Turn Left At The Cornfield

Learning how to hurry up and slow down.

Dear Diary…February 1, 2009





Ah, Utopia, where snow continues to fall, where the first sighting of red birds is celebrated, and where an underdog team wins the the Super Bowl!

The latest news from Ohio for the soon-to-be year old grandbaby girl is that she is walking whilst hanging on to other’s pant legs or their fingers.  She takes so much joy from walking, as her dad put it, “…like a chimpanzee…” that she giggles with every step.

Sir Loki Cat has been very busy with his new duties.  He has steady work not only as a couch and chair inspector but also as seat warmer.  Whenever either this writer or the resident woodsman vacates a chair or their spot on the couch or loveseat, Loki jumps right up to keep the warmth factor high until the human returns.  At other times, he anticipates the need for warmth, and will sit in the usual spots.  Ever the gentleman, he will move as soon as a human approaches, unless they try to sit to quickly—there have been some near misses!

His newest trick is to jump from couch to couch and back again.  Although it seems he is training for the high trapeze, we aren’t sure if he’ll be a flyer or a catcher.  By necessity, his training schedule has stepped up considerably, since spring is fast approaching, and he wants to be ready for his debut as Loki the Magnificent under the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey’s big top.

He missed out on his treats when the homesteading pair made a trek south and east for supplies for the basement bathroom.  He acted like he didn’t hear the repeated calls before they left.  He greeted them with pitiful “meows” when they returned hours later, and gobbled his treats quickly just as the sunset faded to twilight.  So much for teaching him a lesson about not answering when the humans call.

Speaking of sunsets, the one on Sunday evening was long and glorious.  It spread across the sky from west to east and ranged in color from deep crimson ruby to light pinks and roses.  Sunsets like that are made even more magnificent when there are ruffled and layered clouds.  Fortunately, this writer had her handy dandy camera, while the resident woodsman obligingly stopped for an impromptu photo session with clouds, sun, and the multi-hued extravaganza.

The camera was handy on Saturday for capturing the frozen landscape of the Des Moines in Keosauqua and at Ely’s Ford.  The homesteaders, on a mid-morning mission for MORE cement screws, had passed a pond where three or four children and their dog were playing hockey on thick ice covered with snow.

When the pictures were taken, there was very little open water for the geese to land and swim.  The ice was pretty solid from shore to shore.  Some of the frozen chunks of ice seemed to bend and fold over other chunks of ice, probably from other times when the temperatures had warmed enough to thaw a bit of the creeks and rivers.  Snow, covering the landscape at Ely Ford, was beautiful.  The area by the foot bridge was dappled when the sun pierced through some of the branches of the trees and shrubs.  The picturesque, muted shadows were deemed worthy subjects for this photo-crazed writer.  The light and shadows were perfect.

By late afternoon, when the temperatures had risen over thirty degrees, the river was transformed.  Where just a few spots were unfrozen in the morning, the opposite was true with a few pieces of frozen ice remaining along the banks. It is amazing to see a solidly frozen river thaw that thickly.  Of course, this writer can’t quite grasp having frozen rivers, in the first place!

Now that deer hunting season is a fond memory for the hunting inclined, the deer can be seen prancing and dancing around our ponds.  It’s like a magician waved a wand—“Abracadabra”—no deer and, then, lots of them.  Other wildlife that has emerged from the wooded areas is rafters of turkeys.  There is some disagreement about the proper terminology for a bunch of turkeys—some sources name them a flock, others a rafter, and still others a gobble.  Only the turkeys know for sure!

The other day, while the ground was still snow-covered and the roads were icy, the homesteading duo spotted two red birds flying across the road and alighting in a tree.  It was surprising to see such a vividly hued bird on a snowy, winter day.  It seems that one notices what is out-of-character or out-of-place more readily than that which is considered mundane and commonplace.

Groundhog Day arrived and, predictably, we’ll have six more weeks of winter.  If anyone ever gave some thought to the plight of the drowsy rodent, it would be a “no-brainer” that he wouldn’t see his shadow or anything else, for that matter.  How many of us would be perky enough to perform on cue, in front of cameras, with both a swarm of people, and loud noises, right after someone plucked us from our deep slumbers and our cozy, warm bed?

Be like the bird who, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, and yet sings, knowing she hath wings.

~Victor Hugo

Author: Prairie Writer

No one could have predicted that a fourth generation native Coloradoan, in love with the mountains, would migrate east to the Southeast corner of Iowa; and fall in love with rolling hills and fields. Ten years ago, my husband, the woodsman, and I moved to the 200-acre farm he had inherited in the early 1990s; where we built our dream house over a span of five or six years. One of my hobbies is teaching! Although I retired over ten years ago from being a full-time geography teacher, the teaching bug continues to flow through my veins. I have found the perfect way to teach—substituting—where I enjoy teaching something different every day I’m called. My other hobbies include reading any and every thing; planning and planting our flower gardens; sewing; being “crafty” and creative; finishing furniture pieces crafted by the woodsman; and writing. I was the editor for a pictorial book about Van Buren County, the first year we lived in Iowa. Additionally, I wrote two weekly columns for the local newspaper for eight years. Now, I look forward to writing regular posts about living in the country with a cat, a dog, and a woodsman in my blog, “Turn Left At The Cornfield.”

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