Sunday, September 25, 2016

Family Horse

Every child needs to have at least one great horse in their life! Our family has had a number of great horses and ponies over the years.

We have two wonderful horses at the time, Karma and Coke. They are getting older and at the point where they are perfect for children to be around. It's too hard to imagine what life would be like without them.
As you can see, they are very much loved! Our grandchildren love to come out to the farm whenever they get a chance. If Grandpa is still delivering mail they start asking Grandma, "When will Grandpa get home... we want to see the horses!"

Karm and Coke know what is coming when the children come into the barn. Our grandchildren love to pour oats into the feed bunk and then give them handfuls of hay. They love to brush the horses and sit on their backs. Our oldest granddaughter tries to braid their manes.
 We had Isaac over by himself one afternoon and he climbed onto the wagon seat and said, "I wanna go for a ride!" He knew what he wanted and didn't give up until Grandpa hitched up the team.

My wife and I had our four oldest grandchildren over for a field day before school started back up.

Shari (my wife) asked if we could take the children on a wagon ride. I had the wild idea that maybe we should have a picnic lunch with the horses first.

Karm and Coke ate hay while the children had a sack lunch. I harnessed up the team right after taking this photo.

 We stopped under our big shade tree after every round we made.

While the horses rested in the shade our grandchildren traded places. Each of the four got a chance to take a round riding up front with grandpa on the wagon seat.
Little Leo Thomas was too small to go along, so grandpa made sure to give him an opportunity to play with a toy horse. His day is coming!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Your Opinion Matters

Your opinion is very important and interesting to hundreds of people! Let me, as an author, share a few words about how to post a review.

I will try to keep this as simple as I can
     to help you become a better book fan.

"I know some new tricks,"
Said the Cat in the Hat.
"A lot of good tricks.
I will show them to you.
Your mother
Will not mind at all if I do."
              -Dr. Suess

Open with a short description of the book. (Do Not give away the ending of the story!) Authors spend hours and maybe even years piecing together a story "like a quilt." The ending is meant to be a wonderful surprise, or a lesson. If you give away the ending you spoil the fun for everyone else.

You may write something like this: The Cat in the Hat is the story of two tweens (a youngster considered to be too old to be a child and too young to be a teenager) who are home alone for a few hours. These tweens hear a bump that makes them jump, and discover that they have a very interesting house guest. This is a really fun children's story about a wild adventure that took place on an otherwise boring afternoon.

 Don't just say, "I loved it!" or "I hated it!" Although that may be your opinion, and 2, 4, or 5 stars may communicate something, it's really not much help. We may have the same interests or we may have nothing in common. If you loved or hated the book may have nothing to do with how I will feel.

Tell me why, or what you loved or hated.

For example: I loved Cat in the Hat because it was a simple, imaginary story that my children enjoyed listening to, and I had fun reading the silly rhymes.

Another person may say: I thought I was buying a novel and was disappointed that it was a short children's book. I've never been a fan of poetry and I don't have any children. You may like this book if you like sing-songy poems and funny cartoon pictures.

These examples above are quite opposite from each other, however, they both told us why they felt the way they did about the book. Now, I can use their opinions to help make a choice about whether the book is right for me, or not.

 Find a way to give your opinions in a kind, constructive manner. Some people think that they make themselves look intelligent when they bash the weaknesses of another. Instead, they only make themselves look harsh and cruel.

Please do share your feelings on Good Reads, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. We are all very interested in hearing your honest opinion as we attempt to decide whether to buy a book or not. Try to write it in the same way you would describe the book to your mother.

So, what would you tell your mother, or your friend,
if they asked about a book you were reading, without telling the end.

"And Sally and I did not know
What to say.
Should we tell her
The things that went on there that day?
Should we tell her about it?
Now, what should we do
Well ...
What would you do
If your mother asked you?"
             -Dr. Suess-
Here is a link to some reviews on Amazon: Catbird Singing Reviews

Check out what others wrote as a review and see what you think.
If you have read any of my books, please post a helpful review and a link!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Amish Gathering

Amish folks gather together often. If you live anywhere near an Amish community, these sights will be familiar.

Every Sunday morning multiple thousands of horses clip clop down roads around the countryside heading to Amish or Old Order Mennonite church.

That is not the only time they can be seen gathering...

For the most part, Amish people are very social. They gather for birthdays, holidays, school functions, reunions, weddings, and funerals. Funerals are huge! If you are Amish and you knew the person who died, you will most certainly make every effort to be at that funeral. Amish folks hire non-Amish drivers to transport them across the country to the funeral of a friend or relative, or for a family reunion, or a wedding.

Amish teens and young singles gather often for Singings, volleyball and other social events.
If you live close enough to the gathering, you will walk. That is much easier than hitching up a horse and it is pleasant as well. These gatherings all include food! After someone comes for a visit from miles away, in a horse-drawn vehicle, you wouldn't think of sending them away without having something to eat. 

Even the horses are often given some hay to much on while the people visit. (as pictured above)

Amish families often gather for work projects. They gather to help each other build barns and other huge tasks, but they also gather and work together on small jobs. Extended families often join forces on a butchering day. They help each other can food, make applesauce, apple-butter, cider and once it is all made, they gather just for the fun of it and share what they made together.
Most of the Amish I've had the pleasure to know cherish their friends and find a way to meet up for a visit. I will say, if you stop by the home of an Amish friend you'd better not be in a hurry to get somewhere, because most of them love to have a long conversation.