Animal Trails

Do you walk the same path day after day? From the driveway to the door? From the door to the curbside mailbox? From the house to the barn?

It was the final one which we walked a lot. But we took enough variations that we never defined a clear, dirt path across the thick grass. Okay, in the winter we made a path and stayed on it. No sense in letting a good track through the snow go to waste. But that was temporary.

Our animals played “follow the leader.” A lot. They, with the aid of sharp hooves, did wear a narrow path across the pasture and up the lane into the barnyard. Many times I followed along, usually with the dog, bringing the cows up for milking. The only hazard — cow pies.

People who grew up with some wooded land became familiar with other animal paths. And city dwellers can get a hint with a visit to the zoo.


Cat Path Expert


Runway Worthy

Have to ever been to a fashion show? Professional or amateur?

In 4-H and high school we displayed our sewing projects in a very amateur fashion show. (Some models more amateur than others.) Enter. Walk with purpose. Stop. Turn. Pause with your back to the audience – especially if the ensemble featured something of interest in the back – complete your turn. Exit.

Later in life I attended another amateur fashion show. These models were adults. They’d practiced. Made the after lunch entertainment a treat.

Recently I observed a natural.

The model approaches at a steady pace. Head held high and proud. Wearing the height of fashion.


I never claimed the model was human.


Summer Dreams

My adopted home is a baseball town. Some years that’s spelled


Sorry. Didn’t mean to shout. It’s one of those habits a person picks up after several years in a place.

Every town and city needs a little local, civic pride. And it’s not a bad thing to have it associated with a sports team. Pick a sport you’re fond of. Follow the team in the media. And if possible — attend a game in person.

Where else can you shout, jump, and yell in public without drawing the attention of the police? So much the better if the home team wins.

I knew these silent athletes existed. I’d walked past them more than once on my excursions to downtown St. Louis. I have no excuse for not taking their photo on prior occasions.


Not one. Not two. An entire team of Hall of Fame players welcome you to the game.


First Wheels

Children like to GO!

It seems like one day they take their first unaided steps and the next they run across the room faster than the parent.

And then our culture adds wheels.

It may be a toy with four sturdy plastic wheels that the child scoots around the house or down the sidewalk. The first ones I remember were three. Yes, three as in a red tricycle. The next generation modified the concept and called it Big Wheel. And most of us graduated to a bicycle along the way – with or without training wheels for a short time.

But in the community I called home — a few lucky kids got a pedal version of Daddy’s favorite vehicle.



Named for a Tool

A majority of American women have used them in the home.

Nearly every science student has used one in the laboratory.

The shape is functional and the name is simple description. However, not all bottlebrushes are created equal.


Consider this lovely specimen of Bottlebrush Buckeye. Each flower is the correct size and shape to clean a baby bottle or graduated cylinder.

I’m not going to try it. Too soft. Too many petals/bristles left behind in the bottom of the container.

Instead I’m going to admire, photograph, and wish the honeybees good harvest.



First Blush

Summer is the growing season. Long warm/hot days and mild nights.  Add a dose of rain or two followed by a sunny day and plants stretch toward the sky, direct energy to their fruit, and release the enzymes to ripen.

Not all at once. And a gardener needs to pay attention to see the day to day changes. Just go away for a few days. What do you return to?

A jungle of weeds competing with your vegetables? Large, hard beans? Carrots and beets pushing out of the ground? Cucumbers too large and hollow to pickle? Tomatoes red, ripe, and falling off the vine?

These fine fruits were captured by my camera during the first, blushing days of maturity. They looked different – dense and pure green – a few days ago. Now the promise of sweet and ripe is evident.

100_3194_00 Patience please.

I’m still dressing in my red robes.


Reminds me of…

Red purple blossoms. Bright globes of color.

At first glance I thought of a field – red clover – a hay crop primarily replaced by alfalfa during my lifetime.

A second glance returned reality. The leaves are all wrong. This is not a forage crop for livestock. Instead it would be a great addition to a flower garden. Imagine it contrasting with a white fence or trellis. Attracting bees to pollinate this and the neighboring plants. Accent it with a row of low growing annuals along a sidewalk.

Globe amaranth
Globe amaranth

Ready for the Sun

Summer days. Long hours of sunshine. The higher your latitude, the longer the daylight.

A little sunshine lifts a person’s spirits. Makes it easier to be cheerful. Encourages outdoor activities of either the physical or social variety. After all, daylight after the work day increases the likelihood of certain things: An evening walk in the neighborhood – with or without dog. A casual conversation with a neighbor. Greetings between strangers at a patio restaurant.

Other summer items often bring smiles too. And some do not even involve humans – except to admire, smile, sniff, and touch.

100_3842Proud to be a sun lover.


A Touch of Formality

Americans tend to dress for comfort. It appears to be a trend which accelerated with the “Baby Boomers”. Women shed gloves and hats for all but the most formal of occasions. Men added colors and patterns to their shirts. And almost everyone wears sneakers and sandals instead of Oxfords and heels.

A few styles never change. Black and white, for example, are two colors which are acceptable for almost every event.

Take these two creatures, for example. Basic color scheme. Last minute adjustment of a wayward feather — and they’re set to welcome you to the most elegant of seafood restaurants.