parks in the United States


Every state has at least one National Park Service related area so please take a day and visit one. And there’s a good chance that a national park isn’t too far away for a visit. Chances are if you visit once you’ll want to go back, or even better visit more!

I’d love to hear about the national parks you’ve visited and your favorite reasons why. Please take a moment to let me know about your national park adventures on the comment sections of this blog below.

With summer not far off don’t forget to Find Your Park!

101 Things to do in 1001 Days: Take 2

101 Things to do in 1001 Days is a unique spin on a bucket list.

Less than a year ago, I wrote out my first list of 101 Things to Do in 1001 Days and while I accomplished some of what was on the list I realized I needed to rework it some and try again. So I decided to reboot my list and this time, start on a date that made sense, the beginning of the year.

I like this list because I feel it’s more ambitious and definitely has its fair share of adventures. I’m taking steps to make visual cues of this list too so I constantly have a visual of these bucket list items and that way I’ll be more accountable for achieving them.

So here we go!

Start: January 1, 2016

End:  September 28, 2018

Stay tuned…

1. Go ziplining

2. See the Pacific Ocean

3. Visit 10 new states (2/10-Delaware 7/16, New Jersey 10/16)

4. Run a race

5. Get published

6. Visit the Four Corners

7. Hike the Appalachian Trail

8. Start a Roth IRA

9. Do a headstand

10. Go to a yoga class

11. Do a DIY project

12. Go scuba diving

13. See a music festival

14. Brew beer

15. Visit 10 cities (1/10-Philadelphia 7/16, New York City 10/16)

16. Visit 10 national parks (1/10)

17. Take a megabus trip

18. Teach a class

19. Attend a baseball game at 5  stadiums (1/5)

20. Go horseback riding

21. Get my passport

22. Go on a backpacking trip

23. Work as a lumberjack for a day

24. Visit Ellis Island

25. Visit the Redwood trees

26. Travel across the country by land

27. Take an impromptu road trip

28. Throw a dart at a map and visit where it lands

29. See a moose

30. See all 5 Great Lakes (1/5 – Lake Erie)

31. Climb 5 lighthouses

32. Write a book

33. Go rock climbing

34. Find a way to pull off suspenders

35. Attend a masquerade ball

36. Feed a penguin

37. Climb a tree

38. Learn to play a ukulele

39. Learn how to knit

40. Do a historical reenactment

41. Go swimming in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans

42. Learn to ice skate

43. Bike 2018 miles by the end of 1001 days

44. Bike on 10 trails (1/10)

45. Learn a language

46. Go canoeing/kayaking

47. Experience New Orleans for Mardi Gras

48. Golf a round of 18 holes keeping my score under 10 over par

49. Do a Polar Bear Plunge

50. Visit the Grand Canyon

51. Go to a hockey game

52. Ride the Hogwarts Express

53. Make my own butterbeer

54. Re-read the entire Harry Potter series in a month

55. Swim with otters

56. Go whitewater rafting

57. Tree swing into water

58. Plan a picnic

59. Visit 10 museums (6/10)

60. Visit 10 places of historical significance (2/10)

61. Grow 5 trees from seeds (1/5)

62. Visit 10 breweries (2/10)

63. Go to a spring training game

64. Try glass blowing

65. Visit an arboretum  (Holden Arboretum 8/16)

66. Visit New York City

67. Try paddleboarding

68. Visit Baseball Hall of Fame

69. Go spelunking

70. Create art

71. Ride a train

72. Learn to dance

73. Walk through a waterfall

74. Go geocaching

75. See the Northern Lights

76. Learn how to swim

77. Bury a time capsule

78. Try fencing

79. Learn to drive stick shift

80. Participate in an obstacle course race

81. Build an igloo

82. Be a tour guide

83. Go whale watching

84.  Try 5 new foods 

85. Go vegetarian for a week

86. Do something that terrifies me

87. Bike 50 miles in one day

88. Bike 100 miles in one day

89. Spend an entire day in a park

90. Try something completely out of my comfort zone

91. See playoff baseball in Cleveland

92. Plan an international trip

93. Visit natural hot springs

94. Visit the Mississippi River

95. Run a half-marathon

96. Join an archaeological dig

97. Pay it Forward

98. See a meteor shower

99. Sleep under the stars

100. Sleep in a blanket fort

101. Deposit $5 in my Roth IRA for every item on this list I complete

I’d encourage those of you who are working on bucket lists to consider trying 101 Things to do in 1001 Days. It attaches a date to your goals so perhaps it will motivate you to accomplish your bucket list. The best part is every time you accomplish something on your list, it’s totally appropriate to celebrate!

If any of you have ideas of opportunities or suggestions for ways I can accomplish parts of this list let me know or even better if you started your own list let me know about that too and leave a message in the comments!

A Forgotten Spot of the Founding Fathers



Memorial Plaque to the duel


There is so much history to be found in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York pertaining to the Revolutionary War and the Founding Fathers. In fact, especially in Boston, you’d be hard pressed to walk around the city and come across a historical marker on at least a few occasions.

These designations are rightly so because the Founding Fathers set the stage in all the cities during the years of the Revolution and formative years of the United States.

There is another important location related to the Founding Fathers that doesn’t get much attention, or any for that matter. While, there may be very little there in the way of tourism, what transpired there is a very important event during America’s early years, the Burr-Hamilton duel that took place on July 11, 1804.

As a student of American history, I’ve always passed over the Burr-Hamilton duel but due to Hamilton: The Musical I recently had my priorities realigned to the importance of Hamilton to America. Yes, I did learn history from a musical and I’m not ashamed of it!

The duel was held between Aaron Burr, the current vice-president to Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton, the first treasurer of the United States and a Founding Father. If you don’t know who Aaron Burr is that’s somewhat understandable, but you should definitely know the Alexander Hamilton guy (Hint: Look at a $10 bill).

Essentially, the duel was fought because Hamilton had sided with Jefferson, even though he and Jefferson never got along, against Burr in the Election of 1800. Hamilton’s influence swayed the electors to elect Jefferson president. In short, Burr took offense to Hamilton’s desire to vote for the opposition just to keep him out of office. So Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel out of honor and, in the end, Burr shot and killed Hamilton.

The duel took place is Weehawken, New Jersey as it was a popular dueling ground thanks to the geography of the bluffs that fit so well for the activity. While there isn’t much in the way of historical landmarks, there is a plaque below a bust of Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton Park designating that the duel happened in the vicinity. There is also a boulder there that stories say is where Hamilton laid his head after he was shot.

So next time you’re in New Jersey, a quick trip to this historical spot is worth it and as an added bonus it offers a wonderful view of Manhattan across the Hudson River.