Sunday, March 30, 2008

Heart Like a Rain Gauge

Ace climbs water towers and sets water pressure for small towns. His van is packed with tools and straps and ladders and gauges, including a Geiger counter. He showed me how some of gauges worked. The indicator needles jumped and held. "See these?" he said. "They don't lie."

I was amazed. Surely those things lie. Somehow. I keep testing my tire pressure over and over because I usually don't credit, at first, what the gauge says. But Ace makes a living by trusting his gauges, so he must be right: What gauges say is the reality.

Here's my rain gauge, sort of like a footlong shot glass, and its view of what fell last night: one and one-half inches of rain. This isn't good news for this part of Missouri. But it's a reality. Plans must be made for the rivers rising again this week. People are murmuring "Flood of '93," "Flood of '82." Makes an individual feel very small and feeble, and makes the heart beat harder.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Come Get You Some Spring Onions!

Spring's slow in coming, families down the road still scraping flood mud outa their houses, and 4 inches of rain in past 7 days. . . while walkin with my head down I saw: Spring Onions! Yes! And suddenly life was real fine!

Everyplace I saw their thin little round stems (with purple lower down) in the grass, I yanked, and secured some real nice ones, even this early in the season. They're scallions, but a lot smaller and thinner, with bulbed ends. They don't grow in fields or woods. Look in what grass you have and you might find some. First crop of 2008! I'd better go down to the creek and see if there's fiddlehead ferns yet!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Fallout

So neighbor Shelley comes down the road and finds in her way this old dead oak tree that must have gotten saturated with the recent rains. It's so spongy the branches are like powder and we don't know if it can be chainsawed. Find out tomorrow~! Good thing it fell before she got here. Spring 0f 2008 may just be one to remember.

Easter Washout

Our dramatic flooding this week got Missouri declared a disaster area and onto the national news. (A big Chicago paper referred to Pacific, Mo., as a "hamlet" -- obviously they dont know Pacific has 2 QuikTrips and 2 McDonald's.) Although my house stayed dry, the three possible routes home -- one along the Big River and two along the Meramec River -- were all underwater, with the National Guard turning back anyone who tried to drive through. So I got stuck in the city on Thursday and just got home now, Easter Sunday. Water level isn't all that's falling; first thing I do stepping out of the car in my city shoes is slip on wet gravel and fall on my face.

And this is what it looks like outside on this baby chicken and bunny day! Not only snow, but there's a 14-lb. ham in the fridge ready for out-of-state guests who didn't get here because of the rising rivers. I'll have to throw a big party next weekend to celebrate the end of March in Missouri!

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Lady Bluebird has accepted her mate's choice of dwelling -- fortunately it's the one in the meadow right outside my dwelling -- and now they're flying back and forth, selecting yellow grasses and bringing them into the box to build their always-exquisite teacup-sized nest. Here she is, in a picture just taken 20 minutes ago, catching a breath between shopping trips. First Bluebird Sighting is a joyous landmark in the year -- a living greeting card from Nature.

About 4 weeks from now this box will overflow with baby bluebirds. Last week I finished cutting away all tall brush from the area to discourage predators. Now I should mow the grass down to a crew-cut, because bluebirds do their best hunting in short grass, and they'll need to hunt all day every day when the babies hatch.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Honey Treatment for Hayfever

"Take a tablespoon of honey each day for 14 days, starting in early March. It's best if it's honey from a bee farm in your area."

Somwhere I heard that, and desperate to quit sneezing and squirting $25 bottles of prescription corticosteroids up my nose for 8 months of the year -- to ease my miserable, adult-onset hayfever -- I tried it!

I will testify on a Bible that molds and dust and smoke still bothered me -- but it seems the trees and grasses didn't get to me, or they got to me less; and out here, that is more than half the battle.

My dad was a peasant farmer from Europe and he insisted, "Eat a spoonful of honey a day and you will never get sick." We laughed at him and said "Yuck." Don't think you can smoke and eat fatty meats 3x/day and that honey will protect you. He thought it might, but it didn't. But he got his information from somewhere in his culture, and I heard it repeated by some New Ager years later and said to myself, "It can't HURT to try."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Flying Propane Tank

The Divine cabin failed seven state and fed'ral requirements for propane safety. The #1 change ordered by the inspector is that the 200-gallon tank, looks like a baby elephant, has to be moved to the other side of the house. They'll use a crane. I'll stay home that day to ask real nice if I can ride on it while they move it.

Tanksful of LP (liquid propane) have been delivered here for 50 years and in all that time if anyone saw violations in the tank and pipe setup they looked the other way and kept mum. Propane, that burns such a dreamy blue -- fairy-godmother blue -- inspires all sorts of magical, magic-carpet thinking. I pretended that the less I looked at the gauge, the less often I'd need to call for a refill.

The gas people will drain the tank before they move it, and probably won't credit me for that, so this March weekend I'm using LP promiscuously, baking pies and keeping the whole house cozy warm after bein' crazy frugal all winter. Lesson: Don't be frugal. Spend what you have.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Crocus, Poke Us

Here's the spring's first Blue Pearl crocus. Yes, I plant 'em. It's always the first flower to waken. Last year it appeared Feb. 5. Winter has been persistent, so this year it was March 5. The Blue Pearl is a type of snowdrop, flowering even before the familiar vivid yellow and white and purple crocuses. That's snow you see in the background. Twist my arm and I'll have to say I like Blue Pearl crocus flowers better than any other on earth.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dickey Bub Farm & Home

Birdseed and suet is one-third cheaper at Dickey Bub's, a medium-large hardware store with three locations: Union, Potosi, and Eureka, MO. They sell the Dickey brand of work clothes for men and women, along with tools, seeds, rock salt, John Deere riding mowers & that. When they opened I was scared to go in there. It was too "man." My haircutter tole me she was almost brave enough to go in there until she heard their sound system blasting a song about tequila.

Several score of fat and lazy wild birds depend on me for seed and suet, and needing a way to cut the cost, I finally sidled into the Dickey Bub's, and wandered in a daze (what IS that metal thing?) until I found the pallets of 35-lb. bags of Tru-Value mixed birdseed. I was used to backing my car up to a loading dock and they'd put the bags in the trunk for me. But at the Dickey Bub's there were no clerks to be seen, nor loading docks, nor shopping carts -- men don't use em, I guess --and I had to hoist the sack over my shoulder and carry it if I dint want to look like a helpless female gettin weak and whiny in her change of life.

It's got easier to go in there and easier to carry the bags, and I am so pleased with myself. Plus, the birds and I both eat better. Nowhere else around here sells 100 percent wool socks, which stay warm when they're wet, a necessity: it's not only men who get shin-deep in creeks or muck and that, and then have a ways to go to get home.