March 2014: The Children Are Tender

Caregiving, teaching little kids to read, and riding in the pickup with Farmer John; I tweet, pin, and blog, from my home in rural Kansas. If you've landed here looking for information about my books, visit my author's page by clicking this link: A. Born. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Broomweed Bouquet

I love broomweed. It grows in a natural bouquet-shaped arrangement of hundreds of tiny yellow blossoms, and dries on the stem in October and November. With no further preparation it is then ready to be picked and added to fall bouquets. It looks just like Baby's Breath, but is a lovely brown, almost gold shade when dried. I have spray painted it white and used it in place of Baby's Breath in bouquets, and sometimes at Christmas I spray it gold or silver. 

Lydia (main character in The Children Are Tender) likes it too. The following passage is based on a real life event; like Lydia, I once stopped on my way to school to pick a wildflower bouquet but mine included goldenrod, which turned out to be an unfortunate choice on parent/teacher conference day; sneezing ensued. Lydia is wiser and leaves goldenrod out of her bouquet:

I waded through the overgrown ditch and quickly picked a bouquet, bunching two varieties of sunflowers and feathery Indian head grass in my left hand as I pulled some dainty broomweed from the ground with my right. 

I picked the bouquet shown in the photos below in the late afternoon and liked the shadow it cast as I walked home. 

It looks right at home in the milk can I found in the shed behind the house. I painted the can country blue last summer, then autumn green for fall...kind of disrespectful treatment for an antique. But I like it!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Life Imitates Art

In The Children Are Tender, I created the character of Jenny, a little girl who pronounces every R controlled vowel as "oi/oy." For those who have not taught phonics, let me clarify: ar as in car, er as in her, ur as in hurt, and or as in for would all be pronounced with the oi/oy sound (coy/car, hoy/her, foy/for, hoyt/hurt). For example, when describing the February doldrums, Jenny said, "Now that Valentimes Day is oi-ver, there is nothing to look foi-ward to."

I loved Jenny, even though she was a figment of my imagination (when one writes fiction these things happen). I thought her way of speaking--which I could hear clearly in my head--charming.

Our middle grandson, Logan, was born while I was writing The Children Are Tender, and hadn't yet begun to talk in sentences when the book was published in 2013.

But since that time Logan, now age 3, has begun to talk at great speed--and he substitutes oi/oy for every r-controlled vowel.  It is adorable.  It is also a bit surprising since I'd never heard an actual child do this. It was as though my fictional little Jenny had found a real life voice in my rambunctious, rowdy, lovable little grandson.

One of Logan's favorite books is Henry Explores the Jungle by Mark Taylor. In this book Henry explores the "impenetrable jungle," and Logan loves that word "impenetrable."  Except when he says it, it sounds more like "Impenetroy-ball."  When I took the photo below of Logan standing in sunlit willow branches he had just said, "Look Gwammy! I'm 'tandin in duh impentory-ball jungoy!"  It took me a good five minutes to decipher his words, but once I did--I was charmed.

Like Jenny, Logan's speech pattern is developmental and will fade as he grows.  But while it lasts it is a sweet facet of this adorable little boy's way of describing his world.

Logan in the "impen-tory-ball" jungle.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fond Farewell to October

 In late October, the air freshened and the sky changed from hazy to jewel-like, as though the crisp fall breezes had cleansed away dust and haze to reveal deeper shades of blue. 

Hay bale jumping, the farm boy's joy! Our middle grandson, age 3, knows no fear.

This is our oldest grandson and our yellow lab, Moose, who had to be boosted onto the hay bales (he weighs 80 pounds). Yes, I hurt my back.

This is how little boys help their grandmother rake leaves. 

Red maple tree turned to burnished orange in the afternoon sun. 

Our middle grandson loves hedgeballs, especially throwing them, which is how this one ended up in a carpet of maple leaves.

Most authors do not make very much money.  Case in point, my eleven year old Ford Escape in the photo above. But a sugar maple frame makes even my dusty ol' ride look purty.

The light! The vivid color! Thank You Lord, for October beauty.