Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dandy Promises Free Advice

Woof, Woof. I didn't intend to be away all summer, but nowadays, naps are taking a large part of my days. Besides, My Lady is keeping the computer busy —at least she thinks she is. I wonder if she knows that staring at it doesn’t make it work.

I expect I’m a lucky dog. Two other ladies come in often, and I can depend on them for a lot of human chatter, treats, and nice cool water. Yep, I have my own water bottle in the refrigerator. My Lady kind of rolls her eyes about this, but she allows it. I think she vetoed ice cubes in my water bowl, but on really hot days my Sylvia Lady sneaks in a

With this kind of pampering I shouldn’t have any complaints—but I do. In fact I have a long list. And losing my eyesight  tops that list.  Almost as bothersome is my poor hearing. Loss of hearing is great at naptime, but it’s a real handicap when someone is yelling, “Treat time,” and I can’t decide where the voice is located.
There are other problems, like climbing doggie steps or taking
long walks, but I dealt with those problems real quick.  My Lady helped me make that last jump from my steps onto the bed several times, but being helped is a little embarrassing for a guy like me.  Shucks, I remember when I could jump from the floor to the bed in one easy leap. Anyway, the second time I tumbled to the floor from that top step  I walked away and never looked back.

 It didn’t take long to take care of that long walk situation, either.  I’m very determined (I like that word better than stubborn, don’t you?) so when I decided long walks were a thing of the past, I lay down and wouldn’t move. After my Lady discovered she was leading an empty harness, and I was relaxing back on the shady porch, that issue was settled. 

In case you're interested, I can make putting on a harness very difficult.

Well folks, if I get another chance to grab this computer, I’ll tell you more about what my vet calls “getting old.” It may happen to you someday, and how I’m coping may help you deal with it.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Woof, woof.

Something has happened that’s worse than cats, or coons—a skinny little blonde has moved in. Well, maybe she isn’t exactly a blonde. Her hair is as white as my lady’s,

My lady and I got dizzy watching her galloping all over the house.

She went to my bowl and took a few bites and lapped up a little water, so I decided she wouldn’t be a threat to my livelihood and left her alone. That was a big mistake. Now that she feels more at home here, she empties that food bowl every thirty minutes. Now you ladies out there know what that means!

 Of course in my opinion, she could use a little more covering over those bones, and I expect my lady will tend to that.  She’s already taught her to stand back and not crowd when she putting food in our bowl. Did I jAust say ‘our’ bowl?
 I feel a little sorry for her—she’s just a youngster not even a year old yet, and got dumped out on her own. Well she’s got a lot to learn about this old world, and she could start by learning a few rules about living with my lady.  Yep, she got in bad trouble, and has temporary quarters on the front porch —with her own food bowl, I’m happy to see. I hated to hear her cry but she'll have to learn, so I just put my head under a thick pillow. The first night she was here, I shared a couple of my pillows, and I didn’t mind—it was a relief to have the wiggly little thing still.  But the next morning when I was settling down for my morning nap, she jumped up in my face, and I had to discipline her. She learns quick—she hasn’t tried to share my bed since. Maybe I spoke to harshly, but an old fellow like me needs his naps.
Today she had her first lesson in behavior. A friend of mine took her walking with a lease. At first she fought and struggled like a fish on a line. Didn't do her any good. I tried to tell her.  I think she kind of enjoyed it, but she didn't want to leave my lady.

My friend thinks this is what she does when she tells her to sit! Huh! That is what she does when you so much as look at her.  Say 'roll over'  and you can be sure she'll roll over, Of course if you don't say anything  she'l still roll over. I get exhausted just watching her.Did I tell you that she has pretty wavy hair.? Surely some of you knows some one who need a smart little girl like this. She'll grow up to be a nice loving companion just like me. Send me an email. Having around doesn't bother me, but she's too feisty for my lady, and I gotta take car of her.


Thursday, September 11, 2014



The first thing I saw this this morning when I opened the blinds, was our flag flying at half-staff at the DPS office across the street.  9/11!!  

 I immediately broke out in chill bumps
 The magnitude of that attack was unbelievable; so was the fact that it was happening as I sat glued to the TV screen.

on piles of rubble
now a peaceful memorial

Until that day heroism was just a word—September 11 was filled with it: firefighters, police, medical personnel, and volunteers, all risking their lives to save the victims. Hundreds of others worked ‘til they dropped in support services.

Then there was a fourth plane—Flight 93.  Its passengers did not sit placidly waiting for death. They chose to fight. They lost their lives, but succeeded in
diverting the terrorists from their goal, and left us with young Todd Beamer’s rallying call: “Let’s roll.”

Todd Beamer

Those words, in modern slang, reflect our nation's attitude 
throughout it's history.  Today  memorials were held for those who lost their lives and to those who saved 
many others. It should also be a day to remember that we were slack in our diligence, waning signs were ignored, and we were not prepared. An old saying comes to mind:
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

"Never Forget."


Get on Board

A Blog Tour

 I opened my email last week and found an invitation to join a Blog Tour. Now, since I don’t get out much, I didn’t see how I could participate in any sort of a tour—then it hit me—a BLOG tour.  I can do that! Maybe.

So I went to to see what this is all about.  

Well, I found my answer—it’s about writing, and that’s the main thing I’m doing these days. And it’s a blog post, which I may remember how to do—and there are only four questions!

Question 1:  What Are You Working on Now?

I’m nearing the end of editing The Burying Ground, a story of greed and chicanery involving an old cemetery and it’s secrets. Occasionally, I review a few chapters of Sarah, a historical novel that sets the stage for the happenings in The Burying Ground, 140 years later. Maggie, the third and final story in this series, is only a draft, and needs a great amount of thought. Occasionally, I try my hand at writing a query, a troublesome little one-page piece of writing that is the first step in submitting anything to publishers for consideration. Although I’ve been urged to self publish, I ‘m not sure I want all the responsibility that involves. August Heat, a third novel, has been has been sitting in a file for over a year, waiting for me to take time to take this final step.

Question 2:  How Does My Work Differ from Others of its Genre?

I find it difficult to fit The Burying Ground into any genre I’m familiar with. It moves between mystery, danger, romance and a fight to save a primeval forest, while touching the lives of people similar to those we all have known.  Today I found my niche—realistic fiction Sarah, set in the post-Civil war period, fits into the historical genre, but has an unexpected twist as our heroine struggles to break loose from the Victorian role for women. I had hoped August Heat would fall into a specific genre; after all, it’s setting is a Texas ranch, and that should mean “Western,” right? Well it seems that title belongs to stories of the Old West, and August Heat is thoroughly modern, although it does have a fair maiden in distress (actually, she’s a brunette).

Question 3:  Why Do I Write What I do?

I’ve written non-fiction for years, and enjoyed collecting information and creating articles about anything that caught my attention. Never, never did I plan to write fiction—but it happened, and I’m hooked. I enjoy weaving in memories of the places I’ve visited, and the people I’ve known. I enjoy the unplanned twists my stories take when my sub-conscious takes over and take me to unexpected places. And I love to write about Texas—its history, its people, and its scenery.

Question 4:  How Does My Writing Process Work?

 I start with an idea and one character. As I move on, more characters get on board, and all begin to work at carrying out my idea. At times they differ with me, and do as they wish, often leading me into predicaments I don’t know how to solve. Although I visualize the setting as clearly as if I were actually there, my characters’ personality and appearance develop as the story progresses.  

 I had reached the end of three novels before I faced the consequences of writing without an outline.  

Will I change? Probably not.


That’s my stop-over on this Blog Tour. Be sure to visit  Gina at 

It's a great spot for readers.

I hope to see you soon for a bit of  Rocking with Dannie, and  another visit to the farm.

Watch for next week’s Blog Tour contribution from my friend, blogger and  author, Kathryn Reid at

Friday, September 5, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

the Rocking Chair : Something to Think About

the Rocking Chair : Something to Think About: Although I doubt you start each day wondering about the origin of the symbols we use daily, I thought this was worth passing along. After...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Spring on the Farm

Spring is here––I know it is, for the calendar says so. Some flowers may be reluctant to venture out again, because of their bad experience a few weeks ago, but the trees are greening and the birds are singing.

As a child, I loved the first tiny flowers of spring–tiny lavender ones, half hidden in dead grass. Spring opens a season of renewal and promise, as fruit trees blossom, and sprouting seeds crack the ground with tender leaves.

 On the farm, in bygone years, spring heralded the beginning of months of hard work that did not end until late August when the crops were "laid by," and there was a brief breather from harvesting vegetables, and no more plowing or hoeing was needed. 

After Dad prepared the ground for a garden, he helped with the back-breaking job of setting out onions; then my mother took over, planting seeds at their appropriate times. Irish potatoes needed to be planted early. Dad preferred a red variety. He paid no attention to planting according to signs of the moon or old superstitions. He planted when he felt the time was right. After preparing the deep furrows and adding barnyard manure, he bought a sack of seed potatoes to cut into hefty pieces holding several sprouts. These were spread out for a day of drying the cut area before planting. I am convinced this was timed to fall on a Saturday, when I was not in school.

My dad saved our sweet potato crop outside in an igloo made of straw covered with tin. Protected from rain and freezing weather, they lasted throughout the winter. Small ones not suitable for cooking, were pushed aside and saved to provide plants for the nest years crop. Long before the average date for a late freeze, Dad buried these set-aside potatoes in long seed beds in order for them to send up sprouts that would grow into 4 o4 5 inch long plants ready to be transplanted into the field. In an adjoining bed he planted tomato seed. The beds had canvas covers attached to a narrow board, and were easily unrolled when a freeze threatened,  but left rolled during sunny days and mild temperatures.

With a hoe we dug holes for acres of tomatoes.In order to take advantage of better prices for an early crop, we often set out plants in holes with little moisture. These had to be watered by hand until it rained. There was also a risk of a late freeze. That was when paper bonnets were made from old magazines pages, and carefully  placed around each plant for protection. 

Occasionally, during a long dry spell, the plants had to be saved by hand watering. My dad would fill a barrel with water and haul it to the field on a sled. There, we followed the sled, using a small syrup bucket to water each plant––a ribbon cane syrup bucket, to be exact. In those  days, syrup came in tin buckets, and saved for other purposes. Saving was a way of life, and I'm not certain the word "recycle" existed in those days.

When the sweet potato slips were the right size, old broken broom or hoe handles were used to punch holes for each one. After a rain, my dad went down each row. with his stick––step. punch––step, punch. That done, he joined my mother and me as we dropped a plant in each hole and pressed dirt around its roots.

This was spring on the farm in the good ole days. But the roses were in bloom,  the old-fashioned lilac sent out its sweet scent, and Mother made wilted salads from her garden.

Reading and Writing…

Stories of days gone by have always been popular. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell sold millions of copies during the Great Depression, and at over 30 million copies sold, is one of the world's best selling novels.

Grapes of Wrath,  John Steinbeck's powerful novel, was not of another period when written, but now, seventy-five years later, sells over 100,000 copies annually, taking readers back to what is, in my opinion, the most tragic time in our nation's history.

In the 1930s, stories of the Old West became popular due to the writings of Zane Grey. His career was impressive despite criticism of his writing skills and melodramatic writing style. He became one of the first millionaire writers of fiction and had over ninety books published in addition to being a regular contributor to Outdoor Life.

Years later, Louis L’Amour captured a fresh audience wanting a few hours of entertainment with more westerns. After years of writing and submitting stories to pulp magazines, using the name of Jim Mayo, L’Amour’s westerns gained popularity and he wrote 100 novels and more than 250 short stories. All of his work is still in print, and sales continue to climb, after reaching a total of 320 million copies in 2010.
The works of three of these authors have been criticized for presenting an unrealistic view of life in the time frame they choose, but the readers didn’t care then…or now. Undoubtedly, the way readers in other countries thought of these periods in our nation’s development was influenced.

On the other hand, Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath was banned in some places, burned in others, and loved and appreciated by many readers.  It created such an uproar that Eleanor Roosevelt took notice, and asked for a congressional investigation into the migrant camps Steinbeck had written about. As a result, labor laws were changed. Few books can make such a claim.

I am so appreciative for the many sites on the internet giving information about almost anything, including the lives of these authors. The details I uncovered were so interesting I spent hours reading about each. I fell into the same trap when writing Sarah, my second manuscript. I found that although I knew about  a lot of things, I didn't know if it fitted into Sarah's  timeframe. So I researched. . .and researched. 

I treasure this remark from a person who has followed my stories chapter by chapter:

". . .I for one have enjoyed your stories a great deal. I think what I like best is that while reading them, I am not just entertained, but I learn something about history as well. In fact, I would strongly encourage any teacher to use your stories as tools for their students. We can never have enough good books, and there are never enough like yours where students can learn and not be bored while doing so. 

Another great thing about your stories is that they would appeal to such a wide variety of readers. From middle school age, right on up to seniors of any age.

Don't stop writing. And for goodness sake, get them in print so others can enjoy all your hard work!"



Monday, March 31, 2014

The Real Me

Want to meet the real me? So did I, so for an hour or so I took a break from figuring income tax, and learned my spirit animal was a bear. Now don’t ya’ll start worrying about dropping in to visit. I’m tough but rather nice. My yellow personality analysis says so.

Now, the results of this next flight of fancy may not surprise you, but it did me. If I were living in medieval times, I would have been a witch doctor. Not witch, witch doctor! I assume that means I studied and learned lots of stuff and used my skills to help others.
I’m afraid to lookup the exact description.

 All these imaginable situations were getting interesting, so I moved on and investigated my super power, and learned it gives me the ability to from any place on the globe to another…without taking a step. This is going to take some practice. I tried going from my chair to the refrigerator for a snack, but no matter how hard I concentrated, I had to walk. Just think how nice it’ll be to put that clumsy walker and cane in a closet.

 My next venture took me back to the days of the Roman Empire and there, I was a Greek philosopher. Perhaps that side of me can figure out this 'traveling without taking a step problem'. On the other hand, I’m a little dubious about all these answers, since learning my best choice for a pet was a lizard…a vicious, green, dragon-like lizard that would take naps on my shoulder.  

Whoa! That isn’t going to work out. No way.

Still, a thread of truth ran through all these imaginary lives…like being tenacious and determined… and explained my stubborn streak was only a matter of knowing what I want.…Sounds a lot nicer than 'hard-headed' or obstinate.

Tenacious fits this little cluster of flowers by my driveway. They're hanging on in spite of whatever happens and they're gradually spreading.  That's the real world. 

In the Writing World…

Call it tenacious, persistent, or extremely determined, but in the case of Kathryn Stockett, those traits brought success. Her first novel, The Help took five years to write, and was rejected by sixty agents, before agent Susan Ramer agreed to represent Stockett. After all those reject, The Help spent 100 weeks on  The New York Times Best Seller list, and as of last August sold ten million copies. For success like that, I wouldn't object to being  called hard-headed.

Dannie Woodard,
Bear, Witch Doctor, Philosopher, and person who will not be choosing a lizard for a pet