Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rex's first horse kiss

(a little later in the day on April 13, 2008)

I love this picture. Hickory doesn't know what went wrong. Girly sends her encouragement. Rex had never seen anything that big in his life. Everyone else is amused. I don't think Rex was scared, just a little overwhelmed. :-)

See? Everything is good again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Redbud Ranch (April 13, 2008)

Baby Rex
Pinky and two of the Chick Hens (Patsy and Susannah...but the chicken on the right might be my namesake, I have a hard time telling Susannah and Mitzi-Maria apart).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Michael Ray's self-created turtle door

This picture of Michael was taken by Eric in 2000. I had never seen this angle before---I had only seen Michael from the other side of the door when I was making dinner in the kitchen. I'd look over and see Michael "Don't you try and tell me no" Ray on his hind legs trying to get into the house either in search of catfood that wasn't eaten or to get to his beloved chairs to move around. Look at those little elephant legs all stretched out. One more push and he's through. If you carefully look at the screen door, you can see that the door (or hole) that Michael created follows the shape of his shell exactly. Check out the width of the screen door, Michael is about the width of half of it.  That's a big turtle and that was eight years ago. The screen has since been replaced and Michael's too big to fit through that part of the door now anyway but he can still pull himself up and dream. Actually, turtles don't dream, they plan. Actually, turtles don't plan, they just keep doing something over and over until they get what they're determined to get. They don't care if it takes them the rest of their lives. They've got the time. There's a lesson in there somewhere, I guess.

Monday, July 28, 2008

"Pardon me, do you have any grey poupon for my snausage?"

This is my friend Ibby. I taught her how to growl for treats. 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Never a good thing... see a turtle waiting for you at the bottom of the steps. And I know why. It's starting to heat up around here and when a turtle gets hot, he's got to find a cool place to hang out. That would be my air conditioned house. Turtles know ALL about air conditioning and they are all about modern living. And moving furniture. All of my furniture is scuffed  at the bottom 8 inches because of one determined four legged interior (and exterior) decorator (rearranger?). That would be Mr. Michael Ray. There is nothing more fun than to get in the house and move all the chairs into the back room...and enjoy that cool air.

But it's not going to happen today and he knows it.

So we have a bit of a tantrum.

Which is the same as normal turtle behavior, just a little sped up.

"*$/#@%! Why I'm gonna......."

"I just hate that woman."

"Oh, hey Cathy."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fall Leaf, Kansas 1887

Just a pretty little map. Sad to see that the named streets have been replaced today with numbers. I do like the thoughtfulness of the names of the four streets defining the area however...North, South, East and West. How can you get lost with good names like that? Yes, I do realize the town is just a couple blocks tall and wide.

Fall Leaf, Kansas 1903 (and a newspaper story of two bad girls)

On this map (look for "Fall Leaf'" at the bottom) you can see that the property surrounding the schoolhouse was owned by a Mary Vale. On a whim, I googled her name and got this story about two 12 year old girls who in 1914 ran away from home. One of the bad girls was named Mary Vale who may or may not have been a relative...but I like to think that she was. 

"The Kansas City Times" (Missouri) Thursday, May 28, 1914


Frances GROSCOVIC and Mary VALE, each 12 years old,
who ran away from their homes, 423 and 419 Ann Avenue,
Kansas side Monday, with $69 belonging to boarders at the
GROSCOVIC home, were found yesterday afternoon by
Corbin DAVIS, a patrolman, on the railroad tracks in
Riverview, ten blocks from their home. They had spent $9.

When they ran away they wrote the following note and
mailed it to their parents:

"No use to hunt further we are died. A auto struck us as
we crossed the street so we are both died. Good bye.
Frances and Mary."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fall Leaf, Kansas 1981

That huge open area on the left is the current "car park." The view of the schoolhouse is facing the back where the courtyard and entryway are now. The front of the schoolhouse faces rental properties on land that still belongs to the railroad. You can get a good view of the tracks in the upper right (I think the trains went by every 15 minutes and since there used to be a crossing there, a lot of horn blowing). And in the distance,  the Kansas (or Kaw) River.

Fall Leaf, Kansas 2008

Although this view is from the side of the schoolhouse, I'm going to call it the front yard since this is where the driveway comes off the road and where you eventually reach the entry door in the courtyard.

The realtor took this picture earlier in the year (sigh, so many irises and not a godawful collection of every color of iris on the can tell this is a nice established garden because of all the dividing that has happened over the years and how elegantly simple the color combinations have remained. Swoon. I wish I had a big area like this in my current yard to do this sort of thing).

...and finally,  the front of the schoolhouse.  The add-on sun room was built in front of the original entrance (the sun room is probably used to overwinter all the tropical plants the current owner has- I'm envious of that too). The keystone at the top reads "Dist No. 52 1902."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Side That Faces the Chevys

The Courtyard

The carved wooden post was imported from Mexico. I like the sunflowers because Kansas is, you know, the Sunflower State.

If you look right behind the post in the photo above, there's a big bed of bamboo. In the photo below, I'm not sure what that little statue is (she looks like a little flapper to me) but in front of her is more of the same bamboo. There was a lot of it in this yard and although I know it's supposed to take over like crazy, it looked fabulous everywhere it was planted. There was also a lot of bamboo behind the fishpond  (which looked great because the stuff is so thick you can't see through it). It definitely set off the fishpond. I would think it wouldn't pollute the pond with dropping leaves too. It's definitely on my list. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it.

The green, green, green palms next to the red, red, red brick of the schoolhouse were just gorgeous. That's Baby Rex on the table (he's already seven and a half months old!).

I'm glad this garden shed looks so pretty on the outside because it used to be a two-seater outhouse on the inside (eeugh, eeugh, eeugh, eeugh, eeugh).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crazy Beautiful

These pictures were taken in the front yard of the schoolhouse. The garden encouraged walking because there were so many spots of beauty tucked behind other parts of the garden. If you didn't look around something, you might not know there was a pond... 

...or a bench beneath a shady tree.

Or a little red schoolhouse if you turned completely around...

...with the words "Fall Leaf" painted on the windows, the name of the town that once was.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Car Garden

Last Saturday Meg, Sarah and baby Rex helped me look at an old 1902 schoolhouse that was for sale in Linwood, Kansas. I'll write more about that later since I'm still sad (but relieved) that the property was sold (right after we looked at it!). One of the things I still think about is the car park/garden on the neighboring property. I was convinced that it was a meth lab infested trailer park based on what I could see on the Google satellite view.  But no, it turned out to be sort of a garden or park of several old cars and a firetruck from the 1950s on 1 1/2 acres of mowed and maintained grass. Just the oddest, oddest thing. There are lots of piles of abandoned cars and trucks in Linwood but this is the first carefully arranged collection of abandoned cars I had seen. I would have liked to have bought the schoolhouse just so that I could sit and look at what was in front of me and just contemplate the weirdness of it all for hours.  And hours. Really, it was odd. Loved it.

A Short Lesson

When you garden with turtles, you learn to build barricades and put every plant in a good, sturdy pot...

and if possible, big sturdy pots...

...because eventually the turtles will break down the barricades and compost any plant or shrub in their way within 15-20 minutes.  For example, this is Michael Ray in front of what was once a peony bed just one week ago...

...and that look I'm not fond of....complete satisfaction with a job well done.

Ta da!

Dang. I missed watching the butterfly hatch but at least it was still taking some time to dry itself when I left for work this morning. Those dark spots on the wood are wet spots from when it emerged from its chrysalis (I never knew those things had that much liquid in them). Maybe you can see that the right wing is still a little folded...apparently I JUST missed the whole event. But at least I got to see the butterfly. Pretty darn cool.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monarch Butterfly Chrysalis

This pretty little thing is hanging on a bench on my front porch. I don't know why a little caterpillar felt compelled to crawl up my porch to do this but I am honored that it did. The gold beading is gorgeous, as is the soft emerald green of the chrysalis itself.