Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Family Vacation

Except for the guide at the far left, this is one family, all redheads except for mom, visiting the Lewis & Clark memorial at 150 feet above the ground, viewing the levee and the confluence of Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. I loved the way they lined up and the Midwestern colors they wore.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Almost a Ripoff

You would have been prouda me. At the Blank Blank in Eureka there was a sign, and here it is, plain as day, oil change for $24.99. I needed one, asked that it be added to my tire invoice, and when I gave the invoice the necessary once-over I see the price is $32.99. I piped up and said, in effect, Excuse me, wtf, and they said "surcharges" and "environmental something or other" and I asserted my Bunbun self and said, "But your sign outside says..." and they gave in, had "forgot" they'd put the sign out, so they said, and then they tapped a few keys and discounted the oil change at the "senior" rate. I did not say, "I am not a senior," because I'd figured out by then that they lived entirely in a fantasy world in which oil-change signs magically appear and disappear and a 53-year-old is a senior. Then they tried to sell me an alignment. I said you have my service record right there, it shows that you aligned me in May. They said, oh, so we did.

In these days it is so crucial to be on guard and assertive at car places; ladies, they think you have the brain of a dodo bird. This isn't the only place I had to make an effort to hold people to their advertised prices. I plan on getting a ring that looks like a wedding band so these guys in their fantasy world can fantasize that I have a husband who will come and beat them senseless.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Join The Local-Produce Co-op

The Current newspaper announced that the local-produce co-op, Community Helpings Co-op, was going to add Pacific to its list of every-two-weeks delivery points, and it needed 26 orders to make Pacific a regular stop. I've always wanted to join and support a co-op and local farms, so I signed up and paid online -- except I made a mistake. Instead of just one basket I ordered two "baskets" of produce by accident, and couldn't figure out how to cancel the extra order, so I got my new neighbor Sally to agree to take the extra bag off my hands for free.

So on a hot afternoon the refrigerated truck drives up to the picnic shelter and starts unloading, and people start distributing what ends up to be about 45 pounds of produce per order. Each order -- far bigger than any "basket" I've ever seen -- contained (contents differ with the seasons): 1 fresh pineapple, 3 big round red onions, 2 garlic heads, 6 huge peaches, broccoli head, plums and lemons galore, many fat homegrown tomatoes, a huge melon (I just measured mine: circumference 23 inches), 3 LARGE yellow summer squash, 1 large romaine head, buncha celery, 3 cucumbers, 6 kiwis, 7 ears fresh corn.

I'd brought just two small bags. I got some boxes for the overflow and people ("Why, that bag is just 'bout as big as yew are!") helped me stow it in my car.

When I got home I dragged one bag over to my neighbor: the "mistake" bag. She has a big family; she can use it.

I had also ordered from the co-op two optional items, just for me: dozen mangoes (beautiful!) and locally-made thin-pizza shells, thinking to make pizzas with produce and eat them for days. When I get into the house the phone rings. It is the co-op lady telling me I left one of my bags at the park and a kindly couple was coming to my address to bring it to me. I did not have time to say, "But wait; I think I got all my produce," because, omg, there they were pulling up at the house, dragging out yet another loaded blue co-cop bag. I gave them a bottle of port for their trouble, but now I had produce on every horizontal surface in my fridge, kitchen, dining room, and knee deep on the floor. Fortunately I have friends, and whatever they didn't take and I couldn't possibly use I set in a box down by the highway, and marked the box "FREE." Gone within minutes.

Wow, now I want to do that again! If you live in the area, check it out. If you don't, maybe there is a co-op near you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Daddy or Not?

Posted by Picasa
Y'see, kids, there are two kinds of Daddy Long Legs. The real Daddy Long Legs usually marries a plant, or maybe it just rents the plant for the summer and makes a web and sits in it just waiting to eat aphids and cutworms and whatnot that'd attack the plant, so they work together. Now this particular Daddy in the photo fell in love with the screen on my porch, and hung there sunning, looking just like a scarab except with beautiful legs, one (at the 7 o'clock position) way longer than the others. Its clinging so close to home, and its one-piece (fused) body makes me think it's the kind of Daddy Long Legs that although it's an arachnid, is not a true spider or Daddy Long Legs at all, but one of those "harvesters" you usually see indoors, like, in your bathroom, and who is your best friend if you don't like bugs or house spiders. I think it's a harvester because harvesters don't spin webs; this one is using a web that was pre-made. Unlike true spiders, the harvester has only two eyes and the males have a male reproductive organ (so they say). Or this could be a brown recluse spider. It's the right color, but they don't care for sun...You got that all down?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friendly Wenona, Illinois

Can y'all stand another photograph of Illinois? I was a stranger there for a few days, and got to stay in the friendly town of Wenona, upstate, where nobody bothered me even if I did go to the town bar and order a draft Budweiser. My luck it was Wing Night, they had 19 different kinds of sauces, and I had a plate of honey mustard wings. My total bill for dinner including the beer was $3.70--way, way better than a sharp stick in the eye.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Confluence of Missouri and Mississippi Rivers

View from the Illinois side of the confluence of two of the world's great rivers. Right here, Lewis and Clark camped out for five months in winter 1803-04, training -- yes, actually training and preparing -- for the big journey up the Missouri. Finally they set out on May 14, 1804. They called this area Camp River Dubois. Down the road a piece -- maybe a mile -- and looking like a big silver dart stuck partway into the earth, is a 200-foot-tall monument with three observation decks: 50, 100 and 150 feet. Duke and me went up for an even more dramatic view of the confluence, the levee, and the oil refinery across the highway; it just opened this summer of 2010. Worth your $4. Just to look at the confluence is free. Located along Illinois Highway 3, aka "The Great River Road," some miles south of Alton, Illinois.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Earthly Possessions: Gloves

Deerskin leather gloves, the one outdoor-wardrobe item I grab and wear almost daily -- and I nearly didn't buy them because they cost $15 at the feedstore ten years ago. They've pulled poison ivy and briars, yanked cedars out of the earth, defied barbed wire, helped me plant and garden; steadied my hands on brooms, weedwhips, hoes, rakes, hoses, brushcutters, shovels, saws and crowbars; helped me carry ladders and cinder blocks and broken branches, and claw wet leafmeal out of gutters; and indoors they've helped me pick up shards of ceramic and glass. When they're really muddy I run' em through the washer and let 'em hang by clothespins to dry. I'll completely destroy women's garden gloves in one hour, men's regular work gloves in one day, part-leather work gloves in a week, but these deerskin gloves are gems -- also a rare great fit for small hands! -- and have redeemed their price 100 times over.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Garnish with Wild Blackberries


Vegan lemon creme with blackberries picked in my meadow. When extending my rifle range I cut deep into the brush and thus made a convenient lane into a whole universe of blackberries, and can pick as many as the colander'll hold. Worth the thorns. Made sure to leave some for the wildlife.

The creme is an easy, no-cook lemon pudding, made in a blender -- best to let it sit overnight to marry its flavors. Recipe by famed vegan cookbook writer Bryanna Clark Grogan: 1 package extra-firm silken tofu, crumbled; 1/3 cup maple syrup; 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; 1 lemon's lemon zest. Blend until very smooth. You can dollop the creme on cake also.
Posted by Picasa

Good Morning

Love to wake up (a privilege in itself), look out the kitchen window (and living in my cabin is a privilege in itself) and see some of my wild-turkey friends. Was concerned because the feral cats in the area might have discouraged turkeys; but here they were, four of them, although only two agreed to pose, before walking with great dignity out of camera range. I've put the camera on a post right near the door and now can grab it whenever I see anything wonderful just outside.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 5, 2010

On the Trail

To walk through a sturdy Missouri oak and hickory forest is a privilege. It is a mighty thing. This view, a path all paved with light, is along a steepish two-mile trail I walk often, near Rockwoods Range, never failing spring summer winter fall to halt in my tracks and marvel and wish I had been born in Missouri.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I wouldn't post this unless I was sure that J. William and Margaret had been teased about this in life and woodn't mind being teased about it 100 years down the road. Rest in Peace. Taken near Stotts City, MO.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dirty Dozen

Organic eggs? Sure as yer born! So organic and so very free-range that the hens lay them all over creation: in grass, mud, you name it; and a human being, my friend Duke, who has and loves his chickens, then has to go on a genuine egg hunt. The eggs stay fresh without refrigeration for a while, protected by a special invisible coating that you shouldn't wash off until ready to use; it gets washed off when eggs are processed for grocery stores. These you could leave on the counter just as they are for several days. But if washed, into the fridge they must go.