Tag Archives: Poetry

Squirrel VS. Acorn Squash

Early yesterday morning, I glanced out the window to check on Uriah. He was sitting in the bright morning sunshine; his head cocked to one side his ears up and forwards watching something near the line of trees.

Blinking I tried to focus on what caught his attention.  I looked at the burn pile where green and beige grass stood up in uneven tuffs, dried branches and a pile of cuttings from the vegetable garden flopped over haphazardly.

I could see nothing out of the ordinary.

I looked back at Uriah. He was still staring; his head at a tilted angle, with his left ear pointing at the ground.

I tried again to focus, again. This time past the burn pile along the tree line. Fifty feet away there was a fuzzy grey squirrel, he was laying along the ground with his front paws on an acorn squash. I could see bright yellow splotches on the dark, dark green squash.

 I blinked, then rubbed my eyes as the squirrel stood up off the ground, stood on the squash and jumped up, his downward pounce had the acorn squash roll slightly and he fell off.

The squirrel stood for a moment, staring at the squash.  Positioned himself on the side towards the house, reached out slowly and put his front paws on the squash and pushed. 

The squash rolled forward. He fell on his face, prone on the ground, back legs stretched out behind him front paws still touching the vegetable.  Then, that squirrel jumped up, landed on top the squash and held on with his nails, as it rolled, very slowly, away from the burn pile, with the squirrel attached so he fell on the opposite side.

At this point I noticed I had tilted my head like Uriah, in a, what the..!!, stance.

I watched for a few more moments as that fuzzy grey squirrel circled the squash, with his tail flipping, analyzing the situation.

I called Uriah, he looked up at me, then back at the squirrel. He eyes rolled up towards me, then back at the squirrel. Like he was saying, “Can you believe this? 

I decided I needed coffee I was hallucinating.

Photograph and upload by John Delano, of Hammond, Indiana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sciurus_carolinensis_3.jpg

I still have nightmares over last years snow fall.

This morning, I woke up to scattered little clumps of snow on the grass. The air was crisp and cold, even as a hint of warmer air threatened to melt every last crystallized flake.

At the grocery store yesterday, I overheard so many people loudly exclaiming, “They would love for it to snow” Then continuing on with their seasonally induced amnesia.  “It would be so festive, ‘especially’ for the holidays.”

 I still have nightmares over last years snow fall.

 In December it showed almost every other day.  At one point, the snow came down so fast and heavy my snow thrower broke. I didn’t panic…I walked right in the house peeled off layers clothes and called the repairman.  I was told that I would need a specific part they didn’t have, and even if I got it, the repair guy couldn’t come out until the middle of January …maybe.

I didn’t panic. Instead I pulled out a rope with red flags and roped off the driveway.

Five feet of packed snow that was so solid I could stand on it, with three other people and not sink.  Nope, sorry I am not looking forward to snow. If Mother Nature could please hold off until January, I would be grateful.

 It might be too late, but I need to knock on wood fast!

My mail box was hit twice last year. The temporary mailbox, set in a bucket of cement, was also hit-twice. The second time it exploded.

Don’t get me wrong, I love snow.

 But, … last years snows were a little over the top.

If you add in my dog Zeus, ten and half, sweet heart of a dog, was hit by a car during a snow storm. An eighty pound black dog, in a white snow storm…

Please drive carefully this holiday season.

The Moon, Jupiter & Night Sounds

Two nights ago at five o’clock at night, I was standing outside looking up into the nearly dark sky. A faint line of light trailed along the horizon. Hazy lavender touched the earth and a line of pink topped it off. That mix of colors and mist slipped upward into the dark night sky.

As I faced the west, the waxing crescent moon was to my right with planet Jupiter sitting brightly on its left.

The air was cooler, close to freezing cold. My hands and nose were cold. I could see my breath as I stood in the deepening darkness. I looked up into the trees; the branches took on a silvery cast.

I called to Uriah. His hackles were raised and he was barking towards the path. I called him back, time to head into the house.

 Two hours later, I was back outside. I had to keep telling the dog to stay close. I could hear the coyotes they sounded like they were to the east and south of us. They were coming closer.

Why is it, when you want a dog to do his business instead he decides to sniff around and waste time.  I was getting nervous.   Different sounds were coming out of the darkness. Sticks snapping, a faint growl, the dried grass was rustling as if something were walking through.

I did not want an altercation between a younger animal and Uriah. He is eleven and a half, just because he thinks he’s big stuff, doesn’t make it true.  

Uriah watched me, and then turned to the trees. I had him walk with me towards the front of the house. I kept talking, he continued to growl, and mutter. He sounded a lot like my grandfather; complaining about noise, kids, and pigeons.

It was dark, and a foggy haze settled in around the trees. The air felt electrically charged. I’ve lived out here long enough to pay attention to my inner warning system. We headed to the house.  Uriah came inside,… reluctantly.

I had just enough time to wash my hands and sit down at the computer. When my old cat PJ, sat up from a sound sleep and hid in the hall closet.

When I first moved out here, fourteen years ago, PJ was chased by a coyote.  PJ outran the coyote. My closest neighbor at that time said, “They never saw a cat run so fast.”  I hadn’t realized that a coyote can reach speeds up to 43 mph. That had happened in the middle of a day with bright sunshine.

I cracked open the window and shut it right away. There was a pack of coyotes in my yard. No more than twenty feet from the window I opened. The high pitch ‘yapping’ and ‘yipping’ flowed into the room. One of the animals howled, his was a deeper sound. Not the high pitch ‘yip’ I normally heard.

I wasn’t afraid of them. I respect them enough to say out of their way. But I did open a window upstairs and tell them to leave. Of course they didn’t listen. My voice is too shrill, I had to deepen it, and then tell them to leave. Finally they stopped making noise and left.  That silence lasted until ten o’clock, after that they returned every hour – all- night- long.

Last night was quiet. The rain and fog moved in blocking the moon, Jupiter should be on the right side of the first quarter moon tonight.

So far nothing is moving out there tonight.

That not true!  I can hear that irritating rat, shuffling around the dog kennel…

Picture from Hubble site.org

http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/entire/pr2006019c/

Uriah and I stopped sneezing long enough to watch the harvester turn around.

Beautiful day!  Skies are clear, very little wind; temperatures are mild, in the mid fifties.

 Uriah was the first to notice the farm equipment pull into the field next door. He freaked! He climbed on the deck and cowered on the north side, farthest way from the equipment. 

The corn in the southern field was finally being  harvested. I stood outside and watched as the large tractor moved slowly into place. I could see the farmer in the cab and a child.

Farmer’s children will help them with the harvesting.  They watch for problems as their parent harvests the crops.The cab they sat in was sealed, heated and air-conditioned.

The winds were blowing away from me, so as the tractor passed by most of the dust spread out to the south.

Just as I thought, “Wow,  I am lucky the wind isn’t blowing in this direction.” The wind changed!  I started coughing, and blinking rapidly as the dust settled in over my head.

I choked out Uriah’s name and we headed towards the path to take a walk. The trees in that area blocked some of the harvesting dust. Well, sort of..

I crossed my fingers that the farmer would only be working on the lower part of the field at this time. I smiled, when I saw him hit the half way point near the drainage tiles and turn around.

 Uriah and I stopped sneezing long enough to watch the harvester.

With all the bare fields, the animals have been congregating in our trees. Last night, every hour, I was yelling out the doors for the coyotes to leave. There must have been close to a dozen howling and yelping very close to the house.

Coyotes don’t understand windows.  So, I had to insure the indoor cats stayed away from the glass. I really didn’t have to worry; they hid under the bed when the howling started.

Uriah, on the other hand, was whining and barking wanting to chase them. A dog barking won’t keep coyotes away from the house. It has the opposite effect. So, between trying to calm down Uriah, petting the cats and yelling at the coyotes, it was a fun night.

Halfway through the walk, Uriah disappeared with hackles raised, into the trees. Stupidly I walked in after him, calling and getting tangled in leafless under brush. After a short time, I headed back to the house. When Uriah reappeared  his tongue was trailing on the ground.  

The farmer took a lunch break and finished the back half of the field; I stood out on the deck and enjoyed the view.

This scene has to be a little boy’s dream.  A large tractor harvesting corn slowly chopping, crunching, and roaring through a field, as an equally large dump truck waits to be filled with the corn; such an impressive, unobstructed view of a real mid-western farm life.  

I love it out here.

Peace with nature

Its mid-morning, pale baby blue sky, painted with wisps of white clouds, the air is no longer cold, just cool. On the path the grass is about three inches tall and it shimmered in the morning light. Drew drops were everywhere, glinting along the gnarled fence post, to slipping slowly off bare branches.

If I had to describe this morning with one word, it would be ‘peaceful.’

I watched a family of Blue Jays glide noiselessly through the trees to the North. When I was spotted, a single long whistle announced me as trouble. Very similar to the whistle I use to call for Uriah. I whistled back at the bird, smiled and moved on.

I snapped my fingers at Uriah, and we headed for the path. Uriah ran in circles and headed into up the incline to the south, the scent he caught was over powering to him. He had to find it! He didn’t… I could smell a faint a faint musky order it lingered over the damp ground. I knew the animal was no longer here. Finally, Uriah figured that out and came back to me; immediately he pushed off in the opposite direction when a new smell caught his attention.

 A Red-tailed Hawk screeched in the trees to the north. His call reverberated in the morning air. Blue Jays answered with their danger whistle and the Hawk screeched back at them.

Both are extremely beautiful birds. The bright blue of the  Jays and the intense pride of the hawk, for me, their voices carried the soul of the land.

That may sound corny. Yes! But standing here listening, takes me back to my grandmother’s house, and brought me peaceful feel to the day, to this moment.

Peace is more than a word, a thought, or a phrase. It is a way of living. In nature, animals come together to drink from the same pond without killing each other. Just for the sake of replenishing their thirst…?  Or, is it more than that?

Nature is calling out today! With the same whistles, growls, screeches and yelps as yesterday. A peaceful coexistence, caught in a split second where I can connect with the land.

Tomorrow may rage a storm so severe the trees could be ripped up from their roots. This moment of peace, this moment is all I have right now. I am enjoying it immensely.

I have been playing with acrostic poetry.

 Peace

Place yourself within nature

Embrace your creative arc

Actualize your personal Mecca

Confidence regained in solitude

Enliven a past friendship

 

 

 

Picture from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-tailed_hawk

Peanut Butter Sandwich

Rain has coated every blade of dried grass, bare tree limb, and still standing stalk of corn.

The color yesterday, was a faded beige, yellowish green and dark browns, today with all the dampness  the colors have changed into a deeper, darker browns, reddish and wet.

Without the over cast sky everything would be shimmering, at least until the sun dried them off.

I could see my breath, the air was nearly cold enough to snow, but just not there, yet.

When I breathed through my nose, I could smell, cool rain, dampness, and trees. I started huffing and puffing, breathing through my mouth and the scents changed. I could taste dried hay, grass, and mold mixed in with the cool, calm air.

Stillness formed around me, anticipation of the next second. I looked up to the sky. The clouds were pretty high, and smooth; those clouds, were there for their aesthetic appeal and to keep the ground air cool.

No! It wasn’t going to rain on me, at least not in the next half hour. The horizon was clear. Right now I could see a line of clouds, very slowly moving in this direction.

I had taken this afternoons walk with my lunch, a peanut butter sandwich. I was driving Uriah crazy; he stayed at my feet drooling. His dog biscuits weren’t appeasing him; he kept crying and wiggling around on the ground every time I stopped. I had a third of my sandwich left when I gave in to him.  

“Uriah, sit!”

Silly thing to tell him he was already seated. I should have told him to stop drooling. I knelt down and handed him the sandwich. He carefully took it out of my fingers and stood there. He didn’t eat it, just rolled his eyes around.

“Well, that’s yours now.”

I patted him on the head and stood up and he promptly turned back down the path and trotted away. He was either going to bury it, or give it away. I wasn’t going to follow him and find out.

At that moment, a small bird decided I was interrupting his day and started peeping at me, over and over. I tried to see where he was at,  but I had left my glasses on the shelf next to the coat rack. Great place for them…

I reached in my pocket. Notepad and pen was also  back at the house.

 After two minutes of yelling at me the little bird flew out of the leafless mulberry tree. Then down onto a corn husk, where he kept watching me, watching him, while he picked at the corn and looked very upset.

 He was nearly vertical on the corn husk. Long and narrow, with light soft grey under belly and a black streak from his head down his back to his tail.

Uriah started a deep throat barking, somewhere in the trees.

 I started to shiver, dampness and cold temperatures, I craved a hot coffee and my wool socks. It was time to go home.

 I turned back to the little bird, and said goodbye. Then I whistled for Uriah, who was racing around the trees and grass, growling and complaining. He more than likely gave away his sandwich and like a child wanted it back.

“Come on Uriah! Leave your friends out here.” I whistled again, and kept walking home.

 

 

With the aid of Google search, I pulled up different bird sites, as I tried to find that bird.

I got lost in, “The Cornell lab of Ornithology-All About Birds” site and forgot what I was doing.

The sound of the Violet-green Swallow was very similar to that small birds sound

 http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Violet-green_Swallow/id http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violet-green_Swallow

My little mossy friend in hand

moss prettyThis day started out with bright sunshine, and warm breezes. By mid-afternoon the sky was a haze of grey clouds that stretched across the sky and touched the horizon.

I watched the mist, as it rolled across the choppy fields, and felt the air pressure settle in behind my eyes.

With my blurry eyes to the ground I headed back home. Stepping carefully around holes and dried leaves; I noticed the moss growing in the bald areas on the path. The same type of moss grew prevalently in the low areas. It was the only thing that made and attempt to grow while ignoring the on coming winter. It stood out nice, bright Easter grass green.

I stopped and stooped down to get a better look. Uriah wasn’t watching were he was going and ran into me. Then, quickly he caught himself and put his nose to the ground. He looked up at me, when I didn’t respond, then he stood directly over the moss I was examining.

“Hey, Uriah! A rabbit!” I pointed to the tall grass. He didn’t believe me until the grass shook a little. “Thank you chipmunk!” I muttered, as he took off happily. Which gave me a chance to take a good look at the moss.

It resembled fine, green string with evergreen type of leave. I used the end of my ski pole/walking stick and got underneath the patch, I lifted up a piece that fit in my hand. It was a lot easier to look at the moss with Uriah’s nose further away.

I headed into the house with my little mossy friend in hand, and I checked my books. Then I looked on line. I thought my moss might be a “common feather liverwort -Plagiochila porelloides

I may be wrong. There are over 16,000 Different types. Not all in Illinois and where they grow depends on the soils pH, how acidic or alkaline. Do they like sun or shade?

This section is from a nice PDF, “Illinois Bryophytes” (1)

“Bryophytes, numbering about 16,000 species in three phyla of the Kingdom Plantae, are second only to flowering plants (about 250,000 species) in the number of plant species known to exist on earth.”

I pulled out my trusty notebook and made a notation- to crawl around and list all moss and ferns on my property in the spring. I will check out areas, before the snow hits, that may be inaccessible to me later on.

But for now, that name- ‘The Kingdom Plantae’ sounds like a great start to a story…

 

 

This site shows pictures of different types of moss.. http://www.andrewspink.nl/mosses/thumbnails.htm#l

(1) Illinois Bryophytes
http://bryophytes.plant.siu.edu/PDFiles/Bryo-poster%201.pdf
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Haeckel_Muscinae.jpg

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