Workin’, workin’, workin’

September’s here.  School’s here. Wren’s sayin’ we gotta all go learn stuff, like numbers an’ readin’ an’ history.  Sometimes, we go help Nim with alla Littles an’ their learnin’.  It’s easier’n tryin’ make sense outta what she’s showin’ me!  Areas of circles an’ calculatin’ interest an’ balancin’ books!  Gumdrops!  All I wanna do is fight monsters.  They don’t care if I gave ’em the right tip or not.

But I like readin’, an I like helpin’ Littles with their learnin’.  It’s fun.  Cooper an’ Falcon are teachin’ ’em all about science.  Right now, they got ’em out inna woods, lookin’ for different kinds of seeds so they can talk ’bout how plants live through winter even though they look all dead.  I gotta smart brother.  Thank goodness!  Maybe he can help me with alla stuff Wren’s stuffin’ at me.

(Falcon did say there’s stuff called physics that might help with fightin’…  It’s gotta lotta numbers in it, tho, so he wants me to keep learnin’ ’em.  Grr.)

Anyhow, sorry I’ve been so quiet!  Our schedules are all a-flux.  Hopin’ soon maybe I can catch some time for pictures too.



Eclipse Viewing


There was an eclipse!  The itty bitty moon covered up the great big sun inna middle of the day.  Wow.  Some places, the moon blocked out the whole sun, an’ it got dark as night. Pip an’ Auntie Glenda went to a place called Salem where they could see it happen.  Round here, we got somethin’ Cooper called a partial eclipse, which meant the moon only covered up some of the sun, but it didn’t get night-dark.

But it DID get dark.  An’ chilly!  It was awful strange, standin’ out inna field, watchin’ it get darker an’ darker.  There were some clouds, too, an’ I was worried that’d mean we couldn’t see the shadow in our box, but it worked out ok.  We saw the shadow of the moon slidin’ over the bright of the sun!  Cooper said we shouldn’t ever look straight at the eclipse, or it’d hurt our eyes a lot (an’ maybe make us blind).  I don’t wanna be blind.  It’s hard fightin’ monsters when you can’t see ’em.


We talked bout eclipses, an’ how they work, an’ why they’re special.  Long time ago, people thought maybe an eclipse meant somethin’ awful was gonna happen, but now we know it’s just cuz the moon’s spinnin’ an’ the earth’s spinnin’ lined up with the sun an’ made something neat happen.  But there’s somethin’ sorta magical about it, too.  I bet the Witch at Dolli Lane was watchin’ it too!  (Meikiko an’ Falcon took the other box over there so the Littles could watch the eclipse)

It took a li’l bit to figure out how to use the box.  I kept coverin’ the hole with my head or my hair or somethin’, an’ Cooper kept tryin’ move me around to help me make it work.  He’d look inna box, turn li’l bit, say “Ooh, it’s there!” Then I’d take it an’ try, but I couldn’t find the sun anywhere.


But it worked after a li’l bit, an’ I got to see the sun an’ shadow too!  Wow.


An’ there it was!  It worked!


Some people had glasses with special lenses that let them look atta sun without hurtin’ their eyes, but I thought our box was pretty special.  No hurt eyes, either!  Cuz some companies made bad glasses, an’ people might’ve gotten hurt tryin’ to see this special thing, an’ that doesn’t seem very nice at all.

Total Eclipse

After it covered up, the moon slid back off the sun.  It took a while for alla sun to come back out–bout three hours–but it was super neat to sit through.  I tried to get Wren to come out an’ watch, but she said that was ok.  An’ Sparrow stayed an’ kept her company.  Juniper kinda vanished, but I’m sure she’ll be back.

Hope alla you enjoyed the eclipse too!


Solar Eclipse

Cooper says there’s gonna be an eclipse tomorrow.  Cooper an’ Falcon were talkin’ bout it, an’ I kinda listened a bit.  The earth an’ moon an’ sun are gonna line up so one of ’em gets inna way, an’ all we’re gonna see is a lotta shadow.  I think the moon’s gonna get ‘tween sun an’ earth?  It doesn’t happen much where we can see it.  But it’s happenin’ tomorrow ‘cross a lotta the country.  An’ partsa the country are gonna go full black with shadow during the eclipse.  Pip an’ Auntie Glenda are in Salem, waitin’ for it to happen.  They’re gonna see the whole sun get turned dark inna middle of the day.

We’re not supposed to look at the sun, though.  It’d make us blind if we did.  There are special glasses with dark dark lenses that can let you look atta sun, kinda like sunscreen for your eyes.  But we didn’t get those.  The boys were talkin’ bout how to see the eclipse without ’em.  We could watch it onna internet, but that’s not gonna be seein’ it ourselves.  Instead, they wanna build a box for watchin’ the eclipse, sorta like a camera but…not.

They got busy, cuttin’ an shapin’ an’ tapin’ an’ stuff.  I got ’em stuff to work with:  cardboard boxes an’ duct tape an’ scissors an’ things.  Meikiko helped too, cuz she’ll do anything Falcon says.  It’s cute.  Inna li’l bit, they had two boxes built.


Falcon said the pinhole needed to be a li’l bit bigger, but Cooper was sayin’ it was plenty big.  Meikiko wanna look inna box.  I did too.


Falcon was talkin’ measurements an’ angles an’ shadows an’ stuff.  None of it made much sense.  He turned the box so Meikiko could peek in, but she said it was all dark.  Somehow the pinhole’s gonna let light inna box, an’ that’ll let us see the eclipse onna back.

I took the other box an’ peeked in.  Full dark.



“How’s it work?” I asked.  “It’s dark inna box.  Is it broken? Where’s the sun?”


“It won’t work in here, Kestrel.  You need to be out in the sun for the pinhole to show the sun’s light.  We’ll get to see the eclipse as a shadow passing over the sun’s light on the back of the box tomorrow.”

“So nothin’ now?”  I looked back inna box.

Cooper grinned a li’l bit.  “No, nothing now.  We’ll test the boxes tomorrow morning.  The eclipse will start tomorrow after lunch.  It will work better then.  You’ll see.”

So, tomorrow: an eclipse!  Or a shadow.  I think they’re the same thing.


Research Phase


When we got in, I went an’ gotta book for researchin’ monsters.  Started in the winged section.  Dragons, Pegasi, Harpies, Phoenixes…  Hmm.  Not much good there.  None of ’em looked anything like what I’d seen.

I sat back with a sigh.  Cooper looked over at me an’ asked, “What’s wrong?”

So I showed him the pictures I’d taken.


An’ I described the dead monsters an’ the live monster an’ alla what it’d done.


“That’s not a monster, sis,” Cooper said.

I just kinda looked at him an’ raised an eyebrow.  Sure looked like some sorta monster from where I was standin’.  Sittin’ now.  But he hopped up an’ gotta computer.  He typed some stuff inna search page an’ brought up some pictures.


“Those are cicadas.  They’re large bugs, but they’re not monsters. Or aliens.  The nymphs that hatch drop down and burrow underground, where they can spend years growing and digging before they finally emerge from underground.  They come up in cycles–some cicadas come up every year, some every thirteen, and some every seventeen.  They come above when they’re ready to transform from nymphs–or grubs–into adults.  What you called dead monsters are really just the husks of the insect as it grows bigger and changes from one form to another.  Insets don’t have skeletons, like us.  Instead, they have a really hard shell.  So every time they grow or change, they have to shed their skin.  And they change form as they grow older, too.  So the nymph is kind of like a caterpillar or a worm but, as it gets bigger, it develops things like wings.”

Cooper pointed from picture to picture, showing me cicadas in different stages.  It was makin’ my head spin!  But ok.  Insects.  Just insects.

“So…you’re sayin’ they’re just bugs?”

“Yes.  They are just insects.  Probably these holes were made by the nymphs when they crawled out of the ground.  But they aren’t dangerous.  There is nothing here that you need to fight.”

“Really?  Nothin’?  Not even like…the centipede?”  I showed him the picture again, in case he had forgotten.  “It almost bit Perdita!”







Holes 2

Perdita’n’me went out to check on those holes again.  Left Riley behind:  didn’t wanna disappearing dog again.  Poor pup!  We took a whumping stick an’ a nice sharp sword, in case somethin’ hadda get messy.

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Perdita poked inna hole.  Nothin’ much happened, ‘cept two centipedes came crawlin’ out.  One of ’em looked like it was gonna crawl up Perdita’s leg (she didn’t see it), but then it took off  another way.  I didn’t say nothin’ bout that.  The other one turned round an’ crawled back inna hole.  Not a very deep hole. Or maybe the deep of it caved in when whatever it was crawled out?

We walked ’round a li’l bit, explorin’, an’ came across somethin’…weird.


Not just weird.  Creepy weird.  Alien-monster weird.  I mean, what in the world???  It’s huge!  It’s got these massive legs (piercin’ legs, too, with points onna end), an’ stumpy wings, an’ it was sorta see-through!  When I poked it, tho, it didn’ move none.  Maybe it’s dead?


Perdita didn’t much like it.  She stayed with me, cuz she’s got an Adventure Bear’s heart, but she wasn’t real happy.  I wondered if whatever it was came crawlin’ outta hole inna ground?  But it was so big…  too big to fit inna hole we found.  We left it behind an’ kept lookin’ round.


We found another hole.  An’ another near that.  An’ some more dead alien monsters.  Loads of ’em.

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They didn’t move when Perdita poked ’em, neither.

We stumbled on a whole bunch of ’em, clinging onna tree root.

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But right near alla dead ones was another monster.  It wasn’t dead.  Repeat:  it wasn’t dead.  An’ it had huge wings.  An’ huge eyes.  An’ a huge body.

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Perdita really stayed back then.  But I hadda get a closer look.  I mean, if it was dangerous, I needed to know. Cuz then it’d have to die.


So I poked it with my sword.  Maybe not so smart, but it seemed like a good idea then.  It made a loud, buzzing sound, flicked its wings, an’ took off inna sky.  It was an awful loud sound, an’ made me jump back some too.  But it flew off high inna tree, an’ I watched it go.  When it landed up inna tree, it continued to make its loud, buzzing sound.  The noise got louder an’ longer, sorta inna series of waves.


I’d never seen anything like it.  Perdita hadn’t, either.  But after that sorta fright, I figured I was done lookin’ for the day an’ wanna go home.  Seemed like a good time for doin’ research.  Were the dead monsters connected to the hole or to the live monster?  Was the live monster gonna come back an’ attack us?

I kept an eye onna sky as we walked back.  More when I find out what I can.





We gotta new friend.  Her name’s Perdita.  Wren says it means “little lost one,” but I dunno if that’s true.  I mean, if she’s here, she’s found, ain’t she?  So she ain’t lost no more.  But I guess a name’s a name, an’ it ain’t gonna change who you are now no matter what it meant before.


Anyhow, Perdita’s pretty an’ blue, an’ she’s gotta bell, so it’s hard to lose her now.  Grammy Happy sent her to our house.  I think she’s gonna go help with Dolli Lane an’ alla Littles too, but she’s gotta work up some nerve first (she ain’t worked with Littles before).  She helps me walk Riley inna morning so she gets to know what’s round here.  She said she came from a group of bears called “Adventure Bears,” an’ now we’re parta her adventure.  That’s pretty cool, cuz I do like adventures.

So Perdita an’ me were walkin’ Riley inna mornin’, an’ we found somethin’ inna ground.  A hole. A couple holes, actually, sorta together in an area.  An’, yeah, there’s lotsa different holes what might be inna ground:  golf holes, sink holes, man holes, drain holes, pot holes, snake holes, worm holes, fox holes, mole holes…  But it wasn’t none of those holes.  Since Perdita’s an adventure bear, I asked her if she’d seen ’em before.


“Hmm…” Perdita said, in her slow, thinkin’ voice.  Most everythin’ she does is kinda slow.  But that’s ok, cuz she’s careful too.  “No,” she said. “I haven’t seen those.”

I hadn’t either.  We stood, starin’ atta holes for a bit, thinkin’ bout what mighta maybe made ’em.  Maybe a baby giant playin’ onna pogo stick?  Or maybe they’re tent pegs for a giant’s pup tent?  Maybe there’s giants inna woods!  I started lookin’ round a bit through the trees, wonderin’ if giants come out at sunrise or at sunset.

Riley had different ideas, though.  She wanted to know more bout the hole too.  So she got closer…an’ closer…

Then, alla sudden, yank! snap! Riley pulled the leash outta my hand and popped herself inna hole!


“Riley!” I cried.  An’ I was all sortsa panicked.  What if she went inna hole but never came back out?  What if she came back out an’ ran off? What if whatever made the hole was down in the hole wasn’t a silly giant but a mean monster an’ it ate her?  Then Riley’s li’l feet disappeared inna dirt, an’ all I could see was her leash rope.  Then it too slid away.  I wanna grab it tight, but if Riley was gettin’ pulled, pullin’ back might get her choked or somethin’.


Perdita put her paw on my arm an’ said I hadda calm down.  Riley was gonna be ok.  Even if there was somethin’ down inna dirt, she was strong an’ a good fighter an’ she’d be ok.  At least, I think Perdita said alla that.  It was in my head, at least.  I kept callin’ for Riley, askin’ her to come back.

Then the ground moved, an’ I held my breath.  Somethin’ black was wrigglin’ outta dirt.


Oh, my gumdrops! It was Riley’s nose!  I grabbed Riley up an’ held her close.  No more holes.  No more holes, please.


Perdita used a stick to try an’ find out more bout the hole, like maybe how deep it was or whether there was somethin’ down in there.


But she didn’t find much.  I was too worried after Riley’s disappearin’ act to explore holes more, so we headed back home.  We’ll go walkin’ other places where there aren’t holes tomorrow.  An’ maybe Perdita’n’me’ll come back sometime without Riley to learn more bout the holes.  But not today.  That was enough for today.


Riley: Thanks, Smidge!

Smidge did an awful fine job, keep in’ Riley safe for me. I still dunno how I ain’t seen her jump outta bag. Good thing I gotta great cuzzin!

I think Smidge really liked havin’ a pet. She kept askin Grammy Happy if she could maybe have a pet. An’ Grammy Happy said “Hmm…” an’ “Not yet…” an’ even “No.” Cuz Grammy Happy’s smart. Even tho I kept sayin’ Smidge could do it, seein’ how she grew up her flamingoes from feet an’ took care of her bay tree. Pets are different. They need ya alla time, not just when it’s easy.

But Smidge did mighty good for bout a week. Then alla weather round here got hot. I mean, hot like dragon fire’s goin’ in when you breathe an’ hot like did someone dump a bucket on your head when you walk out your door cuz you start sweatin’ an’ can’t stop. Smidge looked outside an’ realized she didn’t wanna walk a dog inna heat like that. Gumdrops, I almost didn’t wanna do it either! But I love Riley. When Smidge called to say she was done havin’ fun with  keepin’ a puppy, I hurried over an’ brung her home. Thanked Smidge over an’ over for keepin’ her safe.


But gettin’ Riley back, an huggin’ on her soft, wiggly body…yea. I don’t mind walkin’ in alla heat, or out when it’s rainin’ or anytime it’s bad weather. As long as Riley’s safe an’ happy, I am too.

Love ya, pup!