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Monday, April 17, 2017

The Colors of Spring have Arrived in the Hills of WV

We had a mild winter and after a few frosts, that the early buds had to dodge, Spring is here.

The dandelions and violets have arrived and are decorating my yard with their yellow and purple hues. As we drive the country roads, the redbuds and dogwoods brighten the landscape and the Sweet Williams decorate the woodland floors.

This old fella is hiding among the vinca. I believe this is vinca major. It doesn't die out in the winter and in early spring their beautiful purple flowers arrive. But, watch out! They can take over. I just pulled out a ton of these, you couldn't even see the hostas growing among them. But don't worry they keep growing back.

I have four bleeding hearts. This one got stunted a little from the cold weather, but this beautiful, delicate flower is now taking off. 

I have two lilac bushes - a purple and a white one. I love the scent that flows with the breeze and tickles my nose when I stroll through our yard.

I love watching these little creatures grow. They are so amazing!

Here is a field of ferns growing down by our building.

Hostas, hostas, everywhere!

It won't be long until my poppies, peonies, snowball bush and irises burst into color.

And check out my sidebar. I am tickled pink with the blurb Homer Hickam wrote about my new MG book, Duck and Cover.

What is bringing color to your yard?


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pi Day and a Recipe!

Today is Pi Day. Yes, I spelled that right. This month for my kid's column in Two-Lane Livin' I wrote about how you could enjoy celebrating Pi Day. For some of you who are mathematically challenged, like me, read on.

Enjoying Pi Day 

     Q. What do you call a number that cannot keep still? A.  A roamin’ numeral.

     March is here and spring is peeking around the corner. By the time you read this, we will know if it came in like a lion or a lamb. I am hoping it came in like a lion.

     March 14 is Pi Day. It is a day to celebrate Pi, which is to make a long number short, 3.14. If you did not want to make it short, the number goes on forever. I found a web page on the computer that had one million digits of Pi listed.

     The diameter of a circle is the distance from edge to edge, measuring straight through the center. The circumference of a circle is the distance around it.

     Pi is the number you get if you divide the circumference of any circle by its diameter. The answer is always the same; no matter how big or small the circle.

     Another fun fact is if you multiply the diameter of a circle by 3.14, you will get its circumference. You can also determine the diameter of a shape, such as a tree, by measuring the circumference and dividing by 3.14.

          Some fun things to do on Pi Day would be to measure the circumference of many circular things, such as CDs, plates, Frisbees, pizzas, pies, cakes, pancakes, etc., and then measure their diameter. When you divide the circumference by the diameter, you will get the same answer every time, which would be 3.14 or Pi.

     Some other fun things to do on Pi Day are to hold memorization contests to see who can memorize the most digits of Pi. If you would rather write, you could hold a pi-writing contest. Set a three-minute timer and see how many words you can write that start with the letters pi. I tried it and I only came up with thirty. I bet you can beat me. Ready. Set. Go!

     Write 3.14 on a piece of paper and hold it up to a mirror. What does the reflection spell?

     Check with your local library and see if they have the following children’s books about math: Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi, Sir Cumference and the Sword in the Cone and Sir Cumference and the Viking’s Map, to name a few.

     But one of my favorite and delicious ideas to celebrate Pi Day is to eat pie. You can eat fruit pies, nut pies, pizza pies or potpies.

     Here is a favorite pie recipe of mine. Be sure and measure its circumference and diameter before you eat it. I bet I know what your answer will be.


½ cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons melted butter

½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup hickory nuts

Mix ingredients and pour into piecrust.

Bake approximately 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Hope you enjoyed finding out all about Pi. And if you have some hickory nuts, try the recipe. If you don't have any, you could substitute pecans for the hickory nuts.

 And...drum roll please. If you notice on my sidebar, my MG book, Duck and Cover is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Click on over and read about it. If you like to read middle grade books (I do) or know a child in your family who you think would enjoy reading it, feel free to order one. I think you will enjoy reading about Teddy and his friends.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Feeding the Wildlife

My son crafted a few squirrel feeders in December.

We kept one and he gave away two as gifts.

These are very well put together feeders. But, do the squirrels appreciate it?

Maybe we should ask him?

He seems content to watch as the birds eat the corn meant for him.

Do you have a squirrel feeder?
If you do, is your squirrel confused, too?