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Saturday, December 26, 2015

How Do You Spend The Day After Christmas?


'Tis the day after Christmas, and several of my neighbors are doing target practice, getting familiar with their new 'toys.' At times, it sounds like a couple of them are firing cannons. The sounds of gunshot are coming from at least four or five different directions.

With all this firearm paraphernalia nearby, I don't know whether to feel threatened or protected. I consider myself fortunate that distance and forest isolate me from all that activity. Hopefully, only sound can travel the distance from their targets to me.

I'm wondering, when someone sets up a target for practice, do they take into account the distance a stray bullet will travel? So far, I've not heard the sound of a bullet whizzing past. In the past however, I have had that experience.  Another neighbor two houses over decided to warn away a stray dog with gunshot. I just happened to be in the bullet's line of travel. My yell got his attention and he quickly did a disappearing act.

So far no bullets have come my way but we have discovered a number of golf balls in the past. A neighbor used to set up in his back yard to practice his drive. He had a powerful swing and managed to send  golf balls across a half-acre field, the road, and into my front yard.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Morning Musings

Unseasonable weather drew me to the front porch for my morning coffee time. Through a gap in the treeline, I watched brisk, southerly winds drag high clouds across the sky. A gray overcast sky foretold of rains predicted for later in the day.

The calm surrounding me as I sway to and fro on the porch swing holds a multitude of sounds. To the west, a distant train signalled its approach to a country road crossing. A few minutes later, my neighbor's rooster crowed out its morning call. And overhead, a squirrel chittered down at my two black cats, Sammi and Midnight, as they maintained the distance between them all the while vying for my attention.

'Shalom' reads the sign hung from the arbor designating entrance to our front yard. My talented husband built the structure some years back after I put in a request. With only a picture to guide him, he used natural materials from our land to construct it. The sign was a joint project and peace really is a constant companion here on my country acreage. Frequently, new visitors will comment on the peace they feel upon stepping into my world.

But, living in the country also has its disadvantages. Neighbors are far enough away that I have no clear view of their houses. Stormy weather often brings a disruption in our electric and phoning supply. We must travel distances for any shopping or recreational needs, which is sometimes annoying.  I'm thankful for the recent advent of internet service, making purchases online available. It does simplify shopping, epecially for larger, once-in-a-lifetime purchases.

Some would bemoan the inaccessibility of culture and entertainment venues such as movies and museums, but one soon learns to find pleasure in the simpler pleasures country living offers. There are fields and forests to explore, with something new to discover all the time. The fleeting glimpse of deer browsing in the distance, the buzz of various birds that congregate at our feeders, coming unexpectedly upon an unknown flower blooming in the wild—all these occurrences and more bring a rewarding feeling.

Well, that first cup of coffee is finished; time to move about and get the day started. So, the welcome doormat is out if you ever have need to pause in your busy city life. Stop by and we'll sit together on the front porch, enjoying life.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Exlploring New Creative Worlds

I've been exploring a different area of my creativity lately. I recently took up the pursuit of oil painting after an absence of over forty years. The last time I picked up a brush was previous to the birth of my second son who is now forty-eight. My, how time flies!


Above is a painting completed when I attended a painting party sponsored by a local community action group, LoveBig Sandy. It was a fun time and very helpful in building my confidence.

Earlier that day, I stopped at a shop called Art World www.artworldLongview.com and spent a half-hour asking questions and getting technique tips. Susan was really gracious and helpful. They also offer what they call an 'open class' where anyone is welcome to come spend a couple hours painting under a teacher's supervision and assistance. I'm considering attending a time or two if my schedule allows.

In the meantime, I've been dabbling on my own. My little cabin has had to 'stretch' a bit to accommodate this new pursuit. I'm also realizing the need to re-learn everything I ever knew about painting with oils.

And how is my writing doing, I hear you ask? The latest novel, Not Bound By Blood, is presently in the editor's hands and I'm anticipating a contract from my publisher with the goal of a spring 2016 publication. The second in my series of fictionalized biographies for Young Readers, temporarily titled Harriet Tubman, is still in critiquing mode. However, now distracted by this new venture, I have yet to begin writing the third in the series based on the life of Belle Boyd, Confederate Spy.

The energy and enthusiasm for my newest stress-reliever has fueled a new project - I've begun the task of doing the illustrations for a proposed children's book; a story about this ramshackle old man who lives in a ramshakle house and his adventures with uninvited guests. 

In the meantime, here are a couple oil paintings I've indulged myself with the past few weeks.
                           

 This last is still a work in progress.