By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz
When folks speak of summer in the Ozarks, they are generally referring to the hot, sultry month of August. Generally. This year, August started way back in April and we knew even then what was coming our way. Each day that passed without rain was torture and we prayed for even a scant drop of rain. When rain did fall, it was so scattered and isolated that your next door neighbor might get an inch and a half of rain while you got nothing but pipe dreams. The earth is cracked, the grass is brittle and trees are dying. All summer we have watched with muffled dread as the heat wave scorched its way across the landscape and wondered when the other shoe was going to fall.
By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz -
There are so many laments about the bugs in the Ozarks that if they were compiled into a book it would never end. How do you even begin to tell outsiders about the insects that inhabit our Oz? If you’ve got a vicious sense of humor, you could just let them wade into the chest-deep grass and work it out later – they’re not going to believe you anyway. If I told a person unfamiliar with these parts that the insects in the Ozarks would carry off their children if they didn’t keep them tied down, do you think they’d believe me? I suspect not, but every Ozarker who reads this knows it’s the truth.
Posted in A Piece of Home, Features
Tagged A Journey of Seasons, drought, funny, grasshoppers, insects, jill henderson, ozarks, show me oz, Vance Randolph, We Always Lie to Strangers
By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz -
Almost a year ago now, my husband and I settled down into our latest ‘new place’. We’ve lived quite the nomadic lifestyle over the last 20 years, moving to another house, state, or even country every few years. In every case where it was physically possible, the first thing we did after unpacking our bags was to dig a garden. We have hand dug and landscaped more acres of land than my back will allow me to remember, but each and every one of those gardens were lovingly created, tended and enjoyed by us for as long as we had to enjoy them. And while it was always difficult to say goodbye, we never regretted a single one of them.
By Jill Henderson – Show Me Oz –
(Excerpted in part from A Journey of Seasons: A Year in the Ozarks High Country)
One of the coolest things about being a country gardener is that I am constantly surrounded by wild things. These creatures are part and parcel of a healthy ecosystem and one of the rarest and most precious gifts that one can have. However, it goes without saying that on occasion we are forced to butt heads with the very wildlife that we cherish. Whether it’s the birds eating the blueberries, squirrels in the peach tree or a rabbit in the cabbage patch, we sometimes have to go to war to protect our share of the harvest. And after years of living and gardening in the backwoods I have learned that all creatures are compelled to survive, and that the best deterrent for pesky garden critters is to create a place for them to do just that.
By Jill Henderson – - Show Me Oz
We humans are not alone in our affection for the garden. Whether we like it or not, there are many creatures that enjoy our bounty as well as we do and keeping the critters at bay is about as much work for the gardener as the growing of the garden itself. With so much time and effort put into growing a garden, it is incredibly hard not to fly into a tizzy when evidence of foul play is found. Over the years we have had our share of wild things enjoying our garden produce and understand the feelings of loss and frustration that come from seeing something you have worked so hard for, trampled to the ground, half eaten or just plain disappeared. In that moment of horror it is hard to be understanding, much less compassionate. Yet, through our many years of growing organically, we have found many ways to make room for everyone.