The Texas Bluebells--our beautiful blue gentians--have been especially pretty this summer, growing in a large swathe at our end of the lake.
Drought report. The lake isn't a lake now, sadly, just a puddle, as the drought continues into its third or fourth year, depending on where you live. The Highland Lakes are at 36%, lower than I've seen them in my 40 years in Texas. Our well is continuing to produce, but the needles on the bald cypress trees along the creek are already turning burnt orange. We've put out watering tubs for the deer; they're visited also by the foxes and coyotes--we've seen both. The wild creatures suffer worse than we do.
Garden report. After a dozen days of 100+ heat, all that's left are some tomatoes and the sweet potatoes. With no hard freezes last winter to kill the eggs, the squash bugs pretty much took over the curcubits (squash, melons, cucumbers). I'll cut back the Better Boys and do some replanting in early August for the fall garden.
Book report. Happier news here. After two weeks out with travel and family visits (my Alaska son Michael and his family), I'm back at work on the Darling Dahlias (this is book #6, for September, 2014) and feeling good about it. The deadline: end of August, so I need to keep at it.
But I'm also finishing up the work on A Wilder Rose, due out on October 1. (I may move up the publication date for the trade paper and eBook editions to September 1). The copyeditor now has the final text of the Readers Companion, which documents the facts and the research behind the novel's fiction. For me, it's an important part of the project, since the novel may generate some controvery, especially among fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I've also written a couple of posts at HerStories about the process of writing a woman's life--you might check those out. If the posts aren't at the top, look for my post list in the right sidebar.
Also an important part of the project: a bibliography of Rose Wilder Lane's writings--short stories, articles, books. I had already begun compiling my own bibliography when I discovered Nancy Cleaveland's excellent online bibliography on her Pioneer Girl website. Nancy has taken down her website for now, but she has given me permission to integrate her bibliography with my own and to publish our joint work on the Wilder Rose website. I'm editing it now and adding links to online resources so interested readers can download the available pieces--quite a few, surprisingly. I hope to publish it by the time the novel appears. You'll be amazed (I promise!) at the scope of Rose's work. I have the feeling that this bibliography will always be a work-in-progress, since it's very difficult to come up with a full list of all her newspaper features/articles.
For you NetGalley members (librarians, reviewers, book bloggers) check out the e-galley of A Wilder Rose that I posted there a couple of weeks ago.
For you Goodreads members, check out the Darling Dahlias giveaway. And watch for A Wilder Rose giveaway, coming next month.
If you're in the Southwest, stay cool (it's HOT out there!). If you're in the Northeast, let's hope for drier weather. It's been a crazy year--and hurricane season is just kicking off.
Reading note. Rose Wilder Lane, in a letter to Clarence Day (author of Life With Father) June 10, 1926), describing her travel in the mountains of Albania: It was like being quite alone on the roof of the world. I felt that if I were to go to the edge and look over ... I would see below all that I had ever known; all the crowded cities and seas covered with ships, and the clamor of harbors and traffic of rivers, and farmlands being worked, and herds of cattle driven in dust across interminable plains. All the clamor and clatter, confusion of voices, tumults, and conflicts, must still be going on, down there--over the edge, and below--but here there was only the sky, and a stillness made audible by the brittle grass. Emptiness was so perfect all around me that I felt a part of it, empty myself ...