Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Snow II

Snow fell again on Sunday night, closing schools across the region. On Monday morning, when I went out, the world was white. Fresh snow hung from bare branches.



Just outside the garage, snow covered the PT Cruisers.


Down by the barn, the tractors were snow-covered, too.


Of the three kennel dogs, only Maggie the border collie ventured out. The weather is never too bad for a border collie.


A little snow didn't stop Melody from heading to the pasture . . .


. . . or barn-cat Spotz from going for a stroll . . .


. . . or garage-cat George from following me to the mailbox as he does most mornings when I go to get the paper.


The peach tree beside the mailbox had a few blooms, but they were covered in snow.


After getting the paper, George and I turned for home.


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Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Snow I

Although spring officially arrived last Wednesday, winter made an appearance yesterday. The day began with what weather forecasters call a "wintry mix."


Birds gathered in the pin oak and waited for me to refill the feeder.


The daffodils bent under the weight of the icy mix.


Soon snow covered the garden bench.


George the cat headed back to the shelter of the garage.


When I filled the feeders. . . 


. . . the birds came.


Snow—or something icy—fell off and on all day.


And cats, who couldn't wait to go out, soon wanted back inside.


Stay tuned for more snow pictures.
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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rest in Peace

That's the title of my latest e-book, a collection of three short stories that each won the Sherwood Anderson Short Story Contest. Here's how it looks on my iPad.


The three stories had been previously published in my vanity-pubbed paperback, The Girl Who Raced Mules & Other Stories, so you could say I'm recycling them. But they're a cheap read at 99¢. And they're funny.


The title story, "Rest in Peace," won the 1996 Sherwood Anderson Contest. It's about a country boy who wants to be a preacher. He practices preaching funeral services on his baby sister's doll, roadkill,  and his drunken father. 

In "Everybody's Business," the 1999 winner, a small-town jock futilely tries to score with the new girl at school.

In "Burning Bridges," the 2002 winner, a rural Virginia woman tries to set the Yankees straight about the real Thanksgiving, but causes problems at her daughter's elementary school, gets herself arrested, and alienates her mother-in-law. 

Successfully e-publishing my novel, Patches on the Same Quilt, showed me I could learn how to format and publish on Kindle. (I blogged about that here.) Consequently, I'll be recycling more of my short stories in future e-books. 

Look for my next e-book in about two months.
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Signs of Spring

Only a week and a day until spring arrives. It still looks a lot like winter here in rural Virginia, but there are a few signs that spring is not far away.










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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Before and After the Snow

On Monday, weather forecasters were predicting a major snow heading our way. Six to ten inches on Wednesday, they said. But Monday was warm and sunny. Critters—like George and Emma— lounged in the sun.


Crocuses bloomed . . .


. . . and daffodils. Lots of daffodils.


New leaves on the rosebush reached for the sky. Spring had to be here.


Chloe and Jim-Bob enjoyed Monbday's warm sunshine.


Their mama Olivia even came out to join them.


Sky was bright blue behind the pin oak . . . 


. . . and over toward the Peaks of Otter.


But on Tuesday, rain came. The sky behind the pin oak was dreary. A chill was in the air.


Ditto for the sky toward the Peaks.


We prepared for the big storm that was coming. But the weather forecasters changed their minds. We'd get less, they said. Maybe one to three inches.


But on Wednesday morning—this morning—the expected big snowstorm apparently missed us. Only a dusting of snow—less than an inch—covered parts of the ground.



The daffodils looked a little worse for wear, but they still bloomed.


In the pasture, the wind blew hard but still Melody ventured out to eat hay.


The wind blew barn-cat Sherman's hair while he scarfed a bite from the dog dish. His sister Spotz decided to retreat intothe tackroom.


In the garage, George and Emma decided to sleep in.


So the expected big snow never happened. According to the weather forecasters, spring-like weather will be back by the weekend.

Unless they're wrong.

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Kroger Confrontation


Coming out of the Rocky Mount Kroger this morning, I saw something that you don't normally see in a shopping center parking lot. At least not on the shopping carts.


Yep, it's a hawk. I figured this was a good photo op, so I whipped out the little Kodak I usually tote around.  But what was a hawk doing on the shopping carts? I walked closer to get a better shot, but he swooped into the bushes. Camera at the ready, I followed. He blended into the landscaping so well, that it was hard to tell he was there.


After I snapped the above pic, there was a fluttering which my digital camera didn't capture very well.


Then a small bird flew out with the hawk in hot pursuit. As they few upward, the hawk missed my head by about two feet. Unfortunately I can't focus the camera while ducking and screaming, so I missed a great photo op.

The hawk apparently missed the little bird, too. As we pulled out of the parking space, I could see the hawk circling above. I don't know where the bird went, but odds are good, he didn't hang around.

Maybe the little bird read the sign at the parking lot's entrance. It says: "Don't feed the birds: Health Hazard." Feeding yourself to a hawk could certainly be a health hazard. 

Maybe the lot needs a new one that says "Don't photograph the hawk: Health Hazard."

Note: Another bird close encounter at Kroger's (before the "Don't feed the birds" sign was posted) is here: http://peevishpen.blogspot.com/2012/02/two-photo-ops.html. Another animal encounter I had last year is at the bottom of this post; http://peevishpen.blogspot.com/2012/03/morning-after.html. One of these days, I'll learn not to mess with wild critters.
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