A “hodgepodge” is a confused mixture or jumble, and today I’ve got a hodgepodge of summer things for you. There’s a little about life, something about writing, and plenty about the garden.
In a lot of ways June and early July was a time of endings and beginnings.
- I let go of a car load of houseplants at a local plant swap. It was pretty amazing to pull up to the plant swap, drop off a ton of plants, and see them leaving with different people – even before I’d finished unloading the car. And if you can believe it, I didn’t walk away with any new plants: that’s a first!
- I let go of stuff by taking a couple of car loads of things to the thrift store.
- I even let go of some people because they moved on to new adventures.
- I let go of HelloFresh for the summer because the community supported agriculture (CSA) has started up again. You pay up front for 18 weeks of local, organic veggies; this year the cost was just over $300.
I get a half share, which is almost more than this one person can eat every week. Here is some basil, beets, spring mix, bok choy, zucchini, green onions, and the sweetest carrots I’ve ever tasted in my life.
The weekly share is enough to stuff a typical grocery bag full to the brim. Here is a different week with cherry tomatoes, cabbage, green onions, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and – not in the picture – more basil.
I’ve never priced out how much it would be to buy these at the store on a weekly basis. I know the cost averages out around $20/week. It’s still a deal to me.
The first week was bok choy, green onions, enoki mushrooms, spring mix, cucumbers, and more carrots.
On the writing side of life, my book is finally moving forward. It took a long, puzzling time to understand how to go about telling the story I wanted to tell.
I thought that the first draft I wrote last year was the direction. correct thing. But the characters had something else in mind and, turns out, that first draft was back story for one of the characters. Sigh. So my second draft is kind of like writing a first draft. Fingers crossed it’s done by the end of September.
I also attended a virtual writing retreat and did my first ever “pitch” to agents. The retreat was through Writing Away Refuge and was worth every penny: there was solid writing advice given throughout and the attendees were very experienced. Even though I’ve been writing my whole life, I was one of the attendees who had the least experience in fiction.
“Pitching” to agents is a fast five minute time alone with the agent to sell them on your story. I literally wrote my pitch, gave a practice pitch, adjusted, and then was pitching to actual agents during the weekend.
Of the three agents I pitched to, two are interested in seeing more work. Which is totally amazing…and means I need to get going!
I can’t believe I haven’t shared any garden pictures. We did have a slow, dry start to the season, and those rain barrels I had installed last year probably paid for themselves. I was able to get water from them for some time before needing to water by hand. And now, the weather has turned and the rain barrels are all full again.
I’ve been snapping pictures all along, so here are some of my favorites.
This photo is from spring: sometime in late April or May, I’d guess. The tulips are up. You can just make out white blossoms on the Nanking cherry bushes in the background; I can see the fading daffodil flowers, too.
Meet the neighbor/ cat, Princess Leah. She’s decided I’m OK to hang out with and visits to supervise my puttering in the garden.
She slinks around the yard… and makes sure she gets the amount of rubbies and scritches she deserves.
Her brother cat Casey also visits. He usually throws himself at my feet (or into my lap) and insists on rubbies and scritches, too. Naturally, I comply every time.
More from spring with chives, iris, and alliums.
The climbing rose was brilliant this year – and climbed as high as the eaves of the house. It’s pretty, but vicious with evil thorns.
I picked a bunch of Nanking cherries. They’re tiny, tart, and excellent for eating out of hand. I’ve heard you can make jams or liqueurs, but I haven’t gotten there yet.
The phlox are always outstanding.
As you can see, Princess supervises. In this case, she is supervising me sitting in a chair enjoying the back yard as the sun slowly sinks.
I even added four little metallic cats this year. I’ll use them as grave markers when I bury the cremated remains of my four cats.
Summer. It’s always too far away in the middle of winter. And now it’s almost gone again – only a few months remaining. What are your plans?