There’s garlic (Allium sativum) and there are chives (A. schoenoprasum)—and then there are garlic chives (A. tuberosum). This week, these are brightening my garden with starry white flowers, dearly loved by the bees. All year long, I snip the flat, narrow green leaves into salads, omelets, soups, stirfrys, and even mashed potatoes, where they add color and a subtle garlic taste. The tender young leaves are best to cook with, so I shear the entire clump back to the ground every three or four weeks, to encourage new growth. You can dry the snipped leaves for winter-time use, or pop them into small plastic bags and freeze them--if you have chickens, they'll love them! These guys reseed generously, so if you don't want LOTS of garlic chives, you'll need to weed them out.
Book report. I'll be finished writing A Plain Vanilla Murder (China's 27th mystery) by the end of the week. I've learned a lot about vanilla and the challenges of vanilla farming, as well as orchid smuggling, the global black market in illegal plants, and related criminal pursuits. As usual, China Bayles has a lot to teach me. But that's always one of the enormous pleasures of working with this series. So much to learn!
Next steps: The Vanilla manuscript goes to my copyeditor in mid-month, and I'll get the cover artist started. The book will be printed/distributed via Greenleaf and scheduled for May 7, 2019. Look for it then!
More on the publishing front. The Darling Dahlias and the Poinsettia Puzzle--#8 in that 1930s series--will be published October 16. If you're a Kindle reader, use this link to preorder, and your purchase will benefit the Story Circle Network. I've already started to think about Book #9, The DDs and the Voodoo Lily. The ladies at Bessie's Magnolia Manor have a story they want me to tell.
It's been a quiet summer here at Meadow Knoll. We've had 51 days (so far) of 100+ temperatures, so it's been plenty uncomfortable outdoors. But we had 4" of rain in August, so the leaves are still green. Bill's pecan trees are loaded, but the crows and squirrels are already assembling their troops so the annual battle (who gets the most pecans?) is about to begin.
It's still plenty hot, but fall is on the horizon. The goldenrod is starting to bloom, and there are Maximilian sunflowers blooming along the lane. These things, these beautiful, natural things, are real. It's frighteningly easy to allow the deepening crisis in our government to distract me from the daily work of crafting a creative life. But every day I feel the privilege of living here and being able to do what I love. I remind myself to pay attention to the realities around me. That's where the truth lives. That's where the real story is. And that's what we all hunger for these days, I think. Realities. Truths. And real stories.
Reading note. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. ―