Fun to be Scared

All Hallows Eve is approaching. You know what that means?

Costumes. Ghost stories. Candy. And more candy.

For the past several weeks homes and businesses have been decorating for the big evening celebration. Stores have sold candy by the bucket. Much of it in little packages which will be dropped into plastic pumpkins, or plastic bags, or the basket portion of a costume. Smart parents will walk with their children, waiting while they climb the steps where the porch light is on and right the doorbell.

Have you practiced what to say? Do you tell a joke? Sing a jingle? Recite a line that fits your costume?

Then there’s the spooky part of the celebration.

Are these underfed fellows getting ready to come after your candy?



Call Him “Jack”

Fall weather gives a different sort of energy. Cool nights – some with a nip of frost. Sunny afternoons where you can strip off the sweatshirt and rake leaves in your shirtsleeves.

And after the work is done? Fall brings out all sorts of harvest and farm oriented activities. It’s even reflected in decorations of corn stalks, apples, and bright colored gourds. How about a hay ride? I’ll take mine behind a team of horses – thank you.

Today’s driver of our phantom team is Mr. Jack O’Lantern.


Family Portrait – Partial

It was a cool, pleasant morning. The weather was a welcome relief from the prolonged summer. Perfect weather to play outside. Practice our skills. Run across the yard. Check out the humans.

This spring, the St. Louis Zoo welcomed a litter of eight (8) cheetah cubs. By the time of this visit in late September they were kittens at play in large, strong bodies.

Limits of space, movement, time and the quality of my camera limited this to the best partial family portrait of the day. Need to make a repeat visit.


Autumn Abundance

Autumn equals harvest time in the Northern Hemisphere.

As the daughter and granddaughter of farmers, I’ve been paying attention to the seasons all of my life. Much depends  on seasons and weather when growing crops and animals. And while my farming has dwindled to a tiny plot of garden – planted with hope every spring – I still pay attention.

Canada recently celebrated their Thanksgiving holiday. The United States will follow in late November. This is truly a time to reflect on the harvest — one farmer grows more than enough to feed his family. The abundance in the grocery store — with produce bins full of bright seasonal fruits and vegetables, a variety of mead and dairy products available, and frozen and canned foods available without the hours of prep work.

Abundance! Give Thanks!


Wading with Purpose

He (or she) is on the large size of the bird scale. At a height of up to five feet and a wing-span of nine feet — they earn a little respect.

You’ll find them in African wetlands. Prowling and wading as they gather fresh fish, crabs, and frogs for their dinner. Poke. Snap. Gulp. A pair of birds will stake their claim to an area and keep the fishing rights for themselves. And they will set up housekeeping near the top of a sturdy tree. Large bird = large nest. And the family can range from one to five chicks to feed and teach and send out on their own.

Saddle-billed Stork

Unlike in the fanciful stories told to children — he will not bring a new baby to your house.  However, he would appreciate a little respect to his natural habitat.


They’re Back!!!

October — the season of colorful yellow, orange, and red.

From the leaves on the trees to the sweatshirts and jackets pulled from summer storage you see bright fall colors. At times they match the sports teams as schools compete against each other and loyal fans don their colors.

Decorations sprout up around entryways and in businesses large and small. Some celebrate harvest. A few look ahead to Thanksgiving. Many center on Halloween — candy sweet, spooky, or comical. American retailers will sell you items to decorate and celebrate as you desire.

One announcement of Halloween in my neighborhood is the local charity pumpkin stand. From tiny to “I need help to lift this” are offered for sale. Decorate as you like – carve, paint, decals.

I’m suddenly hungry for pie.


Space Required

Like many occupations, professions, and hobbies — writing requires a space.

After all, an author needs a surface on which to work. And these days most of us compose and revise and edit on some sort of computer.

Unlike many occupations — writing is portable.

A writing space can vary from day to day. Or hour by hour. Did the coffee shop get too noisy? Is the library too quiet? The patio too cold? Pack up the laptop – or pad and pen – and move to a different sort of space.

What does a writer require? It depends on the author. Some need to flee the chaos of family. Others need to be available when that toddler wakes from their nap. And additions to the laptop mentioned above can be many.

A good chair. Reference books. Drinks and snacks. A method to take and retrieve notes. Music? Noise cancelling headphones? The ideal space varies by author, season, and sort of project.

Space waiting for addition of author.



Ahhhh! That was so good!

Ahhhh! That was so good!

Have you ever closed a book, leaned back, and smiled with pleasure?

I think you’ve just finished a candidate for a book review. It doesn’t need to be long. Or fancy.

A simple “thank you for writing this book” or “I enjoyed it” counts as a review.

And what to do with it? Since you’re reading this on the internet – I guessing you have access to a computer.

Pick a book retailer site. (You might want to begin where you purchased the book if you did so on-line.) Put in the book title. Select the book. Scroll down or click on an option to “write a review”. Most sites ask you to rate from one to five. (Five is wonderful.) Then you add your opinion. Click on save the review or publish or whatever word the site uses.

Wasn’t that easy? And you’ve just encouraged an author.

Released Oct 3. Reviews welcome!


Making it MINE!

They feel good in your hand. They purr and release a faint, pleasant scent when you fan the pages.

Yes – I’m talking about books again.

Today’s topic is bookstores. I stand in front of the shelves and sigh. Part dream. Part wish. Part reality. They look so inviting – like the dessert tray at a good restaurant. And while reading does not add pounds to the body. (Okay, okay, I don’t exercise while reading. Can we ignore that?) It does subtract pennies from my pocket.

Bookstores come in a rainbow of varieties. Do you want the new, bestseller? I suggest a new book retailer. The staff can either direct you to the proper shelf or place an order for prompt delivery.

Looking for an old favorite to re-read? Or gift to a friend? You might have good luck at a smaller shop with a mix of new and used books. They often feature a shelf of local interest or authors as a bonus.

Need it before payday? Take your time and browse the yards and yards of shelves at a used book store. Certain ones give discounts if you bring in volumes to trade. (Think – you need shelf space for the new-to-you.)

At some point in my life I’m been in all of these. The bright lights and wide aisles. The cramped space of a converted mobile home where you feared to explore where the light bulb was burned out.

Wide aisles. New books. Let me take my time.

Bookstore staff love to chat books. Ask them for suggestions.