Sunday, June 27, 2010

Prairie Story 23- A Journey To Remember

MOBugs helped me identify this as a Long Jawed Orb Weaver. What a great site to visit if you already haven't.With me I always want to know who or what something is.

This was built as a lake in the 1930's by the CCC. Guess they decided not to repair the dam. It is some very dense woods now, always something new to find.

My present screensaver a favorite recent shot. I always change , but this will take something real good to replace it. Guess I will have to get busy while out in the field this next week.

I step in the wrong direction can be hazardous, this was at the bottom of the former lake pictured above. There are a variety of ways to get to this, and the stream stays cool under 70 degrees Fahrenheit to make a memorable plunge on a hot summer day.It can make one talk in a falsetto for a moment, but camping here it is the shower.

It aint gonna rain no more
It aint gonna rain no more
So how in the heck
Am I gonna wash my neck
If it aint gonna rain no more!... folk song...

Their trip in the morning began as the sun rose. His group would head to the Nebraska Sandhills, to do a camera shoot. It was a long ride, but fun to see the land change in a turn. Trees became sparser and sparser, and so did people. They were headed toward 27,000 acres of well-manicured prairie, supporting a substantial herd of buffalo. Stopping at the last town in the middle of nowhere, they stocked up on some food and drinks to take for comfort. Having a few novice campers, he began his story of the Banshee, spirits who could assume any form. Often when he camped in this area, they had come into his campsite in human form. They were fun to party with, but you had to watch when their mouths became rather disjointed, and they could bite the top of your head off, and suck out your brains. All were unsure to believe this until they heard the distant yell of Brother Coyote, calling to the pack in the distance upon arrival at camp.

This was a unique little biological station, with a number of projects past and present. A central kitchen and dining area, with showers on the back. On each side was a bunkhouse, one for the men, one for the women. Three small houses and a workshop were scattered around the perimeter, with no apparent order. These were used as an office and at times by assorted graduate students doing particular studies through the foundation maintaining this preserve. That night, after dinner and conversation, he led a moonlight hike into the wilderness. The soil was so light colored, the moon showed them a pathway, and carried them into the unknown. Fairies and elves pranced around in the shadows, playful with the moonlight beams. A roar sounded in the distance with a call to come closer. As they approached the roar grew louder and they saw an iron bridge. Underneath was a major waterfall cutting a swath through a powerful river, plunging it down over fifteen feet. Mist rose, kissing their faces, trying to quell their fears of this dark unknown. The walk back to camp was at a brisker pace, with more of his stories of the unknown sounding more and more reasonable.

He woke up first, and began fixing coffee and eggs for each of the group when they stumbled in. They would ride into the buffalo herd today. A truck arrived and they strapped a picnic table onto the bed. Another strap with handles went down the center, to hang on while seated at the table. When they stopped to open the gate, the truck almost got stuck in the fragile soil. He shut the gate and hopped on as it regained its traction and headed into the grazing area. The herd was magnificent and unique to be so close to for photos. They lived and breathed the spirit of the prairie and buffalo. Lenses were shared and exchanged, all film brought along totally exhausted. The prairie spirit whispered a word of happiness for the compassion they all found and learned to share. They had heard the song, and shared its glory. Now they needed to build their understanding of all the new knowledge the winds carried. He held up his hands, saying thanks to all that had interacted with him on the prairie, and a prayer of happiness for all that he loved. The prairie blushed, but enjoyed his compassion and shared its joy with him.

That afternoon he took the group to the waterfall found the night before. They waded in a still confluence, where it entered again into its mother river. A kingfisher sat on a nearby branch, flying away each time he pointed the camera at it. He sat on a small log in the river, waiting for a shot, and listening to what the gentle river had to say. She softly offered him tranquility, touching his toes with her gentle sands, whispering sweet melodies in his ear. This was carried away on a sweet prairie breeze, passing the story on to all that listened.
I send my love to the stars
Wishing I could be in your arms
Even when apart, don’t you see
The stars relay our love to you and me.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Prairie Story 22-A Helping Hand

This astilbe looks like purple pine trees. Next are first blooms on my daisies and a huge begonia. My poor double hollyhock has lost most of its leaves due to wet weather. Some of my blooms are being picked by a neighbor boy, he said they blew over in his yard. I enjoy watching them play house, but told him to ask when they needed table decorations.

We all maintain a selfless profusion of story, myth and fable in our cultures, circumventing our existence from a Father or Mother. Whether we ascended or descended from a particular region it was often the ecology of our world, that brought us into this world. Many Native Americans ascended from the bowels of the earth, on roots or openings offered to them from nature. Funny how their theories of life preceded all geological investigations that tell us our world all comes from within. What is now was once and again, carried over eons of time. Carried from our mountains, through the massive plains, down our rivers and streams, to be carried away to great ocean depths, in a gradual progression through time.

Was there a social order that man interrupted? If all that exist carry the story, this story of life, we interrupt all or part of this continued communication and stall our spiritual progression when we disturb it. How can we make repairs, is it by ignoring all but what will interrupt our menial existence? It is up to all of us to decide, and carry out a lifestyle that can be continued and enjoyed by generations.

Peace be with you, it shall make us strong
Strong and valiant, knowing right from wrong
It seems so ridiculous, and has lasted so long
Why all of us in this world can’t get along.

A knock came at the back door. A ragged man asked if they had any handouts. Why had he chosen their door, over the nicer homes. She did not know what to say, this had not happened for years. He said the mark said you might have odd jobs for a meal. Mark? What mark told him such, being new to the area? She told him to wait, and closed the door. Her breath was ahead of her thoughts. She put some leftover chicken and bread on a plate, and grabbed a fork for him to eat. She would have him dine on their porch, where they ate in the summer. He sat down to a Sunday dinner on Tuesday, he said, and ate all she offered plus the rest of the loaf of wonderful bread with chokecherry jam. Looking out at their small woodpile, he offered to split some logs to pay for his meal, and worked for one hour before quietly leaving. When her husband came home, he laughed at not seeing the hobo sign on his back gate, often put as a sign of welcome on the various camps they passed on the massive steam engine. He told her to be friendly and share their spirit and food with all that came to their door, as long as they offered to do a service.

Their move to the city was very different from their prairie oasis. They were told by a neighbor to always lock their door, an inconvenience they never even had when they first bought their prairie home. Modern convenience had outweighed their love for living rural, and they would never return, for many generations. They enjoyed helping others, as they had been helped in their lives also. Looking at the stars at night, they did share and relive proud moments on the prairie. Su corazon late tan fuerte cuando esta feliz, your heart beats so loud when you are happy. They reminisced many happy times, sipping coffee on their veranda, souls stirred by a cool prairie breeze.
Pride and passion
It’s not the latest fashion
But something you find
When you are in love.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Prairie Story 21-Generations

________Flowers make me smile, they carry an air of happiness always for me.__________

My dill with its tiny little yellow flowers has visits from a variety of pollinators. I like the flavor of this to add to all my foods and make a terrific gravy I learned when I was in the Czech Republic.

When it gets warm so do your radishes so I let them go to seed. The pods are a great addition to a salad or stir fry. This fly seems to like the perch it offers on the delicate white blooms.

Zinnias always remind me of my childhood, a good flower my mother always grew to bring inside for our table. I try to have all kinds of shapes and sizes.

Pink is a color that has a garden appeal. I picked zinnia seeds from a giant row I had and after about three years they went back to the pink parent plants, with a terrible shape for the blooms. Two uglies made a perfect color spectrum and shape. A friend was a florist so I would plant a huge row down the middle of my big garden for her, the bees and my kids to have fun picking.


Having been retired from the school for a number of years allowed him time to really enjoy his family. His son had married and gave them a first grandchild, but it was a short marriage, and they rarely saw this child. His wife had some early senility problems so they had moved to a home with some skilled care in a larger city. Their son followed with his new family, he married a lady with two children. When his daughter had her first child, a girl, and she came down to stay for a week when the baby was ready to travel. His son and new wife had their first child the next year and he became a very proud grandparent, trying to spend time with all of them as much as he could. Maybe a bit too much, felt his son’s new wife. He irritated her when he came in from a garden they shared, and washed his hands in her kitchen, not the bathroom.

Such a feeble error to be disdained for. These are some of the simple failures we all have in life, and don’t realize we are doing it, or don’t recognize it until you lose the person. This was to happen, and whittle this family down a bit. Three years later he lost his dear wife. His love was supreme for this lady, even in he final years where she forgot whom he was. The next ten months were tough and he passed away, some say from a broken heart. It was a bad heart, as he had earlier, but it was also a trait that killed most of the males in the family. The next year the heart problem ran its course a bit different and struck his daughter, leaving behind her five-year old daughter with her helpless husband. An aunt would come live for a few years, but moved away after not having much luck getting the father or daughter to mind. She and her father lived a very eclectic lifestyle, but happily in their own existence.

This left the eclectic twosome and his son’s family of six children. Not a very large group considering the first generation patriarchal family was eleven, and this was four generations later. With the changing of the generations so changed the family unit now and they became very loose and disorganized. New bonds formed with new friends, and an extended family came into place. These people often joined for the holidays, and a few other special occasions. This taught the children how to give themselves to others and share their knowledge and spirit. In fact they gave themselves to new families in their married years and fragmented even further, but still kindred to a prairie spirit. Sometimes this spirit was lost because they failed to look well enough, when they had a chance. The spirit lingers on as the smooth prairie winds greet the cities and the universe, carrying her wonderful song, giving us that chance to listen.
He waved the smoldering cedar bark
Under his chin, and to the four winds
Purifying his soul, so it can feel free
To enter someone’s life, so lovingly.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Wartermelon Sugar

Plant a watermelon upon my grave
That is all I ask of you
Now momma makes the chicken
And she makes it mighty fine
But nothing tastes better
Than her watermelon pie
So plant a watermelon on my grave
That's all I ask of you!
These Hackberry butterflies are puddling, sharing a worm with flies.

It has been that story, the story of life, which has carried our history on this earth. How else would we know, or at least assume where we have came from? It was a set of words and sounds in nature to share and communicate with it. Many different cultures and all religions have based their wisdom on it. The greatest story ever told, but have you ever heard it?

Can we open our eyes wide enough to fully interpret all that is around us and enjoy it to the fullest? We are often offset in various philosophies, or even oceans of not thinking, that keep us from fully understanding our world around us. It is all too simple, and oft repeated for you to understand on this great prairie. The sand, rock and soil we stand on was graciously shared with us through glaciers, erosion and wind. It was carried from the mountains and lands all around us. What was returned and what was shared? Our once vast oceans of prairie, were also once vast oceans. Hilltops and valleys formed from massive coral reefs still carry oceanic debris. Through these massive limestone drifts, life is carried down to great depths, that story of life. If all life understands this story, we need to look deeper into our own lives to absorb this great wisdom, and further build our understanding of its usage. Every tiny existence on this earth has part, if not all of this story. A troubled part of this is if it is not told or heard again, a part may be lost or misinterpreted. This is why it was carried in all lore and thought, to keep a level of living to let us all live in harmony. If we live in a land of change, what can happen if we misinterpret these natural cycles of comfort and love, all shared on this gentle prairie breeze?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trout Fishing In America

So Where did this all start? Where will it stop, and how will that happen. This land had seen a number of geological changes in the last 30,000 years. Rumbled and bulldozed with five ice ages, creating massive glacial impacts each time. How long has any human been here, and what was here before that. We would never know if the story of life had not been passed on, a gentle prairie breeze.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Prairie Story 20-The Passion We Feel

Love was in the air, and it smelled so sweet. Why hadn’t she called, it had been a few days. A friend called telling him about seeing an old fling at the mall. They had a lot of good times together, and he remembered when he thought he was in love with her so passionately, but still had never felt like this. When he was younger, an old girlfriend had asked him to tell her about his love, and to only say it if he meant it. She never heard it hardly again, because he was never sure of his feelings. Was he suppose to be forever in a fairyland existence, would love just slap him in the back of the head and he would know?

None of this was coming to him, but he was feeling better about himself being with this person of wisdom. It sorted out a lot of dimensions he felt were offered in a good relationship. It also showed him that love was accommodating to each other’s needs. Part of a lifetime with another person was to be an ever-changing and enriched relationship, where you kept finding new ways to be nice to each other. One day she told him she no longer loved him, she had been writing a friend of his all summer, and they were going to become a couple when they returned to college in a few weeks. His entire life in ruins, well at least for a few days, when he realized he didn’t miss her very much. They had basically just gotten used to each other and had existed in a holding pattern.

The phone rang, was it her? It was another friend coming to visit. She was good company, and fun to party with. They had known each other since they were in their teens. He had helped her in a floral business she ran, by answering the phone for free during peak holidays. Saturdays became a lunch club with various people supplying goodies. Weekly road trips, just to get away from the confusion of both being business owners, became part of their fun. These were usually shop until you drop trips to surrounding small towns. He often asked her about affairs in his love life, but she was more amused how one faded away and another took over. She helped him through his rocky marriage, having a good laugh at his first wives temper. They never did nickname her as they often did to others, giving them a name to go with a physical or personality trait. This was just part of the happy friendship they shared. She showed up with a ton of vegetables and her dog. They went to the downtown area for a drink that night, enjoying each other’s company and watching the various people out for the evening. Their love for each other was sharing the same dark humor, being able to laugh at each other’s faults and peculiarities, and having a good time with life.

Having a good time in life has lost its grip with a few lost souls, who never recover. It doesn’t mean you have to party hearty, it means we need to look at what really makes us happy. Many can’t even understand happy, being bitter with this failure, and carrying this sorrowful attitude everywhere they go. We need to open our eyes up and really try to understand everything that makes our lives happy and fruitful. Love is the answer we all need to understand. Everything can be repaired with love, and we all need to continue learning how to share it with everyone we exist around. When you go to a store, do you ever think how many people help you, who you can thank personally? This is how we can work toward making this a better world to live in, by thanking all of those we do interact with. Those simple words can offer a spark of hope that someone else cares for what you are doing, making it a worthwhile effort to perform. Your heart tells your soul how nice it was, and you move another step in becoming a better person, both physically and spiritually.

She was in town! He was sitting on the front porch and here came the most beautiful woman in the world, walking up the street. He held up his hands to feel her spirit, and her smile drifted over to caress his soul. Her eyes sparkled with excitement, having finally gotten together. They lived on computer and telephones, and at night would hold up their hands in each other’s direction, to have the stars deliver their love. He held her in his arms reminding her that she made his heart flutter and placed her hand over it. The energy surged between these to lovers, and the night sang electric. The tides came in softly across the prairie dawn, blowing gently on her flowers, carrying with them another part of the story of life, as the two lovers lay in each others arms.

When we are together
It becomes a sensual bliss
To be in love, is something not to miss.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Brenda's Challenge- Bedtime


Cats are such fun to live with
cats take over your bed
your favourite chair
the whole couch
cats, not people, rule the house!

Serenity by my garden gate, as Tripper snoozes, a favorite pastime for an old cat. He is being investigated by Sicily, unaware of her presence.
Boy sits on his favorite comfort item, the litter bucket. He never comes when called unless there is the rattle of treats or food involved.

My favorite stable cat is Puddinhead. She came to me as a self- feeder, having lived in a home that was vacant for six months. She is on a old phone stand hanging out with hopes of seeing some good food. She has destroyed the fabric on the seat with hair, but I can never give up this classic piece of furniture that was part of a bedroom set. Her name is from what my mom used to comfort us as kids, I have no idea where it originated. I tried her in the house, but her name changed many times with acts she committed. First it was Lipripper, you don't pick her up as a friend did, then when Christmas came, Treetrimmer. She couldn't leave the tree alone, and killed the holiday decorations, including my artificial doves I think she tried to eat. The horse barn is a lot nicer to her comforts.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Rolling hills in NE Iowa are often referred to as Little Switzerland.

58 streams run through 7 counties with cold water that support trout.

My cabin is simple on the edge of a cliff 100 ft. over a small lake.

Family matters!

This is almost a rain forest, I've been in a rain suit for 3 days.

Major centipede,about 6 inches long!

Yes there are major hills in this part of NE Iowa.

Its a balanced rock.

Hand fulls of trout for every meal.





After driving about 20 minutes to the nearest library in Strawberry Point, I still have slow Internet. Phone service is only in parts of where I am at, of course I never turn it on unless I need to call for something.Yesterday was a strawberry fest so I satisfied my sweet tooth eating ice cream and strawberries for free, over and over again . The day before I went to a festival in St. Olaf eating lunch for a contribution at the fire station. Everyone there felt I should live there to give some semblance of population to this once thriving town. Be here for another 5 days, hope to see you soon!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Prairie Story 19- To The Ends of the Earth

A new day begins in our lives, spreading happiness all around the prairie.

Compass Plants smile toward the sun all day long.

A first bloom on a Calla Lily offers a unique shape to enjoy scooping up their smiles.

Harmony in our lives surrounds a true blue Clematis, blending with the beauty found on this sunny morning.


The new house was getting smaller, with more children and family members coming into their lives. His railroad job kept him away sometimes, and he always looked forward to returning to his beautiful farm. Coming into sight his children ran to the father, excited to see what form of sweets he had in his pockets for them. It was always a guessing game they played, and really rewarding for him. He had his new neighbor working a variety of jobs for him, similar to what he had first done when he came to this prairie.

His wife had fixed his favorite tamales, and met him jubilantly at the door. Their love had never faded, only growing more and more. She had a good idea he would be hungry for some real food, after eating in restaurants and sandwiches he took along. She was tired today, having delivered two milk cows the previous evening. These would be good barter for other things they needed in their lives. Her new neighbor had become a good friend and confidant. She spent many afternoons with her talking about similarities they had in each other’s lives, coming from other lands to this land of plenty. They all sat at the table that evening listening to Father's tales. He had been offered a supervisory position, but wanted to discuss it with his family and friends. One of the problems would be he needed to relocate. When he said this she looked at him with mournful eyes, but said nothing. They would discuss it over in the next few days, he assured her.

After breakfast they walked down the road holding hands to their neighbors home. He told of his new job offer and asked them what they thought about it. Please stay came from their heart, but they told him to go for the money and better job. They walked home and he asked his wife what she wanted to do. She looked at him and told him she would follow him to the ends of Earth, and felt it was a better life for this hard working father. The children had picked their mother a bouquet and gave them to their father. He presented them to her with a bow, as a sign of his love and respect for her supporting him with the decision. They would talk more with family that night she said. Holding him tight, she wondered if she really wanted to leave this wonderful land. Taking the family for a walk she realized what this land really had meant to her. A cool breeze stirred the dust on the road ahead of them, blanketing the prairie with a new part of the story it so valiantly carried, the story of life.
Every bit of love you give, comes back to you on
the winds of time.
Cada pedacito de amor que dar, se vuelve a usted ellos vientos del tiempo.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oceans of the Past

It is hard to imagine oceans running over a mile deep all over the Midwest where I live. Many of the hills were once reefs teaming with an assortment of shellfish and other amazing marine life.

If you would like more pictures visit my state park Flicker site listed. This cave is very overgrown but a reputed place were rustlers hid. Limestone contains many kinds of caves formed by a variety of processes, some small and some very large.

The woodland plans invade these areas and create an unusual beauty many have not seen .

This is called Ice Cave, but has no ice. Cooled air currents bring down the temp from depths below. It has a stairway to give you easy access to squeeze in and enjoy the temperature change.

I love looking at these cliffs formed and sometime climbing them to catch a glimpse of the past.
In this area you have to watch knocking a loose piece on someone below you.

Taking a rest and enjoying a great place to rest, this doe seems unafraid of humans looking her way. The hillside is so steep, it is probably hard to find a flat area to rest.

This tiny chapel made from the native limestone sits in a large area called the Mines of Spain. Close to the Mississippi lead was mined and taken down to St. Louis, a commodity in colonial America. This was one of the earlier settlements in the area for Europeans. Native Americans had huge communities for centuries before it was invaded by newcomers.

Should I tell this butterfly that leaves of three let it be? A meadow in the wilderness that was once a vineyard. Can you tell me what kind of butterfly I have?

Stairs help climb up to the top of the ridge where I began my trek into this wonderful garden.

This is a tiny tram that takes you from the downtown river area to your home on a Mississippi Bluff in Dubuque, Iowa. The homes are a sight to enjoy , many built in the last part of the 1800's.

A Coast Guard ship used to post buoys and signs to alert the barges and boats traveling the Mississippi where to maneuver. It is a constant job with change of depths along the channels.
Just a start on a tour sometimes called Little Switzerland for all it majestic bluffs and rolling hills. I will head back for a week of fun, exploring and fishing for trout. Come along and join me, I know this neck of the woods well.