Painting Reference

Last night I was trying to paint a vase with flower, stems and bushes without much success. I wanted the painting to look more realistic but I was just making circles attached to sticks. I put everything away and left the painting unfinished. Today while outside a bushy bush caught my eye. It looked to be a perfect reference for what I wanted to achieve. I stopped to take a picture, now I can try to make the buds more realistic. It will help me know where to place the stems. I’m reminded of the Fibonacci sequence, I could have used the spiral in Fibonacci sequence to create a pattern for the leaves and stems. The Fibonacci sequence is often called “nature’s secret code” because the arrangement of many tree leaves and flowers follows the numbers found in the Fibonacci sequence. I could have used that but a picture makes it much simpler. I can’t wait to rework that painting!

Crepe Myrtle bush

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Picture Book Book Review

The story of the agricultural movement

This book tells the story of rural farmers across America who stood together to combat low prices for their crops, unfair legislation and lack of support from the government and urban communities. I ordered two of these picture books so I could keep one and share one with a great nephew.

I was touched by the writing and pictures. I’ll try to explain why it meant so much to me. I began teaching at Puxico Elementary in 1977. My Mom passed in the spring of 1978, leaving our family devastated. I’m the oldest, two younger sisters were in college, one sister a high school senior and our brother was 11. My Dad lost himself in his life work of farming. Gramps, my Mom’s Dad, helped Dad every day. My husband took off work from his family hardware and lumber business to help my Dad prepare the land and plant the crops. My Dad’s brother drove a tractor. Our neighbor, a teacher helped them after school and on weekends. My brother was out there too. Farming together was how we made it through the rough times.

The American Agricultural Movement (AAM) was gathering momentum. All of us were a large part of the group. I remember my husband and I playing our guitars with a group as entertainment at a meeting. My Dad and uncle were active in the group. In our small, rural community the Ag Movement was the main event for several years.

When I saw the picture on page 14, it took my breath because the tractor in the picture was from the small rural community, Puxico MO. In front of the tractor is a poster of all the contributors for the movement. If you look closely, which is what I did, I saw my Dad’s name, my uncle’s name, the name of my husband’s family business and many of our neighbors.

Tractor from Puxico MO

This author provides an informative timeline of events from the decade. Additional pictures from the era provide a glimpse of the events during this trying time. I recommend purchasing a copy of Farmers Unite if you are looking for a piece of history.

Something Small, But Thoughtful

After reading a blog post written about odds and ends of the year, I’m inspired to refocus my time and effort toward writing. It’s been way too easy for me to stop creating and physically working out. I was very focused early in the past year, writing and exercising daily. Then I lost my drive to meet those goals. Now I’m trying to get back on track. Here’s to a new and productive year. Here’s my attempt to write something thoughtful, even if it’s short.

If you want to read the post and listen to some great music, check out this link: https://dogtrax.edublogs.org/2020/12/29/slice-of-life-the-assorted-odds-at-the-end/comment-page-1/#comment-15217

Today, the second day of the new year, I found myself traveling the back roads. It’s the kind of adventure I love. No definite plan, just heading toward a great nature spot and taking in the sights along the way. Most parks are closed for the winter, even the bathrooms. I thought I might need to pull off for a potty break but finally came to a small community store. I ventured inside with instructions to purchase something if they had a bathroom. (That’s another story about traveling the backroads and needing a bathroom) I found several items and placed them on the counter then ask about a restroom. Yes! They had a clean bathroom. Three nice, young ladies were staffing the store and providing directions because the cell service was nonexistent. Soon I was back on the road.

I visited the highest point in Missouri, Taum Sauk and was rewarded with a picturesque, wet snow.

View from the top

Then I headed toward Elephant Rocks State Park. I’ve visited it many times, usually in summer and usually when teaching a nature workshop. This time it was quiet. They had paved the path through the huge rocks. It was peaceful, quiet, actually awe inspiring. And I logged my steps!

Elephant Rocks

Halloweensie Contest

This year is the 10th year for Susanna Hill’s Halloweensie Contest. Rules are to write a 100 word (or less) story that is appropriate for children. The words skeleton, creepy and masks must be included. You can read my entry below and all the entries at this link:

Susanna Hill Halloweensie Contest

Creepy Cookies

Every Halloween Grams and Van made skeleton cookies.

This year Van chose Grams’ recipe marked CREEPY SKELETON COOKIES.

 He reached for the bone meal high on the shelf. 

He dragged the cauldron out from under the stairs.

Grams winked and said, “You’re ready for CREEPY skeleton cookies! We need my magical 

mask”.

As they mixed the dough, it bubbled. 

Van’s hands shook.

When the mixture spilled out of the cauldron, Grams put on the mask.

“It’s coming to life, jumping and making b-b-b-bones,” he stammered.

“The skeleton bones are going to chase you,”Grams warned.

The bones chased Van until…

This is my entry for the 2020 Fall Writing Frenzy Contest.

Thanks to my critique partners! I was encouraged to keep going and so I did.

laura-roettiger

The Picnic Without Dessert

Opossum eavesdropped on a conversation between bear and raccoon. 

Bear bragged,  “Of course I’ll bring sweet honey to the picnic.”

Raccoon whispered, “I have a honey hole to catch crayfish, I’ll bring those.”

Opossum hurried home. She worried and said to her baby, “No one will eat my food. 

What can I do?”

A walnut fell and hit her head. “I know, I’ll bring a special dish for each friend!”

She wrote a message to each friend, “I’ll take care of all the food, just come hungry.”

Opossum thought, “Bear likes sweets, these grasshoppers taste sweet to me.

Raccoon eats lots of things from the water, I’ll take these pebbles.

For a special dessert, I’ll raid the trash can.”

The hungry animals arrived on time. 

When they spied the table, they gasped in horror.

Opossum said, “Oh, my, the picnic is ruined.”

Opossum quietly begged, “Bear, Raccoon, please help.”

Bear offered, “Follow me to my tree. I’ll show you how to gather honey and nuts.”

Raccoon added, “My creek is a bit farther, you all can help me catch crayfish.”

After everyone ate, Opossum presented dessert.

But Eagle sneakily swooped down and stole it.

Fall Writing Frenzy Teaser


Would you read it?

The forest animals plan a celebration of fall. Invitations ask each animal to bring a favorite food. Of course Bear plans to bring honey and Raccoon will bring crayfish, but Opossum worries that no one else will like his food choice so he tried to bring everyone’s favorite food. He gets it all wrong and the party flops or does it?

Another writing contest

Contests entice me into writing so I can submit an entry. My critique group members shared the following information with me about the Fall Writing Frenzy contest. You have plenty of time to write a story, poem, or picture book. Visit the site for details

Lydia Lukidis

Usually I quickly write and submit. This time I’m planning to write a story, share with my critique group, then revise the story so I can actually do my very best work. Please return later this month to read my entry.