Jake and his baby spiders.

Remember our giant orb spider? The spider who built a web across an entire garden bed? She was the size of my hand, fingers spread. She was so enormous the dog barked at her.

Ms. Spider only came out of hiding at night. Same with her daughters.

Ms. Spider, unfortunately, died. At least I assume she died. She must have been quite old for an orb spider. But she left us with an egg sac.

The baby spiders were tiny, practically microscopic when they first hatched. They flew off on silk threads, spreading throughout the neighborhood. Some, however, stayed right here. Yay!

We have two big babies in the garden, another in one of the hydrangeas, and a third and fourth in the redwoods– and these are just the spiders we’ve spotted.

The two babies in the garden have taken over their mother’s spot– same garden bed. One is on each side of my tomato plant. Their webs are so large, as are their legs, I refuse to harvest any tomatoes– mostly because while I know where one of the spiders spends her day, the other has hidden herself well. I can’t find her during the daylight hours. I suppose I’ll have to relocate the spiders before I pull the tomato plant at the end of the season. Because no way do I want those spiders on my hand or in my hair. They’ve grown to silver dollar size. Yikes! Big enough that Jake has noticed them. Now he barks at them when they appear in the early evening.

Here’s a video of their mom. If I can I’ll post a video of the babies.

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Free free free free free! Did I mention the book is free?

DOP_TheRedDemon_200I love this cover!

Yes, The Red Demon is free. This is Book Four in my Daughters of Persephone series – my homage to the Space Opera.

Check it out right here -

The Red Demon.

There is a reason Tem is called the Red Demon. She does what she wants when she wants. No one controls her. Time and space do not hinder her. Worshipped on ancient Earth as a goddess among many people in many different lands, nobody opposes her, except her creations, Issa Bokinan and Kane Tirol.

Having left her own daughters behind on Earth as seed stock for future generations, Tem had hoped to make a life with Kane. That is not to be. Rejected, alone and broken, she seeks comfort in the past with the Empress Ya, on Persephone, promising to behave and keep her identity a secret. Tem is hard pressed to control her worst impulses when she’s caught riding the Empress’ prize stallion. 

Horse Master, Aytan Kirrae, cannot believe his eyes. A small Red Woman has just ridden off on the stallion named for him, a horse bred for the Empress Ya. He waits for her return, flipping her over his knee, meting out what he thinks will be a kinder punishment than she would receive from the Magistrate. He has no idea the small Red Woman can kill him with a single drop of her blood.

Pulled along to the future against his will, Aytan thinks he’s dreaming, until he must share the Blood Bond with Tem to save her life. Once he does, his own life will never be the same.

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Busting Nutrition Misinformation – Yes, you may have s’more!

A beloved s'more.

A delicious s’more.

The s’more has a long and glorious history.

It was first mentioned in Girl Scout literature back in 1925. That’s almost 100 years ago, folks!

A s’more, the simplest of confections, is made of a fire-roasted marshmallow and a layer of chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers. There you have it. Our family has been making and eating s’mores for as long as I’ve been alive.

Remember when you were a kid? There is nothing quite as exciting as searching a campsite for the perfect stick, cleaning said stick, sticking a marshmallow on the end of said stick, sticking the stick holding the marshmallow into a campfire, roasting the marshmallow until it is nice and toasty and then smooshing the hot marshmallow between two graham crackers upon which awaits a thin section of milk chocolate.

If you did it just right the chocolate melted and wow, you had the perfect gooey dessert. I want s’more, please! (The truth is, s’mores are so sweet I’ve never actually met anyone who could eat more than two.)

It’s a multi-generational thing. After a summer barbecue, my parents love to make s’mores as the grand finale. My kids love s’mores, but only on camping trips.

Outside of the right setting, s’mores hold less appeal.

You see, that’s the thing. It’s not as if we’re all eating s’mores every single day or for every single meal. S’mores are usually reserved for camping trips, campfires, summer camp and cookouts/barbecues.

I spent two summers as a counselor at a summer camp for diabetic kids and even those kids got to eat s’mores. We just made sure we had the insulin to cover the sugar rush. Nobody ever passed out. Nobody complained. On the contrary, the kids were in s’more heaven.

I’m asking a serious question here. Why mess with a good thing?

To honor National Roasted Marshmallow Day, the Forest Service suggested we replace the chocolate with fruit or peanut butter. See here:

The USDA Blog.

Huh?

(Look, if it’s the sugar they’re worried about, get rid of the marshmallows, which are made pretty much entirely of sugar.)

Uh… no. To eliminate the chocolate from a s’more makes the confection not a s’more. And besides… ewwwwww. (Generally speaking I hate marshmallows. A s’more is the only time I’ll eat one.)

There is a prevailing myth about sugar. Any Amount of Sugar = Bad Things.

And yes, indeed, too much sweet stuff does equal bad things. But I’m not advocating too much sweet stuff.

Table sugar contains linked fructose and glucose. Honey contains un-linked fructose and glucose. Corn syrup contains maltose, but high fructose corn syrup is high in, surprise, fructose. Fruit is a bag of watery fructose with fiber and micro nutrients.

Look, I’m not a huge fan of sweets, aside from chocolate. I don’t think loads of sugar and processed carbs are good for us. Period. However, although I know many many many people will disagree, I don’t see all that much difference in the way our bodies metabolize all of the sugars mentioned above. I, personally, avoid products containing high fructose corn syrup because I believe concentrated fructose can be problematic. I don’t think sugar (including fruit) is dangerous, provided you are not diabetic, and it is eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

I definitely don’t see a need to change s’mores. A s’more is perfect as is. (And this is coming from a woman who detests marshmallows under all other circumstances.)

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Instead of a recipe, a tribute to Bushwacker, the Farewell Tour of a Champion Bull.

Bushwacker, the greatest bull of all time, is retiring this year.

Bushwacker doing his thing.

Bushwacker doing his thing.

I do love bulls. They’re so dang big. Rhino big. Dinosaur big. Powerful big. Sometimes a bull might give you the stank eye, and then you have to watch yourself. But some, like my daughter’s bull, Bully, are very nice.

Enjoy these videos – consider them the best of Bushwacker. He’s an amazing bull. Oh, and I’ve added my favorite new commercial! Julia

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My new favorite ‘found’ item!

I found this in a throw-away bin– one of the bins where we could toss our earthquake trash.

Look!

My two favorite cooks!

My two favorite cooks!

Look closer!

Can you believe it???

Can you believe it???

That’s what I saw when I opened the book the next day. I was so excited. I loved Julia Child. I always wanted her autograph but I never had the opportunity. Wow. Just… just wow!

Will I ever make one of the recipes? Who knows? Who cares? It’s enough to merely hold the book in my hot little hands. :)

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