Is your seatbelt fastened? Snug across your chest? Your sisters are tucked safely into the trunk and back seat. You're going to a new home. Believe me, we'll be a huge fan club for you.
Autumn makes my heart sing. After my Cambria writing workshop, I take the winding road out along the creek to watch birds, gobble with the flocks of wild turkeys, and to soak in the beauty. This is a view of one of my favorite ranches. I visit their roadside stand every year for pumpkins, squash, gourds, avocados, and sunflowers. It is glorious. (Jeff says that since he met me we've never by-passed a roadside stand. True. ) Although the hillsides are a golden brown now, within the next few weeks, after the rains begin, they will turn a brilliant green. My great grandfather from Pennsylvania wrote that when the fields and hills of Pennsylvania would turn dull and brown, the California landscape would take on a green so bright it nearly glowed.
Freshly picked and smiling for the camera
Coins and cash accepted.
Rouge Vif d'Etampes pumpkins peep from under the withering vines. The Rouges are also called Cinderella's or Cinderella's Carriage.
Beth drives me out into the fields for a hands-on lesson in the fine art of harvesting perfect squash. Here she is finding just the right one for our long, old farm table. She is examining a 16 pound Jarrahdale.
Beth introduced me to some of her favorites for cooking, for roasting seeds, and just for beauty.
As we were driving out of the field, I asked Beth to stop the 'Gator so that I could photograph these two sunflowers standing near the pumpkins. They looked like a pair of angels bending their heads in prayer.
At home. Now I'll let the pumpkins sit out on the terrace to cure for a week to ten days.
They're splendid! Speckled Hound (heck, I would've bought it just because of the name), Jarrahdale, Tonda, Cinderella's, One Too Many, and Kakai sit out on the terrace. I can't pass by them without a friendly greeting. Do you talk to your pumpkins?
Beth's seeds came from Johnny's Selected Seeds. They have a fabulous array from which to choose. www.johnnyseeds.com
One of my favorite ways to pass an autumn morning is to make a big pot of soup, which I'll simmer all day long. Here are some vegetables from our garden and from our local organic farm stand.
This past week I had my best birthday ever. On Monday night, I went out to dinner with my family. Afterward I was allowed into NNICU to visit my grandson Luke. After thoroughly scrubbing and donning a smock, I got to cup my hand around Luke's tiny head. He now weighs two pounds and ten ounces. Still small, but fighting the good fight and surrounded by a great staff and loving family and friends. Go Luke!
Thanks for all your letters, birthday greetings, cards, and e-mails. I appreciate your thoughts and wishes.
Jeff and I are preparing for our one month book tour. We'll begin in Redlands, California, at the A.K. Smiley Public Library on October 6th, then onto Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Texas, and...? We'll let you know. As we travel, Jeff will send out bulletins on Facebook and Twitter. He is getting adept at Twitpics, so you'll be able to see what is going on as you journey with us.
I am happy to offer a give-away of this wonderful book, Imagine Childhood (Roost Books, 2012) by Sarah Olmsted. I read and reviewed the book before it hit the press, and this is what I said on a back cover blurb:
"Reading Imagine Childhood was like finding a guidebook into the brilliant and vast galaxy of a child's mind. The book is brimful of projects and springboards that help your nurture a creative, sensitive, and wonder-filled child in the best possible way."
Parents, teachers, aunts and uncles, teachers, scout leaders, this book is a MUST read for you. Good luck. Simply post a comment to this blog, and you will be eligible for the book drawing. I'll pull a number out of the "hat" next week.
Sending love across the miles,