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Archive for November, 2012

Wisteria Blooms

Wisteria doesn’t bloom for long, maybe a week or two. I found these draped over an old shed by an empty house in Brunson. While not on SC highway 321, it is on my route and I had to stop. The walls of the house and shed have been bleached a gray by the sun. While I stood there taking pictures, a truck driver pointed out a squirrel who had peeped out of a house through a hole. I wasn’t quick enough to take a picture, but I did catch a glimpse of it as it disappeared.

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Email to Ian

Please do not let the twins talk you into taking them to the James Bond movie, Skyfall.  It is bad for their health.  This is too violent for timid sheep like ourselves.  Thank you, Angus. McSheep.

Email to Ian

The twins are still talking about going. Don’t ask me how I know; I do.  Again, please, do not take them.  Heather will have nightmares and Peatmoss won’t sleep at all.  For weeks.  Thank you, Angus. McSheep.

Email to Ian

Don’t let those naughty lambs talk you into it.  Please don’t even think of taking them.  I will be the one to get in trouble.  Angus. McSheep.

Email to Ian

I don’t care if some of it takes place in Scotland.  I love Scotland too, but I don’t care to see helicopters crashing into the landscape.  Think of the poor neighboring sheep!  Think of me! A.M.

Email to Ian

DON’T TAKE THE TWINS TO THE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!! A.M.

Email to Ian

I will not thank you for taking the twins to the movie. I am in trouble.  They told me parents I told them it was a good movie to see. Heather woke up in the middle of the night, spat out a tooth and screamed ‘cyanide poisoning’. Peat is certain a helicopter will blow up the croft. I am to be held accountable for 5 pounds, 45 for Heather’s dental bill.  A.M.

Email to Ian

Please pay Hamish the 5 pounds, 45.

Email to Ian

If you do not pay Hamish I will send an anonymous note to your parents in regards to you video game habit.

Email to Ian

Thank you for giving Hamish the money.

 

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Every now and then I get a request from a student for a book on a topic for which I have very little material. A search on Amazon and the Internet reward me with few or no hits. Most of the hits are usually scholarly materials my students wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. When this happens I think: This could be something I could write about!

The last request that had me stumped was a student who wanted to do a report either on Florence Nightingale or Russian pogroms, both interesting and wildly different topics. I didn’t have a book just on Florence Nightingale, but I found something in a book on nursing and then she can use the Internet for more information. Russian pogroms were another matter. The book on Russia didn’t have anything on it.

Thinking it something I could add to the school’s collection I began my research only to find that a) there weren’t a whole lot of teen books about Florence Nightingale and b) there’s pretty much nothing on pogroms. Both results left me utterly amazed, particularly the latter as I’ve read quite a bit about pogroms in fiction and thought for sure there would be something about it rather than a few biographies, which focus more on after the people escaped and books on the Holocaust focusing on NAZI Germany.

Aha, I thought. This would be a topic to write about. Except that I write lousy non-fiction. Others are much better adept than I, Jim Murphy, Gail Stewart, Don Nardo, and Russell Freedman are a few that come to mind and there are many, many more good ones. Still, I filed it in my list of what I might write about it and given the time I might actually pursue it.

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Rebel’s dream of attending a paleontologist camp for kids over the summer is shattered when the camp money is used to buy a new refrigerator and she’s made to babysit her sister’s son while the sister attends beauty school. One way or the other, Rebel thinks, she’ll get to the camp and a money making opportunity crops up when the annoying Bambi Lovering wins five hundred dollars in a beauty contest.

I really enjoy reading books in which I learn something. Not only did I learn about beauty contests (so that’s why the kids walk so funny, hands sticking out and feet placed, well, strange, on those beauty pageant shows), but about being a hair dresser as well. I never knew they had to learn about scalp diseases. That was a real eye opener, I thought they only learned how to cut hair.

The characters are great from really annoying Bambi, next door bully Lacey, six-year-old spoiled Rudy (who is allowed to drink a soda for breakfast), and the comes-with-the-trailer, I mean, mobile home, cat – Doublewide.

Ms. Ransom transforms the characters along the way. Rebel and the reader first see the sister as an adult figure bent on ruin ing Rebel’s summer, but along the way we learn her dreams and the troubles she faces and how Rudy really isn’t the only spoiled child in the family.

The humor starts off from the start where we find Rebel marching along the highway, off to camp and wearing six pairs of underwear so she doesn’t have to carry them. A truly enjoyable book.

 

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Big sheep aren’t as interesting as the miniature ones. They aren’t as huggable and they could keep their wool a bit cleaner, like a lot cleaner. Angus keeps his wool very nice. I’ve been watching him, trying not to do it so obvious because his paranoia makes him think that when I’m looking at him, I’m mentally drawing dotted lines on his body like those meat posters at the butcher.

Scottish Miniature Sheep are pear-shaped with noodle thin legs and arms. Their ears stick straight sideways from their heads. They have tails only they hide them under their kilts during the day and their long nightshirts at night. Angus looks like a teepee when he has it on. It’s light-colored, undyed wool, and at night I see a tent walking around. Clop, clop, clop, clop.

I don’t know about other sheep, but sometimes Angus has a bit of a sour attitude. I am sure it is because he doesn’t like to be hugged. He’s says it’s because I am so annoying and could I please step back a bit (one foot rule) and give him some space. Scottish Miniature Sheep don’t hug. They shake hooves. Boring.

They like routine. Every morning he has to have his hay and take a walk to get the muscles working. Then it’s off to work on his crofts. At lunch, vegetables, then it’s either more working on the crofts or playing football or working on his other projects such as writing for his magazines, creating his ‘Pastures and Fields in North America’ powerpoint, or babbling to Hamish, his best friend.

I am trying to get him to lighten up and relish in some spontaneity. Last week I brought a friend over. He fainted. I held a surprise party. He fainted. I skyped some friends. He fainted. I have a lot of work ahead of me.

 

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