Articles By: Shana Thornhill

Beyond the spicy limits…

I have always loved animals. For years, my dad teased me that quite possibly it was possible for DNA to be transmitted via television, and I had turned into Elly May Clampett. My mom will gladly confirm the vast quantities of literature I consumed about various animal types, breeds, colors, genetics, and behaviors. I always love to hear stories about […]

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Avoid those deer encounters

Long ago “in the olden days,” as my kids like to say, I had an extreme near-deer experience. Some people have near-death experiences, but apparently mine are wildlife oriented. I suppose I’m glad we don’t live in bear country. We were driving my Grandma’s 1963 Chevy Impala (looking back, I appreciate the irony there), heading toward Hutchinson to visit Dairy […]

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Approaching the ‘age of never’

I read a book a while ago in which the main character learns about the “age of never.” That age where, “It never used to hurt to do this,” or “I never used to have trouble seeing that,” or even “It never took THIS long to finish something before.” That character reached that age at about 50, and I’m noticing […]

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Ways to stay warm this winter

As you get older, you find that your parents were usually right. Money does not, in fact, grow on trees. They were indeed not born yesterday. There were definitely starving children around the world that would have been happy to eat my cooked spinach, liver and onions, or Impossible Cheeseburger Pie. (That one still makes me shudder, by the way. […]

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Christmas then and now

Back in the mists of prehistory, also known as my childhood, I recall Christ­mas­time as a season of anticipation. I had my Christmas list written in July, and it grew steadily until Christmas Eve. My brother usually started saying, “Just you wait until you see what you’re going to get for Christmas” sometime in September. The tree usually went up […]

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Google Maps: adventure travel

Sometimes I wonder what we did before the Internet and smart phones. Sure, I remember having to negotiate trips to the library to find things out (since their reference materials were always more current than the set of 1978 World Books we had at home). I vaguely recall speaking to actual people to find out the best recipe for leftover […]

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We’ve made room for a loom

A monster is lurking in my living room. Its hulking, silent, wooden presence has overtaken an entire corner. Jagged metal teeth protrude at unlikely angles, steel wires mimic a forest of eyes, and its joints creak, clank, and groan. Stained ropes are tied to and knotted through it. My family and I brought it home and carried it in, piece […]

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Daughter takes on chickens

As parents, we tend to think we’ve seen it all. From projectile spit-ups to teenage pranks, diaper blow-outs to drivers’ ed, it sure feels like we’ve been there, done that, got the T-shirt. And heck, even if we don’t have a clue, we know that we need to act like we’ve seen it all, since kids are experts at finding […]

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Picking up important lessons

“Have some kids,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. I openly confess that, even after major cash outlay into the “What to Expect” books (from pregnancy through the toddler years), I still did not feel adequately prepared for parenthood. It starts with the daily struggle to keep your children alive. Kids aren’t plants, after all, and take a bit […]

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Close encounter of a farm kind

It was a dark and stormy night. The air hung oppressively hot and humid over the prairie. Each breath brought with it a vague sense of unease, almost a primitive urge to flee before the oncoming storm. Stars glimmered feebly overhead, disappearing into the flashes of lightning from the fast-building clouds on the horizon. As our truck swept down the […]

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