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!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Who Says I Don't Get Around?

This photo wasn't taken in Spain's third largest metropolitan area. Nor is it on the Orange Coast, and the area pictured does not boast a temperate climate and wafting breezes from the Mediterranean Sea.  Despite the proud proclamation of the sign above, this photo displays the lush grasses and green foliage of late spring in Kansas. 

This morning it was time to move the combine to a neighbor's field in preparation for wheat harvest. Farmer John drove the fuel truck, and I followed in order to give him a ride back to the shop where his monstrous red combine had been readied for action.  When we reached the turn-off marked by the road sign above, I giggled a bit.

In fact, I always smile when I see this sign. Perhaps someone on the county commission had been to Spain. Or maybe a commission member's love of geography got the best of him or her. Whatever the reason, on the day the Osage County, Kansas powers-that-be assigned a name to this single lane gravel road that bisects one of the most lushly wooded sections of our area, they decided to call it "Valencia."

It was a beautiful morning, though hot, and I stopped twice to take photos.  Farmer John was patient, but the third time I braked, enthralled by a huge cluster of sweet-scented, purple-blossomed milkweed in bloom, he mentioned very politely that at some point, he needed to combine wheat.  So the road sign photo above and the lacy Johnson grass picture below were the only two I had time to snap.  I would like to have shared the thick stands of evening primrose that line the road as though they had been planted as borders, and the lacy miniature daisies that bear the ignominious name of Annual Fleabane.

I know Valencia, Spain is lovely because the descriptions on Wikipedia tell me so, but Valencia Road in Osage County, Kansas, has beauty that, in my eyes, is unrivaled.

Johnson grass is so pretty, with its lacy, Christmas tree shaped seed heads. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Early June

The large photo at left is a view of our east yard, crab grass beautified by morning light, and the rock garden where our grandsons set up mock battles with their plastic soldiers (they nixed the idea of gnome and elves figurines).  Upper right: a cloud formation, the majesty of which I was unable to capture with this phone photo.  Right middle: noonday sunlight bounces off the bright white porch railing, just installed by farmer John.  Right bottom: evening primroses in the road ditch across from the house.  

I always remember my Art History professor, fresh from a summer's sabbatical to France, saying that the countryside in Kansas is very much like that of France. "Something about the light," he said. Years later my nephew traveled to France and returned home to field my many questions about his trip. "Does the countryside look like Kansas?" I asked.  

He laughed and said, "Definitely. We joked that they hadn't really taken us to Europe at all, but that we'd just circled around the ocean and had come back to Kansas.  Everything looked very familiar."  

'These things affirm my deeply held conviction that the beauty of our state is underrated.  The photos above, taken with my 6 year old iPhone, are a case in point: beauty isn't difficult to find here.    And there are all the things my lack of skill with a camera can't capture: cottonwood fluff raining in ethereal, erratic paths against the dark green canopy of late spring foliage; the full scope and majesty of thunderheads piling up ahead of a spring storm; the depth of color of our sunsets...words can't describe it, and my fledgling skill as a photographer can't capture them.  

You're going to have to take my word for it or come see for yourself: Kansas is beautiful in each season!