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Sudoku Challenge

I enjoy playing the game Sudoku. It stimulates my brain to improve observation and logic skills and helps me to feel smart when it seems hard to convince others that I am. (tongue in cheek)

The drawback of working Sudoku is that it can be a lonely pastime. Thinking along these lines I put my mind to work to come up with a way to share puzzles and turn them into games to be played with friends. Since my husband and I are only two people and he doesn’t do Sudoku, my Sudoku Challenge game has not been tested.

Sudoku Challenge

For two or more players (plus a “monitor”)

Players take turns adding numbers to the Sudoku puzzle as the monitor keeps time and checks every number played against the answer key for the Sudoku for errors.

To play you need a puzzle with an answer key and a one-minute timer.


First player adds numbers until he/she makes a mistake or takes longer than a minute to add a new number. Monitor re-sets timer for one minute after every number is added.

Second player continues to add numbers in the same way as the first player. If there is a third player he/she takes the next turn.

If a player plays a wrong number he/she is out of the game unless all other players also play a wrong number. If all play a wrong number, all are re-admitted to the game.

If no player can add a number in turn within his/her one-minute time limit, then any player can add a number after saying “New Round.” The game picks up at that point with the person who adds the number continuing to add more numbers as in the beginning.

The winner is the person who completes the Sudoku.

An option for a Sudoku game that appears to stall out is for the monitor to add a number somewhere on the puzzle after the second consecutive minute if no one else is able to do so. This option should begin after all players have failed to take a turn in the one-minute option.

I hope you enjoy playing Sudoku Challenge. Please post below how the game works out for you and make suggestions on ways to improve it.

© 2010 by Janice D. Green

Feather shower

Yesterday I was sitting on my front step watching a kitten scout out everything that moved in my flower bed while my husband gathered grapes from our grape arbor. An occasional sprinkle on my bare arms teased that it might rain, so I looked up at the sky. What I saw coming down was feathers, a dozen or more.

I then did an instant replay and in my mind heard the echo of a bird squawk that had been heard only seconds before but I had ignored it. I wish I had looked up instantly and perhaps I would have seen what happened in mid-air right in front of me. Instead I must imagine the scenario…

Perhaps a hawk caught a bird in flight. Perhaps a mocking bird chased another bird away, though I’ve never seen a mocking bird knock feathers off another bird. I fear a bird lost its life to a predator that swooped down from the sky.

What’s the take-away for me? Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. You never know what you may miss if you don’t.

© 2010 by Janice D. Green

Observations made while walking in the snow

The weather forecasts all said we would get snow in Murfreesboro, TN this morning (I’m visiting my 91 year old mother) , so I made an early shopping trip followed by a 25-minute walk on the sidewalk before the snow had time to make it slippery. I thoroughly enjoyed the walk. As I walked I made a few observations I thought I would share:
Snow-filled spider web

Snow-filled spider web

Spider webs catch the first snow. I noticed a web made down in the shrubbery along the walkway that was full of snow long before the branches filled with snow.

IPhones don’t work with gloves on. I took of my right glove to take a picture and then quickly put it back on and put my iPhone back in my pocket.

Mittens are probably warmer than gloves because your fingers can help keep each other warm better in mittens. I always felt my fingers were isolated and thus colder in gloves, so today I decided to test the theory. I forced my fingers into the middle two glove-fingers, with two fingers in each compartment. Sure enough, my fingers were warmer. I tucked the empty glove-fingers into the palm of my hand to keep them from sticking out.

Snow in the air?

Snow in the air?

The snow in the air doesn’t show up so good in iPhone pictures. I took a few pictures because this over-grown kid wanted to prove it was snowing while I was walking. Besides, where I live in SC we seldom get this much snow.

Snow accumulated fast on my jacket and cap, which prompted a new theory; though I decided not to test out today. It takes a lot of energy to roll snowballs and lift them one upon another to make a snowman. It seems that if I simply stood still with my arms out, I would soon be covered in snow and could pass for a snowman while exerting much less energy.
Living snowman?

Living snowman?

While snow is beautiful, it is more comfortable indoors. If I’d had a few other kids around who were younger than me, I’d have been tempted to make a snowman and some snow angels. Then I’d have had more great pictures. But I came up short on motivation to do all that by myself. Besides I wouldn’t have anyone to take pictures for me while I made the snow angels.

Enjoying snow from a cozier spot

Enjoying snow from a cozier spot

QueenBJan’s Weblog has moved

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Watch for birds in your dogwoods

I was in for a treat today. Actually it started about two days ago when I noticed a flash of red in my dogwood tree. I watched closely expecting to see a bright red cardinal, when in the same spot I briefly saw gray and white and thought I had seen a mockingbird. But it didn’t seem right to have seen the two different birds in the same spot so close together. As I continued to watch the mystery resolved itself. What I had seen was brief glimpses of parts of a much larger bird, the Pileated Woodpecker. It was eating the red berries on the dogwood tree.

Today I again noticed a large bird in the dogwood tree, though I couldn’t get a good look. So I retrieved my binoculars and began searching for the bird and found it. This time it was a Northern Flicker. I had commented to my husband only yesterday how we never saw flickers in our yard, only the Red-bellied Woodpecker which I used to mistake for a flicker.  Then I began to notice robins which don’t come to our feeders. All of the birds were after the red berries. I then discovered a female Baltimore Oriole eating the berries as well as the Red-bellied Woodpeckers. All within about five minutes I saw a wide assortment of birds, three of which I had never seen at our bird feeders.

But then, alas, the berries were all gone and the show was over. I went out in the rain to look closer, and sure enough, they had cleaned the branches of all red berries, though there were several lying on the ground under the tree. When the rain stops I may pick them up and put them in our feeders. I hung a suet basket near the dogwood hoping to attract some of the birds to it, especially the coveted orioles. I’ll be watching to see if the birds find it. We haven’t used that feeder for some time.

Bluebirds have fledged!

I just knew I had missed it. Dave and I left on Saturday morning to drive to Charlotte knowing we wouldn’t be back until Sunday afternoon. Four baby bluebirds were in the nest box and could fledge any time. What joy when I came home and discovered that the adult birds were still bringing food to the nest box.

In the heat of the afternoon, it must have been close to 100 degrees, the bluebird adults were drinking from the birdbath. I noticed other birds coming too, so I decided to add a little more fresh water. I think I scared them off doing it. I glanced out the window after adding the water, and I caught the tail end of a dog leaving the yard, which gave me the sinking feeling he might have caught a fledgling on the ground. I eventually dismissed this notion as the dog probably just happened by at the time. There were no feathers on the ground.

I didn’t see the adult birds come to the box over a long period of time, so I peeked inside the box and sure enough there was at least one bird still in there. I quickly closed it not trying to see how many were in the nest.

Then I parked myself in the recliner (elevating my sprained right ankle that had been neglected over the past 24 hours) and waited. After some waiting I saw Papa come to the box and then fly to the arbor. Then suddenly a bird popped out of the box and flew to the top bar of the arbor. It looked a little plump and ragged compared to Papa who flew up to it. I watched it a long time wishing I had picked up my binoculars before sitting in the recliner, but not daring to move now. Then it flew toward the roof and I didn’t see it any more. I continued to watch the birdhouse until it got too dark to see. I saw one of the adults fly to the roof so I suspect it was feeding and/or encouraging the fledgling.

That’s all I got to see. This morning I watched from the recliner again, but there was no bluebird activity. Eventually I peeked into the box again and found that the nest was empty, so I removed the nest and brushed out the loose nest material.

I have noticed what appears to be a tree swallow  hanging around the yard watching what is going on. I suspect it is interested in using the bluebird box. Thankfully there are two boxes available, one in our yard and one across the street, so we should be able to accommodate both.

I wish I could be privy to watching the adult birds feeding their babies while they learn to find their own food. But apparently the neighbor’s yards are better suited for that. I have yet to be able to observe this. I’m going to have to hang a bluebird feeder with some meal worms under the arbor before they nest again.