Step in to my Parlor…

The wasps and spiders have begun gathering on my porch, a sure sign that winter is well and truly over.

The numbers this year are somewhat unimpressive: last spring there were hundreds of wasps from three different species gathering under the eaves, while this year I’ve seen only a few, all of them Red Paper Wasps. Continue reading

Into the Woods.

Today the weather feels more like early summer than early spring. This afternoon I took a break from the computer to take a stroll down into the valley behind the house — with the camera, of course — to see what was going on down there.  This early in the season the poison ivy hasn’t taken over yet, so it’s possible to get off the beaten path a bit. Continue reading

World Enough, and Time.

The crane flies are out and about this evening.

These creatures are a familiar sight everywhere during their brief mating season each year — flimsy tangles of thready legs and cellophane wings smacking into window screens and lampshades, dangling from spider webs, drowning in teacups, the survivors finally disintegrating after a few days into a litter of disorganized limbs under the porch light. Continue reading

Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Although we call them mountains, the Ozarks are really just the eroded remains of primeval sea-bottom, lifted by the pressures of continental drift, then cut and carved and gouged by a couple of hundred million years of water and wind. Even in the greenest spots, the ancient rocks are never far away: the Ozark ecosystem is a thin skin of life stretched over a broken skeleton. Continue reading

Court of Owls.

I suppose anyone who has ever spent part of his or her childhood anywhere in rural America has heard the story of Cry Baby Hollow.

I’ve heard the story several times, in several different places. Although in one case, the teller was from Mississippi and placed the tale in a bayou instead of a wooded ravine, the fundamentals are otherwise almost always the same: at some point in the indeterminate past, a young couple sets up housekeeping in a remote forest glade (or swamp hammock), and in the fullness of time the young woman has a child. Continue reading

After the Rain.

We got a brief break in the rain this afternoon, and I ran out the door with the camera. Tomorrow, I’m told, the rain resumes, but for a few hours Spring was very much in evidence in here in the Ozark foothills.