Surprise at Goose Lake

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I witnessed something I’ve read about but never seen before: crows at play.
I was sitting at my keyboard when a clatter on the roof sent me hurrying to the entrance hall, looking up at the skylight there.

Two crows were up there. One had found a small piece of wood, probably part of a shingle, about 3×5 inches. It carried it in its beak to the top of the skylight, set it down, perched on it, and slid down the slope to the bottom. The second crow watch this, reached out and took the “skateboard,” and did the same thing.

Amazed, I ran for my phone, but by the time I returned, the crows had become aware of me. All I got was this one ghostly image as the second bird flapped away. Playtime was over. What a way to start the year at Goose Lake.

Why it takes two to make soup

Hi everyone,

Couple of nights ago Sandy and I decided on grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. I drew the soup. It was a package of dry mix called Tortilla Soup. I pulled out a sauce pan, opened the package, and poured it in. There were no directions. Who needs directions? Right men?

Sandy, being a girl, went to the computer and brought back directions. The full recipe called for five cups of water. I poured the mix into a larger pan and added the water.

“Probably shouldn’t have added all the water at once,” she said.

“You didn’t tell me so it’s your fault,” I pointed out.

“Also calls for a can of corn.”

I found one in the pantry and dumped it in.

“And a can of diced tomatoes.”

I shrugged. “No diced tomatoes,” I said. “How about this can of tomato soup?”

She shrugged.

I poured the ingredients into a larger pan. “It’s awfully thin,” I said. “Can we do anything to thicken it?”

Our son Jeff has become an excellent cook, a skill he did not inherit from me. But Jeff admits that when something goes wrong, sometimes his first response is panic. He doesn’t always have the experience to know how to rescue a dish from disaster. At this moment my son and I had shared much in common kitchen-wise.

“Corn starch,” she said.

“Where is it?”

“Look in the spice cabinet.”


Above the cereal?
Behind the coffee filters?”

Five minutes later we agreed. We had no corn starch.

“Try a little flour,” she suggested.

I was now in the biggest pan we own, the one reserved for chili when we want leftovers for a week. Shrugging in unison, we added flour.

“Uh, you got anything else? This is still pretty thin stuff.”

“Not really.”

My eye lit on a sack of instant potatoes. “Aha!”

Into the boiling cauldron went a large spoonful of potato mix. And by golly that put us over.

The soup tasted great, I’m sorry to say, because I don’t see how we can ever duplicate it. The good news is that we have enough left over that it will be some time before the future will be in jeopardy.

Second generation

Hi everyone,

Today at the Children’s Literature Festival in Warrensburg I had the kind of experience that you never forget. Deanna Smith came to see me and introduce her son Logan. Here’s the picture.

Deanna Smith and Logan

I first met Deanna when she came to the festival as a 3rd grader and her class came to hear me talk about my books. As a college student she volunteered at the festival and helped me with some of my sessions. Deanna became a teacher and has brought her own classes to see me. Now she is the proud mom of 3-week-old Logan.

One of the books Deanna brought me to sign for Logan was LITTLE TURTLE’S BIG ADVENTURE. When I opened the book, there was my inscription to Deanna in March, 1989. I signed it again, this time for Deanna’s son, in March, 2014.

It doesn’t get any better than that. Thank you, Deanna. Logan, you don’t know it yet, but I thank you too.