We got four inches of snow at our house last night, and I'm pleased to report that this morning my winter lettuce is not frozen, not dead, and is in fact as happy as a clam. Good eating this winter! And I mean for our family, not for the deer -- notice that I've put inexpensive fencing around the lettuce patch. I've learned the hard way that deer are also big fans of fresh winter lettuce!
- Temp. inside the cold frame, six inches deep in soil: a balmy 46 degrees.
- Temp. outside the coldframe, six inches deep in soil: a chilly 36 degrees.
- Ambient air temp. outside the cold frame: 48 degrees.
A few days ago I had my first professional photo shoot, taking my author biography photos for the forthcoming book. Over an hour, the photographer took hundreds of photos of me, posing in my well-stocked root cellar, in the garden, and close-ups in front of the barn. When I saw the photos, the book started to feel real.
I did it. I invented the greatest jam ever made.
During the whole process of querying the manuscript, writing it, and finally getting a contract, I can will all honesty say I never once thought about the cash. I've been a professional writer for more than a decade now, so I know exactly what writers get paid -- it's why I started teaching. If you think teachers are underpaid, try being a professional writer. I've had to cobble together two meager jobs to equal one income!
The best day. The publisher showed me what my book will look like - full color inside and out, tons of gorgeous photos, many of them taken by me in my garden, very readable, fantastic design. My book will be in Wal-mart and stocked at Costco (both in Utah only) they are going to fight to get it featured in both the Deseret Book and Seagull catalogs. Even better, they want to read my fiction, and they are interested in publishing my book of writing advice, "Avoiding the Collapsing Story" pending actually reading it of course. They are working to schedule me on a national TV show and several local shows, lots of signings. They want the book in stores no later than April 2011 - a busy winter! We'll know for sure next week if the title is going to remain "The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency of the Mormon Pioneers" but it is likely to stay as is.
I'll be meeting with my publisher on Thursday. I've been waiting so long to write that sentence. I'm nervous, and trying not to be. I also built a compost-heated cold-frame today for the winter garden. More on that, with pics, another day.
Today my step-daughter's visiting dog killed two of our six baby chicks.
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and sluggish brook.
The purple petals, fallen in the pool,
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the redbird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! If the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for being:
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you
Today's garden harvest and chores:
- Brought in three cantaloupes from the garden. Still about 30 more out there.
- Filled with large rocks the escape hole the rabbit, Puck, dug under his pen. Hopefully he is still there in the morning and hasn't just dug out again.
- Three eggs today -- a sure sign the days are getting shorter.
- Made seven half-pints of razzleberry jelly -- half blackberry, half razzleberry. I bought the berries and a bushel of peaches at a road-side stand in Orem on the way home from the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. Made two batches of peach jam. I actually made all the jelly and jam at the same time -- low-sugar multi-tasking.
- Finished the new border of Charmayne's Four Cardinal Directions flower bed (long story).
- I hand-pollinated yellow squash, grey zucchini, and rampicante zucchini, which is a type of vining Italian zucchini. This was necessary because the chickens broke into the garden two months ago and ate all the mature squash I'd hand-pollinated, destroying them all. Until now I hadn't gotten around to a second try. But time was running out -- nothing like a deadline to motivate me!
- Me and the boys also played with the baby chicks, and our Japanese Harlequin hare, Puck.
- Oh, and did I mention that I had a publication offer for my book, "The Forgotten Skills of Self-sufficiency of the Mormon Pioneers." (!)