Halfway through the garden

If you’ve been following me on Facebook or Twitter the past week, you’ve noticed I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time in the garden. What’s up with that?

It’s my therapy.

After the insane amount of travel the past six months, my brain is fried and my soul is tattered. There was no earthly way I could dive back into writing. Many people take vacations when they get burnt out. Packing my suitcase to go away again was the LAST thing I wanted to do. So I pulled on my pink rubber boots, grabbed the shovel, and headed for the back yard.

The first order of business was the flower beds. Last year, they were home to both flowers and veggies, but this year all the beds we can see from the house are flower-based. (The beds we can’t see from the house get a little more sun, that’s why. And we have a short growing season, so we have to take advantage of whatever sun we get.)

It took about a week to get all the plants and seeds in. Our land is on top of a hill that is mostly glacial till. This means a large part of gardening means extracting large rocks and filling in the hole with imported dirt and/or homemade compost.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, of a boulder that was two feet tall and big enough around for me to just be able to get my arms around. Thankfully, it had the good grace to split into 5 manageable pieces when I finally removed all the surrounding dirt and smaller boulders. The extraction took two hours. My back is a little sore, but it was worth it!

This week I’ll be catching up on more correspondence and beginning to shift my brain back into writing mode. And – most importantly – I’ll be whipping the vegetable beds into shape. I am fretting because I am very late getting my peas in – that will be the first order of business.

A few book notes.

WINTERGIRLS made The New York Times Editor’s Choice List. As did CHARLES AND EMMA, by my friend Deb Heiligman.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Last Friday, we enjoyed the very last event on the WINTERGIRLS tour, at River’s End Bookshop in Oswego, NY. More than 100 people came out; one guy drove up from Philly, others came from Potsdam, Rochester, and Rome (NY, not Italy). It was a blast. Thankfully, the fire marshal did not stop in to count heads.

And finally, what do you think of The Happiness Project? Is it a load of manure or something worthwhile, useful, and life-altering?

15 Replies to “Halfway through the garden”

  1. Congratulations to you and Deb. It’s great her new book is getting so much attention. She’s definitely due for more recognition. As for happiness, I survived the traveling season by deciding I’d enjoy myself and have fun no matter what happened. (Though I still haven’t mastered the trick of ignoring gym teachers and coaches who carry on active conversations at the back of the auditorium, right in my line of sight.)

  2. Hey, I answered your gussied up question on Twitter. It’s American slang for an effeminate male, short for Augustus, circa 1900. The gussied up version appeared in the 1940’s. Source: OED.

  3. Re the Happiness Project: I think it’s unusual for people to become happy because they decide they will, but sometimes it happens. It’s interesting to me that human beings have been around for so many generations, and yet we still seem to have to figure out “how to be happy” for ourselves.

  4. I have been following The Happiness Project for over a year. I find it makes me think about things I may not have thought about or look at things from a different perspective, but I don’t follow it with the expectation of being happier.

    So in sum, I don’t think it is either a load of manure OR life-altering. Just interesting to think about.

  5. 1. Your gardening skills and tenacity amaze and inspire.

    2. I’ve been following you on Twitter and couldn’t resist the “gussy” challenge – here’s what I found:

    a) Agreed with you on the OED’s unsatisfactory entry.

    b) Both the Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins and The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins speculate that “gussy” and “gussied up” refer to gussets, or triangular pieces of fabric inserted into dresses to make them fit better and more fashionable. FoF claims the phrase dates back to the 17th century.

    3. I love love love your little cottage in the woods 🙂 BH is a treasure and a genuinely wonderful person!

  6. Chains

    Hi Laurie,

    A friend of mine, an elementary school librarian, said Chains is part of a trilogy. Is this true? And when will the second and third novels be published? And titles?

    I’m a young adult librarian and absolutely love your work.

    Thank you,


    1. Re: Chains

      The second book, FORGE, is slated for the Fall of 2010. Third book, ASHES, tentatively scheduled for 2012. The research for these books takes a long time!

  7. Happiness Project

    I’d not heard of the happiness project before seeing it here. After digging around on the site, I think it’s a pretty good idea. Anything that keeps us mindful of being positive is good. I know “happy” people are seen as stupid, empty-headed, etc., but it is time for that stereotype to die a quick death. What’s wrong with being happy? And what’s wrong with thinking about happiness to actually make it happen? Nothing!

  8. Wintergirls cover photo

    Hi Laurie,
    Just curioius to see if the picture on the front of the Wintergirls cover is yours?

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