Saturday, February 20, 2010


It was a dark and stormy night. DH was out of town and I was the only grown up (I was The Mom. I had to act like one occasionally) in the house. It was late and the kids were asleep when I saw the bat. It was flying its way through the rooms like a movie vampire. After chasing the creature for a while with a broom (no—no--not riding the broom, swinging it.  Sheesh!) I went to the fishing supplies and found the big net. A few swoops and I had the spooky little guy collected and released back to the rest of the children of the night.
Not our visitor, but one like it.

This whole process was repeated a few years later except the kids were older and awake at the time. DH missed out on this one too. Our youngest son yelled and called for backup when the bat buzzed him. This time I knew to run for the fishing net. We followed the creature as it flew up the stairway to the attic room where Middle Son was deep into computer game-- headphones on; eyes focused on the monitor. He didn’t even look up when Youngest Son and I scooped up the bat as it fluttered overhead. Middle Son finally took note when we held the net full of winged blackness under his nose. Aaaaggghhh!!! Then we liberated the bat outside where he could continue his duty on mosquito control.

Chiroptophobia is the fear of bats

Friday, February 19, 2010


The evening was cold and the house had been empty all day. I helped the guys bring in firewood for the stove in our basement. DH gathered up some newspaper and prepared to start a fire. When he bent over and opened the door he was hit in the face by a flutter of feathers and soot. It startled him enough that he fell over backward.

I was across the room and could see that a creature had flown out of the opened stove and was now circling the room. When it came my way I captured it with my hands. It was all tarnished with ashes and soot; and it wasn’t Santa Claus. It was a house sparrow. It was so frightened I could feel its heart beating. Still, it made a show of bravado by opening its beak at me. Even its tongue was black.

The kids came near to examine our visitor. It was amazing for us to see the small free spirit up close. DH kept his distance. It had already scared the daylights out of him and birds were not his favorite animal.

Not the bird that came to visit, but one like it.

We guessed it had been warming its tail feathers over our chimney and had fallen down the long cinder brick tunnel. Flying straight up from a dead stop would be an impossible escape. Fortunately for the sparrow the fire was out at the time. Instead it went around the corner to the stove pipe and past the damper into the fire box.

I took the sparrow to the door and released it.

And ornithophobia is the word for the fear of birds.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


It’s been a lot of years since I saw that tornado eat Dorothy’s house. The nightmares still surface occasionally. And I spend a lot of time scanning the sky. Now when I step outside (note the same evergreen tree on the right and left of the photos) and see clouds like this…

And this…
Mammatus clouds (aka breast clouds) “indicative of a particularly strong storm or maybe even a tornadic storm.” This system created havoc just south of us.

I take pictures--since photography now trumps phobia. Then I hurry to the basement and watch The Weather Channel.

DH has a different take on phobias. As he tells the story; his daily trip to first grade involved a short walk down a lane to the school bus stop. Along the way there was a home where a flock of chickens and a rooster lived. The rooster was a bully and delighted in flying out at DH and his sister as they walked by. He would flap and squawk with all his might which, of course terrified DH. His older sister decided the best defense was a good offence and proceeded to carry a worn-out broom on the way to and from the bus. When the rooster made his attack, Big Sis would haul back and whack him into his yard. This continued until the owner of the rooster invited the bird in for dinner. But by then the trauma of flapping wings had left its mark. DH developed a deep down fear/hatred for birds.
And alektrorophobia is the fear of chickens. That info thanks to Krista at Shades of Blonde .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


There is probably a whole generation of children who were traumatized by The Wizard of Oz movie.
I was one of them. I saw that Kansas tornado sucking up Dorothy’s home and was never the same.

Funnel clouds just don’t happen where I grew up. Micro bursts, dust storms, yes. Big spinning winds, not so much. That did not stop the nightmares. I had dreams of looking out the window of our little farm house and seeing a dozen twisters headed our way. I would wake up in the night in my nest on the top bunk to find myself surrounded by little black tornados. I swatted them down with my pillow until I woke myself up.

It did not help that the grandmother that babysat me had a reproduction of “Tornado over Kansas” by John Steuart Curry hanging over her sofa. That picture still gives me the heebie jeebies.

I learned I needed to take cover in a low place in the event of a twister. So I practiced running the hundred yards to a concrete pipe that formed a bridge for a ditch. By the time I got too big to fit in that pipe I’d outgrown the worst of my dread of tornados.

By the way, lilapsophobia is the name of the phobia relating to the fear of hurricanes or tornadoes.

Monday, February 15, 2010


As a favor to the fishermen in our house this is a post to display a recent catch. The guys went ice fishing in Montana and spent the day bringing in their legal limit of trout. All of the fish were large. The biggest weighed in at just under three pounds. It was a good day for the guys, bad day for the fish.

The ones they brought home were all rainbow and brown trout.

They are beautiful creatures. I have mixed feelings about them not swimming free in the lake--yet knowing their salmon colored fillets will soon be grilled with lemon pepper and a dusting of corn meal, and served with a wedge of fresh lemon.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Here in snow country we get some of our best storms in February. We don’t expect to see our lawns until March.
park bench in February

That’s just the way it is.
So we can’t help but smile a little over the mass hysteria caused by snow storms in places less prepared.

The university students from lower latitudes and altitudes get so excited and run outside to watch the first white flakes falling out of the sky in the fall. By December the novelty has worn off.

Now, in February, they are feeling a little overwhelmed.

(Mom and Dad sent me to hell and now it has frozen over.)

Although the campus grounds crew keep the walkways clear and dry.

Snow Days are not that common.

Public schools continue unless the weather becomes a blizzard.

Heavy snowfall is cause for celebration at all the ski resorts. The farmers welcome the storms as a promise of water for crops in the summer and an opportunity to break out the snowmobiles.

Winter weather does last TOO long, though.
Sometimes we just wish it would STOP.

No, we panic when the thermometer shoots to the top in July and August. We expect comfortable outside temperatures in the afternoon.
If we can’t get cool by opening a window for a little breeze or by shading up on the porch, we don’t do well. Many houses around here don’t even have air conditioners.

DH and I finally invested in a little window a.c. unit for our home a couple of years ago, but we only need it for a few weeks each summer.

I guess it just depends on the kind of conditions you’re prepared for.