Monday, November 29, 2010


A gray, cold day with a sprinkling of snow this morning, though the roads were dry enough. I saw what might have been fox tracks in one spot in the yard, but the marks were smudged and had snowflakes on top of them. Haven't seen or smelled a fox around in several months, so we'll see. On the subject of wildlife, we accounted for two more mice this weekend, small juveniles. Falco caught one in the yard, and the other fell victim to one of the snap traps in the garage. I do feel sorry for them, especially the little ones, but not enough to let them move in. The squirrels and birds, on the other hand, had a good weekend.


I really want to start writing again, but the next few weekends are busy. Once the holidays are over, however...


Friday, November 26, 2010

... and Friday.

A late post - having taken the day off, I forgot it was Friday. I was also busy this morning sending out coupon codes for my giveaway of the e-book version of King Arthur's Raid on Hell, which just ended on LibrayThing. The next giveaway is for my second volume of poetry, Pryderi's Pigs, which will be running for two weeks. After that I have one more planned before Christmas, an e-book giveaway of Storyteller for non-US residents only. I'll put the details up when it starts.

It looks like my mouse problems are over for the moment, although the cats are convinced there's one or more living just outside the garage. It's a good bit warmer today than yesterday, and Titus found himself a warm spot for a nap:

titus in the warm spot


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

...and Wednesday...

Brief post today as nothing much is new. I think I have the mouse situation under control, as no more have been caught since Sunday and nothing more seems to have been eaten. On the topic of cat and mouse, however, a cute picture from several years ago when Falco was young and first encountered the concept. I think I actually caught the mouse (which is in the jar) myself.


A happy thanksgiving to those of you in places that celebrate it!


Monday, November 22, 2010



Two mice caught so far, by trap, not by cat, although Titus (above) would have been happy to help if he'd seen them. Catching mice reminds me of the story in the Third Branch of the Mabinogion (right), where Manawydan's grain is being stolen by mice. He, however, had to catch his mouse himself, and he didn't have peanuts to use as bait...


Friday, November 19, 2010

... and Friday

There's a mouse in the garage - well, at least one. He or she has been at the suet cakes for the bird feeders. In the past I was more relaxed about this sort of wildlife incursion, until the year we suffered a population explosion, resulting in the eventual capture and eviction (by cat, box trap, and other means) of about a dozen individuals of various ages. Now I try to be more proactive. Last night I set a snap trap in the now-empty suet cake box, baited with a chocolate chip. I also scattered some peanuts and seeds in the box. This morning no victim, but the the peanuts and seeds were gone. I'll give the chocolate a couple more days, then move on to something else if it doesn't work. I used to use a non-killing box trap and released the mouse elsewhere, but results were uneven, and I suspect I just relocated its fate. Maybe I'll set the box traps, too, in various places where it won't matter if the cats spring them. If I'm going to catch it alive, I need to do so soon: I never have the heart to fling a live mouse out into a snowdrift.

Back to Ireland for today's picture: Creevykeel court tomb, north of Sligo.



Wednesday, November 17, 2010

...and Wednesday...

Mixed rain and snow yesterday evening; nice today but cold. No chance for writing, and there won't be for a while. With daylight savings time having gone, there's no light after work now to garden. The dark half of the year, indeed.

frost on rowan tree


Monday, November 15, 2010


Snowing here today, cold gray and unpleasant. Almost all the leaves are off the trees; autumn's gone. The vulnerable plants - geraniums and the cyclamen, mostly, plus the azalea and the rosemary - are indoors, and the rest in the cold frame settled down for the winter. Time for storytellers to settle down, too, and work on stories...

snow on cadfael rose bush


Thursday, November 11, 2010

First Snow

Snowing lightly here today - just enough to be decorative. I think the mountains are getting plenty, though, which will make the skiers happy.

snow on rowan tree

For Veteran's Day, a poem from Storyteller Songs:

Twice-nine score of horsemen riding,
twice-nine score of shining shields,
twice-nine score of piercing spear-points
followed Rhun through Lleyn’s dark fields—
moonlight bright upon their shields.

Silent as the gray hunt riding,
silent in the mist and rain,
silently to win their vengeance
Rhun’s men rode to deal death’s pain—
strike the raiders down in shame.

Twenty score of reavers sleeping,
twenty score of red-tusked boars,
twenty score with blood-lust sated
snored unknowing by the shore—
they would see their homes no more!

Swords flashed silver in the moonlight,
swords rang bright in fight with foe,
sword-blades blood-red blazed by firelight—
burning ships gave brighter glow,
till they sank the waves below!

Fierce our warriors cleaving shields there,
fierce their spear-thrusts, pangs of pain,
fierce great Rhun, red wolf of battle
reaping men like Irish grain—
sowing bones about the plain!

Praise King Rhun whose wisdom led us,
praise all men who did great deeds,
praise those most who fell in battle
paying blood-price for their mead—
let all bards proclaim their deeds!

Gwyn the Strong sits not at table,
Ifor Goch no more will fight,
Cynan Hir dines with his fathers,
Dinfael knows no more the light—
these and more have left our sight.

Twice-nine score rode forth to battle,
twice-nine score to kill or die,
twice-nine score did mighty slaughter—
for the fallen praise I cry—
not forgotten will they lie!

- from The Ash Spear


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...and Wednesday...

A considerable change in the weather here - rain mixed with snow yesterday, and much colder now, with more snow forecast for tomorrow. I wish I'd had time to photograph some of the heavy frost this morning. Mae'r gaeaf wedi cyrraedd yn wir - winter has definitely arrived!

Yesterday I was amusing myself by creating another new page on this site to showcase the maps from the first Storyteller trilogy. I'd like presently to put one up with photos of some of the locations involved, too - probably selected photos with links to Flickr sets. But that's another project for this winter. In the meantime, here's one more rowan tree picture from last weekend.

rowen tree

Monday, November 8, 2010


One more fine weekend before winter weather arrives, and I got a few pictures of the rowan tree:

rowen tree

Forecast for the next few days is for much colder weather and a chance of snow. Very overdue, but happily most of the leaves are off the trees now, so not much danger of breaking branches. The rowan is an exception, but she's flexible, which is one reason yesterday found me on a ladder trimming branches on the power line side...

Thursday is Veteran's Day and a federal holiday, so I hope to get back to writing at last. Cold nasty weather is just what I need now!

eta: I just realized I didn't have any Irish links on the Resource page, so I've added a selection of my favorites.


Friday, November 5, 2010

... and Friday

A fine autumn day here in Denver, and still warm. Tomorrow we will be joining the local ADF group for their Samhain observance, which should be fun. So tonight I'm grilling pork loin for the potluck feast that follows. Glad it's not snowing!

Druids obviously are something which has been much on my mind this year. There isn't really much information about the original ones, and all the (scanty) sources come from writers with their own agendas (agendae?). What does seem fairly certain is that there was a priesthood by this name in Britain when the Romans arrived (i.e., 1st century CE) which was then suppressed, and that there was a related group in Ireland at the time Patrick arrived (5th century CE?) which was still around to some extent and in some form in Gwernin's time (mid 6th century CE). It seems highly unlikely that their beliefs and practices, as described by the classical observers in 1st century BCE Gaul, would not have undergone some degree of change in that period. Add to that the fact that the few bits we know (or think we know) about the Irish Druids were reported by their religious opponents, and you can see that searching for particular grains of sand in a tub of mud in thick fog on a moonless midnight is a simple task in comparison to searching for the truth about the 6th century Irish Druids...


I'll just have to see where the awen takes me.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

One more Samhain item

The following seasonal tale from Storyteller is in the archives of this blog, but I decided to give it its own page on my Gwernin Storyteller blogsite as well so as to make it easier to link to. Enjoy!

Drom Beg stone circle


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

...and Wednesday...

I've spent a bit of time housekeeping on the blog sites during the last couple of days. Aldertree Books is pretty much fully set up now, and I encourage people to take a look. I've also begun taking link lists off the sidebar on this site and putting them in a separate page (see the page list on the upper right - there will be more soon). A lot of this non-writing activity is getting done during periods when I don't have the undisturbed time I need for The Druid's Son. That will change soon...


The picture above is from the Irish trip. I'm thinking it might make a good cover for this (click on the link and scroll down to see what I mean)...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Calan Gaeaf

Happy (Celtic) New Year - today is the First Day of Winter in the old Celtic calendar. It's not particularly wintery today - warmer than the middle of last week - but the cold will come. I spent part of yesterday clearing stuff out of the garage to make a winter home for the rosemary bush. This is more complicated than it used to be, because it (the rosemary) is now so large that it requires the use of the garden cart to move it easily, and this in turn takes up more room. However, the clearance was long overdue and beneficial, involving boxes that hadn't been touched since I moved here in 1997. I found some photo collections which I need to scan this winter, which I hope will include some British landscape photos I took in the eighties and nineties - more stone circles.

Another picture on the Samhain theme:


It's the eastern interior passage in the mound of Knowth - a gateway to - where?