Tag Archives: Urban Life

Founding Father

He signed neither the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution.  It is very likely he never lived within the authority of the United States of America.

So why the title? He, and his young step-son, selected the site and founded what was to become one of the larger cities in the American Midwest. St. Louis on the western bank of the Mississippi River.

Trade. Business. Fortune. These were the forces which drove a lot of exploration in North America. So traveling the great river north to establish a fur trading post would have been a natural thing.

They chose the site for the trading post, village, city well. Moving south from the marshy, low lying land of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, they established it on a bluff, with access to the best transportation system available without the hazard of frequent floods.

Pierre Laclede stands tall and proud beside the city hall in downtown St. Louis.



Carefully collected

Autumn. Fall. Harvest. A time to gather together the bounty of the earth and store it for the bleak winter to come.

Growing up on a farm, this was one of the busiest times of the year. The oats were threshed (later combined), a final crop of hay gathered, and then the corn. These days there’s a soybean harvest also. Long, busy days full of dust and noise and satisfaction.

The final vegetables from the garden were picked. Or dug. Some ended up preserved in jars. Some, like potatoes or squash, in a wooden box to story in a cool, dry, dark place. Onions were  pulled, the long tops braided together and hung on a nail in a cool, dry place.

It’s different when living in the city. Items we considered useful but messy are used for decoration. Cornstalks at the grocery store? One straw bale set out where the weather could attack from all sides?

An elegant, colorful, seasonal display.

Urban Entertainer

Do you enjoy watching acrobats?

Then you’ll love today’s featured animal.

He’s plentiful in St. Louis. I’m not sure, but they may outnumber the humans. Very difficult to get accurate census figures for the critters.

Without humans, they would do very well in trees. Trees provide them with home building materials, home sites, and food. However, when humans are added to the mix they have no qualms about stealing fruits and vegetables from the branch or vine to supplement their diet. Like wise if you put up a bird feeder. Most of them see this as a challenge — a problem to be solved. It makes for good entertainment but a messy patch of ground under an empty bird feeder.

I’ll admit it. The times my father had a successful hunt, I ate the meat with the rest of the family. Prepare more than one per person. Not much meat per squirrel.

Neighbor’s Favorite

It’s the sort of thing her friends check for each spring.

Did she plant them again? Did last year’s crop reseed?

Either way, we all get an opportunity to enjoy. They begin, like most flowers, as tiny green things testing the spring temperatures. And then, if the spring rains cooperate, enjoy a burst of growth and stretch up, up, up.

Ah, they’ve reached it. Tendrils reach out and wrap around the wrought iron. Leaves expand.  And to the spectators, it appears that overnight the porch railing becomes a living, joyous statement.

Glory not limited to the morning.


After Totality

In case you’ve been hibernating — we had a solar eclipse yesterday.

From Oregon to South Carolina, the media this last week or more has been filled with information and advice for viewing. (Wear the special glasses!) Since I happen to live in one of the areas in the direct path of the eclipse, my plans were simple.

From my front door I needed to walk a matter of yards to find a spot on the lawn with a good view. Joined by other residents of my condo, we chatted and traded memories of other, partial, eclipses. The tricky part for me was photographs. Rather than risk the sensor on the camera, I turned around and got images of the shadows.

I have never seen this pattern on my sidewalk near the oak tree before.

This was taken ten minutes or less after totality.


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.

Location, Location, Location

Like a great many harmful things, it began with carelessness rather than intent.

Imagine if you will. A person in a hurry. They miss their pocket and the cell phone drops to the ground. Well, not exactly to the ground — that became the problem. It landed in some ornamental grass, very dry and long from last year. Add sunshine – lots and lots of sunshine.

Boy scouts, military, and perhaps girl scouts should have the picture by now.

Thank you to the sharp eyed and quick thinking maintenance personnel.         Plus the quick response from the fire station a mile down the road.

Not Spider, Not Internet

It’s a web!  The engineer called it GeoWeb. And at first look it didn’t jibe with my preconceived notion.

Perhaps a little background would be useful.

The engineer was hired to find a solution to a storm water run off problem. You can use your imagination to form a picture of a suburban property where erosion and other factors combine to change the topography over a period of fifty years. Errors in judgement during construction become magnified. Surrounding properties make changes with ripple effects.

The solution involved digging, routing water to new storm sewer inlets, and then holding it all in place. That’s where the GeoWeb comes in. The purpose is to hold a sand/gravel mixture in place while storm water flows on either an additional layer of gravel or thin layer of sod.

It arrived packed flat. Six or so inches wide with a pattern of holes. Odd. It was only after installation that it began to make sense. Stand it on edge. Pull it out like accordion folded paper. Now I understand.

This portion did not get completely filled and packed before the rains came. Looking forward to the finishing touches.

Easy to Overlook

Traffic rolls past at forty miles per hour. Drivers better pay attention to the road. Passengers may catch a glimpse. If they expect it.

Many cities and towns have their own sites which at one time were prominent but now have faded into the background. Perhaps a street was moved. Or the destination at the end of the road has lost its appeal.

So today we give this fine gentleman his due. He’s sort of a composite statue. brick pedestal, stone body, and real antlers. Yes, antlers, not to be confused with horns. (But that topic is for another day.) He, and his twin (not shown in his photo) guard the estate. It’s a well-known family, both locally and nationally. However, the majority of the estate has become a tourist attraction and the well-guarded gate seldom used.

I may be spotted on national television – in a beer commercial – as supporting cast to a team of horses.