I spent time researching cougars for my last book, The Lost. Much of the story takes place in the Cascade Mountains where cougar and all sorts of other wildlife reside. I watched videos of cougar attacks, listened to their sounds, and learned about the habits of these animals.
Honestly, the critters are magnificent. From their sleek fur to the guttural growl, cougars are impressive creations, but I don’t need to see one face-to-face to have a good sense of what they’re capable of.
A couple weeks back, my husband and I were walking the dogs at the end of the farm. Here the fields turn to shady forest. Our two dogs are used to the varied scents of raccoons, deer, and squirrels. That night our black lab, Canyon, jumped along the hedge of blackberry bushes, his nose up in the air. Something new was in there. Something he hadn’t smelled before.
The chase was on. Canyon led Harper, our other dog, down a narrow deer path and out of our sight. They barked and howled while we contemplated what could possibly be hiding in the brush.
Then we heard it. The growl. The throaty, deep, unmistakable warning of a cougar.
Almost instantly, Canyon’s barks turned to cries.
At that moment, I couldn’t think of anything scarier than the growl of a cougar and the cry of a dog. But the absolute silence that followed was much worse. I mean, complete silence that seemed to stretch on for minutes. Images of badly mauled dogs flashed in my mind.
I grabbed a nearby t-post, pathetic protection, but all I had.
Finally, both dogs exited the dense brush. There was a bit of blood, but not much. Canyon had taken a swipe across the nose. We all walked home, grateful that our adventure ended without tragedy.
Canyon and Harper two years ago
The event may have been too much for our cougar. We haven’t seen or heard anything from her since, and that just fine.
Our experience was exciting, but it’s nothing compared to the run-in my characters Jenna, Ireland, and Vicky have while lost in the Cascades.
There are only a few more days until I draw the winner of the Amazon gift card. Don’t forget to sign up.
If you haven’t joined the world of Pinterest yet, you’ve probably still seen the snapshots of tasty treats on Facebook. It’s like the devil himself tempting me in one of my most vulnerable spots…my stomach. Seriously, chocolate chip cookies with a warm, melted Rolo inside. I’ll admit, I’ve made them…twice. And they were even better than the picture!
And then there are the pretzel crusted brownies. My daughter and her friend made these bad boys. WOW!
They say obesity is threatening our lives. Pinterest is a cause of obesity. You do the math.
I can hear you all saying, “But what about all the healthy recipes?”
I’ve seen them. But…I’m yet to make any of these. After all, I’m full from the brownies and cookies.
There are some non-calorie perks to Pinterest. I’ve started a board for a few of my manuscripts, and it’s great fun to find things my characters would see or love and pin them to the board. The other day I stumbled upon a chair that would delight Ruth! I think I’ll give it to her. I’m a writer…I can do that.
Pop on over to my Pinterest page and take a look for yourself. Then come back and let me know how you survived.
I’m an all in kind of person, which sometimes causes my life to look like a swirls of colors blending together. Our homeschool history topics have always had a way of slipping into our meal, movie picks and free time choices. Now that I’m writing a historical, our home has taken on certain elements of the 1930s. So last night my kiddos and husband became my depression era research tools.
Lentils and rice, beef with olive oil and lemon, lettuce with olive oil, lemon and oregano.
Meal time is often an adventure in the Nelson home. If you don’t believe me, check out this earlier post. I’m finding I refer to food a lot in my current manuscript. So, of course, I had to try feeding my family the way Miriam McCallister (the mother in my work-in-progress) would have fed her family.
I went to the internet for ideas. What a treasure I discovered on Youtube! If you haven’t watched Great Depression Cooking with Clara, make sure to do so. In fact, I’ve added her explanation of the meal I prepared right here.
Granted, my characters would probably not have had access to lemons, but starting the family off with a “feast” seemed the kind thing to do. And guess what. They really liked it! They even liked the lentils and rice once they added a touch of salt.
One thing I learned, lentils really grow. They’re like the Incredible Hulk, small and unimpressive one moment, then trying to burst from the pot the next. We’ll be eating lentils and rice again tonight. And maybe again tomorrow.
I have a tendency to cook more elaborate meals with many ingredients. Clara’s meal was easy and I felt good about feeding it to my family. I think we’re ready to go deeper into our research.
I hope you enjoy this step back into the year 1934.
I need to get some extra writing time in today, so that will be all from me. See you tomorrow.