Friday, May 21, 2010

Wildflowers 'n Things

Yesterday I noticed that there are rose buds everywhere in my yard that should be blooming very soon and after thinking of Spring on the farm yesterday, more things came to mind; namely, Flora and Fauna, Twins of Nature, that provided such sights and smells as:

Indian paint brush, fiery stocks of red, feather-like and about 9 inches tall lit the hillsides were their vibrancy. Then there were blue bells (no cockle shells)sometimes called larkspur and almost a shade of purple, a bell-like flower on a stalk, softer-looking but lovely. There were the ever-beautiful sego lilies, a simplistic elegant wildflower held almost in reverence by anyone of Pioneer heritage. I've heard it's illegal to harvest one from the wild, but I would love to have some legal ones in my back yard as a reminder. There are small cactus plants here and there that sometimes surprisingly develop bright and pretty flowers on their tops. There are beautiful "docks", sometimes mistaken for sunflowers. There is the lovely and rare columbine, almost too fancy to be a wildflower. There is always the fragrant sagebrush which really isn't a flower but smells good enough to qualify in a way. Up at the Loading Place there was a plant with little white beads that we called kisses because if you put them against your cheek and squeezed them, they would give you a wet little kiss. Sometimes you'd come across a wild huckleberry bush and somebody would make up some jam.

Sometimes in the barrow pits, you would find asparagus, growing wild and rampant.

I loved hollyhocks, tall stalks with big blooming flowers full of circular seeds. The flowers were always a bright color; we used to pick them from my Grandmother Rice's yard and make dancing dresses for pretend dolls out of them. Under some of her trees were little violets that smelled so good you tried to breathe them against your nose til you had to breathe out. The theory was that the more you picked them, the more they grew, and I picked my share. Grandma had unique flowers you don't see much any more, like Lilies of the Valley. A year or two ago, I noticed that Lavene Cox had a bunch of them on the north side of her house and it made me happy to know they still grow there. Pansies were always a hit because they like cool weather and have the strength of a lion, along with their deep velvet-like texture and color. Mother grew some flowers called Johnny Jump Ups that looked like miniature pansies and were equally hardy. Grandma also had lilacs...white, blue and purple ones. The white ones smelled the MOST like lilacs.

In my family's front yard we used to have a bunch of rose bushes, the kind where there were bunches of small roses all over, bright golds and oranges, but they were in the way and got chopped down. On the front lawn there was a single white rose bush that had blossoms like perfume. I tried to get a start of that growing but it didn't work. Those white roses would take me away to Ferdinand Land.

The hills were filled with pines trees and cedars and quaken aspens. Everybody in town, at least one time or another, carved their names or initials into a "quakie." Years ago my Dad said somebody found a tree with his girl's initials on it; he probably still has it somewhere. You would carve your name in a tree and the bark would defend itself by swelling up, like lips full of collagen, so it became even more prominent. In retrospect, people probably shouldn't be carving their names into forest trees, but it's a good memory nonetheless.

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