July 31, 2016

First thing I notice back in Indy is that the grass needs cutting. Alas, the weed eater went south on me, kaput. Perhaps I blew out the motor trying to cut weeds that were too big. I’m not sure what to do: borrow Shirley’s mower? buy a new Black and Decker tool? buy a small battery mower?

The matter of grass seems to be an issue with me. Each year I try to reduce the size of our lawn, or better said, the plots of grass. Lawns can be most attractive, but in my opinion many grass plots are wastes of space. In Montgomery County I came upon many homes with — I’m not making this up — an acre of more of grass. Here is a picture of one such country property.


I saw women — mostly women — on hot days out riding a mower. Do they enjoy it? Do they think the results are attractive?

The farmers too, have this thing about grass. Quite a few keep a grass strip between the corn and the road. The strip can range from 10 feet to 50. Here is an example.


I once read that the annual expenditure for lawns in America exceeds the annual expenditure for all of agriculture in the continent of Africa. Could that be true?  I think so.

Anyway, the grass here is long, unsightly. Maybe I’ll get a goat or two.

Rural notes

Thursday, July 28, 2016

It’s a privilege to tend Winter Wood while Lali, Doug and the girls are on vacation.

  • Nice lawn.


  • Nice garden


  • I like driving country roads, especially the hand or finger raise that means “Hi neighbor. I’m here for you. You’re here for me.” Sometimes one meets strange things on the road.


  • I enjoy my chores, one of which is overseeing the composting station.  Kitchen refuse is placed into silos until it begins to decompose. Then it is spread in lines so that we can readily turn it. The process from refuse to garden nutrient is about one year.


  • And yes, in the country there are sun rises and sun sets.


At MacDonalds

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

For reasons beyond my ken, I can’t get onto the web at Winter Wood, so I’ve come to town during the hottest part of the day to do town errands and catch up with e-mail and Facebook.  MacDonalds has a good chocolate shake and free WiFi.  Unfortunately they play Fox on loud TV that happily announces that “Trump continues to steal the headlines.”

Yes, it’s hot in the garden. Yesterday Carl and I took a load of junk to the transfer station and then washed the van. Tomorrow I will take a load to recycling. Blackberries should be picked.  But the week is very nice. Winter Wood makes a great retreat center. Saturday will come too soon.


Shades State Park

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Yes, it’s hot and sticky, the temp expected to go to 96 in these parts. It has been my privilege to 1. allow myself to feel the heat and humidity and 2. make a choice to help me deal with it. (I recognize that many people do not have the health to get out into the heat and many who can’t make a choice in dealing with the heat.

My choice was to do the morning chores at Winter Wood (I’m tending my daughter and son-in-law’s property while they are on vacation) and then to set out for Shades State Park, located 45 minutes from here.

The only distraction from a pleasant Sunday morning trip was my coming upon a fawn that had been hit by a car and was entangled in a fence. I didn’t have a tool to put it out of its misery.


While there is much to commend Shades State Park, I focussed on a canyon created by a small stream that falls into Sugar Creek. And while this canyon runs the width of Shades State Park, I “dwelt” in Devils Punch Bowl.


Surely the creek at one time was fuller and swifter. How else could it have coved so deep a canyon.


Water drips on ferns and then falls to the small stream.DSC_0019.jpg

Notice how the water carved a curved wall.


Lichens and moss are at home here.


So … this has been my Sunday morning of awe and wonder, away from the stifling heat.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

As we all know, the physical features of our planet can vary greatly, even within a short distance. Western Colorado and eastern Colorado illustrate the variety quite vividly. I come back to Indiana where I see and feel a world quite different from Buena Vista.


This field of soybeans at the end of the road to Winter Wood reveals Indiana flatlands. At the moment I’m located close enough to see this field and others like it.

When I truly open my eyes, I can see Indiana elegance in Queen Anne’s lace.


I can see the charm of our waterways such as Lye Creek.


Here are gardens and orchards. A big crop of blackberries looks promising.


It’s very hot today, 92 degrees and feeling like 103. Most of the day I avoided the dripping humidity, but late afternoon I went out, not to resist it, but to allow the heat to be itself. Now, here in air conditioned comfort I see a dark cloud forming in the southeast. Perhaps Indy will get a shower.

I am a Hoosier; Indiana is my home.