Back at it

The last few days have been long, I have to admit. Being house-bound isn’t exactly what I had in mind for my thirteen days off, especially since the weather cooled down into the 80s and the summer wildflowers are going crazy! But today was a huge improvement from the first two days where I couldn’t walk at all. I was actually able to hobble around the house without crutches today, and do some dishes and cook. I had my foot looked at today by the PA at the clinic where I work – She diagnosed it as a foot sprain, no fracture, and just told me to stay off it for a week or two. That’s a lot better than the six weeks I’d been dreading! Tonight, an ankle brace and hiking boots (the kind with the shank in the sole) actually provided great support for getting around. I know I need to be good, though – The temptation is to do too much too fast.
GimpyBut even being house-bound has had benefits – I was able to spend hours yesterday reading about C.H. Spurgeon, the great English preacher and theologian from the mid- to late-1800s. We are reading a Spurgeon biography for our church book reading club, and it is a delight. What a wonderful life of work he led for the Kingdom of God! He began pastoring a church at the age of 17, and his teaching sparked a revival in the surrounding town. By the age of 26, his work had revived a dying church in London and he was regularly preaching to thousands, regularly helping to plant church and send out new pastors and leading sinners to Christ! The reach of his work is truly astounding, from the circulation of his sermons to the books he published to the orphanage and school he ran and the Pastor’s College he founded, and my list could go on. I hadn’t even started the book before yesterday, and I am now about 120 pages into it. A productive day. I was even able to edit about thirty-five wedding photos from a wedding I shot a few weeks ago.
Cuddling with the CatAnd of course, cuddling with the Kashka-cat is very important. Nothing quite as sweet as her little purring self curled up on my lap, or stretched to her full length, fast asleep and dreaming so hard she’s twitching. She loves her people, that’s for sure.

But as productive as the last few days have been, I’m eager to get back at it! Enough of this lazing around.

Laura Elizabeth


Botanical | Harebells

Back in the early 1900s, there was a watercolor artist named Cicely Mary Barker, a contemporary of Beatrix Potter and published by the same publishers who worked with Miss Potter, who wrote poetry and painted pictures of “flower fairies.” I remember poring over a volume of her poetry and exquisite paintings in my piano teacher’s house, during my sister Jessica’s piano lessons. Each of Cicely’s fairies personified a specific flower, and the Harebell Fairy comes to mind with clarity: standing on tip-toe, dressed in a gown that resembles the cup of the harebell, holding a slender stem in her hand with the blossom swaying over her head.Perhaps that book of Flower Fairies is where some of my love of wildflowers comes from. About six years ago, I found a bargain priced set of Cicely’s books (the complete poetry and paintings, I believe), hard-bound and beautifully printed. It took about two minutes to decide to add them to my library.HarebellThe harebell has to be one of my favorite summer flowers. I found this little cluster up in a meadow on the eastern side of the property.

Laura Elizabeth


Botanical | Coneflower Color Morphs

Prairie coneflowers are a common sight this time of year in meadows and along roadsides. Cheery yellow blossoms with a green and brown cone center grace the Hills abundantly. They’re humble little flowers, and an indication that summer is indeed here!
Prairie ConeflowerAbout a week and a half ago, however, I noticed a strange one blooming up near our mailbox along Highway 40 – Instead of sunny yellow, the petals were daubed with a beautiful crimson. Since first noticing the single mutant flower, the rest of the plant has flowered, producing more color morph flowers! What a fun find. When it re-seeds or the plant comes back next summer, I wonder if the color variation will still be present!
Coneflower Color MorphEven “accidents” in God’s Creation can be so beautiful!

Laura Elizabeth

Lemons and Lemonade

It doesn’t always do to make plans. At 8:00am, my thoughts on a plan for this beautiful early-summer day were to go on a walk, water the garden, practice music for church tomorrow, read, and clean church this evening. But all of that sort of came to a screeching halt about ten minutes later when I had a clumsy moment and gave myself a nice ankle sprain. And I don’t even have an exciting story to accompany it, unfortunately. I blame it on the dog, even though she really didn’t have anything to do with it.
IMG_6858So judging by some reading I’ve done and the fact that I can’t bear weight on my right foot at all, I won’t be doing much of anything for the next…well, for the next couple of weeks, minimum, but more likely  longer than that. Trying to be optimistic here. Bummer. And yesterday was the first day of a 13-day vacation! Oh, and did I have plans! Devil’s Tower, the Badlands, photography and hiking, gardening, working on getting cards in some local gift shops…Not to mention the necessary things that require being able to drive a car or just get around in general.

What comically and ironically and appropriately came to mind was Proverbs 16:9: “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” While some might say this is just hard luck, I know I serve a God who is good and gracious and all my steps have been established for me for a purpose, even in something as frustrating and relatively minor as spraining my ankle. He must have something to teach me. Things like patience, optimism, graciousness in accepting circumstances I don’t appreciate, self-discipline…
IMG_6873The up side to being immobile that I should be able to be terribly productive, getting caught up on photography stuff, reading, and writing, and maybe even some sewing. When the weather is lovely, those things all tend to fall prey to my wanderlust, the desire to be out seeing God’s glorious Creation.

So I’ve been given a few lemons and I guess the best thing to do with them is make lemonade. Lemonade is better than lemons. And anyways, I could have been given lima beans.

Laura Elizabeth


Keeping Cool

It was a hot one today. I thought I could go for a “cool, morning walk” by leaving at 9:00. Not so. When I got home at 10:00 or so, the thermometer was already reading 90 degrees. Luna chose to beat the heat by sleeping. All day. In the chicken shed. On a cardboard box. IMG_6815

Trixie, on the other hand, panted and looked miserable until I filled a plastic tub with water for her. Poor thing, she wanted so badly to go swimming in it, but it was just a little small. IMG_6791.small

IMG_6803.small IMG_6806.smallShe can swim in the stock pond, and does, but she gets muddy and gross and eats stuff off the bottom of the pond. And then she runs off.  We need to get her a kiddie pool.

Laura Elizabeth

Bats in the Miner’s Cabin

I love bats. Such tiny, mysterious little creatures, with their furry little bodies and leathery little wings, and little pointed ears. Unfortunately, I think the heat may have gotten to our bat population today. I saw one out in the heat of midday, which is almost unheard of, and then I found two babies as they fell out of their roost. By the time I had come back with gloves and my camera, they had died, presumably from the heat. Hopefully not from a bad disease. IMG_6913

Tonight in the Miner’s Cabin, there was a high-pitched squeaking and an occasional scrabbling sound coming from outside. When I went out to look, there was a baby bat clinging above the window, sometimes retreating into a crack above the window frame, and adult bats swooped around, sometimes coming to rest right near the baby. I’m afraid I agitated them a little bit in my admiration, since they swooped closer and closer to my head! They didn’t seem to appreciate my presence.

Judging from the number of adult bats and the squeaking, I’d say we have a bat nursery in our Miner’s Cabin! I can think of a handful of people who might not think this is such a nice thing. But I have no complaints.

Laura Elizabeth