Monday, February 27, 2012

Weathered boards and daffodils

As I mentioned in my last post, roadside daffodils don't get there by themselves. It's not as if they march over to wherever they want and dig themselves in with a little bone meal sprinkled about. No, roadside daffodils are there because someone planted them in front of what used to be a house.

Looking northbound

Looking southbound

Many of the old daffodil plantings I see have long outlasted the houses that once stood near them. Once in a while, though, I see the outline of a foundation, a shadow of a chimney standing above it. And sometimes, I get to see the ruined house.

Abandoned house with privet hedge (left) and cedar tree by the front porch

This old shack probably belonged to sharecroppers—but on second thought, it's unlikely that sharecroppers would be living in a house with well-constructed brick pillar foundations on the front porch. Perhaps someone with money (or masonry skills and surplus bricks) built this house.

It sits alongside U.S. Highway 27 in northern Heard County, and for as long as I can remember has been abandoned. However, I don't recall there having been a cow pasture around it 20 years ago.

Beautiful flowers in the electric-fenced pasture

Having grown up on my grandfather's cattle farm, I know quite a bit about cows. So I don't know why I was so surprised when the cows around this old house eyed me suspiciously as I got out of the truck and approached the fence.

Cows are masters of the doubtful side-eye.

Take a picture, lady! It'll last longer.

Or the suspicious straight-ahead stare. This cow wasn't having anything to do with me and my camera. She stared at me for 60 seconds, then headed into the woods—surprisingly quickly, I might add, for a creature weighing upwards of 500 pounds.

What? You don't want your picture taken?

Was that a chicken coop there on the left? Hard to tell.

Previous inhabitants planted daffodils all over this yard. They're next to and in the ditch, at the roadside, and in the yard. Perhaps there was once a flower bed where this hay bale feeder now sits. You'll also notice the black cow in the background. By the time I took the second bale feeder photo, she was behind the house and moving at an impressive clip toward the woods and pond, with the rest of the herd.

There seem to be quite a few daffodil stands in pastures. Years of aged manure must be great for them. But cows seem to ignore daffodils; I've never seen them munching on the flowers or foliage. They may taste bad due to the calcium oxalate and lycorine in the stems and leaves.

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