Category Archives: Learners Word of the Day

Ort: A Perfect Mouseful

[dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster Learner’s Word of the Day selections; photo credit-Merriam-Webster Learner’s Word of the Day]

ort – noun

[awrt]

  1.   Usually, orts. a scrap or morsel of food left at a meal.

 

mischievous – adjective

[mis-chuh-vuh s]

  1.   causing or tending to cause annoyance or minor harm or damage

2.   showing a playful desire to cause trouble

      3.   intended to harm someone or someone’s reputation

 

Cat was angry at Mouse. Mouse was laughing at Cat because Mouse had just won his third game against Cat. Cat slunk off to figure out how to beat Mouse at Mouse’s games.

I have to slow down Mouse or trip him up somehow, Cat thought. Visions of glue, tape and food danced in his head. With the glue, Mouse was begging for help reaching out to be pulled from the glob of glue gumming up his paws. Cat shuddered at the thought. No glue.

Tape took over, tacking Mouse to it who was desperately trying to escape. Tape won’t work either. I don’t want to hurt my friend. 

While Cat was contemplating his next move, Mouse was mulling over how to help Cat win a game. A mischievous idea formed quickly.

Mouse made a maze in the middle of the yard. To help Cat win, he made Cat smiley faces on each turn leading the way out. Whoever got to the end of the maze first would win.

Tap, tap, tap.

Cat whirled around, surprised to see Mouse.

“I don’t want to play anymore of your games. I think we should play one of mine,” Cat said.

“Sure, but can we play one of yours after this last game of mine? I worked really hard at creating it,” Mouse said.

Cat’s whiskers twitched. “What’s the game?”

“I built a maze in the yard. Whoever gets to the end first wins and can choose the next three games to play.”

Cat shook his head. “Since you made the maze, you know how to go through it. That’s not fair.”

Mouse sighed. “You have a point, Cat. I will wear a blindfold to even us out.”

Cat thought about this. “We should each choose a winning treat for the other to place at the end of the maze. Whoever makes it through the maze and finishes their treat first, wins.”

“Deal.”

Together they scoured the house for the perfect treat.

Mouse found part of a tuna sandwich and carried it out.

Cat scoured the kitchen but there were no orts about, not even one crumb. All he could find was a small pink glob under the table. It was a little big for Mouse to eat but Cat planned on winning.

Treats in place, Cat and Mouse took their spots at the beginning of the maze. Cat was haunched in start position while Mouse was blindfolded and ready to go.

“Go!” Cat shouted.

Cat darted away turning this way that, into a dead end. “Drat!” He looked for Mouse. No Mouse around. He listened for Mouse. He could hear scurrying ahead of him.

Mouse twitched his nose letting him guide him to the end. He bumped into wall after wall but the strawberry smell was getting stronger.

Cat turned right, then followed straight. He turned left and left again into another dead end. He sat down and pouted. Doggone Mouse! He’s going to win. As a tear rolled into his whiskers, he noticed a smiley cat picture on the opposite wall. Oh sure, rub it in Mouse! 

Cat ran to the picture and scratched it out. He sulked through the maze scratching out each Cat Smiley he found. He was so busy looking for these smiling Cats, he didn’t realize what he had done.

I. Smell. Tuna! Cat’s nose twitched and his tail swished. He followed his nose right to the end of the maze. Mouse was already there, chewing and chewing.

Cat’s ears drooped. Mouse had won again.

“You won Mouse. But I’m going to enjoy this sandwich anyways.” He took a bite, then another.

Mouse said nothing but kept chewing away.

Cat finished his sandwich. “This was a great treat Mouse. Thank you.” Cat licked his paws.

Mouse just chewed.

“I said, ‘Thank you’ Mouse.” Cat stared at Mouse.

Mouse inhaled deeply.

As he breathed out, a bubble formed and grew and grew. Then…

POP!

Cat jumped straight into the air.

Mouse’s mouth still full he muttered, “Clever cat, giving me this ort. Not supposed to swallow gum. I lost.”

Cat blushed. “Mischievous mouse. Drawing those Smiley Cat faces to tease me. If I had seen those sooner I would have…Hey!”

“Won sooner,” Mouse said still chewing.

“You said a mouseful.” Cat laughed.

The next three games were Cat’s choice and he lost all but one.

 

THE END

If you enjoyed this story, take the challenge and write your own story in 60 minutes and edit it. The idea is to #justkeepwriting #justkeepwriting.

 

 

 

 

 

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Rex’s Big Words

Wow! I have not done a Word of the Day story on here in months.

To you the reader, if you are not familiar with my Word of the Day posts, I take the word of the day entries from dictionary.com, Learners Dictionary or Merriam Webster  (I may use all or just one or two) and create a story for children which have to include the words I post below. I give myself one hour to write and edit the story before posting it. The reason behind only the one hour is to give writers the incentive to just write, as the hardest part of writing is getting started. My story will never be perfect when it is finished in this time frame, but it is not supposed to be and in this case, I went over by nine minutes to finish editing. Feel free to leave comments at the end. I hope you share this story with your child and spark a conversation or a writing project. Enjoy!

scapegrace – noun

[skeyp-greys]

  1.   a complete rogue or rascal; a habitually unscrupulous person; scamp.

 

kudos – noun

[koo-dohz, -dohs, -dos, kyoo-]
      1.   fame and renown resulting from an act or achievement : prestige
      2.   praise given for achievement
REX’S BIG WORDS

This story can be summed up with it’s end…

Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”

But if you always read the end first, you miss the fun and excitement of the beginning and the middle and end up wondering what happened. Like, why would Rex be in a boxing ring? This is how it all started

“We are finished for the day. Thank you for coming in to help us set up the fundraiser. That scapegrace, Pinche, has a fight on her hands,” said Mr. Torres, owner of the Olympus Theater which was in danger of being condemned and torn down by the city.

Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I packed up our flyers, loaded our backpacks and met outside.

“We did good today,” I said.

“We did well,” Lottie corrected.

“We done did good,” Arnold snickered.

“Yup,” was all Rob said.

“Hey Rex, we need to divide up the town between us to hand out the flyers. Which section do you want?” Arnold asked.

“Makes the most sense to cover the areas around each of our schools, right? Grab as many people as you can to help distribute them.”

Lottie, Arnold, and Rob nodded in agreement.

“If you need more flyers, Mr. Torres said he would be at the Olympus tomorrow evening.”

Again, everyone nodded.

Rob hopped on his bike, Arnold took off walking and Lottie and I waited for our rides.

“See you all on Saturday,” I said.

Lottie waited until Rob and Arnold were out of sight.

“What happens if Mrs. Pinche gets her way?”

“We need to make sure that doesn’t happen,” I told her.

Our rides pulled up next to the curb.

“That scapegrace has no chance against us!” I said fist in the air.

“You and your big words Rex,” Lottie said rolling her eyes, playfully.

 

“Rebecca, your dinner is in the oven,” my Mom said the minute I walked in the door. She’s the only person I know who won’t use my nickname. Even my grandparents call me Rex.

“Thanks Mom. I have homework to do so I’ll eat it in my room,” I told her as she followed me into the kitchen.

“Good try Rebecca, you can eat at the counter or at the table but not in your room. What kind of homework?”

I fumbled with the hot pad and the plate of food in the oven.

“I have to write a one page paper about a local historical landmark or a place that should be saved and considered as one. I chose the Olympus Theatre.”

“That should be easy since you’ve been volunteering there for months now.”

“Hope so,” I said, mouth full of food.

 

Upstairs in my room, I gathered my resources. In my notebook, I wrote notes and points of interest. Next, I wrote my paper. I read it over twice, crossed out words and added words like my teacher told us to do and rewrote it neatly. Something was missing. My older brother Mike, is in ninth grade and in his paper for English, he had to write a closing statement. That’s what my paper was missing. I raced to his room.

“Hey Mike, what’s a closing statement for a paper?” I asked him.

He stared at me like I was an alien. “Since when do fifth grade papers need closing statements?”

I rolled my eyes, but not playfully. “Since right now,” I shot back.

Mike raised his eyebrows but told me anyway.

 

At school, I was the first to read my paper in class.

“In closing, the Olympus Theater has been a part of Pepper Grove for over a hundred years. Letting the Olympus get torn down is like letting your grandparents home get torn down with them in it. It is a historical landmark and needs your help. You can help me by handing out these fliers today after school.” I waved a handful of flyers around.

“Nicely done Rex. A little dramatic but nice,” Mr. Buckley said.

A hand shot up in the back of the class. Stephanie Pinche. Bully extraordinaire and only child of Mrs. Pinche.

“Go ahead Stephanie,” Mr. Buckley said.

“Who cares about that smelly old place. My mom says it’s a dump and unsafe and theater is dead. Everybody watches Netflix now or rents movies. Tear it down, a gas station will be a gold mine there.”

The room erupted in noise.

My face burned hot.

“Stephanie, Rex made a nice case for the Olympus and why it should be a historical landmark. You can read your paper next.” Mr. Buckley said.

I walked down the opposite row of Stephanie to avoid her.

 

After school five kids met up with me and we walked the neighborhood around school and handed out all flyers that I had. They agreed to tell their parents about how important the Olympus is and I promised them cookies if they brought their parents to the fundraiser on Saturday.

I stopped by the Olympus on my way home and picked up more.

“Yours are gone already Rex?” Mr. Torrres asked when he saw me.

“Yup. I need more. I recruited friends from school to help me hand them out.” I told him a big smile on my face.

“Well done. You are an activist already,” he said, his toothy grin hidden partially by his mustache.

 

The next day after school Stephanie chased me to my house.

“T-Rex, would you stop running so I can tell you something?” she hollered behind me.

I stopped and turned around. “What do you want?”

Out of breath, she huffed, “I can hand out some of your flyers if you need help.”

My eyes popped right out of my head. (not really)

When I popped them back in, I narrowed them at her. “I thought you said the Olympus should be torn down.”

“My mom wants to share them at the Historical Society committee meeting tomorrow night. She said it would be good to know more about it since you researched it and all.”

I didn’t quite buy her story but I gave her a few flyers.

“Thanks,” she said and left.

 

Thursday, Lottie, Rob, Arnold, and I met Mr. Torres at the Olympus and helped him clean the lobby. We scrubbed the counters, swept the floors, scrubbed the floors, cleaned the glass and shined up the staircase until the entire lobby sparkled. When we finished, we took the last of the flyers and headed home.

 

Friday morning, Stephanie grabbed my arm. “My mom loved the flyers. Said they helped her make her point at the meeting so you can have them back.” She handed them to and sneered. “Good luck saving that dump.”

When I opened a flyer, everything looked good.

 

On Saturday, people from all over Pepper Grove turned out at the Olympus Theater. Mr. Torres was strutting around, handing out cookies and coffee to the adults, while Rob, Arnold, Lottie, and me handed out cookies to the kids. The five kids from school were there along with their parents so I gave them extra cookies as I promised.

Mr. Torres walked onto the platform to give his speech. He glanced around then smiled and started. He answered questions and when no one had any more to ask, he held up his hand and shouted, “Can the Olympus be saved?”

The crowd replied, “Yes!” and waved their flyers.

Mrs. Pinche and Stephanie shouted, “NO! TEAR IT DOWN! IT’S UNSAFE FOR OUR CHILDREN AND THIS COMMUNITY.”

Mr. Torres dropped his hand.

Mrs. Pinche rushed onto the platform. She held up a flyer.

“Mr. Torres stated in the flyer, ‘Olympus Theater has served its community and in its current state of disrepair, I recommend it be torn down and the lot sold. To remember it in its glory days, I will donate photos and memorabilia of the Olympus to the library for all to enjoy.’”

People held up their flyers.

Mr. Torres grabbed the flyer from Mrs. Pinche’s hand. He scanned it and his face turned beet red.

The crowd started booing.

Lottie nudged me. “Do something Rex!”

Without thinking I ran up to the platform and shoved Mrs. Pinche away.

“The Olympus Theatre was home to the first performance…” I read from the flyer in my hand.

The crowd quieted. I read some more.

“We already heard this speech by Torres,” came a snotty voice from the front.

Stephanie sneered up at me. She started chanting, “Tear it down. Tear it down.”

Some older kids in the front joined her.

I watched Mr. Torres slump his shoulders forward.

Now adults joined in the chant.

“HEY! NO SCAPEGRACE IS GOING TO TEAR DOWN THIS HISTORICAL LANDMARK!” I shouted into the microphone, creating an ear-splitting ring.

The crowd covered their ears but stopped.

I recited my paper and ended with this, “Olympus Theater is a historical landmark and needs your help. Pepper Grove will lose its fame if the Olympus gets torn down. Instead, help us bring it back to its former glory. How many of your grandparents came to shows here when stars of their day took to the stage? How many of you performed here when you were in school? Does Pepper Grove need a gas station right in the heart of downtown?”

A buzz started in the crowd. People looked at each other.

“Open your flyers.”

People opened them.

“Does your flyer have a quote from Mr. Torres on the bottom of it?”

People checked and rechecked the flyers in their hands.

“No!”

“That’s because you have the original flyers, not the ones Mrs. Pinche copied and remade with her added fake quote.” I went on to explain about her and her gas station idea.

Finally, Mr. Torres, Mike, my parents, Rob, Lottie, and Arnold flooded the platform next to me. We held hands and raised them.

“Are we going to save the Olympus?” I asked fist pumping in the air.

A few people mumbled yes.

“ARE WE GOING TO SAVE THE OLYMPUS?” we shouted together.

“YES!!!”

“Is Mrs. Pinche going to build a gas station here instead?” I shouted.

“No!” the crowd replied.

“Save the Olympus, save the Olympus!” I chanted.

Soon everyone was chanting it.

Mr. Torres grabbed the donation box and held it over the side of the platform. People lined up and dropped money and checks into the box. Our town mayor pushed through the crowd, held up a fistful of fifty dollar bills and dropped them in.

The crowd cheered.

When the event was over, Rob, Lottie, Arnold, and I along with our families, sat in the lobby while Mr. Torres and his staff counted the money.

“We have enough money to start renovations.”

“Yay!” we cheered.

“And this was in the bottom of the donation box.” Mr. Torres held up a sealed envelope. He tore it open, read it and sucked in his breath.

He read it out loud,

‘Dear Mr. Torres,

Your request for consideration of the Olympus Theater to be a recognized Pepper Grove historical landmark has been approved. Attached is the documentation form for you to fill out and to mail to the state Historical Society. You will receive official paperwork from the state upon receipt of the completed form.

To help ensure the Olympus is ready for a public announcement of its inclusion into the Historical Society, we have set aside money to help offset restoration costs.

Congratulations.

Sincerely,

Pepper Grove Historical Society’

 

We cheered and whooped and hollered.

Mr. Torres gave each of us kids a big hug, and thanked us for our help.

Lottie whispered in my ear, “big words.” Then she held up my hand like a champion and said, “Kudos to Rex for keeping the light burning in Olympus Theatre. Her ongoing crusade to raise enough money to restore it and get it declared as a Historical Landmark will keep theatre alive and thriving for many years to come. To Rex! May you someday be on that stage, but not in a boxing ring on it!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save Me From the Words

[This is a short story using both Word of the Day selections from http://www.dictionary.com and http://www.learnersdictionary.com. My goal for these stories is to get the story out by writing and editing it in one hour] 

galore – adjective, adverb

[guhlawr, –lohr]

always used after a noun informal

: in large numbers or amounts

pumpkins-galore

logophobia – noun

[law-guhfoh-bee-uh, log-uh-]

an obsessive fear of words

logophobia

 

Words shouted at Lucy.

“Please.”

“Understand.”

Lucy wanted no part of them. Every time she misspelled a word, she was made fun of which was every day. Her wings were torn forcing her legs to carry her to the forest edge before the words had a chance to catch up.

“Whew! I think I lost them,” she said to the owl perched in the tree.

“Whooo?” was the owl’s reply.

“The words,” Lucy said. She trembled and shook. She peeked around the tree edge and was off again.

The words were relentless. They chased her through the woods.

“We”

“Can”

“Help.”

Leaves crackled, twigs snapped. Lucy raced on, her legs burning. For a meadow fairy, she was quick and agile.

“Wait.”

“For.”

“Us.”

Lucy ignored the words. Her heart thumped against her chest bursting to get out.

Above, the owl followed along, cruising over the treetops always aware of the action below.

A tree root rose up out of the ground. Lucy’s foot snagged it sending her face first into the soft earth.

The owl swooped down, extended her wing which Lucy happily took. She swung up on the owl’s back. Together they flew out of the forest and headed towards town. Below them, the words gave up the chase.

“You suffer from logophobia,” Owl said.

Lucy scrunched her eyes.

“You are afraid of words; they terrify you.” Owl explained.

Lucy nodded.

“Only a few words were chasing you and they said they wanted to help. They seemed genuine.”

“I don’t think so. At school there were words galore. I’m not a good speller. The words became angry when I spelled most of them wrong.” Lucy’s bottom lip quivered.

“And so they chased you?” Owl asked.

“Not then. They threw the chalkboard eraser at me and made me write each word until I got it correct.”

“That’s not very nice.”

“You’re telling me. Fairy school is not all it’s cracked up to be. Every fairy culture is gifted in different forms. Meadow fairies are not good spellers. We don’t have to be because we are of the meadow and talk to the meadow creatures and care for them. We use no spells so we don’t write words, just speak them. Other fairies have to learn words to communicate to the other worlds, this is their job.”

“I see,” said Owl.

“When the last eraser hit my wing, tearing it, I stomped out of school, swearing I was never going back. Then one word apologized and then another, but it was too late for me. Once outside, I could not fly so I took off running.”

They glided through the air until Owl perched a top of a tall boxy building.

“We’re here,” Owl said.

Lucy stared at the sky. Stars twinkled. Meteors flew across it. She wished she could fly like them.

Bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!

“Tis four o’clock. I shall take you down now,” said Owl.

Lucy  held on tight, her wings tucked in neatly.

“Off you go. What you need is in here. Every culture and every law can be found here. You just have to look hard and research and you will find your answers.”

Lucy stepped toward the large building with the wise owl statues lining the stairway to it.

“Do not be alarmed when you enter. Words abound in every corner. These words are here to help you. Though you may be terrified of them, give them a chance. If it becomes too overwhelming, ask a librarian for help as help is always available in this magical place.”

Lucy was skeptical.  She stepped back toward Owl.

Owl nudged her forward. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.

“Thank you Owl for rescuing me. I shall take your advice.”

“Remember dear fairy, overcoming obstacles is not easy and takes time.”

Lucy nodded and waved goodbye.

Inside, the words waited patiently.

They had their work cut out for them.

As did Lucy. This was just the beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

testudinal – adjective

[te-stood-n-l, –styood-]

  1. pertaining to or resembling a tortoise or tortoise shell.

 

crevice – noun

[krev-is]

  1.   a narrow opening or crack in a hard surface and especially in rock

crevice

“I feel so naked without it,” Terrence said to his best friend Trent.

“You look fine without it,” said Trent.

“But I need it, it protects me. You wouldn’t go anywhere without yours and you know it.”

Trent kicked the ground, shuffling his feet. “You’re right, I wouldn’t.”

Terrence covered himself with large leaves he found.

Trent laughed. “You look better without the leaves.”

Terrence squinched his eyes and curled his mouth. “Fine.” He dropped the leaves.

“We need to retrace your footsteps,” Trent said. “Start from the beginning.”

Terrence led Trent back to his home under the mud bog. Trent scratched around the mud. Terrence breezed through the brush. “Not here,” he called out.

A shadow passed above them. Chills crept over Terrence.

They traipsed to the rock quarry next. Terrence kicked rocks out of his way while Trent noses around the big rock. “Not here,” he said.

Sweat dripped off of Terrence, his skin becoming pinkish.

“We have to find your shell fast. You’re going to fry right up and the buzzards will eat you all gone.”

Terrence trembled at the thought. He led Trent to the other side of the rock quarry where the sun was almost hiding.

A testudinal object poked out from the crevice in the quarry.

“Look Terrence!” Trent pointed.

CRAW! CRAW! A shadow circled above them, then disappeared.

“Run!” Trent called.

Terrence used all of his might pushing his stubby legs as fast as they could go.

The shadow became two.

Terrence pushed on.

Swooooosh!

Terrence ducked. “Almost there,” he chanted over and over.

Trent chucked a rock at the buzzards.

Swoooosh!

He ducked into his shell as the buzzards dove toward him.

Swooosh! Miss.

Trent peeked out from his shell, fearful for his friend.

Terrence lunged forward.

The testudinal object was indeed his shell. He pulled and prodded. Swoooosh! and pulled some more. The shell flew into the air…kerplunk… hit a buzzard and landed perfectly on Terrence, covering his body once more.

CRAW! CRAW! Screamed the buzzards, one rubbing it’s head.

Terrence ducked into his shell and hid in the crevice between a rock and a hard place, known as the quarry.

When the buzzards bagged out, Terrence ambled over to his friend.

“Good thing they’re gone, they almost had themselves fried tortoise for lunch.”

“And chicken soup if they had caught me,” Trent said as he shivered.

“You were brave Trent, not a chicken,” said Terrence.

“I guess so. But you’re the one who gave one buzzard a goose egg.”

Terrence laughed. “Yeah. Buzzards love to eat tortoise eggs so I bet they love goose eggs too!”

Together they laughed and laughed all the way to the mud bog where they filled up on leaves for lunch and nestled into the mud for a nap.

 

 

 

GOODBYE SUMMER: No More Hide and Seek

Caption for the Learner’s Word of the Day Photo above: This dog is sorely in need of a bath.

[It’s been too long since I have written a ‘Word of the Day’ story. Therefore here is a reminder: for these stories, I give my self 60 minutes to write it and edit it before I post it, that’s it. These are lessons in getting the story out so they are not perfect but done as eloquently as possible in a short amount of time.]

overweening – adjective

[oh-ver-wee-ning]

  1.   presumptuously conceited, overconfident, or proud
  2.   exaggerated, excessive, or arrogant

 

sorely – adverb

[sawr-lee, sohr-]

  1.   very much
  2.   in a painful manner

 

Barkin paused in the garden, his paws scratching the dirt unearthing an earthworm. He sniffed the air and closed his eyes.

“Whatcha doing Barkin? Want to play hide and seek?” Digger asked his furry friend.

Barkin plopped onto the dirt, late summer flowers surrounding him. “I’m sorely going to miss you Digger,” he said to the earthworm.

Digger arched his slender body. “Where am I going?”

“Winter’s coming and we won’t be able to play anymore. You and the rest of the diggers will be frozen in the ground.” Barkin hangs his head.

Miner pokes her head out. “Aww Barkin, autumn is just starting. We have plenty of time to play before winter.”

Barkin perks up. “Really?”

“Really,” says Miner.

“But what about Robin? She’s leaving soon. There will be no more tug o’ war games to watch.”

“Thank goodness for that,” Digger says. “We lose too many team members when Robin brings her friends.”

“True.” Barkin nudges Miner and Digger. They giggle.

“You’re nose is cold and wet, like we are” they say.

Barkin licks his nose and licks their head. “I’m not slimy though.”

Digger and Miner burrow down in the dirt. Barkin watches them disappear and waits, watching where they reappear. This is his favorite game: hide and seek.

Someone is tickling his tummy. Barkin jumps up and looks down. “Hey, you got me that time.” Digger smiles and burrows back down again. Barkin creeps over to the Asters whose overweening bushiness  rules over the corner of the garden giving Cottontail and Chip the best hiding place.

He noses around under the Asters. Cottontail and Chip jump out. “Found us!” Barkin wags but just once.

Digger pokes his head up near the Mums. “No one found me!”

“Look for Miner,” he tells Cottontail and Chip. “We don’t have many times left to play hide and seek with them before winter comes.” Barkin sniffles.

“Can’t find me,” says a familiar voice. Barkin sniffs the dirt. Tickle, tickle on his nose.

“Achoo! Found you Miner,” Barkin says sniffling some more.

“Why are you sad Barkin?” Miner asks.

“Chip’s going to hibernate and you diggers are going to freeze to death when winter comes. Cottontail and I are going to be lonely all winter.”

“We don’t die when the earth freezes, we burrow down deep and curl up waiting for spring. In a sense we freeze but as the earth warms, we revive slowly. Then the snow melts and when the moisture reaches us, we dig our way to the topsoil.” Digger explains.

Barkin looks at Cottontail, grinning. “In that case,” he said nudging Cottontail, “you’re it!” and bounds away.

The friends play hide and seek until Barkin is called inside for dinner.

“Let’s play again tomorrow!” and they agree to do so.

 

How Do Earthworms Survive Winter?

http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/Soil/worms.htm

Small Victory, Big Reward

Photo credit: libcom.org

victory – noun

[vik-tuh-ree, vik-tree]

  1.   success in defeating an opponent or enemy
  2.   the act of defeating an opponent or enemy

sweltering – adjective

[swel-ter-ing]

  1.   very hot

 

Monsters come in all sizes. This species is shiny, looks like coppery bronze basking in the sunshine. Oh, see that glint of emerald shining bright right above the coppery wings? In the sweltering month of July, they usually make their first appearance. The hotter the weather, the more they thrive.

japanese beetles

Yes, these little monsters climbing over each other are Japanese beetles. Their goal in life is to mate and (eat)destroy every living plant they find desirable.

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The above photo is what is left of two of my hollyhock plants. The photo below shows what the hollyhock leaf looks like before the monsters start chomping away and after they have devoured one leaf to lace.

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Hollyhocks are not their only food of choice. Here two are scrambling over one of my monarda (bee balm flowers).

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The bees are weary of these bronze and green ghouls. I do know that ferns are adored by Japanese Beetles and not long after they find ferns, the ferns look like brown lace. Here, the beetle has just found the fern and I have been fighting with them ever since.

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Since I do not approve of pesticides which harm the good bugs and the earthworms and birds, I use a safe method of killing the Japanese beetles. Water, dish soap and garlic. I pour water into a plastic container and stir in enough dish soap to give the water color and stir in about a teaspoon of crushed garlic. The dish soap must not be mixed in where it turns to bubbles. The reason is because the soap coats the beetles wings and they cannot fly. It also suffocates them. The garlic is to ward off other beetles which I think actually helps to a small degree.

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I use a spoon, child medicine dropper or old turkey baster to drop the soap mixture onto them or I pick the monsters off the plant and drop them into the soap mixture. Either way is effective. However, like most monsters they bite and if they get in your hair, they rat it and bite your scalp. so the trick is to be sneaky. You can use a spray bottle as well but the garlic needs to be strained out as it plugs up the sprayer. This is a short term method to eradicate them.

The long term method is to apply nature’s own Milky Spore which is a Bacillus popillae, a bacterium that kills grubs by multiplying inside the grubs, causing them to die. The milky spore needs to be applied in spring and fall for maximum effect for up to three years which then guarantees to keep your lawn free from them for ten years or more. For more about this product check out this link: http://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/milky-spore-powder-p-2948.html

milky spore

Can you guess who will be buying this Nature’s wonder product this fall? You’re right and if you have these little monsters in your home, I suggest going the long term route to rid your yard and gardens of them. Besides garden flowers and veggies, they also destroy yards creating brown spots by eating grass roots.

With the soap water, I have a short term victory bug hunting in sweltering heat is not my idea of fun. With the milky spore applied I have long term victory and since it is applied in the coolness of autumn and spring, the work to apply it is well worth it.

 

 

 

Embrace the ‘bold as brass’ Moments

Haha! Today’s word of the day selection for Merriam Websters Learner’s Word of the Day is a phrase and one that I truly enjoy. Here it is…

bold as brass – idiom

[bohld az bras]

  1.   not afraid at all : very confident or bold

 

One word sticks out to me in that phrase and it is repeated in the definition. Can you guess it? If you need a hint, look at my name and you will see the same word repeated. I use it in both my webpage and Twitter handle.

bold as brass lion (Not sure if this is a bold or stupid move to give a lunging lion a wrapped present. This guy sure doesn’t exude confidence. How would you describe his expression? Write your answer in the comments for this post.)

Not sure what an idiom is? Me either. But idiom is what bold as brass is classified as instead of a noun, verb, adjective, etc. Nope, not idiot, but idiom which is quite different. Therefore, here are some examples of idioms

idioms-english

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and definitions:

[id-ee-uh m]

1.   an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its separate words but that has a separate meaning of its own
2.    a form of a language that is spoken in a particular area and that uses some of its own words, grammar, and pronunciations : dialect
3.   a style or form of expression that is characteristic of a particular person, type of art, etc.
idiom explanation
Now that we know exactly what an idiom is I can show what bold as brass is.
My given first name is Traci which in some baby name books means, ‘bold, courageous battler’. When I married and took my husband’s last name, Bold, my full name took on a whole new meaning and one that I have steadily embraced.
Throughout my life I have fought for fairness (the phrase ‘life isn’t fair’ is a load of crap, a cop out,  as it is used by people who do not want to put in the work and time to do the right thing). I battle quite hard to achieve it and have lost the battle numerous times. But I persevere; carry on and keep trying. I have always believed that anything worth having is worth working hard for; there is always a catch in things coming easy.
In my writing, I take a bold approach to convey the story I want to tell or convey the message I want to get across. This is where editing comes in. Sometimes my bold approach is too bold and needs to be toned down to a gentle approach. Boldness requires balance like a teeter totter.
Teaching kids balance
Teaching kids balance – illustration of two children on a seesaw
Balance requires a mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior or judgement. Snap decisions disrupt this balance and do not attribute to the bold as brass moments.
brass knuckles  Bold as brass is a state of mind in how you live your life. It’s not about giving attitude adjustments to people who you think need it but rather adjusting your attitude to handle the situation given with finesse and flair that’s best for all involved. In essence, not taking crap from people and standing up for what is right by doing it the right way, not a bullying way.
Bullies are everywhere and around every corner. Being bold as brass means you fight to do the right thing no matter how hard or how steep the road is. You don’t let the bullies get to you and you put the bullies in their place by being bold as brass, not using brass. Bullies have some type of insecurity that moves them to bully people who have less than them or who have more, it just depends. Often, confident people are their first intended targets. Why? Because they want to shake up the confident persons world to feel better about themselves. But these confident, bold as brass people just let the bullies roll right off their shoulders which bullies hate.
A bully will back down from someone showing confidence. It shakes them up.
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However, being bold as brass is sometimes looked upon as being cocky and some people are just that. So, be bold, be brave, stand up for your rights and others but also be humble, kind, caring and loving. When you are all of these, you will have the world in your hands to do great and wondrous things. You don’t have to be bold as brass all the time. Embrace the bold as brass moments when you have them and be proud.
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We all have the ability to be bold as brass but not always the courage to be. The choice is ours alone. Make each moment count the right way.
Sincerely,
Traci Bold 

Your Adventure Awaits

pumped – adjective, verb

[puhmpt]

adjective

excited and enthusiastic about something

verb

  1.   to raise, drive, etc., with a pump.
  2.   to free from water or other liquid by means of a pump.
  3.   to operate or move by an up-and-down or back-and-forth action.
  4.   to supply with air, as an organ, by means of a pumplike device.
  5.   to drive, force, etc., as if from a pump.
  6.   to supply or inject as if by using a pump.
  7.   to work a pump; raise or move water, oil, etc., with a pump.
  8.   to move up and down like a pump handle.
  9.   to seek to elicit information from a person.

panjandrum – noun

[pan-jan-druh m]

  1.   a self-important or pretentious official.

 

Today’s post is not about the all new adventure of the world of politicians (or panjandrums as I like to call most of them) though that may be fun. No today  I am pumped to share with you my favorite place for adventure when I have no money to go too far: the Hedberg Public Library. I will visit any library, anywhere and find adventure.

Ahhh, you think I am just a bookworm maybe? True but I also enjoy the artwork featured by local artists as well as just one of the many features our library has to offer. In fact, this month one of the librarians, Helene Ramsdell, who is also a fabulous artist, has her work featured at our library. Here are a few samples of her work:

fox print helene ramsdell Filbert street animal prints

Artists are featured every month at our library. Therefore, not only is it a library but also an art gallery that changes monthly.

The library also offers classes in their computer lab, usually for free for any number of things. Programs for toddlers and young readers are offered weekly, story time during summer goes on, young adult programs are offered throughout the year and family programs, adult programs, author visits and so much more can be found at our library.

Besides books, you can check out toys at the library for your children, parenting material, DVD’s, Blu-Ray movies, magazines, CD’s, and audio books.library lion

If a title cannot be found at the library itself, they can use the Interlibrary Loan feature, WISCAT and even WorldCat to get in the material of your choice. Need something copied or printed, the library offers that too for a minimal fee. Don’t have time to peruse the shelves for your favorite book, request it online through their online catalog and pick it up when it arrives at the library within the allotted grace period.

If this isn’t enough to entice you to find your next adventure at the library, then check out these picture books about libraries. Not only are the stories unique, they offer a new perspective you and I may have overlooked.

a library book for bear wild about books

the lonely book Miss Dorothy

when the library lights go out the library doors

the library gingerbread man quiet theres a canary

the book boat's in waiting for biblioburro

I’m sure there are many more and these are all tried and true but that’s just my opinion. Go find your adventure at the library, until you absorb yourself in it you never know what awaits you.

What’s in your public library?

Happy reading!

#HedbergPublicLibrary

 

When Opposites Don’t Attract- (a penguin story)

(All photos in this story/blog were taken by Kevin Bold and Traci Bold and are copyrighted.)

 

ossify – verb

[osuh-fahy]

  1.   used with object: to convert into or cause to harden like bone.
  2.    used without object: to become bone or harden like bone.
  3.   used without object: to become rigid or inflexible in habits, attitudes, opinions, etc.

gallant – adjective, noun, verb

[adjective galuh nt for 1, 3, 4; guhlant, –lahnt, galuh nt for 2, 5; noun guhlant, –lahnt, galuh nt; verbguhlant, –lahnt]

adjective

  1.   showing courage : very brave
  2.   large and impressive
  3.   having or showing politeness and respect for women
  4.   showy, colorful, or stylish, as in dress; magnificent

noun

5.   a brave, noble-minded, or chivalrous man.

6.   a man exceptionally attentive to women

7.   a stylish and dashing man.

8.   a suitor or lover.

9.   a paramour.

verb

10.   used with object: to court or act as a lover

11.   used with object: to escort

12.   used without object: to attend or pay court as a gallant

 

In the animal kingdom, solitude is for very few animals. Most, like the solidarity of being together. This means that most species do not like to be alone but rather live in harmony with many.

“Shhh. No texting back there, the movie is about ready to start.” says the head emporer penguin. Harris and Jude turned the other way. They did not want to see ‘Madagascar’ again.

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But next door, at the Humboldt neighborhood, the penguins are each doing their own thing. Like this one. This is Jonas soothing a sore muscle from moving stones onto the grates.

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He is not happy. “If I have to move one more stone, I’ll be ossified just like one.” he says.

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“Please can you move just one more?” Perdy asks. “You are the most gallant penguin I know.”

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Jonas turns his head. “No, I won’t do it.”

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“Please,” Perdy begs. “I saved a fish just for you. I will bring it down.”

“Fine. If it means you are safe, I’ll go move more.” Jonas says. He waddles back to the grate.

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“Last one. I’ve conquered them all.” he says holding the last one in place.

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“Good work Jonas,” Perdy says behind him. “My turn to be conquerer of the rocks. Can you please get down now?”

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“Girls!” Jonas says trudging away.  “I’m going to find new friends to hang out with.”IMG_2047

And so he joined his emporer friends in their neighborhood for the showing of ‘Madagascar’.

The end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Snippet of Fun at the St. Louis Zoo

[All photos in this blog are copyrighted and belong to Kevin and Traci Bold. They may not be used for anything without written permission/consent from myself. ]

forage – verb, noun

[fawr-ij, for-]

verb

  1.   of an animal : to eat growing grass or other plants
  2.    to search for something (such as food or supplies)

noun

3.   food for horses or cattle; fodder; provender.

4.   a raid.

 

St. Louis boasts it has the number one zoo in the country. Therefore, on my recent visit to St. Louis,. I had to see for myself and I have to admit, it was pretty cool.

The day my husband and I went, the day was overcast and cool which was great for the animals. We went in late afternoon which was feeding time for many of them and that was a treat for us to watch them eat.

In the wild, most animals forage for their food but luckily, in the zoo, food is brought to the animals.

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However, this doesn’t mean one cannot forage for one’s self.IMG_2163

We saw a couple of animal babies at the zoo.

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And we saw some pretty goofy behaviors.

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Some of the animals were just hanging out.

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Others were restless.

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Others were playing.

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Some stood at attention.

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And some just decided it was nap time.

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Which is exactly what we were thinking too by the time we finished exploring. It was closing time and the animals were ready for their performances to be done for the day.

So, til the next time…

The End