Monday, May 31, 2010

Ma and Pa

Both these people started out in difficult circumstances, on farms without amenities, and because of The War, got shaken up like dice and scattered far and wide, far from home, through the Midwest, and now in retirement. But -- give them lounge chairs, and they are at home just about anywhere, and enjoy watching Jeopardy and Dancing with the Stars. Ages 75 and 91.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Monkey Face

If a professor sat me down to look at this picture and tell him what it is, I'd say, It's a monkey face, like those faces on sock monkeys, you know; but it's really fungi. Can't identify it precisely but suspect it's a Golden Jelly Cone just a bit dried out, or maybe it's the fungus called Orange Peel. There are, however, no names or quantities in Nature.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

A pretty, very hilly town in Lovely County, Arkansas, the town of Eureka Springs was once famous for mineral baths and miraculous cures, and still has beautiful hotels and Victorian buildings, specializing in porches and balconies, because there's a divine view absolutely everywhere. Fun to visit. Here is the Bath House Boast, proving they had public relations in those pre-neon days, too. Although there's no mineral baths, visitors can still get spa treatments and massages. Difficult town to live in, I am told. After visiting four years ago, I returned to see lots of shops closed along Main Street (that's right next to Mud Street) and many gorgeous hillside houses for sale or rent. Right over the border from Blue Eye, Missouri.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Doc Sargent, Who Were You?

Doc Sargent Road is one of my all-time-favorite walking roads, a two-lane asphalt, about a mile and a half, that in summer is closely grown up with trees and grass and honeysuckle, and at certain points hemmed in by rock faces. Beautiful horse farm along it; also a private drive leading into a private housing development that I've never been into, because there's a sign says "Keep Out." (I've got one too, and I'm glad when people mind it.) Along the left side of Doc Sargent Road, the mighty LaBarque Creek or dribbling tributaries carrying the most pristine water in these parts; we want to keep it that way. Have inquired, but nobody can tell me who Doc Sargent was. Nonetheless it's clear that whatever he did, someone appreciated it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mom's Roosters

I'm told Mom's rooster collection began with a pair of salt and pepper shakers...and this aint all of em, either. I can understand why people like roosters: confident, crowing, pretty, winged, masculine, symbol of the daytime.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Walking Club

Three inches of rain last night, so at 10 a.m. only two other members of the Wednesday Walking Club were present; nonetheless, we hiked three miles, looking at swollen streams the color of chocolate milk, surrounded by thick greenery and strange prairie plants, under the gray sky which is the blue sky having thoughts. Saw a heron, a pair of bluebirds guarding their box, swifts, red-winged blackbirds, a warbler, a pileated woodpecker high in a dead treetop; they and the frogs together made wild music. We soaked in it and then returned to the world, which then looked and felt very different.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Change, Adventure, and Surprise

I won't look farther than my own backyard for an epic task that will change my entire life. I need only to clean the garage. And then stuff my little car with junk and go to the recycling place.

Today, a rainy day, I got at it, wrestling with cardboard boxes, stacking the empty five-gallon buckets, bagging up a lot of plain trash, some inherited when I moved in 8 years ago: bags of concrete mix that absorbed moisture and solidified; avocado and yellow vinyl window shades. For the first time I noticed a ladder had actually been built into the garage wall so that junk laid across the ceiling beams could be retrieved, although it seems that the point of putting it up there was that it would stay there for all time.

So I staggered around with my two obsolete TVs and as much of the cardboard as would fit and drove in the pouring rain to the recycling place, my first visit. Duller than a cemetery: rows of battered dumpsters, a corrugated building with a driveup ramp and a big scale for measuring the weight of aluminum, copper, and whatnot. They pay by the pound for those metals. They'll take computers, appliances, plastics, for free. But the one thing YOU, the donator, have to pay THEM to take -- is TVs, at $20 each.

The man was good enough to bring my 50-lb., 25-inch TV out of my car for me. Sighing invisibly, because I wanted to be perceived as a good brave recycler and savior of the earth, and finding that this left me feeling very Caucasian, I began writing a $40 check, taking out my driver's license as I did so. "No need to show a driver's license," he said. "People who recycle don't write bad checks. We know that from experience."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Eating Well is the Best

If you lived here, or if you came over, I would take you to town and buy you some Lions Club fundraiser barbecue, a must-have during the spring weekends around here, Fri and Sat. 10 a.m. to dusk, sold from a yellow trailer that backs onto rows of men, volunteers for the cause, sweatin' it over the grills. What would you like? I favor the pork steaks -- hard to do well -- but will never turn down a bratwurst ($6 buys you two). Nor will I ignore a half a barbecued chicken on my styrofoam plate. Midwestern men are the best barbecuers in the world.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dollhouse Dessert Table

Carol descends from Dutch and Swedish people and those are famous for making and liking dollhouses. It's been a long time since I've seen such a good one. The chairs are about 2 inches high. And Look at that "oriental" rug! I think I'll take a slice of that blueberry pie. For her whole life, in all sorts of out-of-the-way shops, Carol has been finding dollhouse furnishings large and small and just right. Her mom even contributed miniature quilts for the bedspreads. Carol's granddaughter, age 4, is enchanted by the dollhouse and Carol plans to pass it on down to her.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Middle-Aged Pleasures

I'm friends with a vigorous city couple in their 60s who visit the Divine property to "wildflower." They bring their manuals, he brings his camera and tripod, and they find flowers all day, reading aloud from the descriptions as they go. Definitely a middle-aged pleasure. I go along, but I'm looking for fungi. I get excited when I see them, collect them in photos which I then take home to I.D. "Divine likes fungi," the wildflower people explained to another friend, in the tone one uses politely to indicate that the person being mentioned is ever so slightly warped. Once after a rain I found ELEVEN different types of fungi just in my LAWN. I was in heaven. This fresh lovely fungus, found on a log, was so beautiful, but even after shredding two handbooks I can't get a sure I.D. on it: best I can do is Laetiporus sulphureus, "chicken of the woods."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Set a Spell

May is one of my favorite months and what better way to celebrate its first day than after cutting brush and whatnot, to "set a spell" -- beneath the twin oak trees and behind what's left of my biggest cold frame, the one too big and well-made for me to dismantle with a claw hammer like I did the three other cold frames. As I get older I understand and am fond of the need to sit down and rest during days of hard work. Chair from Walmart purchased in 1998, steel and tough thick 1/2-inch plastic, still good although left outside in all weathers. I should've bought several; then yall could sit with me and gaze at the greenery that still feels so new after that awful dark winter. I'll also sit here to have a cup of tea or coffee and just be amazed at this wonderful Missouri.