Hey, all! It’s been a doozey of a week up here, with temperatures that us northerners just aren’t used to coping with. I’m not complaining, though. We’ve been waiting for it to warm up for so long, it seems pretty hypocritical for us to turn around and wish it would cool down again!
Anywho, it’s been pretty busy this season around the homestead. Lots to do, and I have to admit that I haven’t been working on Falconsbane overmuch these last couple of months. I hate to give excuses, and in some cases there’s really no place for one, but I’ll explain a wee bit more a little later on.
So, what’s the deal with today’s post? Well, I thought I’d take you on a bit of a tour of what’s been going on lately; an update of sorts.
This covers a lot of what’s been going down lately. It’s a major part of our lives, after all! I planted an herb garden in an old water trough (broken and no longer waterproof, of course), and it’s thriving ─ which is really rather exciting, since I’m no green thumb. My grandparents on the other hand, could bring a dried up old twig back to verdant life in a single season; between that generational difference a goodly bit of plant savvy was lost. But so far we haven’t lost any plants, so that’s a blessing.
The vegetable garden is coming along and we’re trying to stay on top of the weeding. It’s amazing how there’s a weed to match every seed you’ve planted. The strawberries took the transplanting alright, so hopefully by next year we’ll get a decent crop ─ provided the critters are kept at bay. We’ve also got a short row of lavender and twenty or so tomato plants. We like to process a lot of tomatoes.
Also, there’s been discovered a red mulberry tree up on top of our hill, so between the birds, deer, and cattle, we’ve harvested enough to make two batches of jam and a pie (two of my favorite things to make!) You know the darnedest thing, though? Every time I’ve gone up there that silly song gets stuck in my head. Round and round the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel . . .
The business venture:
I’ve toyed with the idea over the last year or so of trying to sell some of by home- canned and baked goods, so this spring I got official with a (fancy?) permission slip from the grand poohbahs of agriculture and foodery. My outlets for selling are limited, since my refrigerator and apron aren’t stainless steel, but so far ye olde market stand out by the road is doing serviceably. I really want to make and sell shelves of jams and jellies, but I suppose we’ll have to work up to that. I’ve dubbed this wee business the NovelTea Kitchen, and I have a neat logo and everything. (If you’re interested in what’s going on with all of that on a week-by-week basis, check out the farm’s Facebook page).
We managed to grab some of the season’s last strawberries last weekend, and I immediately tried a new recipe I’ve been wanting to test my hand at for some time: strawberry kiwi jam. It’s remarkable all the things you can turn into jam, and I want to try them all. It didn’t turn out quite as viscous as I wanted, but that’s my bad for messing with the fruit-to-sugar ratio. It still tastes good, and dolloped over ice cream I don’t think anyone would mind the looser consistency. Next year I want to try a different brand of pectin and see if it’ll give me more freedom to do all the things I want.
The rest of life:
Last year I may or may not have mentioned the record number of weddings we’ve been to over the summer. This summer seems to be the encore. We’ve been to one already and have two more lined up. It’s strange, how the people you grow up around suddenly grow up. What’s also very exciting is my brother’s term in Japan is through, so he got to come home last weekend for a bit and visit before moving to his new station on the west coast. It was great seeing him again, and this time he finally gets to take my awesome sister-in-law with him!
I’m pleased to say that I’ve finally found a string of good books to read. Keeping up with reading is a healthy exercise for any writer, and so I’ve been trying to shatter those long stretches of reading deserts, which spring from busyness/preoccupation and poor choices in books that turn out unengaging. Last week I shared my thoughts on one of the jewels I found, A Green and Ancient Light. Later this month I’ll post about the one that came after: The Name of the Wind. I’ve since finished that book’s sequel, and now I’ve switched down to YA for a trilogy called The Cloak Society. I’ve had it on my library reading list for who knows how long, and finding it there again earlier this week I decided to give it a try.
Lastly, but not leastly. Although it does seem like it. With all of the above going on, I will admit that work on Falconsbane has taken a back seat. This spring-summer-harvest season is a difficult time for me to focus on writing, since there are a plethora of other things to be doing. Another reason why working on it has come to a near standstill is because I’ve needed to reconsider a lot of the story. I was moving too fast through it and not taking the time to show off and develop the characters or the world they lived in. This story has been more challenging to write than its predecessor,and I feel it will be a while before I can say it’s reached its potential. Roscha (the MC) and I have a lot to work through, but I think in the end it’ll be better for all the reconsiderations and rewrites. Beauty takes time, they say. Flowers don’t bloom all at once, Rome wasn’t built in a day, lasting impressions take time to develop ─ all that good stuff. I feel, at least for me personally, that this is a story I need to write, and I am willing to take the time necessary to tell it right. So I thank you for all of your support and patience as I weave these tangled story-threads!
And that’s the gist of it! We may not be running around like chickens without heads cut off, but there’s never a lack for something that needs doing. It’s a calmer, steadier kind of busyness that lets you take moments and smell the flowers or enjoy the neighbor’s pool before starting up the grill.
How are your summer days passing? Are they the ‘lazy summer days’ mentioned in stories, or a string of endless activity? How are you taking moments to enjoy the days, while they’re here, ere this brief season passes like the flickering sparks of an evening campfire?