I got some nice comments a while back from Zanariah in Kuala Lumpur. She found me through my post about slough grass and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Last weekend I met my sister in northern Iowa and we got to visit one of the places Laura lived! I thought of you, Zanariah, and took these pictures for you!
Between On the Banks of Plum Creek and By the Shores of Silver Lake, Laura and her family lived in Burr Oak, Iowa. It was a rough time in the Ingalls family and Laura did not write about it in her books, but there is a little museum there now in the hotel building where the family worked. The above photo shows some twisted slough grass like they would have burned in the book, The Long Winter.
There is a book, Old Town in the Green Groves, by Cynthia Rylant, that imagines the time the Ingalls family spent in Burr Oak.
The small museum is located in what was the Masters Hotel. This is how it looks today.
There were a lot of photos of Laura and her family in the museum and the one hour tour was filled with great stories! Now I want to go back and read the books again and read even more about Laura’s life as an adult. Thanks you, Zanariah, for reminding me that these stories are loved the world over!
This is what I had for supper tonight! It was the second salad from the….our…garden! In the past, I’ve usually gardened alone. I like to disappear into the garden for “me time”. It’s my gift to myself. After the ISU Student Organic Farm moved north of Ames, I thought I would never garden again, but this year, a friend of Steven’s asked me if I wanted to join their garden. He had gardened alone too, not been as successful as he had hoped, so this year, it’s going to be a community effort. 🙂 After working for several hours at the garden today, I filled my McDonald’s iced tea cup with some mesclun mix, a few spinach leaves, some sweet basil and lemon basil, and 3 sprigs of parsley. It didn’t look like much in the cup, but on my plate it was beautiful…and delicious! I dressed it with olive oil, lime juice and garlic salt.
This year I am gardening with two other people who wanted to give John Jeavon’s Biointensive Gardening a try. One of the main ideas is that you start EVERYTHING from seed in flats, even corn, beans and peas. These are some marigolds I started quite a while ago. It really has made gardening a brand new experience for me. I’ve tried to start things from seed before and failed miserably. It’s going better this year due in large part to the grow light Steven put together for me, but I also have a very different attitude about it. In the past, I’ve always bonded with each little seed and plant, WANTING it to thrive, but you know, nature just isn’t like that. And the spiritual lesson for me has been: maybe God isn’t like that either. Most plants produce an abundance of seed and you wouldn’t want it all to survive. I get upset at myself for each little failure, sometimes making it monumental. But this week I’ve realized, I need to make lots of efforts, and only some of them will go on to grow and produce fruit, and that is just the way nature is. And God, the Master Gardener, knows that and has planned it that way.
In 2010, I went a little crazy taking photos of some daisies in my neighborhood. They made me think of the movie, You’ve Got Mail, where Meg Ryan’s character says that daisies are the friendliest flowers, and then Tom Hanks’ character brings her a bunch of daisies, trying to convince her that the big bad Fox Book Store man might not be as bad as she thinks, as in, he is really the guy on the internet she has fallen in love with. Ahh….so romantic!
So this year, the flower of 2012 seems to be the poppy. This little spot of poppies on a corner in my neighborhood always just knocks my socks off when it blooms. So here it is, 2012, the spring of bold colors and poppies!
Does anyone know of a romantic story to go with poppies?
Here it is, this year’s beautiful May Basket from my dear sister! It makes me feel like I am in a late spring meadow with my favorite Queen Anne’s Lace!
And these are the sweetest little pink tulips ever!
It seems like every year there is also something new and exciting in the May Basket. This year it was this yellow “puff”, a very lovely spherical element. I have no idea what it is. It seems like the center of some flower with the petals removed. The basket came from Mary Kay’s Flowers and Gifts, so I may have to give them a call and satisfy my curiosity!
In my mind at least, the perfect lilacs this year were over on Mortenson Road, not far from the intersection with University Boulevard. Lilacs always make me think of my mom. I was born when mom was 40, so unfortunately, I will always think of my mom as old (I know, 40 is NOT that old!). Most lilac bushes are old too, standing the test of time, you don’t fully understand where they came from or what they’ve been through, but you love their beautiful profusion, the intoxicating fragrance, their simplicity. My mom came from a simple background, she and her sister and her mom making it on their own by housekeeping and living with relatives. They enjoyed simple things, creamed vegetables on toast for supper, sprucing up a little black dress with a variety of collars and cuffs, going swimming in the rock quarry and singing duets. I don’t know where all the lilacs in Ames have come from, but I love their reminders that the best things in life don’t have to be complicated and expensive and that my mom was able to create a beautiful life in the same spirit.
Back in Indiana, someone sent me a link to photos of Iowa State’s two swans on a lake…that was the clincher for me…..I had to come here for graduate school!
On this spring day, just to the west of the Memorial Union, red buds adorned the rim of Lake LaVerne. I looked anxiously for the two white swans, but didn’t see them swimming.
Then as I was trying to photograph more red bud, guess what I saw?!
Two lovers, hidden under the trees, with their own little case of spring fever!
Have I mentioned that Iowa State University has the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen?
Every day the last couple of weeks, when I head out into Ames, I almost faint, the spring flowering show has been so beautiful. You know how it usually goes? You wait all of Feb, March and some of April for the blossoms to pop, and a day or so after they do, you get an April shower, and it’s all gone, in the blink of an eye. And usually it’s a procession, yellow forsythia first, then red buds, THEN white apple blossoms and finally the violets and crab apples. As the next blossom appears, the previous ones fade. This year, it’s all out there at once, lingering until the last one on stage has made its appearance!
We’ve had a gentle rain this morning on this side of town, but if the skies clear, I think I can get out there and get some more photos of this once in a lifetime spring!