Friday, April 30, 2010

Nature Shots

Not mine (in my dreams!) but National Geographic's Best of 2009. 

Click on the slide show at the bottom to enlarge the pictures and enjoy the amazing detail.

 Which is your favorite?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Poem in Your Pocket Day

It's National Poem in Your Pocket Day when we are invited to tuck a favorite poem in a pocket and carry it with us all day, sharing it with others or reading it to oneself or simply feeling its talismanic power.

I like this one.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Male Point of View

When I decided to do  a post about trying to write from the male point of view, I wanted some pictures of seriously male guys. So I Googled 'macho men.' (Macho -- Spanish slang for he-man or virile.)

The first websites that came up were gay websites. And while there are undoubtedly macho gay guys -- that's not what I'm here to talk about.

So I ended up with the wrestler  Randy Savage (and if that's not a macho name, I don't know what is); Dirty Harry, movie tough cop; a Marlboro Man; and Rambo -- the one man army brought to us by S. Stallone (aka The Italian Stallion) for my male types.

Okay, where was I? All that testosterone has me wandering from my subject -- a question that arises now and again on Internet writers' forums -- how does a writer write from the point of view of the opposite sex and do it well and believably?

Since I struggle with this now and then,  I pay attention to the suggestions that I see offered.
Below are some that I think actually work fairly well.  I'd love to hear opinions -- especially from those of the male persuasion.
DISCLAIMER: I know that these are generalizations. And I know that all generalizations are false -- including this one.

Have the character focus on one thing at a time -- men don't generally multi-task or multi-think in the way that women do.

I've observed this to be true in many cases and have come to the conclusion that it derives from the early division of labor between the sexes. As hunters, men had to focus and stay focused on the quarry while women were tending babies and gathering food and wood and water, keeping an eye on lots of things at once.

Avoid emotional words and 'baggage.'

I only half agree with this one -- most good fictional males have baggage; they just don't talk about it till it's wrung out of them under extreme stress. The 'strong, silent ' types, in other words.

Don't apologize, fret, or worry; just do. 
The antithesis to the Woody Allen sort of character -- or Hamlet, for that matter. 

Being Rambo means never having to say you're sorry.
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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Just Another Nutcase?

Not here at the farm -- all serene here. 

But at the Asheville Airport, as President Obama was leaving on Sunday, the police arrested an armed man in a car equipped with clear LED law enforcement-style strobe lights in the front and rear dash. The car also had a mounted digital camera in the front window, four large antennas on the trunk lid, and under the steering wheel was a working siren box.

The armed man was not in law enforcement. When he got out of the car, he was listening to a handheld scanner and radio that had a remote earpiece. Police said he was monitoring local agencies and had formulas for rifle scopes on a note in his cup holder.

For the story I read, go HERE.

And for another story, with info gleaned from the Web to give a fuller picture of this individual (he likes ham radio, had trouble with girls, struggled to learn to play the piano), go to THIS STORY. 

(Reminder to self -- never post anything you don't want the world to know, especially if you plan to get arrested wearing a side arm and saying you just want to talk to the President.)
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Kate, Meet Hannah

Kate the donkey was in serious need of a pedicure.  Over a winter of standing around, her hooves had become seriously overgrown and she looked like she was wearing bedroom slippers.
Ta da! Hannah Knox, Farrier to the rescue!
Now while Kate is not technically wild (she'll eat out of your hand if she likes the looks of what's on offer,) she's as independent as a hog on ice and attempts to get a halter on her or to get her into a stall were not immediately successful. 

Kate took a look  at Hannah and decided Something was Up -- of which she wanted no part. We begin to wonder if tranquilizers were going to be necessary -- or a dart gun.
But eventually Kate allowed herself to be coaxed into a stall where Justin and Hannah managed to get a halter on her. (I have no pictures of this or what followed because the stall was dark and it seemed likely that the camera's flash would upset Kate even more.)

It was really pretty amazing. John had a rope on the halter and kept Kate's head in a corner of the stall whiled Justin held her neck in a fairly successful attempt to keep the donkey from moving about or damaging Hannah.

Hannah, let me say, is a small woman who looks about fifteen years old. But she's BWFA certified and  after watching her muscle Kate around and carve those neglected hooves into something more hoof shaped, I'm pretty convinced Hannah could, as they say, beat bears with switches.

 Kate landed one solid kick -- on the wall of the stall, thank goodness -- and the whole operation was accomplished without injury.

If you need a farrier and are in the western NC/east TN area -- give Hannah a call!

Her numbers are: 828-656-2508 or 850-324-3818 (cell)
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Cow's Spring

                                                          No memory lingers
                                                          Of mud's misery, of dry hay,
                                                          Nor of snow and ice.
                                                          Warm in the Eternal Now,
                                                          The cows graze, gorging on Spring.   

 And speaking of grazing . . . the Obamas, who are vacationing in Asheville this weekend, made an excellent choice for good barbecue . . . they also went hiking . . . I keep wishing they'd stop by and set a spell on the porch.


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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Bride's Book ~ Sepia Saturday

My maternal grandparents were married on October 20, 1915 in Troy, Alabama. I've posted about them before -- when they were courting and pictures of my grandmother with her sisters. 

I have, stored away in a chest, my grandmother's wedding dress. One of her wedding slippers is on display in a cabinet of family treasures.
And I have her Bride's Book -- a true treasure! From its pages I learn that Ruby and Huborn first met on November 23, 1912 and that they were engaged on June 25, 1914.
Of course there's a picture of the groom . . .

And the First Baptist Church of Troy, decked out for the occasion . . .
And the bungalow that was their first home . . .
And a charming write-up of the proceedings . . .

But my favorites are the pages with descriptions of her trousseau -- complete with swatches!

Gowns for every occasion . . .

In later years, my grandfather spoke feelingly of the huge trunk (yes, I have that too) that accompanied them on their wedding journey, necessitating hiring porters to move it at each change of trains or hotels.

Go HERE for more Sepia Saturday posts.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes   -- The International Men's March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault and Gender Violence has come to the Asheville area. And while the intent is excellent, somehow the idea of men staggering along in high heels seems to me to send a mixed message.
What kind of fool would subject her feet to these things?
I won't even mention the hairdo.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cloudy, With Intermittent Green

This is one of my favorite color combinations -- purple-grey clouds and and yellow-green foliage.
And it's only in Spring that the trees display this particular tender, light-filled shade of green.

The sky was extra dramatic yesterday, after Tuesday's rain, tempting me
to pull over and take pictures as I drove to Burnsville for my class.

Just as tempting was a mass of mayapples,
growing on the bank of the road up to our house. . . 

and the tree peony's first bloom, greeting me as I got out of the car.
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Do Butterflies Have Knees?

Monday was a perfect day to get out in the garden as rain was forecast for Tuesday. I had a few more potatoes to plant as well as some broccoli and kale and parsley starts to put into my box beds. 

This row of beds above has benefited from the helpful biddies in the chicken tractor which was carefully constructed by John to fit the beds. The girls eat the weeds and weed seeds and bugs and leave behind a bit of high powered fertilizer.
The swallowtail butterflies were knee-deep in the thrift. (Do butterflies have knees? Allegedly, bees do.)
Such beauties --  they seemed almost drunk on all that nectar!
You know I took more pictures...

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