Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hard work

This is in the town of Troy, a remnant of the past, perhaps a store, or the start of the elevator and seed business we see behind it.Down the road is Trojan Farms,is this Greece or Iowa?

Great Egrets on their migration.


He came from England, already an experienced coal miner. This was just beginning to really break on the prairie, soon to leave many scars. It was a tough life not being able to stand throughout the day. There were numerous tragedies and disruptions during the workday, all accepted facts of the trade. You worked around broken fingers and numerous bangs and bruises.

He arrived home to see his wife finishing in the field, pulling a massive planter with a team of horses. She looked fairly weary and he went to clean up first. Hearing the team pulling in he greeted her with a clean smile, compared to when he left the mine.

His children would sometimes meet him, helping his tired legs get up the hill to their home. He lead her to the house and went back to unhitch the team When he got inside, she had put together some cornbread to go with the stew she had simmering. He went to give it a stir and was playfully pushed away.

The next year they were able to buy a mine, one of the deepest ever to be dug. They added another the following year. His family all became involved in the operation, at some level or other. It was a good life, a fine life to enjoy on this prairie. This bit of happiness was shared with numerous other stories, on a gentle prairie breeze, which many were to enjoy.
Cold sweat and hard work everyday
Toils of labor in sand and clay
What a way to live on this earth
Until it was the day
To collect the pay.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Friends In The Garden

This Ornamental Box Turtle and other fauna moved a highway around this sand prairie.

The first break on winter melted most of the snow and showed some tiny crocus beginning to peek. This would be something she would always share with her former gardening friend, and felt her warmth with fond thoughts. The prairie wind blew the rocker on the porch as if she was sitting there. And she would always be there in her heart.

Mail order plants were soon to arrive, and she prepared her hothouse. This had been shipped from France and was her newest passion. The early spring sun was nice to absorb. She sat in there for hours, in the old rocker off her porch. She basked and found more time to read books she had set aside. The days seemed they should be warmer, and a cold spell hit. Keeping warmth on her newly started plants took a lot of wood. It was a long week, but at the end the sun returned. Fairies peeked through the new glass and admired with curiosity. Her spirit ebbed and soared, joining the distant winds.

Spring was in full force and she had to open her hot house up. Her flowers started from seed were ready for the garden, as were some tomatoes and peppers. A boy from the train station stopped to tell her some more plants had arrived. Petunias, petunias and more petunias. She had two dozen flats sent to fill spaces around her perennials, and one thousand leek and onion plants for the vegetable garden. Her gardening was very intensive with no lost space. She placed early crop vegetables such as peas and greens in rows that would be footpaths for warm weather crops. Trailing crops were planted on trellises and fencing. Flowers were everywhere, sometimes playfully made into garlands and worn in her hair. The wind started to pick up and blew over a basket of greens. She bent to pick it up and saw her children both having fun digging in the dirt and making houses out of sticks. Their happiness was shared with the next gentle prairie breeze.
They met at the church, and began a long garden relationship. This was her new friend who sat in the once empty chair, and a caretaker of the land. They only lived a mile apart and it became a new event in her life to go visit or even have a visitor. New stepping stones were added, new pathways created, new dimensions to discover.

He built her a wooden flat to carry plants in, when they used the horse drawn trolley to go between homes. They shared memories of other gardening friends and enjoyed the outdoors together. Shopping became a shared excursion, one they both shared with a passion. She bought him something and he would return the favor. They shared so many ideas it became a new world, in this old world, for both to explore.

He enjoyed philosophical talks with her husband over a cigar and scotch. They sat by the fireside, friends with the same friend in common, but in so many ways. Woodworking became a shared experience, working on a nice patio cover to put a grape arbor. A kayak became their next project, with the most beautiful woods and brass fittings. It seemed only fitting when they saw their finished product, to perform this project again.

When the state fair approached they thought about entering a number of projects, but only thought about it and went enjoying the ideas of others. It exuded the spirit of the prairie. The work ethic to even approach this level of satisfaction was remarkable. One friend always entered his dahlias, only to receive numerous ribbons but never a first place. Their yards became a floral elegance, with statues and numerous sculptures of plants. The wood seats and pathways leant a charm to even small areas of their gardens. He put a special touch on all her ideas, and she did the same for him. Happiness is having the best friend in your life. And happy lives they all shared on a gentle prairie breeze, carried to eternity.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Moving on

Been out camping for a few days, horsing around a bit.
Trying to get back on track.

Feeling real lazy, and a bit ran down.

Do have a new girl in my life, Audrey, a new grandchild.
The geese flying overhead reminded him it was close to harvest. It was going to be hard since he had started a job with the meat packing plant. It paid well and filled in his idle wintertime. He had already been appointed a crew chief and was looking at an even higher paying job position if he stuck it out. They had a high turnover; the work was less than charitable. He worked hard with his strong prairie spirit, often missing being outdoors as he had done for years. He was saving to get more land, his small operation wasn’t as good as it had been for his father.

While in town he stopped at the bank to make a deposit and the banker waved him over. He had heard of a good buy in the north central part of the state, which he felt was within his means to step into. He was torn at wanting the land or keeping his meatpacking job. He would give it some thought and talk to his wife. On his way home the grass looked even greener, the prairie flowers glowed out a welcome. He thought of leaving this wonderful land of plenty and seeking new direction. His family had scattered all around, and there really wasn’t a central home anymore, with his parents passing.

He ran inside and told his wife what he had just heard. She felt farming would work out for both of them and their family. It was unique to think about moving to a new area, where neither had been before. Leaving their homestead would be tough, but she had only lived there nine years and he thirty-three. They walked out past their family meadow, and mourned leaving these floral friends.

Fairies peeked and giggled at these old friends and listened intently to what they had to say. It hurt them to hear losing these friends so they called in the fireflies to liven up the evening. The sun was setting in a magnificent show of colors. They sat on the bench by the stream and held hands, listening to the stream tell them about their journey. He got up and stripped off some cedar bark and held a match to it to get it burning. He waved the smoking bark around them and then gave tribute to the sun, moon, stars and life, casting the smoke into all four directions. She too offered this cleansing of the soul ceremony to the four winds and began crying, feeling her husbands agony to leave job and homestead. The prairie wind began to pick up catching lovely thoughts and radiant love, as the couple walked off into the shadows.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Orange- The Brenda Photo Challenge

Orange is a color
A flavor and scent.
Orange is a butterfly
A flower or a fruit.
Orange is a sign of fall
A caterpillar or a bird.
Orange is a bonfire
To toast marshmallows
And to stay warm.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The last day of summer

It is the last day of summer
At the beach the water was really cold
I had it all to myself, maybe it just got old.

I saw this heron fly off today
Wonder where he would go
Perhaps on a new beach to play
He never said, so I don't know.

Love really is the reason
Why you force yourself
From being in another
Situation like you had
Before, before and before.

Don’t close your eyes
On the dreams that
Are within you.
Don’t turn away
From feelings that
Come from your heart.

The best apples are free, or at least the ones you are given permission to pick. This was not what a parent thought when an orchard owner had found her son’s glasses. He had lost them turning upside down, to get up into the tree, to eat the highest apple she thought. At least they were in a case with his name. The orchard owner assured her children were always allowed to eat what they picked, since she was so near the school. She knew the boy personally from all of his questions, and making sure personally that it was okay to enjoy her apples. The glasses were returned with a big sack of apples. They made the most wonderful pie.The wonderful smell drifted off, carried on a gentle prairie breeze.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Loving times

This is the newest of asters to bloom( picture below) a tiny flower about 1/2 inch across. Many of you have said how you enjoy these so I posted a few pics of mostly asters, which vary in color even with the same varieties. They are a fall bloomer and tell me summer is almost gone.I haven't shared a prairie story for a few weeks so thought I would post one of those today. Over the weekend I stopped at a Amish cheese shop and got some Prairie Breeze cheese.

Having married and moved to their new home while everything was frozen, she thought back to that season when their life started together. So much had changed around them and within their own lives. There had been many times she wished maybe to have been back in the city, but by now she had fallen in love with this beautiful land, and the people that lived around them.
They followed the tracks up the well-worn path and then up the frozen stream. The heifer was stuck in the ice, and had pretty much given up trying to get out, exhausted fully. He ran back to get a horse and ropes, while she lay next to it in the frigid night, offering motherly advice, When they got back to the barn her clothes were frozen and she was chilled to the bone, but had saved meat for their table.

He fixed her some tea and started heating water for a bath. She got out of the filthy clothes and bundled up under all the quilts in their room. It reminded her of making tents with these same spreads. The smell was still there. The warm water soothed her aches, and they talked about their parent’s similar exploits. Sharing family heritage soothed her nerves, she was the historian and always liked to review the facts. The stars listened and nodded always aware of how we are all living happily. They kept each other warm all night, never fully warding off the chill, but not caring.

That morning she carried him coffee while he mended the fence. The coil reeled back and cut down the side of his face deeply. She took him home and sewed the cut with her smallest needle. It took fourteen stitches, but this stopped the bleeding better. They were hours from a doctor, and had little cash to use for payment. He wasn’t sure what hurt worse, but thanked her caring attitude. She finished the fence and they laughed the pain away.

The next few days he took it easy, helping her decorate the house for the holiday. The gaiety of their spirits soared to new heights, having found a little bit of new in each other sharing and caring. The days spun around each other and shared the spirit to calm the harsh prairie wind. The sun came out and warmed them as they gathered wood for a fire, she slipped and dropped her armful. He placed them all on his, proud to help her out and show his prowess. He stumbled on the last piece and she picked all the wood up and carried it to the house, smiling the biggest smile. This smile trickled past his face, on a gentle prairie breeze.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What, there is still more????

A charmer of a day. I started with the Methodist Church breakfast. Biscuits and gravy, eggs, sausage, cinnamon roll, juice and lots of coffee. WOW! This was for a freewill donation. Upon leaving the bake sale lady knew I was gazing at goodies and wanted me to make sure and get the peanut butter cookies she knew I liked.Heading to a craft sale I bought raffle tickets for three quilts and a garden bench, three for a dollar.Seeing one of the organizers I shared my email if she wanted my picture files, and telling her I was the one who posted pictures on the local news station.

When I was in college everyone thought since I grew up in the Midwest, that my family farmed. I didn't want to break their hearts and tell them I lived in the suburbs so made up a lot of stories. My best was ,"If I got all my chores done early, my dad would let me drive the good tractor to school." Amazing how many fell for that with a "Really?" This gent is riding his rebuilt treasure, and I felt sure it was not his first time being a strong farming community.

Pulling a sled with weights left many worn out. Maybe it was the posture or faces that helped.

AAnother day of bathtub races brought athletes from all over the county to compete. New teams revered the taste of victory, with some very tough competition. Note these tubs were refilled with water when they finished splashing.

The olive green floating objects were not UFO's but water balloons being tossed and caught on two sides of the highway. This was open to different age classes with lots of clapping and laughs for the victors and the defeated.

What, water balloons weren't hard enough, how about raw eggs, a favorite at family picnics for decades. My dog, Lily, had a good time tasting the broken shells all over the place while I was taking pictures. If you caught an unbroken egg you stayed in the contest, so it was whittled down rather fast.

Whew, what a weekend of fun, want to try one of my cookies? Hey, where did they go, someone has a sweet tooth.Must have been my dog.