Live Through Us at The Burrow


February 2015

The Real Ice Storm

Remember the last ice storm?  Yeah, that never went away.  It never melted.  In fact, it brought a friend.

It all began Friday morning.  I couldn’t sleep because of all the big scary noises.  We had had an ice storm.  And then we had another.  And then the winds came.  Winds that blow down huge trees and branches onto people’s houses.  I told myself I was OK.  I prayed.  I huddled.  I said-the power isn’t out.  How bad can it be if the lines haven’s snapped yet?  And then the power went out.  I spent over 24 hours huddled in fear as giants limbs careened our roof.  I went outside to take pictures and ran back in.  It was even scarier out there.  The house at least muffled some of the popping and cracking.  Outside I walked in absolute terror as the wood around me gave way.  No pictures until it was all over, and even then it was difficult.

Our house is surrounded by trees.  Big trees.


Big trees have big branches that do damage.  Here’s where they dented the porch roof.


When it was over, I was able to take some pics from my bedroom window and porch.  It was still icing, and it was freezing so quickly that I didn’t want it to get on my camera and mess it up.


That is not salt.  That is a solid sheet of ice.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The ice was an inch thick on the branches.  No exaggeration.  I’ve never seen anything like this before.  It’s because we had one after the other, after the other.  There was even a sheet of ice on the eastern side of the tree trunks from where the wind blew.  (This picture faces east so you can’t see that.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of that anyway.)


We went for a walk.

Down our driveway.  Actually, you can just see a bit of the ice on the side of a trunk below.  See the white on the left side of the tree?  That’s ice.



These pictures do no justice.  I couldn’t believe what I saw.  It was like I was on a post apocalyptic movie set.



The above picture shows why that pole is bending.  Note, many poles (none pictured here) flat our snapped in two.  Crazy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That same power line.  Now imagine, if this one line had this much mess, and it wasn’t even the worst of the messes, imagine the rest of the area.  Crazy.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What’s scary now is there are many branches just waiting to fall.  They are too tall for the normal equipment.  I may see if Arlis can take the tractor and bucket down to do some branch pulling.  Those branches are large by the way.  Deathly so, no joke.  They fell from the tree across the street and are a good 20 feet up.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are also trees that have snapped, but no yet fallen, as we see below.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And oh goody goody, do you see that?  Look closely.  That’s right, that tree over the road is the one that snapped in the above photo.  Don’t believe me?  Look at the trunk, all the way to the right about 10 feet off the ground.  Yup, not happy about walking or driving under that one.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Here is one of the large trees that fell.  I didn’t get a lot of pictures of those, but they were plentiful.  We cut wood yesterday and saw some BIG trees that had fallen.  They’re too precarious for now, but when the weather warms up  we’ll try to clear them out.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Praise God for our safety.  He protected us as He promised.

A Walk Through the Icy Woods

I went out to take some pictures today.  I fixed the blog picture quality issue btw-yay!  It was dark out though, so they weren’t as nice as I had hoped.

As I donned my gay apparel, Gizmo told me bye.


You’ll be happy to know that the cows are melted now.  They no longer had ice on them and appeared dry and well.


The woods I ventured into.


I passed by some things on the way.








After a slight journey, I reached the deeper woods.


And then the creek.








I touched a tree, and this snapped off.  Oops-sorry.



Do you have beautiful pictures this weather event?  Post a link below in the comments!

Today’s Ice Fall

I don’t really call this a storm, although it came in yesterday like a tornado.  Crazy.  No snow, but a ton of ice!

I also apologize for the quality of the pictures.  I don’t know what happened.

It started out pretty average winter morning.  I broke the ice in the chicken/duck water as usual.  Now, see how it looks like ice blocks where it’s not broken?  That’s happens when the ice isn’t removed after breaking it.


Here’s all the ice from that one spot I broke out.


The cows really scared me.  See how they’re covered in ice?  Well, I quit worrying when I saw Fargo playing with his boy out there.  Cows will usually hunch up when they’re cold.  None of them were hunching up.  They weren’t happy, but they weren’t acting cold.  They weren’t in the barn either, which they will normally go in if the wind is really bad.  So don’t worry about them.  They’re fine.


The rest are just to look at.  That’s all ice.  It’s about 32 today.  Hasn’t wavered much.











The squirrels were out and about.





I typed THE END today

I finished my draft today.  I call it a draft because it isn’t the final, but it’s not the rough.  I guess you could call it the second.  I still have to do a major edit on the last two chapters, and then I’ll print it off and use a pretty little colored pen.

It was 59,000 words.  I wanted 70,000.  So I was a little disappointed.  Why did I want that much?  Because The Philosopher’s Stone was 74,000.  My other favorite is Of Giants and Ice.  It’s over 90,000.  I can easily still want 70,000 because Of Giants and Ice is too long and could have easily had 20,000 cut.  Yes, ridiculous reason, I know.  I think I thought that in order to be as good as them, I had to be able to write as many words as they did.  Again, ridiculous.  But The City of Ember was only 59,000, so maybe it’s OK.  Yes, I have confidence issues.

So I know you’re asking, what does the industry want?  There are several theories on that.  I’ll give you several links, and then you can make up your own mind.




As you can see, I’m right on target market wise.  So I should be happy.  What on earth is wrong with me?

There is a big difference between upper and lower middle grade.  So, if you’re doing research on words counts and such, be sure to take that into consideration.  Again, mine is upper MG fantasy.  And yes, there’s fantasy, non-fiction, history, sci-fi, and they all have different, although slight, expectations.

So what now?  Now, I re-work the last two chapters and take a break.  During said break, I will re-read the upper MG fantasy books that inspired me the most, and then I’ll go back and do a good read through.  One of the reasons I’m reading them is to clear my head of the crit garbage I’ve been getting lately.  It’s actually been getting worse.  Sigh!  This is the perfect time to take a break, because I ordered my Valentine’s/birthday present, and it will be here on Tuesday.  So I should be able to get those two chapters worked tomorrow.

That being said, I feel really good about myself.  I’ve worked really hard for this.  Really hard.  I’m a mom who homeschools, a light farmer, and a wife to a legally blind husband.  I never get any time to myself, period.  What time I do have to write is filled with screaming children (my son and the neighbor boy playing), or a screaming husband (online gaming).  Do you have any idea how hard it is to write with gun muffs on in a room of screaming people?  I do.



Sometimes I really miss being single.  And then the neighbor kid goes home, and I have a screaming fit of my own until everyone shuts up long enough for me to remember what silence was and write this post.

But I love my family.  I signed up for my first writers conference in April, and although I’ll be alone, I know I’ll miss them.

Food Museum-the pork episode

It’s time for another edition of the food museum!

Previous food museum post Next food museum post

I haven’t done one of these in a while. I am sorry for that, but the trips haven’t been productive until recently. Our latest trip revealed:

Now I know this is for pork chops, not actually pork chops in a bottle, but it cracked me up.

It doesn’t get grosser than this.

I’m fine with Chex doing something new, but what on earth is a “Muddy” buddy?

Muddy peppermint? I’m really not understanding this.

Why hello there! Of course, once I’m officially off my diet, you will no longer exist. And there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then again, I’m not real sure what’s up with the “nuttee relations” below it. That sounds kinda scary.

FYI, we live in TN. Now, while we may eat kosher, I know a TON of people who shoot and eat their own rabbit around here. They especially like rabbit sausage. Why on earth would a TN store import rabbit from China? Whose stupid idea was this?!

This speaks for itself.

I had to snap this in the checkout lane, so it was blurry, sorry. But I thought it was neat, and then I thought “Crunchy Girl Scouts” LOL!


Sun-maid dried fruits-

Do NOT buy these! I’ll show you why.

See below? They smelled so rotten, we didn’t even try it. The picture doesn’t do it a whole lot of justice, but allow me to inform you that they looked pretty rotten too. Nope, not gonna do it!

And begins the plethora of raisin flavors. It’s gotten a little crazy IMO. I will say that their white chocolate cherry covered raisins are awesome! I don’t know what happened to its picture, but I know I had one.

Now I know it’s just missing the accent mark, but how many moles does it take to make one of these?

Consider your brand name carefully.

This does not sound appetizing to me.

I like turkey bacon just as much as the next guy likes pork bacon. But no.

This was over four dollars, and contained six servings. We didn’t buy one, but from what I can tell on the box, the servings are bars you have to break off. Sounds like they mix a really good chocolate bar and you break off pieces? This might actually be pretty good, but not THAT good.

If there were ever a flavor to convert me to a coffee drinker, this would be it.

Bought these. Ate these. Don’t buy these. They fill the house with a caramel aroma that never goes away making you constantly drooling. Unfortunately, this desire is never satiated, because the flavor is so disgusting that you’ll like the dog to cleanse your pallet.

Salt AND pepper?

That’s it for this trip-see you next time!

The Language of Destiny

destiny the gameArlis has a mistress.  Her name is Destiny.  He will spend a minimum of 24 hours a week with her.  I hate her.  I have tried hiding her in my underwear drawer.  I have tried giving ultimatums.  Finally, after months of arguing, I have consorted to allow him to be with her every Tuesday and part of Wednesday morning.  Our lives are much more peaceful now.

Destiny is a stupid online game of nothing more than shooting the same things over and over.  It’s the same scenario every time with the hope of a new weapon being dropped by an enemy.  Arlis says he does it for the socialization now.  He’s made several friends from all over the world.

But why I really wrote this today is because of the language.  It absolutely cracks me up!

HEAVY-heavy ammo for rockets.  Often used as “pop a heavy” meaning going to use a heavy ammo synthesis which fills up the heavy ammo in your possession.

WIPE-Everyone kills themselves and starts that section or mission over.

CHEESE-When someone is cheating, they are cheesing an area.

So I’m sitting over here at the computer and I hear, “I’m going to pop a heavy and wipe because someone keeps cheesing.”

Now my initial reaction is, “I didn’t know you needed to wipe when you lifted something heavy.  When did this problem start?  And if everyone’s online, what difference does it make if they cut the cheese?”

So dear wives, if you have also lost your love to this harlot Destiny, then remember this.  Their mics pick you up too.  Just ask them the above questions and get a good laugh!

Getting a Crit

UPDATE: I no longer advise people to utilize Scribophile. While it can benefit the beginner, it is limited in its ability and caused more trouble for me than aide. While I know of one or two authors who find it benefits them to continue using it, most of the others that I know have moved on or never used it in the first place.

In posting your work on Scribophile, one is subject to a plethora of types of readers and critters, those who crit, or critique, your work.  Some of them are what we call “drive-by crits”.  Normally made by someone who isn’t really trying and just picking up enough karma points to post their own work, or by someone who doesn’t read your genre and doesn’t have the foggiest notion how to give you a good crit.  For example, I got one this morning.  Out of the whole chapter, I got two or three typos pointed out and one paragraph that needs work or possibly just removing.  The rest of it was garbage.  The critter was someone who spent their time reading article after article about how to write instead of just deciding for herself whether she liked the story or not.

In fact, she did like the story.  So much, in fact, that she came back for more.  Now, many writers will read what she wrote, go read every article she posted a link to, and come back and change their story to fit some carefully calculated pattern of words.  Thus, ruining their story.  Not me.

I look at it, roll my eyes because I’ve read her crits before, and skim over it anyway in case she did actually catch something.  She did, like I said, a few typos a one paragraph.  That’s great!

See the problem is, most of the people on there try to get you to conform to their style.  No.  That’s theirs, not yours or mine.  Or they always read adult and want you to write adult.  Read the description people.  It’s children’s.  Even then, they’re clueless.  I had one guy crit a picture book and say, “You need to use ‘kitty’ or ‘doggy’ instead of cat and dog because I doubt children of picture book age can read that well yet.”  Wooooow!  Seriously?

However, every crit, no matter how ridiculous or wonderful, leaves me with a feeling of “This book sucks, I might as well throw it away and give up!”  It gets easier every crit, but it’s still hard.  So even though I know the book is good.  I read the book and enjoy it.  I get good feedback.  I still doubt every word of every sentence every time.  But from what I’ve heard, that’s the normal behavior of being a writer.

Sorry for the rant.  Had to be done.

Videos of the Elements

This is really great for chemistry supplementation.  This webpage: contains a periodic table, as seen below.

Elemental Reactions

Clicking on any of the elements within the table will allow you to see a video on the element itself.  Some of the videos are extremely basic with a CGI view of what the element looks like and comprises in nature.  Other videos give a detailed lecture with reactions shown.  We watched Oxygen and Hg and were quite impressed.  I will note that many of the elements have more than one video.

As you can see here, when you hover over an element, it will display the videos in the pocket of the table.

really cool science videos

And as you can see here, clicking on said element will take you to the screen of videos where you can choose which one to look at.elements in their basic form This added a new level to our science curriculum today.  I hope you enjoy it as well!!

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