Monthly Archives: July 2017

Graceful Drop

During the years, I’ve had my share of trips and falls. Most have done little harm to the body. The ego suffered more. But even the ones where I get back on my feet a moment later and brush off the bits of grass, sand, gravel, or whatever surface I collided with could never be called graceful.

No — klutz comes more  to mind.

It’s not the same with water. Unlike humans (or most animals) when it drops from one level to another, the results can be soothing rather than alarming. In a few cases, it can also be impressive and powerful.

Relaxing view on a sunny day.

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Ready for Dipping

St. Louis has a weather reputation which it shares with large portions of the American Midwest.

Four seasons. Some years it feels like five or six. They’ve been known to crowd three into a single day. An allotment of three (maybe four) perfect weather days per year.

It’s currently summer. Early sunrise. Late sunset. Hot and sunny in daylight. Warm and humid in the dark. Residents learn to cope. Fans. Air conditioning. Shade. Water.

The quiet time between sunrise and opening.

Summer Seating

Walking is good for your health.

Standing can make a person tired.

So have a seat. My summer seating on the patio is simple, utilitarian.

It’s very weather dependent. On the warmer days I’ll only be out here early in the morning. Evening would be nice — but lighting gets to be a problem if I wait too late.

Chair and table are the basics. If I’m working add a laptop, pen and notebook. If it’s more leisure time, add a book. And always — a beverage on the table. Mornings are for coffee. On the three perfect days St. Louis is allowed per year – the afternoon brings out the ice water. And later, you’ll find an adult beverage in my glass.

Ready for work or leisure.                                                                                    Distractions include dashing chipmunks and acrobatic squirrels.

Perennial Flock

Their relatives appear in almost every children’s book of farm animals. And they are popular with the toys teaching sounds. We never raised them on our farm, but some of our neighbors had small flocks.

The real animals are prized for their coats and their meat. They do have a reputation for demanding good fences and clipping the grass short. (Actually, at one time they roamed the White House grounds. Careful where you step, Mr. President.)

This friendly group is popular with both children and photographers.

Where else can you let a pre-schooler ride a sheep?

 

The Viewing

Almost missed it. For the second year in a row. When I opened the notice Monday morning, the special Sunday night hours were over. But I wanted to go. So I re-arranged my day a little and went off to pay my respects.

One week can make a huge difference in some things. Children have a spurt of growth or learning. Construction takes a leap forward. And plants complete critical parts of their life cycle.

Our subject was growing faster than a teen boy on July 3.

One week later — oh, what a change.

Yes, it’s a Corpse Flower.

It was probably a good time to have a poor nose as I only caught a slight whiff of spoiled meat.

In Addition to Plants…

One of my favorite places to visit in St. Louis is the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Often an afternoon excursion to this refreshing place is a reward for meeting writing goals. It took several attempts and a few “dead ends” to find a reward without calories.

The Garden contains several different sections, featuring plants and plantings typical of different areas of the world or historical times. Often this blog will feature either a particular plant or a piece of public sculpture (permanent or temporary) present on a visit.

But the Garden is home to more. Bees, butterflies, and dragonflies dart between blossoms. Birds and squirrels and other small animals seek shelter within the fenced grounds. And fish thrive in the lake dominating the Japanese garden. And they need to share the lake with these residents.

This basking red-eared slider posed with a dragonfly. He and his friends entertain both young and old.

Time for Plan B

Three years as a 4-H member has given me many good memories. I also learned a lot in the projects I selected and in the whole club activities.

One year I selected a project called “Home Grounds Improvement”. As you can tell from the name, the emphasis was on doing items to make the outside of a house and the yard around it more attractive. We also needed to take an exhibit to the county fair — of flowers we’d grown.

Our family planted three trees in our recently expanded yard that year. The green ash died within the year. The Black Hills Spruce (the tree I claimed as my own) grew large, flourished, and survived past 50 years. The clump of White Birch (which I always referred to as mother’s) dominated the back yard as recently as 2015.

Then there were the flowers. Mother and I created a small flower garden – apart from the vegetable garden. It was a mix of annuals and perennials. And when it came time to sign up for the categories in the fair, I chose to exhibit a vase of perennials.

Did I say we had a puppy that year? Not an adult dog with enough knowledge to know their limits — no, this was an undisciplined canine youngster. He roamed free, like most farm dogs, every day.

And a mere week before the fair – well, he ROLLED, not just crashed through the row, but rolled over the gladiolus. We used Plan B – exhibiting our other perennial, the dahlia.

No puppies allowed!

 

Orange Pop and Bananas

Happy Birthday, USA.

Hot dogs. Hamburgers. Potato salad. Chips. Watermelon. Soda. Beer.               The list continues with the items served at picnics, bar-b-ques, and family gatherings this holiday.

When I was growing up we seldom celebrated July 4 with the traditional parade, patriotic speeches, or fireworks. This may have been the downside of small farm near small town upper Midwest living.

Often the holiday fell in the middle of haying season. My father would always have the day off from his Post Office job and frequently took a few vacation days as well to accomplish the task. It was weather dependent — most of farming is. So it was a summer work day.

And one year — in the middle of our haying — when we took our afternoon break mother served a treat. Orange pop and bananas. For a family who seldom bought pop (soda) or bananas it made a memorable, impromptu celebration.

Happy Birthday!

Looking good at 241!!!