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

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.

The Wild Hunt.

There have been geese flying over my cabin late at night for about a week; headed back to Canada, I suppose.

For most people who live in areas frequented by flocks of geese, the birds are about as exciting as chickens; in many cities they may even be viewed as serious pests, especially around airfields and parks, where they can be aggressive and very, very messy. For me, the romance hasn’t quite worn off yet. In the places I’ve spent most of my life — northern Alabama, South Florida, Dallas — geese are pretty rare, and here in northwest Arkansas I still slow down to gawk when I see a flock of them nibbling their way across a field, like strange, alien cattle. Continue reading

Let The Gardening Begin!

John’s got an army of seeds potted up, and I’ve started planting out the early stuff like lathyrus and wisteria. Spring won’t catch us napping! (Well, it might catch Pooh and Sebastian napping, but that’s what they do.)

Saturday Morning

A few pictures from my stroll down the hill for my Saturday coffee and conversation.