My October Magnolia

Pink magnolias bloom in February or March down here, sometimes January. They bloom once a year. I thought I was seeing things last week when I looked out the window and saw a few blossoms on my poor trees. They have seemed rather confused since Hurricane Ike stripped their leaves off several months early a year ago. But then one of my favorite books from childhood came to mind, Leo the Late Bloomer, and I had to smile. My magnolia may be blooming late (or early), but at least it's blooming. And that is pretty spiffy.

{Speaking of children's books, there's another favorite I can't remember the name of. It was about various bugs getting ready for bed with adorable little illustrations. One of the bugs always dropped their shoes on the floor at bedtime. I must have been reading it in the early 80s. Does anyone recognize this?}



I'm taking a break from Analyzing Prose for a few minutes - so many things from my trip to SoDak and from Maine! that I keep thinking about. (We just returned from Maine yesterday; I've survived another flight and handled it ok even though it was quite bumpy at times. Lots and lots of photos from that trip.)
But for now, here are a few things from my time in SD recently that really made me smile. I spent a rushed hour helping a friend harvest all of her tomatoes before the first freeze. This box is only a small part of what we picked; I'm guessing the total was around 40 lbs. I love getting my hands in the dirt and in the garden, so this was a fun treat for me. And they tasted as good as they looked.
My stepsister has acquired a new Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy (along with two goats and two little ponies). Here, he's only 4 months old and 45 pounds! Obviously, he will be huge. He's all legs, and quite a mellow little guy. I loved meeting him, and seeing him try to get the rat terrier to play with him. Makes me want another puppy...
On my last Saturday in Rapid City, my sister, little nephew, and I went down to the first annual Pumpkin Fest. Have you ever seen a 713-pound pumpkin? I can now say that I have! We were suitably impressed. The best part was watching my nephew's excitement at the tractor parade and grinning at one old very authentic farmer who waved at us from his perch.
Something that is not making me smile right now is trying to deal with my mail-order pharmacy, an option that we were forced into by our insurance company. Has anyone else used them? I have had more problems than I can list right now, but it has been a very frustrating experience. Communication issues are only the tip of the iceberg and I now asked to be transferred to the American continent immediately upon connection.
But I'm smiling today because it has finally cooled off in Texas!
What are you smiling about?


My Feet on the Ground

I was blissed out to spend 9 days at home in the Black Hills and Rapid City. Taking flower photos at the city gardens, I couldn't resist taking off my shoes and going barefoot while I clicked away. The grass up there is so tender, soft, and sweet; my toes were very happy. (I don't dare go barefoot on our rough St Augustine grass full of fire ants in TX!) I had many great little adventures that I hope to share with you later - hikes, fall colors, friends, family, a George Winston concert, a fender bender, pumpkin fest, and more. For now, I should return to my studies! What autumn pleasures have you had lately?