Pure Imagination

monsters-dmmCopywright – Douglas M MacIlroy

For Friday Fictioneers this week I offer you in just over 100 words my flash fiction entry:

Pure Imagination

Nap time, Bethany.

Sea Urchins don’t take naps.

I see.

The sea urchins giggled uproariously as she walked away.

Suddenly from the hallway a deep-sea diver appeared with something in her hand.

“What’s that?” the urchins cried in unison.

It’s sea urchin food.

“No it’s not!” the littlest urchin quipped. “Sea Urchins like cookies!”

“Well”, said the diver, “I happen to know that urchins eat whatever they find as they creep along the ocean floor.  Seaweed, dead things…”

“EEW GROSS!” yelled littlest in disbelief.

The deep-sea diver offered to make cookies for after nap.

Suddenly the reef was barren.


Michael Feinstein: “Pure Imagination”


This post is to honor the seven innocents in Utah whose mother lacked the skill to care for her children.  

RIP little ones.


Thank you Rachel of Addicted to Purple for the opportunity, and pleasure of writing on this great prompt for Friday Fictioneers.

Want to read what others saw in this prompt?  Then please go HERE

Photo Friday: a hint or two of spring

Last Sunday on the Mountain Farmlet


Well, I had intended for this post to go out on Monday, and for it to be a bit more polished, but there never seemed to be an opportune moment to get it done.  Then on Tuesday I had my knee surgery, and you can guess the rest!  I am just this evening able to sit comfortably at my computer.

I have more pictures now that the look and feel of spring have officially arrived, and I will post them later, but I wanted to share with you that I am OK, and now on the road to recovery!

I’m so glad I didn’t wait any longer to schedule or I might have been waiting til mid summer for the surgery.  :oops:

Hello Spring… where did you go?

Today is March 25, 2014, it is 2:26 PM,

and it is



The wind came up,

the clouds blew in,

the sun went into hiding

and now…




Same view ten minutes later…



What is your weather doing?

Pictures, news, and more

First the pictures!

I have been working on a project and forgot to ask if it was OK to share it here, but I will tell you this much…

I have been given the rare honor to repair some vintage quilts for a dear friend.  I am applying bindings to both, and replacing some lost stitching and a couple of disintegrated patches on the other!

This one is a basket design, but I haven’t located its name yet!

Basket-quiltThis one needs binding only and will be finished quickly.


A simple Dresden design called Sunflower is below.

Sunflower-patchHowever, this one, in addition to binding needs more extensive work


Such trust in my nouveau abilities has inspired me to work on a project I had long wanted to do, but did not have faith in my abilities to accomplish!  Needless to say, the fabric has been flying fast and furious here in my studio.


And here it is, my log cabin blocks to be made into a table mat.  This will need quilting and binding and will be for sale on my Etsy site.


And now the news…

The Little Dog is out of his trusses and Lederhosen!  His bite is healed and now the fur needs to grow back in.

Free-at-last!We are  ALL  very happy about that!

And me?  Well, I had my MRI on my knee on Wednesday.  Today the Doctor mentioned a torn meniscus, a cyst, and surgery.  I think I will be putting this off for a few weeks so I can make preparations here.  I will be packing, sorting and prepping for another yard sale, the grand opening of my Etsy shop (yes, really this time) and… reducing my livestock.  Which, by the way, does not include my GEESE!

These were all practical considerations in our preparation to *move, I am just deciding to take care of them NOW instead of later.  It will make my life and healing more copacetic and also mean that I won’t have to pile one more thing onto Bob’s already busy daily routine.


*Move?  Did I actually mention moving?  Well, yes I did…  but it will still be a while.  You think the summer’s end is a good goal to shoot for?  Yes?

Well, so do we, but we’ll see about that!

The Little Dog is mending nicely!

I have been rather invisible since I last told you about little Tucker.  However, I have good news!  He is nearly mended!  His wound has was scabbed and down to the size of a pea last night.  This morning he got to it and the scab is missing…

I’m telling you that little dog has OCLD!

That would be obsessive compulsive licking disorderHe simply doesn’t seem able to stop.  (sigh)

What I couldn’t imagine was…  How he could get to it at all!

He was outfitted in a cervical collar and a cone device.  We started with the collar, and then tried the cone, and finally ended up putting on both.  This worked for a bout a week, and then he found out how to get at it again!

Then I saw this:  doggie Lederhosen!

lederhosen dogPlease click the doggie to be magically transported to the original photo at www.blogs.browardpalmbeach.com

And,  Ta-DA…


Doggie Lederhosen were imagined for the little pup!

They were easily fashioned using my scissors and man-sized, white tube socks!  Although, I will admit that it took several iterations and alterations to arrive at the two sock model shown here…

Now that he is well armored he’s miserable, as am I,  but at least he is almost all healed,  and I’m grateful for that!

Even if he is not.


The ups and downs of being the Little Dog

This post comes with a warning.

You may need these…

Box of Tissues

Lately, I have hesitated to talk about our little dog Tucker, simply because he is going through so much hell.  Sorry to speak so strongly, but there just isn’t any other way to tell it.

First it was the Cushing’s Disease diagnosis.  We got that under control with the Vetoryl.

Then it was the diabetes diagnosis.  We got that under control too!  It took a lot of fine tuning, but he is now doing well on that front.

Then came the cataracts.  I was devastated to know that on the heals of his feeling well enough to play ball, he would soon be unable to see the ball.  What I didn’t know was, that the cataracts would blind him in only two months.  That was simply a cruel thing to watch.    Cataract surgery can be performed on dogs, but costs $3,000.00.  We can’t afford it.

Amazingly, he is a quick learner!   He has fully adjusted to not being able to see, and now rarely runs into anything.  We give auditory helps by tapping the floor, snapping our fingers, or in cases of immanent danger, we resort to just shouting “STOP TUCKER!”  Climbing the stairs is now pretty much a simple thing because we tell him, “Step, step, step”, for each step in his path.  He has gotten so good at this routine, that I can now let him into the back yard off leash to do his business, with supervision of course!  Recently I was shocked to see him find his way back to the stairs and then climb to the top without my auditory prompts!

Getting to this point has not been without its pitfalls.

Not long after his blindness I was in the kitchen doing dishes and suddenly heard a crashing and skittering of toenails to the right of me.  I looked down and there was Tucker in the dishwasher!  Stunned, my first impulse was to yell,


He turned his ghost eyes in my direction and I was instantly filled with remorse.  He was terrified and certainly hadn’t a clue as to where he was or how he had gotten there.  Speaking in a gentler tone I carefully scooped him up into my arms.  I told him I was sorry, and although he didn’t understand me, he calmed down and quit shaking.  I am now more aware of the dishwasher’s door, and his proximity when I am working.

Last Friday we went to the Mountain Farmlet and we took him walking because he still enjoys it. Leading the way,  with nose to the ground, he walks in a wide sweeping track at the end of his leash.  Sometimes he stops and puts his nose in the air and will follow a scent that is only known to him.  Obviously, it isn’t the same for him or us, but he loves it and trusts us to look out for him.

On the way home we made our usual pit stop for the pups, and because I am not so quick on the uptake, I had forgotten to warn him about the curb I’d just stepped onto.  The little dog crashed.  (How to feel like a heel in 5 seconds or less.  Very humbling.)

The next day I saw Tucker licking his haunch and I took a close look to see what was bothering him.  He appeared to have a darkish bruise and the hair was gone.  I thought it was a from his curb casualty, and therefore wasn’t really worried.  The next morning I was startled to see that he had licked the first layer of skin off and that it was swollen and whitish looking.

Stunned, I let out with an “OMG!”  and then showed it to Bob.  We dug out his surgery collar and put it on him.  Later in the day I looked and there was a quarter sized lesion forming.  Assuming it was because he could still lick the area, I then put a bit of Bactracin on a bandage to put over the raw looking sore.  Tucker kept tearing off the bandage, so Bob went on an excursion to Tractor Supply to get a cone to put on him.  Tucker could still get at that spot!  We then put the surgery collar back on, in addition the to the cone, and this seemed to keep him from getting at his sore spot.  It looked so uncomfortable.  

Over the next few days, what appeared to be a scab formed, and then yesterday it broke loose from the edges and revealed a huge pit.  I called the Vet first thing this morning and got him right in.  He looked at the sore, asked me a few questions, then told me it was a brown recluse bite!

There will be no pictures.  Trust me, when I tell you, you really don’t want to see it.  If you are dying of curiosity, then there are plenty of pictures to go around out there on the net.

Words the vet told me that I did not want to hear,

“It will be a long time healing and it may get uglier/larger than it already is.”

With each diagnosis over the past year, we seemed to be coping…  He puts up with his insulin injections morning and night, and will even come the chair when I say, “Time for your shot Tucker!”  I’m certain he does this only because he knows he will get a little treat.  HE seems to be coping.

But I am not.

His hair is falling out.  This, in combination with the recluse’s bite, has him looking like he’s wearing an old moth-eaten coat.   He now has a ghost-eyed stare because of his cataracts, puts up with all the pit-falls, and yet, he still wags his tail vigorously at the sound of our voices.  He’s such a little trooper!

But I am not.

He is still our little Tucker, jumping prancing, wagging his little stinger of a tail… Except now he’s disguised, in an awful franken-pup suit and,

it is breaking my heart.


This time last year…


before he got so sick.

UPDATE:  A heartfelt poem about the feelings you feel, when faced with the illness of your lovely pet, can be found here on the RUMPYDOG blogsitehttp://rumpydog.com/2014/02/20/poem-when-the-dog-is-unwell/

Thank you for the visit today Rumpydog.

Der Schlund des Grauens

A HoaryPhoto credit goes to *LB of Life on the Bike and other Fab Things


Der Schlund des Grauens

A short story by Lynda Swink and inspired by the photograph above.


There in the ground the hoary maw quietly waited.  For generations it had lain there,  watching through squinty eyes, waiting for a meal to pass by.  When the hapless little things scurried past, it scooped them in.  Beetles and spiders, voles and mice, even the toads and snakes were all good, but recently, it was the hairless pink things that he relished!

Growing in the ground offered Grauen Schlund comfort and protection on all sides.  Yet, the very thing that gave him his safety had more recently made him a victim of circumstance too.

His troubles began when the developers moved in and razed all the other trees.   Suddenly everything was open, and more light hurt his eyes, causing him to squint.  Then there was the appearance of the festering warts on the land.  Giant boxy things that reeked of false scents, and belched out strange noises night and day, but loudest during the day.  There was always something going on inside.  And with them  came the mono grasses, and the grass eaters.   The grass eaters came once a week to denude the small meadow that surrounded him, and unable to pull himself under the ground meant that he got nipped too.  Painful it was.


The Martins had finally moved into their newly constructed home, and they just loved the big back yard.  Soon, they’d planted a huge and sweeping lawn that ran all the way back to an old and gnarled pepper tree.  They considered the tree to be the best feature of the property, and had picked this corner lot specifically because of it.

When the style of their home had been decided, and all the particular finishes planned, the developers had told the young couple they would be bulldozing the tree the following week, and could begin the construction straight away.  Alarmed at that thought, the Martins insisted the tree had to stay!  The developers argued that it would have to be removed. Their reasoning being, that would be difficult to work around and would increase construction time and expense.  To which the young couple replied, that the extra time and expense would be acceptable if it saved the tree.

After all, they told them, they had met as children under just such a tree, and they had future plans for it that included children, and the building of a new tree house just for them.  It would be a safe place where they could play in its shade and make memories to last a lifetime; and couldn’t they see the romance in such a decision?

The developers acquiesced and the tree stayed put.


Now the Grauen Schlund had no notion of how it’s life had been spared, nor did it realize that it was part of the  greater structure that gave it shade from the parching sun in summer.  It just was.  It existed. It ate. It reacted.  Of course when the major changes came about, such as the loss of the wild meadow and the other trees, well, that wasn’t hard to miss even for his dull senses.  Very recently there had been more disturbances, they were much closer,  that in fact, were happening right above him.  Uncomfortable it made him.


As planned, the first of the children the Martens had wanted arrived.  And at the appropriate time, the tree house was planned.  The style and construction of the tree house were supplied from memory.  It was being built to last, but more importantly, it was constructed to be safe.

Which was why it was quite disconcerting over the years, that each of the children in turn had come in with stubbed toes and crying about the nasty thing that lived in the ground underneath the tree.  The stories were quite detailed, and astonishing in the fact that each of their three children told the same wild tale:

“There was a monster that lived under the tree out back. It had sharp teeth and squinty eyes, and if you accidentally stepped on it, then it bit your big toe causing you to trip and fall!”


Sometime after the disturbance above him, Grauen Schlund began to notice the new, soft pink things that liked to scurry by him there in the shade.  They were hairless, stubby and thick, with five little nubs on the forward end.  His interest was piqued.  Watching for days he waited for one of the hairless creatures to come close enough for a nibble, and then it happened.  Biting down on the largest of the forward protrusions, he found them soft, juicy and quite delicious!  He was hooked.

Immediately after his sampling there was an earthquake, and a loud caterwauling in the air above him.  It seemed he hadn’t realized that the soft hairless creatures were in fact a smaller portion of something much larger!  This was a disturbing thought.

Suddenly, a round, red, and equally hairless creature appeared before his gaze.  It’s orbs were huge and had moisture running out of them, and the big shock was that the deafening sound was coming out of a large hole in the middle of it.  He froze in place, afraid to move for fear the angry behemoth would eat him, but it didn’t.  Oddly, it got up and ran away.  Relieved he was.


Each time one of her children had suffered a stubbed toe mother cleaned and bandaged the offended appendage.  Then, while comforting them and wiping their faces with a cool wash cloth,   she rocked them in her lap till the crying subsided.

And each and every time, the parents tried to talk sense to the children, telling them there was no such thing as monsters.  They advised them to wear shoes when they played out back under the tree, and to be more careful around the old tree root.

After all, you know it is there and can simply avoid it, can’t you?


As time passed Grauen Schlund would begin to realize that the behemoths came from the inside of the festering warts.  The behemoths came in varying sizes, but it was the smaller ones that had the hairless and soft appendages he had come to love.  Apparently, as they grew their appendages calloused over and became too big to get a hold of.  Whenever he could nab one he found them dry and tasteless.


Standing at the kitchen sink father witnessed the littlest of his three children take a hard fall under the tree.  She had been running when it seemed her foot had suddenly stuck in place and she fell hard into the grass.  Seeing that she didn’t get right up, he began running out the door in fear that she had broken something.  When he tried to help her up he found her foot stuck in the hole of the old root.  Carefully he grabbed her ankle and tried to gently pull.  She was stuck firmly.  He tried turning her foot sideways and pulling, but he still could not get her foot loose.

Now he was panicking!  He began calling for the wife and barked orders for her to bring out a stick of butter.

She came out,  looked at him and blinked. “Did you say butter?”

He screamed:  “Get that stick of butter now!”

Running back to the kitchen she returned with the butter.  He snatched it away from her and  began vigorously rubbing it onto the little girl’s foot.  The more he worked the more she screamed, “It’s biting me, it’s biting me!”

That’s when he thought he saw it.  It was the smallest of movements at the corner of its eye.

Eye?  Com’on now don’t you start panicking too, he told himself.  Tree roots don’t have eyes… but this one does, he thought.  Now he watched in horror as the huge hole seemed to shrink, just a little, not enough to even notice if you weren’t looking closely.

Terrified, he pulled again, and the mouth tightened just a bit more.  His anger sparked, primal and white-hot.  He glared into the eyes of the root and began a litany of curses that the wife nor the children had ever heard before, and certainly not from their father!

At first he threatened, and then he cajoled the root, but nothing worked.  In desperation he made a final threat,

“If you don’t let her go I will get out the chainsaw, cut you right out of the ground, and you will die!”

Now  the Grauen Schlund was a very primal thing.  It didn’t understand a word the father said, it simply understood that a rather large and wild creature was attempting to take away its dinner.  Give up the catch?  Certainly not!

Angrily, Grauen Schlund, responded by clamping down a bit harder.  It was only when the wife returned carrying a noisy, smoking thing, with spinning teeth that ripped and tore as it bit him, that he hissed and let go.

In the same moment the father gave a final yank and extracted the daughter’s foot.   The little girl’s mother turned off the chainsaw, dropped it, and scooping up her child she ran for the house.

The father got up, walked to the garage, and came out  with a wheelbarrow and a bag of cement.  Pouring the entire bag into the bottom, he calmly added water to its contents.  Once  it was the right consistency, he grabbed onto the handles and carefully rolled the mixture over to the tree.

Methodically, he began pouring and stuffing the wet mixture deep down into the hole.  He  was nearly done, when he saw the eyes open wide and imagined he heard a rasping cough. Creepy, he thought, as he smoothed over the surface of his work.

A very special thank you to LB for the use of her photograph, and for reading my first draft. 
TRANSLATION:  Die Grauen Schlund  = The Gray Throat (German)
UPDATE 2/18/14:  Now this is very interesting.  I went back to Google Translate this morning, because I wanted to hear the name of my beast in the German pronunciation, and here is a surprise:
If you leave off the die, then Grauen Schlund becomes Horror Throat.   Which is a more accurate name for the title and character (this assumes that the translator is accurate).
3/11/14  This morning I was aided by Zyriacus to a truer translation of my title:  Der Schlund des Grauens.   When translated to English it then becomes  The Maw (mouth) of Horror  which is very much what I wanted in the first place.  Thank you Zyriacus for your help.