Well, what a fun filled few days it has been. It’s May in Iowa, so the wind has been relentless, making me less than ambitious in motivation, alas, now is not the time when the tomatoes are begging to wave under the glorious sunshine, and the truckload of perennials I was fortunate enough to have bestowed upon me (but not without a little shoveling, of course) from G’ma Jerry are desperate for a drink. So, slowly, but surely I plug away. On Sunday I went to my grandparents’ dairy farm, and with my grandmother diligently harvested phlox, sedum, monarda,  hostas, lillies of all kinds, columbine, wandering hollyhocks, coral bells… I think that pretty much covers it – she was tired of them, and I am not one to let any plant go unappreciated. That day while I was between digging stints I was home and ended up rescuing a little finch that had flown into the house – she was being harrassed terribly by the cats, Alice and Polly – fortunately they had her so tuckered out that I could just pick her up with my hands – the light of day sparked a liberated freedom for her as soon as I walked into the garage – Mom has since decided that leaving the door open in the hopes that the cats will go play outside is nonsense and only lends to inviting the wild ones in (birds and flies to be specific). I started my transplanting endeavor by placing hostas and columbine under the maple tree out front, and continued on with phlox in the northwest corner of the property, by my transplanted lilacs, and the rest of the hostas are finding their way into shady spots that for the longest time have only hosted thistles and burdock.backhoe and hostas

I finally put up a batch of maraschino cherries, and to my chegrin have discovered that maraschino liqeuer is not something to be found in north Iowa – Brandy seems to have made a fine substitute, however. In my quest for wild harvested treats I decided to look for some interesting jelly recipes… and came upon wild violet and dandelion… and diligently set about picking flowers, and then petals from said objects. to be jelly


I had great success with the wild violets, but my dandelion jelly (which has the most wonderful honey and lemon fragrance) didn’t set up properly – tomorrow I will try to boil it down a bit, as I refuse to let the handful of hours I spent pulling petals from sepals go unwaranted! 🙂

I also went morel hunting at Eagle Lake on Monday, but wasn’t successful in bounty. I was so spoiled, however, just being out in the woods with the birds singing to me and the swell swoosh of the leaves soothing from above. The smells of earthy dampness took me back to my forest hikes in Alaska, and to thinking about how fortunate I was to walk the same trails every week and witness the seasonal progression of the flora – something I hope to repeat here this year after that reminder. I need to get my hands on a field guide, though, because although I was quite knowledgable in the flora of SE Alaska, where I spent two summers, here in Iowa I feel ignorantly clueless… so much for, oh say 27 summers of experience in this locale, eh?

walk in the woods


…and now we finally reach the section of the blog relating to the title… I had a good, and apparently necessary reminder to just take life as it comes. For the past couple of days I have been quite seriously engaged in my work and in what I have deemed necessary to accomplish every day (lending to 14 hour work days). Well, this afternoon I took to helping our neighbor, Chuck, who happens to be 90 years old – just a month away from 91. I was to be his gopher to the seed house to pick up oats and alfalfa and brome grass. It was a nice day for a drive, and I didn’t mind the excuse to get out of the wind for a while. My father and Chuck both had me convinced that taking Chuck’s early 70s model Ford pickup all the way to Albert Lea made sense – that way I wouldn’t have to transfer all 24 bags of seed once I got back to our neighborhood from my truck. Well, you see, this truck is rarely driven. And my mechanical abilities are what one would call non-existant… to the point that perhaps I am always in the wrong place at the wrong time… in other words, vehicles break when I drive them. Go figure… on the way back from Albert Lea, one mile south of Emmons, she just died. I couldn’t start the damn thing to save my life… so it was Dad to the rescue – breaking in the middle of planting millet. And wouldn’t you know it, but he gets in and manages to get the thing running; said I wasn’t holding my mouth right – I had tried about four times while waiting patiently along the side of the road. This is where the “whimsey” part applies – because, really, life is what you interpret it to be. I had all the opportunity in the world to be mad and frustrated because I had other items on my agenda for the day, but in the long run that wouldn’t get me anything but grief. It was warm, and it was sunny, and it was a good excuse to close my eyes under the beautiful blue sky and soak it in… why not? So, Dad takes to driving the truck back, and we stopped off once we got to town to look things over. Dad concluded that it was just a gas issue, however he inquired with me about when I had realized that the brakes were out… um, as soon as I left the driveway, I said. He just shook his head with a goofy grin saying, “That’s when you should have turned this thing around… I’m adventurous in my travel, and even I wouldn’t have driven this truck to Albert Lea.” Who knew I had such a wild hair, eh?ford