Category Archives: Blog

One step to success

Are you ambitious?  Do you want to succeed?

Most people I know would answer yes to those questions. A few have achieved it. Others keep striving. And still others don’t recognize it in front of them.

You’ve heard about the steps. Get a good education. Work hard. Pay your dues in time and talent. Sometimes they leave out a step.

Do you enjoy your work?  Can you imagine your life without doing ____?

Today’s glass and steel flower is exactly what you need…

Allow me to introduce PASSION.

Serendipity

One day when I was a young teen, and unacquainted with the title of this piece, I went to the neighbor’s woods.

These woods were close. From our property I crossed one road and one field. Then I was in a patch of woods which included a pond. In the winter I ice skated here. It was a great place to let the imagination fly.

This particular day was in the fall. I’m not certain, but I think I was looking for a frog to take to school. No frogs as I walked all the way around the pond.

But on the way home. Still in the woods, I saw a tree branch hosting hundreds, actually thousands, of Monarch butterflies taking a rest during their migration.

Recently I attended an exhibit at our botanical garden featuring glass sculptures. The artist captured my experience.

Good in Green

We all have our favorite colors. And often they are the ones which look best on us. Perhaps they bring emphasis to eye color. Or compliment a skin tone. And once in a while — they’re just cheerful and fun.

But what if you like a color that does not flatter? Perhaps confine it to an accessory? Or use it around the home. Pick that red you love for an accent pillow. Or a few dishes. Or a piece of artwork.

I like green. And it is one of three or four colors which flatter. But it’s not popular. At least not in the bargain stores where I shop. So I have a few things. And then I fill the house with plants in the winter.

New addition this year. A gift from a relative. In a beautiful green skirt.

Miniature Memory

Midwestern farms, especially a few decades ago, needed to be for self-sufficient then our small town or city friends. One feature of this was that each farm (and in some instances homes in small towns or edges of larger ones) needed their own water and sanitation systems.

Our water supply was green. No, not the color. But in energy use. It was not the sort you would find in the small town — unless it was grandfathered into the regulations from a farm absorbed into the boundaries.

We had one of these:

There were differences. The one on our farm was forty feet tall and pulled the water up over 300 feet. Able to rotate and use wind blowing from any direction, it served us well. And if the wind didn’t blow for a day?

Good question. We directed the flow from the well into a cistern. We also had it fixed up so with a little practice a person could move the pipe and fill the stock tank. (Dairy cows are thirsty.) From the cistern the water moved with a combination of gravity and an electric pressure pump and tank in our basement into a dependable supply.

It was a small chore to turn the windmill either on or off or move the pipe. But we kept track of the time when filling the stock tank (and to a lesser extent the cistern). Water is precious and not to be wasted by making a large muddy puddle.

 

Mystery Structure

When walking around a historical village, I can put a name and/or purpose to most things. But this one had me stuck.

Is this for grain or produce storage? What about that trough at the bottom?        It must be there for a reason.

It all made good sense after I asked one of the employees — in 1830’s costume.

Several households together pooled their fireplace ashes in these. Once they were full they added water. (The metaphorical light bulb started to glow.) What do you get when you add water to wood ashes? Lye.

The trough at the bottom facilitated collecting the lye which would have been used to make soap.

Please give our ancestors points for being smart, clever, and thrifty. But since I remember lye soap well (my mother made and used it for laundry) I’m fine with purchasing modern detergent at the store.

Candle Power

In physics class we learned the definition of candle power as the light from one standard candle one foot away. During out last power outage I discovered that these eyes need two candle power to read comfortably at the table.

Recently I had occasion to visit a historical village. The decade for the reproductions and artifacts was the 1830’s. It was a delightful place to visit and learn. Cooking and heat from the fireplace. Light from home made candles – either dipped or molded.

And when you needed to go outside on a dark night — take your lantern.

So grateful to be living in current times — when a flip of the switch gives us many more than one candle power.

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.

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?