Monday, May 15, 2017

Detours: Secret Gardens

"The last job of the day is cleaning out the trailers," my farmer joked.

"It's not part of my job description," I answered quickly. "You don't pay me enough for that job!" (Even if he doubled my pay, 2 times 0 is still 0!)

The hired man had called in sick, so it was Randy and I who would get mamas and babies moved to the Ninnescah Pasture and then bulls deposited at various locations. I was already on the crew; it just shifted from a three-person job to a duo. 

(He got a lot of mileage from my refusal to clean out the trailer from his breakfast buddies at Joan's Cafe. However, some of them said their wives wouldn't have helped with the cattle to begin with, so I guess I did OK with the public opinion poll from small town Kansas.)

We got it done with no bodily harm to man, woman or beast, though we had a few moments of frustration when cattle didn't cooperate. By late afternoon, all of the bovines had their annual "change of address" - moving from lots and pastures closer to home to their summer abodes. 

And, as it turned out, the "last job of the day" did end up being a fragrant one. But it didn't involve manure. I may not have gotten a bouquet from my hubby for my efforts in the cattle pens. I got something better: He gave me time with two secret gardens.
A few years ago, we discovered two spots where purple irises grow. One is along a road near the Ninnescah pasture. The other spot is along the Zenith Road. Maybe they are at a sites of a long-ago farmsteads, but there is no falling down barn or cement foundation that give us any clues.

Was it home to someone long forgotten? Did this patch of purple mark a farmstead mailbox long ago? Did someone plant the bulbs, knowing that springtime would bring majestic purple blooms and smiles? They don't seem to belong to anyone, but I will gladly claim them. 
After we took the bulls to the Ninnescah, Randy stopped the pickup and let me take photos of the purple blooms.
Next stop was along the Zenith Road, where only one car had to go around the parked pickup and trailer during our "photo session."

Those blooms are purple, too, but they are a different variety - a paler, more translucent hue. For years, we raced by those blooms just off the Zenith Road and never saw them. Then three years ago, my sharp-eyed farmer saw them, and now we anxiously await the time when they are in full bloom.
Just like the other location, we don't know their history. Early in our marriage, we lived less than a half mile from their location, and I don't ever remember seeing them. They, too, were likely part of a long-ago farmstead. However, Randy grew up here and he doesn't ever remember a house at that location. They are nestled under old cottonwood trees.
These days, they are flanked by a CRP field, the dry, brown grasses of winter a sharp contrast to the brilliant colors and soft petals that form the old-fashioned spring flowers. As we examined them more closely, we noticed several of the stems devoid of their blooms. They were likely food for the deer that flash in and out of the same trees and have been the source of more than one close call on our Zenith Road travels. 
I took several photos while Randy waited patiently in the pickup that day.
Then, on the way to choir practice the next evening, I stopped again as the sun dropping toward the horizon gave golden-hour light to the scene.
It was just me and the mosquitoes that night.
Irises remind me of my Grandma Neelly, who had them in her backyard. Maybe that's why I love them so much.
The flower offered of itself
And eloquently spoke
Of God
In languages of rainbows
And secret silence...
~Phillip Pulfrey
 from Love, Abstraction and other Speculations


  1. Such a lovely conclusion to a busy day. They are simply gorgeous and I love the different angles you have captured them in.

    1. Thanks, Helen. It was definitely a fitting end to the day ... and a whole lot better than cleaning out the trailer!

  2. Such beautiful blooms are the irises. I can totally understand how it would brighten the end of a day.