Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Tea Time - 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge

April 23, 2014

2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 20

T is for Tea Time

We’ve reached the last full week of this year’s blogging challenge – and only a week to go! As much as I enjoy this yearly test of personal resolve, I’m at the point where I’m eager to get to Z and take a little blogging break (as if such a thing were possible!).

Thanks for visiting my corner of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

 _*_*_*_*_

If there’s anything I envy about the Brits, it’s concept of afternoon tea. I love the idea of slowing down for a few minutes in the afternoon and taking a break. It would be a pure indulgence to have a place in the town where I work where I could go after work and before I go home to unwind with a friend and have a cup, or glass, of tea.

It feels a little un-American to say that. After work I should exercise. I should do volunteer work. I should have a second job. I should participate in a sport. I should write a letter to Congress and lobby for my special interest group. We Americans don’t have time to waste on something as inconsequential as TEA.

The hell I don’t.

Between my responsibilities on the job and those at home I SHOULD take a few moments to relax every day. Maybe it should involve tea and scones or maybe, in the summer, the occasional Dairy Queen Blizzard. Maybe I could even go for iced tea and an apple. It doesn’t matter what the snack is, what matters is that I take the time to relax and collect my thoughts.

Does the notion feel like a guilty indulgence? On the surface it sure does. But I think it’s a small thing that could benefit my life in big ways. So here’s to Tea Time done my way. A few minutes of relaxation and quiet that is a gift - from me to me. I feel better already.

KC Kendricks

  
_*_*_*_*_

You didn’t really think you’d get away without one more brief book promo, did you?

T is also for TAMING TRITON, the second book in the Southern Cross series. For more information please visit my website at http://www.kckendricks.com/TamingTriton.html

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Seasons

April 22, 2014
2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 19

S is for Seasons

We’ve reached the last full week of this year’s blogging challenge and as much as I enjoy this yearly test of personal resolve, I’m at the point where I’m eager to get to Z and take a little blogging break. Thanks for visiting my corner of the 2014 A to Z Blogging.

_*_*_*_*_

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NRSV)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

**


This passage from Ecclesiastes is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. In very simplistic terms it assures me that my life is unfolding as it should. But am I truly able to embrace all my seasons and walk through them with confidence?  

When I first sat down to write, I didn’t realize I was beginning a new and long-lasting season. Nor did I know there would be smaller seasons within my time to write, that there would be times the words did not come. I liken it to a winter whose beauty is better experienced from a distance. I’m now in a new spring and find I’m excited about writing again. I needed the rest of winter to prepare. That it corresponds with the meteorological season is pure coincidence.

Today’s picture is a wonderful work called Season of the Wolf by Graeme Stevenson. It’s held a place of honor on the wall in my den for well over twenty years and I never tire of looking at it. Through the layers of many seasons, the wolves do not hesitate to run forward. They don’t worry about what may happen as they leap toward spring even though the winter wolf is always with them. The winter wolf looks as eager, as intent on his journey, as the spring wolf. There is a wild and abiding joy about them.

And then there is the wise-eyed fellow in the corner. He looks at me and challenges me to cast aside doubt and live as fearlessly as they do. I look forward to that season.

KC Kendricks
www.kckendricks.com
http://kckendricks.blogspot.com
www.twitter.com/kckendricks




Brief promo time! S is also for Seducing Light. I've always loved this cover. Learn more about the story at http://www.kckendricks.com/SeducingLight.html




Monday, April 21, 2014

R is for Rain

April 21, 2014

2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 18

R is for Rain

We’ve reached the last full week of this year’s blogging challenge and as much as I enjoy this yearly test of personal resolve, I confess I’m looking forward to Z so I can get back to work on a story I want to finish. I like blogging but that story is screaming to be completed. Thanks for visiting my corner of the 2014 A to Z Blogging  2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

_*_*_*_*_

“Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain…pitter patter pitter patter…”

Generally speaking, I like rain. There’s something about waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of rain on the roof that is pleasing. It’s the sound, of course, but it’s also a primitive reaction to being warm and sheltered.

My home is quite modest, as the photo attests, and if we get heavy rains the water puddles in spots. Being on the side of very big hill, which is a small mountain, rain can be a tricky thing. There’s several hundred feet of elevation above me and it all drains my way. You wouldn’t think flooding would be a problem on the side of a mountain, would you? Surprise!  The good news is it runs continues to drain straight through my property and on down a few more hundred feet to the bottom of the hill and into the creeks.

I welcome the rain that nourishes the ground. I watch the deer graze in the back yard seemingly oblivious to their wet coats. They shake every now and again, but it’s the youngsters who give them away. They prance and dance in the rain, kicking up their little hooves, hopping along, looking joyous. If being wet truly bothered them, why do they look so happy?

In the spring, I’ve been known to throw on an old raincoat, grab an umbrella, and head out for a walk through the wet woods. (If the deer can take it, so can I.) The woods take on a different life in the rain. It may look gray and brown but you can almost see and smell the abundant life that surrounds you, poised for action. It’s like the trees are in communion with the earth and for those few moments as you walk by, they include you in their ancient ritual of yearly rebirth.

And just as wonderful as a walk in the rain is arriving home and warming up with a cup of coffee in the small sunroom at the far end of my house - and watching the rain.

 _*_*_*_*_

You didn’t really think you’d get away 
 without a brief book promo, did you?

R is also for RIVER WALK.  
For more information please visit my website at 
www.kckendricks.com/RiverWalk.html

KC Kendricks
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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quiet

April 19, 2014

2014 A to Z Blog Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 17

Q is for Quiet



Winter, spring and summer can have the fog. It’s lovely autumn that claims the mist.

I took this photo one misty Saturday morning in late September. I’d been outside on the patio, wrapped in a light blanket, long enough to drink a cup of coffee. It was QUIET. The birds weren’t even singing as if they, too, enjoyed the silence. No wind rustled the leaves as two deer walked silently through the backyard, wraiths in the mist.

Without a sound to disturb the perfect quiet, the sun rose over the mountain ridge and light streamed through the trees. The birds began to sing and the perfect quiet became a lovely memory to share.


 KC Kendricks
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kckendricks

Friday, April 18, 2014

P is for Peeper Frogs

April 18, 2014

2014 A to Z Blog Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 16

P is for Peeper Frogs

We’re almost through the third week of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. Everything is going good on my end. I’m keeping up with the schedule. By now, day sixteen, the blogs are mostly written and I’ve even prescheduled tomorrow’s  post so we can go play, weather permitting.  

So thanks for coming with me this month and joining in the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

_*_*_*_*_*_

What do you hear when you step outside after dark?

In the country, the sounds change with the seasons. Summer brings the sounds of noisy insects like cicadas and katydids, and the eerie bark of foxes. Autumn is the time when the little screech owls make their presence known as their calls join the rustling leaves. Winter’s sound is that of the cold wind whipping through the trees. And spring brings the chirping song of the tiny peeper frog.

It’s amazing such a tiny creature can create such a riotous cacophony of sound. They begin to sing as soon as whatever signal brings them out of their winter hibernation. One night, if you’re lucky, you’ll hear one or two crystal voices. Pause to enjoy it because the next time you hear the peepers, the sound will fill the night with such a din that identifying an individual voice is impossible.

In all my years I’ve not seen one of the nocturnal peepers. I don’t guess I ever will since I don’t plan to go out into the woods at night to locate their colony. (I'll leave that to the folks who took the picture.) But every year I step outside and listen because when the peepers sing, I know it is truly spring.

(This year I first heard them on April 11th. Spring is here!)
 
_*_*_*_*_

You didn’t really think you’d get away without 
a brief book promo, did you?

P is also for POSEIDON’S PLEASURE.  
For more information please visit my website at www.kckendricks.com/PoseidonsPleasure.html .

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for the Orange Maple in Fall


April 17, 2014

2014 A to Z Blog Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 16

O is for the Orange Maple in Fall



Welcome to my corner of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. 
This year, 2014, I’ve chosen the theme, “A Rural Life.” I’m so blessed to live in rural America, close to nature. Big cities aren’t that far away by car so I’ve got the best of both worlds. Just like life, this year is turning out to be a mix-up - a wonderful combination of this and that all rolled into one that may seem chaotic on the surface but blends together to create the whole.

*_*_*_*

It’s an old adage we know well - “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Sometimes it’s true. So while it’s barely spring in my corner of the world, I’m giving you a taste of autumn as it has appeared from my front porch for each of the last thirty years.

This beautiful tree is the herald of fall in my yard. It's a little taller and broader now since this picture was taken, but its vivid fall color sets my heart alight with joy every fall.

O is for the Orange Maple that crowns the tiny rise in my front yard.



_*_*_*_

You didn’t really think you’d get away without a brief book promo, did you?
 
O is also for OPEN ROADS. For more information please visit my website at
http://www.kckendricks.com/OpenRoads.html


KC Kendricks

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for Nostalgia

April 16, 2014

2014 A to Z Blog Challenge
Day 15
A Rural Life

N is for Nostalgia

_*_*_*_*_ 

I remember a kinder, gentler time, and I feel very blessed to have those memories. When I was very small, the adults in my family loaded all the kids up in a car caravan and drove over four hours to Ocean City, Maryland. 

No, we didn’t stay in a motel. We pitched tents on the beach somewhere north of the boardwalk. Can you imagine doing that now? They’d probably throw you in jail, but remember, this was a different time. No one blinked at eye at our four-tent camp complete with campfire.

My first encounter with the ocean didn’t go well. My mother couldn’t convince me to get in the water. In fact, it wasn’t until my father put his camera away and carried me into the surf that I agreed with the idea of getting wet with water that “smelled funny.” After he went out far enough for the waves to splash on me, I was fine. Well, until he put me down on the beach and went into the deeper water without me. I understand I screamed about that as only a four-year old can. 

Not too many years later our family vacation car caravan headed for the mountains and Dolly Sods. Again, we simply pitched out tents and no one bothered us. A park ranger did stop and remind us to store our food where the bears couldn’t get it, but that was all. The spouse and I visited Dolly Sods a few years back and it was really cool to find the locations to match the old black and white photos. Now there are designated campsites, too.

I’m sorry my younger cousins won’t know those times. Their vacations are planned out on the Internet and motel rooms booked well in advance of travel. And they have to be. The days of pitching a tent on the beach with no rules and regulations are long gone, and while their memories will be different, I’m sure they’ll be just as meaningful to them.

But I think mine of a simpler time are just a little bit better.

_*_*_*_*_


You didn’t really think you’d get away without one more brief book promo, did you?

N is also for the NETTING NEPTUNE, book one of the Southern Cross series. For more information please visit my website at http://www.kckendricks.com/NettingNeptune.html



KC Kendricks

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Magnolia in the A -Z Blogging Challenge

April 15, 2014

2014 A to Z Blog Challenge
Day 13
A Rural Life

M is for Magnolia

We’ve made it to week #3 and the halfway mark of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. This is the fourth year I’ve participated in the challenge and this year I’m focusing on A Rural Life. 
Thanks for coming along for the ride in the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

_*_*_*_*_*_

The word magnolia conjures up images of the Deep South. One can easily imagine stately old homes with huge magnolias blooming at the far end of the garden. Nothing says “southern” the way magnolias do.

We had a magnolia tree in the yard where I grew up. The story goes while visiting the southern branch of the family, my grandparents stopped along a country road in Georgia and dug it up. Family in Georgia vowed and declared it wouldn’t grow in the cold winters of western Maryland, but it did. It grew to a majestic seventy feet tall. (Us kids stopping jumping over it and getting our butts smacked when it reached about two feet.)

When I built my house I tried and tried and tried to get a seed from that tree to sprout and grow. Every attempt failed. A dear friend offered to buy me a potted sapling but I explained it wouldn’t be the same.

As with all things, the magnolia died. The strange thing is my grandfather died in March and by July of that same year, without warning, the magnolia died, too. It sort of makes my wonder what magic elixir he used on it to keep it healthy.

I was looking through my photo files and stumbled across a picture of a magnolia bloom. It makes me think history should repeat itself the next time we make a trip to Georgia. I’ll toss a shovel in the trunk, just in case, and see if my stepson can find an empty country road with a very young magnolia tree.

 _*_*_*_*_


 You didn’t really think you’d get away without one more brief book promo, did you?

M is also for the MEN OF MARIONVILLE  series. For more information please visit my website at http://www.kckendricks.com/MarionvilleSeries.html

KC Kendricks

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Life! (2014 A -Z Blogging Challenge)

April 14, 2014

 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 12 

L is for Life!



We’ve made it to week #3 of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge and tomorrow marks the halfway point. This is the fourth year I’ve participated in the challenge and this year I’m focusing on A Rural Life. It’s my life and it’s a darn good one! . 

Will I do a little promo along the way? Sure! Writing is a big part of who I am. I can’t blog if I cut out part of my life, now can I?

_*_*_*_*_




How did we get here? Did the building blocks for life come here from another world? Did we spring into being on the sixth day? Did we evolve? All of the above?

I suspect it’s all of the above. On the risk of upsetting folks on both the right and left of the political spectrum, I think a powerful hand brought all these things together to create life, using what was necessary to create order in a natural realm. It’s easy to imagine this great being looking over the recipe for life and saying, “Okay. I need some comet dust here….and now some protozoa right there….”

Life is a glorious mystery no matter what you believe as an origin story. Or even if your personal philosophy doesn’t include the myths of origin. Life is still a wondrous event to celebrate. 

Here on this wooded hillside it’s easy to see the order in life. Every spring the tips of the maple trees turn red until the entire forest appears to blush. Then the leaves sprout and a wave of green sweeps up the side of the mountain. The color darkens and holds steadfast until late September. Then in ones and twos, the leaves along the high ridges change until autumn claims the mountain in a march of red, yellow and orange soldiers leaving a trail of brown and gray behind until spring once again seizes power. It's amazing to me how nature is every-changing and yet so constant

I think we humans need nature's gentle anchor in our lives, ones that can let us move a bit to avoid harm but not get blown too far off course. I like to celebrate life in my stories, not politics that restrain us or doctrines that cause us distress.

We’re all here in this place and in this time - together. Let’s enjoy our lives and the lives of others. We’re all valuable and we all value our lives. If we truly love one another as we love ourselves, the world will be a finer place.

==================

You didn’t really think you’d get away without a
brief book promo, did you?

L is for LEATHER JACKETS, book six of the Men of Marionville series. For more information please visit my website at kckendricks.com .


KC Kendricks
Website: http://www.kckendricks.com

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Moon Dances - new in the Sundown saga

April 13, 2014


Moon Dances - Book IV in the Sundown saga now available. 



When a pragmatic cop and an alien shapeshifter go on a vacation, rest and relaxation take on a new meaning. 


For Lieutenant Fallon Roxbury, Special Police Consultant, reality has taken on a strange shift. Shapeshifters exist and a clan of them live under his protection. One is his lover, Sundown. Protecting the Chal is a full-time job, a task which would be easier if they weren’t so secretive - and scheming. When Fallon’s police force partner suggests a vacation, Fallon jumps at the chance to take Sundown someplace private. A resort near where he grew up seems like the prefect place for a get-away. Ten days filled with sex, sleep and sun is just what they both need, but more than fun lurks in the woods.

The ancient nemesis of the Chal is still out there and could one day return to earth to enslave both Chal and human alike. Secrets of the Chal past come to light when Fallon’s suppressed memories of his early years resurface. The shapeshifters have always had a plan defeat their enemy, one with Sundown at its core. 
*_*_*_*_*



Vacation. I wanted a quiet vacation. A private vacation. We were supposed to discuss how we wanted to spend our week off today, and one thing was non-negotiable – I wanted to be alone with Sundown. I’d already informed him “vacation” was a code word for copious amounts of both sex and sleep, and for that we needed privacy. Taking our time and lingering over breakfast was no longer an option. I had to do something - and fast!
It was time to run like hell before my much-needed vacation vanished like smoke. I threw the covers off and swung my feet out of the bed.
“Sundown, my love, it’s been grand, but I’m getting the fuck outta here.”
With the speed of a talented shapeshifter, Sundown suddenly stood before me, his expression halfway between panic and, well, panic.
“You’re not going anywhere without me, Special Consultant Lieutenant Fallon Roxbury. You will not leave me here alone! Not yet! Not until after the maturation!”
I stared up at him, an idea forming. His black brows drew together in a vee above his emerald green orbs before they shot upward. His strong fingers closed around my arms. Relief poured off him.
“You have a plan!”
I rolled my eyes at him. “Of course I have a plan. I’m a cop. I’m trained to examine all the evidence and choose the best option.”
“Which is…?”
I stood and rested my hands on his shoulders. “Run like the cowards we are. We’re going to get the fuck out of town for a few days starting now, while the caretakers deal with the nestling.”
Czun Dun Nhunfi, the pride of his Clan, went completely still and blinked twice. I knew that look too well. He was telepathic, and he’d just communicated with the Elders. His gaze refocused on mine.
“I will pack my things and stay at your apartment until we can leave.”
I burst out laughing. It was pitiful. One grown man and one grown shapeshifter fleeing a little glowball no bigger than a housecat. But as usual, Sundown had his own sense of logic, which he presented to me. 
“You won’t laugh if Ozli decides to look like you. Nor will you like it if the nestling sneaks into our bed while I have you on your back making you howl with pleasure. It could mimic your pose and the sound you make, you know.”
I sobered - fast. “Get your pants on. I’ll help you pack.”
“I thought you’d see it my way, Lieutenant.”

_*_*_*_*_

Moon Dances is available today at Amber Allure.

Moon Dances is the fourth book in the Sundown saga. For more about the complete series, please visit the author's website at http://www.kckendricks.com

The Sundown saga is THE BACK STAIRS, BENEATH DARK STARS, RIVER WALK and MOON DANCES.

KC Kendricks
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Kentucky 98 Proof (and KC)

April 12, 2014

2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 11

K is for Kentucky 98 Proof
  
Welcome to Between the Keys! Today’s blog is doing double duty. I’m participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge which happens in April, and I'm also taking part in the Seductive Studs & Sirens Blog Hop. Luckily, I have a book with a K title so it’s going to work out for me today. Next Saturday is another story. The A to Z will be on Q and that’s going to be problematic for both Seductive Studs & Sirens and My Sexy Saturday if the latter is back from hiatus. We’ll have to wait and see how creative I can be - or not.

For those of you unfamiliar with the A to Z Challenge, it’s twenty six blogs in twenty six days working the alphabet from A to Z. You post every day in April except for Sundays unless April 1 falls on a Sunday that year. It IS a challenge. Check out the survivor badges along the left side of the blog. They were EARNED, not just handed out.

For those of you unfamiliar with Seductive Studs & Sirens, every Saturday a group of writers post a short excerpt from a story for your enjoyment. The list of participants is below. It’s a great way to connect with other authors and find some great stories.

That’s it in a nutshell, so here is a short excerpt from Kentucky 98 Proof. Bragging a bit, this book was the #1 bestseller at Amber Allure in its debut month of August 2013 and a certified All Romance eBook bestseller in September 2013. Needless to say, I was thrilled!

Enjoy!
= = = = = =
Vic rolled his eyes and trudged into the bathroom. Boone followed, equally unwilling but probably for different reasons. He didn’t want to be in the small space with Vic. Their hips and shoulders would rub. He’d have to breathe in Vic’s scent. And worst of all he’d have to touch Vic and risk making a fool of himself. He took a deep breath and angled Vic’s chin up to the light and brushed the dark, damp hair off the man’s forehead.
 
He whistled softly as he gently ran his fingertips over the solid bump. “That’s going to be one fancy bruise.”

“I guess I’ll have to get a hat.”

Boone snorted as he tipped Vic’s chin to another angle. “Yeah. Call yourself Kentucky Jones. The skin doesn’t appear to be broken. Look me in the eye.”

“What?”

Boone tapped Vic’s chin and released him. “You’re pupils aren’t dilated. Got any double vision?”

Vic took a deep breath and turned to face him. His hands went to Boone’s hips. “I’ve got visions, but they’re not double unless you want to count the only men in them are you and me.”

= = = = =

For more about Kentucky 98 Proof and for buy links, please visit my website at http://kckendricks.com/Kentucky98Proof.html 

Thanks for stopping by the blog today as part of Seductive Studs & Sirens and as part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Have a great day!


KC Kendricks

Friday, April 11, 2014

J is (not only) for Jingle Bells - 2014 A-Z Blogging Challenge

April 11, 2014

2014 A to Z Blog Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 10

J is (not only) for Jingle Bells….

We’re almost through the second week of the challenge, and so far I’m right on track. This is the fourth year I’ve participated in the challenge, and this year is all about My Rural Life and the forces that come together to make my unique world. 


_*_*_*_*_*_
The title of today’s blog might make you think I’m “pine-ing” for Christmas. While it’s an idea for a blogging theme, I’m not ready to embrace Christmas 2014 just yet. Let’s enjoy summer and fall first, okay?

When I built my house, so long ago in the way-back time, it happened that I moved into my new home in November. And as is often done, family members came by to see the “new digs” and nose around. My father’s sister arrived with a housewarming gift - Christmas bells she’d made.

Now, this was a big deal. My aunt didn’t normally do any sort of needlework but she’d made me this adornment for my new home. I was beyond appreciative. She instructed me to hang the bells on my front door, which I did until she left. Then I hung them inside of the house, on the coat closet door where they’ve been every Christmas season since. You see, my front door is due south and the winter sun would have destroyed the fabric in a few short seasons. I did not want that to happen.

In the course of time, all the cousins got the same bells when they moved into their own homes.  Of the five sets of bells my aunt crafted, only mine have survived. (Please don’t display fabric heirlooms in the sun!) My aunt is gone now and last Christmas I gave serious consideration to giving my bells to her son, but I didn’t.

It may be selfish of me but I want to touch the fabric she touched every year when I hang them and remember a lovely lady who graced my life and who was called away from us far too soon.

J is not only for Jingle Bells, it’s also for Aunt Jane.

_*_*_*_*_

You didn’t really think you’d get away without one more brief book promo, did you?

J is also for JONAS CHADWICK of Passion’s Victory, 
a 2008 CAPA nominee. 

For more information please visit the
Passion's Victory page at my website. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I is for Ice World - A to Z Blogging Challenge 2014

April 10, 2014

2014 A to Z Blog Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 9

I is for Ice World

Thanks for joining in for the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge.  We’re well into the second week of the challenge, and so far I’m right on track and meeting my schedule.   


Today is all about the picture I want to share with you. Several years ago we had freezing rain overnight and it coated the trees. The next day, the sun and ice created a frigid ice world full of sparkling diamond-like jewels. I lamented the fact I had to go to work and wouldn’t be able to enjoy the beauty, but the temperature stayed below freezing all day and I was able to get pictures in the afternoon after four o’clock. Mother Nature is truly talented and even this lovely picture captures only a portion of the beauty of that day.

_*_*_*_*_
You didn’t really think you’d get away without one more brief book promo, did you?

I is also for IAN COULTER of Double Deuce and Deuce of Diamonds. 
For more information please visit my website at 
http://www.kckendricks.com/DoubleDeuce.html


KC Kendricks

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for Honeybees (and a master beekeeper)

April 9, 2014

2014 A to Z Blog Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 8

H is for Honeybees

We’ve reached the second week of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge! This is the fourth year I’ve participated in the challenge, and this year, 2014, is all about My Rural Life. It’s sort of like middle America meets urban sprawl meets Walton’s Mountain. It’s my life and the forces that come together to make my unique world. 

So thanks for coming along for the ride in the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge.

_*_*_*_*_*_

I promised a long time ago I'd tell you about my grandfather's beekeeping. Today's the day to deliver on that promise. 

One of my earliest memories is helping my grandfather make frames for honeycomb. Not many people around here kept bees, but Pop was known for his honey. And like everything else, if Pop was doing it, I could be found lurking at his shoulder, learning. (I must have been a real nuisance to my dad and granddad, always following them and asking bzillions of questions.)

Keeping bees is easier than you might think. The bees do all the heavy lifting and you just help them along. The older folks in the community would call my grandfather with a report of a swarm and Pop would hitch the wagon to his tractor, load an empty hive he kept at the ready, and off he’d go to see if he could capture the queen. If I got away before my mother realized what was happening, I’d tag along. Pop and I got away with all sorts of things as long as my parents didn’t catch us. My parents didn’t think BEES were an appropriate hobby for me to adopt. (They didn’t like tadpoles and crayfish, either.) All in all they were correct, but when I officially retire, I might see if I can find and capture a swarm to keep a hive.

The pictures tell the story. I think I was in my twenties when I took them. Pop spotted a swarm along the back stone fence on what had just become my property, a gift from my grandparents. My grandmother called and said he was working a swarm so I grabbed my camera and went to watch.

He spread a piece of plastic and set the new hive on it. For some reason, Pop only ever used aged scrap wood for the hives. I suppose anything harmful in the wood and/or paint had aged out and no longer posed a threat to the bees. Anyway, once the hive was in place, Pop would cut the branch the swarm was hanging on, carry it to the hive and careful lay it on the plastic sheet. The bees would spread out and he could spot the new queen and get her inside the hive. Then all the worker bees followed her in and Pop would temporarily block the hive entrance to trap them so he could transport it to its place in the row. Bee charming is an art and he rarely got stung.

Honeybees - all our pollinators - are threatened these days, and it IS a serious matter. I’m grateful that scientists and biologists take the problem seriously and are working on solutions. The world is not going to be a nice place if we lose the pollinators. Less fruit. Fewer veggies. Fewer flowers. Fewer trees. We need the honeybee. Even if you’re a city dweller, plant a flower on your balcony and feed a bee. You might be helping to save more than one tiny life.

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You didn’t really think you’d get away without a 
brief book promo, did you?

H is also for HIGHWAY NIGHTS. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Ghost Deer in the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge

April 8, 2014

2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge
A Rural Life
Day 7

G is for Ghost Deer

Welcome to the second week of the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge! Thanks for stepping into my world Between the Keys.

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About seventeen years ago we began to hear rumors of white deer on the mountain. There was some discussion as we considered the source of this rumor, but we couldn’t discount the possibility. Albino deer are not an extreme rarity although my at the time eighty-eight-year-old grandfather, who'd lived here all his life, had never heard or seen any in our area. We were naturally curious and so kept our “eyes peeled.”

The story was eventually given credence when a local park ranger snagged a picture of a white fawn. My grandfather and I were ready to hike out at night and conduct a stakeout where we knew the deer came to the creek to drink. We had to get a look at this bambi. Unfortunately Pop mentioned our plan to the wrong family member (that being my mother, his daughter) and we were promptly grounded after dark. We didn’t give up hope, though. It took another two years for our patience to be rewarded.

The dog woke me one night with what I immediately recognized as his “critter” bark. I would have rolled over and gone back to sleep but it was autumn and I’d left the bedroom window open. It was cold. Half asleep, I staggered to the window, noted in some foggy part of my brain there were ghost deer in my front yard, closed the window and went back to bed.

Yep. You got it.

I woke up in the morning and realized what had happened. I used every foul word in my vocabulary and friends, I have an extensive vocabulary. There had been two white “ghost” deer in my front yard, two beautiful ethereal wraiths, and I had just gone back to sleep. Someone smack me, please

I couldn’t tell my grandfather. He’d stay up for a week sitting at his kitchen window watching into the night if I told him. I needed something else to happen, and it did. The next week as my partner and I were driving home from bowling, we were given a gift. Standing under the dusk to dawn light at the neighbor’s barn was a white doe with a late season fawn at her feet. We bolted to my grandfather’s door, hopped back in the car and let it drift down the hill. She was still there.

The three of us sat there in silence watching her for the longest time. She was worried about us, stomping her hooves and shaking her head and tail, but her baby refused to get up and run away and she refused to abandon it. Finally we decided to start the engine and leave her to the night. That did it. The fawn jumped up and ran into the darkness and mama followed. That was the only time my grandfather got to see the ghost deer. I was more fortunate as my picture attests. The ghost deer took up residence in the woods behind my house and frequently grazed in my back yard. There were four ghost deer living one year. I believe they were all doe because I never saw a rack on any of them. We know the last white fawn died young. Pop was out walking one day and found its body near the creek. 

The ghost deer have vanished from here again but maybe some day the gene will resurface and my woods will again be home to the white deer. I do hope so because I’d love for the new generation to see them, but I realize they may not even care. I already see the signs they won’t have the deep roots to this place my cousins and I do.

That will be as is. For myself, I feel the universe had given me a scared trust. I will ever be grateful for those few years the ghost deer lived in my woods.

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You didn’t really think you’d get away without one more
brief book promo, did you?

G is also for GIVE ME ONE NIGHT. For more information
please visit my website at 
www.kckendricks.com/GiveMeOneNight.html