Archive for January, 2011


the tale of the lost wedding ring

I have had a new blog introduced to me, Wild Ramblings: Stories and Essays from a New England Ecologist by Bill Lattrell and just read his true story of getting back a tool that was lost. As one commenter (Teresa Evangeline) remarked to him that the tractor part of his story of finding an old, dear tool at the bottom of an iced-over pond brought her an idea for a blog, it also brought me one. Mine will be shorter, I bet. But reading his makes me want to tell mine.

My spouse and I have loved “puttering” (his term) around our yard.  When we both had jobs outside the home office years ago, and pre-daughter, our weekend time was the best “flow” time for me – we would both be puttering in and around our prospective studios and planting beds, taking in the great feeling of sun air plant and space, following my muse’s many ideas. Ours is a little yard – only point one-nine acres – 52 by 170 feet. Long and narrow, it mimics all the family plots out here in the Rio Grande Valley where family land was divvied up narrowly to be able to get back to the irrigation ditch. Ours was our neighbor to the south’s older brother’s place before they moved to California probably in the 50’s or 60’s. Our house’s core was built in the 20’s out of sod adobe, called “Terrón,” cut from a grassy field near the rio.

So, I did lose my wedding ring in my yard one day. I had switched it to my pinkie finger because of tightness. I can remember switching it in bed one night. However, it was loose on that little finger. Later on, I was wearing gloves and was gathering leaves into plastic bags. I searched everywhere after realizing it was lost. I really did not know how or where it was lost at the time, but I was, of course, crestfallen. Fall of the year.

Okay – move to our next anniversary, which is in October – so a year later. Jeff and I were undertaking a neat project of installing 2 long railroad ties between 3 whiskey barrel planters to park our cars against and simultaneously create a path along our narrow drought-tolerant grass lawn. We were raking gravel back, digging trenches for ties, wrestling the barrels into place. There I was on my knees in the gravel when I saw it! My silver, made-by-Hopi band, all dusty amongst the grey pebbles. A narrow and perfect silver thin circle that caught my eye. The way it was lost became clear – this was the area where I had been loading leaves. And it didn’t land in the bag. Luckiest of people, me.

"Ode to clouds, rain and the path around the house" white earthenware 1989 © CC Snider-Bryan


ides of January – yard observations

on March 4, 2012 I got a surprise in my email - notice from Jack Matthews that he had given me one of his Prairie Sagebrush awards for this post here. He has awarded a few more very wonderful pieces of internet writing this time. You may link to the list as well as to his inspiring blog at the link here


Spent way too much time yesterday (beloved day off) on the computer. So today I promised myself not to. And did go outside this afternoon and did putter in my yard. I see a direct link to joining facebook and to the slackened attention to my yard.

So, today I brought out the shears and lopers, stick matches and torn newspaper. I picked up dog poop. I clipped yarrow stalks, aster stalks, iris leaves, an ornamental grass clump – raked some of them into a pile; collected dried bindweed and the morning glory tendrils, threw them on, too. Put a small piece of newspaper under the pile, struck the match and watched the orange flame grow up and consume those dry bits. Added small amounts onto the black ash and coaxed the oxygen under by lifting. Looked around and the eye rested on tidier-ness.

Then I moved into the fenced yard area where the bulk of the morning glory vines waited in the old sand box (which now serves as fire pit). Kept my eye on the little black pile of ash through the spaces between the slats. I brought the rake and the last two matches and the shears. Click click click over more dead yarrow, dead oregano. Click click click over lambsquarters and globe mallow (Quelites y Yerba de la Negrita en espanol). Gather and pile. Take the rake to the piles of leaves near the outdoor play kitchen – has to be ready for Easter time. Rake the leaves piled up against the raku kiln: big surprise! Ice still there from our last snow – how many weeks ago? More raking and more frozen moisture! But of course, not on the beds, but on the paths. Maybe this moisture released will encourage the moisture to collect in the sky? No such luck.

The sand box fire climbed high for a minute or two. Afterward I realized it would be great to plant some pansies, and wondered if I could walk to the greenhouse a mile away in time. I stood for a while looking at my pobrecito pinon tree tilting away from the drooping elm limbs above it. Then those elm limbs were golden – the light was coming at them directly from that western mesa edge (miles away) and the whole damn wild elm tree was shining in its massive shagginess. (I so curse that tree at times since its roots tangle into every vegetable bed.) Smoke on my hands and clothes, I stand and gaze at the afternoon in my yard.

clay & log posts

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