Happy Fourth of July!
This will be a short posting because Jeff and I are working on final edits of my manuscript before it goes back to my editor. It doesn't stop there. We will have the manuscript going back and forth between us; we'll talk on the phone for hours as we edit and compose fillers and captions; and then the work really begins. The manuscript goes to a copy editor, then a blind reader (someone unfamiliar with the text) dives into it, then there may be other changes too. The illustrations and text go to the art department, production works on putting things together, and all during the process I'll be getting calls and doing new illustrations and redoing those they don't approve.
Some of the work will be going on when we're on book tour in late July. This is a hectic and overwhelming time in the nascent hours of my bird book. Please keep your fingers crossed for me, oh and for Jeff too; I couldn't do this without his enduring faith and help.
Summer is the time to celebrate traditions, family, friends, and FOOD, of course, and despite the hectic schedule, we're doing just that before we leave California.
The old farm table at our dear friends' ranch always has room for one more.
Out under the pergola, Jeff stops for some peace and the sounds of robins, thrashers, bluebirds feeding their young, barn swallows, and a covey of quail sounding more like my Grandmother Lovejoy's old percolator than birds.
Our dear pal Ginny unwinds under the grape vine.
The view from the kitchen window into the herb garden, vineyard, and hillsides. Susie and I taught some classes in this fabulous kitchen, and we've been kicking around the idea of doing some more when Jeff and I return from Maine. Some of you out there may remember the fabulous Christmas Class that ended up at the ranch. We feasted on freshly cooked California produce.
Whenever I can find a moment for myself I've been doing some wildcrafting, gathering blossoms and berries and drying them or making old fashioned cordials, syrups, and sugars and teas.
This wonderful old book is the source of my cordial and liqueur recipes.
I am gathering the last of the elderberry flowers...
...to dry on my old raisin racks.
Elderberries-NEVER eat them raw.
I love using these beautiful berries in antique glass bottles.
I've been a crazy woman with flowers and herbs, tucking bouquets everywhere. I think I just cut the last of our sweet peas. They are so fragrant and give me such a homey-old fashioned feel.
Scented pelargoniums and white roses in an old enamel pitcher that Ginny brought me.
ALWAYS...herbs in the kitchen ready for plucking and adding to our meals.
Fresh picked baby patty pans and squash for quick stir frying with shallots.
Our entire house smells like roses. I've been gathering trays of tight buds for an array of herbal recipes. These little Cécile Brunners are favorites from memories of my Grandmother Lovejoy. She had big climbing Cécile (Cécile was a lady; it is NOT CECIL) Brunners, some of which covered 40 feet of a tree trunk. These peppery little blooms are great added to salad toppings, dried for pot pourri, layered in sugar, and so much more.
Enough rambling. Back to the manuscript for me, but I did want to say hello and thank you for all the comments and e-mails, and even some great real mail letters.
If you live in Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas, please check my upcoming appearances at the end of July, and maybe we'll meet in person.
Wish me luck as I sprint (or trudge) toward the finish line.
Pocketful of joys to you and yours and enjoy your Fourth of July!