Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Weekend Roundup - Christmas & New Year

Last week's assignment: Starts with Christmas, Favorite, and Red & Green.

This week's assignment: New Year, Favorite, and Festive.

Starts with Christmas: What better post for 'Starts with CHRISTMAS' than this ornament which commemorates our first CHRISTMAS together.

Favorite: What? No horse? Dream on. This is my favorite pup, Gus, wearing his dreaded CHRISTMAS hat. I always try to get a good pic in a Santa hat, but it never works. :)

However, my favorite thing to do on CHRISTMAS day is to take a drive. During our drive we stopped to check on the mama-to-be horses.

Red & Green: I have a lot of pictures with RED & GREEN, but all have to do with Christmas decorations. However, Mr. Cardinal is looking mighty fine in RED with the GREEN cedar trees in the background.

Starts with New Year: The NEW YEAR last year brought snow and frigid temperatures. Here's hoping for a milder 2022 NEW YEAR.

Favorite: And my all-time favorite thing about a new year is the mamas and their new babies. 

Festive: There's nothing more FESTIVE at a party than live music. I tried to upload a video, but it didn't cooperate. 

Linking to The Weekend Roundup 


Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Weekend Roundup - Y

 Today's assignment: Starts with Y, Favorite, and Yellow.

Starts with Y: YUCK! Starts with Y. Found this hawk enjoying a roadkill snack—unlucky raccoon? I had to drive around them. Mr. Hawk wouldn't budge.  

Favorite: How do I come up with a horse for the letter Y? I think a YOUNG one works.

Yellow: A goldfinch enjoying the sunflowers? Yep. Works for YELLOW. 

Linking to The Weekend Roundup

Monday, December 13, 2021

An Excerpt from Blackthorne Cove

Emerson's hands shook so hard, it was difficult to move the slide lock. When the door opened, she quickly ran down the back steps and through the weeds in the yard. She slipped through a crack in the back gate and ran as fast as she could down the alley. Turning right onto a side street, she picked up her pace. Nothing was more important than putting distance between dying and living.

Blackthorne Cove

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Weekend Roundup - W & X

 I've been out of town, so playing catch up by posting both W and X today.

Starts with W: WATER begins with W. 

Starts with X: X-RAY begins with X. This is the X-Ray of hubby's hand after it was de-gloved in a printing press.

Favorite: WIND. Ha! Found a WAY to include my favorite critters. It was a very WINDY day.

Weather: WAITING for the tornado WARNING that is bound to follow these clouds.

Looks like an X: This look like an X to me.

Linking to The Weekend Roundup 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Weekend Roundup - V

 This week's assignment: Starts with V, Favorite, and Valley.

Starts with V: VOLKSWAGEN starts with V. Is this a VOLKSWAGEN Bug? or Spider?

Favorite: This is my morning VIEW from the front porch. Coffee and horses. Two of my favorite things.

Valley: Another VIEW. This time of a VALLEY we saw while driving down the Talimena Scenic Drive.

Posting early since I won't have access to my computer next Friday.

Linking to The Weekend Roundup

Friday, November 19, 2021

The Weekend Roundup - U

 This week's assignment: Starts with U, Favorite, and Under.

Starts with U: UMBRELLA starts with U. Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Fun trip. Warm, too.

Favorite: In order for a foal to nurse, it has to have it's head UNDER the mare.

Unusual: This bird is rare in this area, so when I found this UNUSUAL bird, I was excited. Lucky me!

Linking to The Weekend Roundup

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Back Porch Sittin’


   One of my favorite summer pastimes is to enjoy nature from the back porch. Thus, this story titled Back Porch Sittin'. I hope you enjoy it.

Back Porch Sittin'    

Since retirement, Saturday is no longer a day to rush around cleaning, mowing, or shopping for groceries. Mundane chores are completed during the week. Now it is the day I like to stay home and relax. When weather permits, my day begins on the back porch with a steaming cup of coffee.

Gus, our red-heeler, comes along. He checks the perimeter for danger, before making himself comfortable at my feet. As dawn colors the sky, birds come alive. They are practicing their calls and singing the day awake. A cardinal makes a precarious landing on the edge of the feeder, followed by his lady. He hops off and sits on the fence while she eats her fill. A chickadee joins her, followed by a dark-eyed junco. A larger bird, practicing his menacing moves, swoops down and lands nearby. He utters a high-pitched call and the other birds quickly disappear. It’s the dreaded cowbird.

“Get him, Gus,” I whisper.

Gus swiftly advances toward the enemy. He barks. The cowbird flies to safety in the top of a dead tree. Gus barks some more and then struts back to the porch. “Good dog,” I say and give him a pat on the head. He flops down and closes his eyes. He’s asleep.

A hummingbird roars by, circles, and lands on the new red Hummerdome I found at the hardware store last week. He takes a few sips of nectar before a WWII reenactment begins. Mr. Hummer #2 in a Japanese Zero dives down from the clouds. Mr. Hummer #1 climbs into his Hellcat and the fight is on. They forget they have an audience. After a few passes, they each retire to the fence. One is on the north side, the other on the south. They prepare to fight another war—they’re off for round two.

Gus jumps up, runs toward the west perimeter and starts barking his mean bark. It’s the neighbor’s bull. I silence the dog before the bull charges through the rickety fence. The bull wanders off.

The sound of hooves beating against hard earth distracts me. The pasture has morphed into the racetrack at Churchill Downs. Two horses are running across the pasture at top speed—side by side—racing. Whiskey pulls ahead. With his muscled body straining, Nero fights back to take the lead. By the time they reach the pond, I decide Whiskey is the winner by a nose. At the track it would have been a photo finish. The thunder of hooves subsides. Nero snorts, kicks, and nips Whiskey on the neck. Whiskey reciprocates with a nip to Nero’s nose. With a shake of his head, Whiskey walks over to the pond. Nero follows. In tandem, they bend down to get a drink.

Don, coffee in hand, comes outside. “Any excitement this morning?”

“Actually, yes.” I say. “Have a seat, and I’ll tell you all about it.”

He sits. I talk. We laugh. It’s another relaxing day of back porch sittin’.  ~ 2021

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Weekend Roundup - T

This week's assignment: Starts with T, Favorite, and Top.

Starts with T: Found this beautiful place for a picnic. There are plenty of TABLES among the TREES throughout Chickasaw Recreational Area.

Favorite: While waiting to be saddled, this horse is TETHERED to the hitching rail.

Top: This Great-crested Flycatcher was enjoying the view from the TIPPY TOP of a TREE.

Linking to The Weekend Roundup  

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Weekend Roundup - S

 This week's assignment: Starts with S, Favorite, and Snow.

Starts with S: STONEWALL starts with S. STONEWALL, Oklahoma, population 470, is getting a new water tower and all new waterlines. After they finish replacing the pipes, they will begin putting in new roads. Our tiny little town is getting much needed water updates and a facelift.

Favorite: And you know my favorite will always be a horse if I can find a way to insert one. How about a SWEET face. Love this lady.

Snow: This pic is from last February when we had the most SNOW and coldest temps Oklahoma has seen in many, many years. Hopefully not this year. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

Linking to The Weekend Roundup

Friday, October 29, 2021

Trick or Treat


Trick? or Treat?

With each bite of oatmeal, Lilly’s excitement grew. She glanced at the clock. 7:30. Past time for Bub to wake up. She wondered how he could be sleeping late this morning, when she couldn’t wait to wear her costume and go trick-or-treating. Candy! Yum! It was fun knocking on the neighbors’ doors, especially Mrs. Robbins … fun and scary at the same time. The kids at school thought the woman was a witch and refused to go near her house. Lilly and Bub knew she gave out whole candy bars—worth the risk. Plus, being scared is the best part of Halloween.

After gulping down orange juice, scraping the last of the oatmeal from the bowl, and savoring a slice of jelly-covered toast, Lilly hopped down and cleared the table. With all the dishes placed neatly in the dishwasher, she opened a packet of instant oatmeal, added water, and stuck it inside the microwave. She watched it whirl around until the bowl threatened to overflow, at which point she pulled it out. While pouring a glass of milk, she yelled, “Bub! Bub! Wake up! Breakfast is ready.”

Bub didn’t answer.

Lilly stuck a slice of bread in the toaster, ran down the hall, and burst into Bub’s room. She stood there, unable to move. Frozen in place.

Bub wasn’t there.

The sound of the toaster regurgitating the slice of bread, allowed her to move. She ran to the bathroom. The door was closed. Lilly breathed a sigh of relief. “Bub. Your breakfast is on the table. Hurry, before it gets cold.”

No answer.

“Bub? Are you in there?”

No answer.

She opened the door. The bathroom was empty.

Lilly rolled her eyes. He’s probably riding his new bike. Grabbing a red, stocking cap off the hook in the mud room, Lilly ran outside and looked up and down the street. No Bub. She ran around the side of the house, opened the gate, closed it behind her, and turned around. She stumbled and almost fell on her face. What the … ? She clamped her hand over her mouth to keep a bad word from escaping.

In the far corner of the yard was a playhouse, or at least it looked like a playhouse. Sort of. It’s roof and walls were a little wonky. Nothing was straight. The roof leaned one way and the walls the other. Even the steps dipped down in the middle, and the porch railing was made from boards of different heights. What is that? she wondered. On the other side was a slide instead of another set of steps. Must be for a quick escape, but why would anyone need a quick escape from a playhouse? As crooked as the house is, whoever built it must have had a few too many nips of Uncle Willie’s moonshine. She wasn’t supposed to know about moonshine, but she did. 

Double-checking to make sure no one was around, Lilly crept toward the strange little house. The closer she got, the more she felt like running the other way, but she didn’t. She was on a mission to find Bub. Her parents gave her the responsibility of watching him for a couple of hours while they checked on Grandma at the nursing home. This was a test run. If Lilly took good care of her brother, this might become a paying job. If something happened to Bub, they would never trust her again.

After what seemed like a mile trek across the lawn, Lilly reached the stairs leading up to the door. She tried the first step with her foot. It seemed sturdy enough, so she climbed up to the porch. Since there wasn’t a window to peek inside,  Lilly knocked. “Bub?” She knocked again, and said louder, “Bub!” No response. She tried the knob. Locked.

Lilly ran down the steps and circled the little house. On one side, she found an old tire attached to a round window. She leaned over the rim. It was too dark to see inside, but she did see one word on the glass—pleH. Strange. “Bub! Are you in there?” No answer. Lilly stared at the word for a moment. Backwards! The word was Help, written in red. Red crayon? Blood? Lilly screamed.

“Stop it!” Lilly said aloud. “I need to get inside. But how?” She took off running toward the garage. Inside she dug around until she found a screwdriver. Too small. A shovel. Too heavy and long. Then she saw it, the perfect tool. Grabbing the crowbar, she ran back to the playhouse and positioned the tool beside the latch. Pushing as hard as she could, the door popped open. She dropped the crowbar, and then picked it up again. It might come in handy if she needed a weapon.

Stepping inside, she waited until her eyes adjusted to the darkness. Bub was nowhere to be found. To get more light into the room, she pushed the door wider. The room was vacant with the exception of an almost empty box of cookies placed in the middle of the floor. She picked one up and inhaled. Chocolate chip. Bub’s favorite. Upon further inspection, she saw a trail of cookie crumbs leading outside.

Lilly followed the crumbs toward the field in the back. She slipped through broken boards and picked up the trail on the other side. After passing a bale of hay, she stopped. In front of her was a pile of candy bars. Not the little miniature kind, whole bars. There was a variety, including Bub’s favorite—chocolate caramel. The cookie crumb trail ended, but the trail of candy bars continued. She counted twenty different varieties, as she walked toward a wagon loaded with hay.

What was that? It sounded like a growl. She crept over to the wagon and walked stealthily around to the back side. She held her breath and peeked around the corner. Bub was laying on the ground, his white shirt covered in blood. An old woman dressed in a black, flowing dress stood over him, holding a knife above his head. Lilly opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out. I have to save Bub! She held up the crowbar and ran toward the scary, old woman. Lilly’s plan was to knock her to the ground, hit her in the head, and grab the knife. The plan changed.

Bub sat up and hooted with laughter. Lilly fainted.

The old woman and little boy picked her up, carried her back to the house, and tucked her into bed.

When Lilly opened her eyes, Bub and Mrs. Robbins were sitting next to the bed. Lilly sat up and looked from one to the other. “How did I get here?”

“We carried you,” replied Mrs. Robbins.

Confused, Lilly continued, “I had the wildest dream. I dreamed there was a wonky little house in the backyard, Bub was dead, and you killed him.” With that, she hopped out of bed and looked out the window. “There it is! It’s still there. Where did it come from?”

Mrs. Robbins walked up behind her. “The playhouse belonged to my grandson, but he’s in college now. It seemed lonely, so I had it moved over here. Do you like it?”

“It’s a nice house.” Lilly looked at her brother. “I saw you laying on the ground covered in blood.”

Bub hung his head. “I’m sorry. I wanted to play a trick on you. I wrote ‘help’ on the window with finger paint and we made a trail of cookie crumbs for you to follow. Like in Hansel and Gretel. I dumped more finger paint all over my shirt. “Did it look real? Did I look dead? Did I?” Bub asked.

“Yes, it looked real enough to scare me half to death!”

“Mrs. Robbins tried to talk me out of it, but I convinced her you would think it was funny. I guess I was wrong.”

Bub and Mrs. Robbins simultaneously pulled peanut butter bars out of their pockets and handed them to Lilly. “Forgive us?” they asked in unison.

Weekend Roundup - R

 This week's assignment: Starts with R, Favorite, and Rustic.

Starts with R: RIDER starts with R. This RANCHER is RIDING along the fence to make sure no REPAIRS are needed.

Favorite: This is REBA. She is a RED ROAN. Plus, she is a REAL sweetheart.

Rustic: This bell would be considered RUSTIC. It is located in Tishomingo, OK at the Chickasaw capitol building.

"About 1859, the Chickasaw government purchased an iron bell to be hung in the first Chickasaw capitol building. It was used to summon tribal members to special meetings and to signal emergencies in the community. Depending on the type of ring made by the appointed toller, the community would know whether it was a meeting or a death. Chickasaw people within ear shot would stop their daily activities and travel to the capitol to hear vital information that affected their lives."

Information courtesy of Waymarking

Have a wonderful weekend!

Linking to The Weekend Roundup 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Weekend Roundup - Q

 Today's assignment: Starts with Q, Favorite, and Queen.

Starts with Q: We were out for a drive last weekend. Stopped for a cold drink at the QUICK Mart in Tishomingo. 

Favorite: It's a chilly, misty morning. QUIET, he's still sleeping. 

Queen: This is the Lance Memorial Rodeo Queen. She sure can ride!

Linking to The Weekend Roundup

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Blackthorne Cove Interview

 Christina Hamlett kindly offered to interview me after the release of Blackthorne Cove. To learn more about this award-winning author, visit her website Christina Hamlett . Debbie McClure took the time to conduct the interview. 

You may read the interview at You Read it Here First.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Weekend Roundup - P

Today's assignment: Starts with P, Favorite, and Peaceful.

Starts with P: It's October, which means PEOPLE are getting ready for Halloween. Happened to see this PUMPKIN coach on the way into the city. 

Favorite: This is one of my favorite PICTURES of PEARL. Isn't she PRETTY?


Peaceful: Hopefully this little feller is thinking happy thoughts while enjoying a little PEACE and quiet.    

Linking to The Weekend Roundup


Saturday, October 9, 2021

Saturday Critters

 I believe this is the last of the hummers until spring. I haven't seen one in a week, but will leave a feeder up for until mid-October in case a straggler stops by. 

This garden spider came for a visit. I hoped it would stop and build a beautiful web where I could see it. Sadly, he moved on.

Linking to Saturday Critters

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Weekend Roundup - O

This week's assignment: Starts with O, Favorite, and Ornate.

Starts with O: This is Sonny Boy's car. He was showing us the engine. To do this, the hood had to be OPEN.

Favorite: This is Reba. She hasn't missed many meals, so she could be considered OBESE.

Ornate: This is Dignity. She is located on a bluff off Interstate 90 near Chamberlain, South Dakota. She is holding an ORNATE star quilt. It has more than 100 blue diamond shapes. Impressive. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend taking the exit.


Linking to The Weekend Roundup 

Ghost Story Month

I enjoy a good ghost story, How about you? This is the season for coming up with your best spine tingling, gooseflesh raising stories. If anyone is interested in writing one for submission, I've posted a link below. Give it a try. You can't win if you don't try! Plus, it is an excellent way to practice writing.

Ghost Story Contest

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Talimena Scenic Byway

 Monday, September 18, 2021 Bored, we decided to take a drive. Talimena Scenic Byway seemed like a nice treat, so we headed out toward Mena, Arkansas. These are a few pics I took along the way. 

October 3, 2021

November is National Novel Writing Month, or for short, NaNoWriMo. For those who are not familiar with this form of stress, it is the month writers are to complete a 50,000-word novel from November first through November thirtieth. For the past three years, I have wanted to participate. Something always kept me from this mission. This year, I planned to finish a third novel. Again, this will not happen. I cheated by giving myself a head start. I finished Down Somerset Lane’s first chapter in October, only 48,000 words to go. Unfortunately, other writing projects are taking too much of my time.

As president of Ada Writers, it is my responsibility to collect all the short stories and poems for our yearly book titled Creations 2021. I am also required to come up with an eye-catching cover. So far, this is the only finished part of the project.

At the corner of 10th Street and Broadway in Ada, OK stands the local newspaper, Ada News. The backside of the building has a beautiful, full-length mural. Every time I drive down either of these streets, I slow to admire the artist’s work. Since we are Ada Writers, and the mural is in Ada, Oklahoma, what better way to combine the two than as part of the book cover? The problem is, who to credit on the About the Cover page? And so, I began a full-blown investigation.

I posted on the Facebook group, Ada Curiosity. Asking if anyone knew the artist’s name. I received a reply from the editor of the newspaper in the form of a personal message. The message asked me to call her. I did. She referred me to a gentleman at the Chickasaw Arts Academy. When I called the academy, I was told he had the information I needed, but he wasn’t in. I left my number. When he called back, he happily provided the artists’ names. Viola! Project About the Cover successfully completed, and much easier than I expected.

Guess I better start getting the stories and poems formatted for publication. Only then will I have time to work on the first draft of Down Somerset Lane. Hope you are having a relaxing Sunday.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Weekend Roundup - N

 This week's assignment: Starts with N, Favorite, Nuts.

Starts with N: NOSE begins with N. I think Jube wants to give this NICE lady a kiss or two.

Favorite: This is NERO, so NAMED because he looks like he has a Roman NOSE. He is also a favorite of mine.

Nail: These Pine Siskins enjoy eating NUTS from this bird feeder.

Linking to The Weekend Roundup