I love the delicate, frilly blossoms on our Desert willow tree, sometimes called Desert orchid. It's a small tree, 15 feet or so, with graceful limbs and willow-like leaves. But it's not a willow and hates wet feet. It's native to the arid Southwest, where Native Americans used the wood for bows and baskets, a decoction of the flowers and leaves to treat coughs, bronchial infections, fungal infections.The flowers produce an alluring nectar, to judge from the hovering cloud of pollinators, buzzingly busy, searching out that last sweet drop.
Book report. I heard from Michele Vega, my Berkley editor, that she's accepted the manuscript of The Last Chance Olive Ranch. It's due out April 4, 2017. When we have a cover, I'll share it with you.
This week: I started the third full copy-edit pass through The General's Women. But there'll be another copyedit after mine. Nobody's foolproof. Mamie Eisenhower is one of the three central characters. Here she is at 19, a gay, petite charmer in her wedding dress.
Homestead report. The thermometer has hit 100 every day this week. The chicken coop gets the full afternoon sun and it's pretty hot out there, so The Girls are getting an extra couple of hours of grasshopper-time in the shade of our spreading elm tree, where it's a little cooler. The nights are now in the upper 70s, too hot for even my Texas-bred Porter tomatoes to set fruit. So far this year: 5 quarts of tomato sauce in the freezer, for spaghetti and lasagna. Ah, summertime, summertime.
Reading note. All in all, it was a never-to-be-forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.--L.M. Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams