Tag Archives: Urban Life

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.

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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.

 

Unplanned Trip

Sorry to say, this was not the vacation sort of trip. Not even in town errands with an interesting feature on the side.

No. This was the author being a KLUTZ. (Apologies if this is your name.)

It started normal enough. I decided that before going inside the library I’d take a walk. So I went past the community gardens and down the hill. I had my camera in my hand — looking for interesting things to photograph — and turned around to walk back up the hill.

Ooops! One should pay at least some attention to their feet when walking. Sidewalks are hard! It didn’t take long for the camera to go back into the purse and to pick up the glasses. I could tell at a glance they were a total loss. So…draw a deep breath, check out the face with one hand – a little blood, not much. Up the hill, into the building, into the restroom to wash and assess the damage.

The good news? I learned how fast my body heals. The bruises on the face went from red, to dark red, to purple, to yellow quicker than expected. Ice pack on the face worked well. Glasses are replaceable.

Now I’m planning my next trip. This time the vacation sort. Off with a friend to see new sights through new glasses.

Summer Tag

In recent weeks, I’ve taken my morning walk a little earlier. It’s not a big change, twenty minutes or so.

The scene is much the same. Yet a few differences appear. The sun is a touch lower. The air a degree cooler. A line is forming outside the plasma center. A different group of people are walking (or being walked by) dogs. Traffic is a different mix of business trucks and private vehicles.

And I get to play a game. Will I be successful is walking the gauntlet? Or will I end up with an unplanned shower?

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Preset sprinklers wait for no man (or woman).