Urban adventure

Cute, huh?  I mean, what an irresistible little face and appealing expression.

Yeah...except when you've got one down your chimney!

Hubby was up on the roof this morning after breakfast with a flashlight to see if he could determine what was trapped in our chimney.  We'd heard little squeaks and noises last night in the fireplace behind the insert, but couldn't do anything about it--and we thought it was a bird or a squirrel.  But a raccoon?!  Groan.  And it wasn't little.

He hung a rope down the length of the chimney (two stories high) and called animal control.  Believe it or not, they said these critters don't generally fall down chimneys, they hide out deliberately and can get out just fine.  But just in case they don't, drop an ammonia-soaked rag down there and they'll hustle up and out pretty quick.

Knowing they're nocturnal, we decided to wait until this evening.  SweetPea accompanied her dad up on the roof (homeschooler field trip, you know) to see if the cute little thing was still there.  Yup, it was.  So to force the issue, the dad poured some ammonia down one side, insuring a healthy dose of noxious fumes to get the job done.

That's when he saw...


Double groan!  She sure enough had a Purpose for hiding out in our fireplace. (Photos not mine but you get the idea.) 

Hubby feels bad about the ammonia...but maybe it'll expedite matters.  Hopefully, Mama will find it too inhospitable and move her family quickly to better digs.  And I really hope it was intentional on her part to get down our chimney, because if not, then I'll be writing part two of this adventure. Enough is enough!


In which I lose a friend

I was having "one of those days" this week, when a stack of bowls slipped out of my hands, sending my Most Special Bowl crashing to the floor--with this result. Did you know you can cry over the demise of an inanimate object?

Bowl and I have had a long and very special relationship.  Twenty-five years ago I spotted this lovely in an antique store and immediately had visions of perfect bread loaves I would knead to perfection in it.  At $15, it was a bargain and thus began our memorable history together.

At the time, I was working at a "dude" ranch in Colorado as the back-up cook.  My job was baking all the cookies, cakes, pies, desserts, and breads for our mouth-watering daily menus.   Bowl was my constant companion, providing just the right size and temperature for high-altitude bread rising and lending me an primal sense of homestead-woman as I pushed and punched the springy dough.  It's large size, the thick, cool crockery and heavy feel stood up well to the demands I put on it.  When my Mom gave me some 45-year-old sourdough starter (yes, really!) and instructions on the finer points of working with sourdough (not the least of which is that you should never use a metal bowl or spoon), Bowl and I produced stellar dinner rolls and flapjacks.  M-m-m, makes my mouth water just to remember...

Then came marriage, and a chief item in my hope-chest was Bowl.  I pressed on in the discoveries of whole-grain baking, gluten-free bread dough, and large batches of cookies for years of various children's events.  And of late, having learned about the nutritional benefits of soaking grains, Bowl has produced weekly batches of granola and homemade grape-nuts, sitting ornamentally on my kitchen counter and greeting me first thing in the morning with the promise of yummy healthiness.   

I am bereft.  However, knowing that my treasures don't lie in earthly things, I must content myself with this little epitaph, and--of course--be on the hunt for Bowl Two.


Of lilacs, literature, and life

Lilacs!  A full three weeks early this year, popping out in all their glory to keep up with every other green and flowery thing in our area.  This is an incredible spring--no complaints here!

Seems like I'm scrambling just as fast as the green things around here, trying to keep on top of the immediate demands and fit in the catching-up things...when all I'd rather do is sit and soak up the sunshine to my very bones and just drink in the fragrances wafting around me.

Since my last post, I made a whirlwind trip to see my family and help my Mom's book get launched at the Tucson Festival of Books.  Wow, what an affair!  One hundred thousand people plus, on a sunny weekend to enjoy all things books.  It was great fun and a very satisfying wrap-up to the months of editing and preparation for publication we put in.  If you want a clean, fun read, check out her book, "The Magnetic Connection", available through Amazon and the other link on the website.  You'll  find great characters, high adventure, and a heart-warming and well-written story that keeps you turning the pages (I'm not biased--it's really good!).  It was a very special privilege to be part of this project and see a dream come true.  Wonderful job, Mom!

Now we're going to learn part two of this whole publication thing:  marketing.  Today's authors have to do a lot to market their books, no matter how they're published, so we've bravely jumped in and are trusting the Lord to guide and bless our efforts.

Back on the homefront, I spent an intense week with SweetPea and her performance in "The Secret Garden" with a homeschool group.  Three dress rehearsals and four performances kept us running, but what fun!  We had to create a Victorian "up-do" hairdo for her each performance for her roles as a maid, a governess, and the dead wife of Mr. Craven who appears to him in a dream.  The kids did an outstanding job, beginning to end, even having to master a British accent and learn theater-in-the-round.  As often happens with such things, we all felt an emotional letdown the following week after such a bonding kind of a time, both kids and moms.

SweetPea has another neat opportunity beginning this week...being a mother's helper to a homeschool family of four kids and baby #5 due this week.  HomeEc 101!  This will give her some wonderful hands-on experience with all things baby, as well as helping the other kids with their schoolwork, and a host of other things.  I'm thrilled at this opportunity, especially since as an only child, much of this is new to her.  God is so good!

And I'm embarked on writing our church's VBS program for this summer.  Thought I'd be farther along with it by now, but as I learned last year, the Lord will help me get it done!  I'm certainly counting on His enabling.  It's my favorite topic--the Word of God--and we're presenting it as a treasure hunt.

We're also praying for my beloved auntie, who suffered a serious stroke a week ago.  She's doing a wonderful job in rehab, dedicated to getting well and so making good progress.  It's made us thankful in a new way for the tender mercies of the Lord and His faithfulness to His kids.

That's my catch-up!  Happy spring to you, my dear reader.