Thursday, April 21, 2016


A few years ago this pond completely dried up during the cruel extended drought. It was dredged so that it would again hold water once it rained. I do not know if it has been restocked with fish. There have been ducks visiting overnight and a few Canadian geese this year. I think they were merely resting in the safety of the water - not eating. Geese are herbivores, but not ducks, so not sure what the ducks could eat.

I hope the heron (or a heron) eventually returns to this pond because his solitary silhouette in the beautiful evening light always stirred something in my spirit. I think there will have to be some food source available before a heron would stay. Fish and frogs and maybe a few baby turtles would be the entire menu. And snakes! How could I forget snakes?!

Just the same, stopping for a brief moment in the evening to appreciate the view, even without the heron, is exceedingly nice.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The World Has Changed...

Rain finally made it's very slow way to my little corner of the world. It has been lightly raining since mid-afternoon, with the potential for some heavier rainfall within the next hour. None of my trees had leaves as of this morning. It only took a few drops of rain for the baby leaves to finally appear, and all the visible ground to burst into new green.

The red bud trees did not blossom this year due to the cold temperatures and the gale force winds and the lack of rain. Perhaps that is why they bloomed so spectacularly last spring - to balance the failed spring this year. And oh yes, here is the long awaited heavier rain - a proper rain you can hear on the roof.

There has not been a single thunderstorm so far this year. Oklahoma has claimed them all along with the tornadoes. I do miss those magnificent plains thunderstorms rolling in from the Rocky Mountains, shaking the house with enormous percussive force and the wicked electrical violence searing the black skies. It has been years since we have had "normal" Kansas weather and I miss those mighty thunderstorms. They are like dear old friends who gradually stopped calling.

I had to make a trip to Topeka yesterday to buy groceries because I was too tired and in too much pain to shop after work the entire week. Before hitting the highway toward home, I stopped for a "Flat White" at the local drive through Starbucks. This is a caffeinated delight made with only espresso and milk, but it is delicious to me. Starbucks first offered it at Christmas but each time I made a special trip to get one, they were out of the ingredients. That does not make sense to me! Are not coffee and milk their two main offerings?! It was sometime in January when I finally got to try it for the first time and I have been hooked on it since.

I do not stop to get a Flat White often. I want to continue to appreciate it as a special treat. Saturday when I pulled up to the window, much to my delight, the person in the car ahead had already paid for my order! It was the first time that has ever happened to me. Not only was it surprising, it made me amazingly and disproportionately happy. Of course, I paid for the people behind me and hoped they were as delighted as I was.

The world has changed. We have succeeded in disrupting the weather. The Dalai Lama says we did not know better but now that we do we must be responsible and fix it. The world has changed. Flat White has come to Kansas, of all places, and total strangers will pay for your coffee for no reason.

Some things never change, though. When I first placed my order, I asked for a Flat Black. What the hell?!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Brave Dutch Bantam Goes Free At Last!

The lone survivor of the notorious Spiritcreek Chicken Incarceration Facility has been set free from the outdated, decaying chicken facilities!

One mild evening some days ago, I waited patiently for the last little hen to go to roost at twilight. Once in her nest, I could easily catch her. She was going to a better home with my neighbors who maintain a small flock. I knew she would much rather be at the bottom of the pecking order in a flock than to continue her solitary and very lonely existence here.

It marks the end of an era that I will always fondly recall as The Chicken Years. It was so much fun building the coop and the pen, raising chickens, getting to know the true nature of the amazing little birds, the descendants of dinosaurs! However, it was one long tragedy of death and loss. Too many roosters. Mean roosters. Unexplained death and predation. Loss of my favorite characters to sad and premature death. Jake the Bad Dog. Snakes. Pack rats. It was just too much.

I was moping around - just a tiny bit - whenever I would realize the chicken pen was empty for good but I hoped the little hen was settling into her new home. She had never been given a proper name, (I think she was Medium girl), so when my neighbors said their grandchildren would have fun naming her, that made me happy.

A neighborly phone call this week delighted me. As it turns out, Babe as she is now known, is the favorite hen of the one and only Mr. Blackie, the chief rooster! My neighbors' dog is of the Good Dog Duke lineage, so their chickens enjoy freedom during the day to scratch in the dirt and leaves, to take dirt baths and to tend to their normal chicken business. That is the very best news.

It is a very happy and appropriate note on which to end The Chicken Years.