As the time draws near for us to move on again, I’ve been thinking back about our time here in Missouri. When we arrived, we thought we’d check out area hiking attractions and the like. We had great ideas to start with but instead we’ve mostly just been doing the mundane, ordinary things.
Anyone who has ever encountered a bad case of poison ivy knows that it is to be avoided at all costs, right? And anyone who has ever been to the Ozarks knows that there are trees everywhere you look. Well, LeRoy and I are both pretty susceptible to poison ivy and just looking into those trees makes us itch! We came prepared with poison ivy wash as preventive and creams/lotions/potions for after the damage has been done and thought we’d just wear long pants and long sleeves to hike. Wishful thinking on our part for the first month or so when the heat and humidity were equally high and made covering up unthinkable. It also made it way too comfortable to stay inside the bus with the air conditioners running! And now that the weather is much cooler, it’s time to go. All the sightseeing we’ve done is from inside our purple PT Cruiser or in a store in one of the little towns around.
Our hosts here are building/having built a new cabin which will be their home in a few years and LeRoy has been helping the contractor in their absence. Poison ivy doesn’t usually reach him off the ground or on a truss 15 feet above the floor and snakes don’t climb ladders.
They did find a baby bullsnake about a foot long one day and a three foot copperhead hiding under some construction materials another day. Several days after he told me about those sightings, I went out to get in the car and discovered a black rat snake about 5 foot long resting beside the tire…ON MY SIDE OF THE CAR! At first I accused LeRoy of putting a dead snake there but he assured me he hadn’t. It wasn’t dead but also not in any hurry to move on until it was “encouraged”. I’m not too fond of rats either, though, so we decided to let it live to eat another.
Our hummingbird population has mostly migrated on to warmer climates. We have gone from refilling 4 feeders twice a day to only filling one once on Friday and none at all yesterday. In their place, we’ve seen lots of migrating monarch butterflies. The news people were concerned that a disease had killed off large amounts of deer this summer, but we’ve been seeing lots of them these last few days so I think the population is still great enough for the hunters. I will say, though, that most of the ones we’ve seen lately are does, not bucks. Archery season is on right now but the deer don’t seem to be going into hiding. We saw 4 in the road in front of us on the way to church this morning! Each one turned its long white tail straight up in the air and sailed over the fence into the open field on the other side.
Cooler weather brings color to the trees and in just the past few days we’ve seen more yellows and reds popping out at us from the hillsides. There had been some color all along–brown. Drought takes its toll, even on the trees, but the ones whose leaves hadn’t died stand a chance of seeing fall colors after all. Just when we’re getting ready to leave.