Herding Armadillos and An Overdue Letter

How close can you get to an armadillo? Depends on how brave you are. The Man Of Few Words recently got close enough to photograph the hairs on its back, gently poked at them and concluded they’re more leathery than armored (oblivious, too), and grinned at me. We should all be so trusting.

Last week one of ’em almost ran up my leg. After a few “Oh, OH’s!” it scampered into the underbrush. (Didn’t realize they could run so fast!) As a result of that — plus previous encounters with cottonmouth snakes and a stray dog — I’m still a lil’ gun shy and/or photo shy with unexpected “up close and personal” opportunities to document Oklahoma’s wildlife. But, I appreciate “seeing” all of it — even through someone else’s lens — and I’m feeling braver by the day.

Thankfully Mama armadillo wasn’t around. (Not sure what I would’ve done with a full-sized armadillo chasing after me!) Here’s another pic of one of the babies courtesy of TMOFW, followed by a long-promised letter from me. Sometimes words are more forthcoming than photography on my part.

Dear Friends,

I’ve been a letter-writer all my life. Pen pals. Best friends. Family members. Even long distance crushes. (More on that momentarily.)

As long as I have a pen in my hand with access to paper, stamps, and a mailbox, I’m a happy camper. I’d even go so far as to say that if I don’t write something every day I’d be as skittish as an armadillo. (Bet you’ve never heard that comparison before.) Whether or not my thoughts make it to another human being’s mailbox, the fact is: I WRITE every day. Some days I scramble into the underbrush. Tentative. Unsure. Unable to to portray the real “me.” Still, I write nonetheless.

Life’s too short not to be candid.

Speaking of that long-ago long-distance crush, what a humbling moment that was in my letter-writing life. I grew up on a flat, fenced farm in rural Minnesota and the nearest body of water was a tributary named the “creek” (pronounced crick) a quarter-mile away. More of a dribble than a tributary, except during the Spring and Fall rains when it overflowed and chewed away at our rural gravel road with a gaping whirlpool — it served as a convenient get-away after a short hike — a respite and quiet place to think and write. I’ve been looking for the ideal spot all my life and finally found it at “The Lake.” (Thank you, God.)

Round about that time the musical “Oliver” was released. While everyone else was enamored by Mark Lester — the “star” — my girlish notions were captivated by The Artful Dodger, Jack Wild. (For some reason, I’ve always favored the underdog — a life-long habit, ahem.) I wrote a letter to him on the banks of the “crick” and put it in the mail, hopeful of his personal reply. Imagine my chagrin when the mailman returned my letter a few days later due to “insufficient postage.” (Who knew international postage rates applied?!) Appalled and ashamed, I tore up my love letter and tossed them into the flowing waters of the “crick.” Since then, I’ve decided to do a lil’ more research, pay the price (as needed), and continue to let people know how I feel — postage rates or not. Also sorry to learn that he succumbed from cancer at an early age.

I’ve also learned not to mess with Mama!Above is TMOFW’s favorite goulash with corn because that’s the way his Mom made it. Who am I to upset tradition? Ever the faithful wife. :)

Some lessons are learned alongside fledgling waterways, heart-felt love letters returned with insufficient postage, and “the lake.” (Even armadillo encounters…)

I’m grateful for every one of them on the journey toward being “me.”

Enjoying discoveries one day at a time,

~ Kim

Wildlife At The Lake

Armadillos and squirrels and woodchucks, oh my! You never know what might show up at the lake.

(Actually we have two woodchucks, but “Mrs. Woody” is a tad camera shy.)

Our above-ground friends add to the entertainment.

Recently The Man Of Few Words captured a photo of Oklahoma’s elusive state bird, the Scissortail Fly Catcher, too. So proud of ’em both…

Most days we sit on the deck minus the camera intent on watching the world go by. Ahhhh…

But, every once in awhile we get lucky. Tickled to share our glimpses with you!

In between we’ve also spied bluebirds, orioles, cardinals, hummingbirds, bald eagles, Great Blue Herons, cranes, geese, wood ducks, blue jays, gray jays, robins, thrashers, wrens, and assorted other “little birds” but they’ve been too fast to capture on film. (Or we’ve been too slow.)

However, life’s been good. Nope, make that wild!

Enjoying Nature at the lake,

~ Kim

Billy Loves Angie

There’s an underpass just down the road where the locals express their sentiments in spray paint. Most are innocuous, a few are ribald, and then there’s true love.

Apparently these two were an item at one time and I smile every time I drive past their declaration. I wonder about them, too. Did he write it or did she? Whose idea was it? Are they still together or have they gone their separate ways?

While those questions will likely go unanswered, they give me pause for thought. Have you told your special someone how much they mean to you today? I’m not suggesting that you deface public property in the name of love, but I do suggest being “bright red” about it.

I guarantee you’ll make someone smile.

Enjoying true love,

~ Kim

Indelible Evidence

“Indelible” often refers to ink, but I believe it applies to life as well. You leave a trail whether you intend to or not. What will yours say about you?

The thumbprints above were my Dad’s (which I inadvertently discovered in one of his favorite books, besides Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove below) — James Michener’s Centennial. He told me he read it so many times he lost count! Evidently… indelibly. I included it in his eulogy five years ago.

Last winter I finally sat down to read one of Dad’s “faves” and discovered his posthumous paw prints. I bawled like a baby before I could read the rest. Not only did I touch his past, I discovered my future.

Above is the well-worn cover from his other favorite. Whether you’re into Westerns or not, it’s an entertaining read. (The Man Of Few Words ‘n’ I still watch the video series on lazy Saturday afternoons.) Dad left his mark on my heart, and my point is this: history precedes us and we all leave evidence of our existence.

Leave your trails wisely!

As for my lil’ corner of the planet, life lately has been experienced through my lens (at long last) — between intermittent storms, loss of satellite signal, and meals that will never make social media. (I ate the evidence!) It felt good. Slightly stormy, but good.

Fifteen or more tornadoes touched down in our immediate area this week — prayers to all those affected — to keep us mindful. Today it was “just” torrential rain. We’re grateful for every blessing, and truthfully I slept through most of it.  Apologies for the “post-publishing” edits, too… it’s been a long day, but I was compelled to write.

We’re doin’ okay, but the wind sock in our front yard provided evidence of the turbulent skies overhead. Nothing but “rotation” could accomplish that.

Gotta love Oklahoma!

Leave an indelible mark on your journey… the path is yours to define.

Or pass on indelibly.

Enjoying the past, present, and future,

~ Kim

Fun At The Lake

Similar to Seinfeld’s hit show this may appear to be about “nothing”, but it means the world to me. Plus, I had FUN playing with some new blog themes thanks to WP. (Still undecided… what do you think?) Although it’s slightly less photogenic — being a photographer ‘n’ all — my images show up sooner or later and it was time for a change.

Today I tackled the Tool Room. After our house/garage fire a few years back we were blessed with a three bedroom abode and I envisioned this as a music room… writing room… respite to view the lake. (NOT!) Wish I’d taken “before” pictures, but life goes on and I’m patient. And, The Man Of Few Words helped.

After sorting through accumulated nuts and bolts (hopefully in a somewhat coherent manner) and wading around “future projects on the floor” I transformed it into this:

The long-neglected “jelly cupboard” (circa 1950’s) from my folks’ basement, which my son loaded into my U-Haul at the last minute as a surprise back in in 2016, acquired a primer coat of paint to cover up my late brother’s artistry with spray paint before he customized his Cuda (you can still see a blotch on the left door… oh well) and I moved a few things into an adjacent closet, threw a sisal rug down on the floor, and  as the ol’ adage goes: “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Life is much simpler when that happens. (FYI, it doesn’t just “happen”… DO it!)

I still have a few finishing touches to implement. Grey paint on the floor. Perhaps a Monet on the wall? Overall, it’s progressing. (And my hubby can still find his tools.)

Most of the above was a blessing from the church thrift store (how ’bout that antique anchor shelf to hold my hubby’s fishing lures and filet knife?!), gifts from friends. and/or Amazon discount deals. (Soooo grateful.) Meanwhile I’ve been having FUN making the best use of our space even if it involves re-doing the Tool Room — or putting up with bright blue carpeting in our guest room. Sometimes ya make do. But, it matches the lake for now. Someday…

Wishing all of you a very Happy Easter. Hope you like what I’ve done with the place!

Enjoying life and FUN in progress,

~ Kim

P.S. Tell me what you think of my new blog format. I’m gradually transitioning into writing and trying to be mindful of my words.

In My Kitchen ~ January 2019

This month our In My Kitchen hostess — Sherry Mackay of Sherry’s Pickings — deemed January as IMK Lite, so I’m cutting to the chase…

In My Kitchen… these five-bladed scissors (above) are a delight for snipping herbs. Downsizing dill has never been so speedy!

In My Kitchen… is a long-waited dishwasher. The one that came with our house was twenty years old. It quit in October. A repairman was called and the earliest he could come was November. Parts were ordered, but one was out of stock and Thanksgiving came and went. By early December I was frustrated, although I didn’t mind washing dishes by hand and the old dishwasher served nicely as “the world’s largest dish draining rack.” The week before Christmas I cancelled the service order, bought this one, and The Man Of Few Words installed it in less than two hours — including replacing the floor under it. (Apparently the old girl had been leaking for awhile.) Long story short: I’m blessed by my hubby’s ability to fix anything and the new dishwasher works great.

In My Kitchen… are two ceramic-coated skillets to match a lil’ one I got last year. Scrambled eggs slid right out of it and my other non-stick pans needed replacing. There you have it!

For more global gadgets and ingredients, click on the link to Sherry’s blog (top o’ the page) and discover a world of FUN and flavor.

Enjoying brevity,

~ Kim

Christmas Day 2018

All is calm, but not so bright at the lake on December 25, 2018. Impending thunderstorms and overcast skies were the only thing this holiday morn had to offer photographically, however I still found JOY in the stillness and the quiet, muted colors. Hope you do, too! Things don’t always have to be “tinsel and glitter” to enjoy moments of peace.

After I fixed breakfast for The Man Of Few Words (bacon and eggs for him; a Mimosa and a stellar cup of freshly ground coffee for me:) we went for a walkabout ’round the ‘hood to check on our lake neighbors’ homes. All was well, except for evidence of a renegade armadillo who decided to take up residence under one of their houses and who continues to dig up our yards. (Such are the joys of living in rural Oklahoma.)

Ghosts of Christmas Past (and present) also caught my eye…

The Driftwood Trees have been a constant presence in our view ever since we moved here — remnants of former mountains and homes submerged after the huge dam fifteen miles east of us was completed in the 1960’s when Oklahoma’s largest lake was formed. I’ve always wondered what it was like to learn your home was about to be under water (sort of like the scene in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”)

Thankfully, we’ve remained high and dry — even at flood stage.

Still, the mountains in the distance (and valleys far below) give me pause for thought and tons gratitude for living on “The Hill.” Like peoples’ lives, you never know what may lurk underneath. Listen to their stories and they’ll honor yours. Everybody has a story to tell.

Surprisingly, this was the only “color” I discovered today — on Christmas Day. (That, and a delightful bouquet from TMOFW; guess he noticed I’ve been watching every Charlie Brown Special on TV since the holidays began. :)

May your holidays be merry and bright, even on grey days. XO!

Loving LIFE at the lake,

~ Kim