NaBloPoMo Picture Prompt

November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.

I’m not writing a novel this month but three cheers for those who are. I love books! Please keep writing them all you fantastic novel writers!

November is also National Blog Posting Month or NaBloPoMo.

As you may have noticed, I’m all in on that one, posting a blog a day all month.

Some days it’s easy and I’ve got words oozing out my finger tips and pictures to share jumping off the camera but I know eventually I’ll come to a day when I’m not sure what to say. There’s a lot of chat online about the solution to this problem. The group of happy, tiny, cheer peppers that I belong to shares writing prompts and tips of all kinds. But, personally, my pre-blog planning is to just take pictures of everything.

My blog is primarily just about my daily life and so anything I come across during my day that is of the ordinary or pretty or funny or that might jog a memory gets a picture snapped. I have pictures of a box of candy that was hidden and then forgot, me and a goose in the dark, chickens roosting three inches off the ground in a small bush and a close up of snow in my hair, just to name a few.

Looking for inspirational photos makes me look closer at the everyday things in life, like the latch to the gate into our orchard. It’s a nice latch. It’s even my favorite color. 

It’s also full of mouse turds.

Other than wondering what a mouse was doing hanging out on a cold metal gate latch overnight and why I thought that was picture worthy (Well it is odd, and I guess I am writing about it..) I really have nothing to say about this.

But do you?

Can you use my gate latch turned mouse bathroom for a writing prompt?

(Go ahead and copy the photo if you do just don’t forget to link back so I get to read your brilliance!)


Read the poem inspired by the picture at Loristory!

Color Harmony

John is color blind. Not terribly so, just enough that sometimes he tries to argue that a green sweater is grey or can’t immediately appreciate the beauty of a group of cardinals at the feeder in the snow.

John is also my editor. He proof reads, tells me when I’m not making any sense, adds lots of commas and pretty much every apostrophe you’ve ever seen on this blog (Ooo! except that last one, that one was all me!). Occasionally he helps me pick pictures. Because when you like taking pictures (I do like taking pictures) and you have a new camera (I do have a new camera) it’s easy to take 500 million pictures of a leaf and then get lost in the choosing just one process because you are so excited to show off the focal range of your new camera (true story).

Tonight I was looking through my pile of pictures to choose the picture for this week’s dogwood photography challenge.  It’s about color harmony, pairing opposites on the color wheel, mixing warm and cool colors and I had too many pictures, I needed my editor… my color blind editor…

But there is more to a picture than color, and so between all the pictures of the dead leaf stuck in the evergreen tree, and the grapefruit tree with the red watering can and a pillowcase with blue beads (and yes of course there were multiple of each) he choose this as one of his favorites. 

And it does have warm and cool colors.

So I’m going with it.

And I haven’t over thought it even a little…


Not me.

I’ve got a color blind editor, what’s to overthink?


In My Element?

Perhaps you’ve noticed things haven’t been what one would call… easy, around here lately.

In addition this non-easy month has been filled with things that, thankfully, I don’t have much experience with. This of course makes them harder to handle and it feels as though all my answers now start with “I don’t know…”.

Today is the last day of a month of blogging (Applause welcome. Thank you!) and of all the things that happened this month, of all the stressors in life, blogging daily wasn’t one of them. I relished the time that I “had” to sit down and post something. I can do this. I am not the best blogger in the world, but I’m good at this. I know what I’m willing to share, and what I’m not. My writing is often missing punctuation and my pictures aren’t perfect but I’m proud to be able to share both anyway. Decisions in my blogging world have been easy. I know blogging.

Today, on this last day of daily blogging, Jane came home sick.

Super puking sick.

I went from a day of catching up on life and trying to make difficult decisions about things I’d never done, or am just learning to do, into sick kid mode. We have barf buckets, hair has been pulled into ponytails. There are extra blankets and water to sip. I’ve been running up and down the stairs emptying her bucket, tucking in her blankets and giving her water. And you know what? This might be the most relaxed afternoon I’ve had all month. I can do this. I’m not the best at mothering sick kids, but I’m good at this. I know what to do. I’m not debating if what I’m doing is the most important thing. I’m not wondering if I should be focusing my attention elsewhere. I’m doing what I need to, and I’m doing it well. Sick kids, though I never thought I’d say it, are easy.

It seems like I should now jump to the conclusion that this makes me the epitome of a mommy blogger (a phrase I have always avoided like the super puking plague). But, despite the fact that I’m relaxed and in my element while blogging and puker wrangling, that’s not it at all. Looking back at the month I am reminded that there are lots of things I’m learning. There are lots of things that are hard. And lots of things that have no good choices. I’ve spent the last month crying a boat load of tears and there was a good portion of them that were because I felt as if I didn’t know anything, that I had none of the answers.

But that’s not true, I’ve just been out of my element.  I know all sorts of things. I have lots of answers.  It’s just that this November things were really hard. When forced back into my element with a sick kid and blank computer screen I had a chance to remember… oh yes I can do these things, and a slew of others, well.

I just wish it hadn’t taken a dozen buckets of barf to remind me!

(And maybe I’m a mommy blogger too, but I’m still not ever going to own up to that.)

I Did The Thing!

I like challenges. They can be nice, concrete, sensible things or fairly arbitrary things like say, joining in with National Blog Posting Month and publishing a blog post everyday in November.  nanopoblano1

I suppose that’s the kind of thing which might seem silly. Why? Why would I decide I have to do such a thing. Well part of it, not gonna lie, is pure competitive nature. If you think you can do it, then heck yeah I can do it too! Another part of it is what happens afterwards. It’s over – I did it. I was a Tiny Pepper (team NanoPoblano) and I did the thing. On November 30th when I posted my last post I  bounced around the house in excitement. It feels good to accomplish goals you set, even if they are random things that make friends and family look at you a little sideways when you explain that you’d really love to x,y and z but first- you must go blog.

When it comes to blogging, it’s always been fairly easy for me to find something I want to post everyday. What I find less easy is “finding” the time to sit down and do it. Ever since John switched to a normal day shift and I lost my late night hours when I had the house to myself, I have been struggling. Wondering when I could find time to write and edit pictures without taking time away from some other part of my life that needed me. Thirty days later it turns out that time is hiding in all sorts of places and I am freshly reminded of how much I love blogging.iamatinypepper3

I am a Tiny Pepper. I did the thing and I’m going to keep doing it. Not everyday, (because -wow- 30 days in a row, you all need a break from that!) but more often. I do have time to do this thing I love and that’s worth taking on a 30-day challenge to find out.

Blogging the Moments

Christmas Day we took a walk down to the unfrozen lake to catch a beautiful, peaceful and serene sunset.Sunset at the lakeAt least, it looks that way after my efforts in Photoshop.

In actuality that moment, like the rest of our Christmas break, was full of kids (our three plus my two year old nephew), numerous dogs and not quite enough tired adults to field all the whining, barking, “Look at me!”‘s ,rolling in dead fish, crying and bouncing off the walls that was going on.

There has been a huge amount of material written about how we skew our internet presence to make our lives look better than they are. And to that I say, of course! I’m not taking a selfie in the clothes I’m wearing. Nobody wants to see the jeans I’ve been wearing for three days, combined with the top I worked out in, while I sport my “hairstyle” created through the subtle use of pony tails, sweat, and winter hats. Including me.

Including me.

I blog because I’m trying hard not to become one of the ferrets that eats it’s own young.

I blog because, if I look at this picture and squint just right, I can see all the fun, giggles, snuggling cousins and laughter that was mixed in the chaos.

I blog because sometimes, in the midst of the snot and the tears and the stinky dogs and the whining, it’s hard to remember that those happy moments are existing right along side. But if I share a moment like the one above, I’m sure to remember that life with kids is more than just accidents on the floor, snot on my shirt and sleepless nights.

I don’t need any help remembering what sort of mess I look like today, all that takes is a mirror.



Happy Tribus Day!

Happy Tribus Day!

A day to celebrate cookies, tea and blogging!Cookies, Tea, Blogging

What? You’ve never heard of it?

That’s OK. I’m sure it’s only because, thanks to CoachDaddy and Rarasaur, it came into existence earlier this week. And what a fantastic concept, because, well, cookies, tea and blogging! It’ll be international by this time next year!

(Of course if cookies, tea and blogging aren’t your thing, Tribus Day can work with that too. Just pick your three favorite things and start the celebration. That’s the beauty of Tribus day!)

I am happy to let cookies reside at the top of my list. They are my favorite thing, specifically chocolate chip cookies. I like other cookies, I might love some other cookies. But chocolate chip cookies never disappoint and that is a beautiful thing in a dessert.cookies

Cookies are extra fantastic because I like to bake. I’m not going to claim to be some expert baker but I’m a master craving fulfill-er. You come to my house looking for cookies, give me 20 minutes and I’ll have a hot one for you. Though you should plan to bring a Diet Coke just in case. You see I have this thing about baking (and driving, and waking up from a nap, and 3 o’clock in the afternoon and sitting at the computer and late at night with bourbon…) it’s just better with a Diet Coke at hand.making cookies with a Diet Coke

While cookies can be made on short order, the tea is always available.

View this post on Instagram

Better. #notamorningperson

A post shared by Behind The Willows (@behindthewillows) on

Mornings inevitably lead to a quick zap in the microwave in order to get the caffeine into my body as soon as possible. Other times of day I’m willing to wait for water to boil and the tea to steep properly for a superior cup. But in all that waiting you’ve got to do something, and nothing goes with tea quite like books.reading a book while waiting for water to boil Then once the tea is made you need to let it cool a bit so you can just finish the chapter, and then once it’s done there is such a nice rocking chair under the window, good light, and a spot nearby to set a cup of tea… Ahhhh!

As for blogging, well let me check some stats here… Looks like I’ve been blogging for 65 consecutive months and published 1,136 posts. This blogging business seems to have some appeal for me!

View this post on Instagram

I could get used to this!

A post shared by Behind The Willows (@behindthewillows) on

And the best part is that a majority of those posts have pictures. Pictures that I’ve taken. In the last few years my camera has gone from being somewhere about the house, to immediately accessible at all times. I have discovered that anything, even a trip to the park, can be made more enjoyable with a camera in hand.   And then, joy of all joys, I get to put them on my blog and share them! What’s not to love!?!

picture of laptop

I just tried to take a picture of the camera sitting next to the laptop – not my smartest move.


All three together?blogging, tea, cookies

Looks like a beautiful day!

Of course a day with my camera in hand and plenty of Diet Coke and books would be pretty awesome too.Camera, Diet Coke, BooksBut then I’d miss my cookies, blogging and tea!

Happy Tribus Day!

How will you celebrate?


Conversations With Myself

On Sunday we got back from a week long vacation and I am swimming in pictures and stories.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So many pictures and stories that most of them will get lost in the shuffle and hardly any will make it on here.

Which is why I thought about doing more blogging while we were gone.

But I didn’t because when we leave town I have an internal conversation that goes something like this:

Me: I should blog about this.

Myself: Yes, but then everyone would know you aren’t at home.

Me: So?

Myself: Well… you know they say bad people will figure out you are gone, where you live and go ransack your house while you are away.

Me: Those people have got to have something more lucrative to do than ransack our house! That would be a waste of time!

Myself: Well, they don’t know that there is nothing worth ransacking until they start ransacking.

Me: But seriously Myself, we have the shotguns with us, not to mention the camera and computer, what could they possible take?

Myself: Nothing, but they don’t know that we don’t have a T.V. or a stereo from this decade with a working power button or any other fun gadgets.

Me: Exactly, what are they going to do, steal the chickens??

Myself: You never know!

Me: I would be sad if my chickens were stolen.

Myself: See!

Me: I suppose then if it does happen all the people who told me never to blog when I’m gone will wag fingers and “I told you so” me – and I hate that.

Myself: As do I.

Me: So we shouldn’t blog.

Myself: Right.

Me: Even though it’s a paranoid, silly reason that we don’t believe in.

Myself: Right, because now we’ve had this discussion so that makes it more real.

Me: It does?

Myself: Yes.

Me: Oh…. Ok, no blogging.

Myself: Hmmm but if there is NO blogging then people could figure out we are gone because we normally blog and it’s a holiday and…

Me: Myself?

Myself: Yes?

Me: Shut up.

Myself: Sorry.