Frog songs

It was in the 80s today in Tulsa. You have no idea how happy that makes me, even if the air conditioning in my classroom did stop working for no apparent reason this afternoon.

The frogs were singing at the top of their lungs after church this evening.

I love this time of year….



Sorry I haven’t posted much lately. Things are nuts around here — projects, parent-teacher conferences, and various and sundry hassles — so I haven’t had much time to blog. I will try to remedy this as soon as my schedule settles down a little bit.


There is a road …

I woke up this morning thinking about Bob Waldmire. I seem to wake up a lot of mornings thinking about Bob these days, though I’m not sure why.

The afternoon started out warm enough that I thought I might pick up some paint for my car and begin working on my mini-mural of Bob’s VW cruising along Route 66, with Scout waiting patiently beside the road for her old friend to come and pick her up and take her to the Tumbleweed Motel (which will be painted on the other side).

Unfortunately, the sunshine and warmth didn’t hold long, and as I was heading out to buy supplies, the sky began spitting rain.

I scrapped my more elaborate plans but managed to squeeze in a little paintmarker work. I have to go over the letters with silver to make them pop more, but here’s the first coat:

Apologies for the poor photo quality; it was getting dark by the time I finished and took the picture.

In case you can’t read it, the quote is from the song “Ripple.” It says:

“There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night …”
— The Grateful Dead

Hopefully the weather will get reliably warm in the near future so I can finish this project….


Over a hurdle

I am slowly clearing hurdles this spring. We had our National Honor Society induction this evening. It isn’t a difficult event to put together, but it comes at an extremely busy time of year and involves a series of deadlines that depend in large part on other people — a combination that makes me very nervous.

I went to school an hour early today to clear a backlog of papers that have been piling up on my desk. I didn’t get all of them graded and returned to the kids, but I made a big dent in the stack, and I think I can finish it off in the next couple of days.

This has been a stressful year, but I’m finally settling into the rhythm of things, and I feel pretty good as we head toward our state testing and start to wind down the school year. Another year of this, and I think I just might get the hang of it….


Two signs of summer

1. The ice-cream truck made its first trip through my neighborhood today. I bought one of those ice-cream sandwiches made with chocolate-chip cookies and vanilla ice cream. It was the good kind, with the middle part rolled in semisweet mini-morsels. I always think of Scout when I buy something from the ice-cream truck, because she used to bark herself silly when she heard it coming, and if I didn’t dash out the door and come back with a Bomb Pop for her, she would give me a dirty look and then ignore me for the rest of the evening. I hope there are Bomb Pops in heaven.

2. The frogs are back! They were singing their hearts out while we moved the beehive last night, and we heard them again tonight. I love listening to frog songs. Frogsfrogsfrogsfrogsfrogsfrogsfrogsfrogs….

I hope you had an ice-cream-and-frog-songs sort of evening, wherever you are.

— Emily

Beekeeping adventures

We went out to Living Kitchen today and picked up our Italian hive. The farm is up for sale and has been for several months, and we wanted to move the girls before somebody bought the property. We’d just put the hive out there on a handshake, and we didn’t want to take a chance on the new owners either destroying it or trying to claim ownership of it, so we waited for the girls to draw down their winter stores (thus making the hive lighter) and then loaded it up in the back of the truck and brought it home.

It’s one of the stronger colonies we’ve had in recent memory.

Speaking of strong colonies, I have high hopes for the Texas-bred Buckfasts we got last year. A lot of beekeepers don’t like the Buckfasts from this particular supplier, because they’re ornery little cusses, but I like a hot hive. Bees that are aggressive about defending themselves are not likely to let wax moths or hive beetles sneak in and take over when I’m not looking.

One of our chickens made the mistake of tunneling her way to freedom and treating the Buckfast hive like a smorgasbord while I was in New Mexico. Ron called one night to report that the bees had actually stung her to death. Poor thing probably went over there in search of a snack, got stung once, and then agitated the colony by flailing around and flapping her wings in a panic.

I feel sorry for the chicken, but I’m kind of glad to know the bees are quick to protect themselves from intruders. It was after dark when we moved the Italian hive into our bee yard here in Red Fork, and several dozen Buckfasts promptly came outside to watch what we were doing and make sure we didn’t try anything stupid.


Velveteen … village?

In the story The Velveteen Rabbit, the title character — a child’s beloved toy — becomes real.

At some level, I feel as if the mythical Route 66 village of Coldwater, N.M., has become a little more real.

I spent a few minutes last night designing retro stationery for the motel, complete with a fictional address and ZIP code (can you believe 88466 was not already taken by a real town?) and then, inspired by this little detail, spent the next couple of hours creating a rack card for the nonexistent Coldwater Chamber of Commerce, complete with a map showing every street and point of interest in town.

Looking at that map was sort of a Velveteen Rabbit moment for me: While Coldwater does not, in point of fact, exist, it’s as if the existence of a map somehow gives the town a kind of tenuous reality. If you’ve ever looked at a map of Middle Earth or Yoknapatawpha County, you probably have some idea of what I’m talking about.

If you’ll be at the Route 66 festival this summer in Joplin, you’ll have the opportunity to take a closer look at the map, as I plan to print up some rack cards to hand out during the festivities.

The more I play with this project, the more I love it. I’m not sure why. The idea of creating my own alternate reality just delights me.


Friday morning

I woke up to this Friday morning:

I’ve seen a lot of Tucumcari sunsets, but being more owl than lark, I see precious few sunrises at the Blue Swallow or anywhere else. I’m not sure why I woke up early enough to see this one, but it was a nice way to start a day that included breakfast at Kix on 66, loads of macro photography for future posts on the Tumbleweed Motel blog, a piece of pie from the Midpoint Cafe, a mushroom sandwich at the Rock Cafe, and a harrowing drive through a blinding downpour on I-44.

I think I’m about ready to end my day now. I’m exhausted, and it’s either 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., depending on whether my computer clock automatically adjusted to Daylight Savings Time.

I’ll post more photos tomorrow.


White Sands, pink cheeks

I got done with my magnet school tour earlier than I’d anticipated today, so I cruised east on U.S. 70 about 50 miles to see White Sands National Monument.

I had an idea I might hike the longest trail, but I got tired after a mile or so and doubled back. Sand will wear you out, for real. Hiking Amboy Crater was much easier than hiking the dunes.

My nose and cheeks are sunburned, but I had a good time anyway and am definitely going back when Ron has time to travel with me.

Here is a pathetic cell phone picture I took on my hike: