Monday, March 31, 2008

Walking with the BotSoccers

Saturday I joined a Georgia Botanical Society field trip at the half-way point. I missed the morning trip to the Nature Conservancy's Black Bluff Preserve where the 40 or so BotSoccers examined that beautiful north slope biome for early spring wildflowers. The Dutchman's Breeches were exuberant. I stopped by for this shot on my way home.

Update, April 6: Richard Ware sent the plant identifications that label the pictures below. Thanks, Richard!

Dutchman's Breeches - Dicentra cucullaria

Wild Blue Phlox - Phlox divaricata

When I caught up with the group they were gathering under the big shelter at the Lock and Dam Park south of Rome, breaking out the coolers, and having lunch -- interrupted occasionally by a question from someone wandering the surrounding lawn and asking about some diminutive plant huddled under and between the grasses.

It took a little determination to pull the curious group from the lawn toward the trail. Along the way they stopped to identify stubborn little green things grasping for soil and water in crevices of the parking lot or ...

Sadie Price's violet - Viola priceana

The first part of the walk was through some large trees such as Shumard oaks, Tulip trees, Mockernut hickories...

Mockernut Hickory - Carya tomentosa

...between lumps of crushed stone on the graveled path.

and maples. This old tree had fallen...

and provided welcome fresh bark to the beavers

Toadshade Trillium - Trillium cuneatum

We climbed past the ancient gravel pit and the metal overlook. I got to talk with Charles Seabrook...

... the South Carolina low country native who has been the Atlanta Constitution's nature writer for a decade or more. Interesting fellow. He talked of having telephone operators asking his nationality when he dropped a dime in a pay phone as a homesick underclassman at the University of South Carolina to try to call his home on a coastal island.

I don't remember what Richard called this fellow...

Hoary Puccoon - Lithospermum canescens

... but it caused a bit of a stir in the group of botany enthusiasts. But then anything green with the possible exception of Sprite cans and privet hedge interested them.

One BotSoccer would declare his opinion of a questionable plant on the hillside while another would politely demur. "Nowadays most folks consider that a variety of such and such." "Not me, I think it should be considered a separate species...." Etc.

Richard Ware, my good friend and the leader for this excursion points out the beautifully blooming serviceberry overhanging the river ...

Downy Serviceberry - Amelanchier arborea
Cutleaf Toothworth - Dentaria laciniata
Violet Wood Sorrel - Oxalis violacea

Downy Serviceberry - Amelanchier arborea

... the sweetshrub, the mayapples, and dozens of others. His friend Max wanders away from the group often and calls out occasionally about an interesting find -- sometime a possibly new find for Floyd County, or even the state.

As we crossed a more open area of grasses and briars I caught this pair of Eastern Blues mating.

The north-facing rock-outcropping beyond the primitive camping area is the prize location. My effort at capturing an image of an early and tiny orchid in full bloom failed. But the bloodroot, toothwort...

Cutleaf Toothworth - Dentaria laciniata

and sorrell...

Violet Wood Sorrel - Oxalis violacea

cooperated better.

It was a great walk. I'll update this post with scientific names when I can get Richard or Teresa to help me...hint, hint. (4/6/08 -- Got 'em. Thanks, Richard!)

Today (Sunday) is the trip back to Pigeon Mountain. How I wish I could go. My photos from that wildflower walk last year may be my most popular post of all time. Next weekend many of my family will be together for Don's memorial service. Maybe I can talk a few of them into an excursion to LaFayette to see the bluebells and trillium and trout lilies.


By the Way: Don't forget to get your submissions in to Learning In The Great Outoors, the carnival of environmental education, hosted for April by Barb at The Heart of Harmony. You can use this handy submission form.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

From the Archives: A River Walk

From the Archives March 19, 2006:

The now-defunct Monthly Marathon Blog inspired this post two years ago. I was very pleased with some of these pictures. When I heard this week that the City of Rome is planning a new Silver Creek Park in downtown Rome where some of these pictures were taken, I thought I'd take this post out of mothballs. The new park would include the area shown in the final four photos and the old postcard below.

Here is a map of the proposed trails and park.
And here are the Rome News reports:
Rome News 1
Rome News 2
Rome News 3


A River Walk

3.5 miles around downtown last night and 5.6 miles today down the levee (above) to the confluence then up First Ave to the Silver Creek trail. 58.1 miles for the month. Here are a few more pics I took along the way:

Our courthouse reflected in the Oostanaula

The confluence of the Oostanaula (left) and Etowah (right) rivers to form the Coosa River. The bridge at the right is the Robert Redden Footbridge, a former railroad bridge that rotated on the center column so steamboats could continue up the Oostanaula. The bridge at the right takes Broad Street across the Etowah to the foot of Myrtle Hill.

The Silver Creek Trail crosses the Etowah on another railroad bridge turned footbridge (above) then follows little Silver Creek for three-quarters of a mile as it cascades down to the river.

I've lived in Rome since 1962, but I was completely ignorant of these picturesque downtown views until last week!

Notice the nearly vertical sandstone and shale layers, evidence of the crumpling of the former sea floor here in the Ridge and Valley province between the Blue Ridge and the Cumberland Plateau. At our school I can take my kids out to the driveway cut and pull shell fossils and crinoid stems from the crumbly sandstone.

The creek flattens a little as it nears the river.

The 1913 postcard (above) shows a mill on Silver Creek. I suspect the foreground is a bridge over the Etowah and the mill was at the mouth of Silver Creek. Or else it is high water on some other section of the creek. If anyone knows where this picture was taken, please let me know.


By the Way: Don't forget to get your submissions in to Learning In The Great Outoors, the carnival of environmental education, hosted for April by Barb at The Heart of Harmony. You can use this handy submission form.

Sunday Concert: The Lovin' Spoonful

In September 1966, Sheila was a senior at Leon High in Tallahassee and a writer for the Leon High Life. The Lovin' Spoonful were in town for a concert at Florida State University and Sheila, with her good friend Judi Chastain, got to interview the group. So through the wizardry of YouTube here's The Lovin' Spoonful singing "Do You Believe in Magic".

Saturday, March 29, 2008

More about Don Baird

I thought some of you might like to read more about my cousin, Don Baird, who died this week after a battle with cancer. Here is an excerpt from and a link to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution news article about Don's death.
"He was the voice of Atlanta, as far as I was concerned," said Mr. Kavanagh, who recalled covering a news conference soon after arriving here and hearing Julian Bond, Joseph Lowery and others ask for Mr. Baird by name. "Don was at the forefront of covering the civil rights movement in the '60s —which today sounds ho-hum, but back then, it was quite revolutionary and controversial."

Mr. Baird, who went on to work for CNN for 15 years before retiring in 2002, could be dogged if that was what the story called for. His former colleagues delight in recalling the time Mr. Baird sprinted after Mr. Maddox for an interview while the latter was busy chasing black diners from his restaurant.

Wingspans Banner

Here's another project for a talented tailor to prepare for an environmental education classroom, nature center, or to stretch across a wall of the science lab. This gorgeous banner illustrates the actual wingspan sizes for birds ranging from albatross and condor to eagle and hawk and on down to wren and hummingbird. What a colorful and dramatic illustration of avian diversity!

Staffers of Rock Eagle show their wingspan banner at the
Environmental Educators Alliance of Georgia conference, Unicoi State Park, Helen, GA, March 14.


By the Way: Don't forget to get your submissions in to Learning In The Great Outoors, the carnival of environmental education, hosted for April by Barb at The Heart of Harmony. You can use this handy submission form.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Don Baird 1936-2008

A very fine man died today, my first cousin Don Baird. Don had battled esophageal cancer. I have written about Don several times.

WSB has posted a couple of samples of Don's reports from the sixties.

Here is a brief report on Lester Maddox's refusal to allow blacks to eat at his restaurant.

Here Don reports on the infamous slaying of Lt. Col. Lemual Penn by members of the KKK.

The following is from the WSB History article about Don.
Don was one of the finest news reporters WSB had in the historic era of the 1960's. He is best remembered for his coverage of Lester Maddox - which launched him into national fame on the NBC Radio Network where he was a constant free-lance contributor. Don himself recalls some highlights: " Taping a sprinting Lester Maddox as he chased black people from his restaurant... describing a mob scene as whites beat blacks at a "patriotic rally" at Lakewood Park ... holding MLK's peace prize during an interview Covering his funeral on loan to NBC. "

Don had worked for the Atlanta Journal Constitution for several years before he joined WSB. From WSB he went on to work for the network reporting for NBC from their Cleveland Ohio bureau. The last decade or more of his career was spent with CNN Radio.

Don was a true gentleman. He was soft-spoken, thoughtful, and kind. He was endlessly entertaining and interesting with his stories of covering famous people and events, and his interest in the unusual in Georgia history. Besides writing news he also wrote songs and poems and had several book ideas he was kicking around. I hope that some of his unfinished writing will make its way into print, or, at least, cyberprint, so that some of his unique knowledge will be preserved.

I will truly miss this good man.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Build an Owl

One of my favorite workshops at the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia (EEA) Conference was a couple of hours of ideas for using birds as a context for learning in elementary school. It was taught by staffers from the Rock Eagle 4-H Center here in Georgia. Here is one idea I gleaned from this session.

How about dressing up a volunteer as an owl as you teach about adaptations?

First the big eyes for night vision - foam hemispheres hot-glued to a baseball cap. Then add the all-important (Papier mache) hooked beak for tearing out the innards of your prey, yum!

The vicious, deadly talons are velcroed aroubd each foot.

The wonderfully camophlaged feathers are a cape for the arms.

The downy chest feathers are a felt vest.

The critical guidance of the tail is simulated with a modified and suitably decorated foam boogie board.

Finally shin guards meant to suggest the leg feathers are added. Several other symbolic items were given to our owl: a hollow tube to represent lightweight bones; a frayed cord to demonstrate the quiet flight of owl with its fringed flight feathers (whip it and an unfrayed cord alternately in fast circles to demonstrate how the fraying quietens the hum of the cord); plastic eggs to represent, well, eggs; a balloon to suggest the air sacs that help make their respiratory systems more efficient.

Now if I can just convince a volunteer who is handy with needle and thread to get busy on this little project, I'll have a fun little adaptations lesson for next fall.

The volunteer pictured here was a conference participant whose name, I am sorry to say, I neglected to record.


By the Way: Don't forget to get your submissions in to Learning In The Great Outoors, the carnival of environmental education, hosted for April by Barb at The Heart of Harmony. You can use this handy submission form.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Great Birthday Present

Of course the actual reason that so many of my family came together today was the earliest Easter of our lifetimes. Gathered here in Rome were my mother, my sisters Joan and Debi, their husbands, in-town nephews Jonathan and Andrew, my wife, my youngest daughter, out-of-town-but-soon-to-be-homefolks niece Lyn and her hubby, son and two daughters -- AND our illustrious Auburn aeronautics professor nephew Gil with his vivacious wife and two precocious sons Lewis and Mark --- AND Gil's airplane!!!

Gil long ago earned the love and admiration of his uncle, but today!! He took me -- and Lillian -- up for an aerial photography session in his little Cessna. What a thrill!

I am so pleased to have lots of aerial shots of our school woods. If you look carefully at the triangle of wood in the top right corner you can make out our little brook flowing more or less along the hypotenuse and glinting in the sun.

Our school sits among the long Armuchee Ridges wrinkling up along the edge of the Cumberland Plateau. The farthest ridge is probably Lookout Mountain along the Georgia-Alabama border. The next would be Taylors Ridge that runs all the way to Tennessee. The foreground is Rocky Mountain with its strange manmade lake that is drained and recreated daily as water is pumped up to the reservoir during low-electrical-demand hours, only to plummet down tunnels to drive electrical turbines during the peak hours.

The heart of Rome is between the rivers. The Etowah on the right and the Oostanaula on the left bound our downtown. The great symbol of Rome, perched atop a hill toward the left side of the picture and visible from just about anywhere in town, is our famous clocktower. Built in 1870 by the Noble brothers, it was the primary storage tank for the city's water system for many years. Now it houses a wonderful little museum inside what was once a water tank. You can take the spiral stairs between the brick outer wall and the tank to the observation deck. Our vantage point today was even better.

Our tour covered our fair city. Here you see the Shaw homeplace along the Oostanaula River. The big red roof is the hotel down the street. Count the houses to the seventh left of that roof. It's easy to see the Riverwalk on both sides of river and Ridge Ferry Park across the Oostanaula.

Here's a little closer look. Our big black roof and the black shadow of our huge magnolia make our lot one of the darkest looking from the air. It is directly across the street from the middle of the three red-roofed buildings.

Our pilot patiently explained all his manuevers to his neophyte flyers, and passed a mint to Lillian who was feeling a little queasy in the back. Gil had warned us that the ride would be a bit bumpy because of the active air currents on this cool but clear day.

Our welcoming committee, and crew for the immediately following flight to Auburn, Alabama, greeted us on our return to Rome's Richard B. Russell Airport.

Thanks Gil. What a hoot!! When can we do it again?


By the Way: Don't forget to get your submissions in to Learning In The Great Outoors, the carnival of environmental education, hosted for April by Barb at The Heart of Harmony. You can use this handy submission form.

Sunday Concert: How Can I keep from Singing?

I was just sure I'd be able to find the BYU choruses singing this wonderful song on YouTube. Oh, well. Spring Arbor will have to do. I think this is the same arrangement used by BYU on "A Thanksgiving of American Hymns"

Easter seems a good time to present "How Can I keep from Singing?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me! #61 (A PRIME age BTW)

March 22 has rolled around sixty-one times since that day in 1947. Oh, my!

I was a pretty baby, though, wasn't I?

The intervening years have given me a few aches and pains, too much weight, only a little gray hair, but generally pleasant memories, a caring photographer, a loving life partner, and a beautiful hometown where, only an hour ago on this gorgeous day, we enjoyed our first walk across the new bridge. I sorely miss our eldest, but otherwise a prime* birthday.

And I'm still pretty, aren't I?

(A rhetorical question - no response necessary!!)

* my next prime birthday will be in 2014.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Angry Black Preacher

E. J. Dionne has written a good post on the uproar over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's intemperate words and Sen. Barack Obama's historic speech of last Tuesday.
Let's ask the hard question about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Is he as far outside the African American mainstream as many of us would like to think?

Because Barack Obama's speech on race in America was so candid about both the legitimacy of black and white grievances -- and the flaws in those grievances -- it carried the risk of offending almost everyone.

A man who, by parentage, is half black and half white took it upon himself to explain each side's story to the other. Obama resembled no one so much as the conciliatory sibling in a large and boisterous family, shouting: "Please, please, will you listen to each other for a sec?"
Check it out.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Riding down to visit Don

My mother and two of my sisters, Joan and Debi, rode with me to Douglasville today to visit with our cousin Don who is in the midst of a fight against complications from cancer surgery. It was a beautiful day for a ride. (Click here to read other posts about Don.)

Don, during the WSB years.

We made a pitstop at the KFC just off I-20 where I noticed this clump of misletoe in the small tree planted by the parking lot. Have you ever seen such a lush growth of this hemiparasite?

Don and Claudia live at the end of Mockingbird Lane on a gorgeous lakefront lot. They have done wonderful things with their home including a beautiful new kitchen and a sunroom overlooking the long wooded lawn that slopes down to the small lake. Don was very lucid, pain-free he said, and in good spirits.

His illness has robbed him of the magnificent radio voice that he used so ably with his fine intellect as a newsman for WSB Radio in Atlanta, NBC Radio in Cleveland, and finally with CNN Radio, back in Atlanta. But his hoarse whisper still had the life and humor of the Don we all admire and love.
Don's friendship with Louis Brown reaches back into the fifties. It was a privilege to be there when Louis and his wife, Beth, came by and to hear the two songwriters, Louis and Don reminisce. Both have had songs recorded by well-known singers. Don's "It Will Come to Pass" was recorded by Willie Nelson and by the Anita Kerr Singers. I don't think Don will mind my posting his lyrics, they are available elsewhere online.

The turning earth will raise its wand
and bring the seasons to their fruitful end

... and little men and trains will crash

and snake their way around the timeless bend

... and rivers, too, will course their way
to find the hungry Mother Sea at last

.. and love will grow, it will come to pass...

The sun will blaze its scorching path
across the sky a million times or more

... and men with charts will scan the skies
in quest of life on some forgotten shore
... and in the quiet womb the sleeping seed

will stretch its arms and grow at last

...and love will grow, it will come to pass...
(chorus/bridge) It will come to pass....

Though men and minds and times will change

still pinioned there by fears of growing old

...though scalpeled hands will plumb
the deepest corners
none will find the soul...
yet bearded men in sandwich boards
will tell the sinful streets, "He's Come At Last"
.. and love will grow, it will come to pass...

words & music by Don Baird (
Sony/Tree publishing...

(From Willie Nelson "My Own Peculiar Way" and other albums... and Anita Kerr Singers "Best of Country"Album abc/dot)

After an hour's visit Mother led us in an eloquent prayer and we headed home.

Along the way back to Rome, Joan suggested we stop at the Coots Lake Trail Head on the Silver Comet Trail and take a short walk. The Silver Comet Trail is a Rails-to-Trails project that follows an old railroad bed from Atlanta to Rockmart. It is very popular for hikers, runners, bikers, and horseback riders. The area at Coots Lake is a lovely wooded walk. I hope Sheila and I can get back to bike it one of these days. Here are some pics.

Mother, Joan, and Debi begin the walk.

Redbud (Cercis canadensis) in bloom.

Mother, yours truly, and Debi.

More redbud.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Toward a more perfect union

Barack Obama took the occasion of the vicious attacks on him because of the ill-advised words of his former pastor, to go beyond the obvious, to go beyond fighting back, to go beyond simple politics - to give a heart-felt, important, gut-level discussion of race in America. From his perspective as a mixed-race American, he is uniqulely able, among major statesmen, to understand and address race in America.

What a wonderful occasion it will be to hear this man's inaugural speech and his State of the Union addresses. He is right, of course, that his election will not perfect the union. But it will be an inspiring administration that will "promote a more perfect union".

If you didn't hear the speech, go read it now.

Here's a short excerpt that illustrates his unusual perspective.
And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.
A great speech. A great candidate. And, potentially, a monumentally great President.

Update -Other responses to The Speech

SW at Oh!Pinion has responded eloquently
If Obama’s name is on ballots across the land next November — and it should be — some will vote for him, some against him and some for the Republican candidate. Regardless of their election day choice, all Americans should respect Barack Obama as a man of exceptional intelligence, humanity and character. He earned that respect today.
Andrew Sullivan says:
And it was a reflection of faith - deep, hopeful, transcending faith in the promises of the Gospels. And it was about America - its unique promise, its historic purpose, and our duty to take up the burden to perfect this union - today, in our time, in our way
Eugebe Robinson in the Washington Post:
Yesterday morning, in what may be remembered as a landmark speech regardless of who becomes the next president, Obama established new parameters for a dialogue on race in America that might actually lead somewhere -- that might break out of the sour stasis of grievance and countergrievance, of insensitivity and hypersensitivity, of mutual mistrust.

From the Dallas Morning News:
Obama's speech will go down in history as one of the best modern speeches about America's ongoing racial divide and the failure to address the roots of it.

The Los Angeles Times:
It may have begun as an exercise in political damage control, but Barack Obama's speech in Philadelphia on "A More Perfect Union" was that rarity in American political discourse: a serious discussion of racial division, distrust and demonization. Whether or not the speech defuses the controversy about some crackpot comments by Obama's longtime pastor, it redefines our national conversation about race and politics and lays down a challenge to the cynical use of the "race card."

Tim Ruttan:
One hundred and fifty years ago this June, a lanky Illinois lawyer turned politician gave a speech that changed the way Americans talked about the great racial issues of their day.

The lawyer was Abraham Lincoln, and the speech was the famous "House Divided" ...

America's political story is studded with such addresses -- historical signposts that divide that which went before from all that followed on an issue of crucial national importance. Franklin Roosevelt's "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" speech fundamentally changed Americans' expectations of their government in times of social and economic crisis. John F. Kennedy's address on Catholicism and politics to the Greater Houston Ministerial Assn. in 1960 forever altered the way we think about religion and public office.

Sen. Barack Obama, another lanky lawyer from Illinois, planted one of those rhetorical markers in the political landscape Tuesday, when he delivered his "More Perfect Union" speech in Philadelphia, near Independence Hall.

Monday, March 17, 2008

EEA 2008: Butterfly Conservation

I just looked back through my blog posts to find what I had written about last year's EEA (Environmental Education Alliance) Conference at Jekyll Island. My first EEA Conference was such a wonderful experience. I was surprised to realize that I had never gotten around to blogging about it! Oh, my!

Sheila and I just got back from the 2008 Conference held in Helen, Georgia at the beautiful Unicoi State Park and Lodge. Another great learning experience, even though almost all of the field trips were cancelled because of the famous Georgia storm of last weekend.

I participated in about a dozen sessions. These included three keynote addresses by dynamic speakers, and nine workshops. I have enough Great Outdoors blogging material to keep me going for weeks!

The first keynote was a presentation on butterfly conservation by Dr. David Wagner. Dr. Wagner is the National Book Award author of the Princeton Field Guide to Caterpillars of North America. He led a butterfly atlas project in Connecticut that has helped to document the threats to lepidopterans in the Northeast and come up with recommendations for how we can stem the decline in butterflies and moths.

His study established a tier system of threats that puts habitat loss at the peak and a lack of botanical succession as the second most important threat to butterflies and moths. Not only do these animals have to put up with a tremendous loss of habitat, but the habitat they now have is often "conserved" in a static state. Without the natural cycle of fire and then a succession of different sizes of plants, some Lepidopterans cannot survive.

The second tier of threats are important, though they do not reach the critical state of peril of tier one. These include invasive or introduced species that eat or crowd out host plants and nectar plants that butterflies and moths depend upon. An overabundance of deer and beaver are included in this group of threats. For instance, 26 Lepidopterans are threatened by the ash blight.

Other threats get a lot of attention, but are less important in the grand scheme of things. These minor threats against our scale-winged beauties include pesticides and, horrors!, insect collectors.

Dr. Wagner would like to see atlases of Lepidopterans developed in each state. He would like to enlist students, seniors, parents, homeschoolers, and anyone-else to help with these projects. That is why he is a supporter of the Discover Life Project.

Two miscellaneous notes:

Conservation = Management (not just preservation)

Children should be given the opportunity to explore the
"Serengeti of the Backyard."

More to come.

PTSW : Hungry Old Lady

Fourth graders still enjoy this silly song. The picture book (at left) with cut-outs on each page to reveal the next lunch is a Caldecott Honor book.

The original song was written, according to Wikipedia, by Alan Mills. I suspect it has entered the folk tradition, where it has gained alternate endings and additional verses. Sing it if you can.

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly,
I don't know why she swallowed a fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider,
That wiggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a bird,
How absurd! to swallow a bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a cat,
Imagine that! to swallow a cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a dog,
What a hog! to swallow a dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a goat,
Just opened her throat! and swallowed that goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wiggled and jiggled and tiggled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she'll die.

There was an old lady who swallowed a cow,
I don't know how she swallowed a cow!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don't know why she swallowed the fly,
Perhaps she'll die.

There was an old woman who swallowed a horse,
She's dead—of course!

(Alternate ending for us preachers' kids)
There was an old lady who swallowed a minister,
How sinister!
It finished her.
-by Alan Mills (and others)

At the left is an older book of the song that I have.

Here's a coloring sheet to use with the song for younger kids.


Previous Poems to Start the Week:
There Was an Old Lady i thank you Godfinding ourselves
Breathes There a ManFog
Snow DayOde to Things
A Visit from St. NicholasMiceAll In a WordThe SpiderThe Eagle
Some PeopleCustard the DragonStatistics 101The Spider and the Fly
Back to SchoolThe Inchcape RockOgden NashTrash
Hearts, Like DoorsCasey at the BatAlways a RoseHome at Last
Bag of ToolsCarpe DiemPoems About PoetryMan's Best Friend
Spelling is Tough Stough!Blue MarbleTacks, Splinters, Apples and Stars
Oh, Captain, My Captain!MetaphorIntroducion to Poetry
Loveliest of TreesFlax-Golden TalesThe Dinosaurs Are Not All Dead
Owl PelletsMummy Slept LateJust My Size
The Kindest Things I KnowMiles to GoLove that Brother
Oh, Frabjous Day!

Other Posts about Children's Literature:

The Lion's Paw top kid's OOP book!
Aslan is Dead!
Multiplying People, Rice, and Readers
A Teacher's Life

You can read some of my own efforts at poetry here.
And then there's Alien Invasion.

A weblog dedicated to Poetry for Children.
Watch Sonja Cole's reviews of children's books at
The PBS series Favorite Poem Project