Here's a pile of gear--it's what Bill took with him every day on the bus. Mine was not much smaller. You can imagine what it's like stumbling around in the dark at 4 AM, making sure you have everything you'll need.
But I don't say anything. I let them think all those suitcases hold my makeup, heels, creams, hairdryer, curling iron, gels, emollients, and diamond tennis bracelets, because that's certainly the impression I give, as dolled up and fabulous as I always am.
For instance, here's Bill using an iPod and speakers to try to bring a clicking yellow rail into view. Though everyone was patient and he tried for a very long time, the rails--and there were five or more--were content to click just out of sight. The day before, Bill and I had seen our life yellow rail in this spot as it lightfooted across the road right in front of our van! It ran, then flew, its body upright, its impossibly long toes dangling from greenish legs, then dropped into the marsh, never to be seen again. I still can't believe we saw a yellow rail, with no playback of its calls. It just appeared to us. I guess it was meant to be.
North Dakota always inspires in Bill and me the most intense outbuilding envy. We have one outbuilding, the hardest-working four-car garage in Ohio. It is crammed to overflowing with two cars, four bikes, a lawn tractor, a Real Tractor, all my pots and potting soil, tools, bird houses, bird feeders, seed, feed of all descriptions, recycling...you can barely get to your car. So I dream of loading a few North Dakota granaries on a flatbed trailer and hauling them to Ohio, where they would probably promptly rot and fall down. But a girl can dream, can't she?
And there are always the barns, the beautiful barns. I have my favorites, like this one with the licheny roof and the mostly gone paint.
I love this barn for its incredible beauty, but also because Say's phoebe's live here, and the grove behind it is just full of orioles and house wrens and bluebirds and yellowthroats. When I see these photos I hear their songs again. We take festivalgoers here for a hit of forest birds when they've seen enough grassland birds for awhile.
And what do the children do while we bird? They go adventuring (their own word for exploring). Liam makes sure they both have adventuring sticks, which makes them feel safer.
A stick on the lawn is fair game. Chewing sticks is a big part of my job.
The fabulissimo Rhubarb Coffee Cake Square. It doesn't look that impressive, but oh my goodness it was delicious. Rumor has it that Lynne has a recipe. Hmmm, Linney? Wanna share this gooey goodness with the world?
One thing I can tell you: I am planting some rhubarb this fall. All the signs point to it.