which way to go?

What do you think?


the domestic goddess

Dianne displays her clean refrigerator

and prepares a fresh tomato pizza
and then feeds the dogsd, the horses, bales hay, rescues horses from barbed wire, cleans the water troughs, mows the lawn. . .


down by the water

at the river

at the beach
Why does if feel like summer is over? Hannah left Block Island (and her little brother Simon) yesterday, and I leave the Ozarks Friday. Busy saying goodbyes. The lightening bugs are fewer. The days are shorter, and the weather has been cooler (though I understand there's more heat coming). Some people (like Hannah, especially while pregnant) hate the heat. Me, I love summertime, and I'm gonna miss it, chigger bites and all.


easy living

The Barn Cat at ease as Orphenia, the blind calf, heads for the trough. It's not a tough life when you have Dianne for mama!


a sad tale, part 2

Napewaste Win and all of her creatures got out of Dodge and have landed soft in Flagstff, Ariz.



photo by John Gasner
For the first time in 35 years, both Dada and I forgot what would have been our anniversary. 7/8/78. Date chosen so we wouldn't forget it.



Usually Monday is roundup day, but there was the rain, and immediacy seemed more important.
So here we go.
A really good story about Hannah and Wear Your Music.
And don't forget to watch the video.
A somewhat peculiar story about why my area of Missouri is a good place to live.
And a very good video by my friend Denise explaining the geology and waterways of the area which is really why it's a great place to live!
And here's a story by a woman who grew up in the Ozarks near my childhood home done for a major documentary project in connection with the Library of Congress. Plenty of my photog friends are involved, but I have to say I don't find the pix in this particular piece compelling. Maybe you will disagree. The written story starts out slow but gets good when it gets personal.


sitting goose

They blow up fast in the Ozarks. One moment it's sunny, the next—boom!  Yesterday's storm (above and below) rolled in grumbling and dropped 3.5 inches of rain.  The one last week arrived with a crack that would've shaken the Goose had it not been a concrete bunker. I was on the phone, running a bath. I remembered that baths weren't good in electrical storms. And phones. Did cordless phones count? I got off the phone. I decided against a bath. I unplugged my computer but not the modem and started googling. Egad! Concrete floors are dangerous! I put my feet up on the banquette and wondered whether it would be better to go upstairs near the roof and electrical box but with a wood floor or stay downstairs in the bunker away from windows. CRACK! That sounded like it was in the house.Then I could hear the storm move past, and then sirens racing north up the highway. All night the firetrucks came down to the river to suck up water and then hurry back to put out the fire in an outbuilding up the road.


county fair

The Dragon Wagon

The Corn Dog

The Cotton Candy Milk
 Yes, after an evening at the fair, what else to round off the junk food but a nice half gallon of organic cotton candy milk, available from a local dairy along with root beer milk, strawberry milk, chocolate milk, etc. The cotton candy is the blue one.


ride 'em, cowboys

The bullriders are between 18 and 20 years old; the bulls, youngsters too. They travel around the midwest, wowing the crowds by trying to stick to a wildly bucking, one-ton animal for 9 seconds. It seems like an eternity when you're watching. Most bulls know the drill, and after their moment in the ring, go back into the pens. But once in a while one will will be chased around the ring a few times by a cowboy on horseback with a lasso. And then the announcer will say, secure in the belief that his audience is with him, "We call that bull Obama—we got him in here but we can't get him out!" And the crowd will roar approval.


how to defrost a frigidaire

The refrigerator had to be defrosted. A Frigidaire from the 50s, I don't know how it even still works. (Come to think of it, it's about as old as I am. Hmm.)
      For those who will never need to know how to do this: First put all the food in the cooler by the back door with a bag of ice (including the gallon jugs of water you haul in from a friend's house). Then unplug the thing and put pans of hot water in the freezer (if you can get them in). Throw the chunks of ice into the yard for the dog and wait til the fridge stops dripping. While waiting, wash your underwear in the sink and your hair with a bowl in the bathtub. Hang underwear in sun. Use bath water to water crape myrtle. Dry fridge with box fan. Plug back in.
    You too can have a low tech day! And then take pix of it on your iPhone and blog about it on your laptop! Best of both worlds!



On break, Bill Dugan contemplates lighting a cigar. He did, too.
They call it floating for a reason. I didn't know you don't actually have to paddle your kayak, just kind of steer. Unless you find yourself going backwards down rapids into a rock or fallen tree, which did happen. But fortunately they weren't very big rocks. And the paddle was great for fending off. There were ducks and turtles and a hawk and a cave and only two other parties of floaters, thankfully. Our own party of three put ashore for refreshments twice, and other than purposefully, my first excursion by kayak went without a wetting. Fortunately for my camera (phone).


a sad tale, part 1

That's Pookie, front and center, adoring her two-legged friend, Nape. Nape (right, you probably know the other two) is a story in herself, a Vietnam vet who was a man (part Lakota, part Jewish) until 40 when, she says, "I decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life as a woman." So she had surgery in Amsterdam, nearly 30 years ago now.
    We met her in Sunshine, La., some years back. A few months ago, she left the Mississippi riverbank for the high desert near Palm Springs. That's when everything began to fall apart—the job, the family the girlfriend, the trailer she lived in and hauled her four-leggeds in: a family of four dogs, four cats, five chickens and four or five horses.
     And then Pookie died. Nape wept for days. "I have to get out of here," she told me after she buried Pookie. But the trailer needed a part machined and there was no gas money. "Would a couple hundred dollars help?" I asked. "Yeah! She said. I might be able to get out of here! If I had known what it would be like here—  Well, I had two balls but they weren't crystal!"


the mansion next door

Meanwhile, back on Block Island, the house next door is getting quickly enclosed—shingles, windows, whoopee! Then there will be earth moving and porches and interior. Maybe they'll put in one of these outrageous outdoor bathrooms. One could wish, for my tenants' sake, that the exterior was already finished. But looks like it will be very soon.
  In news from way the other side of the U.S., a friend has a new yarn she has spun and dyed and is giving some of it away. If you are a knitter, check it out and enter! Or buy some of her yarn. The drawing is on Wednesday, so you have to enter today or tomorrow.
Oh, and I meant to put this up. If you want to buy half of the family compound (we'll keep the other half, tnx) check out this ad. Only $6 mill, baby!


for someone who doesn't want pets

Now I have one on each doorstep. Yoyo has reclaimed her usual spot by the air conditioner and the cooler (she likes ice). And the cat realized that there was a front door to the house. However, her "owners" returned yesterday, so those fried clam strips will go a begging till they disappear.


i hate cats

This cat's name is Tripod, for obvious reasons. He or she sort of belongs to the kids next door. But they have been gone for several days, so when I try to do anything outside, the cat rubs my ankles (and transfers chiggers to me) and meows. And when I am inside it lies on the doorstep and meows. And when I try to go in or out, it tries to get in. And meows. I have not fed it.
     However, this morning when it had been like three plus days since my neighbors had been around, the meowing got to me. Obviously this cat can't run down wildlife to eat. So I gave it some chicken. The meowing ceased for a bit but then resumed with more insistent demands to be let inside. Word, Tripod: I too am leaving. Find another sucker.


scam alert?

Lately I have been getting inquiries through VRBO similar to those one can get through Craig's List: ie poor command of English and an undue interest in method of payment and my bank account number. However the following letter really captured my attention:
       Dear Ms. Dowling: I have found your houses on VBO, and they have take my breath away. I ask for your help in securing my dreams can come true.  I am a widow with five lovely children, ages 2- 10. My husband, Colonel Langouste Brown , was killed defending our country while stationed in Ethiopia.  It was always his wish for me that I spend every summer at the beach, and he has made sure in spite of his tragic demise, that I and our beautiful children can do this. He has left me sufficient funds to secure your lovely homes for 25 years to come.
I will send funds to you as soon as you let me know the cost of this agreement. We would like both houses the months of August. I am needing also maid service for this time. Please email me your sonsent, and the following information, and I will have my attorney, Nose Bite Kitty, mail you enough funds to secure your trust.

Thank you in advance for helping our family.  Sincerely,  Antoinette Brown

1) your full names
2) your mailing address
3) your bank account number at which to receive your funds

And then this.
Dear Ms. Dowling: Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Nose Bite Kitty, acting attorney at law for Mrs. Langouste Brown, a widow currently residing in Monaco, France. It is my clients wish to rent your properties on Block Island, Rhode Isalnd for the months of August, from this year 2013 until the year 2038.
On behalf of Ms. Brown I will be issuing you a check to cover the costs of these rentals, plus maid service for 31 days per month. I will send you more than is asked, so there will be a reserve should any unforeseen mishaps, such as shortage of mice,  occur.

Thank you in advance for your co operation. Sincerely, Nose Bite Kitty

I don't see how I can possibly pass up this opportunity. The only thing thing that worries me is kicking out my long time tenants. And the mice, of course.


pick a color, any color

The current condition.
 The Goose obviously could use some paint on the exterior. I was thinking the flesh pink of the canopy might be nice. You know, pink, but not too pink. Not pink enough, as Bill Dugan said, that "all the cowboys from miles round would flock to the place." Not quite as pink, in other words, as Chris Garrison's photoshopped vision below. Though the flamingoes are a nice touch. I did have one, but it flew away.
What color would you pick?
Canopy rose? Peach? Lime?
Peptobismal Pink?


Note humming bird feeder. I will try for the rest of my days here to get a picture of an actual hummingbird but I doubt I will ever succeed. He's not used to seeing me.
   And speaking of trying to capture fleeting things, here is a video of Donna Ferrato's Love and Intimacy workshop in Venice this past March.
   One feature of my ruralization is that here in the hills and hollers I have much better Internet reception than I do in Block Island or even The City. Maybe noone else uses it? So I can watch video. Here's another on the Making of a Guitar String Bracelet from Hannah's Wear Your Music.
   And finally, for those of you who were interested in the Sherpa/climber controversy on Everest this season, you might want to read the New Yorker piece from the point of view of the climber and the British Mountaineering Council's interview with my friend Russell Brice on the Sherpas' point of view.  No video on these. But a reminder that the truth, in photographs or writing or in life, is as hard to capture as a hummingbird.


the country life

 But what do you do out there? That's what people ask when when they hear that I'm in the Ozarks.
Well, I caught a lightening bug for the first time in many years last night.
I went swimming in the river.
I refilled the hummingbird feeder, and have a taker.
Then there's the farmer's market, where the beans and tomatoes are coming in.
And yesterday the First Baptist Church had a fair.

I'm on what they used to call a repairing lease— after too much wine, women and song in the city, the dandies used to head for the country- side to restore their con- stitutions. "Rural sounds exhilarate the spirit and restore the tone of languid nature," William Cowper wrote. ("Though," groused one Georgette Heyer hero, "how you're supposed to get any sleep with a lot of damn cockerels crowing their heads off, I don't know.") Thus, in that great tradition—and yes, I endure the sounds of cockerels and woodpeckers and cows and logging trucks—I am ruralizing. After less than a week, my weight and blood pressure are coasting downward. Stay tuned.


rocket's red glare. . .

scenes from the apocalypse

. . .the bomb's bursting on the highway. First a cookout and some homestyle fireworks and then the real deal at the high school. A friend from El Salvador told me that she used to love fireworks before war came to her town and the popping sounds were bullets. I wonder whether vets viewing fireworks want to hurl themselves under the nearest shelter. Must ask Bill.
PS   A hilarious video of what happened in San Diego when all the fireworks accidentally went off at the same time.



Left Block Island under my wing, crossed the mighty Mississippi in Memphis , bought hamburgers, corn on the cob, potato chips and firecrackers and flew into the Goose.

Yes, it's Independence Day.
What or whom would you like to declare independence from?


travel day

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


goodbye to the sea

I had a seafood attack yesterday, likely because I know I was going to landbound catfishland for a month plus. Tomorrow. Suddenly, en route to RI from NYC, at about New Haven, I had to have a lobster roll. And it had to be from one of those places with picnic tables overlooking the water. Hannah informs me that the place of my dreams is Stowe's in West Haven, but I didn't know that, so I salivated until Mystic. Figuring that in a tourist spot there must be the kind of place I was picturing, I got off the highway and tooled along the water until I came upon it. There were even seagulls hoping to steal your food. And then I had shrimp and avocado cocktail at a fab Mexican restaurant for dinner. So I'm set up til August.


baptism by light

And a second generation is offered to the photo goddess: Donna Ferrato, photographer, with Fanny, Alaa and baby Ryan.