Summer was temporarily suspended this week by two nights of freezing temperatures, but it's back in full force with record highs for this weekend. I've had to say goodbye to the fall beans, which only got as far as blooming when the freeze zapped them, and to the bell peppers, which produced valiently all summer long. We dug the fall potatoes this morning, and got about 15 pounds of lovely Yukon Golds, grown from seed potatoes produced by the spring garden. On tonight's menu: potato salad made from our potatoes, with garden-grown onions and eggs contributed by the henhouse tribe.
The chicken project. We still have chicken in the freezer from the 2012 meat flock, so I'm not raising meat birds this year. We currently have four Red Stars and two Buff Orpingtons, averaging 5-6 large, beautiful brown eggs every day. This is Goldilox, one of the Orpingtons. I'm sometimes challenged to use all those eggs, but they do make neighborly gifts and I'm so glad to have them. When I was growing up on our Illinois tenant farm, we didn't have a lot of money, but my mother always said that we'd never go hungry because we had chickens and a garden. Somewhere in the back of my mind, chickens and homegrown potatoes represent food security, a comfortable thought in an unsettled world.
Book report. I've been working to launch A Wilder Rose--my standalone novel about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books. That's been a challenging job, but I'm delighted with the results. The book is author-published, which has made it difficult for libraries to acquire it, but more and more libraries are adding it every day, so I'm pleased. The book earned starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus--and I'll have a special ROSE-colored surprise to tell you about in just a couple of weeks. (Sorry: I'd love to tell you now, but I had to promise to keep my lips sealed.)
The next project on the writing desk is the copyedited file of Death Come Quickly, the next-to-last step in the production of China's 22nd adventure. The last step (the final proof pages) will happen in January. And you'll have books in April. Next week, I plan to start working on #23, Bittersweet, which needs to be finished by the end of March. After that, the next Dahlias mystery, which doesn't have a title yet.
On the back shelf: another standalone project that I'm not ready to talk about yet. There are always more ideas than I have time to explore!
Reading note. If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.―Toni Morrison