Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Winner!

The randomly chosen winner of yesterday's giveaway is Aussie Jude!
Big congrats, Jude!
I'll send your copy of For the Love of Grace straightaway.
Thanks to everyone for visiting!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Yesterday we left the farm behind and headed for the city. Hard to believe, isn't it? But really, we did. We got away from the trees and meadow, the tilling and planting.

Our car had an appointment for its 30,000-mile checkup so we dropped it off, jumped into a brand new, metallic red loaner sports car and did what any couple would do. We headed for the mall.

First, I've got to say the little red car was a blast to drive. And yes, I realize they put us in that particular car because they hoped we'd buy one. The idea of a car payment, even with its all-time low interest rate, just doesn't appeal so we had fun for the day but were perfectly content to claim our own vehicle when the time came.

We stopped at a diner and had more breakfast than two people should ever have! Lingering over tea, we chatted like newlyweds, finding topics that don't come to the surface often here on the farm.

Then, the mall. On a Tuesday it's possible to skate through the deserted space. We practically owned the place, and took our time strolling through almost every store. Barnes and Noble held me captive for a good hour. And no, I didn't leave empty-handed, but you suspected that, didn't you? Macy's cosmetics counter also claimed my attention, as well as my money. We browsed in LL Bean and contemplated taking up fly fishing. And I dashed in for a quick trim at the hairdresser's. I feel decidedly less shaggy now--thanks, Jina!

After lunch, then more wandering, we stopped for ice cream sundaes before returning to the dealership. They were just washing our car, so our timing was perfect! We left the city before rush hour traffic hit, and after a quick grocery stop we were back on the farm in time for dinner.

Dinner? Oh, we ate on the back deck, barefoot and still damp from showers. We listened to birdsong, propped our feet on the deck railing. We leaned back, surveyed the trees and gardens, the meadow and hills and were grateful to be home. The city is a nice place to visit, but we belong on our little farm.

Pardon? Oh, what did we have for dinner? Strawberry shortcake, of course! What better way to end a fabulous day than with a little indulgence?

So, how did your Tuesday go? And when you need to recharge, is there anyplace in particular that calls you? And is a day sufficient for you, or does it take longer for you to unwind?

For no particular reason other than I'm happy, I'm going to randomly choose one name from today's commenters to receive a copy of For the Love of Grace, one of my early Wild Rose Press releases.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday Afternoon in a Raised Bed

A couple of years ago we built this raised bed. It sits nestled in between an apple tree and a plum tree. The trees aren't so big that they shade out this little bed, so it's an ideal situation. The planting space is small, and has sides so I can sit on the edges and pull weeds or run my fingers through the feathery-soft carrot greens. I also have a perch for when I'm busy gathering leaf lettuce for a salad bowl.

After the winter snow melts, this is what the raised bed looks like. Forgotten, weedy and definitely not salad dressing worthy! It doesn't take long, though, to whip the little bed into shape.

I picked up this nine-pack of head lettuce at the local Agway last week. I usually grow ours in the greenhouse but these were such a pretty shade of green I was compelled to bring them home.

As usual, Piglet supervised my gardening chores. Isn't she just the sweetest thing?

In addition to the lettuce I purchased, the bed will shelter seeds. I always grow lettuce and carrots in this bed. Nothing else, just lettuce and carrots. It works so well it seems silly to try anything new here. Every year we have more of these two veggies than we can use, and share the excess with friends and family. Hard to believe so much comes out of one small area, isn't it?

First, I pulled out the weeds. Then, I used my heart hoe to turn the soil over. I added a couple of flowerpotfuls of soil from last year's pumpkin patch so the bed became fluffy and light rather than compacted and lumpy. It didn't take long to work the soil, and the time I spent with my hands in the dirt was peaceful and relaxing.

These are carrot seeds. I chose a variety called "Short 'N Sweet" for this year's garden.

Do you see the six rows I drew in the soil? They're for the carrots. Once the first six lines begin to grow, I'll draw six more between them and plant a later crop of carrots. For now, the first lines go in and get a half-inch of soil on top of the seeds.

These blurry, black spots are lettuce seeds. I like "Simpson Elite" for summer sandwiches, so that's what I've got here.

Those two lines, twelve inches apart, are for the Simpson lettuce. The seeds require just a scant covering of soil. Again, I'll plant a row between these two later in the season.

Finally, I planted the nine heads of lettuce at the top of the bed. The soil was so soft, I just tucked them in with my gloved fingertips.

It didn't take hardly any time at all to exchange my weeds for lettuce and carrots. I watered the bed down, gathered my tools and walked away with a big smile on my face. I know that it won't be long before we're harvesting our salad fixings from this small space. Gardening is just so rewarding, don't you think?

So, how did you spend your Sunday afternoon?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Just Because

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pears, Firs and Walnuts...

... Oh my!

We've been eyeball deep in tree planting this week but we are, thankfully, down to the last seven transplants. I waved off planting them today, citing temps too high for the task. Mid-80s temperatures make for a better excuse than the truth... I guess my knees aren't as young as they used to be, or as young as I'd like to think they are. They need a break.

I'm going to spend the day sitting on the back porch with Hubby. Maybe we'll take a spin on the pond this afternoon but that's as strenuous as I plan to get today. We'll read. Play chess. Eat ice cream cake.

Maybe we'll pick daffodils for the dining table. Or maybe we'll just sit on the porch, glasses of iced tea close at hand, and watch them sway in the flower beds.

Hmm... I feel a nap coming on.

What about you? Any plans for this gorgeous spring day?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Picture of Callery Pear Tree

Happy Earth Day!

Here on the farm we take caring for the Earth pretty seriously. We compost, grow without pesticides or fertilizers and have adopted many small lifestyle changes that will hopefully have a positive impact on this planet.

One of the things we do, right from the first year we bought this old farm, is plant trees. I can't even begin to count the number of trees we've planted on the property. This year we are planting less than we usually do, but we're still planting trees. Last week we planted eleven, an apricot and ten Canaan firs.

Today we're planting ten Callery Pear trees. They're pretty, produce fruit for birds and small animals and enrich the air we breathe. What's not to like?

I hope you have a lovely day. Any Earth Day plans in your neighborhood? Or your backyard?

Monday, April 20, 2009


Storm clouds threaten to burst just over our hills. I could take this day to snuggle up by the fire with a good book. Better yet, I could snuggle up with my laptop and write a book. Now that's a plan... But I won't be doing either of those things. Not today, when rain feels like a sure bet.

Trees. We've got trees to plant, and a spring day with rain is the perfect day for planting. I'll dig holes this morning, put the trees in by lunchtime and, if I'm lucky, Mother Nature will water them down for me.

So my morning is claimed by trees, but the afternoon? Now that just might be the right time to snuggle up by the fire and get some writing done.

What about you? What kind of Monday plans do you have?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fortune Cookie says...

"Decide what you want and go for it."


The only part of a Chinese meal I like is the fortune cookie.

When Hubby had lo mein for lunch, I had pizza but I did order the packet of fortune cookies. After all, everyone knows fortune cookies go with everything, including pizza, right?

How do you think the fortune cookie knew how to get the message to me? You know, the message I've been fighting for a while now, the one I figured I could ignore until...well, until now, I guess. I mean, this seems to be one of those head-slapping moments, the kind where you either "get it" or you don't.

On the other hand, the tiny slip of paper folded inside the cookie may have been meant for someone else. Maybe the guy in line behind us in Ming's House of China. He did look kind of unsettled...

Then again, maybe not.

Maybe next time I'll skip the fortune cookie. This one should do me for a while.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, April 17, 2009

They're Here!

And they were well worth the wait!
Hope you have a nice weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who knew?

I feel like I'm sitting beneath a blue light in K-Mart. I'm on sale, and I didn't even know it! How much fun is that?

My Wild Rose Press short stories are all on sale this month for less than a dollar each. That's right, they're just pennies--a real bargain, anything under a buck, don't you think?

Anyhow, the link is here. I hope you'll go check it out. I was so pleased to find myself on sale!

Lots of short stories at The Wild Rose Press are on sale...I'm going to indulge in a mini-spree, so I'll have lots to read on my little netbook.

Hope you're having a nice day!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shaken, Not Stirred

Oh yeah, that's how I feel right now. But unlike a Bond martini, I'm smiling from ear to ear.

Why? Before dinner last night I tilled the garden. Now that's a sure sign of spring.

I just looked out the window and the sight of rich, dark soil, so soft and fluffy, just warms my heart. It makes me so happy I can almost forget the blisters on my palm and fingers. The ache in my back. The bruise on my shin where a huge stone flew from the tines and nailed me.

Yeah, I've been dragged around by that monster machine, but it's been worth it. We're ready for planting.

Now, if we could just figure out how to stop the snow, we'd really be set.

Heading to Agway this morning to check out their veggie plants. Thought I'd pick up a couple, bring 'em home to the greenhouse and baby them a bit. Build big, strong plants while Mother Nature rounds up her lagging flurries.

What have you got planned for today?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Word to the Wise

Just a note of caution...

Remember how I admitted to blasting the roof off the house with my music while Hubby was out walking?

I forgot to turn the volume down when I clicked the stereo off.

Let's just say his feet left the floor when he turned it back on and got hit full force with Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools."

Pretty funny to watch, actually, the feet flying off the hardwood.

Not so funny? His attitude the whole hour following his encounter, when he waited for the ringing in his head to stop.

Just thought I'd pass on the handy household tip...

Have a nice day!

From the Pages today

Today's Author Interview over at From the Pages is with PL Parker. PL dishes about her writing life and what she's working on now. Also, she's offered a copy of her novel Riley's Journey to one lucky commenter.

Why not take a peek? Just follow the link in the sidebar!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday, Monday

I wonder how many of you are old enough to remember hearing that song on the car radio? I mean, not on an oldies station, but when it was a new release.

Music on the mind, here, brought about by a Saturday afternoon walk. Not mine, but Hubby's. Let me explain...

Saturday was beautiful in our backyard. Sunny, warm (all right; it was only warm-ish but we were happy it wasn't snowing) and with all the promise of spring most of you began to see weeks ago. Not one for staying inside when the skies are blue, Hubby decided to take a walk to the meadow and back.

Me? I stayed inside and caught up on some paperwork. Oh, and I opened all the windows. And I...well, I turned on the stereo. Loud. Really loud.

Usually Hubby and I are in the house together, so we play music we both enjoy, a sort of melodious compromise. It works. But when he's out?

Mwah ha ha!

I blasted stuff he tolerates, but doesn't love. I won't name names, but "Monday, Monday" was tame by comparison.

Yeah, I love living in the country. The birds, bunnies and foxes don't care what I play. And I know they won't look at me funny and wonder if I really Can't get no satisfaction or if R-e-s-p-e-c-t is something they really need to find out about.

I hope today is sunnier than Saturday, and that Hubby decides to take an even longer walk, because I've got a playlist calling me.

What about you? What sort of music really makes your heart beat fast? And do you blast it? Or are you more subdued?

Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Just Because

I just love crocuses. They're so brave, poking up through the cold ground. On a church lawn near here there are hundreds of them blooming. We saw it a few days ago, and of course I didn't have my camera with me. I'm hoping to get back to see them again early next week. If I do, I'll take a few shots to share with you. Until then, these made my morning walk very pleasant.

Hope you have a nice Saturday!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Here and There

Yesterday was one of those ordinary days that was so good it kept me smiling all day long. There wasn't any big occasion connected with the day (unlike Monday, when we celebrated our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary) but it felt like every time I turned around there was something pleasant on our path.

Of course, I took a couple of photos to share the day with you.

We stopped in the local Agway to pick up bushel baskets. Last week we bought starter potatoes, which I plan to put in the ground this weekend, so the bushel baskets are a necessity. Why? Because I've got a plan for them that goes hand in hand with the starter potatoes. More on that another time. Now, I want to show you what we saw in the Agway.

Aren't they adorable?
It was sooo hard not to bring them home with us.

Look at these darling chicks!
So soft and fluffy!
I wanted these too but
we left them in the store.

I took a little walk when we got home.
Every day there are new crocuses to admire.
The daffodils are plumping up, so they'll
be along any time now.

We've got a pair of ducks on our pond.
I love watching them swim around.
So peaceful, and so pretty.
Sorry the photo isn't better.
They're a bit skittish so I don't get
too close.

So, you see, yesterday wasn't a red-letter day but it was wonderfully pleasant from beginning to end.

I hope your day was a goodie, too. And I hope you're getting set to enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


"How about some grilled veggies with dinner? I'll toss 'em on the grill, then sit on the deck while they cook. It's nice out there...maybe you'd like to come out, too. What do you think?"

A grunt is his only answer.

A patient man, he tries a second time.

"So, that's a 'yes', right? You do want me to grill the veggies? Maybe some eggplant. Peppers and onions. A zucchini--definitely a zucchini, right?"

No answer.

He sighs, then heads to the kitchen. After a few minutes, he returns, and sets a glass of iced tea on the table beside her.



"Are you thirsty?" When she lifts her gaze, he raises his own glass to his lips. Swallows, then smiles. "See? Yours is beside you, on the table." He nods, then smiles when she picks up the glass and takes a drink. "Good. That's a step in the right direction, anyway."

She snaps the book closed. "A step? What're you talking about?"

Grinning, he points at the book in her lap. "You're been under a spell for the past three hours. I don't think you moved an inch. What is it that's got you so hooked that you don't even realize what's going on around you? And aren't you getting hungry? You didn't eat any lunch."

Now that he mentions it, my stomach is kind of empty, she thought. Pushing aside the book, she stands and stretches. Her back feels kinked and her shoulders hurt, but it's all worth it.

She takes his hand and pulls him toward the kitchen. "Come on, I'm hungry."

As they walk away, he glances back at the book. Heart and Soul. It's finally forgotten on the sofa, but he knows it won't be long before her nose is buried again.

Better fire up the grill--fast.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Program Note

Just a reminder that today's author interview over at From the Pages is with Mike Ryan.

Mike is an interesting guy, and a very talented author. He's graciously offered a print copy of his latest book, Grapes For A Guinness, to one lucky commenter.

Why not stop by and take a peek? Ask a question or two if you'd like. I know Mike wouldn't mind answering them. :)

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Champagne Time!

Just breezing in this morning... I can't stay long because it's a Big Day here at our house. And I do mean a Big Day.

We're celebrating! That's right, celebrating! A day of fun followed by a night of...well, you get the idea. There will be dinner out, champagne, toasts and lots of kissing. A happy day in our house, one of our favorite days of the year.

Hmm? Oh! Sorry! I didn't tell you what makes this day so special, did I? My bad!

Today is our wedding anniversary. That's right, it 's the day we celebrate the whole two-shall-become-one, till-death-do-us-part thing.

I love this day. Really, really love it.

So, how many years do you think Hubby and I have been celebrating this day? Come on, take a guess! You "know" us from visiting here, so you must have an idea. Do you think we're celebrating our first wedding anniversary? Or our hundredth? Somewhere in between?

Do you have one day of the year that really jazzes you? Which one, and why? I may be flying out the door, but I've still got an enquiring mind.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, April 04, 2009


I think a big part of my love of writing comes from the idea that when you write, anything is possible. There are no boundaries other than those your mind imposes. At the stroke of a finger, people dance, laugh and love, journeys are undertaken without fear or even despite chilling terror and, maybe the most important thing for me, is that happy endings are guaranteed. I like that, the guarantee...and when I write, that's not only a distinct possibility, but a probability.

It doesn't take much for me to begin to consider new possibilities. I see stories in little things, silly things, things that are all around us here at the farm.

Love the colors on the petals of this closed crocus. Don't they remind you of the swirling layers on a ball gown? And if we've got a ball gown, then there's got to be a lovely lady wearing that gown...and you know that if there's a gorgeous woman there's got to be some hunky hero just waiting to twirl her off onto the dance floor...

See? Anything's possible.

I'm always amazed by the stuff the winter's freeze pushes to the soil's surface. I found this piece of blue glass in one of the flower beds. Don't you just wonder whose hand held this last? And where there's a hand, there's a story.

See? Another possibility.

I was so excited to find this hole in a big old maple tree on our property. The tree is up in the forest, so really the hole could be anything. No one would ever see what goes into it...or what emerges. Could be a porthole to an alternate reality. Maybe there's a tunnel that leads into the hillside. Who knows? It could even shelter an ordinary owl--an owl who flies off to someplace interesting. Someplace exotic. Someplace where there's a story just waiting to be told.

Yeah, that's one of the things I love most about writing. Anything--and I do mean anything--is possible. It doesn't get much better than that.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Springtime at the Farm


Spring has come to the farm, and we are jazzed!

Yesterday afternoon Piglet, Hubby and I took a stroll
around the grounds.

We saw some fabulous things.

I thought I'd share a couple with you.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

I don't know what this sweet little flower is,
but it's poking out of the spring garden bed near the big barn.
The pussywillows are beginning to puff out!

And look--we've got crocuses!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

No Fooling!

This morning I put this in the mail.

Yep, real happy here. Real happy.

So, now you know how I spent March. I've got plans for April, too.

What about you? Any plans you'd care to share?