Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day Ten: Basil & Cherry Edition

I am deep in 18th-century research and writing again, but it’s summer, which means other things are calling my name.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Like basil.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And cherries.

I’ve been getting up wicked early (5ish), working in the garden, and then sitting down at my desk by 6:30 am most days. I work until the late afternoon, then turn my attention to things like

Image and video hosting by TinyPic basil. This was my experiment with freezing basil. It was very simple; pick basil, trim stems,

Image and video hosting by TinyPic chop up with olive oil,

Image and video hosting by TinyPic and freeze. In a couple weeks, the late planting of the basil crop should give me enough leaves to make a big batch of pesto.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And now the cherries are ripe, too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic BH and I (that’s him on the ladder) picked 15 pounds of cherries late yesterday. There was an Amish family at the farm doing the same thing. They picked waaaaaaay more than we did. I’ll make a couple of batches of jam when it cools down tonight. By this time next year, I’d love to have a solar dehydrator – dried cherries are loverly.

On nights I’m not canning or gardening after dinner, I crawl back inside my book until bedtime.

Today’s goal: Write for 15 minutes.

Today’s mindset: yummy.

Today’s prompt: focus on taste; anticipating it, describing it, watching how it affects behavior. Write about a taste that represents love to you. If nothing comes to mind, write about a taste that represents anger. If that doesn’t work, freewrite about a breakfast in an exotic location.


Garden Update

Lest you think I’m only going to blog about writing this month, I thought I’d give you a peek in the garden, my other summer passion.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The hollyhocks have started to bloom.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I wish I could crawl inside one.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Here is one of the stone planters, filled with a combination of vegetables and flowers. The broccoli are done for the season, though I might try a late crop this fall. The lettuce hasn’t bolted yet, which I appreciate. The tomatoes are insane – no other word for it. (Yes, they are the crazy monster plants in the middle.) I am experimenting with two sweet potato plants and cabbages in these beds, too. So far, so good.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic This is what we call the corner garden. It’s planted with Roma tomatoes, hot peppers, marigolds, zinnias, and out of range of this camera, green beans.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic It is snow pea season; we’re eating them every day.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic They are so yummy that next year I think I’ll plant three times as many.

I also picked a bunch of basil today that I’m about to mush up and freeze. Photos tomorrow maybe.

Write 15 Minutes a Day Challenge (WFMAD) – Day Three

Welcome to everyone who wandered over here from Sarah Dessen’s blog! (Sarah has not stopped writing even though she had a baby last year, btw.) And before I go any further, Happy Birthday, Kate Messner!

I spent a big part of yesterday running errands, which is right up there with dentistry on my list of things that I hate to do. I had to take my laptop into the Apple store to see if the seizure it suffered in California was from too much sunshine or a symptom of a larger problem. The computer is going to get a physical, then a spa treatment. If I’m lucky, they’ll replace the keys I’ve worn out, too.

The other big part of yesterday was wrestling the jungle that used to be my garden. The weeds went nuts when I was away. I got two of the three vegetable beds under control, popped a blister, got dirt in it, and then poured hydrogen peroxide on it and made up new curse words. The broccoli is pretty much done for the season, but we still have lettuce. I planted cabbage yesterday and new eggplant plants (that sounds silly) because the ones I planted last month never exactly grew. The tomato plants are ridiculously huge.

When did I write? First thing in the morning. I also took a notebook on my errands and when I stopped for lunch at the grocery store deli, I wrote for half an hour. I also snuck in a few paragraphs while I was waiting for the shade to hit the garden.


Several people have written to me asking if blogging or email “counts” for this challenge. I suppose all writing counts, technically. But I’d like you to ask yourself why you’re writing.

Self: “Why am I writing?”

If the answer is because you’d like to write a novel and have it published, then perhaps you’ll reconsider having email count for your 15 minutes. If you want to write a novel, then write a novel! Write a page of it. write a paragraph. Write a physical description of a character or a snippet of dialog.

The holiday weekend approacheth. You are going to be tempted away from your writing by parades, softball games, grilled hot dogs, potato salad, fireworks and parties. You can enjoy all of them. Just wake up fifteen minutes early and write.

Today’s advice: Don’t judge, criticize, or edit what you’re writing this month. (There will be time for that later.) Right now, we’re concentrating on getting the words down on the page. You can do that.

Today’s prompt: Describe someone you know, but don’t give us the typical physical characteristics like hair and eye color. Try to show some of that person’s personality by showing them in action.


On your marks, get set…

The Big Day is almost here: time for our race. Thanks to your generous donations, BH and I have raised $5,652 for cancer research. We are sort of in shape, but in no danger of being plucked from the crowd and offered a spot on the Olympic team (whew!). We’ve had a lot of fun getting ready for tomorrow.

This is a good time to review the status of my New Year’s resolutions:

2008 Resolution Tracker
Week 24 – Miles Run: 12, YTD: 425
Week 24 – Days Written: 7, YTD: 166

I have stuck to my plan of writing every day (good thing, too, these deadlines are piling up faster and faster), but I’ve only averaged 17 miles a week, which is a little short of my New Year’s goal of 20 miles a week. Getting sick in February slowed me down, as did some foot and ankle problems in the last month. BH battled back from a hip injury with lots of physical therapy and much gritting of the teeth.

We are as ready as we can be to run 13.1 hilly miles.

Thanks for all the great comments about the contest announcement and garden tour. Yesterday I harvested the first batch of broccoli and basil.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic We ate this minutes after it was picked.

Baby Got Book

So you don’t know this about me yet, but I love, love, love the song “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot. It is an excellent running song that gets my feet moving much faster than normal. Picture me dashing down a country road singing the lyrics at the top of my lungs, disturbing wildlife with every mile, and shaking my thang. OK, don’t picture that. It’s a disturbing image.

Well, this great song just got better. Editor Cheryl Klein has written new lyrics for it, in a literary vein. The new title is “Baby Got Book” and it is hysterical and awesome. (scroll down to the April 26th entry.) Click on the link and read it now, but remember boys and girls: she wrote it, she owns it. Don’t go spreading it around without her permission.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I fretted muchly over my tomatoes last night. Here they are, naked in front of the approaching cold front.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And here they are all bundled up for the night. Cozy, no?

Maybe I should be packing them in my suitcase. I leave Thursday for sunny and warm San Jose, CA as the visiting author to the San Jose Area Writing Project. Those events are all sold out, but if you live in the area, please come out and hang out with me at Hicklebee’s bookstore, Friday May 2nd, at 4pm.

Two grace notes in my life yesterday; simple things that made me smile. I spent an hour holding my 4-month-old grand nephew Kegan. There is something about the smell of a baby that makes everything right in the world. And for dinner, BH cooked up some locally-caught baked bullhead (it’s a fish) and served it with the peach chutney I canned last summer. Yum!