Sunday, September 30, 2007

Boulders are Beautiful

The crazy BC and I went and planted 6 more boxes in Kendall County, Illinois this afternoon. I would have done more, but the other boxes in the stack still need some fine tuning-like actually locating more lock n locks to put them in.
I've decided that I really like boulders. They make good landmarks, and they're not going anywhere. They are impervious to lightning, termites and floating away in floods. Unlike dead trees. Some of my dead tree boxes will probably get moved as I get the chance. Two of the boxes that we did today were in a park developed on top of an old gravel strip mine. I'm going to have to carve more boxes just for that park just to make use of all the beautiful boulders there. Lovely.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Way Letterboxing Should Be


Last weekend, I had the priviledge of meeting up with Questar and hunting some letterboxes with her. It was the perfect day filled with beautiful weather, great company and wonderful boxes. While stamping in a train themed box, a freight train went rumbling by less than 30 feet away, shaking the ground as it went. During our search for a box that mentions fire trucks in the clue, we saw and heard the engines come roaring out of the station. And a box dedicated to the victory of the soldiers and sailors during the war found us winning our own minor victory in sneaking past the construction workers and men painting doors to retrieve and replace the letterbox.
While the planters of those letterboxes could not guarantee that those additional elements would be in place every time someone came hunting, they did do a bang up job of placing them in way that could only add to the experience for their finders.
That is the inspiration that I hope is behind how and where I plant my boxes. I'm pretty sure that someone hunting for "The Tyger" isn't going to want to come across a real tiger in the woods. But hunting a tiger in reality would be a bit of a challenge, so did I create that with my clues and hiding spot? Am I taking them places that they would willingly go if there wasn't a letterbox involved? Am I helping them to see things that are interesting or beautiful or have some redeeming value outside of adding to their "F count"?
I'm sure I have not succeeded in this with every letterbox planted. But with every box found, fantastic or otherwise, I am adding to a mental list of "best practices" for planting. And that is the way it should be.


On a different note, the kittens and I decided to create our own "Fall Fesitval" yesterday to celebrate the beginning of harvest. (As I type, our combine is undergoing it's last tweaking before heading into the field. That means I am officially a farming widow once again. More on that topic later.) We took Little Bunny Foo Foo and PiWi Reese to the pumpkin patch for some gourds and other fun stuff. The girls picked out white pumpkins and drank fresh apple cider. I, on the other hand, swallowed a bug of unknown species and spent most of the time coughing.
We also made pumpkin stew for supper, baked apple, pumpkin and bat shaped sugar cookies, painted dried gourds, and made caramel dip for whatever we decided needed dipping. The chocolate frosted sugar cookies were especially yummy dipped in the caramel and more than made up for the accidental protein earlier.
What is your favorite benchmark, activity or otherwise Fall related, um, stuff?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Gonna Be A Bear


In this life I'm a woman. In my next life, I'd like to come back as a bear. When you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that too.

When you're a girl bear, you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute, cuddly cubs. I could definately deal with that.

If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs. If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.

If you're a bear, your mate Expects you to wake up growling. He Expects that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.

Yup. Gonna be a bear!

Author unknown, but thanks Aunt Cheryl!
The image is an enlarged version of my Teddy Bear cootie from the Tunes in my Head series.
Blogger's note: It would be downright goofy of you to think I was actually serious about any of this, but especially the whole reincarnation bit and the swatting the cubs bit.

Teasel's Mobile Home


On one of those days when housework was Oh So Not Appealing, and we couldn't quite make ourselves knuckle down to the schoolwork, the kittens and I decided to spice up Teasel's priority mail box. The following pictures are the end result of our efforts. Teasel was pleased. The kittens both giggled uncontrollably. And best of all, the laundry remained status quo. Bear in mind that I was taking photos down inside a box, which accounts for the distortion.

The first room is the Kitchen, or according to Teasel, the most important room in the house. The picture on the side of the fridge is artwork by his niece, and the phone number is his favorite carry-out place, Slugs R Us. The other picture was procured through Ancestry.com and is believed to be a long-lost Uncle. More research is needed to confirm the fact though. He also keeps a running grocery list. The curtains on the window were made and sent to him by his Mum. The plants are a blue Cranesbill which he took from cuttings in my garden. The stereo is a garage sale find (which explains it's size) and helps him to pass the time when he is not boxing. He particularly likes the Fresh Aire CDs from Mannheim Steamroller.



Next in line is the Living Room, where he can enjoy reruns of his favorite show on the Discovery Channel: Porcupines, Extreme Defenders. It is also where he keeps his pet tetra, Argon, and a few mementoes of his travels. The poster is a reminder that his American citizenship is getting closer all the time! The bureau is another garage sale find and holds his collection of rose petals and other more mundane household items. The plant is a banded arrowroot, or prayer plant, that folds up its leaves in the darkness.


As we move into the Office we can see the computer where Teasel spends lots of time reading clues and following the threads on the message boards. The pictures are of his family. Mom and Dad are in the green and blue frames, and his brother, Spoke, is in the yellow frame. His backpack is all ready to go and he has a flashlight handy for those midnight trips to the fridge. The plant is a division of the Mother-in-Law's Tongue that everyone in my family now has at least one piece of. The art print, of course, reminds him of his childhood home in England.


The last room is the Den, complete with overstuffed chair (leather simply isn't practical for a hedgehog), reading lamp and his favorite books. The list of books includes: Watership Down (c'mon, don't tell me you don't know about Yona!), Hedgie, O Slug-a-Moon and Other Songs, and The Quill, a quarterly hedgehog newsletter. The framed collage on the wall is from Beatrix Potter's lovely story about Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, one of Teasel's spinster Aunts on his father's side of the family.

Agreeably, the floor is not very exciting, but it does still tell us a little bit about him. The green rug is a souvenir from his trip to Macchu Pichu in Peru, while the blue striped monstrosity is yet another garage sale find that I cannot prevail upon him to get rid of for all the bulk Salami at Sam’s Club. But for all of his stubbornness, he is good at keeping in touch, as the letters on the floor will tell. He uses his laptop while in transit, when he does not have access to electricity (all of his other appliances run on solar battery packs, except the refrigerator, which is kerosene). The newspaper is actually a back issue of The Herbal Companion, which he stocks up on and saves for trips as a special treat.

We hope that you have enjoyed this little tour of Teasel's pad. The author fully acknowledges that this post is in complete rebellion against the fact that I am stuck in the house on a quintessentially beautiful day cleaning my desk (well, that's the premise at least) when I'd rather be out in the woods looking for letterboxes, fuzzy caterpillars, tree fungus or anything else even remotely more interesting than piles of empty CD cases (in our house, that has taken the place of socks without matches), old catalogues and "Oh, Look. Another medical bill that was supposed to be paid weeks ago."
Raspberries.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Teasel Writes Home

Dear Nitrocat,
Sorry I haven't written sooner but it's a lot of work to hide from the giant Peanut Girl. When I first got here we went letterboxing most of the weekend. I have found a whole bunch of letterboxes in the wild and in PLB's too. There are some other buddies here for me to play with and plenty of stamping to do. (Please see the pics attached) Today we played hide and seek in the pile of PLB's from the weekend mail. It was fun until giant Peanut Girl tried to hide too. Did you see the pic of my logbook? I can't believe how many pages I've filled. I'm having a great time and I can't wait to show you all my adventures. I hope you guys are well and I miss you a lot.
Love Always,
Teasel xoxoxo



Dear Teasel,
I am so glad that you are having a good time and have lots to keep you busy. Don't worry about Peanut Girl too much. She probably just wants to love on you a little and that can't be as bad as what the cats here at home try to do to you! You know how to defend yourself from predators of all shapes and sizes, but try to be a gentleman whenever possible.
Your logbook looks fantastic. Now aren't you glad we stayed up so late adding all of those extra pages? I can't wait for you to come home and tell me all about your adventures.
Did you manage to paw off the cootie you took with you? The girls and I were discussing it and they were wondering, would a cootie passed off by a boxing buddy be called a "bootie" or a "cuddle"?
I plan to post pictures of your den in the next day or so. That way, everyone can see your sweet home away from home.
Be good and try not to eat up all of Happy Gemini's grocery budget. We'll talk to you soon!
Love and prickles,
Nitrocat and Kittens