Monday, February 28, 2011
But immediately after the noon whistle came the church bells tolling twelve. I rolled the car windows down. So serene, so calm, and it took my back to the chapter in my life when we lived right by the university tower clock, and I would set my day to the chimes of the hour.
By this time I had parked my car, stepped out, and I heard the church bells again. This time they were playing Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me. How nice! What a sweet, sweet break in my day's thoughts.
As I walked down the sidewalk, I heard a doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo- noise overhead: a helicopter, flying low over this dinky little town.
Thank God for hearing, is all I have to say: an enjoyable 5 minutes of aural stimulation.
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Last March, daughter Gillian worked as a movie extra in the movie Hall Pass, filmed in ATL. The movie came out yesterday, all one can see is the top of Gill's head in one scene, but here is what Gill wrote about her experience last year:
Friday, February 25, 2011
What happened was last night/yesterday afternoon, we had lots of sleet and snow. I felt sorry for the birds before sundown, so I threw out some birdseed from the comfort of my front door, and it flew as far as my porch and front walk.
How do birds "know" about this birdseed, anyway?! How did these wild redwing blackbirds "know" to show up on my front porch? They NEVER do that. Huh.
This afternoon, REAL work done and the housework neglected, (that Spouse o' Mine is out of town...can you tell?), I grabbed my XC skis and poles and merrily shouted to the Bouvier Biserka: "Pasture!" and off we went for a couple of hours of snow frolic. But...
No sooner had I made my way out to the pasture, but I spied flashing lights on a big ol' pickup. In my yard. The sheriff. Oh, no, oh, no, that could not be good at all. Oh, no...
I flew out of the pasture (sans skis, but still holding my ski poles, I do not know why), and ran to the front yard where the sheriff was standing. My face felt like frozen stone. WHAT?!!!
He yelled at me. Yelled at me!! "Get in the house!"
I yelled for Bouvier Biserka, "Biserka, 's'go, Biserka, 's'go!" She was charging the sheriff against the fence. Right behavior, wrong guy. She turned and obeyed me and came in with me.
What was going on?!
The sheriff pulled his gun/rifle thing out and slung it over his shoulder. Whatever was "going down", this man was serious business. He had binoculars and kept talking into his shirt collar.
I called a neighbor, who knew nothing. I paced. I watched. I paced. This is rural Kansas, for Pete's sake. Sheriffs are not supposed to command me to "Get in the house!"
Over an half hour later, I got a call from a rancher neighbor: apparently a derelict had "gone crazy" and forced a police stand-off. I know nothing more than that. We know the guy, he has seemed harmless in the past, but apparently there was something that prodded a police force in our tiny neck of the Flint Hills.
I miss my big old Bear. He was good in situations like this. I had nothing to fear with him around.
And so my weekend begins. Fun snow. Nutty neighbors.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Watermelon...Bush Sugar Baby...check-a-baby!
So, how doth my garden grow?
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Grad student Gillian spent her morning helping blaze a trail for the Hart National Mountain Bike Preserve down the road from us. This afternoon she took us (her parents) back for a 1.5 hour hike along the trail. It was very pretty. This evening she was exhausted. We took her boyfriend and her to dinner with us. That was fun.
College boy Graham ran a 5K in Idaho this afternoon and bettered his time, to 15:46.
Wowee. What did I do today? Oh, yeah...cleaned out the refrigerator, baked a cake, and moved two loads of shavings/manure to the opposite end of the pasture from the barn. Is that all I did?!
Friday, February 18, 2011
Planting season is just around the corner.
I wonder what shape my Darwinian garden(s)
will take this year?
Thursday, February 17, 2011
But in a salon setting it is just the opposite: I am relaxed. I am calm and happy. And plus, it's so much more entertaining listening to all the conversations around me. Leave me alone.
We Lutherans have a hand signal for the occasion of holy communion, if the partaker of which wishes not to receive communal wine, but rather white grape juice. The non-wine recipients hold the palm of their hand up facing the communion server. This signal goes with the flow of communion, and that's that, very simply.
So today, I got to thinking about that hand signal. I think hair salons should utilize a hand signal for people like me, who don't want to talk during their shampoo, head massage, haircut, and blow dry. (Here's the other thing: I can't hear above a blow drier anyway, so why should I try to carry on a conversation? I ask "What?" as much as I reply to anything anyway.)
Ditto the dentist. Maybe anyone who wishes to be excluded from inane conversation in a dentist chair should wear...black? I think I am on to something...
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I have yet to put the ducks up for the night - they were exuberant in their puddle finds and new-found foraging skills, so I hated to call a halt to their fun too early. When we got these five young ducks last year, they had been "farm-raised" for a future as a main course in NYC - i.e., fed from a pan in a pen housed with many, many more "meat" ducks. Unbeknownst to me (OR THEM) when I sought out some grasshopper-eaters last summer, these five ducks did not have an inkling that they were supposed to find their own food from around our yard. I kept telling them, "You know!! Like ducks on a Junebug!!!" But they clearly did not get it. But I have noticed this week, with the warm weather and thaw, the ducks have started foraging through the mush a bit. And they are laying eggs this week, too. So, maybe they are on the road back to natural duckhood.
It won't matter if they are or if they are not, though. This week, I sent in my order for 17 new day-old Indian Runner ducklings. Due for hatching the first week of May. We seem to go through ducks at a rate that might be deemed...not right? Anyone who lives in the country knows the perils of natural predators. After our wonderful dog Bear died, the natural predators in our neighborhood seemed to have our number: our female Bouvier, Biserka, must hold a sign up for all the owls, foxes, skunks and coyotes in our neck of the woods, saying something like, "You want ducks? We gots 'em! Come right this way!" Oddly, last summer, my wonderful sixteen young Indian Runners disappeared, all of them, in one day. No feathers left behind, no nothing. Inexplicable. But I enjoyed those Runners so much that, yes, I am having another go at it. It's becoming an annual event in my yard. I have learned through the years and through the ducks, that the later in the spring I arrange for hatching and delivery, the more viable my little crew of duckling survivors. And, a quicker transplant from my bathroom and its heat lamp and stinky ducklings, to the great outdoors. And the latter is key, let me tell you.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
We saw a bald eagle up-close on our drive across the viaduct this morning.
Life is good!
After church, that Spouse o' mine and I had a quick sandwich and hopped on our bikes.
20 miles! Let's go! Life is good!
Wait a minute - WHERE did that wind come from? The 20 mile an hour HEADWIND?! The 28 mph GUSTS?! The headwind that nearly knocked me into snow drifts twice on the ride?!
I will admit, the ten miles out was unpleasant. Difficult. We couldn't even carry on a conversation. This, our foray into the new year's cycling season. Cycling, with adversity.
But I will also admit, the returning ten miles was pretty delightful. 20-26 mph with that tailwind carrying me along! Whoopee! Ad astra! To the stars!!!
And now, evening, ...
I can barely move.
Ad astra, per aspera.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
These are some of those same banana trees, 3.5 months later.
The College Boy was right!
Friday, February 11, 2011
I went to the library this afternoon (in my turtleneck and fair isle, and yes I was cold), to check out a book on gypsies. Now how is it, I ask you, that all the library books about gypsies in the Manhattan library could be checked out today? Is there a run on gypsy knowledge? Is there a gypsy fair this weekend that I don't know about?
I like to check this site periodically for earthquakes around the world:
Odd, perhaps, for some, but I find it very interesting. College boy Graham goes to school in the Pacific Northwest, and it seems like they are always experiencing tremors. In fact, where we in the plains states have tornado drills, his school has earthquake drills.
This afternoon I checked in on earthquake central just minutes after a 7.0 earthquake was felt in southwest Chile. Only 100 miles, in fact, from a university which just purchased some testing instruments from us here in rural Kansas, and with whom I have been working this month. I emailed one of the fellows down there, who sent a chipper reply that all was well.
Technology is amazing.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Notice how she manages to place all four feet in the 2" track of one ski.
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Friday, February 04, 2011
by Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more that whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was an Italian composer in the time of the Renaissance, some 500-odd years ago. He wrote sacred music. In fact, it is written that Sr. Palestrina wrote 105 masses, 68 offerings, over 140 madrigals, and more than 300 motets. Not to mention the 35 magnificats, 11 litanies, 72 hymns, and other tunes he put out. He was born on this date, some 486 or so years ago. Why in the world am I writing about him?
Way back in my collegiate days, I was a member of the University Choir at Oklahoma State University. And we sang Palestrina numbers periodically. I loved them. I still love them. It helps if you know the Latin translation. But who does not recognize Gloria in Excelsis Deo? And more...
To me, this music is spiritual:
Wouldn't everyone want to pray while listening to this? I do. And, I do.
Interestingly, Sr. Palestrina was born on this date in 1525 or 1526, and he died a day after his 68th or 69th birthday (some discrepancy there). Maybe too much partying.
Here's another birthday boy who makes my heart sing:
February 3rd: how about a love poem?
by Katherine Mansfield
Outside the sky is light with stars;
There's a hollow roaring from the sea.
And, alas! for the little almond flowers,
The wind is shaking the almond tree.
How little I thought, a year ago,
In the horrible cottage upon the Lee
That he and I should be sitting so
And sipping a cup of camomile tea.
Light as feathers the witches fly,
The horn of the moon is plain to see;
By a firefly under a jonquil flower
A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.
We might be fifty, we might be five,
So snug, so compact, so wise are we!
Under the kitchen-table leg
My knee is pressing against his knee.
Our shutters are shut, the fire is low,
The tap is dripping peacefully;
The saucepan shadows on the wall
Are black and round and plain to see.