Salamander in the Vine

Strolling through the woods with the neighborhood Master Naturalist, we crossed a small dry creek bed and she spotted this salamander hiding in the layers of an ancient vine that died during our recent extended drought.

A Visit to the Berryville Library

I always enjoy visiting the library in Berryville, Arkansas. I more often use the Carnegie Public Library in Eureka Springs as it is my hometown library, but today I was looking for a particular book that wasn’t available there. So, as I already had business across the river, I stopped in. Browsing, I glimpsed out of the corner of my eye the Bible and the Lord of the Flies displayed together. Some part of my brain apparently tried to determine the common denominator to have these books together and when it failed, I found myself standing at the display. Turns out they are both books that are frequently banned.

The Night Sky

I stopped briefly on the ridge road to take this picture. It would have been better had my headlights been off, but it still shows the interesting moon and the thick white mist on the Kings River.

When the Weather Gods Smile

It has been a miserably hot September after a relatively pleasant August. So it was most enjoyable today when the temperature was even more unexpectedly mild than predicted. While driving during the hottest part of the day, a local radio station still said we’d top out at 87 degrees when it was actually only a very pleasing 67 Fahrenheit outside.

Black Snake Blocking Road

I came upon something black blocking the road yesterday evening while driving down into the hollow.

Unsure of what I was seeing I disembarked the vehicle and proceeded on foot.

A long skinny strip of black reptile. Up close it held up its pretty white chin and studiously ignored me. I know several of the snakes closer to the house, but not this one. I suppose it’s obviously a western rat snake, but it’s so squiggly and skinny that I felt unsure. For years, I’d see a six footer in the bottom of the hollow, but it was a thick, heavy bodied thing. Perhaps this one is just much younger? It never flinched as I stood inches from it nor when I drove towards it and carefully around it.

Denise Mina Quote of the Day

I was flipping through an old notebook and saw this line from a novel by the great Scottish writer Denise Mina. I’m sure I made note of it because it resonated powerfully on a personal level. However, no matter my strangeness or bafflement, I don’t compare with this fat yellow Pug-like hillbilly we call Shrek.

However strange he seemed on the outside, it was nothing compared to how baffled he was on the inside.

McKinley Weems Quote of the Day

On December 28, 2009, Ian told his great-grandfather about the hamster he’d received for Christmas. Ian was asked if it had bit him yet and Ian said no. This is how McKinley Weems responded. He was only 88 at the time.

My pet squirrel used to bite me. You should’ve seen the blood spray.