Recently a friend said, "Oh, you live such an exciting life!"
Honestly, I nearly choked. Exciting? Me?
Doesn't she remember we live in the middle of nowhere? Porcupine sightings, shooting stars and firewood stacking...oh yeah, that's excitement on a grand scale. I wanted to ask whether or not she'd forgotten about my endless winter spent behind the snowblower? Ugh--that was not exciting in the least!
Today's thrilling adventure?
Shoveling mulch. Yep, that's right, I'm going to be mulching the veggie garden. Almost too exciting to bear, isn't it?
I've got a couple of rolls of biodegradable weed barrier paper which I'll cut and put on the soil. Then I'll use my snow shovel to scoop the mulch from the truck bed onto the paper. Hopefully it will eliminate the majority of garden weeds so I won't have to spend the entire summer pulling the blasted things. The mulching is a lot of work but it really saves back-breaking labor later on.
So today I'll shovel. And I'll smile, remembering the "exciting life" comment. And the best part? Mindless activity, like mulch shoveling, lends itself to allowing the mind to wander.
I'm hoping I'll "write" the next chapter in my mind while I'm behind the shovel this afternoon. Then tomorrow morning when I sit down at my desk, the scene should be nearly written and just fall onto the screen. That's what I'm hoping for, anyway.
What have you got on the agenda for this gloriously sunny Sunday? Anything "exciting" you'd care to share? Hmm?
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Recently a friend said, "Oh, you live such an exciting life!"
Saturday, May 30, 2009
There's nothing like an afternoon in Cooperstown. So relaxing!
Friday, May 29, 2009
My dad is back in Florida, so it seems kind of empty around here. We keep looking at each other and shaking our heads, just missing the sound of my dad's laughter. If we could, we'd keep him here with us. He is happy in Florida, though, so it would be horribly selfish of us to try and hold him captive here out in the middle of nowhere.
Good news is he'll be back again in a few weeks. Actually, in August, in time to pick the gardens' bounty. He'll probably be here at jam-making time, now that I think about it. What fun we'll have! Who knows? Maybe we'll can some tomatoes when he comes back. Take long boat rides. Walk the meadows. Go searching for bears. Eat too much. Laugh all day long.
Yeah, it'll be good again. Now, though, I've got to admit I'm missing the guy. A lot.
So, what's a girl to do? I'm setting my eye toward June. Making a to-do list that will be full enough that I feel satisfied but empty enough that I'll be able to kick back and enjoy the lazy days of summer.
What about you? What's going on in your world today? Hmm?
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Yeah, we live a frenzied lifestyle. Can't you tell?
Hope you have a lovely day. Me? I'm off to find some adventure! Maybe round up a porcupine or two...find a flock of turkeys...look for some eagles or dip my toe in the lake...
Monday, May 25, 2009
In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae
Written in Flanders on May 3, 1915
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved,
and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies growIn Flanders fields.
We all know that Memorial Day is a day set aside for remembering those brave men and women in our armed services who have lost their lives in defense of our country. It's a gentle reminder to take a moment to consider the cost of the freedom we enjoy every moment of every day.
I've got to admit, we're pretty patriotic around here. We fly the American flag from our flagpost daily. Hubby is a veteran who served during active combat time. We've got ancestors who have fought in every war the United States has been involved in. Yeah, we're pretty patriotic. Freedom isn't taken lightly around here, because it doesn't always come easy.
So here we'll be remembering the fallen heroes. We'll recall the true meaning of the day and will observe the National Moment of Rembrance.
Last year we tilled a spot for a new flower garden, over by our poplar grove. We planted red poppies there. It's something we'd wanted to do since we bought this place. This morning we'll add more seeds to the small poppy garden, just to be certain the spot will grow and thrive.
This afternoon we'll have family and friends over. We'll laugh over silly things. We'll eat far too much. And, as always, we'll be thankful we live someplace where we can gather, laugh and feed our hearts, minds and souls with absolute freedom.
Want to know more about Flanders fields? Look here. Thinking of planting some poppies in your backyard? Try this.
And from our home to yours, wishes that you have a safe, happy Memorial Day.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Posted by Sarita at 12:34 PM
Friday, May 22, 2009
It's spring here in the middle of nowhere but we're already getting deliveries of firewood for next winter. So far I've stacked three. Two more to go.
I don't even want to guess at how many pieces of wood I've moved. All I know is that I've chosen, lifted, fitted and stacked enough chunks to give me a little bit of insight into the fine art of firewood stacking.
Turns out that stacking firewood gives the wood stacker a lot of time to think.
Some random thoughts that may come in handy in the event you're faced with a pile of split logs that's higher and heavier than the vehicle you drive...
First impression is that this stack of wood is bigger than you are, that there's no way in the world you'll ever be able to move it yourself. Relax. It is bigger than you are. And there is a way for you to move it all.
At this point you may want to give up. Don't. A lot of things in life are intimidating when first viewed. That doesn't mean you should throw your hands up and walk away.
As with so many other things, the secret to successful woodstacking is to simply begin stacking. The only way to guarantee you'll fail at something is to not tackle the job. Start stacking. Before you know it, you'll see progress.
By now your body may begin to protest. You may want to give up. Don't. Challenge yourself. You're stronger than you think.
No two pieces of firewood are exactly alike. They're all different. Don't assume that because they're all split logs they're identical. They're not. Appreciate the similarities, certainly. But cultivate insight, and you'll soon see each part of the whole has its own uniqueness.
You might be tired of picking up wood by now. You may not give a rip about similarities and differences. You may want to give up. Don't. You've invested too much to let the job get the best of you. Find the courage to continue to your goal. You'll be happy you did.
Eventually the stack will look like this. There will be bits and pieces scattered about that you might be tempted to rake up and toss away. Don't do it. Not yet. There may be something in the leftovers that may prove useful. And even if there isn't, you deserve to sit back and smile at the spot for a while.
As you wipe your brow and arch your aching back, you might want to vow never to stack firewood again. Don't. Just because the task was tough, pushed you to your limits and made you dig in your heels doesn't mean you should never attempt it again.
The aches and pains, and the bruises where you were hit by sliding chunks? They're badges of honor, a testament to your inner strength.
Life isn't always easy. Often you'll break a nail or crush a toe. That doesn't mean you should turn away from a challenge.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I've been interviewed over at Pure Southern Genteel. The interview is fun and fast, and I hope you'll take a peek.
Leave a comment at Miss Mae's blog to be entered in an impromptu giveaway. Leave a comment here, and get a second entry. Tell someone else about the interview, and have them leave a comment mentioning your name at either spot and I'll enter you yet again! How's that for fun?
The prize is a secret, but I assure you it'll be something interesting. Oh! The contest runs until the end of the month.
Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Does it get much better than spending a few quiet hours reading a good book? I think not, especially if the reader sways in a hammock with a copy of Vision in White in her hand.
So now you know how I spent my Sunday afternoon. How did you spend yours?
And have you read any good books lately? I need to know because I don't think Nora Roberts will have the second installment in the Brides Quartet out soon enough to satisfy my reading craving. So, any suggestions?
Friday, May 15, 2009
Yesterday I made a cannoli run. Now I know what you're thinking, but the box of cannolis isn't all for me. Really. I'm not kidding.
We're having friends over this afternoon. The cannolis will be dessert.
All except the two that were in a separate little white bag. Those were mine.
On the way to the bakery we saw movement at the edge of the busy, crowded highway... ahem... by the side of the middle-of-nowhere, harldy-paved road. We stopped. Thankfully there weren't any speeding tractor trailers behind us.
See it? A porcupine! Isn't he cute?
We watched for a few minutes while he nosed around in the brush. I hoped he'd turn so I could take a shot of his sweet little face but he never did.
Think he's in search of cannolis?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
to me. When I take a walk I often grab my sketch book and a pencil or two, just in case I see something I want to draw. Lots of times the pencils fall from my pockets, or I set them down in the grass and forget to pick them up when I gather my things. I've lost a ton of pencils that way.
I picture a future archaeologist wondering what sort of people lived here, and why on earth they felt compelled to leave colored pencils everywhere.
Last weekend I took the time to make a pencil roll. It was a fast, easy project and will save my pencils.
I made the pockets about an inch wide so I could stick more than one pencil into each. The buddy system method of pencil organization. *G*
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Posted by Sarita at 7:24 AM
Monday, May 11, 2009
Here on the farm the dandelions are out in full force. I know there are people who despise them, but I love 'em. They remind me of summer afternoons, stringing chains in the sunshine with my childhood friends. What's not to love about the first flowers I chose to pick for bouquets?
This year I'm mulling over the idea of gathering a few baskets of dandelions and making wine with them. I've never done it, but the idea intrigues me.
Any suggestions would be most welcome. I'll let you know how this little advnture turns out!
Hope you have a lovely Monday. Me? I'm off to work in the greenhouse. Maybe pick a few hundred dandelions...
Posted by Sarita at 10:01 AM
Sunday, May 10, 2009
“I don’t know, Sharon. Those horns—they’re pretty loud. Some of those guys sound angry, too. Do you hear them yelling?”
“I hear them.” Squaring her shoulders, the young mother forced herself to ignore the agitated words, some of them coarser than any she was accustomed to hearing, from the driver behind her. He sat the wheel of a big tractor-trailer truck whose rumbling engine made her heart hammer. “Hold my hand. Just take my hand and stand still. They’re not going to run us over if we all just stay right here.”
“Are you sure?” Behind thick lenses, Lorette’s eyes were awash with unshed tears. “You’re sure? They won’t just run over us?”
“Of course I’m sure,” Sharon said, reaching out and clasping the other woman’s hand. She gave it a squeeze, then turned to the neighbor who stood on her other side. “Louise, take my hand. Grab Sue’s hand. We’ll make a blockade with our bodies. It’ll be fine. We don’t have to stand here long—just long enough for someone to notice and do something.”
Ten women joined hands, stretching their arms so they formed a chain that blocked both lanes.
“I think people have already noticed.” Louise grit her teeth as the truck behind them gave another deafening blast. “Oh yeah, they’ve noticed all right. I didn’t realize the road was this busy.”
Sharon nodded. Busy? That was putting it lightly. Vehicles, a lot of them enormous Mack trucks like the one behind her, shot through this stretch like it was a speedway and they were going for the checkered flag.
Before the last school board meeting she wouldn’t have considered stopping traffic anywhere, least of all here where it was so dangerous. But now someone had to take a stand. She figured it might as well be her that stood—even if it meant doing it on the yellow line.
“Listen, lady, you’re gonna have to move.” The policeman’s silver badge reflected the chrome grille behind her.
Sharon swallowed, forcing herself to meet his gaze. He was older, his face lined in an I’ve-seen-everything sort of way. She wanted to accommodate his request but couldn’t back down.
“You’re obstructing traffic. Can’t you see that?” The man’s tone was kind.
“Yeah, you’re obstructin’ traffic, lady! Why don’t ’cha move?” The trucker with the polished chrome and roaring engine called. Thankfully he had stopped honking his horn. “Get outta the way!”
“Listen, pal, let me handle this. You’ll be truckin’ in no time. Just chill out.” The policeman placed his hands on his hips and looked up into the face of the fuming truck driver. When the man nodded, the cop turned back to the problem at hand. “See? You’re putting a dent in the morning rush hour. Don’t you see what a problem you’re causing?”
“I do, and I’m sorry.”
“So you’ll leave.” It wasn’t a question. “You seem like nice ladies. Just go on home and do whatever it is you usually do on Monday morning. No harm done. We’ll all just forget about this little incident.”
“We’re not leaving.” Sharon’s voice was calm and even, although her insides quivered as she spoke. “We’re not going anywhere.”
Furrowing his brows, the policeman asked, “Why not?”
“Because this isn’t a safe intersection.”
“All the more reason you shouldn’t be standing in the middle of it,” the cop said.
A crowd had gathered. Drivers who were stuck too far back to see what was going on had left their vehicles and walked close. Residents, hearing the commotion, clustered on the sidewalk. The police cruiser’s swirling red light had attracted still greater attention.
“I agree with you.” The women had dropped hands with the arrival of the police car. Now Sharon clutched the handle of her baby’s carriage with a sweaty grip. “We shouldn’t be here, but we’re going to stay.”
“Just why are you here, exactly? I’d like to know what could get a group of housewives to stand in the middle of the street like this. There’s got to be a reason—what is it?”
“The district is going to stop using buses to transport the elementary school children.”
“I’d heard that. But what does that have to do with this?” He waved his arm, a sweeping gesture that took in the women, their strollers and the traffic surrounding them.
“There’s no traffic light here. Cars, and trucks—” Sharon paused, turning to glare at the driver hanging from his window behind her. “Trucks like that one—zoom along this road too fast. Crossing here is dangerous but that’s what our kids are going to have to do if the school board takes away our buses.”
The man in blue stuck his thumbs in his belt loops and rocked back and forth on his heels. “Ah, so you live on the opposite side of the street from the school, then?”
Sharon shook her head. “No. My house is on the same side as the school.”
The man’s brows pulled close. “So your kids—you do have kids, don’t you?” He peered into the baby carriage, scowling at the doll beneath the blanket. “Real kids?”
“Two. I have two children, a daughter and a son. This is my son’s carriage.”
“But that’s not your son, is it?” The cop’s tone was still friendly, although his words held a hint of sarcasm.
“No, that’s not my son. It’s my daughter’s doll. I wouldn’t think of bringing my baby into this traffic. No way!”
“That’s good to hear. But let me get this straight…your kids won’t have to cross the street to get to school. These ladies? Will their children be using this intersection?”
The women all shook their heads.
“So none of your children will have to cross this intersection?”
“No, but a lot of others will need to cross. That’s why we’re here.”
“You’re going to tie traffic up until the children show up? Is that the plan? I can’t allow that, you know. I’ll have to take you down to the station if you don’t leave soon.”
“We just want to bring attention to the fact that this is a busy spot.” Sharon turned to her companions. They nodded, silently backing her up. “We want people to realize it’s not safe for anyone’s children to cross here without a light and a crossing guard. We wanted to show everyone how much traffic uses this road. It’s not all right to put our children in jeopardy, leave them to the mercy of truck drivers and delivery vans. Something needs to be done to keep them safe. Don’t you see that?”
“Oh, I see it, all right.” The policeman pulled his uniform cap from his head. He plowed his fingers through his hair, a resigned grin on his face. “I see it, clear as day.”
A voice from the crowd called, “Over here! Smile!”
The flash from the photographer’s camera took Sharon by surprise. The snapshot caught her standing in front of the Mack truck, her hands on her baby carriage and the truck’s grille looking like huge chrome teeth about to swallow her whole. The grinning cop, cap in hand, stood beside her.
The photograph appeared in a Long Island newspaper in 1967 and was enough to draw attention to the situation. A traffic light was installed and bus service continued uninterrupted.
The traffic-stopping mothers taught their children the valuable lessons of standing up for what’s right and not ever backing down—even when faced with huge, horn-honking, chromed opposition.
Posted by Sarita at 5:51 AM
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Hi. It's me, Piglet. I hijacked--ahem!--stole--ah... I graciously offered to blog today, although Sarita doesn't know it. She's not even here now. No, really. I've got her desk chair all to myself and I must say I find it pretty comfy. Yes, pretty comfy indeed. I might just decide to settle in right here, blog every day and play Scrabulous when I'm not writing.
Huh? Where's Sarita? You're not missing her, are you? I didn't think you were.
What? Gee, you really do get testy when you want to know something, don't you?
Well, since you asked, Sarita's in the greenhouse. She's up to her neck in little plants in pots. It looks like she'll be there most of the day, too. There were lots of seedlings to be transplanted.
I offered to help her, you know. It's not like I just sat by and let her take the whole chore on by herself. No, I offered to chew down some of those seedlings for her--just so she didn't have to transplant the darn things, you know--but she turned me down. Flat. And with one of those looks.
You know the look I mean, don't you? It's the one where her eyebrows merge into one flat line and her nose gets all scrunched up and...well, you know. The Look. When I see The Look I back right off, believe me--especially when she gives it before she's had her morning coffee.
Gotta watch a caffeine-free woman wearing gardening gloves and a scowl...
Hope you have a meowy nice Saturday. Me? I'm going to sit in the cool wood mulch beside the greenhouse and lisen to Sarita sing along with the stereo. She does that while she works, you know. The sound takes me back to my younger days, when I was just a wee kitten and I'd hear coyotes howling in the distance...
Friday, May 08, 2009
...take the cannolis.
Who wouldn't, right? A gun can always be replaced, but a good cannoli? Come on, we know which one ranks highest, don't we?
Around here we take cannolis very seriously. We've got to. We live in the middle of nowhere. Even driving a fair distance (a half hour or so) doesn't yield a decent bakery--no, let me rephrase that--driving thirty minutes doesn't produce any kind of bakery, so finding cannolis is a little like searching for the needle in the haystack. You know they're out there--somewhere--but unless you're willing to drive a couple of hours, they're hidden.
I've gotten pretty adept at making cannolis but that can be a pain in the behind. Sometimes you just have a hankering for one cannoli. Making them from scratch involves making enough to feed a bunch of people. And I can guarantee you that, even without a crowd, if I make cannolis they will be eaten. Mostly by yours truly, so that's not a great thing to do too often.
About forty minutes from here there's a small bakery. They sell a very slim, but yummy, assortment of goodies. Last week we were there, browsing the contents of their glass case, when Hubby spied a small plate of cannolis in their cold case.
I jumped on them like a barefoot debutante at a shoe sale.
Now I've been plagued by--you guessed it--cannoli dreams.
Today we've got a medical appointment in the little bakery town. Of course my hopes are high that I'll find a little plate of cannolis.
What about you? Do you have a sweet tooth? And if you do, is there any indulgence you crave? I've got an enquiring mind, and I want to know.
Hope you have a great Friday!
Posted by Sarita at 4:29 AM
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
Yesterday I took a walk around the property before our guests arrived. It was one of those head-clearing walks. You know the kind.
April was an undeniably busy month around here. May? It looks like it's going to be even more hectic. The good news is that the flurry of activity is all good. The not-so-great news? May, like April was, will be a challenge on the writing front. I spent April hopping between three wips and definitely don't want to do that again. No, I need to choose one direction and go with it.
So... The walk. I mulled. I mused. I walked. I tripped over a fallen branch. I got back up, swore at the branch, laughed, then kept walking. Just above the pond, off the beaten track, I spied these two daffodils. They grow in an uncut spot, all alone and without any nurturing or encouragement.
They amazed me with their beauty. Their determination. Their adventurous spirit.
They gave me an idea.
Now I know what direction I'll take with my May writing. Don't you just love it when things like that happen? What about you? Is there anyplace you go in search of inspiration? Are you a walker? A muller? A rambler?
Posted by Sarita at 5:50 AM
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Posted by Sarita at 7:37 AM
Saturday, May 02, 2009
You'll just have to take my word for it...they smell heavenly!
We had a fabulous day yesterday. As promised, there was adventure, cake, kissing, candles--the works. Needless to say, last night we fell facefirst into bed and were asleep almost before our eyes closed. Every birthday should be so perfect.
This morning I put all the commenter's names into my Yankees cap and pulled out two slips of paper. So, without further ado, the winners are
So, what do you have planned for this sunny Saturday? This morning we're transplanting six fir trees. It's a good day for it, since we've got rain forecasted for late afternoon. By the time it begins to rain I hope to be knee-deep in cleaning out the coat closet. Yes, I take spring cleaning very seriously. We've got so many coats in there that we never use. It seems a shame to keep them all so we're going to donate a bunch to a local charity. We'll free up space in our cluttered closet and, hopefully, keep others warm next winter. A win-win situation, I think.
Friday, May 01, 2009
The UPS man delivered these yesterday! So exciting!
My contribution to the Celtic Brooch series is the second story in this anthology. It is called Freedom's Touch and, thankfully, has gotten great reader response and lovely reviews. More info on the anthology can be found here.
I've got a few copies available for purchase, if anyone's interested. And in honor of a very special man's birthday, I'm going to randomly choose two names from today's comments for an impromptu giveaway. Each name chosen will receive one copy of this Wild Rose Press anthology.
Now, I'm off to celebrate the day! We're going out for breakfast, then will take the day as it comes. I'm sure there will be yummy food in fun places, lots of cake and ice cream and packages with big bows on them to open. (Uh oh...I hope I remember where I stashed the packages! Yikes!) And candles! There will be candles, wishes and kisses. Lots of wishes and kisses.
I hope you have a fabulous May Day.