34.7º N 92.2º W. Little Rock, in Central Arkansas, in the United States
5/5/17 – 5/12/17
Intrepid Inhabitants–The Laughing Ladies
Uppity women are everywhere in Enchanted Habitat. I know their number is disproportionately large here. I can’t prove that because the Census Bureau doesn’t ask the right questions, but there is plenty of evidence. Examples shine out among just my limited circle of personal contacts. To wit: The Laughing Ladies.
This is a friendship group of four who range in age from approaching senior to unmistakably senior. They are all breast cancer survivors. They decided to raise money for the fight against breast cancer, and to do it in some fun way. (Uppity women never act for one reason only. They make everything count at least twice.) So they thought up what they wanted to do: raft rivers. Yes, really.
Then they did it in spades. They named their project 4 Survivors, 4 Rivers, 4 a Cure. Their first river was in Colorado, in the Rockies. They whitewater (whitewater!) rafted the headwaters of the Arkansas. This is a photo of them there.
They also found their name in Colorado. The Laughing Ladies is an historic name. It was originally the name of a good times establishment during the frontier days, and yes, that means what you suspect.
After the Arkansas River exploit they rafted the Buffalo in Arkansas, the Roaring Fork in Colorado, and the Colorado in Utah.
They elicited from their sponsors thousands of dollars to give to the Arkansas Affiliate of Susan G. Komen. This Affiliate is a standout among worthwhile nonprofit organizations: you can bet on it that The Laughing Ladies would know where the money should go.
At the end of the fourth and final rafting trip they created and performed their finalization ceremony. It’s one of a kind. I’m pleased to make you privy to its content, with their permission.
The Ceremony of the Dime on the Colorado River was this: The four uppity rafters stood together on the bank of the Colorado. Each threw a dime into the river. They chanted in unison
We had a dime-good time
But we dime sure don’t plan to raft again.
The Ruby Crowned Kinglet
Six years ago this charming tiny bird alit like a grace note near me as I was sketching on the shore of Lake Maumelle. It was about 4″ long. I did my hasty best to capture on paper something of its shape and markings and its posture, and how it caught the light, and I made some notes in my head about it, and then too soon whit!, it was gone. But thankfully there remained the thorn bush it had been in: something simple (and still!) that I could draw in surety to add to my sketch. Nature often lends a helping hand to try-hards.
The time was mid-September, and later when I identified it in in the NGS Field Guide to the Birds of North America I learned that Enchanted Habitat is in the northern part of its winter range.
Here is a photo of the ruby crowned kinglet courtesy of Steve Creek, wildlife photographer par excellence of the Ouachitas. His blog is a must-see.
From the Creatures Gazette
Dog is not a Terrier:
Mystery Guest Remains Unidentified
The Baby Racers
In my friend’s fenced-in garden, which is on a slight slope and drains well, and where almost no other person ever intrudes, the baby racer snakes are awake from their winter. We’ve had frequent rains lately, and the snakelets have been wishing we had fewer wet days, and more of the new spring sun to bask in.
There is a new set of wee ones every year in that mid-town garden. I wonder if there could be a generational memory about the place being a safe and nurturing one for these babies. They apparently love wintering-over in the abundant insulating mulch my friend puts down, and they stay on into the warmer weather. Their gardener has also made them a rock pile nearby because snakes like warm rocks at certain times of the year, and because it gives them a perfect place to hide. If you want some tips for reptile-friendly landscaping and gardening, go here: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/documents/snake_landscape_brchr.pdf
When the racers are young they eat mostly insects and larvae and moths. The are nice pest eradicators to have in a garden. Later they go for larger meals such as rodents. They grow fast, and when they get bigger they move on.
They are nonvenomous, of course. They can get as long as five feet or so. Racers are common in Enchanted Habitat and throughout the U.S. They come in several kinds and colors: brown, black, gray (or “blue”) and shades in between. As adults they are notably fast in getting away from whatever might be after them; hence the name Racer. If you want to know more, here are a couple of good links.
Beadwork You Won’t Find Anywhere Else
Here are some examples of the work of an Enchanted Habitat bead artist. She says these pieces are circa approximately 1980.
First, a beaded strip containing the symbols of the ancient elements: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water. (A clue: earth is the brown strip that envelopes the others.)
Next, a beaded pouch, front and back. Note also the jingle bells.
Copyright 2017 Ruth Byrn