Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Green Green, It's Green They Say

And indeed it is.  Usually May and June are very dry months at the cabin.  It is hot (ish), very dry, and sometimes approaching miserable, though that is stretching it a bit.  This year, however, could not be farther from that.  With the exception of about a week, it has rained nearly every day, and the difference between when we were here over Memorial Day and now amazes us.

We first noticed it was crazy green when we drove into our driveway and the grass was "hood high."  Our Jeep is not a low-to-the-ground car, and when we saw the grass as tall as the hood, we were shocked.  Everywhere we went, we were met with chest-high grass, blooming flowers, and a beautifully high stream.

The day we arrived, we had just gotten unpacked when the rain unleashed on us.  Although less than a mile up they received a dash of rain, we received about 3/4 of an inch - enough to cause the mud to come down the mountain down from us.  Luckily cars could still ford the mud . . . 

Yesterday was the noisiest day I have had in a long time.  For about 6 hours, the clouds rumbled and growled, much like an upset stomach.  But we never saw lightning and it never rained, which was good as the land needs a little time to dry.  But it is already clouding up again, so we will see what happens today.  In the meantime, I will continue to channel the Christy Minstrels!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Little Swimmers

Melinda decided to introduce Caleb to the swimming pool at the ripe old age of three months.  No surprise there, as she is an avid swimmer and she wants her children to be comfortable in the water.  We were lucky to be able to catch one of the swimming "lessons."

Although Caleb appeared to be the youngest one there, he was one of the largest babies!  The sweet petite little girls, some as much as six months older, were splashing and playing . . . Caleb was just in awe of it all.

We did watch him go under the water, and although he seemed a little surprised, I think he liked it.

We are lucky to live close enough to Caleb to participate in some of his daily activities!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Invention of Wings

The book, The Invention of Wings, is a stunning historical fiction about an abolitionist and her efforts to help the slave population.  Sue Monk Kidd's research led her to the story, and her explanation of where she deviated from the truth makes the story even more alive for me.

The abolitionist, Sarah Grimke, and her sister are the daughters of a slaveowner and his purportedly cruel wife.  Very early in her young life, Sarah recognized the evils of slavery and began to try to remedy some of her family's behavior.  She found it to be very hard to change an institution, yet she continued to try to find a way.

Hetty, Sarah's handmaiden, also recognizes the evils of slavery and the impact it has had on the black population and her family.  Unfortunately, she is having to live it.

The book recounts the story first from Sarah's viewpoint and then from Hetty's.  She managed to capture Sarah's attempts to understand and truly feel what it must be like to be a slave; and she also captures Hetty's deep hatred for the slaveowners and her continued desire to be set free.

It is impossible for any of us to put ourselves in the shoes of the slaves, but this book is a good attempt to facilitate it.  A few parts of it are very hard to read - at least they were for me - but the book is so worth reading, skip those parts if you have to!

Baby Laughs

We had a very busy weekend, and in the midst of it all, Baby Caleb came to visit.  I did not get to spend much time with him, but Sunday, just before they left, I did get a chance to play with him.  It does not get better than this.

Symphony on the Flint Hills

I have always wanted to attend the Symphony on the Flint Hills, but until this year have been unable to do so.  Luckily, this year we were home and able to go.

The weather was not cooperating, however.  It had rained much of the day before, and predictions were not promising.  When we received the text at 9:30 a.m. that the concert was on, I was skeptical. It was cloudy, cloudy, cloudy, and when we left Wichita, it was raining.  But we had spent the money, so we went.

As we neared the Z-Bar Ranch, the skies were clearing.  We grabbed all of our paraphernalia - chairs, raincoats, water, food - and headed out.  Wouldn't you know, just as soon as we started walking, the sun came out, and it began to heat up.  By the time we reached the concert area, we were quite warm. But that was ok . . . the gorgeous scenery made up for it.

After we cooled down a bit, three of us went to some of the educational sessions.  I caught one about the Lesser Prairie Chicken, and since my sister, Katie, has actually been on a Lesser Prairie Chicken count, I knew a little about them.  It was a fascinating talk, and I learned a little about the Cimarron National Grasslands, by which we drive every time we go to the cabin.  Next time, we are going to take a little excursion and see what they have to show!

As the day went on, the more spectacular it became.  The green of the Flint Hills set against the blue sky - for miles and miles - is unmatched.  Some say Kansas is boring.  They haven't been to the Flint Hills.

By the time the music began, we were ready to sit and listen.  The guys had a little trouble staying awake, but after about 30 minutes, they got their second wind.  After intermission, fourteen wranglers gathered a herd of cattle and drove them past the crowd, a stirring sight for all.  Lyle Lovett then performed a few songs, and although I do not know his music, I enjoyed listening to it.

As we left, the sun dropped below a cloud, turning the entire area reddish orange.  It was a spectacular way to end a wonderful day.

Thursday, June 4, 2015


Is it already June?  Between the time we returned from Iceland to now, we have been on a treadmill.  And then before Memorial Day we went to the cabin, returning home today.

We missed most of the big rains, but we could certainly see the results of it all.  Going to New Mexico, we commented that Western Kansas has never looked so good.  There were so many yuccas blooming, it looked like New Mexico.  All the way through to the cabin, the areas were greener than we had ever seen.  Even Santa Fe into Albuquerque looked like the Flint Hills.

It seems impossible that June is already upon us.  I can tell I had better get ready - it won't be long until Christmas!