Early Easter at Mamaw's, Royal, Arkansas
April 5th, 2015
I got a message out of nowhere one weekend letting me know that Shane's mom and Mamaw were hosting an early Easter get together at their house out in Royal. With a firm, stolid nod, I grabbed the closest thing to an Easter patterned flannel I could find and equiped it with the confidence of a thousand fresh fiances who've scarcely been around their partner's side of the family. We hit the road as soon as Shane got home, cameras in hand.
When we arrived, the sun was just about to go behind the treeline. My soon-to-be sister-in-law and mother-in-law were out back with the kids of the family, rounding up the last of the egg hunting. His mom and mamaw are avid landscapers, and their backyard is one big patch of land with many little garden patches and planted trees! And they were all in bloom!
We got a lot of family pictures of course, but you're here for the nature bit, so suffer one picture of us before we get started!
Now, on to the fun part! After eating a delicious selection of holiday morsels, we got some hype going to take the kids down to the creek behind the backyard. The first time Shane took me down there (during Christmas) we'd found the most awe-inspiring, massive collection of oyster mushrooms that I've ever had the privilege of seeing. It was spectacular. They were growing on fallen decaying trees that had been felled when a tornado came across their backyard, and since the trees were huge and difficult to clear, they sat around for months and the rich rot gave birth to some beauties.
Sadly, though, the timber had been carted out, taking the likely shriveled, out of season oysters with them. I still had hopes that there would be something worth seeing though, so with kids in tow, we headed through the backyard and down the slope to the bank of the creek.
That is us climbing down the slope. ... Just kidding, we climbed up there for a flower. For real though, as soon as we got to the bottom of the path, I was finding all sorts of things worth cataloging:
Me (Matt) finding a patch of buckeye.
One of the kids joked about the trip becoming a nature documentary, so of course, I obliged and ran with it, rambling about buckeye saplings and how keeping a nut in your pocket from the buckeye is good luck. We were just in time (seasonally) to catch them in perfect bloom, and they had some lovely flowers on them.
~ M.D. Hammond ~