The El Nino rains in early 2016 have brought us a bounty of pecans this year. Over the nearly 30 years we've lived here at MeadowKnoll, Bill has grafted some 30+ trees, using wild pecans (planted by the squirrels and other native critters) as the root stock and grafting stock from cultivars like Kiowa, Desirable, and Choctaw. Our orchard isn't planted in neat rows; instead, the trees grow where they have found favorable sites on our 31 acres. Not very "professional," but deeply satisfying. For Bill, each of his trees is like a member of the family, and in October, they get his attention.
Mine, too. Pecan pie is a favorite, but we save it for company. Instead, I use pecans in ordinary meals (coleslaw and salads, sweet potatoes, green beans, panko topping for casseroles) and keep a batch of these Pecan Pie Cupcakes on hand. (To cut calories, I use brown-sugar Splenda and just 1/2 cup butter.) The wooden plate in the photo is one of Bill's turned pieces: he made it from catalpa wood.
Homestead report. The fall potatoes (grown from seed potatoes saved from the spring crop) are up. Forecasters say we'll have a warm winter, so maybe these will make it through. We like to eat our potatoes (mostly) unpeeled, so it's worth the trouble to grow pesticide-free, on soil that's been enriched with toxic-free compost. We have lots of onions (ours are perennial). The kale is up, and the spinach has been planted. The bunnies are taking notes. The garden is fenced but I think they have secret tunnels.
Book report. The General's Women (coming in March 2017) is out for copyedit: I've written about that here and here, and I'll have another post in that series soon. The Last Chance Olive Ranch (China Bayles #25, April 2017) has a beautiful cover--hoping to share that with you next week.
I'm currently working on Queen Anne's Lace, (China's 26th mystery, April 2018)--about 2/3 finished with a draft, but it's a complicated story and I'll have to work through it again before it's done. I've been wanting to write about contraceptive/abortifacient herbs for many years, but couldn't think of the best way to handle that touchy subject. I think I've found it in this book, and I'm pleased.
Politics. Except for my Twitter account, I try to keep politics out of my online sites. But most of you know (from my books, if nothing else) that I'm liberal, progressive, pro-choice, pro-marriage-equality, and a life-long Democrat. I'm disgusted with the GOP's nominee, repulsed by the incredible ugliness of his campaign, and deeply, deeply concerned about the potential scorched-earth aftermath of this election. This is no time to be tentative. I'm with her. I hope you are, too.
Reading note. Do all the good you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.--Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hard Choice