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Sometimes, for many reasons, most beyond our control, plans that have been in place for months don’t turn out quite the way those plans were originally written. So, what to do? We looked at our options, and turned our attention to what was possible.

Spring in mid-Missouri is absolutely gorgeous, due primarily to the dogwoods and redwoods that explode in the woodlands, on the cliffs, and even along the interstates. We have had an unusually cold start to spring this year, so those two spring staples are not yet in bloom.

So we went to the woodland looking for the blossoms of spring…and the ephemerals, those small, delicate, flowers of very early spring that do not last too long. Some of them, especially the ones that show up in the lawn are called weeds. Maybe, but I love them anyway.

In my backyard I have found…

We have some bird feeders, so I took time to sit and watch the birds. Some mornings there is a symphony of birdsong in our yard.

We traveled to Montauk State Park near out home to see what we might find, and were not disappointed. We did not find wildflowers…it was a bit too early, but we did find critters…and some evidence of critter activity…

We saw some watercress in the Current River as well as a beautiful Fritillary butterfly…

We have also visited Shaw Nature Reserve just west of St. Louis several times in the last couple weeks.

The trails there are varied in length and habitat type, as well as well maintained. One of my favorite trails is the Wildflower Trail, a woodland with a section of rocky outcroppings. It is the rocky outcropping that I most love, as that is where I find the most wildflowers of spring.

But the first thing you notice at Shaw in the Spring are the massive clusters of daffodils throughout the reserve. The daffodils bring in visitors from all around, and they never disappoint.

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So following a walk among the…daffodils, we head up to the Wildflower Trail…

And we find a few critters, too…

Yes, I missed my trip, but my goodness, I have had no time to pout…there is just too much to see out there. You just have to go out there and look for it!

Sometimes, after returning from a day outside exploring, we just want something for dinner that is easy and quick, but still really good. One of my favorites is this pasta dish I make with Missouri grown walnuts we get in the fall and freeze to use all year. I originally found the recipe in an article by Mark Bittman in the New York Times, and have adapted it to our liking over time.

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Pasta with Walnuts and Olive Oil

  • Servings: 6
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  • 1 c. walnut pieces
  • 1/2 c. parsley leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic,roughly chopped
  • 3/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb. spaghetti


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. While the water comes to boiling, combine the parsley and garlic in a small food processor. Add the oil and process until you have a nice mixture. Stir in the walnut pieces, and season the with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta to desired tenderness.
  4. Toss the pasta with the sauce.