Soup for supper, made with chicken broth (from chicken I slow-cooked last week), sausage, and onions, carrot, kale, potatoes, and parsley from our garden, along with some herb bread I baked in the slow-cooker. The potato crop was disappointing (10 lbs of seed potatoes yielded 10 lbs of potatoes--not exactly a stunning success), but the potatoes are tasty and I've learned some good lessons. I'll plant some fall potatoes in early August and see if they do better. I've also ordered a couple of different varieties, all early. (Did you know that some potatoes produce in a shorter season than others?) I've found a great supplier: www.potatogarden.com. They're easy to work with and their catalog is terrific. This year, I planted Kennebec, Yukon Gold, Bintje, Caribe, Red Pontiac. The Bintjes, Yukons, and Pontiacs (all earlies) did best.
This week in the garden: planted three cane bean tepees (cut from the cane that grows by the creek), then planted pole beans (Blue Lake pole) around each tepee leg. Also planted a couple of rows of soybeans (Shirofumi). These are new to me--I love the frozen soybeans that I get from the supermarket, but stopped eating them when I discovered that it came to my table all the way from China. That's just too many food miles for me. Planted sweet potatoes (grown from slips in the kitchen window) and bush beans (more Blue Lake). We're a little cramped for space, so I'm getting ready to move the fence and expand the garden by another five beds.
Fence? Absolutely necessary here, and in most places for a successful veg garden. There are too many critters, both in town and country, that love fresh beans, lettuce, peas, etc. If you don't have a fence, you'll be waging endless battles. It's a little more work, yes. But definitely worth it.
Book stuff. Worked on The Tale of Oat Cake Crag (still a working title). Slid into Chapter Four but feel that I need to go back and add in a couple of scenes. The main story line is off to a strong start, but the subplots need attention. And since this is the next-to-last book in the series (only 8 Cottage Tales), I have to start paying attention to winding up all the subplots that have been developing over the course of the books. I've never written a time-limited series before: that is, once that develops a main story and a gang of little stories across a definite, planned number of books. An interesting challenge.
Also on the book front, Bill finished the contract details for The Darling Dahlias, the new series I'll start writing in September, due out in July 2010. Nice to have that interesting project settled and scheduled. If you missed the announcement, it's here, where (as a bonus) you can see a photo of our Lady Banks rose in bloom. She was gorgeous this year.
I'll be in Austin and San Antonio this week, celebrating Texas Mystery Month and selling books (on behalf of Story Circle). If you don't have your copy of Wormwood yet, you can get it, signed, and support a good cause.
Reading note. I truly believe that to stay home, to learn the names of things, to realize who we live among [is profoundly important]. . . then I believe a politics of place emerges where we are deeply accountable to our communities, to our neighborhoods, to our home . . . If we are not rooted deeply in place, making that commitment to dig in and stay put . . . then I think we are living a life without specificity, and then our lives become abstractions. Then we enter a place of true desolation. --Terry Tempest Williams