At last, after nearly five years of drought, there's been enough rain to refill our 17-acre lake and recharge the little creek that runs along the western border of our homestead. Sadly, the rains were catastrophic south of us, and the Blanco River flooded Wimberley, one of the villages that occasionally appear in the China Bayles series. As the last update, two families are still missing. There's more rain due today across the Hill Country, due to a persistent dip in the jet stream, a strengthening El Nino in the western Pacific, and a warming Gulf that sends plenty of moisture in our direction. A tornado watch, too--the weekend storm spawned a radar-spotted tornado five miles northeast of us. I'm ready to head for Archie Bunker if the weather gurus say the word. Given the weather, Bill is cutting his New Mexico trip short. He'll be home tomorrow.
Book report. I've been working the past couple of weeks on the Fifties memoir I'm writing with my brother John, which we'll likely publish in 2016. One important outcome of the project has been the closeness it's created between us. John and I were busy with careers and families for most of our adult lives and were in touch only intermittently. We started working on the memoir about 18 months ago, and now it's a rare day when we don't exchange emails. We see our family past in pretty much the same way, so we haven't had to cope with any of the sibling disagreements that plague some families. The research and writing have been interesting and enjoyable, especially since from this distance (fifty-some years) we see the family skeletons a little more clearly and their place in the mysteries that confounded us when we were kids.
Garden report. Anybody want a bushel of yellow crookneck squash? The zucchinis are coming on, too. My favorite way to prepare these tender spring squash: saute in plenty of butter with mushrooms, peas, green onions, garlic, and a little chopped link sausage (Polska Kielbasa is our favorite) or a few fresh shrimp. Serve over gnocchi, tortellini, or pasta. The spring potatoes should have been dug last week, but the ground is so soggy I haven't even tried.
Book travel. I'm headed next week to Iola KS to talk to a group of librarians about A Wilder Rose. I love groups like this--they're all dedicated Little House readers, but they're interested in understanding more about the way the books were written and the role that Rose Wilder Lane played in the initial marketing of the books and her development of her mother's draft manuscripts. It'll be fun to share the book with these librarians and have a Q&A that digs deep into the issues around the long-running literary deception that presented Laura Ingalls Wilder as an "untaught genius" who was the sole author of the books.
Reading note Sifting through long forgotten stories of my childhood and writing on a daily basis, I became obsessed with following the threads of my memories, one leading to another. I start pulling on a single, seemingly trivial strand, only to discover it is attached to a longer strand; that one in turn is attached to an even bigger one. Sometimes, I find have tugged a whole, hidden tapestry of my past into view, one thread at a time.--Alice Bag