The creek is friskier this year than we've seen it in a long while. It's fed by a small (18-acre) man-made lake at the northwest corner of MeadowKnoll. The lake has about a 600-acre watershed. When it's full, water seeps under the dam, along a limestone rock strata, and creates a lovely bog, a comfortable home to wildlife and birds. When the lake is full, so is the creek, and with the recent rains, it's running full and clear. We've been surprised to see small striped bass in its deeper pools. How they survived the long drought is a mystery and an amazement. Fifteen years ago, I planted about a dozen Louisiana iris under one of the cypress trees. It's blooming again this year--the first time in a long time. Big storms rolled through here this weekend. The worst missed us, thankfully--no hail!-but our power was out for most of yesterday morning.
Homestead report. The tomatoes (San Marzanos and Porters) are in, along with bell peppers and eggplant, and looking good. These are paste/sauce tomatoes that do well in our summer heat and continue to set fruit after other tomatoes have decided it's too hot. Most tomatoes won't set when nighttime temps rise about 70, but these are persistent.
It's been a lovely wildflower spring, with bluebonnets, primroses, paintbrushes and this gorgeous native shrub, blackhaw viburnum, beloved of bees and other pollinators.
Book report. The big news, of course: The Last Chance Olive Ranch will be published tomorrow--China's 25th adventure. A whole quarter-century of Pecan Springs mysteries: hard to believe, incredible, actually. I still remember the phone call letting me know that Suzanne Kirk at Scribner's had accepted Thyme of Death for October 1992 publication, and that she liked the book so much that she wasn't asking for any editorial revisions: it was going straight to copyedit. There have been many memorable book-moments in my writing life, but that one ranks right up there at the top--along with the one I got from a Nancy Drew editor who began our conversation by asking, "How would you like to be Carolyn Keene?"
China and Ruby and their shops and their buddies changed my life. It's been an amazing journey. Thank you for your company along the way.
Reading note. Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.--Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life (It certainly changed mine, and I suspect yours, too.)