Despite the cold, cold nights, the trees keep producing.
I never take it for granted when I pick a fruit in my own garden.
Hello dear friends,
Thank you for your e-mails, cards, letters, and the photos of My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder, which you've been snapping and sending to me from bookstores all over America!
January has been a time of many changes and much reflection, a busy time for work, garden, and gatherings, so this will be a short posting, and it sort of jumps around–a bad habit I have and one which my grandmother Nonie Clarke called "jumping around like a fart in a skillet."
The old farm table is set for our New Year's eve supper. Rosemary, the herb of remembrance (and believe me, all at the party were doing lots of remembering of friends and loved ones) is garlanded down the table. We hadn't planned a gathering, but our friend Bruce had a mother in a local care facility, another friend had a husband in the hospital, another just wanted to be with us, so we all came together for an evening of friendship.
I always drape the dining room chandelier in olive branches to bring peace to the new year.
Susie Bassetti (my cooking class co-teacher), John Gonyer, and my Jeff.
Susie Bassetti brought their first pressing of virgin Taggiasca olive oil (an absolutely amazing taste), and a bottle of Bassetti wine. Ginny helps prepare the salad.
We all cooked and contributed and later we had a huge fire in the fireplace. Our friend Ginny passed on the tradition of writing what you want in the new year on one side of a piece of paper. On the other side, we had to write what we wanted to erase from the past year. We all did that, wished each other well, and tossed our papers into the fire.
Nights grew freezing cold. Around midnight, Jeff and I would drape citrus trees, succulents, and lemon verbena in sheets and my nightgowns.
Don't the nightgowns look like they're hugging as they do their job of protecting the succulents?
And everything survived the 32 degree weather (colder than in Maine).
January has mostly been about work, getting over colds, and resuming a normal life after the hectic holidays. Since I work alone all the time, it is a special joy to welcome my Kiddie Writers Group to my home for the first meeting of 2013.
Only my girlfriend Sherry Shahan (Ice Island just released in paperback) would bring me a newly sprouted avocado as a hostess gift. I love it.
Elizabeth Spurr (my Lizzie) has a new book out called In the Garden (pre-school board book), and another just being released, At the Beach, also a pre-school and both published by Peachtree.
Artist/illustrator Helen K. Davie, author Cindy Rankin, author Elizabeth Van Steenwyck, who is the author of more than 65 books for children, one movie, and a zillion magazine articles.
Author/illustrator Stephanie Roth Sisson shares a storyboard for her new illustrated children's book, which will be published by Roaring Brook. Steph has a long line of books to her credit, but this will be both written AND illustrated by her.
The group does very clear, instructive critiques. Always done with love and the interest of YOU doing your best work possible. They spent 45 minutes critiquing a synopsis I have been slaving over for two weeks. A synopsis–what could be so hard about that??? Everything. You try to encapsulate 250 pages in just two pages. And, it has to be exciting, have a narrative arc, AND make an editor WANT your work. Yikes. (Cynthia Bates, who won "Most Promising Manuscript at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, is a fantastic writer, who has had things published, but is awaiting word on her novel). Good luck Cynthia (she is behind the book lampshade)
Enough already. I have gone on too long and must get ready for a birthday party for an 80 year old friend.
Please do leave a comment, and you will be eligible for the drawing of this gorgeous Timber Press book, Garden to Vase by Linda Beutler, which will lead you to creating fabulous and unusual bouquets from your garden.
And, if you are a member of the Grimy Hands Girls' Club and you are drawn for the book, you'll also receive a bonus of these fantastic, hand-saving, Royal Horticultural Society gardening gloves, which were donated to the drawing by Gardener's Supply of Burlington, Vermont, one of my favorite companies (employee owned and operated). I have a pair, and they've saved my hands from bramble and rose scratches, from cold and water, from everything. They're wonderful.
Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment so that you're eligible for the drawing, which will be held one week from today.
Thank you to Country Gardens (Early Spring 2013) for featuring My First Bird Book and Bird Feeder in your pages. I love all the birdie products and stories. You're the best.