sharpchick_2011: (Romani q of s)
2012-05-31 05:56 pm

[sticky entry] Sticky: Central Arkansas Snapshot

Some of the entries in this blog will be photo posts of things I've found interesting as I wander around Pulaski, Saline and Faulkner counties in central Arkansas.

If you are only interested in seeing those posts, and don't want to hunt for them, click here.
sharpchick_2011: (Default)
2014-05-18 08:16 am
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It has been a very lush spring in the east cottage garden...

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My 3 year old clematis on the fence finally bloomed.
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The potted one by the front door was gorgeous as always, but needs a good pruning.
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After nearly 10 years, the cold weather and a tree limb broke the large terra cotta pot that had been home to this Japanese maple. My neighbor helped me repot it.
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And what to do with the very large shards?

Make a planter for some succulents, because everyone knows you can never have too many succulents...

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We love Japanese maples around the cottage, so we have, Here's a smaller one.
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The journey is good.

I am remembering to smell the roses.
sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
2014-02-27 11:33 am
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In which I annoy you with a photo of plants...

Have not posted in ever so long.

And regretfully, also have not read.

Winter still has her icy fingers around the cottage garden.

So I garden indoors.

My succulent collection has grown a bit.

 photo SucculentsIhave1.jpg
For those who want to know, here's what they are...

Left to right

Row 1: Aloe 'Pickled Pink,' Aloe Juvenna, Senecio Rowleyanus 'String of Pearls,' Sedum Morganianum 'Donkey's Tail,' Aloe Ciliaris (did not not when I purchased it at Lowes that it's the fastest growing of the small aloes but I can vouch for that), Sedum Burrito 'Burro's Tail (less likely to be damaged by casual contact than Morganianum)

Row 2: Kalanchoe Tomentosa 'Panda Plant' (kids love to pet this. So do I.), Haworthia reinwardtii var. brevicula (say that three times real fast), Graptoveria Amethorum, Hoya compacta 'Hindu rope plant,' Sansevieria trifasciata 'Black Gold,' Beaucarnea Recurvata 'Ponytail palm'

Row 3: Aloe variegata, Echeveria Perle von Nurnberg (crested), Haworthia fasciata (not to be confused with Haworthia attenuata, which has little nubbies on both sides of the leaves), Rhipsalis 'Mistletoe Cactus,' some of the pots backlit by morning sun, Aloe Crosby's prolific.
The journey is good.

I love playing in the dirt, even when I have to do it inside.
sharpchick_2011: (Candle)
2013-11-10 12:16 pm

Life is grand...

And I am blessed.

In the weeks following my resignation from my job, I made a discovery that really was so much a wake up call.

I really needed a break - time to winnow, contemplate, meditate.

Time to just be.

No matter what the future holds, I will always treasure this time that I am taking now. It feeds my soul.
Every day has its own rhythm.

Some days, I am deep into family history, and not just my own.

I have a dear friend who wants to know what happened to a sister and a brother, when each of them inexplicably "disappeared" from the family.

My heart hurts for him, because his childhood (and that of his surviving siblings) has left deep wounds in his soul. (If you read that blog entry, and have an idea you might have any information, please contact me.)

Other days, other bloggers' reactions to a family photo I've posted give me a reason for musing about a long dead relative.

And sometimes, the simple act of doing laundry brings back memories of my grandmother and a quilt she made for me.

Every day has its own richness.

The journey is good.

sharpchick_2011: (Caddo solar cross)
2013-10-23 02:42 pm

My trip to Toltec Mounds State Park

I never seem to remember this park until I have occasion to take the I440 bypass from I30 to I40.

Then, I see the exit again, and mentally kick myself for never having made this little side trip on my journey. It's really so close to home.

So I went yesterday.

This was a spiritual experience for me.
Archaeological digs at this site date the construction of it from before 700 CE to about 1050 CE, when inexplicably, the Plum Bayou people left and never came back. In later years, Quapaw Indians used the site for a period of time, and then they too abandoned it.

Tilling and farming of the rich fertile soil by white farmers destroyed most of the original mounds.

But a few have been preserved.
Photos cannot capture the grandeur of these mounds. Standing a few hundred yard away from them was breathtakingly awesome for me.

Left to right, Mounds C, A, and B (C behind the tree):
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Archaeological evidence showed that this area was used year round to house the spiritual, and perhaps tribal, leaders and their families, with no more than a few dozen individuals living there on a year round basis.

This was a spiritual,cultural and ceremonial center for the Indians named the Plum Bayou People by the archaeologists. At a minimum, during solstice and equinox ceremonies, hundreds of people gathered at the site.

Mound A is the tallest at 49 feet. It backs up to Plum Bayou, which used to be a bend in the Arkansas River. I think it's possible this platform mound had the temple on top of it.
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Mound B is also a platform mound, and is 39 feet high.
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Mound C is not a platform mound, but has a rounded top. Other round top mounds in the southeast United States were often used as burial mounds. The digs in this mound showed it to be the only burial mound still surviving at the site.
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Digs at Mound S showed it to be a mound where feasts were held.
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Plum Bayou - accessed up close and personal by the boardwalk
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The bald cypress trees
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And their fruit, which was about the size of small grapes. I had no idea these trees had fruit that large, and it probably accounted for the number of birds who were not real pleased with my appearance in their Eden.
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The back of Mound A, as seen from the boardwalk deck on Plum Bayou. Can you imagine pulling your canoe up to the shore when you arrived for the solstice celebration, and seeing your temple - or a majestic dwelling of your spiritual leader - rising up in front of you?
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Dugout canoe on the boardwalk deck
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I kept hearing splashes as I walked along the boardwalk. It was the turtles, one of the food sources for those Indians of so long ago.
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Something that struck me as so interesting is that the distance from one mound to another for the ones surrounding the plazas was exactly 47.5 meters. No one knows what significance that had, but I think it possibly could have been related to the geometry needed to locate and situate Mound H.

That's the viewing mound, just barely elevated...mere inches.

It's where you can see the alignment of the sunsets with Mounds A and B during solstices and equinoxes. Viewing from Mound H is open to the public.

And you better bet I'll do everything I can to be there for the winter solstice.
The journey is good.

Sometimes we can have the same view as the ancestors.

sharpchick_2011: (Smite)
2013-10-14 08:27 am

The GOP's little rule change they hoped you wouldn't notice...

I guess they thought desperate times called for desperate measures.

In the dark of night on 30 September, the United States House of Representatives Rules Committee changed a standing House rule so that no one but John Boehner or his designee could bring up a bill or an amendment to a bill to re-open the federal government.

Watch Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D- Maryland) confront the Speaker's stand-in.

Appalling. The suspension of democracy in the United States House of Representatives.
sharpchick_2011: (Cat with lime)
2013-10-06 08:54 am

That icky GOP commerical...

How I'd love to see if we can move the discussion back where it belongs on the raging debate on Obamacare, AKA the Affordable Healthcare Act." (Yes, I realize a heartbreaking number of people in the video didn't realize they were one and the same, but I have chosen my Dreamwidth friends carefully and presume that you all have an acceptable amount of discernment.)

That little commercial that the GOP is running now, with that woman bemoaning the government intruding into her healthcare? The one where she doesn't want to lose her doctor?

The poor confused thing - she must have been going to too many tea parties lately.

Because here's the deal for that poor woman, Bless Her Heart*...

1. You have insurance. You like your doctor. Come January 1, you need do *nothing.* Whether you've bought your insurance on your own or your employer is providing it, you've got insurance. Hooray! (You do realize that even under this scenario, honey, if you change insurance companies, your doctor might not be "in network?")


2. You don't have insurance, but you like your doctor and don't want the black guy in the White House telling you which doctor you can or cannot use. Either you:

a. Are using an ER doc, and are letting the rest of us pay for your healthcare either in the amount that can be written off and covered as a true emergency by the feds - shame on you for waiting to let us pay for a more expensive injury or illness - or we are paying for your uncompensated care with higher bills for our own. In either event, you are a lying sack of shit, and would probably have done that commercial whether the GOP paid you to or not; OR

b. Are independently wealthy, like your doctor and don't want the black guy in the White House telling you which doctor you can or cannot use. In that case, buy the stripped down, gutted out model of insurance, and if it doesn't cover your doc, keep on paying him out of pocket. No one on the other side of the argument will care, and besides, your accountant can use those insurance premiums to pad the healthcare expenses you write off your taxes at the end of the year anyway. I'm thinking all that medically necessary botox and lipo here, hun.

And since you don't have a dog in this particular fight (and I use that term loosely because the ACA has been upheld by the Supremes and is the law of the land), why don't you let the rest of us who do go ahead and sign up unmolested? (I mean, taking down the website on the first day of applications was a bit predictable wasn't it? I think you're losing your edge, if not your gall.)

Because this issue just isn't about you.

*Down here in the South, Bless Her Heart really means something altogether different.
sharpchick_2011: (Romani q of s)
2013-09-27 08:26 am
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Time on my hands

Have recently joined the ranks of the unemployed. I resigned my position with the non-profit where I had worked for slightly less than 25 years.

For the last five years, I've known - and journaled in my leather journal - that it was time to go. Recent changes at the organization that I had hoped would be for the good are, unfortunately, not.

The universe has been sending those prickly little signals since mid-January. The tiny voice in the back of my mind has been saying this does not feel right. I had steadfastly given it 60 days, and 60 more days, hoping for a more settled feeling. I know when all aspects of myself are not integrated, and at a meeting a week and a half ago, I knew it was nut cutting time.

No epiphany, just a strong sense of peace as I committed to leave. I am wrapping up loose ends today, have a plan for financial safety for a few months, and right now, am diving into the things I have wanted to do, but never had the time.

Most of which includes spending a lot of time with dead people...

You can't fight the cycles. There are many sideroads on the journey.
sharpchick_2011: (Man belongs to the earth)
2013-08-03 07:52 am
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sharpchick_2011: (Troll)
2013-07-27 12:17 pm
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Meanwhile, back at the pond...

We had a lovely soaking rain for about 24 hours, starting late yesterday morning.

So unusual for this time of year around these parts. Yesterday's high was 72 in the cottage garden. Quite drizzly. Last year on that date, our high was 103, and we were in the middle of a critical drought.

But yesterday, the universe gave me wonderful weather for planting my backside on the couch and catching up on reading.

Which I did.
Okay, now this lotus is just toying with me.

I have been watching this bud for over a week now.

It gets bigger, and the color deepens but there's no hint of it opening.

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I never understand ponders who post this kind of photo, and say something like...

Well, I declare! I had no idea there was a bud. That flower just crept up on me...

Do they not visit their ponds every day? If not, what's the point?

My pond is one of the little bitty pieces of nature entrusted to me that restores my soul.
And so this morning, one of the wees got bolder and came out with the grown-ups for the morning feed.

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He's (she? do not know - have not looked between the tiny little fins) a new one to me.

There are two other new-to-me wee ones also.

Which now brings us up to six.

And I fear that's really something like 36, or 76...

They do like their citrus.

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The journey is good.

And full of all sorts of interesting surprises.

sharpchick_2011: (Man belongs to the earth)
2013-07-23 05:45 pm

Gardening under glass...

My sub-tropical and tropical sundews (drosera) in the terrarium for year round growing. Four are cape sundews (capensis) and two are rosettes.

d. aliciae - a rosette form
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d. capensis narrow, red
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d. capensis alba
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d. tokaiensis - another rosette
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d. capensis narrow, with flower buds. Yay! Seeds!
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the alba, 6 minutes after being fed a thawed bloodworm.
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the whole tank - I recycled a retired 20 gallon long
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sharpchick_2011: (Scorpio)
2013-07-17 10:34 pm

Killers under glass...

All these are sundews. None of them need winter dormancy, and if I chanced having them outside, I might lose some of them, although other CP fans do report them handling some sub-freezing temperatures for short periods of time.

I'm trying a terrarium.

I am fascinated with these plants.
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d. capensis narrow leaf red photo dcapensisnarrowred.jpg

d. capensis wide leaf photo dcapensiswideleaf.jpg

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d. capensis alba photo dcapensisalba2.jpg

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sharpchick_2011: (Man belongs to the earth)
2013-07-06 09:26 am
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Plundering the land...

Have you ever known someone who just hacks, chops, burns, digs, grates, and plows his way through nature?

I do. Although my in-person contact with him is minimal, my landlord just slays me. And not only in a figurative sense.

Every time he rapes the land out here, a little piece of my soul goes with what he takes.

He's doing it again. Had a crew out here, cutting perfectly health trees down.

One of the neightbors asked him why. He doesn't like sweet gum balls.

And he doesn't keep those two yards either. The tenants who live there do, as we all do.

So why does he care?

Because plundering nature is one of his hobbies.
When he first bought this place some 14 or 15 years ago, one of his first orders of business was to clear cut all the pine off of it.

The pileated woodpeckers left. They prefer to nest in mature forests, and ours was gone. He started cutting in the late spring, and I asked him if he was having the logging company watch out for nests with fledgling birds. He looked at me as if I had lost what was left of my mind.

The logging company dragged the trees out of the forest using chains and tractors. They rarely loaded their trucks where they felled trees.

I asked my landlord if he knew how long it takes nature to make an inch of topsoil - all those inches that were being dragged out of the forest wouldn't be replaced for millenia.

He squinted at me, and I knew he was entertaining questions about whether I might be one of those spike-driving tree huggers.

For him, nature is something to be subdued.
No. It's not.

He's just flat-assed wrong.

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sharpchick_2011: (Smite)
2013-07-01 04:12 pm
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I know they are old ads, but still...

Someone should have been taken out behind the woodshed.

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sharpchick_2011: (Scorpio)
2013-06-30 04:28 pm

In the garden on this fine summer day...

After triple digit air temps earlier this week, we are having a brief respite. And the humdity is much lower, too.

chicks on my hens - I love the purple of these leaves, and the little tiny teeth on the edges of the leaves that must have some purpose.

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grandchick chair on the front porch

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the bloom only lasts for a day, but it is sensational while it's there

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salvinia minima in the pond - look at the tiny little hairs on top of the leaves

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nymphaea Sioux lily - the mottled leaf color is stunning to me. I can't wait to see the bloom.

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