…Can Spring be Far Behind

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?
     Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
We’re back to winter this week. The blooming crocuses are buried, the daffodils are budded but shivering, and a couple of sparrows are huddled under the bird feeder trying to keep warm. We’re inside a swirling snow globe looking out.
But after all, it is only February, the most coy and vacillating month here in the Puget Sound area. By next week the air may be balmy, with impatient flowers once again heralding spring.
It was 15 degrees on our back porch yesterday, and Popcorn wanted in, NOW!
Flowering currant blooms first in our yard. The hummingbirds love it.


A Question for Readers about E-Books

I need help!

Like many writers of a certain generation, I find myself spending almost as much time trying to keep up with technology as I do writing. Recently I added a Kindle reader to my laptop so I could also download a couple of books I wanted to read. It’s fun, and the books I downloaded were free.

E-book technology is so popular, I’m told, that e-book sales may soon outpace paperback sales. For writers with out-of-print titles, it’s an attractive way to get one’s work out to readers again. It’s inexpensive for the readers and it’s profitable for the writers.

My two young adult mystery-adventure books, The Adventure Quest Series and The Megan Parnell Mysteries, were popular with kids, homeschooling parents, and Christian teachers. They are out of print, and I’m considering e-books as a way to get them back into circulation.

Here’s my question. Do young teens find e-books as cool as older readers do? Would you, as parents and homeschoolers, encourage your children to read Christian literature on Kindle or other electronic readers?

Let me know what you think, and I’ll keep you posted as to what happens.

The Joy of Picture Taking

    I paid one dollar for my first camera. (I was about twelve.) The negatives were the size of my thumbnail, and the black-and-white prints were less than 2 inches square. Light often leaked in and fogged the pictures. I loved photography, even as a young teen, and was thrilled to have a camera of my own. But to develop the pictures cost money and often I ended up paying for a set of blurred, streaked, unusable photos. That camera was more toy than instrument of art.

    My senior year in college, I acquired a real camera, a Yashica twin-lens reflex. I used it to take color slides which I shared with the children in my classroom when I began teaching. My husband didn’t take many pictures, but he liked cameras and for years kept us supplied with the latest in technology. When he passed away, I stayed with my tried-and-true film camera, years after everyone else had gone digital.

    But when my old Rollei showed signs of aging, I gave in and bought a Panasonic digital. I love it! Taking good photos is as easy as learning to use the dozens of menus in its little digital brain…well, that part’s not really easy. I haven’t yet learned all it’s programmed to do. But it takes good pictures. And when coupled with my computer, the sky is the limit as to what I should be able to do with my photos.

    Yesterday was February 1…as far as I’m concerned, the first day of the last month of winter. The sun shone, a good reason to declare a vacation day. Hank and I tossed the camera bag and tripod in the backseat and set off to see what the Skagit valley had been doing over the recent long stretch of rainy weather. The flat green farmlands of the delta are at sea level or maybe lower…we could see the waters of Puget Sound beyond the dikes. The soil is so saturated the rainwater can’t soak in, even though farmers plow drainage ditches across their fields, so the water sits atop the ground like a sopping washcloth on a countertop. Everything glistened. A good day for picture taking!

 Here’s a Great Blue Heron looking for something to eat in one of those fields.

And here’s one of the many eagles we saw, posing for photographers.

    This is the Lutheran church near Edison, with Mt. Baker watching over the valley.