Halloween Eve, after alla Littles were tucked in blankets on the floor an’ cozy, I was lookin’ for monsters out the window (just in case).  I mean, it was Halloween.  It was time for ghosts an’ ghouls an’ monsters an’ evil spirits makin’ tricks.  So it was time for keepin’ watch.

Out the window, I thought I saw a light.  I watched it for a bit.  It kinda came an’ went a little.  Then it was steady.  Hmm.

I checked the Flock.  Asleep, all of ’em.  Falcon sprawled on his back, mouth gaped open an’ snorin’ soft.  Meikiko asleep face down over his stomach.  Cooper inna ball.  Wren an’ Sparrow an’ Nim tucked under their blanket.  All good for now.  But somethin’ might be comin’.

So I stepped out inna night.  It was cool, but not cold.  I was barefoot, feet soft-swishin’ through the leaves an’ silent-steppin’ on pine needles.  The moon was a tiny sliver, but the light ahead was steady gettin’ brighter.  Looked like fire.  I started thinkin’ bout alla fire monsters: dragons, phoenix, hellhound, salamander?  But no, not a monster.  Just a fire.  An there were people sittin’ by it.


Juniper an’ the witch.  They said this was how we all outta celebrate Halloween.  Only they didn’ call it Halloween.  They called it “Samhain” (I hadda look it up later, cuz it didn’t sound nothin’ like how it’s spelled).  They asked me to sit with ’em.  They were gonna sit all night with their fire cuz it was a way to honor dead spirits an’ cuz it was a good time for powerful magic an’ a time when doors inna other worlds might open for a bit.


It was nice, sittin’ with them.  I didn’t see any doors openin’, an’ I didn’t see any magic happenin’, but it felt special, like first snow inna night, when snowflakes are driftin’ down through trees an’ it’s so quiet you might be the only soul inna world.  I kinda fell asleep sometime inna night.  When I woke up, it was mornin’, the fire was out, an’ both witch an Juniper were gone.  The house was quiet still an’ everybody safe.  No monsters.  So maybe keepin’ watch by a fire kept alla monsters away?

I dunno where the Witch an’ Juniper went.  Maybe a magic door really did open an’ they slipped through.  I don’t mind not goin’.  I wouldn’t wanna leave the others behind.  But I hope those two are doin’ ok, wherever they got to.


Back to Virginia

Before we hadda leave Washington (cuz Pip an’ Amalynn an’ Aunty Glenda were comin’ back to Virginia with me!), we sat down an’ watched  a video an’ ate popcorn an’ did sleepover things.

Movie Night

Flyin’ back wasn’t so bad.  Onna way out, we got extra-checked by security, cuz they thought…well, I dunno what they really thought, but we sure got extra checked.  We was poked an’ prodded, an’ they made us lift up our arms an’ stuff.  Nothin’ like that happened onna way back, tho.  We just watched clouds outta window, an’ talked, an’ were glad we’d have more time spendin’ together until they gotta go back home to Washington.

In Virginia, there was a lot of work with alla beans cuz they were cleanin’ outta house an’ moving things.  I kinda sorta ignored alla that.  I think Snip paid more attention.  But we girls just hung out together an’ had fun.  Gramma Happy’s house has a lotta cousins now, an’ they gotta nice room set up with bunk beds (bunk beds!!  Wren, we gotta get some bunk beds.  They are super duper cool!!)  Amalynn an’ me hadda idea first, an’ we tested it out…

Upside Down

Hehe!  Yep, the world upside down was super cool!!  It looked all wonky an’ weird!  An’ it just made us giggle.  I called over to Pip an’ Smidge, invitin’ em to try it out too!

Upside Down Everybody

Havin’ alla we upside down just made me laugh more.  It was awesome good!  But it gave Pip a headache after a bit, so she an’ Smidge hopped up.  Then they found out that, cuz they’re short, an’ the mattress is squishy, they could jump onna bed while we was upside down, an’ everybody could be havin’ fun!  (without gettin’ a headache)

Jumping On Bed

An’ then, I guess cuz I’d been in Virginia for a bit but hadn’t come home, Cooper came lookin’ for me.  Poor Cooper.  Grammy Happy said he hadda stay inna room with alla boys, an’ I think he got kinda overwhelmed.  He likes history an’ books an’ stuff, an’ they was all talkin’ to him bout…well…I dunno. He wouldn’t say. But it was more’n he wanted!


He brought somethin’ for Smidge, tho.  Back at Krissmiss, Wren helped me make her an elephant hat.  But when I came to gift it, she wasn’t home.  An’ Snip seen it, an’ he took it for himself, cuz he loved it so.  I know Smidge didn’t mind.  Like I wouldn’t mind if Cooper loved somethin’ I was given an wanted it himself.  But I wanted to give Smidge a hat too.  So Wren’s been workin’ on somethin’ special…


Hehe!  She’s so stinkin’ cute!  PINK elephant hat.  Perfect for Smidge!  Apparently the ears are a bit big, cuz there was a gust of wind, an’ Smidge kinda almost went flyin’ off!  But she says she doesn’t mind.  She loves it.  I don’t think she’s taken it off since Cooper brought it.

Cooper an’ me went an’ explored the campsite one morning, afore anybody was awake.  I dunno if he’d ever been campin’.  He sure was interested in alla different parts!  So I took him out to the campsite, an’ we explored round a bit.


Cooper found a bag of marshmallows near the fire, so once we got it goin’, he stuck one onna stick an’ started roasting.


I guess marshmallows smell good, an’ the scent carried.  Soon, a whole lotta folk showed up!  An’ we got to singin’, an talkin’, an’ makin’ food, an’ havin’ a good time.  Cooper kept makin’ everybody marshmallows.  He found a good way to get ’em toasted onna outside (but not charred black!) an’ super soft an gooey inna middle.


Pip an’ Amalynn showed up, too.  It was a good day.

An’ there was a holiday!  The country’s birthday, 4th of July.  Alla beans had good food, an’ there were fireworks, an lotsa music.  There were sparklers too, an’ bubbles.  I like sparklers an’ bubbles!



But sparkler time meant it was time for Pip an’ Amalynn an’ Aunty Glenda to go home to Washington.  I don’t like goodbyes.  They aren’t fun. Lotsa hugs, lotsa tears, lotsa sad.  I like hellos so much better.

Smidge an’ me helped Grammy Happy take ’em to the airport, an’ wave goodbye.  I don’t think they like goodbyes either.  Solution:  we gotta find one place where we all can live.  That way the goodbyes aren’t so much like goodbyes, but more like see ya laters.  I wonder if Wren knows how we can get the government to move our house?


Smidge found me loads of kleenex.  Then a bucket.  An’ a mop.  I made a real mess.  Thank you Smidge, for bein’ such a good friend.

An’ I was such a mess, when it came time to go, I ain’t seen Riley jump outta bag!  I didn’ realize she wasn’t with us til we got home.  Then I quick-wrote to Grammy Happy, who wrote back that she’d have Smidge take care of Riley.  But it was the middle of the night, an’ Smidge found Riley on her own inna mornin’, an’ now she kinda wanna keep Riley, or get a pup of her own…  hehe.  I guess that’s somethin’ she’s gotta sort out with Grammy Happy!  At least I know Riley’s safe.



Fairy Stones at Fairy Stone State Park


Cooper wanna take me somewhere an’ do somethin’ he like doin’ from when he live with he adopt family.  He wanna go out findin’ rocks.  Cuz it meant I gotta dig inna dirt, I said that sounded grand, an’ off we went to Fairy Stone State Park.  We was lookin’ for fairy stones!

Yeah, I know.  Whassa fairy stone?  I asked same thing.  There’s a legen bout some fairies what lived round there inna woods, an’ when they hear bout some guy who died, they cried so much it made li’l cross stones inna earth, an’ people walk round an’ find ’em still.  In true, it’s a kinda rock called staurolite. Cooper say it gets made way down deep inna earth, an’ it sits down there for long long time, til the earth gets all rocky an’ up-heavy an’ makes some mountains, an’ then the fairy stones come up too.  Maybe he could tell more bout the rocks for real, but that’s what I remember.  I like the fairy story.

Atta park, we ain’t ‘lowed t’ use no tools or nothin’.  We hadda dig with we hands an’ fingers, pushin’ dirt round a bit.  Cuz it’d rained some, the park guide said that’d make it easier, an we outta look up near some tree roots cuz somehow trees make ’em come up better?  I guess maybe trees like fairies, an’ they wanna…mmm…I guess trees like fairies?

CooperKestrel Prep Phase 01 ruruko

We hadda li’l talk bout how to dog, an’ whatta look for, an’ Cooper showed me some other rocks round there so I’d know what I wasn’t lookin’ for.  I kinda listened, but it was nice lookin’ round atta forest, listenin’ to alla birds an’ watchin’ butterflies an’ all.

CooperKestrel Prep Phase 05 ruruko

Then he got down an’ showed me how we outta be diggin’ an’ lookin’ inna dirt.  So I got down too an’ poked round through sticks an’ old leaves an’ such.

CooperKestrel Searching 01 ruruko

When I look up, I seen a spider crawlin’ cross Cooper’s back.  He ain’t too keen onna creepy crawlies, but when I try’n coax it offa he back, he got all suspicious an’ made me tell he what was happenin’.  An’…oh…I tell he I wasn’t gonna repeat what happen then, but it made me laugh an’ laugh, til I gotta stich uppa m’side!

(shhh…don’t tell he I shared this picture. whole forest sure did turn when he hear what was crawlin’ onna he!!)

Cooper Searching 02 ruruko

After that, he says that weren’t a good spot at all, not at all.  I was still laughin’.  But we move on a bit.  Was awful nice: warm, sunny, li’l breezy.  We was outside, an’ spring was for sure inna air.

After a bit, we came to a hill an hadda climb up.

Cuz I gotten up first (I was wearin’ m’ hikin boots, after all, an Cooper just had he sneaks), I try’n help he up by talkin’ an’ reachin’ m’hand down.  An’ both we gots uppa hill after a bit, an’ started lookin’ again for fairy stones.  We found some, too!  They was neat, sorta geometric-shaped things all cover up by dirt.  An’ I find some strange strange thing.  They was pokin outta tree root, like they was the root itself, but they ain’t the tree root atall, cuz…well…cuz they’s stone, an’ trees ain’t stone.

When I showed it to Cooper, he said maybe it was stone-wood, called petrified wood.  What?  When inna world did a tree ever become a stone!?  But he said was for true, it happen alla time.  Lotsa stones is made outta dirt an’ wood an’ things what gotten trap down inna earth an’ gotten pressed or heated or dried out or somethin’, an’ time turn ’em from good clean dirt or tree inna stone.

Oh gumdrops.  My head hurt, tryin’ make sense outta what he say.  Even though it weren’t a fairy stone, I keep my stone tree piece.

That got me thinkin’ bout trees, though, an I unfocus from what Cooper wanna do.  See, there was this tree, an’ I wanna climb it some…  I try’n’ get Cooper climb with me, but he say no no no, he wanna stay safe onna ground, lookin’ for he stone.

Tree CooperKestrel 01 ruruko

Ok by me!  I climb uppa tree!

An’ climbin’…

Tree Kestrel Climbing 04 ruruko

After a bit, I stopped an’ sat an’ just looked ’round.

It was awful pretty.  I could see some water off a ways, an’ Cooper down inna dirt, lookin’ for he rocks.  There was a pair of hawks inna tree, buildin’ they nest cuz they was gonna lay eggs an’ have chicks.  They were awful pretty hawks, all soft brown an’ white banded on they wings an’ chest an’ tail.

I kinda forgot bout searchin’ for fairy stone, it was so nice up inna tree.  There was squirrels an’ chipmunks an’ lizards, an’ flowery trees, an new-grow leaves, an’ alla world smell fresh an green.  It was warm, an’ I wanna taken nap, but I knew I’d fall outta tree for sure, an’ that didn’t seem like too good an idea.  So no nappin’.  Just watchin’.

When I climb down, Cooper was finishin’ up he findin’ trip an’ packin’ rocks inna bag.  We haul it back down the mountain an’ headed home, where we gotta show alla fairy stone to we friend.  Wren got alla big-eye when we came in with red dirt an’ rocks, cuz it mussed up her clean floor, but I’ll get sweepin’ soon.




While we was talkin’, off inna corner, I seen Juniper watchin’ we right close, like we got somethin’ special she wana be parta.  Or like we got somethin’ she thinks she wanna have?  But she ain’t come no closer.


I hadda good time with Cooper inna woods.  We’re gonna go out again sometime soon, maybe try’n find somethin’ else inna dirt.


Alla we at Myrtle Beach, SC

We had so much fun today!  Alla we went down to play onna beach.  We found some pretty pretty seashells an played inna sand.  I hoped maybe we’d see Jax the dog again, but he wasn’t out playin’ with his ball.  Saw a poor doggy stuck on a balcony, barking, but then his people came out an let him in.  Oh! An’ there were pelicans an seagulls an seaweed.  I was hopin’ maybe we’d see a dolphin or somethin’, but Wren said she didn’t think it was good dolphin weather or somethin’.  What kinda weather does a dolphin like?  How can it tell what the weather’s gonna be if it’s swimmin’ inna sea??  I didn’t see dolphins today, but I’m gonna keep lookin’ tomorrow.

We came ‘cross bunches of beach chairs out onna sand an though maybe it’d make a nice picture.  So alla we stood pretty an got our picture taken together, as one big family. Alla dolli sisters an’ cousins an’ friends.  It was good to do that.  We took another up onna porch when we got back to the house, too.



(Left t’ right: back: Sippie, Wren, Rikki, Hazel, me!, Vega. middle: Snip, Poppy, Nim, Smidge, Lily Kitten, Pip, Kitty Kitten, Angel Kitten. bottom: Meikiko, the Witch, Winter (who was kinda havin’ a hard time keepin’ it all t’gether today), Baby Bunny, Aqua, Rosy, House Boy)

When we got back inside, Rikki told me I outta go back out an stomp my boots some more cuz I was makin a mess still.  So I sat down an’ tooka look, an’ sure enough, she was right.  I oughta’ve wiped my boots off a bit more.  I had all sortsa sand stuck inna treads!  I went out an’ cleaned ’em up a bit, but I took a picture first so’s I could remember!  How cool, right?  I mean, there’s sand in m’ boots!


Tomorrow’s gonna be awesome. I just know it!



Access Denied

Ok.  So I hiked over to Dolli Lane this morning with my trusty pink rain boots on my feet (and a good thing too: the path was full of puddles from the overnight rains!)  Aqua answered the door and dragged me off to see their rocking horse.  I had to watch her rock for a bit, and Angel and Lily were in another corner of the room, playing pat-a-cake.  It was a happy way to spend time.  The Littles always make me smile.

But I went looking for Nim after a while, when I could get away.  Found her upstairs with Poppy and Kitty, reading a book.  I didn’t want to interrupt, so I sat down.  They were reading Surviving the Applewhites. Nim even passed me some of the reading, and the Littles enjoyed listening, even though I wasn’t as good as Nim.  By the time I looked up, the crowd of Littles was two or three kids deep.  Wow.

I like that book!  It makes me think we should set up a creative school for all of us.  I’ll have to talk about it with Nim and Wren later.

But back to my mission.  When we set the book aside, I told Nim I needed to speak to the witch.  She gave me a funny look.  I know nobody talks to the witch, but it doesn’t mean we can’t.  We just don’t.

Then there was a little tug on my sleeve.  When I looked down, Winter was standing just beside me.  She said that she didn’t think the witch was accepting visitors today.  It wasn’t the right phase of the moon or something.  Made me scratch my head. What kinda person only talks to other people when the moon is one shape or another?  Then she said maybe I could get in if I brought the witch a gift.

Yeah.  No.  I told Winter thanks, but I was gonna go talk to the witch.  We need answers.  So I marched up the rickety attic stairs and knocked on the door at the top.  At first, there was nothing. I was gonna knock again, when a voice from the other side asked “Who’s there?”

“Kestrel,” I said.

“Kestrel who?” the voice said.

“Kestrel me.  Let me in, please. I gotta ask you about monsters.”

“The witch is not taking visitors today.  Come back in two days, when the moon is but a ghost.  And bring a mushroom.  It will appease the spirits.”

“That’s crazy.  We need help now.  The monster won’t wait for the moon or mushrooms.”  And I knocked three more times.  But the witch wasn’t there.  And the door was locked.  So I went back down.

Nim didn’t have the key to the attic anymore.  She says she thinks the witch took it.  Which is a shame, cuz the kitchen for Dolli Lane is in the attic.  They’ve been eating lots of salads lately, which is ok.  The veggies come from the garden, and they can get water from the pump.  And Vega’s got a nice firecircle out back where she puts pots on to boil to make tea or to boil eggs or something.  But it’s gonna be harder in the winter.  I hope the witch lets them in then.

So now I gotta go back home to tell Wren that we still got nothing, because the witch won’t talk until the moon is a ghost and she gets mushrooms.  Ugh!!  Witches.

While I was writing this on Vega’s computer, I checked on my Facebook page and saw a picture that gave me an idea.  My friend Sippie posted a picture of her and her new friend Riki.  And I remembered that Sippie comes from a long line of vampires, even though she’s a vegetarian and only drinks O-neg.  Vampires are kinda like monsters.  Maybe she an’ her family can help us figure out what kinda monster we got and how to make it go away for good.

But mushrooms…where’m I gonna get mushrooms? Does she want them for her soup, or for a spell?  And what kinda mushrooms?!

Ok.  Sippie first.  Then home with the bad news.  Then mushroom hunting.  Then back to the witch.

Wish me luck.


Weapons testing: Chopsticks

More weapons testing: Wren found these great big sticks.  They look kinda like chopsticks, but big big big. Taller’n me!  Hazel said she thought maybe they were as big as pocky sticks.  So we tested ’em out. Wren was ok with using them as weapons, so she helped this time.


They were lots stronger than the pocky sticks, too.  They made a great big crashing sound when we crossed ’em.  And I felt the whack all the way down my arms!  It was wild.  So I think it’ll be a good weapon.  Plus, if the monster gets close enough, maybe we could use the long sticks to jab it in the eye or something.  (nobody got jabbed in the eye during testing, though).


When I was looking back at the pictures, this one of Wren made me laugh.  She looks so fierce!  She needs to get a battle skirt now.


But, no matter how good the testing session with weapons went, we’ve still got this other question left: what’s our next step?  How can we make the monster go away?  We’ve got good weapons to drive it away, but not good ones to kill it. And I’m not sure I want to kill anything, anyway.  It seems pretty scary too.

So we sat down and talked.  It didn’t go very far. I kept asking “What’re we gonna do now?” and Wren kept saying “I don’t know…”  It seemed pretty hopeless.


Then suddenly a voice piped up from around the corner.  “I have an idea…”  Juniper had been listening to our conversation. We didn’t even know she was there!  She’s super quiet, like a… like a… well, like a quiet thing.  A dandelion puff, or a spring breeze. (Wren doesn’t want me to talk any more about my other ideas about Juniper, so I’m not bringing’em up here).

No matter how weird I think she is, she got our attention.  None of us have known what to do, not one bit. So, if she had some ideas, I was gonna listen good.  She suggested that we go talk to the witch, the one over at Dolli Lane.  She said the witch probably knew all about monsters and creatures from the upside down that might be able to move in and out of rooms without needing a door or a hole.

When I tried to ask her more about the upside down (I mean, what is that? where is it? and how did Juniper know about it?), she wouldn’t say anything else.  Nothing.  She just turned around and went back the other way, round the corner to wherever she’d been before she gave us that idea.  After that, Wren and I just kinda looked at each other.  We knew what the next step would be.


I’m gonna need to find my boots.  I can’t go talk to the witch barefoot.


Hot, lazy days

We haven’t been doing much lately.  It’s been too hot.  Sticky hot, popsicle-melting hot, go live in a cool pool hot.  Makes me wish for winter.  But I always wish for winter!

One night, when we were all tired of salads and sandwiches, Juniper rolled up her sleeves and made us something called “sushi.”  Vega helped her.  It kept the kitchen cool, because all they cooked was some rice.  Then they wrapped it up in seaweed, added some other ingredients (like avocado and sweet potato and crab), and cut the seaweed-rice rolls into small circles.  Wren and I squeezed lemons to make lemonade, and dinner was served!


I admit: I like seaweed.  I like it a great deal more than I thought I would.  We all ate until we thought maybe our stomachs would explode.  Afterwards (and thankfully it was after), Juniper said that some kinds of sushi are made with raw fish. Wren and I looked at each other and quickly said no thanks: we like the veggie version.  Juniper just shrugged and smiled, the way she does, and said there’d be more for her to eat, then.

That night, though, my stomach hurt. A lot. Wren brought me cool water with mint leaves to sip.  She tucked me into bed with my stuffed bunny, then she lay down beside me and told me funny stories until my stomach stopped hurting.  It was really nice.  I like it when I get to spend time with just Wren.  There are so many of us now that it doesn’t happen very often.  Each chance is like a sweet memory, a drop of honey in the mind.


Meikiko found a music player that works with earphones.  She’s in heaven.  She doesn’t need to blast her music through the house now when she’s practicing her dance moves.  Plus she said she can tune into different radio stations, so she’s not limited to the music she had before.  I like playing with her music maker, but I have a hard time tuning to a station so we get more than static.  I think the device is in good hands with Meikiko.


Wren mentioned two things:  we might be getting a surprise soon (yay! I love surprises!) and we need to clean soon.  Even I noticed that.  The floors are getting messy as we track dirt in from outside.  Since it’s been so hot, there’s more and more dust everywhere.  We’ll break out the brooms and do a clean sweep  to shake the dirt out.

But, before that, some sort of surprise!   Wren seemed to think that we’d all like it. I wonder what it might be?