What I’ve Been Doing on my Summer Vacation

Bliss. Bliss. Bliss.

We’ve been taking a “home” vacation the last week and a half. (Well, I have. BH has been working.) That means avoiding the computer, reading for fun, not research, and doing all the little projects around the house I’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t made the time for.

Like becoming a domestic goddess.

I went through this phase before, when I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and an infant. I had a garden, fruit trees, and a woodpile. I baked and canned and sewed. And then life got complicated for about twenty years. BH and I have taken vows to simplify, simplify, simplify our lives, and spend our energies doing the things that have meaning for us; trying our very best to avoid the rat-race that life often seems to becomes.

So… my vacation! (so far, I am still taking this weekend off, too.)

It has mostly been spent in the kitchen, playing pioneer. I turned a bushel of peaches into…

Image and video hosting by TinyPic … a dozen quarts of canned peaches, a dozen tiny jars of peach chutney and a whole bunch of peach preserves.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Then I turned a pot of tomatoes and boxes of blackberries into

Image and video hosting by TinyPic spaghetti sauce base and blackberry jam.

Once I got started, I couldn’t stop.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I made deviled eggs and froze massive amounts of blueberries.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I knit a warm vest that will go to a child who could really use it, thanks to the amazing people at Warm Woolies. (Thanks to my friend Martha, and our friend Elvira, for telling me about Warm Woolies.)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I went back to the farmer’s market for more tomatoes and brought home fresh dill and cucumbers.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The tomatoes are in the process of becoming chili base.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And the cucumbers are being fermented into old-school fermented dill pickles. They went in this crock with a bunch of spices and garlic and dill and vinegar. For the next three weeks, I am supposed to scoop off the foam from the top of the crock and make sure the dog doesn’t stick her nose in it. If the crock doesn’t explode or catch fire, in three weeks, I’ll be canning the pickles.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Our wood arrived!!! (Winter is never far from our thoughts up here.)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic BH ran the splitter for a day until all the hunks were of manageable size. (We received nearly nine cord.) If it cools down a little this weekend, we’ll stack it.

That’s all for now. My stuff on the stove is getting ready to bubble over. What have you been up to?

Attention Teachers!!! & Pondering in the Forest


I made it too hard. For this, I will not apologize. I consider it payback. But I am not heartless, and I really want TO GIVE AWAY A CLASSROOM SET (30 ARCS) OF TWISTED to the smart teacher who breaks my code.

So. Revised rules.
1. Read the book. (Sorry, no Cliff notes yet. No Spark notes, either.)
2. Answer these questions:
a. What is the significance of the name of the game Tyler plays on his computer?
b. Which classic American play, often taught in high schools, helped inspire TWISTED?

It’s the second one that is causing the problems. I gave the answer in the ALAN chat last month, but the transcript isn’t up yet. So here is your Big Hint: I always plant clues in the main character’s name. Get it? His name????

3. Email your answers to laurie AT writerlady DOT com. Put “TWISTED contest” in the Subject line.

4. The deadline has been extended because y’all are so busy. Deadline is now midnight, EST, Wednesday, Sept. 5th.

Second thing, next. The Child With Stitches in now the Healing Child With Stitches and is back at college. So I am home. And I’m beat. Whooped. Totally drained. This has been a busy year, hasn’t it? I’ve been trying to brainstorm the new book, but then my head starts smoking like it’s burning oil and I am overwhelmed by the need to take a nap.

My Muse is trying to send me a message. I need a break.

So from now until Labor Day, I’m chilling. I’ve spent the last two days pulling weeds. Tomorrow I’ll can peaches. There is wood to be stacked, sticks to be picked up, tomato sauce to simmer, mittens to knit. I have three doors that need to be sanded and coated along with a couple of window frames, and that chair in the front hall I’ve been promising to refinish for approximately ten months. While my hands are busy with all of this, my Muse will be at a spa somewhere, resting up for the writing marathon that this autumn promises to be.

I don’t think I’ll be posting much, but I promise to come back in two weeks, with pictures of my funness.

How are you going to spend your last days of summer?