Caleb’s Story (continued)

Man-size vampire bat

Chapter 2 Episode 3

     Owen, Floren, Misa, and Calebth stood at the mouth of the cave, staring down at the baby dragon. What were they going to do? None of them knew the first thing about how to take care of him. What did he eat? What did he drink?

     Floren scratched behind his ear. “Can’t he fend for himself? He is a dragon, after all.”

     “Mowg’s only a baby. He’d starve.” Tears welled up in Calebth’s eyes, and he swallowed hard, hoping no one noticed. “Either that or those wretched goblins will come back for him.”

     “The boy is right,” said Misa. “I overheard one of those idiots say something about Morogon wanting them to bring Mowg back to him. They may have run off, but they haven’t given up. They’re not about to go back to the mage empty-handed.”

     Calebth’s heart lifted. He knew his opinion didn’t carry any weight, but maybe Misa could have some influence on the other two.

     Floren growled. “I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to play nursemaid to a baby dragon, orphan or not.”

     She gave him an indignant sniff. “First you want to eat the poor thing, and then you suggest leaving him to Morogon’s mercy. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

     “I don’t see you volunteering to take care of him.”

     Calebth swiveled his head back and forth between the two, listening to them swap insults. He was about to step between them and offer to take care of Mowg himself when Owen spoke up. “We’ll take him to Dragon Island.”   

    “Only one problem with that,” Misa said. “We need to hire a boat to take us there. How are we going to do that? We have no money.”

     Floren grinned. “I have an idea.” He pointed north. “See that mountain ridge over yonder?”

     “What about it?”

     “It’s the Mountain of Mines. I used to work there. It’s been abandoned for a long time, but I’m sure there’s more than enough gold left to get us passage on a small boat on its way to the island.”

     “B-but isn’t that place haunted?” Calebth can hardly get the words to come out of his mouth. “That’s what the old dwarves who used to work there always say, anyway.”

      Floren glared at him. “Have you got any better ideas?”

     Nobody did, so the travelers headed toward the mines. They rode the rest of the day and part of the night before they reached their destination. Everyone wanted to stop and make camp. Continue in the morning, but Owen insisted they keep going. “We’re being followed.”

     Calebth rode behind jim, his arms around Mowg, who was sound asleep. He’d been fighting it himself for the last hour, but when he heard those words, his heart lurched, and his eyes snapped open.

     Floren sniffed the air. “I smell goblin.”

     Misa eyed him. “The idiots from the cave, no doubt. I told you we hadn’t seen the last of them.

     “How much farther?” Owen asked.

     “We’re almost to the Tunnel of Darkness,” Floren said. “Don’t dismount. Ride inside, and I’ll stay behind to close the gate so they can’t follow.”

     They urged their tired mounts to move a little faster until they reached the entrance a short time later. It was pitch black inside. Mira struck a match and lit some torches she found left in a niche on the wall. Calebth felt a little better once he could see. Until he glimpsed the sign.

     Misa held her light up high and read aloud. “Beware.” Beneath that, there was a crude drawing of a skull and crossbones. “Man-sized vampire bats ahead. Proceed at your own risk.”

    She groaned.  “This wasn’t such a good idea, after all.”

    All out of breath, Floren trotted up to them. “Don’t be such a chicken.”

    “I’m not.” Misa rolled her eyes. “I just don’t want to die in this wretched cave.”

     Calebth swallowed hard. He didn’t either. And he fancied he heard the sound of wings flapping in the distance.

     Floren puffed out his chest. “If I have to die, at least I’ll be laid to rest in my home place with all my kin. My father, my grandfather, and his father before him.”

     As the noise grew closer, Owen drew his sword. “Enough talk.”


My grandma had a huge hydrangea bush on either side of the steps leading from her kitchen door. The one on the right had pink blooms and the one on the left had blue.

She talked about putting rusty nails in the soil to change the color. I don’t know if it worked so I googled it to see if it was an old wives’ tale. This is what I found. Hydrangeas change color (except for the white ones) based on the pH level of their soil. The more alkaline the soil, the pinker the flowers. Acidic soil (lower pH) will yield blue flowers and alkaline (higher pH) will give you pink flowers.

My sisters and I loved them. We didn’t care which color. One bloom was big enough to use as a bouquet and play “Here comes the bride” on a warm June afternoon. Fond memories.

I’m happy to say mine are looking good this year.

Dinner and A Movie Monday – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

My sister and I had a movie night recently. We couldn’t find anything new we wanted to watch, so we rewatched a favorite we discovered a year ago. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a 2018 film based on the novel of the same name. Set in 1946, the plot follows a London-based writer who has the perfect life. She’s successful and has a rich and handsome American fiance.  She begins exchanging letters with Dawsey Addams, a resident of Guernsey Island.

She finds herself fascinated by Dawsey’s stories about how the people on the island survived German occupation during the war and decides to travel there, where she falls in love with the island, its inhabitants, and its story.

I loved it. It’s an old-fashioned tearjerker, nostalgic and romantic. The scenery will take your breath away and the music is lovely. If that’s what you’re in the mood for, it should fit the bill.

PS – If anything, I enjoyed the movie even more than the first time we watched it almost a year ago. Michael Huisman plays Dawsey, and I loved his performance. His face is an open book. And those beautiful brown eyes! I loved watching his character fall in love with Juliette. He couldn’t hide his feelings for her.


ROAST PORK (This was a favorite with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix together black pepper, garlic powder and salt. …
  3. Put the roast on a rack in a roasting pan. …
  4. Roast until internal temperature is between 145-160°F, 20-25 minutes per pound. …
  5. Cover roasting pan with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.

New Tenants

The last week or so I’ve noticed a bird hanging out on my back porch. Didn’t think anything about it, since I try to put out birdseed on a regular basis. Imagine my surprise when I discovered a nest in my asparagus fern! Pretty sure they’re mockingbirds.

Children Are Like Kites

Erma Bombeck was an American humorist who achieved great popularity for her newspaper column depicting home life from the mid-1960s until the late 1990s. She published 15 books, most of which were bestsellers and wrote over 4,000 newspaper columns, using broad and sometimes eloquent humor, chronicling the ordinary life of a midwestern suburban housewife. By the 1970s, her columns were read twice-weekly by 30 million readers of the 900 newspapers in the U.S. and Canada.

I loved her. She could reduce me to tears with her humor and pull my heartstrings at the same time. She understood what it meant to be a parent.

Caleb’s Story (continued)

Chapter 2 – Episode 2

 “Tomorrow, you will be given provisions. You and your brothers will leave at daybreak and travel to the hills above Raintown. My sources have brought me word there is a dragon sheltering in one of the caves there. She is guarding an egg that is about to hatch. Slay the mother and bring the offspring to me. Unharmed.”

     Ollie blinked with confusion. “But–whatever for? Baby dragons are helpless. And it won’t survive without its mother’s care.”     

     “And if by some miracle it did, it would be useless,” Lleroy added.

      Lleon nodded, his jowls shaking. “What he said. It would end up being far more trouble than it was worth.” 

      Morogon bellowed at them so loud the force almost parted the brother’s hair. “Are you questioning my orders, you insignificant creatures?”

     They huddled together, shaking so hard their swords rattled. Ollie cleared his throat. “No, my lord. Of course not. We will leave on the morrow.”

      Morogon the mage had big plans for the fledging. He wasn’t about to share his plans with these three nincompoops, but he’d recently discovered that if he could take possession of a dragon young enough, it could be trained to do his bidding. It would give him great power.

* * * *

      Even though skeptical, Ollie, Lleroy, and Lleon left the next day at first light, muttering all the way

     “I still don’t understand what Morogon wants with a helpless dragon.”

     “Makes no sense to me, either.”

      “Doesn’t matter what we think. We’ve got our orders.”

      And so they made the long trip over the mountains to Raintown, checking every nook and cranny. With no luck. They were about to give up hope when they came upon a small cave. Strange noises were coming from inside. 

     “What’s that noise?” Lleroy asked.

     Lleon shrugged, but Ollie cocked his head to one side. “Sounds like snoring.”  

     They climbed down off the goat they were riding, crept up to the entrance and peered inside. Sure enough, the mama dragon was inside, her dark blue and green scales barely visible in the dark cave. She slept with her wings curled around her egg, her claws extended, protecting it.

     They stood staring, their eyes as big as saucers. Lleroy gulped and whispered. “Sure is a big thing, ain’t she?”

     Ollie eyed him. “Well, what did you expect? She is a dragon.”

     Lleon hissed. “What’s the plan?”

     Ollie pinched his chin between his fingers and thought for a long time. “Here’s what we’re going to do. We’ll be real quiet and sneak inside without waking her up. That way we can steal the egg and get away before she knows what happened.”

     While the brothers were busy discussing their plans, Owen, Misa, Floren, and Calebth came up the trail. They’d been following the brothers’ tracks for miles. When Ollie, Lleon, and Lleroy went back inside, they hid beside the entrance, waited and watched.

     The egg was almost within reach. Things were going great until one of them stepped on the dragon’s tail. She blinked opened eyes that burned with light against her scales. The brothers froze in a pose.

     She let out an angry roar that started an avalanche. Scared out of their wits, the brothers came at her screaming like maniacs. When the dust settled, they discovered the rocks had fallen on her head, crushing her.

     Ollie elbowed Lleroy. “Go make sure she’s dead.”

     “Why me? What about you?”

     “Cause I said so.”

      Leon whined. “What makes you the boss?

     “I’m the oldest.”

     “That doesn’t mean you should be in charge.”

     “Okay. Then do it because I told you so.”

     While they were arguing, Owen, Misa, and Floren entered the cave with their weapons drawn and stared at them.

     “Do you hear the three of them?” Misa laughed, and Floren rolled his eyes. “You guys are morons.”

     “Drop your swords,” Owen demanded.

     “Says who?” demanded Ollie.  

      Floren snorted and pointed to Owen. “Don’t you recognize him?”

      “Wait a minute. I know who you are.” Lleon turned to his older brother. “Morogon never said anything about fighting a ranger, especially not the best in all the land.”

     “But what are we going to tell him when we come back without the dragon’s egg?”

     “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” They backed out of the cave, turned and ran.

      “Is this what they were talking about?” Caleb had followed them inside the cave. He held out a large egg shaped object with a jagged crack across it. When it began to glow, he fumbled and dropped it. A few minutes later, a baby dragon poked its head out of the shell, blinking up at Owen who had squatted down for a closer look.

     Misa shook her head. “What are we going to do him?”

     “Can’t we eat it?” Floren asks.

   “There you go again. Always thinking about your stomach.”

     The dwarf threw his arms up in the air. “It was just a thought.”

      “Honestly.” She turned to Owen. “Do something with him before I do.”

     “We’re not eating any baby dragon. That would make us no better than better than a mage.”

     “Poor thing.” Misa smiled down at the little creature. “He doesn’t even have a name.”

     “We can call him Mowg.” Calebth reached out and stroked the hatchling’s bright red, yellow, and blue head while he made a purring sound.

      Floren snorted. “That’s a dumb name.”

      “I think it’s cute,” she said. “And it fits.”

      Owen turned to them. “Cute names aside. What are we going to do with a helpless, baby dragon?”  

Grandma’s Berry Vines

They looked like blackberries to me, but Grandma always called them dewberries. I googled to see and while similar, blackberries are slightly sweeter and dewberries are larger and usually ripen sooner. She used them to make cobblers. They grew on the fence that separated her house from the neighbor’s place. In the summertime when we went to visit, my sisters and I spent a lot of time sampling the fruit and dodging the little old lady who lived next door. We’d hear the squeak of the screen door and she’d holler out “You kids, get out of them berries!!” Grandma always told us to pay her no mind. “There are plenty enough berries to go around.” All I know is, we spent week with berry juice stains on our fingers.

June Days are here!

After such a cool, wet spring in east Texas, it doesn’t feel like it should be summer already. And I never thought I’d say this but I’m ready for warmer weather, less humidity and sunshine! (Note to self: Remember that when I’m complaining about the heat in a month or two.)

Truth of it is I love the change. I’m always ready to move to the next season. So I’ll be packing away sweaters and jackets, getting out capris, summer shirts and sandals, digging out my quick easy recipes, and cleaning up the grill. I plan on making lots of sun tea and salads. Break out the tiki lamps and dust off the porch furniture.

Summer, here I come!