March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Winter is Past--Finally

I admit our winter trials here in the little yellow house were nothing compared to those chronicled in Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, but the challenges we faced were daunting nonetheless.  Our grandchildren were sick with one virus after another beginning in November and just when we thought we were beyond winter's grasp, every family member in succession was stricken with a horrific cold virus that kept us croaking and coughing throughout a dreary April.  I shuffled dispiritedly into May, still half-sick and oppressed by neglected paperwork and housecleaning.

One morning in early June I crept out to the old red pickup and climbed into my too-long vacant seat next to Farmer John, and all seemed right with the world once more.  We drove to one of our rental pastures, and while John sprayed musk thistle (a noxious weed), I tromped through the prairie weeds and grasses and took the photos below.
Rose verbena

Some farmers frame pasture entrances with tall posts attached at the top with a wire.   
These pretty little daisies bear the ignominious name of "Annual Fleabane."

Farmer John fights an ongoing battle against the non-native, invasive musk thistle.  Cattle will not graze around the painful, spiny plants, and untreated musk thistle will take over an entire pasture.  Victorians thought the blooms pretty and introduced the plant in the U.S. in the 1800's.

Stark beauty in the sculptural branches of a dead tree.  

The cattle like to congregate in this sun dappled corner of the pasture and have tromped the grasses flat.