Monday, September 1, 2014

DaVinci Said

Varieties gathered during a 90-minute foray, Rockwoods Reservation
To such an extent does nature delight and abound in variety that among her trees there is not one plant to be found which is exactly like another; and not only among the plants, but among the boughs, the leaves and the fruits, you will not find one which is exactly similar to another.
-Leonardo da Vinci

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Happy Couple

The smaller one, the male, is using his special little set of pincers to clutch his female partner for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 3 weeks to make sure he and no other male is transmitting his genes to the next generation. These two walking sticks (Diapheromera femorata) were doin' the wild thing on the garage door, and so as not to disturb them I used the other door--after I took my purely scientific nature photo. They are a favorite food of wild turkeys.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Just Another August Morning

Just another day. . .the usual hassles and b.s.. . .just another day. . .I bought $60 worth of poetry books this week, I must be crazy. . .How long can I ignore that bill they keep sending?. . .Stuff isn't finished. . .my reputation is at stake. . . just a bit more coffee, just a bit . . .I can't stand what's happening in the Middle East . . .I really need to sew fleece curtains for all the windows for the winter. . .darn, the jar in the fridge tipped over, what a mess. . .I don't know who to call next. . .everything's such a gamble. . .these chicken franks were a waste of money. . .why hasn't so-and-so been in touch?. . .get a birthday card for my sister, she's 50, it should be a special 50th-birthday card. . .I need a haircut. . .The novel needs rewriting, but it always does. . .what's blasting the air-conditioning going to cost me? . . .I should go to the gym. . .I saw some leaves falling and it scared me. . . .I forgot my sunscreen. . .it's August and I haven't camped even once. . .I want a 20-inch waist like Audrey Hepburn. . . better take a walk because by 8:30 a.m. it's fainting-hot. . .I have 19 students each needing my full attention. . .what are those yellow flowers in the field, Brown-Eyed Susans? Guess so. . . aren't they pretty? Their lives are so simple. . .

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Propane and Anti-Pane

August is the best (cheapest) time of year to fill propane tanks; and having previously spent $880 for a fill three years ago, I had saved $1000 toward this new tankful.
I hated my propane company, so I phoned the company the lady at the copy shop recommended and asked what the stuff was going for.

"One ninety-nine a gallon," said the clerk, "and one eighty-nine a gallon if you pay within five business days."

I hadn't heard a price this low in a decade. Before signing up on the website I beheld a referral program that gave the referrer a $50 credit--and, unbelievably, $50 credit for me too! So I hurried to the copy shop. "This isn't about copies," I told the lady. Together we filled out and submitted the online form; they phoned within two hours. Three days later the tank-truck driver checked my furnace, stove, and regulator, and cleaned out the squirrel's nest that has occupied the tank's cap for years, and showed me how to shut off the valve in case I had to. They'll also monitor the supply and top it off. Thank you, God, for making me smart enough to relinquish control of my propane supply.

The total for 300 gallons: Abut $570.00. I then went hog-wild and bought a new-with-tags suit on eBay for $30 and two pairs of white double-layer socks. (No, I won't wear the suit and socks together, but there's some folks who wouldn't be surprised if I did.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Not Easy

I stayed up very late, trying to sip the most from summer. Finally I got into pajamas and when I looked up through my west-facing window I saw a frog in space.
Never had I seen this before. No idea how it got there, why it stayed, what it wanted, unless to become a new constellation.

Missouri tree frogs come in green and gray. This one (Hyla cinerea) is green. It's not easy. Gray tree frogs have pure white undersides. I didn't know tree frogs clung to glass. Perhaps it was attracted by its own reflection. Or maybe it wanted to watch me undress!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Idiot's Delight

On a garage-sale safari I saw dozens of woven baskets going for a dime or free. It used to be that tins, such as Christmas fruitcake tins, were the get-rid-of-clutter item one couldn’t even give away. Now it’s baskets. Saw some nice ones but did not purchase because I had one, and I’m determined to use what I have. Formerly an Easter basket—you know how baskets tend to persist in a house or garage—this is my herb-and-mushroom-gathering basket. Not very big or deep, it keeps me from harvesting more than I can use.
At first I carried the scissors in a pocket, then more safely in a fanny pack, and then in the basket itself because reaching around and unzipping the pack was cumbersome. But I lost them from the basket within a few minutes, and only their bright-pink handles allowed me to locate it in the forest floor. They're useful also for when I leave them in the planter, distracted by a swallowtail butterfly or the propane truck or some such.

Remember idiot mittens that were strung together? Well, this red ribbon is an idiot solution to lost scissors. I’d hate to lose even these cheap scissors because I want to use what I have.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Unrest in the City

I have no opinion on the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri (a St. Louis suburb 30 miles from here) because facts are so few, and the facts available seem untrustworthy, doctored, spun, denounced as false, released at odd times--it's like a bad TV show. The photos and footage are the most sensational the media can muster. Young men die at the hands of police quite often. Police too die at the hands of young men. What's unusual about this situation is how the media persist in stirring the pot -- they are in the business of creating anxiety. Anxious people buy things.

I admit to liking the clever label "Fergustan," but won't bandy it about because reason tells me it's an exaggeration and inflammatory, and cleverness is no substitute for brains and reason.

My feelings?  What good are feelings? This whole situation exists because feelings now trump facts.