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Dear Hamish,

Thank you for the link to the music site. I listen to it as I build me crofts. I was sorry to hear about the scones Heather gave you. Maybe next time you can say you just ate and set it aside. They’ll never soften. I used one as a decorative stone in an advertisement photo for me crofts and someone bought it.
Yesterday I was getting ready for a daytrip, going through me photos on me mobile to see which I could delete and make room for new piccies, I found photo after photo of Penny, the cat. I went to Pawnee.
“You used me mobile.”
Pawnee scurries off.
“You used me mobile! You nea asked me to use it.”
Pawnee hides, but the tip of an ear is showing.
“Deleting.” I poise me hoof over the screen.
“You can’t.” Pawnee is there. She presses her paws together. “They’re of Penny. You know I love Penny.”
“I also know ye have your own mobile. Deleting.”
“Noooooo. Send them to me. Please. Everyone loves Penny pictures.”
Pawnee’s people already have a Penny fan club. Several.
“Fine.” I start sending them. And sending them. And sending them. “How many did you make?”
“Oooo, that’s a good one. I dunno.”
“Did you use me whole card?”
“Ooooo. That’s even better.”
She used nearly me whole card. On Penny. I’m locking me phone now. I’m sure in a month she’ll know the password, but I’ll at least have a bit of time with no Penny pictures.
I’d send you one, but won’t in case someone sees the kitty.

Still deleting,
From the colonies,
cat furred covered,
Angus. McSheep.

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Fifteen-year-old Simon is not the brightest bulb in town, or even maybe the entire state of Missouri, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to let a potential opportunity slide by, especially after graduating from school, from the third grade, which he attended for four years. It’s time for him to spread his wings, his teacher says. And he does. His means to fame and fortune lie in one thousand turkeys, and the task of getting them to Denver.

The impetus for this seemingly far-fetched story are actual turkey walks that took place in the 1800’s. The number of birds may have been smaller; Ms. Karr mentions an 1865 walk of 500 birds. These journeys were no less daunting than the cattle drives we know from western movies and books.

This is a lively tale of adventure with scoundrels, Indians, and circuses. It made me want to know more about turkeys. They seemed hardier than I ever dreamed. This book offers a new perspective on the west. Simon is a delight to get to know.

It’s always amazed me, how, when kids are made to pick out a book for class, some aim for the thinnest book in the library, the shortest. They’ll bring it over and I’ll try to explain that, yes, it’s thin, but the contents are going to make it slow reading. They’ll read the first page and get turned off. Then I’ll try to get them to tell me what they enjoy – sports, teen drama, horror, and see if we work something out.
No. They want the short book, even if it’s too hard to read or understand.
In hindsight, perhaps me pulling out books, non-too threatening, but more on grade level books may have been a good idea. I can put the books on the table, by theme – drama-rama for the girls, urban lit for everyone, sports or the thug life for the boys, something they can sink their teeth into. In today’s teen literature, I can see plenty my kids will enjoy. Not dystopic novels, they’re not into that. Maybe some non-fiction too if the teacher will allow it. Biographies do okay at times.
Maybe that’ll stop of choosing anything, but the thinnest, shortest books.

Cat Toys

Penny, my sister’s cat, likes to play. But not with toys one buys from the store. Being a bouncy kitty, it’d be nice if she would. It’s difficult to find something, especially since she soon gets bored with whatever I come up with. I made fishing poles, a cloth tied to string to a dowel. The cloth had catnip in it. That was fun for her. For awhile. Then she snubbed it. Time for a new toy.
We made a paper house for her to hide behind, tapping it with the fishing pole. That was fun. For awhile.
My sister had yarn and we dangled that in front of her, making it leap and fly and she leapt and jumped too. For awhile.
I got another string and that was okay. It got her leaping again. At the moment she still likes it. Thank goodness.
The paper house left and I made a cardboard house. Home Depot has boxes for under a dollar. Anything more expensive and she would have known and put her nose up.
Too expensive. Not for me.
After Christmas, I was rummaging through the 70% off Christmas sale at Target. Lo and behold there were three small catnip toys. Turned out they were twenty cents each. Even if she didn’t like them, it’d be only sixty cents total.
Penny likes them. She grabs onto one, plops on her side and her paws go crazy. So glad that’s not my arms she’s digging into.
I hope she likes them for awhile.

Moving to a new town isn’t easy. Catrina doesn’t want to move, but knows it’s for the best, it’s for the health of her sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. After settling in the town of Bahia de la Luna, Catrina finds she hates it even more than she thought she would. It’s a horrible place, and the whole ‘ghost’ stuff makes it worse.
People really believe in ghosts? Catrina sure doesn’t. And why does Maya? Not only that, Maya wants to see the ghosts, and ask them a question.

This is a fun graphic novel. Included are discussions points for moving and cystic fibrosis. From Ms. Telgemeier’s colorful and eye-catching illustrations, I got a firmer grasp on the disease. I’ve read novels with characters with cystic fibrosis, but the pictures in her book cemented it more in my head how it can affect someone and their family.
But ‘Ghosts’ is more than cystic fibrosis. It’s about fears and letting go and embracing life, and death. I especially liked the ghosts especially José, Carlos’ uncle.

The internet is truly wonderful. At least when people use it right.
Want pointers on how to crochet? It’s on YouTube.
Need to figure out why your camera suddenly decides to not work? Check on the internet.
Which is exactly what I did, for the camera; I don’t crochet. There are knowledgeable people everywhere. Some maybe not so much, but I got answers.
My camera is having issues with focusing. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. It works find in manual mode, but I’ve gotten lazy and like automatic. Also, with my bad eyesight, it’s hard to focus properly. Still, I can use it until I find a repair person.
The Internet helped with that too.
The problem appeared when I was off on a much needed day trip. I stopped at a corner out in the country where there was this three-story business building and nothing else around except a church. The building is vacant and in disrepair. Finding it interesting, I stopped and took pictures. And then it wouldn’t work anymore. It started out with the shutter release button not working.
Disappointed, I drove home. What was the use going out if I can’t take pictures? While sad, I wasn’t in total despair, which is a good thing.
At home, using the Internet, I was able to troubleshoot the problem. The shutter release button won’t work when the camera is set to Automatic Focus (AF), but will on Manual Focus. I managed to get it to work on AF, but that quit again after I went out the next day to continue my day trip. Happily, since I knew to switch to manual focus, the trip continued. Two towns, one state park, and a lake were seen and photographed that day and now I’ve gotten quite used to the focusing manually. It’s a bit slow. Sometimes the picture isn’t in sharp focus. Tricks from my pre-digital camera have bubbled up to tackle some problems.
I’ve since learned that the lens is not communicating with the camera and a new lens is needed. It’ll have to wait a while. As long as I can use the camera, I’m happy.
I’ve used the Internet to solve computer tech problems as well. I go to forums, ask questions, and there’s always someone willing to help.
Yep, the internet is truly wonderful.

Aud read a book about the Mississippi. Some story about someone, blah, blah, blah. But it was the whole Mississippi thing that got my attention because it made me remember Angus’ first time seeing it.
See, Aud went on vacation to Arkansas. She’d never been there before and wanted to visit a few national parks and tick another state off her list. We, me and Angus, tagged along. As we got closer to the river, Angus began eyeballing the countryside. We’d gone off the interstate and were on some big road. It went past Jim Henson’s (of Muppet fame) birthplace.

“Is that the grand river Mississippi?” Angus pointed with a hoof.
“No. It’s some creek.”
“Nay, For sure not. I’ve seen plenty of rivers as big.”
In England, and Scotland, everything with water seems to be a river. I’ve seen a river there that barely qualified as a trickle here.
“It’s huge. Hugemongus. You can’t miss it.”
“I’m not missing that. That is the grand River Mississippi.” Angus admires another waterway.
“That’s a stream.”
Angus has to confer with Aud who says, yes, it is a stream.
“It’s ginormous, Angus. Believe, you’ll know when you see it.”
Apparently not.
“That, that is the grand River Mississippi.” He points a hoof. The stream is only a few feet wide.
“Nope.”
“Nay? How can that be?”
“You’ll see.”
We drive on. Of course it has to be overcast and someone rainy, but it’s clearing. Kinda. And then we reach the river.
“A loch.” A loch is a lake is Angus talk.
“That,” I tell him, “is the Mississippi.”
Angus is truly gobsmacked. So much so, I have to take the pictures for him.
“Nay, ’tis too, too wide. Surely it empties into the Gulf here.”
“But it is. And the Mississippi Delta is like a good hundred plus miles south. Where we’re camping tonight is on an ox-bow lake, part of what was the Mississippi river.”
Of course, Angus has to have all the explained to him and he needs maps and pictures, and diagrams. But Aud does that all at the campground where he admires the lake, the loch, from the fishing pier, taking video to send home and post on the sheep YouTube channel.