Monthly Archives: October 2010

In Honor of the Season

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This is a small documentary of a jack-o-lantern in the making.

First in the order of things is the choosing of a perfect pumpkin.

Our daughter picked this beauty up a local market.

First task is to breach the pristine exterior and open that baby up.

Easy to see the need for the previous post’s attire. A small mass of stringy pumpkin guts and seeds can be a messy undertaking.

This is the artists rendering of the accompanying picture.

With deft hands, our artists cut the eyes to match their pattern as closely as possible.

The finished product is a rather scary face. I think they did an excellent job in duplicating their choice of goolish faces. Please disregard the crud in the back of the throat. Looks as if he’s been eating and didn’t swallow it all.

The other fellow was the practice head. He turned out really great too. I love the contrast in expressions of both lanterns.

Now for the true test of the jack-o-lantern – how it appears under the influence of night with a candle in its mouth. These pass the test.

Even more convincing is the cat in background.

The effects of the lens makes these two even more scary. They glow so rich and warm. I can’t say they are frightening in the least. They are so wonderfully cheery to me!

Our little piece of heaven glows on our table until Sunday night. It is heaven because it gives our daughter such pleasure to make these wonderful holiday creations.

Hope you all have great weekend too.

Love,
Jeannene

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What Are We Wearing?

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This little post is only a prelude to the next. I had to address a tiny issue in these pictures.

Can anyone tell me what this child is wearing?

She is carving a pumpkin, yes. But does this task require special attire? Has she taken the goolish season so literally that she must immerse herself into the festivities with such ardent enthusiasm?

A closer look reveals its shinier aspects. It could be fashionable, even.

Perhaps she is developing a ritual costume for pumpkin carving.

Is this her attempt at nouveaux fashion?

She might be trying to impress a friend.

Though he doesn’t require any encouragement.

Maybe she is trying to match his look. Black top.

A plastic sack is as appealing on this child as any other top to her friend.

Oh wait! That IS a plastic sack, isn’t it?

I know. This is her attempt to protect herself from those flying seeds and pumpkin strings released in the process of pumpkin slaughter.

She did a great job. Will show you later.

I love her ingenuity and creative nature and, as her mother, have to brag on it.

She is just my little piece of heaven today.

Love,
Jeannene

The Food Is Always Better…Where?

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This is a story about a bunch of cats. Now these cats aren’t the brightest of felines, but they are cared for and beloved and watched after so nothing as intrepid as the following will happen.

The humans overseeing their activities make certain these silly things remain alive to frolic and cavort around the farm in the future.

On this day, the four devious culprits involved, creep inside a large animal trap in search of a meal. They discover a handful of tasty morsels, not at all enough to satisfy the lusty appetites of these active felines I assure you. The disregard for the narrow four walls doesn’t deter their curiosity in the least.

All it takes is one animal to enter and the others fear they will be short changed of a treat and they rush in to abscond with the meal before anyone else can.

We have caught four cats. The trap is intended for the pesky possum pestering our farm.

The cats are oblivious to any foul play. Can you see how calm they sit and wait?

Ever to the rescue, Catboy liberates all the silly culprits.

There is nary any discord as they lie in wait. None chomp at the bit for his release.
The first silly cat notices the end is open. Within seconds he leaps to freedom.

His example is followed by a brother or sister.

Of course, Catboy waits patiently until each animal notices the end offers freedom.

Last to leave is Zoe. She is somewhat of a premadonna.

They emerge to find a bounty of food in their own bowls, courtesy of our daughter.

Cats are an example of how gullible small animals are. These cats are caged frequently, though, and to this day do not realize the true implications of this trap. It serves only as means of entertainment to them.

I am at no loss for entertainment in our country home.

Thank you for sharing my little piece of heaven today. I hope yours brings as much enjoyment as mine.

Love,
Jeannene

I Wonder….

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I haven’t posted very much this week. Shame on me. It isn’t that there isn’t much to say, it’s just I have spent my time working on the other website and it drains me of any creative spurts that might other wise have been infused into my daily life blog. The major buggers to that endeavor are conquered, though. so I must turn my attention to the active blog and post something that moves me.

The other day we took a short trip through the countryside. We live in rural Arkansas so a trip in the country is unavoidable, but we passed a building that intrigues me and my imagination.

This building is old, perhaps not ancient, but old all the same. It is nestled in the small town of Hubbard. In its hay-day it was a general store.

A general store.

I am increasingly intrigued with the past. This little building contained items people in this community needed. It supplied foods and clothes and tools and such…at least that is what my imagination conjures. Did an old-fashioned coke machine grace the front stoop? Was there an ice cream counter inside? Did it offer only canned foods, or were there any fresh foods for sale? Did farmers barter for merchandise? Say maybe eggs were traded for supplies or honey. During the summer months did they bring in garden veggies to trade for bread or crackers or noodles? I could go on and on.

And what did the people who frequented this establishment look like? What clothes did they wear? Were they farmers or what. This was a farming community long ago and there weren’t that many people in it compared to the numbers of families living there today.

Look. It still has its original sign in the front lawn. The owners of this little establishment keep it in tip-top condition. Next time we fly through, I am stopping to get some history on this building. I feel a story brewing in its boundaries.

And that is a look at my piece of heaven for today. I hope yours is peace as peaceful.

Love, Jeannene

There Was Gnashing of Teeth

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The cooler weather has given us more animal visitors around our house than we care to admit. I smell the tell-tale signs of skunk too frequently and one giant possum is scurrying around bothering my beloved chickens. C-Man tried to shoot him several nights ago, but the darned thing is elusive.

This brings me to just a couple of evenings ago. Here in Arkansas we are experiencing a drought. The weather is warm and inviting and rather dry. It reminds me a great deal of the fall in the South West.

On the evening in question, C-Man is out on the porch enjoying the mild weather. It is dusk, the sun is set below the horizon, but figures can be seen in outline and sounds carry blithely upon the languid breeze. Suddenly he calls me outside to the porch.

Come out here and listen, he says.

I step out into the pleasant evening air and listen in the direction he points out.

Look over there. Do you see anything? He asks.

To the east of the house I can barely make out a dark form. It is only a shade lighter than the dying grass surrounding it.

Hear that? He asks now.

I see something. I say

All of a sudden a clattering sound develops. It sounds like sticks hitting against one another.

That’s it! Do you hear it?

I do hear that. I strain to discern the dark figures in the grass.

It isn’t an animal chewing on a bone is it? C-Man is concerned a mountain lion (not an uncommon occurrence in our neck of the woods) is in his yard and his children will be next on its menu.

I see them. I say.

There are two bucks only fifty feet from our house, quarreling with their antlers. The clatter is unmistakable.
This is rutting season, after all.

They are oblivious to the chatter on our porch and when we do draw their attention, they barely retreat. Then they resume their dispute. Within minutes they are swallowed by the darkness and we return to our lives inside the safety of our house.

What you hear is exactly the sound were heard in the deepening dusk.

So much for this episode of my little piece of heaven.
What is happening in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear it.

Love,
Jeannene

Now and Then

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Please bear with me for one last post involving aircraft.

This one made me want to cry. I have an intensely patriotic heart (even the National Anthem at rodeo’s makes me cry…. I don’t want to go there.) When the air show introduced these aircraft the smaller plane did an awesome dog fight demonstration, none of which I captured on film. Except for this last past.

That tiny blurb at the bottom of the frame is a P-47 Thunderbolt. A close contact fighter used during WWII. The Airshow gave us an outstanding demonstration of this little fighter’s capability.

In recent wars this is the fighter of choice for close encounters.

The is the A-10 Thunderbolt. It was designed to accomplish the same support to ground troops as its predecessor.

It is capable of maneuverability at low speeds and low altitudes and for accurate weapons delivery.

After flights of each of these aircraft, they flew in tandem across the sky to some patriotic country song (eliciting patriotic tears from me as I watched).

It was so beautiful. The past linked with the present. The older brother escorting the younger brother as if to pass off his duties. The new brother is bigger and more capable, but they complement each other with such beauty and grace.

The past and the present. We learn from our history to move into the future with wisdom and understanding. This was a touching exhibit of military might and its evolution.

As a child of a military parent, I wax patriotic… frequently.

I realize our lives are plagued by war in this world. My father was one of those proud men who put his life on the line to protect our way of life in this country and I am grateful for the sacrifices made by all members of our military to assure our existence in this world.

Thank you men and women of all branches of the military and their families who wait and support them in their difficult tasks of keeping us all safe. God bless you all.

Thank you for sharing in my little piece of heaven.

Love,
Jeannene

It Defies Gravity

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Our weekend consisted of spending a large chunk of Sunday on the flight deck at our local air base inspecting the various types of aircraft and watching them fly amazing demonstrations. I was raised in the midst of aircraft and their amazing feats and yet I never tire of watching them fly and marvel about the men who fly them. Those men are extraordinary people. I know because my dad was one of them.

We were privileged to witness a unique aircraft do a stupendous demonstration. I love this plane and am spell-bound by its performance every time I see. It is the Harrier Jet.

It flies faster than the speed of sound and yet it also flies backward and straight up and straight down.

It even turns in circles.

Can you see it rotate slowly? I’ve always wondered what the controls of that thing look like. Is it levers, a wheel, buttons…? What awesome technology to create such a craft.

And then… the thing can wave at you, tip its wings up and down.

Pretty amazing. Then it takes off in loud roar of its afterburners, leaving the ground in its fumes. Thrilling!

Just a last look at it.

This post is and the previous are done with my dad in mind. Air shows were his thing when I was a kid and it makes me glad to be at one again-brings back all those pleasant memories. Of course, as kids we didn’t consider it with the same regard as we do now. Airplanes were a way of life and seeing another one often was misconstrued as part of the day job. There were times when whining was part of the routine. None the less, I have massively pleasant memories and immense pride knowing this was part of my dad’s world and he shared it with us kids.

I haven’t posted much lately, but these pictures were a joy to take and fix and this is about my enjoyment. I hope sharing my little piece of heaven will put you in mind of your little piece. Feel free to share. I love to be transported into all shapes of joy.

Love,
Jeannene

The Airshow

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This weekend the Air Force base in our area held its annual open house, an event we await with baited anticipation. The weather was amazingly agreeable, almost too warm, but lending to clear azure skies.

Personally, I was raised around air show and the sound of jet airplanes. My father flew fighter jets as a pilot in the Air Force for twenty-three years. He loved to share his love for airplanes with us as kids. I have attended air shows with him as adult even. He never tired of reminiscing and relating stories of his adventures. In light of his recent passing, this air show held special significance for me.

The crowd here was huge.

A sea of cars greeted us almost a mile from the flight deck.

Once we walked the distance, the numbers of people were mind-boggling. Crowds huddled in the shadows of giant wings to escape the intense heat of the sun.

We managed to find a vehicle that captured our attention, though. We waited in line with the rest of the crowd.

This plane is a living legend. It is a Douglas C-47 Skytrain and was used during the second world war.

It isn’t a very large aircraft as you can see when the kids climb into it.

They are checking out the cock pit – the sacrosanct, secret place of every plane.

There isn’t much room in this baby. The owners of this girl, still fly her regularly to air shows and she can be rented for a flight.

There was a sign on the fuselage that invited all of us to touch the plane, it is a living piece of history. I couldn’t help but take them up on it.

So our daughter touched it.

The metal was so hot she almost burned herself!

Catboy was a bit more cautious in his attempt.

This is only a tiny piece of heaven and I felt like a piece of my dad was there as well.

Love,
Jeannene

A Review

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I just read a book.

Oh, I know, I read quite a few books. As a writer I am compelled to learn about the craft through reading other’s works. This book stems from that drive. I didn’t read the book because it was anything popular or on the best seller’s list. I found a sale at B&N and this was an author of renown (in the past) I thought it a wise choice to read her work.

The book is Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt.

I know little of Victoria Holt except that she is a well known author of romance novels and I read as many different romance authors as I can in an effort to learn the craft.

This book flew in the face of all the writing rules I learned this past year and a half, and yet it kept me spell bound. It seems to be one of her first novels, written in 1960. I like to read the early works of an author and compare her growth as a writer to her later works. It encourages me, a novice, to discover that the big dogs started out with skills, but those skill are honed to perfection in their later works. I justify my clumsy writing this way. I know eventually, as I write and write, I will actually write well.

Anyway, back to this book. It is written in first person, unusual in the romance industry, even in the sixty’s and the entire book is written in passive voice!! Can you believe a publisher printed a book in passive voice? As much as passive is considered a no-no in the industry presently, I am dumbfounded. Regardless, the story did manage to draw me in. The voice made me feel I watched it from outside a bubble. It was a strange sensation.

The climax came insidiously with little suspense in itself and ended within a two page span, but the whole story fascinated me.

Then there was the love story itself. This book didn’t employ any of the romantic suspense we write into the interactions between the characters. The author in this book alluded to negative feelings for the hero at the beginning of their relationship and I thought perhaps the hero was the first fellow in the story, not the second man. We were well into the story when the heroine decided she was in love with the hero. There were no longing glances or brushing of fingers. The conversations between the characters were straight forward and not suggestive at all until the heroine declared she was in love with the guy. Very unusual.

I really loved the way she put the suspense into the story in tiny tidbits here and there around the daily lives of the characters. Then the least likely person turned out to be the villain. If I hadn’t been so enthralled with all that passive voice and the first person narration, I might have figured out who was behind the mystery.

Very strange love story. It does have a HEA ending though.

I recommend the read as a necessary part of an aspiring authors education.
Thank you Victoria Holt for another notch in my education belt!

If you have read this book, or any others by Victoria Holt, I’d love to hear from you.

That is my little piece of heaven for today.

Love,
Jeannene

Tidbits

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Did you know that when you write in cursive, you really don’t have know the exact spelling of a word. The letters sort of run together and it’s hard to tell what letter is missing. (Logic according to a 13 year old girl)

I live with this sort of thing on a daily basis. This from the offspring of a writer. Of course, this is the same child who strives for last chair in band. She isn’t an underachiever. She is selective in those areas she wishes to excel.

That little tidbit hit me between the eyes this afternoon.

This past week was my second on my new shift. What glorious freedom this new schedule offers.

I have had a few personal accomplishments this week, but the one thing I treasure above all is this:

This past summer some varmint (fox, skunk or possum) killed off all the hens of my flock. No hens translates to no eggs for my larder.

A few weeks ago CMan found seven hens at a steal of a price to start a new flock. They are white hens. Albeit not as striking as the banty black hens decimated in the summer, but they are hens all the same.

This week a couple of them started laying eggs!! I can’t tell you the elation I experienced at the sight of those round ovals nestled into all that hay! Being the hens were young when purchased, coupled with the shorter days, laying eggs was not expected until much later.

I know this is a rather banal, but it doesn’t take a great deal to float my boat.

On the writing front, I have managed to put about 5000 words into the WIP and the other novel is in the final chapters of editing. Yeah.

So much for my little piece of heaven. I hope yours brings you as much joy.

Love,
Jeannene