#SoCS – 9/1/2018

 

I’m always ranting about property development around where I live here in the Daniel Boone National Forest. I think it should be much more limited than it is. I tire of hearing heavy equipment instead of the birds singing. Increasing numbers of houses and people drive away the birds and wildlife.

I wrote a post a few months ago in which I mentioned that I had not seen two of my favorite specimens of wildlife this year and I was afraid they were gone forever from my little corner of the world. One was the fawn. Since I’ve lived here, I’ve seen single fawns with their mothers or sets of twin fawns every summer. The other was really a favorite – the pileated woodpecker. It is an increasing rare and rather large woodpecker. You don’t see them everywhere, We were lucky enough to have a few here.

I’m happy to report that I finally saw a fawn. Not until late in August, which is very late for fawns to be around, but at least I saw one. The same day, I saw a large pileated woodpecker. Again, I saw just one, but at least I know they are still around, even if they are smaller in number. PIctures of both are at the top of the page.

Years ago, I had my property designated as a wildlife sanctuary through the National Wildlife Federation. Here are some of the beautiful animals that I have seen since then. Enjoy!

 

 

*Thanks to Linda G. Hill for providing the #SoCS writing prompt!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 8/2/2018

Hello everyone! Thank you for joining my #weekendcoffeeshare. I asked you to join me at the coffee shop this weekend instead of at my home because I have multiple projects going on at home and it is a cluttered mess! Maybe we can go back to my study next weekend. I’ve asked the manager to set up the coffee bar for you, so please help yourself to coffee or tea there. There should be a wide assortment for you.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you how your week was? Did you have a good week? Did you accomplish your goals? Here we are, suddenly, in early September! Where did the summer go? I’ve not enjoyed summer as much as I usually do largely because of the weather patterns here in the Ohio Valley. Instead of the beautiful, blue days we usually have in the summer, we’ve had beautiful blue days with extremely high humidity. This part of the Ohio Valley is always humid in the summer, but this year it has been exceptionally so. We’ve seldom had a day’s break from it. I’ve been reminded of the humidity in New Orleans, where, when you step outdoors, it feels like a heavy, hot, blanket has been dropped over you! I’ve felt trapped inside my house this summer!

For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ve been experiencing winter and I hope it hasn’t been too difficult. I find myself looking forward to fall and winter this year.

Oh, I have to tell you about a book I’m reading that I’ve fallen in love with and I don’t give book recommendations easily. I am writing a novella in the historical fiction genre; specifically set in World War II. The novel that I’m reading, called “Letters to the Lost” by Iona Grey is set in World War II in England. The author is masterful, She has wonderful characterization throughout the book and changes voice throughout. It’s a great novel to study those techniques, not to mention a wonderful read.

We’re still in puppy training mode at my house. I have a feeling we will be doing this for a long time to come! Tucker will be six months old on Wednesday! He is now a big gangly puppy, half again the size of the two Cardigan Welsh Corgis that I’ve had earlier in my life. He’s strong as an ox, sweet as a peach, and the most stubborn animal on the face of Planet Earth. 🙂 In some ways, his behavior is improving. We’re using all sorts of training methods to help him (and us!). I’m hoping that the slight improvements I see are the start of something good. He is still bouncing off the walls! He goes to puppy day care at our wonderful local kennel twice a week for purposes of socialization and he loves it. He plays with other puppies all day. At home, his best friend is a big frog who only comes out at night. They sit on our deck together. I’m desperately training to get a photo, but no luck yet.

I mentioned, in another #weekendcoffeeshare, that I was going to try #Schrivner when writing one of my books. Someone commented that she would like for me to post my comments about it, so I will. If you are a free writer – in other words, if you just sit down and start writing without much planning – Scrivener is probably not for you. It is writing software for the planner. If you are a planner of what you are going to write, then it doesn’t get much better than Scrivener, It gives you the structure in which to plan. I hope this helps.

Enough from here! How has your week been?

 

Thank you to Eclecticali Alli for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

Watcher – #writephoto

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She didn’t walk every day. Only when she had time and they didn’t need her. Only when her weary body could force itself out the door to walk below the ridgeline. She told herself she walked for fitness. She knew she really walked for the fitness of her mind. She would often walk for a short distance, but when he was there, on top of the ridge, she would walk for an hour or more. He fascinated her. Somehow she knew the big, gray wolf was male. She didn’t know how.

She would glance up at the top of the ridge after she had walked away from the house. Most days, she saw him standing there. Facing her. High up on the ridge. As she walked, his walk paralleled hers. She walked the path at the base of the ridge while he walked the top of the ridge. Walking at the same pace she did.

They carried out this ritual for months, the woman and the wolf. Through the summer and into the late fall. She couldn’t imagine why he walked with her, though some distance away. She wasn’t afraid. On the contrary, he made her feel calm. She knew he wouldn’t hurt her. She started sitting down and resting halfway through her walk. He stopped and rested when she did.

One day, early in the winter, she was resting halfway through her walk and she heard the leaves crunch behind her. She sensed it might be him, so she sat very still. The crunching stopped. She sat for a few more moments. Then she got up to walk and saw him mere feet from her. She knew not to meet his eyes. She just started walking. He followed her, this time on the path right behind her. When she turned to go home, he also turned and followed her home. He waited for her to go in the house, then he walked off into the woods.

The wolf and the woman became walking companions. He started walking in front of her and led her up the hill to the ridgeline. When they stopped and she looked down the other side, she saw the men. Men were logging the woods and logging was prohibited in those woods. It dawned on her that this was what the wolf had wanted her to see. He wanted her help.

She reported the logging to the authorities and it stopped. During her next walk, the wolf was waiting for her. When she got to the path, he did the most surprising thing. He leaned his big body against her. Very gingerly, she reached over and took a handful of the ruff around his neck. They stood for a long time like that. Then, he walked off into the woods.

After that day, the wolf didn’t walk with her anymore although she saw him occasionally watching her from the ridgeline. She thinks he accomplished his mission — to get her help in reporting the loggers. He probably had a den, a mate, and pups nearby. She missed his company.

What she didn’t know is that he had become her watcher. She could walk the woods in safety because he will watch out for her as long as he lives.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the lovely photo and writing prompt!

My Beauty

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It was Saturday. He’d asked her to go to town with him. They worked so hard on the farm. She walked over to the mirror and gasped. Her white hair, long and stringy. Her skin, leathery and red. She began to work her magic.

He couldn’t believe what he saw. All the men in town would be jealous. Her beautiful hair peeking out from under a tiny hat. Her glowing skin. She wore a navy blue suit that matched her flashing eyes.

He offered her his arm and said, “My beauty?” She smiled.

93 words

 

Thanks to Rochelle and Friday Fictioneers for the wonderful prompt and to Nathan Sowers for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bus Tour

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The old man and woman crept up to the door of the church. They couldn’t believe what they saw. Above the door was the Old Cross, the pagan cross. It was the cross they worshipped when they were young and visited The Sorcerer.

They stood back and looked at the Church, both it and the Old Cross covered in vines, like the church from long ago. Was it possible that The Sorcerer could be here so many years later? He was surely dead by now.

The old couple was on a bus tour of Wales. They had moved to London to have a normal life. They thought they had left paganism behind, but here was the Old Cross. They had an almost unbearable urge to enter the old church.

Their guide and tour group walked up. The guide Continue reading

Caught – #writephoto

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She’d felt like it was her tree since she was a child. It was right at the edge of the forest, quite close to the back of the house she shared with her parents. She watched it grow as she grew. A shy little girl, she spent a lot of time playing in the back yard, usually alone. Often under that tree.

One day, when she was a teenager, her father noticed that the tree, much taller now, had grown a bit crooked and was leaning. He talked to her mother about cutting it down. He feared that, in a storm, it might fall and hit their house. It had a curious opening in the trunk that caused it to branch into a smaller trunk. He thought the wind could catch it just the wrong way.

She overheard the conversation and begged her father not to cut her tree. She used every argument she could think of and told him of how she’d played under it all of her life. After doing some calculations, her dad determined that, if the tree fell, it would not hit their house after all. He agreed to leave the tree. She grabbed him, hugged him, and told him she would always appreciate it.

Two years later, when she had just begun university, a tragedy befell the family. Her parents were killed in an automobile accident. The girl chose to live in her parent’s home after that. She continued her schooling, but grieved deeply for her parents. She was hopeless. She forgot about her tree..

One weekend, she went outside to work in the yard. The sun was filtering through the trees. She was so grief-stricken that she hardly noticed nature or beautiful days. She turned around and looked up and the sun caught her in the face, through the opening in her tree. Remembering her tree, she closed her eyes and let the sun soak into her skin. She felt like she was coming alive again. The sun and her tree were wiping away her grief and bringing her back to life.

She remembered her dad leaving that tree there. For her.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for the beautiful photo prompt!

Ramona, The Dark Fairy

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In the Old Country, there existed a creature called the Dark Fairy. Ramona, a dark fairy, visited a little boy named Evan one night.

She propelled Evan outdoors and to the front of the neighbor’s house. He screamed when he saw her. She put a sock in his mouth. She told him who she was and that, when the boy inside came out, he was to hit him with a rock. The boy had bullied Evan. He couldn’t help himself. He threw the rock and hit the boy. She made Evan laugh.

Dark fairies are magical, mean, evil creatures.

 

Thanks to Charli and the Carrot Ranch for the interesting prompt!

 

#SoCS – 8/18/2018

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A few days ago, I got in my attic and started sorting through my mother’s things. She’s been gone eighteen years, so I thought it time, and past time, to dispose of her belongings. I should tell you that it was, perhaps, the worst decision I’ve ever made! If you’re wondering why, let me tell you my story.

It’s always emotional, I’m sure, to have to dispose of your parents’ things when they are gone. My mother clearly kept every piece of paper, card, picture, and letter that she had ever had. All the way back to before World War II. What I found was actually a treasure trove for a writer. Letters between she and my dad when he was fighting in WWII. A scrapbook she kept with newspaper clippings about the war. Letters from all my family, both sides, during wartime. The newspaper from the day the war was over. I’m currently writing a little historical fiction and now I have at least some of my primary research, but it was tough to read about that young, wartime couple who later became my mom and dad.

Then there were the pictures. Thousands of pictures. My mother had seven siblings, so on my maternal side, I have a lot of cousins. Most of the pictures that were not of me were of her brothers and sisters and my cousins, up to about the age of ten. It was a huge job, and an emotional one, to go through all those pictures and separate them cousin by cousin. I’m not yet finished. I’m determined to return those pictures to my cousins so they can share them with their own children, even though I’m not in touch with most of them any more.

Next was the really hard stuff. I think my mother had saved every drawing I’d ever made as a child, every report card, every single thing relevant to me as I”d gone through school. It broke my heart and made me cry.

I still have two large boxes to go through. No idea yet what’s in them and I’m almost afraid to open them. I hope to finish this task this week. I feel like I’ve just viewed my mother’s entire life, a little like a Peeping Tom, and have seen her most private possessions.

Getting old ain’t for sissies.

*The picture above is of my grandparents house and farm in Appalachia. I found it in my mother’s pictures.

**Thanks to Linda Hill for the Stream of Consciousness prompt!

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Respect

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All the children worked in the garden. It was hard, back-breaking work, especially since the crows had descended, picking everything clean. When Abigail’s brothers talked to their father, the farmer, about the crow problem, he discussed possible solutions with them. When Abigail mentioned it to her father, she felt the back of his hand and heard him say that she was just lazy.

”It isn’t fair,” Abigail said to Frank, her oldest brother. “He talks to you like you’re a human being. To him, I’m just a slave.” Frank just laughed and told her she was just a girl. Abigail had heard that all of her life. She worked as hard as any boy or man.

They had tried a scarecrow in the garden. A pitiful, spindly thing that wouldn’t scare anything away. Abigail knew that scarecrows worked in the neighbors’ gardens. She went to work building a female scarecrow with all the accoutrements.

Her father and brothers laughed at her creation. They said she wouldn’t work. That Abigail was stupid.

Suddenly, their problem with the crows stopped. Abigail’s scarecrow was scaring them away. Her father didn’t acknowledge her, but looked at her with a new respect in his eyes.

 

200 words

*In remembrance of Aretha Franklin. When I first heard this song, it was likely the first time I’d ever heard the word “respect” associated with women. She had an effect on an entire generation.

*Thanks to sundayphotofictioner for the great prompt and to Anurag Bakhshi for the photo prompt.

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#weekendcoffeeshare -7/18/2018

 

Good morning! Welcome to my #weekendcoffeeshare! Grab a cup of coffee or tea off the kitchen island. I believe there is also decaf of both there and some green tea. Help yourself to whatever your pleasure is and join me in my study.

I hope all of you are well and happy and getting along well with your writing projects. I’m proceeding with my novella and have had time to do some writing this week. I am working on the characters right now, fleshing them out, making them interesting. Do you use Scrivener? I am using it for my character studies as it seems really convenient for that, but I use Microsoft Word for my actual manuscript. This is the first time I’ve used Scrivener, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Do any of you have experience with that program?

I’ve also spent the week following the story about the environmental devastation in Florida. If you’re in the U.S., I’m sure you’ve heard about it. If you’re not, you may not. In short, the Gulf Coast of the Florida peninsula is being devastated by chemical runoff from the sugar cane operation around Lake Okachoobee. There was already a red tide on the Gulf Coast. Now, the runoff has caused a blue-green algae bloom that has caused a massive fish kill. Hundreds of sea turtles have been killed, which breaks my heart. Thousands of fish. This will impact the people of the Gulf Coast and their jobs for years to come.

We have a small place in Florida right in the middle of this runoff. We don’t think we can even go back except to get our belongings. Even then, it will be dangerous to our health. Tourism will be dead in Florida this coming winter which will destroy their economy. It’s very sad and unnecessary. I’m a bit of a political activist, so I’ve been involved in this during the week. A picture of the blue-green algae slime that is so toxic is below this post.

I’m also involved in trying to tame my wild puppy, Tucker! He’s so sweet, but completely out of hand at 5.5 months old. I’ve had five corgis in my life, but never a corgi with his temperament. I told my husband that his needs are above my pay grade! Together with his breeder, we’re trying to find a professional trainer for him. Not only will that be good for me, it will be good for Tucker. I have to be trained as well. I have to learn the secrets to controlling him and he has to learn to control himself. Herding dogs, like Tucker, are alphas by nature. After he’s trained, I want to involve him in something fun for him. I’m going to enter him in herding trials and let him do what comes naturally to him.

Environmental issues and character studies for my novella have been at the top of my list this week, along with dog training, of course. What have you been doing this week?

*Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

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