The Back Yard: Marley’s Darwinian Jungle Saturday, Mar 26 2011 

Look closely on the ground in front of Marley and behold the hapless lizard, murdered at the bloodthirsty paws and teeth of Marley and Sadie.

I wish I could convince Marley the Dog that killing lizards in cold blood serves no useful purpose.

Even though the act of lizard-slaying contributes to the balance of nature, I doubt that a hapless, solitary lizards’ demise alters nature’s course much one way or the other.

Marley doesn’t eat the lizard for lunch, nor does the lizard threaten to eat Marley’s next bowl of dog food, so Marley needn’t defend his senseless act of violence on the grounds of self-preservation.

Alas, poor lizard, and alas, poor Marley: natural creatures striving to do the natural.  Thankfully, no tigers or lions that might do Marley the same natural violence he did the lizard are on patrol in the back yard.


Wisteria gone wild Tuesday, Mar 22 2011 

Color Explosion: Lavender , green , and blue

For a week or so every spring, blooming Wisteria electrifies the backyard with  florid cascades of green and lavender, billowing from a central root core and then sprawling the length of the hedge and fence in both directions across the width of the lot.  At peak bloom, a swarm that must amount to hundreds of bumblebees buzzes and drones amid the blossoms, creating a sensory experience laden with color, fragrance, and sound.

Vines crawl along the fence and hedge the width of the yard.

Bee-ware of bee-loud bees.

Of Little Girls and Puppy Dogs Sunday, Mar 20 2011 

This picture is some months old.   I’ll love it forever.

Payton Elizabeth decided Marley the Dog’s sprawling pose was worthy of emulation, so she got down on the kitchen floor and spread herself out much in the manner of the pooch.

Whether Payton fancied herself a puppy dog or Marley fancied himself a person remains a matter of debate.

Thank God for little girls and puppy dogs!

A Productive Evening: Why I Love DST Friday, Mar 18 2011 

Too happy to be tired this time of year.

Today I spent a full day in the office.


Then I came home and accomplished the following:

  • took Sadie the Dog for a 1.2 mile walk.
  • did 140 crunches
  • ate supper on the patio
  • played with the dogs (their favorite games: the tug of war rope and chase the tennis ball)
  • went to Walmart with Sarah to get some plants for the patio
  • edged the driveway and trimmed the ditch
  • washed Sarah’s car
  • played a few two-steps and waltzes on the front porch

Should I be tired?


It’s spring and Daylight Savings Time in Louisiana–it’s the prime season of the year.  I’m too happy to be tired!

Most Boring Road Trips: US 167/North La. thru Southern Ark, where the end seemeth not Monday, Mar 14 2011 

I got back today from a conference in Little Rock.  After driving up Highway 167 Thursday and down today, I’m convinced that this has to be among the most boring passages in the land.  The north Louisiana stretch crosses rolling hills, but the forest on either side of the roadway make one dreary mile resemble the dreary mile before, and so on and so forth.  The Arkansas stretch is not quite as hilly, passing often through bottom lands and river basins, but the road affords no panoramic valley views or breathtaking scenes.

The north Louisiana stretch begins at the end of the Pineville Expressway. This mundane intersection is about as scenic as anything else along the way.

And the towns along the way are mostly small, run-down little places that look much today like they must have looked in the 1940’s.  Nothing wrong with a sense of the past, of course, but a sense of the past should have something aesthetic about it.   The main street buildings and businesses in these towns are not just old: They’re ugly.

And you can always count on seeing a barrel-chested local-yokel policeman hiding around the curve on the outskirts, peering through the dark tinted windows of a squad car with his radar gun trained on the traffic right where the speed zone drops from 55 to 35.  Not much else for a cop to do in a small town, I guess.

Churches are abundant up and down the route, I noticed.  I don’t know how many I passed, but they were oh, so numerous.  I wish I could ascribe vibrant faith as a notable characteristic of the people accounting for the proliferation of houses of worship, but since I grew up in the rural Deep South, I know that rural churches  multiply over the years not because God’s word flourished in new mission fields, but because churches split and multiplied and divided over such silly arguments as which side of the vestibule to place the hat rack, or what color of drapes for the baptismal dressing room.

Anyway, I hope it’s a long time before I have to drive to Little Rock.   If confronted with the option, as I had for this trip, I might choose to fly.  I may prefer this driving experience to, let’s say, a root canal, but not much else.


Soooo-eeeee, Hawg: Off to Little Rock Wednesday, Mar 9 2011 

The Little Rock Channel 7 weatherman conjured up a pleasant forecast for the trip and sojourn to Little Rock.

After a two day Mardi Gras week’s beginning, today’s hump day turns out to be the only day in the office routine, since I’m bound for Little Rock tomorrow morning to spend the rest of the week at the National Writing Project’ Rural Sites Network’s biannual Conference.

I could get used to one day work-weeks.

Writing Project matters frequently lead to exotic places, like last month’s work/meeting in Berkeley, so Little Rock in neighboring Arkansas is a little more homey. The venue is close enough I can avoid the skyway hassle of airports and parking and connections, and the weather looks good for enjoying the six and a half hour drive both going and returning, mostly passing through small towns and open places in the hospitable south.

All the same, it’s tough leaving Sarah Ann alone along with the comfy routines of home.  Hopefully, the days will pass fast, and I’ll also find some blogworthy topic along the trip or during the conference to add idea-fodder to the mill of invention.

Spring ain’t sprung, but it’s a springin’ Tuesday, Mar 8 2011 

When the Red Bud tree breaks out each March (more or less, depending on the severity of winter), I can just about measure spring’s debut.

Red Bud blossoms: Spring is nigh!

I noticed the buds opening a few days ago and today found them just about peak: In a day or so, the air around the tree will likely be electric with swarming bumble bees.

I posted this pic on Facebook and got some rueful responses from friends from more northern climes whose spring is still weeks away as they continue to deal with snow and ice.  Ugh.  Apart from the dog days of summer and hurricane season, life on the Gulf Coast is charming for at least 9 months of the year.  Spring is my favorite time.

Let the springing commence!

Here comes Mardi Gras, Cajun Style Tuesday, Mar 1 2011 

Mardi Gras is a week away.  Best thing about Mardi Gras to me is a two day vacation.  But I avoid the crowds and the mess of all the parades and foolishness.

But I do like this traditional Cajun Mardi Gras song done by the Balfa Brothers, all deceased now, but the band quite a force in the world-wide popularity of Cajun music on the folk scene in the 60’s and 70’s.  Cajun-style Mardi Gras doesn’t get any more traditional than this!