Natural Wonders in the Pumpkin Patch

by Betty Owens

Okay, I know it’s a stretch, but this is October 31st, after all. Here at the Writing Prompts blog, we’ve been talking natural wonders all month. We’ve shared our research and shown you some really nice pictures. fruit-189262_1280

So I thought, since it’s Halloween or All Hallows Eve for some, harvest festival for others, and just October 31st, for the rest of you, I’d talk about pumpkins. Really big pumpkins. Unusual pumpkins. That’s where the wonder comes in.

A new world record was set recently in Rhode Island with a 2,261.5-pound whopper. They call it the Godzilla of gourds. This information came from The Washington Post, in an article written by Ben Guarino.

But that’s still not the biggest pumpkin. The world record was set in Ludwigsberg, Germany. That super-pumpkin weighed in at 2,623 lbs. That information comes from article at International Business Times, article written by Alexandra Suarez.

pumpkin-17662_1280What does one do with a pumpkin the size of an elephant?

⇐⇐Possibly…

Or, maybe bake the world’s largest pumpkin pie? On September 25, 2010, New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers did just that. The pie was twenty feet in diameter, and weighed 3,699 lbs. That’s a whole lot a dough. Yes, it took 440 sheets of dough. But they used canned pumpkin. That pie made it into the Guinness Book of Records, by the way. Information from Newsweek.comarticle by Polly Mosendz.800px-Pumpkin_Pie

So what does happen to the gigantic gourds? I’ve heard they’re not really edible. Too fibrous. They save the seeds, though. It’s been suggested that they blow them up–just for fun. Hmm…

Well, at least they have pictures. Oh, and dough–the green kind–their winnings on the largest pumpkin. 🙂

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

I hope you enjoyed our month of Natural Wonders. And I hope you know this last article was Just For Fun! Drop back by during the month of November for our topic, The Art of Cooking.

pumpkinsWriting Prompt: Millicent spent an entire month sleeping in the pumpkin patch, guarding her entry for the largest pumpkin at the state fair. But when the day finally arrives, something unexpected happens…

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The Captive Heart by Michelle Griep

michelle-griep-headshotToday we welcome historical and contemporary romance author, Michelle Griep, to discuss her latest release, The Captive Heart.

Hi Michelle! How long have you been writing?

Michelle: Since I first discovered Crayolas and blank wall space. Professionally, though, for the past fifteen years.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

Michelle: I adore history. Not that I’d want to go back and live when outhouses were your only choice, mind you. So in lieu of that, I decided to write about it instead.

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

Michelle: My best reference is a man named Hugh Lambert. He’s one of the curators at the Cherokee Museum in South Carolina. It’s a small museum, but he’s a huge wealth of information.

As for book references, The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of Revolution: The Journal and Writings of Charles Woodmason, was so valuable to me because it was written by a fellow at the time who was an itinerant reverend. He traveled the back country and wrote details in his journal, noting not only the flora and fauna but the people as well.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Michelle: Traveling to South Carolina and hiking the same area that my hero would’ve trekked. It’s gorgeous country, all lush and green.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Michelle: Currently I’m working on a 3 book Victorian Christmas series called Once Upon a Dickens Christmas. Here’s a blurb for the first book, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor. . .

Imprisoned unjustly, BENJAMIN LANE wants nothing more than freedom and a second chance to claim the woman he loves—but how can CLARA CHAPMAN possibly believe in the man who stole her family’s fortune and abandoned her at the altar? Brought together under mysterious circumstances for the Twelve Days of Christmas, each discovers that what they’ve been striving for isn’t what ultimately matters . . . and what matters most is love.

Thanks for taking time to drop by, Michelle!


The Captive Heart

captive-heart-cover-jpeg-copyThe wild American wilderness is no place for an elegant English governess.

 On the run from a cruel British aristocratic employer, Eleanor Morgan escapes to America, the land of the free, for the opportunity to serve an upstanding Charles Town family. But freedom is hard to come by as an indentured servant, and downright impossible when she’s forced to agree to an even harsher contract—marriage to a man she’s never met.

 Backwoodsman Samuel Heath doesn’t care what others think of him—but his young daughter’s upbringing matters very much. The life of a trapper in the Carolina back country is no life for a small girl, but neither is abandoning his child to another family. He decides it’s time to marry again, but that proves to be an impossible task. Who wants to wed a murderer?

 Both Samuel and Eleanor are survivors, facing down the threat of war, betrayal, and divided loyalties that could cost them everything, but this time they must face their biggest challenge ever . . . Love.



michelle-griep-headshotMichelle Griep
’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: THE CAPTIVE HEART, BRENTWOOD’S WARD, A HEART DECEIVED, UNDERCURRENT and GALLIMORE, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery OUT OF THE FRYING PAN. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or www.writerofftheleash.blogspot.com or stalk her onFacebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

Our Big Beautiful World

By Betty Boyd

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The wonders of this world cannot always be seen. For example, the smallest cells within our own bodies that can fight off disease. Even the tiniest of insects, to the magnificent Orca whales. Do not forget the majestic mountains from the Himalayas to Mount Everest.

I love photography! For me, taking pictures of nature is the most intriguing and exciting part of this world. There are so many interesting subjects I could take images of them forever.

Here are a few of the areas I still want to visit, explore and gather the light of their essence.

waikiki-beach-1145269__340

Hawaii has always fascinated me, since the days of watching the original TV show “Hawaii Five-O”, which was reprized in 2010. The breathtaking vistas of the land, sea, and explosion of waves on the beaches. The striking differences of each of the islands that comprise Hawaii.

Oahu is the island I most want to see. The beautiful Waikiki Beach, to the National Landmark of Pearl Harbor, where World War II started and ended. I also want to pay my respects to the lives lost, by visiting the Arizona memorial.

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I have always loved our national parks and monuments, so the next area of interest is in the state of Utah. Did you know there are five national parks? I will visit all of them eventually, but the one that is the most captivating is Arches National Park.

According to Wikipedia, “it is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations. It contains the highest density of natural arches in the world.” These arches have an array of colors from reds, golds, oranges depending upon the time of day or the year.

I could go on, but I love all of God’s creations, we are His handiwork, just look at yourself, and you will know we are the best of His creations.

What is unique about this world? Imagine the possibilities…

3 Questions Wednesday with Betty Boyd

img_9085Today’s guest is my friend and fellow Crew Member, Betty Boyd.

Hi, Betty! So glad you dropped by. First question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Betty: The Bible has always fortified me.  Additionally, I have many books by leadership guru, John Maxwell. His books on leadership have helped to be a better leader when I worked in the Federal Government.

I love his books too! Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Betty: My secret talent includes being a good listener, having compassion, and writing to lift people up.

That’s something we all need to do. Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Betty: Well, I am not really a cook, but if I were, I serve you shrimp and steak stir fry, with brown rice, and ice cream for dessert.

You can never go wrong with ice cream. 🙂 Thanks, Betty, for dropping in!

Betty is graciously offering a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card to one blessed person who leaves a comment. Make sure and give us a shout out for your chance to win!


img_9085Betty is a native of Pennsylvania and has called the Tennessee Valley home since 1994.  She is a freelance writer providing writing services to small and medium sized business clients. These services include web content, bios, case studies, blogs and other copy writing services. Her website boydwritingservices.com has more information on these and other areas of expertise.

The Wonders of Natural Bridge

By Karen Jurgens

As its name implies, Natural Bridge is a natural wonder. Nestled in the Daniel Boone National Forest in Slade, Kentucky, this sandstone archway looks like it was carved by the finger of God.  At least a million years old, it spans 78 feet long, 65 feet high, 12 feet thick, and 20 feet wide with glorious views of the forest on both sides. Native Americans and early American Hunters like Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett explored and lived for hundreds of years in these abounding woods.

We have family ties to Natural Bridge going back several generations, beginning with my great-grandfather. He, along with other visitors, began coming in 1889 when there was no way to reach the top unless you hiked. That’s still one way to do it, but there’s also a matter of having to dodge bears and snakes. About forty-five years ago the park added a skylift, making the trip not only safe but easy and fun.

The Wonders of Natural Bridge by Karen Jurgens

A two-seater at the skylift

The Wonders of Natural Bridge by Karen Jurgens

The skylift is cut through the forest

Riding the two-seater chair has always been the highlight for me. It skims high above the treetops where I enjoy taking pictures of the beautiful, thick woods, full of songbirds and bubbling brooks. When the lift pulls me straight up and over that last rocky ledge, my heart always jumps in my mouth as I ride over the sheer precipice, similar to the thrill of a roller-coaster. Arriving at the top and feeling the ground under my feet is a welcome relief.

The Wonders of Natural Bridge by Karen Jurgens

Looking down from the top of the skylift

The Wonders of Natural Bridge by Karen Jurgens

The path across the top of the bridge

To reach our destination, we follow a narrow path with a railing on one side. At the end of 600 feet, the path widens out to what looks like a narrow dirt road. The woods stop, and the sky opens on all sides. That is the beginning of the top of the bridge.

Walking across is an adventure because neither side has railings, so I make sure I stay in the middle of the 20-foot-wide crossing. I’ve witnessed people lying on their stomachs and hanging off the edge to take pictures of the sheer drop-off that plummets thousands of feet straight down (but you won’t find me doing that).

I can’t appreciate where I am unless I walk the top’s full length and take the stone staircase that descends to the bottom of the bridge. Next is a very narrow passageway, sliced out of a sheer boulder that is about 300 feet high. There is just enough room to slide through sideways, and only one person can enter at a time from either direction. It makes me feel like a piece of bread sliding through a toaster, and I always hold my breath, hoping I won’t get stuck. At the other end is a clearing where I can look up and see the majesty of what I walked across. Words can’t begin do it justice.

 

The Wonders of Natural Bridge by Karen Jurgens

Red River Gorge

Hemlock Lodge is the hotel for the park where I love to stay. It’s built on the edge of a mountainous cliff and has a marvelous view of the Red River Gorge at the bottom. Bird feeders line the outdoor porches that run the length of the building where you can enjoy the view and the variety of birds as they’re drawn to feed. A huge kidney-shaped swimming pool is at the bottom of the gorge. The 40-acre Mill Creek Lake hosts fishing, paddleboats and canoes—fun for the whole family.

The Wonders of Natural Bridge by Karen Jurgens

Swimming pool view from the lodge

Family reunions and vacations are popular at this park. Groups can choose to stay in cabins for more privacy and convenience. Meals can be enjoyed in the lodge’s dining room or on the grounds at one of the many picnic spots. There’s also a one-acre Hoedown Island where country folk dances happen every Saturday night from May through October. Throughout tourist season there are several choices for nature walks and hiking. The park also hosts educational seminars about its natural biology. What a terrific place for kids to learn about nature through personal experience.

Interested in learning more? http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/natural-bridge/

Writing Prompt:

I had no idea what to expect on my first hiking trip to the mountains. The guide met us and explained the rules, then took us out to the path. My backpack held binoculars, a camera, sunglasses, and sunscreen. I could feel adventure in the air as we hiked up our path. Everything went well until we came to a bend where …