Non-fiction


Winter, or as they call it in the Land of Ath-o’Lea Forstig and Wintertide, is a rough time to be travelling The Trail. The group wakes up covered in snow on more than one occasion, and the wind whips into their face while they’re riding.

While writing a scene, I always have to be aware of the weather. The big question is: Is there snow on the ground? It can change everything.

For example, a scene in Revelation Stones, book 3, has Isla wearing a cape that makes her invisible. She arrives through a portal and steps outside to learn where she is. The snow complicates things:

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Travelling Food

At the moment, my characters in Healing Stones (Castle Keepers Series: Book 4) are travelling through Yikker Wood. They left Inglenook about two weeks ago, and they won’t reach a settlement to buy supplies for another three days.

This means they must carry all their food in packs or saddle bags on their horses. They could hunt, and they may resort to that, and they’ve picked mushrooms along the way to add to their dwindling supplies.

Starting Out

For several days after they left Inglenook, they ate biscuits, bacon, eggs, bread and meat, but those perishable goods are gone after 14 days. This is the point where I scramble to find food for them to eat, so they won’t starve.

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Sun shineWhen I was young and snow covered the ground, I walked into the woods and listened. The stillness fascinated me. It was as if the world had stopped, as if I were the only one walking Earth.

Is there night when snow is upon the ground? Is there darkness? I don’t ever recall it being too dark to explore. It seemed as though the snow lit the forest and provided enough light to mark my way.

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Bird FeederBirds in the garden offer many benefits. Their songs brighten the dullest morning, and it’s great fun to watch them grow, play and search for food. They also eat their share of pesky insects and bugs.

Bird feeders are one way to encourage birds to visit the backyard. Homemade and store-bought feeders attract birds equally as long as they can reach the seeds they’ll eagerly gobble-up. If a feeder is maintained through winter, it should be continued through summer. Birds become dependent on it while feeding hungry hatchlings.

Hummingbirds love red flowers, including red tulips and red daylilies, but not everyone can keep enough red flowers in bloom to feed these active birds. This is where feeders come in handy. Various types, including ones that stick to windows, are available.

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PloughPeople have been farming for centuries. In the beginning, work was done by hand with simple tools. As the world population continued to grow and people began living in cities, the market for food increased.

Crofters began inventing tools and small machines to do the work faster with less effort. This increased their output without having to hire as many hands to work the farm. The use of iron in the machinery added strength and longevity.

Below is a cultivator which was used in the early 1800s. It would have been pulled behind a horse, oxen or similar animal. The small wheel in the front would have helped get it from one place to another, but I wonder if it was left on once it was hooked into the harness gear. It would have easily fetched-up on stones and hard lumps of soil, making work more difficult than need be.

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This device has a long history. It’s a tool used by cooks, magic maidens and healers. Thousands of years ago, the Aztec and Maya used a similar utensil made of basalt for cooking. Evidence reveals Native Americans created mortars in bedrock and used a pestle to grind acorns and other nuts.

The mortar is a strong bowl, or as history has shown, an indent in a hard surface with the capability to hold material. The dimension of the vessel varies, ranging from the size of a dessert bowl to a barrel. It’s usually made of hard wood, ceramic or stone.

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