Dog Days Groundhog

Early mornings in late August offer the few moments of coolness we’ll experience for the day. I’m sitting on back deck enjoying the crows’ complaints and watching for our groundhog.  This ornery pig showed up one morning from a hole dug underneath our neighbor’s garage/shed. He’s eaten three young brussel sprout plants. What more can …

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Ozark 4th of July

We’ve been on an incredible road trip seeing old friends to celebrate Independence Day where possible. Canada has brought us cool air and mucho sun so everyone feels high on nature and summer. We’re working our way two hundred miles south, stopping every hour or so to visit or find a healthy snack. No schedule …

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Eating dinner outside under the big shingle oak all of a sudden the bug song that marks the end of summer hailed forth. We’re almost half-way through August, my favorite month. We didn’t have any 100-degree days this summer, mainly lots of rain. Tomatoes seem slow in ripening. But the insect symphony has started right …

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World’s Greatest Dog Man

They told me I should go to Joplin and talk with O.L. Beckham, a legendary dog trader who wrote extensively about hounds. “He’s the best storyteller in the Ozarks. The best anywhere,” they said.

It took more than a decade for me to act on that tip. Luckily O.L., then in his early 80s, hadn’t slowed down much. He particularly loved reminiscing about his father, the youngest of ten, an Ozark walking preacher and himself father of nine.

While moving the family back north from working a spell in Texas, his family’s wagon got caught behind slow-moving cattle herds. That’s when O.L. was born, on April 12, 1907, in brush alongside the Chisolm Trail in Oklahoma.

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