<![CDATA[OKLAHOMA FIELD AND FLOWER - July 2020 Journal]]>Wed, 23 Sep 2020 02:22:43 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[July 31, 2020: Gone to Seed]]>Fri, 31 Jul 2020 17:00:29 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-31-2020-gone-to-seed

High Temperature: 84F
Low Temperature: 64F
Sunrise: 6:35 am
Sunset: 8:29 pm
Humidity: 58%
Wind: nnw 11 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


We are all carriers at this time of the year, useful vessels. In the morning, the dew and the seeds conspire together: as we brush past, the seeds drop onto and stick to our water-coated Wellingtons. We walk the seeds away from their place of birth into new and hopefully fertile spots to sprout next spring.

There are so many seeds right now in the fields. The dogs fur and our pants pick up the burred seeds of the Common Hedge Parsley plant (which explains why we have it all over the place). Occasionally a shoelace or a dog's paw will pick up painful goat head stickers. These we toss into a pond or into the garbage can. No help from us in spreading those vile plants. 
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<![CDATA[July 30, 2020: Empty Shell]]>Thu, 30 Jul 2020 15:27:31 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-30-2020

High Temperature: 94F
Low Temperature: 69F
Sunrise: 6:34 am
Sunset: 8:29 pm
Humidity: 73%
Wind: s 8 mph
​Chance of Rain: 73%


I missed the final transformation even though I'd been keeping a close eye on the bright green chrysalis attached to the bottom of the dill plant. One day there it was, looking the same as the day before. The next day in its place was a split husk, a light beige empty sack of lifelessness. No butterfly in sight. I've been robbed, I tell you, robbed! I sacrificed a beautiful plant to the gods of the Black Swallowtail Butterflies and the thanks I got was a faded, papery shell clinging to a stalk of dill.
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<![CDATA[July 29, 2020: Morning Rain]]>Wed, 29 Jul 2020 13:45:20 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-29-2020-morning-rain

High Temperature: 88F
Low Temperature: 73F
Sunrise: 6:34 am
Sunset: 8:30 pm
Humidity: 70%
Wind: s 9 mph
​Chance of Rain: 20%


We walked this morning through a light rain. It was lovely to hear the drops' light patter on the leaves as we walked past the west woods. We hadn't brought umbrellas, but we didn't miss them, either. It was pleasant to get a little wet.

During breakfast the deluge came; so heavy it blurred our view of the pond down below the house. Undaunted by the weather, our family of juvenile crows arrived to fill their cheeks with peanuts and the puffed and soggy remains of a handful of dog food. We ate our breakfast, they ate theirs. Hunger doesn't stop when the rain comes.
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<![CDATA[July 28, 2020: Motherless & Mothered]]>Tue, 28 Jul 2020 14:06:07 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-28-2020-motherless-mothered

High Temperature: 82F
Low Temperature: 71F
Sunrise: 6:33 am
Sunset: 8:31 pm
Humidity: 73%
Wind: se 5 mph
​Chance of Rain: 60%


As we made our way up the drive past a grouping of bois d'arc to our left, Ike suddenly barreled into the tall grass, barking and growling. Willa was right behind him, racing in and around the trees. She kept checking in with Ike, watching his movements and reactions. Though the two zig-zagged under the trees, apparently what they were seeking was no longer there. Except, it was. A startled yip came from Willa, then her "alert" barking, directed towards a spot within the center of the trees. I went over to see what they'd found as my husband blew the whistle to call off the dogs. 

I saw a small, frightened face low in the grass. Pointed ears, two dark button eyes looking at me. It raised itself shakily, reluctantly. Its fur was wet, matted and darkened in spots from the overnight rain. The legs were so small and thin I wondered if it could even carry itself away. It was a tiny coyote pup. No doubt it was the same one that my husband saw a week back, sheltering on the grassy dam of the "new" pond. My instinct was to go to it, but of course it would not understand my intentions. Instead, I watched it slowly walk away from the comfort of the trees. It was clear that the pup had for one reason or another become motherless. If it had had siblings, they too were gone. It was also clear that the pup was starving to death. I wished we hadn't seen it. 

On our return, one of the pigeons flew out of the barn and circled it several times before going back in. I wondered aloud if the pair was caring for young, when my husband told me the day before he'd seen an adolescent pigeon on the shelf of the owl nest box. This was sweet news coming after the sadness of the lone coyote pup. One motherless, the other mothered.
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<![CDATA[July 27, 2020: Let It Come]]>Mon, 27 Jul 2020 13:31:14 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-27-2020-let-it-come

High Temperature: 90F
Low Temperature: 71F
Sunrise: 6:32 am
Sunset: 8:32 pm
Humidity: 55%
Wind: sse 7 mph
Chance of Rain: 40%


The morning pasture thrummed with the buzz of crickets. Plants like ragweed, ironweed, and many others that are nameless to me have overcome the grasses, which now are bent and brown. Nevertheless, the cattle, grazing to our west, were belly-deep in it. Of the calves, only their black and brown backs showed. We have finally identified the bull. He is as small as a cow and all black except for his face which is dappled with white. 

There is the promise of rain this evening; the remnants of a tropical storm. It's raining now in Oklahoma City and we can hear far-off thunder. Crossing my fingers and toes. Let the rain come. 
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<![CDATA[July 26, 2020: A Pipe To Call Home]]>Sun, 26 Jul 2020 19:17:17 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-26-2020-a-pipe-to-call-home

High Temperature: 91F
Low Temperature: 73F
Sunrise: 6:31 am
Sunset: 8:33 pm
Humidity: 54%
Wind: sse 7 mph
Chance of Rain: 10%


The fence that marches along either side of the driveway and surrounds our house is made from oil-field pipe (the posts) and sucker rod (the rails). It was painted a deep red years ago, but is now showing its age. Bleached by years of sun, it has become a tired brown color. Crusty gray-green and silver lichen grow thickly on it in patches. Some of the posts have lost the cement tops that covered the openings and over time, rain has filled these open pipes.

In one such pipe, two Gray Tree Frogs live. They've been in this cozy, if wet, home for several years. Occasionally we see one or the other perched at the edge of the pipe's opening, hunkered down, peering eastwards into the woods or southwards down the driveway. More often, however, we only hear the plop of their bodies entering the water as they dash to get away from our prying eyes.

I wonder what they do in the winter? Do they dive to the bottom and live in a kind of suspended animation until spring returns? Do they use the acoustic properties of the pipe to amplify their mating calls? So many questions I have of these and other frogs. 
Picture
A Gray Tree Frog, similar to the ones that live in the oil pipe fence post.
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<![CDATA[July 25, 2020: Shade]]>Sat, 25 Jul 2020 13:31:09 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-25-2020-shade

High Temperature: 89F
Low Temperature: 73F
Sunrise: 6:31 am
Sunset: 8:33 pm
Humidity: 62%
Wind: se 7 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


A slight respite today. My cloud friends have gathered in force, letting in just little bits and pieces of dark blue. Rain would be a nice addition, but I accept that shade is all that is on offer today.
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<![CDATA[July 24, 2020: Summer Joy]]>Fri, 24 Jul 2020 19:16:44 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-24-2020-summer-joy

High Temperature: 93F
Low Temperature: 73F
Sunrise: 6:30 am
Sunset: 8:34 pm
Humidity: 45%
​Wind: e 8 mph
Chance of Rain: 10%


It was a little thing. From atop the maple next to the house, the Painted Bunting greeting the morning with his sweet and simple melody.

I asked Willa, "Did you hear that, little girl? That's the most beautiful bird." Willa did not reply.

A few seconds after the Painted Bunting's song, the jungle-tinged call of the Pileated Woodpecker pierced the air. It was very close, but unseen. Probably in the woods just to the southeast of the house. Other birdsong followed and the day was officially launched. 

It was a little thing that shook me - at least for a few moments - out of my summer doldrums, of wishing the hot days away. Soon the mornings, days, and nights will be quieter. I will miss the night jars, the flycatchers, and the Painted Buntings; the Summer Tanagers, the Southern Leopard Frogs, the chatty tree frogs, and the grumpy half-blind Ornate Box Turtle that shelters in the barn during the summer. I don't want to wish these fleeting joys away, nor the time that is so precious.

Winter will bring its own particular joys with it. But for now, I need to hear, feel and see the little summer joys. 
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<![CDATA[July 23, 2020: Free Will]]>Thu, 23 Jul 2020 16:24:34 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/july-23-2020-free-will

High Temperature: 91F
Low Temperature: 73F
Sunrise: 6:29 am
Sunset: 8:35 pm
Humidity: 55%
Wind: ese 6 mph
​Chance of Rain: 10%


We were promised a cloudy and relatively (in the low 80s) day today - and it started out that way. A dull sky completely covered with flat, gunmetal clouds; a tantalizing deep gray to the south that might have been, could have been, we hoped it would be rain coming our way. By late morning the clouds had scattered and the temperature soared to the mid-90s.

All was not lost, however, We headed into our tiny town this afternoon to complete a long list of errands. Frankly, I had been dreading it because I was expecting to have to face off (ahem) regarding wearing a face mask into stores. Being the kind of person who hates confrontation of any sort, I wanted to avoid a battle, yet I do not want to  capitulate to what amounts to is a cloth or paper placebo. But, there were no issues. Other than a half-hearted effort by the Walmart "greeter" to have me (unsuccessfully) put on a mask, I breezed in, around, and out of every place we went. No dirty looks, no on challenging me. I have to say, it lifted my spirits and made me appreciate living in small community.

Now, tomorrow it may all change and the city council may institute a mask mandate. I will deal with that if and when it comes. For now, I will enjoy feeling like a free person who has the free will to make health decisions for myself.
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<![CDATA[June 22, 2020: The Canning Bug]]>Wed, 22 Jul 2020 16:10:28 GMThttp://oklahomafieldandflower.com/july-2020-journal/june-22-2020-the-canning-bug

High Temperature: 90F
Low Temperature: 71F
Sunrise: 6:28 am
Sunset: 8:35 pm
Humidity: 56%
Wind: ese 5 mph
Chance of Rain: 20%


I am being thwarted on my attempt to purchase a pressure canner. It seems that there are currently none to be had unless one wants to mortgage the homestead and pay a small fortune on eBay. All the usual online retail suspects are out of stock, though one outlet I've never heard of (they seem to sell medical supplies...) quotes a 12-week delivery delay. Full payment up front, of course. I am assuming this strange condition is due to, shall we say, feelings of uncertainty about the future; or perhaps manufacturing of these products has slowed or stopped due to the Chinese Flu scaredemic.

Whatever the reasons, this bump in the road hasn't deterred me from jumping into the seasonal ritual of canning. My water bath canner will enable me to restock jams, jellies, salsas, and pickled vegetables for the coming year. A recently discovered recipe using the water bath to preserve what I thought could not be preserved using that method will allow me to parlay our garden tomatoes into sauce. Tonight I'm hitting the canning books to find additional enticing recipes. Bring on the harvest! 
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