Spectacular.

Every year I wait for that one magical fall week when the whole world is beautiful and everywhere there’s color. This week is that spectacular week and I’ve been so taken aback by the beauty around me that I’ve had to stop on the way to work several times this week just to try and capture a little bit of this fabulous view.  The photos don’t do it justice – some things aren’t meant to be captured, but I love trying anyway.

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Day 21: You say To-mah-to

Now Kansas isn’t unique for being a place that one can grow a vegetable garden, but this city girl certainly wasn’t doing it in Los Angeles. Sure we had some fruit trees growing up, but up until the last few years I’ve never tilled the ground, planted seeds, watered and cared for the plants and picked a harvest.

This year was our first in the house with the enormous vegetable plot. We planted maybe a third of the plot with a variety of vegetables. We had mixed success: the lettuce thrived, but tasted terrible; the broccoli grew in September but was plagued with bugs; the peppers (save SPICY jalapenos) failed to grow; the cucumbers thrived for a few weeks and then died in the summer heat; and the tomato plants produced fairly late in the season.  We just had our first frost this week, and I was forced to pick TONS of tomatoes before they were ready. I’m going to experiment with green tomato sauces and salsas later on this winter and we’re going to try and plant earlier and smarter next year.

For now, I’ll just be a little amazed that I can grow my own food and enjoy it.

Day 19: Little lambs eat ivy.

Growing up a city girl, I didn’t have a lot of occasion to see real live farm animals. Sure I went to a pre-school that had a few chickens, and I knew what the animals looked like, but until I moved to the Midwest I really didn’t have occasion to get up close and personal with them.

Of course my hobbies lead me to another set of animals, those with coats I can spin and knit!  Take for example the alpaca at Wildcat Hollow:

Or perhaps the little lamb I met at The Harveyville Project:

And a special treat for today, a little video.

Photos taken July 2011 and April 2009.

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Day 7: Farmland

One of the things that continues to surprise my West-coast mind is how in Kansas, just a few miles outside the city, long stretches of beautiful farmland are the norm.  There is also a large part of Kansas that is wild, but it’s the farmland I find simply charming.  Wes loves taking long rambling drives and just looking at farms and barns. He is particularly fascinated by abandoned structures and we’re always pulling over to take photographs.

The other thing I always notice is how blue the sky is. Maybe it’s the California smog that’s getting to me, or living among the high-rises, but there is so much beautiful blue sky here.

Photo taken in 2009 on one of our drives outside of Manhattan, Kansas.

Day 6: Bar-B-Q

You can’t live in Kansas City very long without hearing how it is THE place for Bar-B-Q!  It’s also one of those things you want to avoid discussing at parties, just like politics and religion, because everyone in Kansas City has their own favorite BBQ and the competition is fierce.

There’s Arthur Bryant’s (where the claim to fame is the special orange BBQ sauce), Jack Stack (which boasts hickory-fired brick ovens and premium cuts of meat), Gates (where the ordering style is informal and it’s all about the meat), Oklahoma Joe’s (which boasts the “best sauce on the planet”), and BB’s Lawnside BBQ (where BBQ meets the blues) plus a variety of other smaller restaurants.  There’s also the Kansas City Barbeque Society and the World Series of Barbecue at the American Royal.

Which is to say, Bar-B-Q is SERIOUS BIZNESS in Kansas City. SRS BZNS.

I confess (and risk public flogging) that Wes and I actually don’t care as much for the smoked meat KC style, and prefer the southern style spicy-sweet  sauce and sweet corn muffins of Famous Dave’s which is actually a national chain.

Of course, if we’re looking to celebrate the KC heritage the place we really like is Snead’s which has been cooking up Bar-B-Q its original brick oven since 1956. But beyond the smoked meats, there are heart stopping favorites like fried okra and sweet potato fries.

Uh-oh…when’s lunch?

Photo taken October 2011, Snead’s Bar-B-Q, Belton, Missouri since 1956.

Day 3: Moo.

It wouldn’t be Kansas if there weren’t farmland, and it wouldn’t be farmland if there weren’t cows! This photo was taken a few years ago, when Kansas was new to me.  While there are cows in California (just drive on up the I-5) I’m not sure I’ve ever been quite so close to them before. Mom regarded me with a bit of caution, but baby was all kinds of curious.

 

 

Just don’t ask me about the day I drove up the highway next to a truck full of pigs!

Photo taken April, 2008 near Tuttle Creek Lake.

Day 1: Me too! Me too!

Several days ago my friend Kippiann told me about the 31 Days of Change project.  I’ve been wracking my brain for the last few days for a way that I could play.  Sure I could showcase my creative endeavors, but I sort of do that enough already.  I toyed with the idea of doing 31 days of things I’m thankful for (given that the fall and Thanksgiving are around the corner), but it just didn’t feel right. Then I thought about the things I’ve been trying to do lately: take pictures, enjoy the beautiful weather outdoors, watch the fall colors and I had it.  My 31 day challenge.

Before I moved to Kansas I had an idea of what I might find here. Not surprisingly, influenced by the Wizard of Oz, I thought Kansas would be flat and grey and boring. But it isn’t – it’s beautiful and green and vibrant. So I’m going to give you 31 days of photos of Kansas. Some are stereotypical, many aren’t.  Some were taken over the last few years, some are taken now with my new camera as we enjoy the outdoors.

So welcome to 31 days of Kansas!

Photo shot: October 17, 2010. The Arboretum, Overland Park, Kansas

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