Friday, August 17, 2012

The Story of the Crochet Dragon

by Kelly

Long ago, in a small white house by a sinister woodland, there was a little girl who was reading The Hobbit. She spent much time lost in this book, wandering through a world full of adventure and magic and dragons.

One day, the little girl's talented and crafty aunt, who lived not far away at all, came for a visit. When she heard what the little girl was reading (for they talked often, in that house, of the books they were reading) she offered to make the girl a dragon of her very own.

The girl was startled at first, for she hadn't imagined that such a thing was possible. Then she broke into a smile and, jumping up and down a little, said, "Yes, please!"

A few months later, after many misadventures at the dragon factory, the elegant, emerald creature was ready for delivery. And one day the little girl woke up to find a fine crochet dragon waiting for her on the coffee table in the living room of the small white house.

They have never been separated since.

The end.

Well, not quite.

Meet Smaug. I named him after the dragon in Tolkien, of course.

Although he has never laid waste to anything that I know of, and, sadly, has never acquired a golden hoard to sleep on, he does have an irrepressible, goofy quality that is very endearing.

Recently, my aunt asked if I could knit something for her. I haven't seen the pattern yet, and I have the impression that this is some kind of actual garment, which will probably prove to be beyond me, but I told her that I would be happy to try.

She offered to buy the yarn, and when I said that wouldn't be necessary, she offered to pay me. I told her no, again. When she protested, I said, "Do you remember the green dragon that you made for me when I was little?"

She had no idea what I was talking about. So I asked my husband to take a picture of me and Smaug, so that I could print up a copy to give my aunt.

He humored me, of course. Love is like that.

Oh, and by the way, the kid in the story above was reading an adapted version of The Hobbit, specially edited for children. In all honesty, the full version of any Tolkien book is a bit of a slog until you get the hang of his writing style. I just mention this so that you don't hand off a copy to your little angel and expect them to thank you for it, because then you'll both be disappointed. And sorry, no, I have no idea what version I read as a child. That was a long time ago, after all!

Monday, August 13, 2012

After the Rain in a Dry Garden

by Kelly

There are about eight billion songs titled 'After the Rain' on YouTube. Queue up your favorite and take a walk in the garden with me.

Chokecherry? Black Cherry?

Soloman's Seal


After the rain, the birds came out of hiding. I hadn't realized that they weren't singing anymore until they started again.

Speaking of wildlife, we have some seriously strange squirrels around here. There are about six or seven of them that seem to run in a pack. This pack makes a regular morning trip, a few times a week, from one bank of trees to another, at about eight in the morning when I'm hanging laundry on the line. The weird part is, they run across the yard together to do this, looking a lot like a bunch of Meerkats. They could easily travel through the tree branches to get where they're going, but they don't. I have tried a few times to get a picture of this behavior, but they're way too fast and blend perfectly into the dry, brown grass.

Their destination is a line of trees that contains a few oaks and one huge, old walnut tree. Since there is already a squirrel's nest in that walnut tree, I can only imagine that these guys are poaching in someone else's territory. And that could be why they travel together, so they can get away with this. But why do they run across the lawn? That has to be dangerous for them. Then again, the previous owners of this house never, ever had pets, so generations of squirrels have grown up here without being chased by dogs.

Things might get interesting in the fall, when all those acorns and walnuts are finally ripe. I'm hoping for a massive squirrel battle that I can record and post on YouTube to earn my fifteen minutes of Internet fame.

Anyway, enough David Attenborough type stuff. Let's hope that this little bit of rain saved some of the plants. Especially the local farmer's corn and beans. The crops have failed in the rest of Illinois, but our county still has a chance.

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