Overtaken

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Ruth knew there was a burn ban. The ban was until 6 p.m. and it was almost dark. She thought she could burn the trash. The fire had gotten away from her. She and Sam were using blankets to try to beat down the flames.

The small volunteer fire department was on its way. Sam had called them before he ran out to help her. The fire was heading toward the forest behind their house. There were homes back there. Families, children, wildlife.

“Sam, I don’t hear any sirens yet,” Ruth screamed.

”You know they’re all ten or more miles away. We have to keep it at bay until they can get here,” Sam replied over the increasing roar of the fire.

Ruth and Sam were both members of the fire department. They couldn’t leave the blaze long enough to get their fire-fighting equipment. Ruth knew they could stop the fire on the ground with their equipment, but she had just seen it jump to the top of a tree.

The volunteers started pulling in the driveway, putting on their gear as they jumped out of their cars. Someone got the pair’s gear out of the house.

The fire was roaring through the underbrush, advancing fast.

“We have to build a berm to try to stop this,” Sam said.

”It’s too hot. You can’t get in there,” someone screamed at him.

Sam grabbed a shovel and went in. Just as he did, the fire took on new life and overtook him.

 

Posted to IndiesUnlimited. If you like this story, please go to this site and vote for it after 5 p.m. Tuesday. Thank you!

Photo attributed to K. S. Brooks

 

#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!

#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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#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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Track – #writephoto

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As she walked down the long, dark track in the Appalachian forest, she thought of the wild things that used to be so populous here and how few of them remained. The deer had once walked up on her porch and ate from the troughs surrounding her house. There were hundreds of species of birds. It was quiet, peaceful. Over the last few years, humans had stolen their habitat.

She thought of the author, Wendell Berry’s, poem, “The Peace of the Wild Things,” and wanted to lie by a tree and know their peace. She knew she never would. She hadn’t seen a fawn or a pileated woodpecker this year. This was the first year they were gone. All she had heard was the screech of chain saws and the clang of heavy equipment as they tried to turn the forest into a park or a crowded subdivision. Why did they move here and claim they wanted quiet and solitude and then make it like everywhere else? Was this progress? She didn’t think so.

The track wasn’t as deep in the forest and the wild things were gone. It had only taken twenty years in this small corner of the Daniel Boone National Forest. She had once loved it here. Now, she supposed she would have to leave in search of solitude once again. She had been young when she had come here. She wasn’t young anymore and this had become home.

She considered following this track where the wild things walked all the way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where her roots were. She felt she was too old now. Life wasn’t easy there. She couldn’t deal with feet, not inches, of snow in the winter. How could she live without seeing her beloved wildlife daily? She’d kept her blinds closed this summer so she could pretend they were still there.

Suddenly, she remembered that very old movie called “Elephant Walk,” starring Elizabeth Taylor. She thought it was shot in the 1940s. The characters built a home in the jungle and took the elephants habitat. The elephants returned the favor by walking right through the home.

Would the wild things take back their home here someday? Part of her hoped so.

 

Thanks to Sue Vincent for this writing prompt and photo!

 

#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/28/2018

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Good morning to all! Thank you for joining me, virtually today, for our #weekendcoffeeshare. I raise my teacup to you and hope you are enjoying a good strong cup of coffee or tea right along with me. I’m waking up at a remote location. I feel like I’m sitting at the top of the world, but I’m not. I am in the Great Smoky Mountains at a place, dear to all Tennessee lovers, called Rocky Top. Had you driven up here in an RV, pulling a car, with a 4.5 month old puppy looking out the windows crying, you would know why I feel like I’m at the top of the world this morning!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that to get to the RV campground here requires climbing up a mountain around a series of hairpen curves, no small feat for the RV that is towing. I wasn’t driving. Nope, not me. No way. It was scary as hell anyway. Just ask my puppy, whose eyes were as big as saucers. This campground is at Norris, Tennessee where Norris Dam and Lake are. My husband came here to fish. I joined him to try to socialize Tucker, the puppy, because I knew there would be plenty of people and dogs at the campground. What I forgot about were the bears. Yes, the black bear is prevalent in the park and I have just what they are looking for – a puppy. Going outdoors after dark is a bit perilous.

Other than being scared to death of the roads and the bear, it’s been a great trip so far. Lunch today in a fab little cafe in the town of Norris. The dam, which is awesome, was built back in the 1930’s and the Tennessee Valley Authority, who built the dam, provided housing in the form of an actual little town for its workers. Norris is one of only two such towns left. It is quaint and beautiful.

So far, Tucker has been walked to death. He has had a crash course in leash training, other dogs, and strange people. He has received an A+ in people skills, a C in leash training, and a failing grade in other dogs. That should tell you about the last two days of my life. He rides in the car like a champ. A pouting champ, but a champ nonetheless. The RV is too much for him and he hides in his crate. We’re expecting a lot of a puppy not yet five months old.

We’re here a few more days before we head home which is only a few short hours away.

Needless to say, making time for writing has suffered this past week. I have gotten a little work done on my novella and very little blogging done.

Before I close, I have to mention sports for a moment. I want to apologize to all my fellow UK Wildcats fans! Why? Because we are at ROCKY TOP. They will understand.

I’d love to hear about all of you! Wish me luck in the wilds of the Smoky Mountains!

 

*Photo Credit to Wikipedia

The Demise of Civilization

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The street looks peaceful doesn’t it? Palm trees, white fences, boys on bicycles going to school this morning. Could be almost any street in Florida. It’s not almost any street. It’s my street.

I live here alone. A 55-year-old lady. Retired. Trying to make ends meet on a small pension and my savings. I’m not nearly old enough yet to quality for social security. I had to retire early because of my vision. I’m legally blind. I’m also scared.

This used to be a wonderful place to live. I knew all the neighbors. We had a nice community. Then the hurricanes came and people moved away. I can’t afford to move.

My neighbors moved and some left their houses empty. Squatters moved in. Those boys on the bicycles? At night, they are part of a gang. They terrorize us by going up and down the street and stealing everything they can find. They spray paint our houses. The police have tried to catch them with no luck.

I don’t have anyone to help me. My family is gone now. What do people like me do? No money to go to a safer place. Is there a safer place?

 

Photo Credit to C. E. Ayr

Thanks Susan and SundayPhotoFictioners for the prompt!

#weekendcoffeeshare – 7/21/2018

Oh, please come in, grab a beverage, and find a seat! I’m so sorry we had to meet in the coffee shop today instead of at my house! I’m having company today and tonight.

Thank you so much for dropping by my #weekendcoffeeshare today. Wasn’t that storm we had last night terrible? We didn’t get the worst of it here. About 70 miles to the west, in the city where many of my friends live, they got hit pretty hard. Lots of downed trees, power lines down, people trapped in cars. Several of my friends were without power or any services for many hours. At least the storm brought a cold front in with it and the weather is so much more pleasant today. The humidity is lower and so is the temperature.

I’m very proud of my 4.5 month old puppy, Tucker. He was a real trooper during the storm. There was big thunder and lightning. Tucker did lay close to me, but he was not fearful. When he first came to live with me, I played ball with him during storms. It seems to have helped him cope now.

Now for Tucker update for the week. His newest accomplishment is that he learned to be comfortable in his harness and his seat belt harness in the car. You can see him in the picture above. He is started to look around, look out the windows, just be comfortable in the car in general. I’m proud of him! Now if he’d only stop chewing on my hands and being a holy terror in my house! One step at a time, I guess! 🙂

My writing is going slowly right now. After all, it’s summer. I have a puppy to train and we are about to take a little vacation. In fact, next Saturday, I’ll write my weekendcoffeeshare from on the road in our RV! I’ll keep you in suspense until then. I have gotten some work done on my historical World War II novella this week, but not as much as I’d like.

Some sad news. I think I’ve mentioned before that I went to an unusual high school. It was located on a college campus and was a private, teacher training school. I went lock-step through twelve grades with the same 28 kids, give or take. Most of us are still close. We grew up much like siblings. One of the boys in our class is quite ill and may not make it. One of the other people in the class, a girlfriend, is driving here today to visit him. She is my company for the evening.

That’s all from northeastern Kentucky today. Thanks for joining me for coffee! I hope all of you are meeting your writing goals, but that you’re also having fun this summer!

 

Thanks to eclecticali for hosting #weekendcoffeeshare!

The Broken Fence

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Every morning when she took her walk, she passed beside an old, weathered board fence. It didn’t seem to hold anything. No horses, no other livestock, not even a house. Every third or fourth board was missing.

She didn’t know why she came this way. She thought of her family each time she saw that old fence. The family that didn’t want her anymore. The family that was gone, that had left her alone. The family that didn’t care now.

Her feelings for them were gone. They’d slipped away like the wind slipped through the gaps in the fence.

 

 

 

Carrot Ranch prompt:

July 12, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a broken fence. You can mend it, leave it, or explain its place in a story. Go where the prompt leads.