Four O’ Clocks Fragrant, colorful flowers

     Four O’ Clocks! I love that flower. 

     Very fragrant, colorful  flowers that open after four in the afternoon.four o clocks1

     I planted it when I was a child, in a small section of dirt right outside our kitchen door on the westside of Chicago.  First I would pound at that hard dirt to loosening it so I could poke a dozen holes in the dirt and place three seeds in each hole. One for the ground, one to grow and one for whomever came by that was hungry.  I was happy when one or two plants grew a summer. Their fragrant flowers opened up after four pm, hence the name.

     This year, I saw the seeds at the store and happily planted them this past spring. This past cold and rainy spring. Not a good year for any plants. But my Four O’ Clocks did take root. Three in the front of the house and four more around the dog kennel.

     I will plant them again next year. Getting ready to do so means I need to collect seeds. I save money by harvesting  seeds, which gives me the possibility of more  plants.

     The Four O’ Clock is a very elegant plant. From a single seed a plant will grow upward and then out into a small lacy bush, with two inch, trumpet shaped flowers– at least that’s how its suppose to be.

       Uriah, my dog, has stepped on the delicate plants and they popped back up. An angry raccoon rolled in the ones near the front door, a little water and they are still in tacked. Luckily the raccoon didn’t break the plants apart.

     Now with the weather cooling off, I check on them twice a day and bring in the black pea size seeds. I will roll them up in paper and hope a mouse doesn’t eat them by spring.

     All my seeds are wrapped in paper then placed in a paper bag in the garage. Mold is one of the enemies when it comes to storing seeds. Add the mice, and my stupid mistakes; tossing them out, or forgetting and putting a piece of plastic in the bag. Still, if I have three seeds left by spring I will get one plant that will bloom for weeks and yield more seeds for me to plant.

     With the cold weather moving all my Four O’ Clocks have wilted ending this season.  And my collected bag of seeds is waiting for spring.

Curiosity can always get to me, and today is not an exception

Curiosity can always get to me, and today is not an exception.

corn 

The farmers haven’t cut down the feeder corn,yet and I find it so mysterious, scary and beautiful all at the same time. When I get enamored by a thought I will end up acting on my curiosity, which is how I ended up wandering around my fallen, barbed wire fence, and standing in the sinking mud to get a, “good look” at the corn field. 

 There are other plants that grow along the edges of a corn field; Milkweeds, Queens Anne’s Lace and a multitude of weeds that as you step past them will deposit burs in your clothing, hair and along your ankles connecting to your socks and shoes making it a treat to remove.

None of that mattered.

  I wanted stand next to the towering rows of corn.

Golden, browns and beiges streaked with green and yellows stood in formation. The large ears of corn still connected to the stalks. Some of the corn had deep orangey, yellow kernels peeking out. This is not the type of corn that if you squeeze a kernel with your nail it will pop a milky sweet juice.   These kernels are hard. They may end up as Ethanol, livestock feed, a starch, sweetener or for use in fermentation.  

 I could see where a passing deer, or a hungry raccoon, possum, or Badger ripped off some ears and carried them onto my property and under a bush to feast. A few kernels were on the ground. I knew from years of walking around here, that tomorrow morning if I were to check they would be gone, eaten.

 Pulling my feet from the mud, with a distinct gooey sound I stepped next to the first row of corn stalks, and looked up, at their waving tops. I tried to focus on the rows deeper into the field. They were so thick I could only see two ahead of me, and then they blended together like a wallpaper field, or a movie set with either zombies, or dreams being chased way.

“Hey Uriah can you chase away a Zombie?” I laughed as Uriah looked around nervously. “I guess not.” I signed as he seemed to take offense by ducking his head and starring at the ground. 

The bitter smell of brown wet leaves, moved around me. Then drifting past as the wind picked up, racing the rain clouds into another county, allowing the sun to spread across my face.  The sky brightened with white puffy clouds and a deep blue sky.

This is the moment I relish! The tops of this corn field wave around me as I stood quietly. Here in my old, mud covered gyms shoes, with wet socks while something crawls down my back.  I am happy.

Corn moves my car…and then

My attitude

Sweetens my dinner… and

My desserts

Then eases through my digestive track

To return

Looking as if it never left

 

 

 

“Illinois Corn”

http://www.ilcorn.org/uploads/documents/uploader/184It%20Begins%20with%20a%20Kernel.pdf

National Corn Growers Association” 

http://lepton.marz.com/ncga/comm_dev_center/index_PG.asp

“Kane County Farm Bureau”

http://www.kanecfb.com/links.html

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