Discovery on the Road

Check out the above photos, enlarge if possible. Look closely for clues. Are any shapes familiar or identifiable? Maybe you won’t find this so fascinating, but I did.

Once again I am walking (it’s amazing how many of my slices involve my walking!) the same old road, trudging along when I spy something on the edge of the road ahead. It’s probably some blacktop crumbs, I think as I glance down while I walk by. No, it wasn’t blacktop or gravel, my feet take a few steps before my brain processes what I saw. Wait a minute, this looks interesting, and maybe a little like bones.

A quick turnabout and I am studying the “stuff” in the first picture. Yes, those look like rib bones. My eyes traveled down the road and there was another little group of bones and even some fur (#3). Then I looked more intently at my surroundings. More bones were in the ditch laying on the grass. I stepped off the road to retrieve those pieces. Normally I do not stray off the road for fear of being attacked by seed ticks, but this find was to great to leave. I tossed the bones from the grass to the road.

What should I do? I don’t want to put them into my pocket for fear they will be broken. So, I gather them all into a small pile. I will complete my walk (only halfway through at this point), and return with a baggie to collect my treasures. My step was  little quicker as I resumed the walk.

Who will get my artifact of nature? Immediately I decide that my friend who teaches first grade will be the recipient of this bag o’bones. She has a Wonder Table (from Georgia Heard’s book A Place for Wonder) This would be perfect. I know she will love this find.

Quickly I drive back to the location, relieved to find the bones are still there.

The baggie of bones are delivered later in the afternoon when I meet up with my friend to get a pedicure. Even the girl giving the pedicure is interested in my bag of bones. I know the first graders will have fun investigating these bones.

Just when walking becomes mundane, nature drops something in my path to intrigue me. So for now I will be more vigilant. Who knows what other “slice of life” is waiting for me on the road.

Guess Who Came to Lunch

He arrived without an invitation,

but he did bring his own food.

He picked at his food with determination

but his manners were lacking.

There was no hurry,

but there was no conversation.

Occasionally he paused to gaze at his surroundings,

then he continued to attack his meal.

He devoured it all.

He departed as quietly as he came.

He left a mess of scattered feathers.

This is all he left.

Was he full or did he leave to find another meal?

"That was yummy."

My lunchtime guest

Change of Plans

“I have a job for you,” my husband says in a casual tone as we walk into the house, returning from dinner out.

My mind is thinking, Oh no, what do I have to sort through or clean up now? But that is not the job.

“I think I have a thorn or splinter on the bottom of my foot. I can’t see it to get it out. So I thought you could,” he says.

“This is my opportunity to inflict pain?” I joke as he gets  tweezers and I get a magnifying glass. “What were you doing to get this in your foot?” (I have been working out of town for the past three days, so I don’t know what he’s been doing.)

“Yesterday I did some yard work in the backyard, but I was barefoot. I never felt anything until this morning the bottom of my foot was a little sore, but I couldn’t see anything in there, so I thought I’d wait until you got home and you could get it out.”

He puts his foot in my lap and I look. I can see there is infection but there are  also red lines radiating out from the infection and beginning to crawl up the side of his foot. I’m no doctor, but I do know that red streaks are not a good thing.

“You have an infection and red streaks coming out of it. I’m not messing with this. Let’s go see what Pam says,” I tell him. (Pam is our neighbor and she is a nurse.)

Pam takes one look and says, “You had better get to urgent care as soon as possible. You have an infection in your blood and if you wait it will be up to your knee by the morning.” These are not the words we wanted to hear.

We have no idea where an urgent care center is with our insurance. However, after a phone call to nurse on call we know where to go. They are open until 9 and it is only 7 so we should be good. Hopefully this won’t take too long.

That was a hope in vain. After waiting nearly two hours, he is called to the back. The staff at the center begin the closing process as I sit and wait. I am watching a young father juggle a baby, who wants to get down and crawl, and a three year old daughter as they wait for mom to return. I am thankful I don’t have to entertain anyone.

Within fifteen minutes, my husband returns. He is not limping and there is no enormous bandage wrapped around his foot. “So, what happened? What did the doctor say?” I pepper him with questions.

“He said it was a good thing I came in, but he couldn’t find a splinter or thorn in my foot. And we have to stop to pick up an antibiotic prescription before we get home.”

At 9:30 we drag into the house. I am tired but relieved. I hope we don’t have anymore changes in plans like this in our future.

P.S. – Three days after the evening in urgent care, we get a phone call from urgent care. The doctor had taken a culture of the infection and the lab report listed some bacteria that was causing concern. So, an additional antibiotic prescription was called in to the pharmacy. I am happy to report the wound is healing.

Pepper Problems

Fresh homegrown produce is the best! A previous slice celebrated my first tomato of the season (click here to read). Since then, the tomatoes have not maintained the size or quality of the first. But that is not the heart of my slice.

This year my herb and  two tomato plant garden plot grew. I rejoiced in the idea that I had room to include a few more plants. I added two blueberry shrubs. They thrived . . . for a while, now they have curled up and died, much like the wicked witch of the west. The herbs have been prolific. Bumblebees and butterflies have been busy gathering the pollen from the blooms. I know I should cut the blooms off, but I didn’t have the heart when I saw the insects dipping in and out among the plants. Again, this does not match my title.

My "garden" plot

We love red peppers! However, they demand a high price at the store. So they are purchased only when they are on sale, which isn’t very often. Ah-hah! Extra space in the garden makes me think I could add a few pepper plants.

Flashback to May – I am wandering around the farmer’s market collecting herbs and tomato plants for my garden when I see markers in a pot stating they are red pepper plants. Yes, just what I need to complete my little garden. I return home with four of these pepper plants. All items are planted immediately. Then I sit back to wait for the bounty to grow and ripen, savoring the tastes yet to come.

As I watch the peppers, I am confused by the shape developing. They should look like a bell pepper but these don’t. Instead they take on the shape of jalapenos. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a jalapeno here and there, but four plants?! As time rolls on, the pepper turns a gorgeous shade of red. I do have red peppers, just not the variety I thought I’d have.

I turn to my friend Google to see if I can learn something about these peppers. One bit of information says they are sweet and mild. This prompts me to cut and taste one of the peppers. Good thing it was a tiny bite – hot, hot, hot! Now what do I do with these peppers? Any suggestions would be welcomed. I just keep picking them, but have no clue how to use them. Can you help?

Red peppers - What do I do with them?

Differences

When I am at home I try to walk every day. The route is always the same. There are few roads in our neighborhood which means I don’t have to concentrate on where I am.  This allows me to enjoy the scenery as it changes with the seasons.

Sometimes we go to visit family in southern California and again, I try to walk every day. As I walk, I can’t help but notice some differences.

In Missouri:                                                                In California:

Lantana is a bedding plant                                              Lantana is a shrub

Cars – domestic                                                Cars – foreign and expensive

Yards are grass (sort of)                                          Yards are landscaped

Hot and humid                                                             Overcast and cool

Walkers wear short sleeves or sleeveless                    Walkers are bundled up

Honeysuckle creeps along fence rows                           Jasmine hedges are manicured

Homes are less than $350,000                                         Homes are priced $1,000,000+

Road hazards                                                                Road hazards

slithering snakes

creeping snails

What’s in your walking world?