The Rest of the Story and a Bit More

    Here is the last two days of drawings a day with haiku.

A bright yellow weed

with shiny waxy petals

and parsley-like leaves.


This was from a bush

that I always thought might be

wild huckleberry.


Now onto the rest of the Stoat Story.

      By now she knew the stoat would patiently wait for her as she stood transfixed to something she saw. It was hard to imagine where the things came from. And where was the parade going as it all passed her going back the way she and the stoat had come?

     The old woman laughed more than she had in years. It must have been the things she was seeing go by on her trip. The stoat certainly wasn’t saying or doing anything funny. He was taking his job quite seriously…. getting the old woman from where she came to where she was going.

     She found herself dawdling more each day. Maybe it was the worry that this would all be over soon. And the old woman did not want it to end. She grew dependent on waking up each morning knowing that there would be more of these extraordinary sights that brought back memories every day.

     When they got to where they were going would the parade of magical things be over? And for that matter would she have to give back the magic basket? Would she have to say goodbye to the stoat?

One day she thought she heard the stoat talking to someone over behind a big maple tree.

….”will she be ready soon?”

And  …”we are getting close.”

     The old woman could hardly believe that someone else was there with them. And she worried that things were going to change….and soon.

     It was at that moment of anxiety that it occurred to her to do something she had not done since she was child.

     A thing she did when she was afraid things would change and never be the same. And she wanted to hang onto what was there right at that moment.

     She stood very still, held her arms close to her sides, closed her eyes tight, and breathed in as deeply as she could. Breathe in everything around her. Breathe it so deeply that it pushed against her skin from the inside.

     Then hold her breath for as long as she could to keep it all there. There inside when she needed it again. When she missed it so much.


What seemed like a few days later, but it could have been longer because the old woman had lost all track of time, they came to a fork in the road. The stoat stopped and looked up at the old woman.

                 “We have come a very long way, you and I, haven’t we?”

     The old woman answered that they had indeed and asked the stoat if they could just keep going on like this forever.

       “I am afraid not, my dear.” 

        She did not want to be alone without the stoat and tears welled up in her eyes.

        The stoat started off in one direction and called back,

           “You will not be alone.”

                      And just then a grinning red fox stepped onto the other path.

         “Hello child. Follow me.”

             And this time she did.


                      The End


I am actually sorry to see the story end. Several things the old woman remembered were my memories. I still tend to hold my arms close to my sides, close my eyes and breathe in the things I don’t want to lose.  My grandmother made the best buckwheat pancakes. She did it with a springer spaniel named Freckles following her around the kitchen with his head just under her dress. If he couldn’t see anyone then no one could see him while he waited for her to drop something. Silly dog.

The stoat has been good company indeed.

Now I am laying out the images two at a time with the appropriate text to figure how to make a more manageable book. I don’t think I will bother to make a cover for the original one, but design one to make copies of for the new, larger version. The pictures will stay the same size and the text printed below….making it a book about 8 x 10 inches. I will arrange the fore edges to connect all images together but keep the concertina attached to the front and back cover with a spine connecting the covers. So the book could be turned a page at a time or pulled out into a circular tale.

I will post pictures of how that goes.

Til then.



A Lot More Drawings and Stoat Story

First a catch up on the drawings a day.


Multiply this bloom

by more than twelve times for full bloom

of rhododendron.


What a complex bloom

the Siberian iris

can be for drawing.


Rogue wild daisy says,

“he loves me, he loves me not.”

And could not care less!


Akebia vine

bought to hide a fence hiding

an ugly tractor.


A yellow iris

flops itself along driveways.

Its work now finished.


This poor hydrangea

suffered a late and nasty

frost on her leaf tips.


And the stoat story text pages are finished and placed inside illustrations with their little pull tabs.

Now I just need to make the covers.

By now the old woman knew not to question anything the stoat told her. The basket really was magic. A sleeping bag and tent flew out when she needed a place to sleep for the night. Hot cups of tea and meals were inside when she asked for them.

She remembered to say her “please and thank-you.

One morning the basket even held pancakes covered with syrup when all she asked for was more toast and marmalade. It delighted her because they tasted just like the ones her grandmother made when she was a girl. Buckwheat pancakes with lots of butter melting under the warm maple syrup.

Did the basket know that?

One day they sat by the river and tried to catch fish. The stoat was much better at it than the old woman. He would go into the bushes to eat his catch after leaving one for the old woman to ask the basket to cook for her. And the basket not only cooked it up with a nice crusty skin, but put it between two pieces of sourdough bread with a smattering of tarter sauce and a leaf of fresh lettuce. Delicious!

With all the walking the old woman felt lighter and her clothes became looser. She had to roll her pants up twice so far. One day she found a new pair of shoes in the basket and when she looked down understood why.

Their journey continued for some time. Each day simply rolled into the next. There was always sun in the blue overhead and a night sky full of sparkling stars. And the parade of sights never stopped, just gently flowed by with the breeze.

The old woman did not ask where they were going. By now it really didn’t matter. She was here on some great adventure having the time of her life with a wonderful companion.

They did not need to talk to each other all that much. All they needed was to know the other one was there close by and happy for their company.

One day out of curiosity the old woman asked if they were getting close to where they were going.

It won’t be long now. We are over half way there.”

That was enough for her to know. And with every step she was lighter and happier. She felt how she felt years ago….before she was sore and tired most of the time.

And the things she saw along the way became more extraordinary with every passing day.


That’s enough for now. I will finish the story for you next time.

Til then




More Sketches and More Stoat Story

Patches getting a bird’s eye view of the mornings here at the house.

The past four days of drawings a day.

This graceful looking

pine cone had danced its way down

onto the forest floor.


A hurried drawing

Need to finish before the

cleaning lady comes.


The mountain laurel

is such a welcome bursting

of Spring’s arrival.


Such a delicate

small lily of the valley

has a nice sweetness.


And now back to the Stoat Story book. I am still not sure what to title it exactly, but have an idea.

Yesterday while I had four hours uninterrupted time, I finished the story. I laid out all the twenty pages to just the right size in a nice font that I can print in a charcoal grey. Then I will cut them to fit onto a slightly larger harder stock paper that will support a text page glued to each side. Each of those will slide out of the bottom of the openings of ten different places and be close to the images that go with the text. I really do like all the engineering of this kind of thinking. Making the covers for each end is also a new challenge. The front cover will have to have the title of the book and my name as there is no place else within the book itself. And the other end cover for the concertina story will have to have a directional sign that fits into the travels of the old woman and the stoat that lets the reader know to turn the book and keep going.

So here we go with more of the story.


“Did you ever wonder why the fox left you so many years ago?”

The memory and that feeling of being left behind caused the tiniest of tears to spill onto her cheek. She looked over the toast in her hand, into the stoat’s eyes and slowly nodded. Why didn’t he wait for her?

“He was young and in a hurry. He believed all youthful beings shared his eager anticipation of what comes next. But he did glance back. Only once and saw you there, holding your little bag and calling after him.”

“The fox thought he would be back some day to get you, but time happened.”

“I told the fox I would find you, and here we are.”

After breakfast the old woman was tired and asked if she could have a nap before continuing on.

“Yes, we can stay here a while longer.” And the stoat smiled as he watched over her.

Dreams and memories floated before her closed eyes. She could not tell one from the other. Each image moved past as if they were in a slow parade. And every one of them was beautiful to watch. It was almost as if they knew she was looking at them and they took their turns holding still until her eyes moved on to the next.

After some time, the stoat gently woke her.

The old woman was told that she would have to climb into a boat for the next part of their journey. She worried that it would be hard to keep her balance.

But it wasn’t as hard as she thought it would be. For a time, she even took the oars so as to give the stoat a rest.


When they reached the other shore and secured the boat, the stoat disappeared through the bushes.

This did not worry the old woman. She knew he would not leave her for long. And chose to wait on a log nearby for his return.

She had no idea where they were going and why. The old woman trusted the stoat and with his company and encouragement, she felt a lightness. The trip became easier with every step.

And sure enough, it was not long and the stoat returned carrying a basket…a sort of magic basket.

“This will hold the things you may need for the rest of our journey. Just ask politely before you open it.”


I have not filled in that last page with more drawings, but I will. It is this page that the back cover will be attached. And are you following along with the alphabetical words? I really do love the snail that the old woman has appeared to tie the boat up to. And I suppose it really is better to see the whole length at one time. It would be hard to clearly see the things on the pages if I was to try it, but maybe I will when it is completed.

The only thing left to do now is fill in all the back side of the book with more images that go with the story as they travel along. I think I will be sorry to come to the end of the project.

While I have a few minutes and Lee is outside, I will try to print the story pages.

Til later.

Spring Greens, More Drawings a Day, and More of the Story

Some of the spring trees on our walk to the mailbox. I wish the trees would stay like this instead of becoming so heavy and dark and intruding like they do every year in the summer’s heat. They burden themselves and me when I have to look at them. Then they fill up with dust from the road and become even heavier. The rains will wash them off but then just make them grow bigger and heavier. I just wish they could stay like this.

Our gardening is now done by pots on the deck.

The only plants that grow in the screened porch are Boston ferns. We have plenty.

Lee enjoys being out here with a cat on his lap and a glass of wine.

Every year for Christmas he has bought me this one quart bottle of Jean Nate. I have worn it since I was a teenager. It is light and fresh smelling….it smells clean. Not like those heavy perfumes that many women wear…the ones you don’t want to get in an elevator with. Did you know that this cologne had a key role for Betty White’s character in Boston Legal. She was being broken out of a nursing home and they had to back to get her Jean Nate. I can relate to that. Anyway there are now two more full quarts of it under the vanity. Lee has not bought it in years but has our son get it for him to give me at Christmas. He might not remember much, but he knows that this is an essential gift.

I like that it comes with “moisture replenishing complex”, whatever that is.

Also, six more days of drawings a day. You don’t have to look at these nor do you have to read the haiku. It only matters to me that I keep this practice up. I get better at drawing and the haiku appeals to my sense of brevity. Did you know that I was thanked at the end of a semester in undergraduate school for my brevity? I had to look it up and did not know to this day whether I was being insulted or not.

This blackberry stem

could be an indication

of many berries.


A beautiful stem

of colorful barberry

bushes is lovely.


A new oak tree stem

with several pointy-tipped

and very pale leaves.


This freshly fallen

oak stem is filled with promises

that will not be met.


The tip of white pine

shows its anticipation

for generations.


Found on the driveway

was this pine cone from last year

still clinging to home.


And the story of the stoat and the old lady continues. I have counted ten pages on each side that will have the text inserted between. So I need twenty pages of the story to fit onto each side of the insertion.

I woke in the middle of the night with how I will end the story. Now I need to pace myself so as not to rush there too quickly. Here are the next pages of images…not sure if I am through filling them in.

And here is more of the story. (I edited some of those first two paragraphs but did not change the happenings).

He did not mind waiting while she dressed.  But there was no time for breakfast. She needed to come with him now because now the time was right. There was no need to lock the door and no reason to look back.

With each step the old lady’s world changed into something else. Something not quite the same.

She dare not take her eyes too far off the stoat for fear she’d lose him and have to return home. Out of the corner of her eye she thought she saw a bear just past the apple tree. She was sure he was grinning. The birds seemed more extravagantly plumed and patterns appeared on everything that flitted before her eyes. She pointed to a cow getting a ride in a cart but the stoat kept going.

Up ahead he paused and waited for her to catch up. There was a stone path leading up to two large doors that had been left open.

“Come through here and we will rest a little while.”

She eagerly followed and took a seat at the table by the pond. There was hot toast and marmalade, steaming coffee with just the right amount of cream. The stoat sat across from her and smiled. If it had all ended right then, the old lady would have been satisfied.


I thought about giving her a name and finally came up with one that would work as a child’s name and as an adult’s. But in the end after trying it out, decided she would remain nameless. … just little girl and old lady.

I will work on more drawings into the book and stay with the alphabet order for some of the images. I picture someone reading this to a child and the two of them finding things together. It would have to be a child with an imagination and do those kinds of children still exist?

My childhood was so free and full of adventure. In summer my brother and I would go into the woods for the weekend. Take a couple of potatoes to cook for dinner in a hole in the ground with a fire, and some sandwiches for lunch. One time we found an old door and turned it into a raft to float down the river. Other times we would walk all the way through the woods until we got to a tiny airstrip and imagine flying off in a small plane to god knows where. It was always an adventure. We’d gallop down the paths riding our imaginary horses, Thunder and White Cloud. We’d come home Sunday morning dirty and hungry and tired.

This stoat story is a bit like going home.

Til later.