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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Weather, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 107

Laura Kidd's latest album "Direction of Travel" has just launched digitally, with a music video - and I made the animations on it. Watch and listen!

I am so proud to be part of this - it's an amazing song from a brilliant album.  I had to listen to it a LOT to synch up the drawings, and I still love it.

It took me a week of mostly drawing and redrawing rain drops, with assistance from my niece Paula who did the lettering.

An early test. A bit too inky!

Making a big neat sheet of regular rainfall, painted with a calligraphy brush pen.
Scanned and animated.

Most of the rain is hand-drawn to suit the specific scene, though.

Editing the rainfalls drop by drop to make it look more natural  that they are missing her face...

Experimental digital weather

Drawing a thunderbolt

Extremely helpful cat

All the lettering and some of the rain, by Paula

Zonked assistants


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2. The Thunder Maker, by Suzanne Rothman | Dedicated Review

The Thunder Maker is a tale that explores the power of sound and learning to speak words of kindness, including knowing when to apologize.

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3. Being A Captain is Hard Work: A Captain No Beard Story | Dedicated Review

Ahoy! Captain No Beard and his crew are back. In the latest installment to Carole P. Roman’s award-wining series, Being a Captain is Hard Work, readers learn it’s okay to make mistakes, especially when you learn something from them.

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4. Fog everywhere: an extract from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House

London. Michaelmas term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln's Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill.

The post Fog everywhere: an extract from Charles Dickens’ Bleak House appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. How is snow formed? [infographic]

Every winter the child inside us hopes for snow. It brings with it the potential for days off work and school, the chance to make snowmen, create snow angels, and have snowball fights with anyone that might happen to walk past. But as the snow falls have you ever wondered how it is formed? What goes on in the clouds high above our heads to make these snowflakes come to life?

The post How is snow formed? [infographic] appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. Kate Wilson

bluebird_670   journal_art_670 Katie_Wilson_Billy_Goats_Gruff_576 running_rabbit_small pods_birds_670 sun_clouds_full_670 meadow_1 

Kate Wilson is a New Zealand based illustrator. Her illustrations are peaceful and whimsical, concentrating on the wildlife and small beings that live outdoors. She has a keen eye for small things, which translates in her work. Her influences include; gardening and spending time with animals but she does dislike mowing the lawn! 

See more from this lovely illustrator at her website, blog and Facebook

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7. Look away now: The prophecies of Nostradamus

If you like your prophecies pin sharp then look away now. The 16th century celebrity seer Nostradamus excelled at the exact opposite, couching his predictions in terms so vague as to be largely meaningless. This has not, however, prevented his soothsayings attracting enormous and unending interest, and his book – Les Propheties – has rarely been out of print since it was first published 460 years ago. Uniquely, for a renaissance augur, the writings of Nostradamus are perhaps as popular today as they were four and a half centuries ago.

The post Look away now: The prophecies of Nostradamus appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Since April 19, 2015...

After Easter and the jury duty kerfuffle...

...to which I didn't have to go!
Happy dance, happy dance, everybody happy dance!

... I got a rejection on a query I sent to an agent about a month before.  Technically, she never responded to the query, which per the guidelines basically meant the same thing.  No reply, no acceptance.
Tears may have been shed.

But that's okay.  I dusted off my poor weeping query, gave it a little spruce up and sent it bravely back into the big wide world of agents.  I may have whispered a prayer to send it on its way.

Then I had a wedding I went to, last week of April/beginning of May, wherein my sister Amanda (keeper of the blog, Hit and Miss) designed floral arrangements for the altar, and we cleaned bucketloads of roses, carnations, baby's breath and greens and I made 15 centerpieces in glass milk jars for the reception.
Or rather:  Design ALL the flowers!

Speaking of which, I don't think I want to go to weddings anymore.  Waaaaaay too many people!
Way too many people I don't know, and way too many random people wanting to talk to me.
Talk? Talk?!   What makes you think I'd want to chat?  I haz nothing to say.  Unless we speak geek.  Then perhaps we speak.

Then we got BACK from the wedding and the weather has been liek dis:

And liek dis:
*snarf, grumble, grouch

It hasn't been NICE.  It has been the opposite.  It has been DARK.  My mood goeth downhill.

Directly after getting back, we were into Mother's Day week.  Which made the flower shop a crazy busy place.  Which meant yours truly got to work a six-day work week, after a weekend filled with flower arrangements and wedding feels and socializing.

Socializing, for me, can be physically more draining and damaging than a solid week's work, so piling MOTHER'S DAY WEEK on top of that was... was...

Sorry, words fail.

However, good news.  Before driving back from the wedding in Bakersfield, we stopped at Target and all four of us who had attended the wedding picked up copies of the Target Edition of Josh Groban's STAGES, which contains 17 tracks and are all of them amazing.
Make sure you get the TARGET edition with 17 tracks! The normal version
only has 13, so make sure it 's the special TARGET edition you're getting!

Josh has this superpower that never fails to make me marvel at how PERFECTLY he sings.
IMHO, he sings the only acceptable version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
*Oh Groban!

Speaking of Superheroes and Marvel, I also watched the first two episodes of Daredevil on Netflix during that wedding weekend, so when I got back from the wedding I proceeded to watch the other 11 episodes.

Matt Murdoch is the best!  I refuse to say anything, because, as Yoda say, "If Netflix you have, Daredevil you should be watching."  Seriously, he's a new favourite Marvel superhero.  He is so amazing and cool!  Unfortunately, now that I'm done with those 13 episode, the next season won't be up until 2016!  Netflix, why? Why? Whyyyyy?

Then I saw Age of Ultron.

All I'm going to say about THIS is, OH MY GOSH! HAWKEYE!! TONYSTEVETHOR! QUICKSIIIIIILVER!  JARVISJARVISJARVIS!! And never, ever, ever have I let a ship sink as fast as I let Black Widow's and Hawkeye's.  I was surprisingly okay with it.  I waved a hand and thought, I don't mind Natasha and Clint being friends.

After this, Teresa and Jack and I started watching Harry Potter.  I have never really watched Harry Potter.
I know, right?

I had read up to the fourth book (which *I* thought was horrifying) and then watched the fourth movie which, IMHO, did NOT live up to the fourth books horrifyingness (which is not a word, but I don't care.  I'm a writer.  I do what I want).  Frankly, the fourth movie rather bored me, so I gave up on the series.

Then, I dunno, after the final book had been published and was no longer talked about, I thought I might as well finish the book series, and while I thought J.K. Rowling did a fine job with writing, I wasn't entirely sold on the series.  I don't know why.  I just wasn't a fan.

So I have had no urge to watch the movies until after Valentine's Day, when after a long grueling day at work I came home, ate something fortifying and turned on the TV, and discovered The Chamber of Secrets was playing.  Having nothing better to do, I watched it.
I mean, after all, why not?

Since then, I've been off again, on again wanting to watch them, and we started our sporadic marathon about two weeks ago.  While the first four were nothing special (for me, anyway - and btw, the fourth movie is NOT as boring as I remembered it being.  Perhaps one needs to have been away from books and movies for a significant amount of time or something), we just finished Deathly Hallows part 1, and I'll admit the 5th, 6th and 7-1/2th movies engaged me more and made me feel a bit more connected to the characters.  (Though, and I'm speaking from my experience of having read the books YEARS ago, I am pretty certain the scriptwriters could have clarified Harry as being The Chosen One.  That shtick sort of makes an appearance in the Half Blood Prince, and while I *think* it was clear in the book, it was NOT AT ALL CLEAR in the movie(s), and I honestly can't remember how or why or who or when Harry became this Chosen One or even what it has to do with the plot.)
I feel ya, Minion

I don't think I'm still (yet) techinically a fan.  I haven't entirely finished the series, after all.  Deathly Hallows part 2 will possibly (probably) happen tonight, but now that I've watched the movies I can see why people have become fans.  I will be honest even more and state that I do have a bad tendency to quote HISHE or Honest Trailer lines during crucial moments of the movies (such as, Wizzzzard lightning battle! or, Look out, Harry, he doesn't have a nose!, or, "Just saving your life.  And countless others.  In the future.  It's a long story.")  But overall, my favorite characters are Snape, Professor McGonagall, George and Fred, and Harry.  I like Ron and Hermione, but those first five are my favorites.

Lastly, to bring my month to a close, the query I'd dusted off and sent back out came back with a request for the agent to see the full manuscript.
I may or may not have woken up my sister at the obscene
hour of 5:00 a.m. to show her the joyous news.

So I sent the full manuscript to the agent, and now I must wait up to 60 days to see what she thinks.  It's a bit torturous, but she was nice enough to admit that it was torturous, which was good to hear.  Empathy, empathy.  So all I can do now is pray... and hope... and pray... and, you know, hope.

So, that's been my month!  I hope yours has been just as exciting and eventful as mine, albeit less gloomy.  *Rain, rain, go away, come again some OTHER day.*

Until next month...

Cat! :)

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9. forward...punCH!

Good morning on this snowy day in suburban DC!  We're marching along briskly in our first week of the Forward...MarCH Poetry CHallenge (read the introduction to this project here) and our word today is "punCH"--another one with several meanings most delicious to the poet.

I'm posting my one previously published poem for the week, but first I'll share one from Donna of Mainely Write.  You'll see why...
A Punch of Sun

Packing a wallop
Up in the sky 
Noontime it reaches

--Donna Smith

Really tight, really strong, really great!  And how's this for a coincidence? 

Solar-Powered Sun Puppet

the dark side of me
glowers inside
drags at the tips of my toes

it feeds on clouds
on rainy skies
and only my shadow knows:

how heavy
the day is
how low the horizon
how sodden
and sad
I am

then sweet sun punches a hole in the clouds
sizzles and swims in my eyes
my shadow spills out through a hole in my sole
my darker side hung out to dry

how sudden and mad I am!

I’m sunny-side up
I’m pumped full of light 
my silhouette dances on walls

now I can see clearly:
my dark doppelganger
freed by the sun's high call

        my demon cast out, my shadow of doubt
        is the shadow that proves that I am

HM 2009
Pumpkin Butterfly: Poems from the Other Side of Nature (Boyds Mills/Wordsong)

I don't know Donna well, but clearly we have sunthing going on.  Go visit Donna's blog--there's a LOT going on there! 

Diane of Random Noodling has gone in a different direction with one of her senryu.  Love this marriage of words and image! (Too bad about Punch and Judy's marriage.)

 And Charles Waters is back, too--reminding me of all the "punch buggy, no punch-backs" that I've lived through in the car.

I bash my brother on his arm
I did this as a good luck charm
Until he punches my arm, whack!
 I then decide to pat his back.

(c) Charles Waters 2015 all rights reserved.

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]-->
Join us tomorrow for "fetCH"!

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10. Thematic Book List - Weather (An Introduction)

Weather describes the condition of the atmosphere at a particular place at a given point in time. Generally weather is described in terms temperature, pressure, wind conditions, moisture, etc. Because the weather is created by a mixture of factors, weather patterns change regularly. In contrast to this, climate refers to the "average" weather conditions for an area over a long period of time.

Here's an annotated list of books that provide an introduction to weather and weather forecasting.

Nonfiction Picture Books 
Can It Rain Cats and Dogs? (1999), written by Melvin and Gilda Berger and illustrated by Robert Sullivan - In an engaging question and answer format, this book provides a nice introduction to a range of weather topics. The book is divided into three subject categories:  (1) sun, air, and wind; (2) rain, snow, and hail; and (3) wild weather.

Feel the Wind (1990), written and illustrated by Arthur Dorres - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series provides fun book simplifies facts about wind so that they are easy to understand. Children will learn about what causes wind, its place in weather, and how we can use it. There are also instructions on how to make your own anemometer.

Gusts and Gales: A Book About Wind (2003), written by Josepha Sherman  and illustrated by Omarr Wesley - This book in the Amazing Science series describes many different types of winds, including global winds, trade winds, local winds, and breezes. The text also touches upon extreme wind weather, including hurricanes and tornadoes.

I Face the Wind (2003), written by Vicki Cobb and illustrated by Julia Gorton - This is a wonderful introduction to what wind is and how it works. It even debunks the popular idea that air weighs nothing. Readers simply need a few materials (a plastic bag, a hanger, balloons, etc.) in order to conduct the series of basic experiments within the book. Between experiments, readers are offered explanations of how wind does what it does and how we experience it. The simplicity of the language combined with the great illustrations and easy-to-do science experiments make this book a wonderful resource for teachers and parents alike.

The Kids' Book of Weather Forecasting (2008), written by Mark Breen and Kathleen Friestad and illustrated by Michael Kline - This book opens with directions on keeping a weather log and does a great job of encouraging kids to make observations and predictions about the weather. Readers will find a wealth of information about weather, as well as directions on how to create simple versions of the most common instruments found in a weather station, including a rain gauge, hygrometer, psychrometer, barometer, and anemometer.  

National Geographic Readers: Weather (2013), written by Kristin Baird Rattini - This level 1 reader describes weather in the simplest of terms. Written in short chapters with economical text, this is a perfect introduction to weather for the youngest students. Back matter includes a picture glossary.

Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today? All About Weather (2004), written by Tish Rabe and illustrated by Aristides Ruiz - This book from The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library is written in the style of Dr. Seuss. In it, Cat in the Hat and his friends travel by hot-air balloon and experience different types of weather and learn why we need to know what the weather is going to be. Back matter includes a glossary and list of additional resources. 

Pink Snow and Other Weird Weather (1998), written by Jennifer Arena and illustrated by Heidi Petach - This book in the Penguin Young Readers series looks at strange and unusual weather occurrences, such as pink snow, hail frogs, raining jellyfish, and more.

Ready to Read: Wind (2003), written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by John Wallace - This Level 1 text uses simple words and short sentence structures to introduce readers to wind and its role in creating weather.

W is for Wind: A Weather Alphabet (2006), written by Pat Michaels  and illustrated by Melanie Rose - In two levels of text, one poetic and one informational, readers are lead through an alphabet of weather terms (a is for atmosphere, be is for barometer, c is for cloud, d is for dew, etc.). Written by a professional weatherman and storm tracker, Michaels explains weather phenomena, instruments, and more in clear, easy to understand language. You miss the helpful teaching guide that accompanies the text.

Weather (2006), written by Seymour Simon - In stunning pictures and clear and engaging text, Simon provides a comprehensive look at the weather. Beginning with the sun as the driver of our weather system, the text moves on to examine wind patterns, temperature, clouds, precipitation, smog, and the greenhouse effect.

Weather Forecasting (1993), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons - In this book, Gibbons takes children through the four seasons and the weather that is associated with each one. She uses meteorologists at a weather station to explain how seasonal weather is predicted, observed and recorded. Some of the terms may be complicated for children, but Gibbons breaks them down so that they are easier to understand.

Weather: Whipping Up a Storm! (2012), written by Dan Green and designed and created by Basher - This book in the Basher Basics series presents a series of personified characters that describe their roles in creating weather. Chapters include World of Weather, Blue Sky Dreamers, Wet 'n' Wild, and Extreme Weather. Back matter includes a glossary. Learn more by thumbing through this sample.

Weather Words and What They Mean (1992), written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons. - In text and pictures, Gibbons reviews an extensive list of vocabulary words related to weather including different types of precipitation, weather instruments, temperature and much more. The final page presents a number of interesting facts about weather.

What Will the Weather Be? (2002), written by Lynda Dewitt and illustrated by Carolyn Croll - This book in the Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science series explains the basic characteristics of weather and how meteorologists use a variety of tools to gather data for their forecasts. Readers will learn what scientists know about the weather and how they use this information to try and predict it.

Make Things Fly: Poems About the Wind (1998, OP), edited by Dorothy M. Kennedy, illustrated by Sasha Meret - This collection of 27 poems devoted to the wind covers topics like the sound of wind, tornadoes, seasonal wind, windy nights, and much more. Includes poems by Russell Hoban, Eve Merriam, Myra Cohn Livingston, Karla Kuskin, and others.

Seed Sower, Hat Thrower: Poems about Weather (2008), written by Laura Purdie Salas - This collection of weather-themed poems was inspired by an amazing collection of photographs. The re are numerous poetic forms and the topics are wide ranging and cover all kinds of weather phenomena. 

Weather: Poems for All Seasons (1995), collected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Melanie Hall - This collection of poems in the I Can Read series covers topics like the sun, wind, clouds, rain, fog, and more.

Weather Report (1993, OP), collected by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Annie Gusman - This collection of more than 50 poems is divided into sections covering rain, sun, wind, snow, and fog. Each section begins with a brief folk rhyme, followed by a range of poem types written by a nice mix of classic and contemporary poets. 

Online Resources
For additional resources, consider these sites.
You'll notice that books on storms like hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards are missing from this post. That is the subject for the my next thematic list, so stay tuned!

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11. Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard, by Janice Dean | Book Review

Freddy the Frogcaster and the Big Blizzard does an excellent job of creating a creative way to get kids interested in learning about the science of weather.

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12. Picture Book Roundup - January 2015 edition

Some new picture book favorites!  A fairytale, a toddler book, and poetic nonfiction.  Enjoy!

A beautiful princess, a pony, a red umbrella and red tights.  This is the girls' empowerment fairytale that you've always wanted. Be who you are; love who you are. If the illustrations in this one do not enchant you, you have no magic in your soul.  (So glad that this one made the leap across the pond!)

While tow truck and fire truck are out performing rescues, mild-mannered and bespectacled garbage truck "just collects the trash." It takes a snowstorm and an attachable snow plow to turn him into Supertruck! Simply told and simply illustrated for a young audience, this is a story of doing your job simply because it's the job that needs to be done. I like it! 

Note: Despite its snowstorm theme, this one should be popular for the 2015, "Every Hero Tells a Story" summer reading theme.

A beautifully photographed, poetic look at rain - what it does and where it lands and how we see it. Simple, gorgeous science,

It thuds.
Makes mud.
It fills.
It spills.

Have a great week, and don't forget to check out the posts on the Nonfiction Monday blog.

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13. Stormy Night, by Salina Yoon | Book Review

Salina Yoon knocks this one out of the park with Stormy Night! This book features her most recent character, Bear, as he experiences the terror of a thunderstorm.

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14. Caldecott Honor-Winning John Rocco Talks About Blizzard

John Rocco discusses his newest picture book, Blizzard, the companion to your Caldecott Honor-winning Blackout.

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15. The Art of the Snot Rocket

I have no idea when I perfected it. The snot rocket is an art boys learn early on. We had our share of cold winters in Kentucky where I grew up. Winter, where the snot rocket is born…

You might say there is no skill involved in expelling phlegm from your nose. That’s where you are wrong. Anyone’s nose can run. The question is: can hold your nose just right, tilt your head and force it out properly so that it doesn’t land on your face or clothing? Because that would be embarrassing. Further, can you aim it while on the run so it doesn’t freeze and become a dangerous icy patch to those who come after you?

I can.


I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty good – darn good. I feel like if we could get this added as an Olympic sport, I could medal. Where is the SRAA (Snot Rocket Athletic Association) to champion this cause? Imagine that, a Southern boy winning gold in the Winter Olympics.

I got to test my skill Sunday. It dipped to freezing in Georgia for the first time this winter. I love cold runs. In fact, I planned on doing 8 miles and stretched it into 10. There weren’t many people on the greenway with me while I plied my phlegmy craft. Unbeknownst to me, there was a new factor at play.

Kylie has decided that she no longer likes the shape of my head and wants me to cover it with hair again. In fact, she decided she would like me to cover my face, as well. I don’t know what that says, but I am happy to comply. Just like I had always wanted to shave my head, I have always wanted to try to grow a beard. My lovely wife objected to both, but we do pretty much whatever Kylie wants while she is in treatment. So I have a week’s worth of stubble on my head and face.

I think it is going to come in. It looks slightly patchy on the cheeks, but a goatee will not be a problem. All the online beard-growing advice I’ve found says you have to give it a month before you decide. I can hold out. I’m actually kind of excited about it. Right now, with stubble all over, I feel dangerous – like a European bad guy in a James Bond film.

This new growth plays havoc with the snot rocket, however. I didn’t know it when I started running. I launched away for the 5 miles out. When I turned around, more people had joined the run and I noticed quite a few stares. I chalked it up to my new shady appearance. They must be afraid – wondering if I was planning dastardly deeds that only MI6 can thwart. Dangerous.

Little did I know until I got to the truck that I was stockpiling snot rockets on my new facial hair. Like twin demented antlers, they had collected and grown in a downward spiral shape from my upper lip. Yuck…

I have a challenge before me this winter of adapting the game to my new look. Don’t worry, part of being a professional is overcoming obstacles that stand in the way. And if the SRAA comes calling, I will shave and probably wax my upper lip to be competitive. Nothing can get in the way of an Olympic dream.

Filed under: Learned Along the Way

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16. The Death of a Cow

From the archives of the Portsong Guardian, dated May 1924:


A great loss occurred in Portsong today. Mae Wilkin’s cow, Flossie, took ill several weeks ago and poor Mae found her hooves up in her pen this morning. Since Flossie routinely slept in that position, Doc Harkins is not quite sure of the time of death as Mae can’t seem to recall the last time she saw her upright. The old doc is quite sure she has passed, though.

The death of Flossie not only leaves an empty stall in Mae’s stable, it leaves a great loss to the farming community at large. In 1908, Mae’s late husband, Homer discovered Flossie had quite a knack for weather prognostication. While his peers mostly considered him a lunatic, Homer persevered in honing the skills of his heifer until he finally won over believers after she correctly predicted the great hailstorm of March 1910.


His description of her amazing talent was detailed in the transcript of a radio interview by noted Savannah broadcaster Edwin F. Teague:

EFT: How did you come upon the discover of her ability?

HW: I began to noticin’ she always worked her cud on the left. I thought that to be a might peculiar, so I asked her about it one day.

EFT: You talk to her?

HW: Why sure I do. I talk to all of ’em. It sooths ‘em to hear my voice. No good milkin’ ’em without talkin’ sweet to ’em first. They’d squirt out beans or nothing at all if they weren’t peaceful! Anyhow, she didn’t have no answer. But the nexday, just by chance, I noticed she were workin’ it on the right. On about noontime, the sky opened up and cut loose a fierce storm.

EFT: So you noticed a pattern after that day?

HW: Yesir. It happened thataway every time. In fact, when it got to be planting season, I went out to see which side she was chewin’ on before I did anythin’.

EFT: Did you have trouble convincing other farmers about this skill?

HW: At first. If I were at the feed store out yonder in Linkston, I’d tell ’em what the day held and they’d laugh at old Homer. But after I was right so many a time, they had to listen to me. When I told ‘em it were Flossie, they laughed at me until the big storm in 19 and 10 turned out to be the Mighty Hailer! They quit their laughing after that.

EFT: Yes, how did you get from rain prediction to a storm of such magnitude?

HW: Well, it goed like this. When I went out to the field that day to check the weather, she had her mouth filled triple full and slop were coming out both sides. So I know’d it were something unusual coming. I asked her if it were so and she just lowered her big, soft brown eyes to the ground and I knew. I went running around town tell folks to tie down the winders, ‘cause I knew a big ‘un was on its way.

EFT: She prevented a great deal of loss that day. Thank you for your fascinating story, Mr. Wilkins.


Ironically, directly across from the story on page 13 was the following advertisement:

Wanted: The Portsong Guardian is seeking a weatherman for immediate duty. Part time - morning hours. Pay commensurate with experience. Bovine preferred.


Photo credit: William Warby (Flickr: Cow)

Filed under: Stories

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17. Science Poetry Pairings - Rain

I may have grown up where snow was the weather that was most talked about, but my favorite form of precipitation has always been the rain. In our old house in the city I used to love to sit outside on the porch swing when it rained and rock to the beat of the drops, and sometimes the thunder. William and I still like to play in the rain in the summer and jump in puddles in our bare feet. My favorite rain is quiet rain, early in the morning.

Today's book trio celebrates rain in all its wonder. 

Poetry Book
One Big Rain: Poems for a Rainy Days, compiled by Rita Gray and illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke, is a collection of 20 poems about rain through the seasons. Beginning with autumn, each section opens with a haiku about the season. Four additional poems follow. Gray includes eight haiku, two poems translated from other languages (Norwegian and Spanish), works by well-known poets like Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, and Eve Merriam, as well as works by poets whose names may not be familiar to readers. The illustrations in muted browns, grays, blacks and greens beautifully capture the mood and subject of the poems.

The book opens with an introduction that describes rain through the seasons. The introduction closes with these thoughts.
A gentle rain can shower, sprinkle, drizzle, or mist. Powerful rains beat down in storms and downpours, fall in streams and sheets, or race, rush, and gush in torrents. Rain can play a pinging beat as it falls will-nilly from the sky: pitter-patter, plip-plop, drip-drop, plink-plink. And puddles are perfect to splish-splosh. Poets have captured the language and rhythm of the rain, creating images that stay with us throughout the year.
          As you read about the rain, in various poetic forms,
          Ripple in it, float in it, boat in it.
          Go on, get wet.
Text © Rita Gray. All rights reserved.

Following the introduction is a note about haiku translations. Adapted from a work by poet and translator William J. Higginson, the emphasis is not on counting syllables, but on finding the best rhythm for the haiku in the new language.

Here's the poem that opens the season of spring.
calling . . . in the young leaves
a passing shower
And here's another poem from spring.
Little Snail—Hilda Conkling 
I saw a little snail
Come down the garden walk.
He wagged his head this way . . . that way . . .
Like a clown in a circus.
He looked from side to side
As though he were from a different country.
I have always said he carries his house on his back . . .
To-day in the rain
I saw that it was his umbrella!
Here's a sample spread from the book. You can download this from the Charlesbridge site as a double-sided poster.

The small trim size may make this one go unnoticed, but don't pass it up. It's a lovely little book of poems.

Nonfiction Picture Books
This Is The Rain, written by Lola Schaefer and illustrated by Jane Wattenberg, is a picture book about the water cycle that uses the familiar cumulative pattern of "The House That Jack Built." Bold, vibrant photo-collages accompany the text. It begins this way.
This is the ocean,
blue and vast,
that holds the rainwater from the past.
Can you guess where this goes? Next comes the sun to warm the oceans, which eventually forms vapor that fills the clouds, which produce the rain that falls. Here's the text from the page on rain.
This is the rain,
falling all day,
the forms in clouds,
low and gray,
full of vapor, moist and light
made when sunshine,
hot and bright,
warms the ocean, blue and vast,
that holds the rainwater from the past.
Text © Lola Schaefer. All rights reserved.

After passing through all stages of the water cycle, Schaefer circles back to the rain falling "somewhere every day." The book ends with a short note about the water cycle on planet earth.

When Rain Falls, written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Constance Bergum, is a picture book that explains what happens to animals in different habitats when it rains. Each habitat section begins with the words "When rain falls ..." and goes on to describe how different animals respond. Stewart provides readers with glimpses of 22 different animals in a forest, field, wetland, and desert. The soft, watercolor illustrations are realistic and provide subtle details regarding each habitat.

Here's an excerpt from the section on a field.
When rain falls on a field . . . 
...plump little caterpillars crawl under leaves and cling to stems. Adult butterflies dangle from brightly colored heads. 
A raindrop knocks a ladybug off a slippery stem. The insect bounces into the air and then tumbles to the ground.  
A spider watches and waits as the rain beats down on its carefully built web.
Text © Melissa Stewart. All rights reserved.

The text is clear, concise, engaging, and easy to understand. Readers will learn much about how animals adapt to inclement weather.

Perfect Together
All three of these books explore rain in different forms. Whether studying weather or the water cycle (really, they should be taught together, but often aren't!) students can learn about what causes the rain and how people and animals react to the weather. In my classroom I'd start with Schaefer's book and look closely at the water cycle. Then I'd focus specifically on rain by reading a few poems and following up with Stewart's look at how animals respond to the rain.

For additional resources, consider these sites.

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18. An Autumn Stroll

It’s pouring outside here in Boulder (really pouring…like a monsoon. Seriously, there are flash flood warnings in effect.) This turn of events has ended a streak of blistering hot days and put me in the mood for autumn. Bring out the galoshes and wool sweaters! Serve up the hot tea and warm soup! I’m ready.

So, without further ado, here is an illustration I made at work today to celebrate the changing of the seasons:

Watercolor ilustration of 1940s couple strolling down the road in autumn

You’re probably wondering why I haven’t updated my website since February. Yes, February. As in, A LONG TIME AGO. My only excuse is that I became slightly busy with little things like changing jobs and getting married. (I know, some people manage to still update their websites while doing other things, but some of us are a little more bloggingly-challenged.) Anyway, that’s what I have been up to. I can now happily say that I am now a full-time professional illustrator for a company here in Boulder, and I can also happily say that I have been married for a whole 10 days. Hooray!

My new employer is called Mocavo and is a genealogy web searching service where you can find out all sorts of delightful secrets about your great aunt Mildred and so forth. Unlike other web start-up companies I have encountered, this one had the good taste to hire a full-time illustrator to be on staff. Brilliant! You can find the Mocavo website here.

So, folks, I’m glad to be back here posting again. I have a ton of illustrations to share since I draw and paint almost every day now, so stay tuned for more to come!

The post An Autumn Stroll appeared first on Jessica Lanan Illustration.

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19. Over the Hump

I think we are over the hump of summer here in Minneapolis and I can’t begin to say what a great relief it is. Today was the kind of day I wish every summer day could be, sunny with a bright blue sky with puffy clouds scuttling across it, a cool breeze and a temperature of 76F (24C). Bookman and I did lots of outside work in the garden and between that and the fact that my end of summer allergies have kicked in and will continue until we get a hard frost sometime the end of September or beginning of October, I am done for today. Pooped, tired, tuckered out, exhausted, weary, zonked, beat, whipped, bushed. You get the idea. Interesting, isn’t it, that there are so many variations on being tired.

To be sure, there are still more hot days ahead in August, days we reach 90 (32) or warmer, but they will be fewer and fewer and days like today will be more and more. Heck, The maple tree in the yard across the street already has a few leaves on it turning red.

Enough rhapsodizing about the weather, though if you ever visit Minnesota, be prepared to talk about the weather a lot. People here love to talk about it especially with visitors. There is a certain pleasure taken in talking up how cold it gets here in the winter. We like to see the looks on visitor’s faces. The people in charge of tourism for the state have tried to tell us we shouldn’t do that because it scares people away. Yes, that’s the point. That way only the truly worthy and brave will venture here in winter and the wimps will go to Florida or California.

Wait, didn’t I say I was going to stop going on about the weather. Right.

So to give you something bookish today, Arti at Ripple Effects is hosting an Anna Karenina read along. I’m usually not one to join read alongs, but Arti caught me at the right time and I’ve been meaning to read Anna K for ages so, why not?

The reading takes place September – October. The goal is to read parts 1-4 by September 30th and parts 5-8 by October 31st. Pretty doable I think even if you are planning to take part in Carl’s annual RIP Challenge, which I am. So if you have been planning on reading Anna K and felt intimidated, need and extra push to get going on it, or just want to read it along with others for the fun of the discussion, consider joining in.

Now to go collapse on the couch and read a little Prisoner of Heaven, Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s latest. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Filed under: Books, Challenges, Personal Tagged: Anna Karenina, weather

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20. Lightning Strikes is Featured in Guardian Angel Kids Ezine

Hi All
I just wanted to share a nice surprise regarding one of my previously published books! I just found out that my book, Lightning Strikes is being featured in this month's edition of Guardian Angel Kids ezine. The theme is "weather", so my little rhyming counting book fits right in there. If you get a chance, stop by and check it out at http://guardian-angel-kids.com. The full press release is below.

CONTACT: Donna McDine, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Angel Kids Ezine
Email: [email protected] guardian- angel-kids. com

Website: http://guardian-angel-kids.com

For Immediate Release

Children's Ezine Guardian Angel Kids: Weather - September 2012 Issue

Welcome to the GAK September 2012 issue all about the weather.

The weather often times sets our mood. Editor-in-chief, Donna McDine enjoys

a cool autumn day with the wonderful visual of the colorful leafs

immediately relaxes me. With summer rapidly coming to an end McDine is

looking forward to the next change of seasons. While she enjoys the so

called lazy days of summer, McDine embraces the opportunity for a regular

school schedule affording her the time to focus on her own writing, and

continued work at GAK and private client publicity work.

The GAK staff invites you to sit for a spell and enjoy the every changing

world of weather. Take a ride on a cloud and dance in the rain through

poetry, experience the apprehension of a thunderstorm and competition

amongst friends at the school science fair through engaging stories. Or look

through the fog and learn how it helps the giant redwood trees of California

grow and learn tornado safety tips.

Visit the writers and illustrators in the Guardian Angel Kids September 2012

issue and enjoy the alluring poetry, stories, articles and activities,

www.guardian- angel-kids. com.

Letter from the EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Donna M. McDine

Featured BookS:

Lighting Strikes Flip Book by Kevin McNamee and art by Eugene Ruble

Cloud Jumpers Flip Book by Tracy Ahrens and art by Eugene Ruble

Children'S poetry, ACTIVITIES, SHORT STORIES, and articleS:

"One Little Cloud," by Barbara Bockman - the every changing cycle of clouds.

"Weather Wisdom," by Guy Belleranti - changing seasons.

"Crack Boom Crash," by Rose Thoman - how to stay safe in a lighting storm.

"Fair-Weather Friends," by Jennifer A. Buchet - science fair competition.

"When You Can't See the Water," by Mary Reina - how fog affects your life.

"A Dark Furious Looking Monster," by Irene S. Roth - the importance of

knowing what to do before a tornado hits.

Visit Guardian Angel Kid today and

www.guardian- angel-kids. com and enjoy a child safe and ad free Ezine.

We also invite you to stay connected with Guardian Angel Kids through our

Facebook Fan Page

http://www.facebook .com/pages/ Guardian- Angel-Kids- Ezine/1637850803 46247.

Please feel free to drop Editor-in-Chief, Donna McDine an email at

[email protected] guardian- angel-kids. com and let them know what you think of

Guardian Angel Kids and what you'd like to see in the future. They aim to


The Guardian Angel Kids Ezine staff and contributors look forward to your

visit. Thank you for your time and interest.


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21. Q&A With Character Chase Danger, Super Spy

……… Today we have a fun interview with a powerful character. His name is Chase Danger and he is a seven-year-old Super Spy. Yes, you read that correctly, he is seven-years-old, 7!  And he is a super spy.  Here with Chase Danger is one of the co-authors of the second book in the series., Chase [...]

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22. The Sunday Post and Stacking the Shelves–January 13th Edition

The Sunday Post is hosted by Kimba of The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. This is a weekly meme where we can share news of the week and highlight new books received.

Wow! The crazy weather has returned.  It was in the upper 50s the last two days, which meant lots of fog and melting snow.  Oh, yeah, and tons of puppy pooh.  These guys must poop 15 times a day!  I have spent the last few days cleaning up the yard, and let me tell you, it has not been pleasant!  Where does it all come from!  They don’t even eat that much!  Hopefully you enjoyed the warm weather (if you had it), doing something more exciting than yard maintenance and avoiding the flu, which is going around the office like crazy.

Check out my current contests! See the Contest Widget on the Sidebar to enter!

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews to share new additions to our library. Click here to learn more about it.

New Arrivals at the Café:

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi – Nabbed this with an Amazon gift card

Lush by Lauren Dane

Odette’s Secrets by Maryann MacDonald

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Married in Haste (Marriage) by Cathy Maxwell

Kiss of the Betrayer by Boone Brux

A great big thanks to the publishers for their continued support!

What did you get? Please leave links and share!

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23. Celebrate Groundhog Day!

PrairieStorms_Pic1What do John Dalton, Al Roker, and Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog have in common? They’re all famous weathermen! Groundhogs, which also go by the name woodchucks, are ground squirrels related to chipmunks and prairie dogs. They live in the North East of the United States and in Canada, where they feed on wild grasses and insects and live in burrows they dig for themselves. Sometimes the tunnels that make up their homes can interfere with the homes of humans by making the ground under buildings unstable. Some farmers and homeowners get mad at Groundhogs for damaging their property. However, other people believe that Groundhogs provide a useful service for humans: they predict the weather!

In the 1800’s, German immigrants in Pennsylvania started a tradition where, every February 2nd, they watched the behavior of a special Groundhog to tell them how soon Spring would begin. They would gather around the weatherman-Groundhog’s burrow and watch as he emerged. If the day was sunny, the groundhog might see his shadow, become afraid, and retreat into his burrow. According to the tradition, this is his way of telling people that Winter will last for another six weeks. If the Groundhog doesn’t see his shadow and leaves his burrow, then Spring will come early! Instead of using graphs and images for his weather forecast, the Groundhog communicates with his emotions!

This tradition was “Candlemas” to the German immigrants, but now we know it as “Groundhog Day.” Every February 2nd, people still look to famous Weather-Groundhogs such as Punxsutawney Phil, Western Maryland Murray, and Chattanooga Chuck to tell them how soon spring will come. The weathermen-Groundhogs are never completely accurate with their predictions, but then again, neither are human weathermen!

Learn more about groundhogs in Prairie Storms by Darcy Pattison and click on the picture below to print this great coloring page by Kathleen Rietz.


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24. Harts Pass No. 138

OK. Since my wife and daughter couldn't decipher this: Thor (the wolverine) doesn't want winter to end -- so he eats the marmot (pseudo Cascadian groundhog) before he can properly prognosticate. Thusly, the happy ending with a grizzly middle. Six more weeks of winter!

Note to self: I probably should have drawn some flailing limbs, snarling wolverine teeth, or a flying marmot hat to make it more clear that the little guy was eaten alive. Learning something new with every edition...

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25. The Calm After the Storm

Over the past few weeks, we have experienced a lot of showers and storms rolling through the Mount Pleasant area. Lucky for us, we have been busy inside the office, but it brings up the question what happens to the animals during or after a storm?

A recent news article from FOX 25 in Oklahoma City discusses one organization, Wild Care Oklahoma, that has taken in over 700 animals since the end of May. Wild Care has stepped in to provide care for many animals directly affected by the damaging tornadoes, many of which were babies. The recent storms hit during the peak of “baby” season. This left many young animals orphaned in the aftermath of the tornadoes. A litter of skunks, two racoons, and species of birds, turtles, coyotes, and foxes have been taken in by Wild Care after the destructive storms hit. The organization’s Facebook page frequently posts pictures and videos of their in treatment or newly released animals each day. I highly recommend checking out this page and all the adorable animal babies! You can also check-out ways to help Wild Care or their upcoming events.

Also, Author Patti R. Zelch in her book Ready, Set…Wait!, illustrated by Connie McLennan, gives insight into what happens to animals during storms. This picture book follows nine different wild animals as they sense, prepare, and react to an approaching hurricane. Definitely a good read for a rainy day inside!


Link to the Wild Care Oklahoma Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/WildCareOklahoma

Wishing everyone a good day and stay dry wherever you are!

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