Monday, May 30, 2011

Song of the Cicadas

The band you will shortly hear is called "The 13-Year Cicadas" and these cicadas singing their #1 hit will rock your world, make yo' liver quiver and yo' knees freeze! The video, taken on the Timberstone trail, lasts 35 seconds. Be there or be square.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Storm Damage

This is not Joplin, far from it; it's home. Top of a tree torn off last night about 3 a.m. and fallen into the yard. I was asleep, then woken by roaring winds. Took glasses and moved to the living room which has fewer windows, and where I have my emergency bag all packed, and fell asleep there. Didn't hear this tear, nor did I hear it fall, not 15 feet from the house. I'm sitting tight waiting for a set of three consecutive tornadic storms to pass through within the next two hours; they promise that this is among the last of them tearing up Missouri from west to east. Everybody's jumpy and worried during this amazingly bad tornado season.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ride a Feral Hog

Only 50 cents a ride. I sent this photo to Reeve. He wrote me back, "Where the heck are you?"

In Missouri, of course. Only in Missouri can you ride an electric feral hog at the local Wal-Mart. Now, you are saying, "That's a razorback." In Arkansas they may have electric razorbacks. But in Missouri it's an electric feral hog. (Actually, the words mean the same thing. But this here is nobody's mascot.)

BTW, the "Rapture," or the end of the world, was a bust, so now you have plenty of time to ride a feral hog. It isn't sinful.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The 13-Year Cicadas Emerge

After 13 years underground, cicadas (genus "Magicicada"; top that!) emerge all brown and ugly, climb a leaf, molt off the brown shell and become, for a few weeks, glamorous winged reproducing adults. Their famous earth-rattling, nighttime choral song is the males' mating song. It happens to be the 13th year here in rugged rural Missouri. (Northern states have 17-year cicadas). But I didn't know that. I was cutting some purple irises for my table and saw bugs all over the iris leaves and said, "What's this, inch-long bugs hanging in pairs on my iris leaves? Eww!"

Once I saw them, I saw them everywhere! All doing the same. And I plucked up a brown one and saw it was just a translucent shell, still clinging to the leaf, but empty. And near every shell was a live cicada entirely new to the world, quietly drying off like a butterfly, and waiting a few days for its exoskeleton to harden. Then off to the party, which will last just a few weeks, until July. I ran for the camera to show you. Once in every 13 years!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Richwoods, MO P.O.

Tiny town on Highway A in Washington County. The Little Indian Creek conservation area of 4,000 wooded acres is nearby; it has campsites, trails, and a shooting range I wanted to check out. No shooting is allowed there on Mondays. Darn. Went into the P.O. to mail a package. The clerk and the one patron who was there asked who I was. I said, "I am Divine Bunbun, just passing through, checking out the conservation area," and they said, "Oh, the shooting range?"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Divine Kitchen Secrets

1. Lay newspaper over counter before prepping food. Roll up and throw away after. Saves lots and lots of crumbing and wiping.

2. Keep potatoes from turning green by keeping them out of the cold.

3. Slip recipe cards or the recipe page into a transparent sheet protector, and clip to the fridge.

4. Make notes in cookbooks: date recipe was cooked, occasion, rating, substitutions made, reception, ideas for variations.

5. Buy rice from Thailand. This was a tip I got from a Chinese friend. Thai rice tastes so good it needs no butter or seasoning.

6. Breadcrumbs can take the place of parmesan.

7. Keep whole-wheat flour and grits in the fridge to prevent their turning rancid.

8. Dried beans kept too long dry up so fiercely they will never cook through.

9. Keep salt in a baggie rather than a cardboard container which will get wet & mushy & cake up your salt supply.

10. Favorite kitchen tool: immersion blender (or "stick" blender) which removes 90 percent of the need for a blender.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Wildflower Week: May 12

Red clover has tough, sour leaves, but a tender flower about the size of a gumball. Very common flower, until you give it a good look and see it is aflame with life. Latin name: Trifolium pratense. I hope you have enjoyed the springtime wildflower walk.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wildflower Week: May 11

For a long time I thought this spectacular floral firework was a "passion flower," but it's a Horsemint. Blooms briefly, dries out quickly. I love the purple freckles. In the same family is a quite similar flower, better known, called Bee Balm. Latin name of this one: Monarda bradburiana. Unforgettable.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Wildflower Week: May 10

Have you ever seen a more open and innocent face? Miss May 10 might be a buttercup except it's too early in the year for buttercups, and it doesn't form a cup. In fact, it is a Common Cinquefoil, Latin Potentilla simplex. It was positively identified as such via the sawtoothed leaves.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wildflower Week: May 9

The five-petaled stars of Phlox. Common. Taken for granted. (Never take anything so beautiful for granted.) Lots of domesticated versions of phlox, but here it is wild and untamed. Like litmus paper, it's pinkish or purplish depending on the acidity or alkalinity of the local soil.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wildflower Week, May 7

One of the first wildflowers I remember -- I thought it was a daisy -- and it took me hours to pull out the tiny threadlike petals saying "He loves me, he loves me not...." It's a Daisy Fleabane plus a bud. Botanical name Erigeron strinosis, which sounds like something my mother said you should excuse yourself from the table for.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wildflower Week, May 6

Spectacular beauty, eye-catching in the road shoulder: Wild columbine, or Aquilegia
canandensis. You can buy a domesticated version of this for your garden -- or you can live in rural Missouri. Check back tomorrow: There's a new wildflower each day until the 12th.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wildflower Week, May 5

It's phlox. But it's different. The petals are lobed, not separate and defined. That's because it's creeping phlox, Phlox subulata. I love the blue flowers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wildflower Week

Took the camera on today's walk, the usual walk, except it's glorious May, and declared, "I will take photos of every wildflower I see today." So here they are: 9 of them. One appearing each day. Learned something as I identified them all. First, this is the Four-Leaf Milkweed, Aesclepius quadrifolia.