Articles in Category: Blogs

The Elusive Tricocereus

The bloom of the tricocereus is exquisite, but fleeting. This cactus is so stunning that you put it in your garden where it will stand out. Where you should plant it, however, is where you would normally fall over it on any given day. I use the word "day" with purpose because the bloom will unfold and disappear in a single day. If you miss it, well, you missed it. If you are lucky, the plant will have more than a single bloom and your finding the spent bloom and additional buds will alert you to watch like a hawk for additional bloom.

Rocky the Intrepid

Rocky was battling the mean roads of Louisiana when our son Kevin rescued him from the pizza pickup driver who was doing his best to run over him. He put up a good fight, but he was out of his weight class. Ever after he planted his feet and barked fiercely at all other pickups except Kevin's red one. I'll always wonder what he was called before, but the name Rocky seemed just fine with him.

Breakfast Time for Birds

It all started as a cup of water and some dried bread crumbs for the local doves and quail. Little did we suspect that it would become breakfast at the patio wall for birds, but it certainly has become a source of family entertainment.

After two or three broken cups, local research turned up small pyrex storage dishes that would fit on the wall and still support the weight of a thirsty bird or two. But that was just the start.

Thanksgiving Memories

alley family gathering 2x4The horse didn't know the way, and there weren't any woods on the Kansas prairie, but to Grandmother's house we went. Actually, it was great-grandmother's house and Grandmother went too. Those were wonderful times with lasting memories. I was too young and full of myself then to realize that when I entered Grandmother Alley's house on such occasions, I was witnessing an academy performance of cooking skills. Grandmothers, aunts and even cousins qualified as entrants, but I think Great Aunt Maude Alley would have won the Oscar. After all, it was her kitchen.

The greatest delight of country children was to get to play with cousins of the same age. At home I usually had duties to perform at meal time, but with so many grown women in the kitchen and dining rooms, we younger cousins roamed free. Toys? Who needed toys? There was a bike or two to be shared.

Jackie, the Girl Who Threw Out Two Boys of Summer Legends

_-mitchelljackie-vs-ruth-and-gehrigJackie Mitchell was a natural but never made it to the big leagues because she was born into the wrong gender at the wrong time. Still, she made a splash by fanning two of baseball's greatest: the Sultan of Swat and the Iron Horse, in succession. Instead of a big league contract, Jackie's achievement got her minor league contract invalidated by the baseball commissioner because baseball was too strenuous a game for delicate women. She didn't know that of course.

She Flew the English Channel in 1912

brave harriet 2brave harriet 3Brave Harriet by Marissa Moss tells us all of a little known pioneer of air flight. Harriet Quimby preceded Amelia Earhart and Berl Markham by 20 years and was the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Imagine if you can a beautiful socialite and reporter in a purple satin hooded airsuit landing in France to the amazement of other newsmen. Then imagine news of one of the most famous disasters in history also reaching newsrooms just as you achieved your goal. So sadly, but understandably, most school children have never heard of this daring prerunner to Charles Lindberg.

Character is Made, Not Born

imagesimagesIt may not have been her father's bitterness and disappointment at her not being a son that put the steel in Sarah Emma Edmonds spine, but certainly growing up in pants must have helped prepare her for her masquerade as a male when she ran away from her home in Canada to Michigan. As Frank Thompson, she became a bible salesman and then joined the Union Army.

June BlogTalkRadio Red River Writers Live Show with Peggy and Jon

robin_falls_symbolMarissa Moss is the guest author, and we will talk with her about her biographical picture books for young children. We will be talking about a number of amazing women: daring seamen, soldiers, pilots, spies and even a professional basesball pitcher. We will focus on the following books:


Always a Time for History

red_river_writers_liveThis year my BlogTalkRadio show Red River Writers Live with Peggy and Jon is featuring history. As the title indicates, history is always in season, but this year is the Civil War Sesquicentennial and the coming Centennial of our 48th state, Arizona. Arizona became a state on February 14, 1912. Both the Civil War and the western migrations of what is called the Victorian West period left painful scars on the United States and its various human groups. We are in a turbulent period now, and history if properly viewed can help us avoid some of the mistakes of the past.

Khloe Lou Gets It Right

khloe-salutePlease allow me to introduce the newest member of our family: Miss Khloe Lou McLindsey. Khloe was born on August 8th, 2010 so she is probably unimpressed at this point that her great-grandmother has such a soft spot for veterans and first responders. Too frequently, we forget to tell these people who answer the call to serve their country and fellow citizens how very much we respect and cherish them. So let's start with firefighters. Since Mom was good enough to capture Khloe Lou's salute while wearing her favorite Fire Department cap, please accept this token of our sincere appreciation:

To those brave men and women who fight fires and brave blazing infernos to keep us safe: We Salute You.

May BlogTalkRadio Red River Writers Live Show with Peggy and Jon

red_river_writers_liveMay 9th's BlogTalkRadio show Red River Writers Live featured guest authors Ann Parker and Nancy E. Turner. These writers of the Victorian West transport their readers back to a raw and exciting period of American history that followed the sad, destructive period of the Civil War and its aftermath. It was a period where hope, desperation, dreams, and venture capital rushed ahead of the establishment of law, social mores and governance. This resulted in new beginnings for some and untimely endings for others, but it makes for fascinating reading.

Mother Love, A Posey for Zora

posey_for_mom-2x2Mother was named Zora. Zora is a brand, not a name. In all my years, I have only seen the name Zora two other times. That is puzzling. She was named for her god mother, Zora Platt. In our county, people didn't bother to use Mother's last name; it was just Zora, and she was a charmer of all shapes, sizes and things.

To mother, love was food and food was love. I guess it is part of her nurturing instinct. It was also associated with talent. Mother was renowned for her fried chicken, her pies and her homemade noodles. While Mother taught my sister and I to cook all other goodies, she never once suggested we attempt any of her signature dishes. I'm a bit ho-hum about chicken, but I studied her efforts at pie crusts and noodles. Separately my sister and I accused her of not wanting any competition for her noodles or pie. We both got the same reply: a delighted, hearty laugh.

Irresistible Faces

gadzoo_1_smallWhat makes a face irresistible? Is it a light in the eyes or a particular sort of smile? Whatever it is generally, that quality pounced off the newprint at me a year or two ago. I ripped it out of the paper without even noticing what it advertised. This comic smile has brightened the days from the top of my rolltop desk. I cannot look at this picture without at least a matching grin, and often I laugh. He inspired a little verse.

Then one day I got to wondering about who owns this happy little guy and what his name might be. I can see the collar and tag around his neck. Finally I found the picture again in an Gadzoo advertisement for World of Pets Unleashed. I want the world to know that this kindred soul will always be welcome here. We'll laugh away the days together. What could be more enjoyable?

From the Mouths of Mutts

Wisdom from a comic strip is not something one usually expects, but today, muttscomics.comwater_life featured what it called a Native American Proverb. It reads: "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children."  As we abuse and squander the Earth's resources, that was probably never more meaningful. Children of the Earth, beware! Look around you at the beauty, large and small that should be yours to enjoy and pass forward.