Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Old West Wednesday Guest Post by Abigail Jones

I am delighted and grateful for this guest post from Abigail. She has been following Andi's blog for less than a year. She accepted by earlier "challenge" for guest posts and here is what she came up with. It's great! She even emailed me some pictures. I'm open for more guest posts from readers. Thanks Abigail!

Many of Andi’s readers are familiar with Fresno, the city near the Circle C. As Andi is a tween and teenager, Fresno is a thriving, bustling city. But it was not always that way. In fact, when Andi was born in 1868, Fresno didn’t even exist. Here is the story of how this city got its surprising start:
The red arrow points to Fresno
Long ago, Spanish explorers came to the San Joaquin Valley. They named an area “Fresno,” which is the Spanish word for “ash tree.” They called it this because of the abundance of white ash trees growing near the San Joaquin River. But these early explorers didn’t think that a town could ever be founded in this area called Fresno.
            For a long time, no one disproved the explorers’ predictions – largely because of the Yokut Indians living in the valley. Even during the California Gold Rush, while many towns were being founded by the prospectors and others who came during the 1840s and 50s, the modern town of Fresno remained unsettled.
            In the 1860s, a Holland immigrant, along with a few others, supposedly settled modern-day Fresno. But their settlement wasn’t big enough to be considered a town.
Leland Stanford around 1870
           Finally, in 1872, the Central Pacific Railroad decided to set up a station for their railroad in the area called Fresno. Railroad officials mapped out a town, which they called Fresno Station, to be founded at this station. The credit for choosing the location for this town is given to Leland Stanford, who worked for the Central Pacific RR. He supposedly saw A.Y. Easterby’s wheat field and determined that this was where he would build his town. His exuberance over the location of Fresno Station very much went against the Spanish explorers’ dire predictions.
            In 1874, the people of Millerton, a town about 25 miles northeast of Fresno Station, made the decision to move the county seat to Fresno Station. They kept getting flooded out every winter, so the entire population of Millerton left to go to the new town closer to the railroad.
            There was an issue with Western towns back then, however, that brought devastation to the town of Fresno. Many of the buildings in these towns were made of wood, which is easily destroyed by fire. In 1882, a fire ravaged an entire block of Fresno. Another destructive fire occurred in the next year.
The Fresno Flood of 1884
But there was another type of calamity that would befall this young town in 1884: flooding. Many of Mrs. M’s readers will likely remember Andi’s account of this same flood from San Francisco Smugglers (though the dates were changed just a little to coincide with the story). In the wake of this horrible incident, Fresno became “incorporated,” which basically meant that they became an official town or city with elected officials, such a mayor.
Since then the city of Fresno has, overall, thrived. In their lifetime, the Carters would have seen Fresno grow from nothing to prosperous city. This is the place Andi grew up near: a place which, despite early setbacks, rose to become the large city of Fresno, California.
Modern-day downtown Fresno

Monday, May 13, 2019

Lost Stories--Chad Carter and the Abandoned Mine Part 1

May 1888--Andi's Journal

It finally happened! After all these years, Chad broke down and told me the story of how he’d gotten himself into a worse scrape than any of the scrapes I got myself into. And that includes my scariest scrape—the time Jenny Grant and I were trapped in Chinatown and almost shanghaied to the Orient. Chad insists his was different. If no one had rescued Jenny and me, we would at least still be alive. Someone nearly perished during his scrape. After hearing his story, I think he might be right . . .

Chapter One

“Mother!” Chad argued. “I’m twelve years old. I can take care of myself.” He jammed his hands on his hips. “I don’t see why you won’t let me go.”
“That will be enough.” Father put down the newspaper and glared at his second son.
Chad quavered a bit. He could sometimes sweet-talk Mother into seeing things his way, but Father was a tougher nut to crack. “But Father, I’ll be careful. So careful—”
“You’ve spoken once too often this evening, Son, and about the same subject. The answer is no. Don’t ask again.” He picked up his paper and went back to reading.
Chad threw an impatient look at his older brother Justin. Big brother was scarcely more than a year older, but he seemed years older just then. Perfect, studious Justin Thomas Carter. He never did anything wrong.
Justin ducked his head and refused to respond to “the look.” He went back to his history book. It was clear he wanted no part of this argument.
Chad huffed and stepped around his younger siblings, who were sprawled out on the library floor.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Things Are a Little Rough

I'm just forewarning y'all. I have a number of Andi's Journal posts scheduled, but I won't be able to do Old West Wednesday or Photo Friday for probably the rest of the May. My dad is not doing well, and I'm going over there for a whole week. If somebody wants to do an Old West Wednesday about something historical, I'll be happy to post it as a Guest Blogger (include pictures).
Email your Old West Wednesday post to

Pray for me (Mrs. M) for wisdom and patient with my mom and dad as (mostly my mom) are in the middle of making hard decisions for care and how to help my dad. And as they begin to make serious end-of-life decisions. Help me remind them that we have a hope and a future. And honestly, if I were 94, I'd be begging to go home!

I'm homesick for Heaven already. How about you?

Monday, May 6, 2019

Andi's Journal--Riley's Ramblings from Fort Alcatraz

 Note: This Riley's Ramblings is two years old, but I wanted to incorporate Riley's Ramblings into the Andi's Journal tab so you can enjoy some of Riley's earlier adventures. Sorry about the repeat, if you have already read this post back in 2017. --Mrs. M

From Andi's Journal:
I wrote about one of Riley's journals I found the other day.When he saw that I really wanted to learn more about what happened after he left the Circle C ranch, he brought in a whole stack of books from the barn. "Didn't think you'd want to read the scribbling of a little kid," he joked. "So I kept most of them in a special box up in the loft."

Not want to read about Riley? Of course I do! Riley left the ranch when I was eight and a half (he was ten and a half). The first six months I cried. I missed my playmate so much! But after I turned nine and found a new friend (Sadie Hollister), Riley began to dim in my memory and I began to think about him less and less. By the time he returned as a wrangler to work for his Uncle Sid and my brother Chad seven years later, I had pretty much forgotten him.

I didn't realize that he never forgot me! I will forever treasure the birthday gift he gave me when I turned sixteen (a picture of him and me with Taffy and Midnight--see The Last Ride). Reading his journals makes me laugh and cry. I realize he had a completely different life from the little boy who was Cook's helper for three years. He arrived on the ranch when I was about five and a half. His mother was sick, and his father was an Army captain and often away on patrol, so his Uncle Sid cared for Riley until his mother got well. Below are the first two entries in Riley's journal.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Fan Fiction and Audio Book Winner

Donna Flores won her choice of the Circle C Adventures Audio Book Contest. Congratulations, Donna!

Also, a new fan fiction story came in. Click the link:

A Race with Time by Lilly W. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

Orphan Calf Parts 3-4

April 1888
My memory was just too long to keep the story of my orphan calf limited to one journal entry. Here is the rest of it.

Note: Except for the epilogue, this story is based on true events.
Chapter 3

Andi feeding Sweetie Pie
Every day for a week, Andi faithfully fed Sweetie Pie. She ignored her brothers’ (and even Melinda’s) teasing about such a silly name for a bull calf.
     However, Sweetie Pie’s name suited him perfectly. He nuzzled Andi when she sat by him. He stood up when he saw her. He drank every drop and butted against her knees for more milk. He let Andi hug him and stroke him to her heart’s content.
     But that was the extent of Sweetie Pie’s movements. As soon as Andi coaxed him out of the barn with the last few drops of milk, the calf found a shady spot and lay down.
     “I don’t understand it,” she told Chad, who had softened considerably when he discovered the calf might live. “When I ride out on the range land, I see calves walking around, sometimes even frisking and leaping. Sure, they sleep a lot. But not as much as Sweetie Pie. He just lies around between feedings. He lies around all day long.” 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Fun Review, Contest Winners!

Here is a wonderful review for all the stories from the Western Sunrise contest book. Thank you, Ellen, for taking the time to share your thoughts on the winners' stories. I know it will be such an encouragement to them.

        I really enjoyed this latest collection of Circle C contest stories. The young authors sure know how to spin delightful tales! I very much admire their abilities to write strongly and neatly, and the story plots and ideas they all chose are fun and enthralling.
          The stories for the youngest category (ages 6-9) were so much fun to read, and each young author shows much promise. Sophia, Moriah, Ava, Trinity, and Susie, please keep writing! God has big plans for each one of you.
          The next category (ages 10-13) is also filled to the brim with lovely stories. From a nightmare of a trip on the Titanic to experiencing a near-disaster with a thief on the road, Patience, Sophia, Gabriella, and Alivia have woven a fantastic collection of short stories. It was all so enjoyable, and I am confident that God has unimaginably great things lined up for you young ladies. (Ephesians 3:20)
          Last but most definitely not least, the oldest category (ages 14-17) is chockful of well-written, intriguing stories. Emily’s story, Proper Andi, brought giggles to the throats of both my siblings and me, while Hannah’s Friendship from Tears reminds me of 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Martha’s The Tragic Friendship includes an unexpected twist, and Christiana’s story, Turning Point, brings back characters from an earlier book. Wonderful, wonderful job, ladies! May God continue to bless you and all your writing projects.
To all of you Andi fans, whether you entered or placed in this year’s Circle C writing contest, a huge “Congratulations!” I know you all worked hard to write your stories, and I also know that God is at work within you all. Please, keep pursuing the gifts and talents He has so richly blessed you with!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Interview and Audio Book Giveaway

Enjoy this fun interview from Annette Romano, the narrator for the Circle C Adventures (and the current recordings of the Circle C Stepping Stones).

Then click the link over to the Audio Book Giveaway! 
Win your choice of any Circle C Adventures audio book. Contest runs April 23 - April 30. Choose from Long Ride Home, Dangerous Decision, Family Secret, San Francisco Smugglers, Trouble with Treasure, or Price of Truth. Comes on a thumb drive for fun, plug-and-go listening in any USB drive. Transfer the audio book to any and all devices. You can also enjoy the Circle C Adventures from AUDIBLE

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY (U.S. Mailing Addresses Only)

Hi Annette! Thanks for sharing with readers about your recording journey. First of all, what sparked your interest in narrating books? I wanted to narrate books because I love reading and storytelling as an art form, but there’s such a difference between reading to yourself, and reading aloud for another. I read to my daughter for years and years, as she grew up. I realized I missed that. Also, it gives me a reason to act! I really enjoy finding the voices for the characters.

Annette and friend from the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary

How long have you been producing audio books? I’ve been an audiobook narrator since 2015. I began in my tiny front closet. It got very hot in there! 

What is your funniest or quirkiness narration experience? My funniest narration experience….. hmm. Well, nothing truly wacky, but once I’m all set up and ready to go, my little cat invariably decides that Now, she would like to come in. She sleeps on the floor during recording, and sometimes I have to edit out her snoring.
Finding voices for a dog and a bird for a children’s book I did was fun!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Orphan Calf Parts 1 and 2

Here is Mrs. M's version of the Orphan Calf story. Enjoy!
April 1888
Spring is in full bloom on Memory Creek ranch. The calves are dropping every other day. We even have a few new foals. Spring is my favorite time of the year. Seeing all the new calves brings to mind one summer when I happened to stumble on a forgotten, abandoned calf. Here's the story. (Remembering it makes me glad I don't ever have to that again . . . I hope not, anyway. My goodness! What a lot of work it was!)

Chapter 1
(Note: this story was inspired by real events.)

Andi heard the soft cry before she saw what made it. “Cory,” she whispered. “What was that?”
“What was what?” He plopped his fishing pole back in the water. “I don’t hear anything.”
Andi yanked her pole out of the creek and stood up. “Well, I did, and I’m going to find out what it was. It sounds like a lost calf or something.”
Cory craned his neck and looked up at Andi, who towered above him. “A lost calf. Are you kidding me? This is a cattle ranch, Andi. Calves don’t get lost.”
Andi ignored her friend and started toward the sound. She rounded a clump of manzanita and stopped short. A big, spotted shorthorn cow was lumbering off toward the rest of the herd. Twins calves—one black with a white face, and the other with brown spots—hurried to catch up. They bawled, and Mama turned around and lowed back. 
 Andi grinned. Nothing was prettier than the sight of newborn calves or foals. This little family was no exception. The twins were probably a couple of days old, but extraordinarily small, which wasn’t unusual for a multiple birth. 
“I told you so,” Cory said, coming up beside Andi. “A cow and a couple of calves.” He shrugged. “I’m more interested in the fish that might be nibbling my line.” 
Andi shot a final, happy glance at the cow and calves and turned to go.
Mooo . . .

Thursday, April 18, 2019

My Apologies!

Sorry for not sharing an Old West Wednesday and I apologize ahead of time for no Photo Friday, at least for a few weeks. We came home from the convention and are taking off again Sunday. In the meantime my dad had a small stroke, so we are headed over to the west side of the state for a couple of days before we head out across the country. So I have understandably been pressed by too many other commitments to be able to post those other two times a week.

A whole bunch of Andi's Journals are already scheduled, so at least you'll have something to look forward too. I hope beginning in May, I can get back on track. In the meantime, please pray for my dad and my mom! He's okay now, but since he's 94 (eeks!) even a small stroke can mean other things on the way.


Monday, April 15, 2019

Andi's Journal--April 1888 part 2

April 1888

After getting Wyatt's message from my mother that a visitor had stopped by the Circle C in hopes of seeing me, I packed Jared up and rode over. Any excuse to ride Shasta, especially when the trip ends at the home ranch, is always welcomed. But today? When the young woman introduced herself, I almost dropped Jared.

    She smiled at me, but I almost didn't take her outstretched hand. Felicity Bradford? Who in the world is--
    Then it clicked. I might not recognize the "Bradford," but I would never forget the name "Felicity." The past rose up in front of me like an unrelenting nightmare. Without thought, my back began to tingle. How many stripes did this wretched girl give me when I was young? Four? Five? How many stripes did she give my beloved mare, Taffy?
    "Andrea." Mother's voice broke through my reverie.
    I jerked back to the present and took her hand. It was warm and soft. "Hello." I didn't feel like saying anything silly like it's good to see you.
    It was not good to see her. It was terrible. My heart picked up speed, and I felt a droplet of sweat slip down the back of my neck.
    Jared saved the day. He fussed to be put down. The baby loved Mother's parlor. The carpet was soft and bright. He liked to sit in the middle of the parlor and pick at the bright red roses in the weave. He couldn't get them, of course, but it kept him busy for at least ten minutes.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Spring Story Contest Winners

Congratulations to the Readers' Choice Spring Story Contest Winners! After the judges chose the Top 4 stories in each categories, readers went on to choose which of those Top 4 would be the final winner. Here are the results (over 100 votes were received in each of the age categories. Thanks for voting!)

AGES 7-11 The Challenge by Rebekah Hanson
AGES 12- 16 El Toro by Abigail Jones

I have emailed the winners, but if you see this please send me your mailing address and which Circle C Adventures audio book you would like.

Also, a couple of fans have sent in fan fiction stories. Here are the links! Enjoy!

An Unexpected Love  . . . by Martha (2019 story contest entry)
God Forgives . . . by Hannah M.
God Saves . . . by Hannah M.
The Story of Stranded . . . by Ellison Rose
A Calf Named Trouble . . . by Amanda L. 

Happy Palm Sunday to you all!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Photo Friday: What's Inside a Rattlesnake's Rattle?

This was a popular post back in 2008, with over 6,300 views. I'm not sure why. I guess nobody knows what's inside a rattlesnake's "rattle."
Bethany (Horse Girl) and the long-time Andi fan who produced that delightful movie Mrs. M posted about in last Friday's Photo Friday, asked the original "What's inside a rattlesnake's rattle?" question. This post has been completely revised and includes a link to a 3-minute video from the Burke Museum about the Western Rattlesnake. Enjoy!  --Mrs. M

From Andi:
Here is everything you ever wanted to know (or not!) about a rattlesnake's rattle. By now, I have had a few encounters with rattlesnakes and their rattles.

Showing off my rattlesnake's rattle
When I was six, Mitch killed a whopper of a rattler. I brought the rattle to school. That was not a good idea. I scared Melinda's friend half to death, and then Melinda yelled at me. Not a good way to start your very first day of school.

Then my friend Jenny nearly got bit by a snake on our trip into the Sierras. If it wasn't for Patches, our horse, she might have been seriously in trouble! Patches killed the snake, and we used it later to surprise a pretty bad hombre who was keeping us hostage up at an old shack.

And THEN, more recently, Riley was teaching me to shoot (he had much better luck than Chad ever had), and I ended up shooting a rattler. (See this story in the new Tales from Memory Creek Ranch). Yes, plenty of rattles and rattlesnakes for me.

But here's the scoop on rattles. A baby rattlesnake is hatched with a "pre-button" at the end of its tail. Then, when the snake sheds its old skin as it grows (every few months), the old, dried-up skin gets caught on that button at the tip of its tail, and the segment stays behind. Each time the snake sheds its skin, a new segment is added, and the rattle gets longer and louder. The segments whacking against each other creates the sound. The tail rattles so fast the sound is a buzz rather than a dry rattling.

You would think you could tell how old a snake is by counting the rattle segments, but that is not true. Sometimes, they get brittle and break off. And since a snake can shed more than once a year, it could gain segments faster. You just never know for sure about the age. (Not that I care how old a rattlesnake is, by the way).

Since it's Photo Friday, here are some more pictures of the Western Rattlesnake and where it roams (or, rather, slithers).

Very young Western Rattlesnake (see how few rattle segments?)
A young snake is much more poisonous and dangerous than an old one. 

Check out these rattles! Much older Western Rattlesnake. Notice they come in various colors and patterns.

Below is a map showing where the Western Rattlesnake hangs out. Jenny Grant lives in western Washington state, near the body of water called Puget Sound (not by the ocean). Notice there is no "orange" (Western Rattlesnake grounds) on the western side of the state. That is why Jenny was unfamiliar with them.

You can see why I (Andi) and more than familiar with them. They are everywhere in California (shudder). 


Watch a movie and learn more on the Burke Museum site: Western Rattlesnake


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Old West Wednesday: Can a cattle rustler "fake" a brand?

Last Wednesday on Old West Wednesday, I (Andi) shared my experience branding.

The obvious question comes up. Could a smart cattle rustler burn his own brand over the original one? The answer. You bet they could! Of course, some brands were pretty detailed, so it would be hard to make a branding iron that could change one of those easily. 

However, some simple brands could be messed with and changed. For example, the BAR S (- S) could be changed to 48. Easy! Or if your name was Larson and your brand was an L, think how easily a rustler could change it to an E. This would completely cover up the original L. 
Even the Circle C brand could be faked. Turn the C into an O and what to you have? The Circle O brand. Can you think of how you might change some of these brands in the pictures below? Feel free to share your ideas in the comments.  

Or with these?

Monday, April 8, 2019

Andi's Journal April 1888

April 1888
An Unexpected Visit

     Living on Memory Creek ranch is delightful! The spring sun rises over the towering Sierra range in the east. The grass at this time of the year is such a bright green that it almost hurts my eyes. Seeing the new spring calves and foals makes me think I'm still a young girl welcoming spring with both arms wide open.
     But there are a few disadvantages. The Circle C ranch is a full hour's buggy ride (or longer), and Memory Creek is nearly an hour farther east. The decision to ride or drive into town is not to be taken lightly. Spring is also such a busy time (especially with an active baby-crawler), that I hardly find time to visit Mother and Ellie on the home place. So to see an unexpected visitor riding up made me pause my broom while I swept the front porch.
      My first thought was, Oh, golly. Now I can't take Jared for a ride on Shasta.
      I'd been sweeping and carpet sweeping and flying through the wash all morning. I wanted to plop Jared in the saddle in front of me and take off for a ride. It's so much fun! Jared squeals and bounces as if to say, "Faster, Mama, faster!" Shasta senses he has a little one on his back and behaves like a perfect gentleman. Riley, of course, is as proud as I am about our little man's love of horses so early on. I see a wide-brimmed (cowboy) hat on the list of birthday gifts in a few months.
     I shaded my eyes and tried to place the rider.Then I grinned. "Howdy, Wyatt. What brings you up to our neck of the ranch?"
    "Got a message for ya, Miss Andi." He pulled his dappled gray horse to a stop. "Since Chad wanted me to flush out some strays up in the east pasture, he asked me to stop by your spread."
     I grinned. Riley and I have owned Memory Creek for nigh on two years, but some folks can't help thinking this little spot of heaven is still part of the Circle C and my old special spot. More than once, Chad sent a ranch hand up to my spot to remind me I'd better "get along home" when I was small.
     Looks like he's still doing it. "What's up?" I asked.
    "About an hour ago, a spankin' new buggy pulled up to the Circle C. Visitors. The lady 'specially asked for you, Miss Andi."
    My eyebrows shot up. "So, why didn't Chad just send them up here?"
    Wyatt shrugged. "She had a couple o' young'uns with her, so your brother invited her to stay there while somebody fetched you."
     Hmmm. Yep, my family is still fetching me hither and thither. What if I had bread in the oven? Or a load of laundry to squeeze out and hang up? That Chad!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Photo Friday: "Chosen"

This Photo Friday is special. Bethany R. and her sister Abigail, long-time Andi fans (Bethany's blog is one of the first posted on the sidebar when I first put that together--A Great God and Good Cocoa) created a ten-minute movie for entry to the Christian Youth Film Festival in Bakersfield, California. They won second place over all, best Application of Scripture, and Abigail won Best Actress. They are horsey fans and live down in Andi Country--more or less. :-)

Go to YouTube watch this horse-related allegory. It's a great movie short, and you will enjoy it. You can read more about it on the YouTube description. And then . . . "subscribe" so they can get their own URL that makes it easier for folks to find the movie. She needs 100 subscribes. Two newspapers are interested in running this story, so she really needs the 100 subscribers to get the good URL. :-)

Yay! She got the subscribers. So here is her new link:

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Readers' Choice Spring Writing Contest

It's time to read and vote for your favorite story in the Spring Writing Contest "Orphan Calf."
Here is the quick review. Andi (and friend, or not) find an orphaned calf on the ranch. What happens? Enjoy these creative ideas. They were very fun to read. The judges chose the four they liked best, and now it is your turn to choose the one you like best. Contest runs ONE WEEK only, so vote soon. Voting ends next Friday, April 12.


1. Read the four stories from Ages 7-11 and from Ages 12-16
2. Click the GOOGLE FORM links to vote in each category.
3. Please be honest and only vote ONE TIME. I can't make the Google form lock you out after one vote unless I email you the form, which makes things too complicated.

Story Links Ages 7-11 (in no particular order)

1- Assumptions, Mistakes, and Trouble
2- The Lost Calf
3- The Challenge
4- Opie, the Orphan Calf

VOTE for Ages 7-11


Story Links Ages 12-16 (in no particular order)

1- El Toro
2- Never Forgotten
3- Coal Dust

VOTE for Ages 12-16


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Old West Wednesday: Branding

This was originally posted in 2009. However, Mrs. M and Andi pretty much rewrote it, so you might get a kick out of reading this "new" post. It is convention season for Mrs. M, so it's hard to come up with fresh Old West Wednesday, but hopefully that will happen later on this spring. 

From Andi:
I always, always wanted to brand a calf. It looked like such an important job. Chad and Mitch used to let me ride around with them and watch, but when I was nine years old, they let me help! 

Mitch helping Andi brand her first calf.
Chad told me that whichever calf I lassoed, I could brand. It was easy to lasso a calf when the cows and calves are in a big pen. One toss, and I got my calf!

There is so much noise when the calves are being branded. Eeeks! The mamas want their babies. The babies want their mamas.

There's a small, hot fire kindled nearby, where the branding irons are kept. The hotter the better because then the branding goes faster for the calf. Mitch grabbed one of the red-hot irons and I held on too. 

The first time I branded a calf I didn't hold the iron down long enough, so Mitch had to keep it down for me. Three seconds might not seem long to you, but it's a long time when the stink and the smoke is getting in your eyes and nose. And I felt real sorry for the calf.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Andi's Journal-April 1888

April 1888

     I know I'll live to regret these words, but I'm so very happy the rain and unusually wet winter are behind me. When the thermometer reaches 105, I bet Riley will tease me and say, "Don't you wish it was last winter again?" If he does, I'm going to bite my tongue. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy the wild poppies, the new calves, and Shasta. Oh, and of course my sweet baby!
     Jared is nine months old now, and he crawls all over the place. That means I must keep the floors clean. He likes to find little pieces of paper scraps, or dust balls, or other nasty things I've overlooked with my broom.
     It is almost impossible to sweep a rug with a broom. Believe me, I've tried. And tried. It was especially bad when Riley accidentally tracked in mud this spring. It dried to gray powder and small clumps. I did my best to find every speck, but Jared can crawl so fast. And since he's close up and personal to every little piece of dirt or toast scrap, I'm forever trying to keep ahead of him.
    Just the other day, I yanked a bit of brown string from his mouth. He must have liked the taste because he threw a fit when I took it away.