Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Readers from the winter and earlier know that a herd of deer lives in the woods around our homestead and visit us regularly.  (If you haven’t met last year’s fawns yet, you really may enjoy clicking on the link above.) During the summer, they munch on our grapevine and whatever greens we let grow outside our deer fence as well as the green grass that grows over the septic outflow.  They really like our two old apple trees, which drop apples all summer long.  And they visit the creek.

A few days after we got back from our big Grand Canyon adventure, I looked outside and spotted a familiar doe–she has beige almond-shaped markings around her eyes and was the mother of the single fawn last year.  She has a new fawn!  This doe is not the one that lets me get close to her babies, but she did let me take a few pictures from a distance.  I hope she’ll let me get closer as the fawn grows, so you can see more of our dear deer.Yes, our yard and trees really need water!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.

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Hot:  the three letters should speak for themselves. Our thermometer was registering 103 degrees F in the shade by noon.  It showed 108 degrees F (again, in the shade) before the day was over.  I think it could be off a few degrees, but even if it is, temperatures have been running ten degrees F  or more over normal for days, with little relief in site.  We’ve had one measurable rain since mid June.  It’s miserable.  We’re losing trees.  We’re losing plants that are supposed to be able to take the heat.

I remember back in the 1970s when scientists said we were heading into a mini ice age.  Then came the acceleration of global warming, to nullify the effects of other cyclical climate change.  Does anyone else remember the summer of 1988?  I was in Boston, where we had week after week in the high 90s with no air conditioning for relief.  We ran from sprinkler to sprinkler, sought out fountains, and even, um, “borrowed” a crew van and skinny dipped in Walden Pond, all to try to cool down.  That year was one of more than a dozen record breakers since then, with each one signaling scientists to look more closely at climate data.  And despite a few bad apples among global warming scientists who complained about critics and tried to figure out over now-public email how to discredit them, the science that indicates global warming is real is now overwhelming.  It’s warming, and some of the blame can be found in our lifestyles.

Have you noticed higher temperatures, earlier springs, later falls, or other possible signs of climate change at your homes?  How are these changes impacting your family? your garden?  your animals?  your budget?  Do you see signs that seem to discredit global warming?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.

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I got a much later start on my garden this year, thanks to surgery that kept me from picking up a shovel for several weeks.  I’m shovel-ready now, and, my stars! is it hot out there!  Still, with a break every hour or so (I’m on one now) I know that I’ll get the garden set in no time.  I also am removing the weeds that choked the garden in my absence, one section at a time with black tarp.  That too is sweat inducing as the heat radiates off the tarp, but it hurts the weeds more than me.

In a twisted way, I love the heat of a Southern summer.  I love getting in a car that’s been closed up, to feel the heat hit me like I’m climbing into an oven.  I guess it’s our version of a sauna, only we sweat everything out in the summer, not the winter.  I also know that the sweat of my brow will get me what I want:  homegrown, organic vegetables that are so fresh they go from garden to table in minutes.  And I take a shot of pickle juice when I get overheated, miraculously perking me up.

Right now while I am digging for summer, we’re savoring the harvest from our winter gardening.  We’ve been feasting on English peas, snow peas, cabbage, carrots, beets, radishes, broccoli, turnips, lettuce, mustard, and lots of over-wintered herbs.  It’s wonderful to sit down to a meal where all the veggies in the cole slaw came from a few feet from the kitchen window.  Unfortunately, all this digging means less time for writing here . . . .

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Several years ago a friend whose mother had been in the antique business told me he had a rustic chicken coop that I could re-purpose.  I was skeptical but went to see it.  It wasn’t a chicken coop.  It was a six-bay nesting box that had been thoroughly cleaned and varnished.  I was immediately taken with the piece and decided to purchase it for the princely sum of $15.  I cleaned the piece up a bit more and then tried it out in various locations and for numerous uses.  My favorite was displaying antique quilts in them.  Unfortunately, right now it is not in an ideal location for you to see the rustic beauty and convenient service of the piece, but I’ve included one close-up shot.

I’m thinking a lot of nesting boxes today because we have discussed getting chickens as soon as we get back from our summer vacation.  Imagine my surprise when fellow blogger Polly’s Path told readers that Georgia Farm Woman is having another nesting box giveaway!  Oooh, if I win I can start my chickens for sure late this summer!  Of course, now that I’ve told you, Georgia Farm Woman could have lots more entries for the giveaway.  Go ahead; check out these great modern nesting boxes.  I hope one of us wins!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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I am blessed to be able to live on the edge of the Ozark Mountains.  Further east of here, the Appalachians rise like archangels.  To the west, the Rockies reveal God-sized scale.  Halfway between these two great mountain ranges, the Ozarks are grand on a human scale.  I like that.Here the  Buffalo River can be seen from the Goat Trail, accessible downstream from the Steel Creek put-in.

We have grand vistas.  Do you see my friend in the distance in the photograph?

At this time of year, we have so much green that this creek looks green in the reflection.

Not only do we have glorious rugged landscapes, we’ve got a state full of wildlife.  Just today I saw a harem of turkeys in a field a mile from our home.  I didn’t have my camera with me, but you can see other Ozark wildlife but clicking here and scrolling down.

If you’ve never visited the Ozarks, consider it.  These humble mountains have a beauty I can only begin to reveal here.  Instead of inspiring you to contemplate the divine, they may just inspire you to contemplate humanity and yourself.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  All rights reserved.  Short excerpts with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me via the comments section for permission to use photographs.  I will respond privately.

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In the early nineteenth century, Southerners fought federally sponsored “internal improvements” like canals because they didn’t need them; they had a network of navigable rivers to transport crops.  Those same rivers are both life blood and death for some Southern areas today.  This week Clarksville and Nashville, Tennessee, experienced deadly flooding.  (I have family in the area and am grateful to have no fatalities to report but lots of loss of property.)    One of the causes of flooding, we now know, as in Katrina, is poor engineering by the Army Corps of Engineers:  flooding caused by failed flood control.  Other people simply face flood waters this week because of the volume of rain and their proximity to rivers.  As people told story after story of rising water and devastation, a lifetime of memories washed away even when lives weren’t lost, I could not help but think of people  I know in Arkansas who live adjacent to rivers yet who do not experience floods with the same agony.  These people love living along the river and thus have found ways to work with it instead of letting it deluge their lives.

On Big Piney Creek near Highway 7 north of Dover, Arkansas, many families live in peace with the river.  They built their homes to be flooded.  The first level is concrete block with a bare concrete floor.  Should a flood come through, they roll up their carpets, move fragile furniture to the second floor, and wait it out on high ground.  When the water recedes, they return, wash the mud out of the first floor, and move back in.  Your home may not win House Beautiful awards this way, but you will not fear a flood–and you get to live on a beautiful river.

Addendum:  Recently a flash flood swept the Little Missouri River, but one cabin home, anchored securely on stilts well above the flood plain, withstood not only the raging river when it rose 8 feet in ten minutes on June 11, 2010, but also an RV, a pick-up, and a cabin that had not been tethered when all three of them slammed into the well-anchored cabin in the early hours of the morning.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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The NWS just extended a tornado warning to our county again.  There are six tornado-producing storms in the state right now.   Just heard on the news that a trained spotter has confirmed that the storm headed our way has produced a tornado on the ground.

Update:  I headed for the neighbors’ storm shelter but am back home now and able to watch the news again and check internet.  I’m hoping we’re in the clear for the night but will stay up until I know for sure.

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We just got into the house from a rare dinner out, and I heard my cell phone beeping that I had a message.  It was my neighbor, calling to invite us over to their storm shelter.  Arkansas is under several tornado warnings at once tonight, and the storms are tracking into the Missouri Ozarks.  I’m keeping our neighbors near and far in my heart.  For now, it looks like the storm is passing north of us, so we’ll stay put, but I am so thankful that we have near neighbors who are kind enough to offer us a safe place should we need it.

Update:  Tragic news is pouring in from nearby Van Buren County and the community of Scotland, where one death and numerous injuries are being reported.  This community is near the track of the huge storms that came through in February and May of 2008.  Readers, please keep our neighbors near and far in your hearts tonight, and if you have anything to give to aid operations, please do give.  (Updated 5-1 with better news, fewer fatalities.)

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Researchers learned years ago that one of the strongest triggers for memory is odor.  I remember once walking along in Boston and catching a whiff from a shop of something that smelled like my paternal grandmother’s house.  For the seconds I smelled the scent, I was transported to her place.

Seasonal fragrances are like that too.  I think spring odors are the most provocative for me, coming out of a seemingly scentless winter.  Here in the Ozarks we went from a cold, wet winter to the musty smell of damp leaves.  Then came the daffodils and jonquils, followed by apple blossoms and jasmine and then a warmer scent of pine straw mingled with azaleas.  Soon I know the heady fragrance of honeysuckle will follow.

I’ll never forget flying into Nashville and then driving home my first June after going north to college many, many years ago.  As we drove to my hometown, the scent of honeysuckle vines in bloom was almost overwhelming, even permeating the car.  It triggered memories of barefoot days of seemingly endless summers playing with friends through neighborhoods, woods, and fields.  It reminded me of dust between my toes.  The honeysuckle scent recalled puppy love and young summer romance . . . .

What memories do spring scents trigger for you?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.

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Regular readers may recall my surprise when a spring peeper (frog) jumped out of my pepper seedlings and landed on my kitchen floor.  

Then last night not one tabby but two showed up, and one was quite, quite pregnant.

That’s why when I heard a familiar cry in the woods earlier today, my second impulse was to wonder if it were a hurt child and then to wonder if the cat had gone into labor and was in distress.  Therefore I didn’t grab my camera.  After all, it couldn’t be what I first thought it was, could it?  Oh, but it was!Can you see it?

Yes, dear readers, that is a peacock, wandering through our woods, calling like a baby cries.  Don’t ask me where it came from.  I don’t know.  But it’s definitely a peacock.  What will be next?  A platypus?   a pachyderm?

What the weirdest or more interesting animal that’s ever shown up in your neighborhood?  Do tell!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URLs are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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