Life as I know It

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San Luis Obispo, California, and South Bristol, Maine, United States
Author ~ Illustrator ~ Lecturer

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Short and Sweet-Happy 4th of July!




Happy Fourth of July!


Dear friends,

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.


Elderberry flowers


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!

Sharon

50 comments:

Annelies said...

Happy Fourth of July to you too. You will be pleased to know I got my hands VERY dirty today ( like a good club member should)!!!!
Off to gather tomatoes and basil for a salad. Thanks always for your inspiration. you are a JOY and a LOVE!!!

Here I Am/Carrie said...

Oh where do you get all the energy to do so much. Good luck on your manuscipt. Love seeing someone with the energy to do all the things I wanted to do, but just don't have the energy to do. So I am just happy to come by for a visit. Have a wonderful 4th of July.

laurie said...

i shall wish you luck and thank you for sharing your lovely garden,, happy fourth of July!

Pondside said...

Just make sure that you stop once in a while to look at what you're accomplishing and then say 'wow!'
I wish you a Happy fourth of July and safe journeys.....and let us know if you're ever up this way.

Gert said...

Thank you so much for sharing your gardens with us! I discovered elderberry's last year..as I sat in the van waiting for my husband I spotted them growing on a fence and took lots of pretty pictures of them. I had Tom go pick a couple for me, so I could identify them.. they are pretty.... Never knew what to do with them.. I saw them again this year, so may pick the flowers to decorate our home..

Happy Fourth to you and yours!!

Blessings...
xoxo Gert

Terra said...

The shaded area at your friends' ranch where Jeff is seated at the tables looks very welcoming and I always find something to feed my soul or a recipe when I visit with you here. Happy travels and happy Fourth of July.

Cindy said...

Happy 4th to you! We are going to spend the day with family, swimming, eating, and enjoying the gardens. I've also been making tons of raspberry jam.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

As always, your blog posts are so full of wonderful information and photos! They are a joy to read, Sharon. I enjoyed catching up on your prior posts and seeing your darling studio.

Have a very enjoyable book tour!

Happy 4th of July!

My Grama's Soul said...

Hi Sharon....thanks for sharing this little spot of heaven. Good luck with the publication of your book.

Jo

Vee said...

Any single one of these lovely photos could stand alone...love seeing the tables at your home and the ranch...what is it about tables? And flowers, of course flowers, berries, too. I'm not familiar with elderberries, though I shall be sure to heed your warning if I ever run into one in person. Hope that the days are happy and busy until you get back to Bristol again.

Larkrise garden girl said...

Happy 4th! Cheri

Susan said...

Short, but oh, so sweet. I love stopping by, seeing your garden, and finding what you're up to. Love always and Happy 4th of July!

FlowerLady said...

Dear, dear Sharon ~ What a delightful post in word and picture. That little antique book of homemade wines looks wonderful and how neat that you make recipes from it.

Have a lovely holiday, a great summer and an enjoyable time at your summer cottage in Maine.

Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

Ann, aka Amateur Bot-ann-ist said...

What a lovely post! I am so happy picking blooms to dry for the very first time this summer. I hope to learn how to make more things with them in the coming months.

Erin @ I Heart New England said...

Such a lovely post... have a great Fourth! ♥

Donna OShaughnessy said...

Wonderful post. So many ideas for decorating, arranging my new yet to be built tiny home and garden. And that PERGOLA ! What a great place that must be to visit. Best of luck (and energy) on all your revisions

Donna said...

Sharon, your posts are always so inspirational. What beautiful photos. I love that l-o-n-g rustic dining table. The view outside is incredible. You are such a wealth of knowledge about herbs. Wishing you a safe trip to Maine, to your scheduled stops, and the best of luck with all your deadlines!... Donna

taylorsoutback said...

What a wonderfully filled blog posting! So much going on with you. Was finally able to move some of the basil seedlings - from the seeds you sent us. We had so much rain last week, they were all actually floating in my starter pot that had gotten plugged by accident. Such a strange summer we are having weather-wise. My own sweet peas are about 12" tall and climbing...maybe by the end of July there will be fragrant blossoms...
A Happy 4th to you and your family.

marigold jam said...

Good luck - sounds like you are in for a busy time. Our sweet peas are just starting here so you are much further forward than we are naturally as your weather is so much sunnier there! Happy 4th July.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

good luck and enjoy this part of the journey! that farm table is awesome! have a wonderful 4th!!!

Carol said...

Dear Sharon,
All the very best of luck to you towards your goal! Somehow I do not think you need it though. You are so creative and productive. I cannot wait to have my own copy! I love all the shots of you gathering flowers for drying and the bouquets are all just lovely. Beautiful harvest photos. Happy Fourth to you and yours! Carol

Susan Branch said...

Hi Sharon, You ARE creative and productive, and almost done with another book! Congratulations! Means you get to run away from home and come east! I'm sure Jeff is chomping at the bit. In the meantime ... this is for you in honor of today and how lucky we are ....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R1jiVcIGcg
Have a wonderful day! xoxo

Suzanne said...

I love all the picttures! Such beauty! Happy 4th of July , Sharon.
Blessings,
Suzanne

lilylovekin said...

Your grape arbor puts mine to shame it is gorgeous, with a wonderful view. By the way about Bambi. We love it. It has plenty of room for two of us, a three quarter bed, a shower, refridg, and oven. We don't tow it a lot but we tow it with a Jeep Liberty Diesel and get between 15-20 miles per gallon or less depending on hills or wind. It has changed our lives. Thanks for asking I love talking about it. Have a happy 4th. Lorrie

Robin Larkspur said...

Sharon, you are always so inspiring, and today especially with all the drying of flowers and herbs! But I am affronted that there would be illustrations that the editors would not approve!! Your art is wonderful and I am miffed you would have to re-do some. i know, that's the publishing business, but I adore your art and got riled up for a minute!! LOL! Hugs to you and Jeff!! Happy Fourth!

rebecca sweet said...

Happy 4th of July to you, too, Sharon (and Jeff)! I wish you well with this stage of your book, and with your upcoming travels to Maine. I just returned from a week in Connecticut and fell in LOVE with all the gorgeous old clapboard houses, the wonderful people, and the GREEN! Oh, the green! Everywhere, not a bare patch of ground to be found! I bet you can't wait to get back to your little slice of East coast heaven!!

Lori ann said...

Dear Sharon,
it's so exciting to hear the process of how a book is born, it truly is a labor of love.

your friends house is beautiful, your wildcrafting is brilliant, you always have the best ideas, you are like mother nature!

my grandmother had cecile brunner roses too, oh how i love them.

good luck on the book tour, i hope you and Jeff have a wonderful, safe trip.

xoxo lori

Aunt Jenny said...

I just love your posts....and anxiously await your book..I love them all.
My Grandma had a big arch covered in Cecile Brunner roses when I was growing up (It was spectacular) and guess what? Her name was Cecile! My youngest daughter has Cecile for a middle name as well. I have plans in my head for an arch (more of a small arbor) someday here with them. I have had a tough time growing roses here though. I am pretty stubborn and will likely succeed some day.
I remember making pottpouri, lots of head pieces and decorating my grandpa's ponies with rosebuds in their manes and tails when I was a kid. Cecile Brunner roses are my idea of perfect roses!
HaVe a fun trip!

thecottagebythecranelakeolof1 said...

Happy 4th of July!

Christer.

nana pam said...

You truly inhabit Paradise and I'm sure your place in Maine is just as wonderful. You are truly blessed. I love your pictures and posts-thank you. they give me a mini "virtual" vacation. Maddie and I eagerly await the bird book which I have told her about and as someone else asked-where do you get all your energy??????
Pam

suzanne said...

Holding thumbs and toes for you and Jeff Sharon. You put in so much work and for years and years so many will benefit from your lovely books. I too cut flowers and herbs in Spring and Summer and place them everywhere. A gentle reminder of my day outside.

Wishing you days of inspiration and peace. May everything concerning your book turn out exactly how it is meant too...

Lots of love to you dear friend
Love
Suzanne
X

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

I smile and I am breathless after
reading all you are doing and upcoming schedule.
I have always thought I was a busy One Woman
Not anymore.
Slower pace
is wished you....

vicki said...

Everything looks so beautiful Sharon- every last detail is a vision of your great taste-- the garden is fabulous- how fortunate you are to live in a place you love so much.
I wish you great success in your new book production. We are all so anxious to see it in print!

Hope you have had a magnificent weekend--
Vicki

Zuzu said...

Oh my, Sharon, you've been BUSY! It all looks so wonderful.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for your manuscript - a great deal of work, but such a joyful project!

Happy Summer,
Zuzu

Deborah Jean at Dandelion House said...

Lovely dear Sharon! It all looks just wonderful! Just back from the fourth at the cottage... shaking the sand out of everything and so enjoyed your refreshing post! A belated Happy Fourth to you and Jeff and best of luck to you as you pedal over the last few humps of your Bird Book!
Safe travels too!
xo Boz and Deb

Thea said...

Sharon, I was away in NYC for business and I missed you! Before I left I filled up some jam jars with flowers that were blooming right then. a daisy, some roses, a coneflower, a gooseneck or two. Just enough to make one smile. I had to make one up this morning just because. I love all the flowers you've got around. You, my dear, inspire me. And yes, you are blessed to have Jeff!!

Grace said...

Hi Sharon, I hope you had a wonderful 4th. I love Cecile. I used to have her in my garden but when she toppled the arbor, it was time for her to make her exit. I still adore her sweet flowers though.

Good luck and best wishes with your book. I hope everything goes smoothly.

joansbolton said...

Oh, Sharon, you are so industrious! Loved the raisin racks. What a great way to dry your herbs and flowers.
Wishing both you and Jeff well on completion or your new book!
xoxoxoxo
Joan

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Your new book will do just fine!! I'm waiting for our elderberries to ripen, to make my annual flu syrup, good stuff!! I too love the raisin racks, cool!

Exchange Hosting Service said...

Nice photos!

Country Girl said...

I love learning things here. Must come more often. I imagine you'll be heading to Maine soon?

Kay's flowers said...

Great post! Hope everything with the editing goes well. When your bood comes out it will be on my favorites list.

Many Blessings,
Kay

Lili said...

Oh I did not know that about not eating the elderberries raw, my friend has them and makes jam, so I shall not sample them beforehand! Love that book you have for your cordials, I'm in the middle of making raspberry cordial from what's left of last year's berries. You always inspire me with all your garden delights and those roses must be just heaven to inhale! As I'm sure you will feel about the air here when you arrive in 3 weeks!! Yikes, you sure have lots to do before you get here, congrats on completing your manuscript! Sending hugs your way and thanking you for all of the inspiration you always provide. xoxo ~Lili

kj said...

i can't get those tight buds of roses out of my mind. i want a bowl of them too. just to look at and smile back at them.

best of everything on your book tour, sharon. i imagine about now you are that passionate combination of exhilaration and exhaustion. you are giving birth. you are a master builder.

are you in maine?
so close....come to northampton xoxo

love
kj

Sharon Lovejoy said...

KJ, no Maine until after the book tour. Then, MAINE, full blown and filled with life.

Please send me your address so I can send you something.

Love,

s

sarah-jane down the lane said...

Ah Cecile Brunner, an amazing amazing rose, those buds look so gorgeous all tumbled onto a platter, I love sugaring them, my success rate is low but when they do work they are fairy-tale aren't they!

Sounds as hectic as ever in your world Sharon, good luck with the editing. Thinking of you,

Sarah x

Comfrey Cottages said...

good luck Sharon! :) Adore that old raisin rack for drying:) Your floral arrangements look like mine, just lovely abundant, rioting color and scent! lol The little Cecile Brunners are so pretty yet tenacious! ;) So nice they remind you of your Grandmother xxx big hugs

In the Light of the Moon said...

Sharon,so nice to meet you.Your beautiful photos took me on a sweet tour of all the lovliness you see.Blessings on your book.Warmest Regards,Cat

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Honey, I don't know how you do all you do. Good luck on the manuscript and great writing. xoxo~~Dee

Lydia said...

God bless you and Jeff on your summer's journey.