Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Exotic Dancer, the Body Guard, and the Baby Bed

Julia learned about gravity by tossing toys over the edge of the baby bed... It was an important investment!

 Of course we all know my life never, never runs smoothly and each and every day presents some sort of adventure or bizarre challenge. With Julia’s arrival I decided that I needed to break down the furnishings in the ’kite room’ and get a full sized baby bed for her. The kite room is called thusly from the 1987 wallpaper of colorful dancing kites with flowing tails in primary colors. It was a favorite and the kids said they traced the maze-like pattern of the tails while supposedly napping. They refused to allow me to repaper or paint over them and with Julia here a reevaluation of the room made it seem a marvelously child-friendly space. Only it was needing a bed.
Enter the brilliant idea of searching Craig’s List… everyone does. Scrolling down I rejected the beds used by grandmother’s who had ‘only used it ten times or so’ as unfeasible. For some reason I just didn’t believe them. I kept scrolling, amazed at the number of baby items listed, until BINGO, there it was. The bed was a high dollar Simmons for only $65 and the picture was pretty awesome. So I called…
A lady answered in garbled sentences and I assumed it was the damn cell phone again. I got directions for a storage facility somewhere deep in South Oklahoma City. I was to meet her there and said I‘d call when we got close to the city. I had two more garbled calls from her with one lengthy conversation about her being at the tag office trying to get a new tag for her car… in spite of all the bizarre directions we did manage to find the storage unit.
It had tall metal fencing and was a locked and gated maze of tiny storage units down secluded alleys. We waited outside until a beautiful young woman drove up in a very old Mercedes with a dent in the back. She had a man as a passenger and waved gaily as she slipped her card through the access slot and the gate swung open. Both of our cars moved in… the gate slammed closed behind us. She drove through turn after turn of the storage units as we went deeper and deeper through alleys into unknown territory of total isolation. I didn’t know such places existed!  She stopped and got out of the car, rushing to greet me. Clearly she was on heavy drugs… thus the garbles. Ah well…

She was about 28, perfect tan, perfect hair, perfect body, perfect sparkly makeup, deep plunging scanty top and short ass-showing shorts; she was clearly a stripper. Then the other passenger got out and I stifled a gasp. He must have been 6’ 8” or 9”, and a good 400 pounds. She said, ’Meet Moth’ as he extended his ham-sized hand. Michael and I glanced at each other in the isolation of the empty alley as I twisted my engagement ring to my palm. Michael glanced at the Avalanche longingly before looking at me with the ‘It’s a fine fix you’ve gotten us into Lucy’ glance I‘ve seen many times before!

She opened the door to what appeared to be a deep and narrow closet and began to drag the bed out of storage unit. I loved it I said…I’ll take it! Did I want the mattress…. No. I said I had one which I didn’t. I had a sinking feeling we needed to leave this place immediately... after all Michael had cash in his billfold.

Michael began loading the bed, tossing it in the truck with wild abandon. When I asked if we should tie it down he answered, ‘Not so much’… get in the truck’. 'Wait, Wait,' she called... did I want to buy jewelry she selling? What? Moth was smiling with that ‘I’m not all here’ smile and at the mention of jewelry he looked at my turquoise ring and asked what it was.

I pressed the cash into her hand but she suddenly began to really, really like me! She said “Wait", and ran to her car bringing out a tray of jewelry she was selling. She said she was a jewelry designer and wanted to give me an opportunity to have one of her unique designs. Michael sighed restlessly as I politely looked at her designs and she suddenly offered to give me a stone. Really? I took a long look and chose a lovely garnet then we visited about making jewelry. I liked her too and she sincerely hugged me goodbye as I thanked her profusely. We got in the pickup, Michael locked the doors, and I enthusiastically waved goodbye as we left... I was immensely pleased.

There was total silence for twenty miles or so before Michael asked quietly, “Do we want to talk about what just transpired“?

“What transpired?” I asked, “We just got a bed for Julia through Craig’s List and I got a garnet!”

Monday, April 24, 2017

Wild About Wildflowers

Oklahoma's Wildflowers
With the recent rains the wildflowers have continued their spectacular show and any drive will offer the sight of our beautiful naturalized countryside. Fossil records indicate that flowers appeared quite suddenly about 90 million years ago and today they are the most abundant and diverse plants on the earth. Originally plants were generated from spore not seed so they were able to reproduce without the aid of pollination. However with the emergence of seeds plants needed wind, birds, or bees to propagate. From this necessity arose the showy flower forms we see today as they sought to lure pollinators with their color, scent, and beauty.

As gardens evolved, flowers were genetically modified and became altogether different from their wild ancestors who grew freely, unattended and yet thrived. However after several centuries of excitement over the ability to alter flowers, gardeners became concerned the original native plants might be completely lost. In the early 1900’s garden designer Gertrude Jeckyll (1843-1932) began a campaign to preserve the beautiful ‘flowering incidents’ occurring in woodland settings.

 In the 1970’s Lady Bird Johnson (1912-2007) recognized that urban expansion could possibly cause extinction of many wildflowers and placed their preservation on the national agenda. In 1982 Mrs. Johnson and actress Helen Hayes created the National Wildflower Research Center in Austin Texas to collect, identify, and preserve native plants of America. In her honor the center was renamed the Lady Bird Johnson Texas Wildflower Center in 2012 as it celebrated the 100th anniversary of her birth. Following the former first lady’s lead, Wildflower Societies sprang up in every state and the status of wildflowers was finally changed from noxious weed to treasured gem. Stretches of hi-way are now adopted by dedicated volunteers and across the nation their beautification efforts are evident.

Oklahoma’s Native Plant Society, formed in 1986, states their purpose is ‘to encourage the study, protection, propagation, appreciation and use of Oklahoma's native plants‘. With the society’s encouragement the Indian Blanket Flower was chosen as our state wildflower that year. A darling red flower with bright yellow on the tips of the petals, it has an evolving center that changes from green to deep red as it matures. It may be seen on every hillside, in every bar ditch, beside every Oklahoma road... beautifully blooming to brighten our day.

*Of Note:
The hideous Musk Thistle has arrived in our pastures over the past ten years. Oddly, this thistle has adorned the national emblem of Scotland since the reign of Alexander III (1249-1286) and was used on silver coins issued by James III in 1470. Legend has stated that Norse invaders stepped on them and the thorns pierced their leather foot wear. The invaders cried out in pain, thus alerting the sleeping Scotsmen and assuring them a battle win. As can be seen in the photograph, the base of this dreadful plant is sturdy and incredibly thorny, topped by a pretty pink blossom that is lethal in her production of seeds. A single flower head may produce 1,200 seeds and a single plant up to 120,000 seeds, which are wind dispersed. The seeds may remain viable in the soil for over ten years, making it a difficult plant to control. Cattle who ingest it often die....

Monday, April 10, 2017

Sacred Seeds

*Given to patron of Farmers Co-Ops in 1935.
The perpetuation of God’s greatest gift to mankind, plants which sustain all of life, is assured through the production of their seeds. Seeds assure there will be another crop and thus food for all who eat fruits and grasses. Gardeners are accurately aware of the importance of seeds and many save them from year to year to plant or exchange with other gardeners.  

This spring Public Broadcasting will air a very important series, raising the alarm on the imperative of saving our seeds from corporate manipulation. Corporate farms are in the process of genetically engineering their seeds to render them infertile, making it a necessity to purchase them each year. This seems a diabolical plan and an unwarranted intervention in the epoch of life created by the Master.

For over 12,000 years mankind has carefully collected and stored seeds, knowing the future depended upon them.  When the great pyramids were opened, archaeologists discovered caches of seeds among other artifacts. Upon planting, many of these seeds stored for thousands of years, germinated into well formed plants.

Another example is that of a stash of seeds buried within a Native American seed pot discovered on the Menemonee Reservation in Wisconsin. The pot and seeds were carbon dated from around 1290, making the seeds an incredible 800 plus years old. Excitement was palatable as the seeds were planted and the wait began. To the utter joy of the student archaeologist, the strange seeds grew into a rare species of squash that had been extinct for hundreds of years.

There is also an amazing report of lupine (Lupinus articicus) seeds discovered in the Yukon of Alaska.  Found deep within the burrows of ancient lemmings, buried in permafrost silt dating to the Pleistocene epoch, these 10,000 year old seeds sprouted as well.

Noting the importance of seeds, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, or the Doomsday Seed Vault, was created in 2008. Located on the remote island of Svalbard in Norway and dug into the frozen Arctic ice, is humanity’s assurance of food perpetuation in case of a catastrophic event, such as nuclear war or an asteroid strike. Regardless of politics, each nation has contributed and the repository contains over 865,000 varieties of seeds from around the globe, with an intended capacity of 2.25 billion seeds. Seeds are the recognized life-blood of the planet and the tiny miracle of life each contains is one of Mother Nature’s grandest plans… seeds are perpetual and must remain so.

Information on the PBS series:

*There are many online sites to still purchase unmodified heirloom seeds.