Wonder in the West

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase — the American West?

Cowboys? Mountains? Buffalo?

Are you drawn to the scenery in classic western movies? Or do you think of switchback roads climbing a mountain?

Do you ever think of canyons?

No photograph, or puzzle based on a photograph, will be able to capture the majesty and grander of this canyon. The size-measured in miles. The colors of the different strata. The shapes of individual rocks and formations. A person needs to look with care and intent to see the river winding along the bottom.

Have you visited? Do you have it on you “to do” list?

On a smaller scale, Morning Tryst introduces the reader to several Missouri State Parks.


Honor…and Remember

Ready. Aim. Fire.

The retort of the rifles echos back from the hills.

During my childhood, Memorial Day, Decoration Day to some of the elderly, centered around the decoration of veterans’ graves. Our small community cemeteries included veterans of the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. All of the locals who served in Korea returned to continue their lives. And until I was near the end of college, Vietnam did not claim any lives from our community.

Most of the men who organized and marched in those formations are gone now. A smaller number of American Legion post members decorate more graves.

Father and daughter on Memorial Day 1955.

Take a few minutes this weekend to ignore the picnics, swimming, and visiting to remember the men and women who served and defended this nation. Some gave their lives on the battlefield — all were prepared to do so.


Fine Feathered Friends

My breakfast view constantly changes. No, I don’t eat the meal in different places. I have a view of my patio and a brush-covered berm separating two properties.

Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal visit often. Blue jay puts in an occasional appearance. Sparrows and mourning doves are regulars. Woodpeckers examine the trees on the berm a few times a year.

No feeder. No birdhouse. I leave those items for others in the neighborhood.

This puzzle artist combined a colorful cast. How many of these visit your neighborhood?


Staying Cool in St Lou

I’ve not done a scientific study, it’s more a personal observation.

St Louis appears to be allowed only three beautiful-for-outdoors days per spring. This year, I recall one. Instead we went from late winter with frosty mornings directly to summer with an afternoon temp at 90.

However, on thar second sort of day — and all the hot days to follow well into September –this brother-sister duo at the zoo has a solution.

Don’t have a friendly waterfall in your backyard?

Hose & sprinkler?

Ice water?

Okay, go modern. I enjoy a nice air-conditioned space as much as the next person.

Or…take a shady hike in a state park. Hat & water bottle are basic– right up there with sturdy shoes for equipment.

Another option– visit state parks via the sweet romance Morning Tryst. Available at major on-line retailers as ebook or print.

Nook readers click here:


The Real Mother Goose

Simple rhymes. Counting guides. Every parent, teacher, aunt, uncle or neighbor has likely recited at least one Mother Goose rhyme to a child.

Have you ever thought about the REAL thing?

Oh, the rhymes have double and triple meanings as political commentary. According to some language and/or history experts. I wonder if they have ever read them to a three-year-old for twenty minutes straight.

But I digress: we were talking about the real Mother Goose —

–like this one spotted across a busy street/state/federal highway from an inviting pond. She’s too busy teaching life skills to worry about words in a book, double meanings, and politics.

I do hope tat soon after this photo the family enjoyed a nice swim. Hint: you’ll be safer if you stay near the pond.


Farmyard Green

Full disclosure: I’m prejudiced in favor of one brand of farm equipment due to influences in my childhood. I’m aware others may prefer other colors.

It grabbed my eye on the library shelf. I checked the dimensions and smiled. Yes, I felt up to the challenge.

Regular readers of this blog are aware I grew up on a farm. Yes, this is the brand of machinery both my father and a neighbor favored. I learned to drive on a model like the one in the foreground. The neighbor owned the model on the right. A few years before retiring from farming, my dad purchased a smaller model of the series in the middle.

We, or any in our small community, did not own a sheller (for corn) also featured. Most farms had a pickup truck, and I can’t recall any without one or more dogs.

For a touch of rural/small town romance — try Starr Tree Farm. The farm grows Christmas trees and hosts a few moments of suspense one January.

Link to Kindle edition:


It’s a …Tree?

Four springtimes ago, in an effort to beautify the grounds, we planted sprigs (too small to be saplings) received from a charity known for forestry efforts.

This one was placed in front of my condo unit. I watered. I fertilized. I kept watch and rejoiced at a few green leaves.

The plant survived the first Missouri winter. And the second. I removed a piece of drainage pipe that kept the lawnmowers and rabbits at bay.

It’s doing well. Soon clusters of tiny white blossoms will open. Later in the summer small, dark berries will feed the birds.


we’re casting our vote for “bush”.

The hero in HIDING PLACES knows what he’s planting in his orchard. Check out the sweet, small town romance here:


At the End…

Friday! The end of the workweek (for many).

Do you currently work a Monday thru Friday job? Have you ever?

Aside from student days, the first responders, health-care workers, hospitality employees, and retail clerks will answer “no”.

This does not mean these workers don’t get time away from the job – sometimes it even falls on a weekend or holiday.

Does your week feel long? Take courage — the end is in sight.

This walk ended at a lovely little overlook of the Des Moines River. This was taken a during-the-week research trip. (Old, retired people like this author have little luxuries.) Exact location: Missouri’s Battle of Athens State Historic Site.

Morning Tryst, a sweet romance features a photographer visiting all of Missouri’s State Parkes and Historic Sites.

Kindle Link:


Spring Buffet

Calling all neighborhood bees and butterflies!

Did you sample our early offering of creeping phlox? We have more sweet nectar plants at the same convenient location. Open around the clock. Most popular dining times are early morning and sunny afternoons.

Don’t be shy. Humans with cameras have been known to frequent the area.

This simple raised bed garden, planted during the first Covid summer, continues to please.

For a May patio read, I’d like to suggest Hiding Places. This sweet, small-town romance features an apple orchard and a marriage of convenience–or is it fate?

Kindle link: