Sunday July 31st, 2011

The exercise:

Let us write about: home movies.

Spent a relaxing day with my parents after seeing Kat off this morning. She's heading up north with her mother to help with the preparations for her brother's wedding. I'll be flying up on Friday with Kat's dad and then we'll all drive back together after the celebrations.

I'll be spending most of tomorrow with the weeds in the garden. I suspect they will not appreciate my presence.


"Katie, where's your sister?" Their father looked up from the instruction manual for the video camera long enough to fix his youngest daughter with a stern glare. "I thought I told both of you to be ready for exactly one o'clock."

"Well at least I'm ready," Katie replied, hands on hips.

"And your sister?"

"She's refusing to come out of her trailer until someone does her makeup."

"And where, exactly, is her trailer?" He knew he shouldn't have asked but they were running behind schedule and he needed to find his other daughter fast. Katie gave him an unreadable look before pointing solemnly at the doghouse in the backyard.

"You don't want to know what she's done with Rusty."

Saturday July 30th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: showing off.

Long day. Decent market this morning, not as good as we were expecting. Took both sets of parents to the restaurant we supply in the evening. Pretty much exhausted right now.


Speeding down the street,
Shouting, "Look! No hands, Mommy!"
He's such a bloody show off,
That stupid amputee.

Friday July 29th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: teamwork.

It was good to have Kat out there with me today for the market harvest. It's a long weekend here and the forecast is calling for nothing but sunshine, so hopefully it'll be a good day tomorrow.

Well, of course it will be. My parents will be there.


It was a simple matter to get over the wall. Just a matter of a bit of teamwork, that was all. I simply killed the rest of the team off one by one, then piled them at the base of the wall.

I mean, I had to jump a little to reach the top of the wall, but otherwise the rest of the team did a truly admirable job of getting me over and out.

Thursday July 28th, 2011

The exercise:

Write a little something about: the pet.

Inspired by the flies around here that pick one of us to follow around for the entire day, landing on and buzzing around their chosen pet to their little heart's content.

Until I kill mine, at least.

But then they're just replaced by another one :(


"I'm not sure that your Mama is going to approve of this," the store clerk said with a slight frown.

"Why not?" Bobby asked, not looking away from his newly purchased pet. "Don't you think she'll like Destroyer for a name?"

"No, it's not that," the clerk replied, struggling to find the right words. "It's just that... in my experience... well, most mother's aren't too crazy about their little ones having a poison dart frog as a pet."

Wednesday July 27th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we write about: the argument.

We had a big order from the restaurant this week, so harvesting for it took most of the morning. That's not a complaint!


A house so filled with love
Has now been hollowed out;
It began in sullen silence
And ended with a shout.

Neither can remember
What brought them to a head;
Both can't stop wishing
Those words could be unsaid.

The air has grown cold,
Their hearts twin blocks of ice;
All because they could not
Agree to play nice.

Tuesday July 26th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the anchorman.

Much more pleasant weather today, thankfully. Had a chance to chat with my parents and I'm really looking forward to their visit this weekend as they head for home after a lengthy road trip.


What a lovely bay -
look at all the fish! Better
throw James overboard.

*     *     *

He shares the day's news -
wars, bankruptcies, suicides -
with a perfect smile.

Monday July 25th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's see what we can do with: left behind.

Weather was quite garbage today, but we still managed to get some good work done in the garden. The forecast is more promising for the rest of the week, but we shall see how accurate they are this go 'round.


The call to evacuate found them sound asleep in their beds. There was no time to pack, no time to think. They were out of the house before they were fully awake.

Helicopters filled the sky, drowning out the instructions being broadcast from the military vehicles below. They stood in a dazed shock before being gathered up and escorted to a crowded shelter.

Groups were airlifted away every three minutes, as many men and women as each aircraft could safely carry. They waited for their turn in silence.

It wasn't until they were in the air fifteen minutes later that they fully realized they had left their old lives behind, never to be retrieved.

Sunday July 24th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we'll try out a new prompt, as suggested by Greg: completions.

I'll give you the first stanza of a poem and you get to finish it as you wish. If you'd like to switch over to prose in order to bring it to some sort of conclusion, that's totally fine as well.

It's good to have Kat home again.


It's been too long
That you've been gone;
Will you ever return,
Or have these bridges burned?
Has the river risen too high,
Have we said our final goodbye?

Saturday July 23rd, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the taxi driver.

Had a pretty reasonable market this morning, and Kat's dad seemed to enjoy himself too. Feeling much less exhausted than last week, but still pretty tired.

Picking up Kat tomorrow afternoon. Can't wait.


He drives as though
His cab can go
Through flesh and steel
Without a squeal

Friday July 22nd, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose that revolve around the word: complimentary.

Long day of harvesting and preparing for the market. Kat's dad is coming with me to the market tomorrow, which I believe is a first for him. Should be fun.


He walked around the hotel room, his stunned eyes struggling to take it all in. There was a price tag on everything: ten cents per flick of the light switch; five cents every time the channel was changed on the TV; a dollar for the tiny tube of toothpaste; and on and on.

"Well, at least the toilet is complimentary, right honey?"

His wife didn't need to say anything - the look she gave him from the dark confines of the bathroom was all the answer he required.

Thursday July 21st, 2011

The exercise:

It's been a while since I made use of a picture prompt, so I had a browse around National Geographic's photos of the day and found this beauty:

So let that be your writing inspiration today.

Three more sleeps until Kat comes home. Not that I'm counting or anything.


If you stand very still,
And silence your breathing,
You can hear the ghosts -
Some coming, some leaving.

Their eyes are upon you,
Their breath fogs the air;
They'll answer your questions,
If you've the strength to dare.

You move on, lips sealed tight;
They guide you on your way.
And though you didn't ask,
They tell you anyway.

Wednesday July 20th, 2011

The exercise:

Tell me about: the map.

Had a good harvest this morning for the restaurant. Unfortunately they only wanted some of the raspberries this week, rather than all of them. But on the plus side, the pick went a lot faster and there was actually some leftover for me to freeze for our own use.

After the strawberry debacle, in which we sold pretty much all of them and hardly saved any for ourselves, this is a nice change. I'm already looking forward to having them on top of pancakes come January.


The president stood over the map, hands folded behind his back and eyes shifting from country to country, from troop placement to troop placement. There were several points where his men outnumbered the enemy soldiers by a small margin and he needed to make a decision before reinforcements arrived.

He glanced up at the man across the table from him but said nothing before returning his gaze downward. What he really needed, he suddenly realized, was a very stiff drink.

"Enough delay," he announced after another minute of silent study. "I have decided to invade Australia."

"As you wish, Mr. President." The man across from him allowed a small smile to appear on his lips as he picked up the two white dice. "Will you be attacking with three armies at a time, or just two?"

Tuesday July 19th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the prisoner.

I blame watching Prison Break on Netflix this afternoon.

Feeling very on top of things in the garden at the moment. Harvesting for our restaurant order tomorrow morning, and then hopefully I can finally get around to planting a few spaces that have opened up around the garden as earlier things have finished off.


Waiting patiently
for the days to slip away,
till freedom returns.

*     *     *

No early release
for him - he doesn't believe
in good behaviour.

Monday July 18th, 2011

The exercise:

Let us write about: the caller.

We had a pretty epic thunder storm overnight here. It was actually loud enough to wake me up at 1:30 in the morning, which is no small feat.

Thankfully the day was much more pleasant, and lots of good work got done in the garden.


The man answered on the second ring, though he could have easily done so on the first. He didn't want to seem too eager though.


"Is this Mr. Willis?"

"It is, who am I speaking to?"

There was a lengthy pause. Willis thought the connection had been lost and was about to hang up when the caller finally responded.

"I know this is going to be impossible to believe, but I'm you." The man sounded very tired. "We need to talk about what's going to happen tomorrow."

Sunday July 17th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's give the random book prompt another whirl, shall we? So grab a book, preferably one you haven't read yet, and use its first line as your own (credit where it's due, as always).

Had a restful day off - slept most of the morning, enjoyed a visit from someone I worked with at BC Hydro in the afternoon, and then did a quick survey of the garden in the evening to see what needs doing this week.

Going to try to get to bed early tonight so I'll be ready to go tomorrow morning.


I confess that when first I made acquaintance with Charles Strickland I never for a moment discerned that there was in him anything out of the ordinary. He possessed no mannerisms that would suggest brilliance, or anything that led a casual watcher to think he was worthy of continued observation.

No, I must say, he appeared on the whole quite uninteresting.

How could I have been so mistaken? Was Charles that accomplished an actor? Was I that big a fool? I wish I could say that alcohol was involved in my part, but that would be a lie equal to all those he told me that night.

It is past time for such thoughts. Now I must busy myself with determining how to tidy up the mess that trickster has left in his wake.

I must save thoughts of revenge for later.

Saturday July 16th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the first date.

Six years ago today I met for the very first time the woman I'd marry under an oak tree on a sunny afternoon in Osoyoos. I can assure you, I didn't see that one coming at the time.

Had a pretty good market this morning and now I be tired. I suspect next week I might accept when help is offered, as doing it on my own was a bit much. Interesting experience, certainly, and I'm now able to say I've done it. But... yeah, help is good.

Oh, right, picture. Here's the view after I finished setting up:


The story of us began
Rather innocently;
Six short yet long years later,
You mean the world to me.

Friday July 15th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the choice.

It's been a long day. Bringing lots of good stuff to the market tomorrow; I shall attempt to find the time to take a few pictures.


The man sits at his dinner table, staring with tired eyes at the three items he has placed upon it. On the left, his cell phone. On the right, his open laptop, a blank email decorating its screen.

And between them, the object his eyes keep returning to: a newly purchased handgun.

Thursday July 14th, 2011

The exercise:

The word of the moment is: accents.

Feeling pretty on top of things in the garden right now. I just went out for an hour to finish off some weeding tonight and then decided to call it an early night. The rain encouraged this decision.

Of course this will all change by Monday morning, which will be the next time I'll be out there to weed. But for the moment, it feels good.


I can be quite the sponge sometimes.

For example, a good friend of mine in high school had a tendency to use 'princess' as one of his gentler insults. As in, "Let's hurry it up princess, we don't have all night." Whenever I was hanging out with him and he made use of it, I'd start using it as well, for at least the next few days.

In fact, I'll be honest, it still comes out of my mouth. Usually it's aimed at other drivers. "Oh come on princess" is a favorite for slow drivers.

Anyway. Something else I tend to absorb is accents. Tonight I was browsing Netflix for something to watch while I was eating dinner (hurry back soon, Kat) and decided to give The IT Crowd a shot. The first episode wasn't bad, I'll probably give it a few more to see if it can sink its hooks into me.

Back to the point. While I was out in the garden afterward I noticed that the majority of my thoughts were being expressed in a British accent. And when Kat's dad came over to talk to me about something I had to make a conscious effort to speak normally.

Does anyone else have this... attribute?

(That was me refusing to call it a problem)

Wednesday July 13th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we shall write something that relates in some way or another to: release.

Had a very good harvest this morning - the restaurant wanted all the raspberries we could find, and we ended up with twenty pints. It was nice to get things off to a positive start with them this year.


I feel vulnerable and exposed with no walls around to keep me contained. This idea of going wherever and whenever I want to is going to take some getting used to. I'm not going to miss the guards, though. The other prisoners? Maybe a little.

The friends I had on the outside before everything went to hell and I was locked away for the last ten years are not the sort of people I want to be around. Not if I want to stay free. And I do. At least, I think I do.

All these possibilities are messing with my head, making it feel too full. Say what you will about the inside, but at least you know what every day will bring you. Routine. I miss that. This freedom to choose... more like the burden of choice.

God, only five days since my release and I'm already considering going back in.

Tuesday July 12th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: relief.

A friend of Kat's had offered to help out while she was away and she came over to work in the garden tonight for the first time. And you know what? It was great. A lot of work got done and I'm in a much better mood.

And tomorrow morning she's coming by to help me with the first restaurant order of the year.

Good stuff.


The pressure is off,
I can breathe easy again;
I won't miss that rock.

*     *     *

That was a close call!
Let's celebrate living with
a massive bender.

Monday July 11th, 2011

The exercise:

Gimme what ya got for: the robot.

Sometimes I'm quite surprised by the prompts that I haven't managed to use in the last three years. This is one of those times. 

Today went reasonably well. I harvested for our local orders in the morning, handled the pickups in the afternoon, and got some weeding and spraying done this evening.

It was a little lonely though.


He sits in the corner,
Unused, broken, and rusting;
Ignored quite completely,
Except for the odd dusting.

His battery is dead,
Been that way a real long time;
But I can't help feeling
He's watching beneath that grime.

I know it's quite silly,
He has performed his last show;
But each time I pass by,
I make sure to say hello.

Sunday July 10th, 2011

The exercise:

Your word for today is: half.


A lot of couples refer to their partners as their 'better half'. Kat and I don't belong in that particular category; I think, if anything along those lines, we'd go with 'my other half'.

I mention this because this morning I drove Kat to Keremeos so that she could catch a bus to the Lower Mainland. She's taking a workshop there for the next two weeks and I'm staying behind to take care of the farm. I'll be getting lots of help from Kat's parents, of course, and hopefully a little extra assistance from a friend or two.

But for the next two weeks I won't exactly be cut in half... but I don't think I'll feel quite whole, either.

Saturday July 9th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the buzz.

We had a better than expected market this morning, selling out of most everything we brought. There was no fruit, so things were a lot quieter than last week, but it was still good.


There is a mosquito
Buzz, buzz, buzzing in my ear;
How can something so small
Be the source of so much fear?

Friday July 8th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the security guard.

Twas a long day of harvesting but hopefully it will all be worth it. They're calling for a sunny day in Penticton tomorrow, so at least there should be a lot of people out and about.


He sits in his chair, chin resting on his chest, breathing deeply. But he is not asleep. I'm certain he just wants me to think that he is. Now the only question is: what shall I do with this knowledge?

Thursday July 7th, 2011

The exercise:

Pick one of the following and go wherever it takes you: captive, captivated, captivating.

The heat is here at last - it hit 36 yesterday, was up around 32 today. And with it comes lots of good growth in the garden... and lots of bad growth too. But it feels like we're getting a handle on the weeds, and Kat's dad has most of this week off and he's been helping a lot.

Tomorrow shall be spent harvesting and preparing for the market on Saturday. It's looking like we'll be bringing onions for the first time this year, which is rather exciting.


He lay awake for the third night in a row, the campfire dancing across his closed eyelids. His body was exhausted after yet another day of hard marching, but his mind was still going at full speed. He knew he couldn't last much longer at this rate, but he had a feeling that this would be the night.

Gregory had pulled the middle watch at dinner and he was notorious for falling asleep when he was meant to be keeping the group safe. Gregory's shift had just begun, so he waited for the onset of snores that would let him know it was safe to act.

He didn't have to wait long. Taking a slow, deep breath, he eased his eyes open. Clouds had come with the night, masking the stars and moon. Perfect.

Moving deliberately, he escaped his bedroll and tiptoed between the sleeping bodies of his companions. At the far side of the camp he found the captive, hands and ankles bound, a thick rope tight around his neck at one end and secured to a tree at the other.

After a nervous glance over his shoulder, he pulled out his knife and set to work. His actions were so silent and careful that the captive didn't wake until he reached out and shook his shoulder with one hand, while the other covered his mouth.

"Come, my brother," the man told the captive, "it is time to go."

Wednesday July 6th, 2011

The exercise:

Write something that takes place in: Venice.

Sorry for the lack of comments the last couple of days - I'm fighting some internet issues over here. I'll try to get to them tomorrow.


Night has fallen and I fear it's only a matter of time before I do as well - right into one of these bloody canals. How are there no railings to prevent people from wandering right into them once all the lights go out? They'd never allow this back home.

Which way is it back to the hotel, anyway? Is that the building I was supposed to turn right at? God, they all look the same during the day - how did I ever expect to manage this in the dark? There's not even anyone around to ask for directions!

I'm sure to get mugged before this is all over. Maybe even murdered. Then I'll end up in a canal for sure.

Might as well try this way. Better than standing here all night, at any rate. And what's the worst that could -


Tuesday July 5th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: nightmares.

In between working in the garden, we took a trip up to Penticton to run some errands today. We were supposed to drop off our passport renewals at the office there, but only Kat did that... since I managed to forget my photos at home.



Hooves pound on my bed;
it seems these raucous horses
only run at night.

*     *     *

Sleep takes me away;
again I fall until a
screaming dawn landing.

Monday July 4th, 2011

The exercise:

Tell me a story about: the knife.

Spent the morning harvesting for our local orders and the evening fiddling with tomato plants. In between I hid inside, avoiding the burning gaze of Mr. Sun.


They called him The Knife, though never when he was around to hear it. They didn't want to have his namesake slipped between their ribs, after all.

His role in the neighbourhood was to keep the peace, though rarely through peaceful methods. His name was enough to cast a chilling shadow on any argument before it could become too heated, and mothers didn't even need that much to keep their children under control.

They simply had to open their cutlery drawer and begin cleaning a knife - any would do.

But The Knife is getting on in years now, and there is concern that once he crosses over there will be no one to fill his black shoes. There's talk of lawlessness taking hold before the soil over his coffin can settle.

I won't let that happen though. That's why tonight, when these weaklings and fools are safe in their beds, I'm going hunting for The Knife.

Sunday July 3rd, 2011

The exercise:

The word of the moment is: eliminate.

Had a very nice, very quiet day. The weatherman seems to think the sun is here to stay, with several days this week predicted to go over thirty degrees. It's about time.


The other day I noticed that a snake had been run over just up the road from our place. No tears were shed, let me put it that way.

I went and had a closer look to make sure it wasn't a rattlesnake (it wasn't) and then didn't give it much more thought. It wasn't until later that night that I realized what was going on.

Kat and I were having dinner outside when she spotted one of the neighborhood cats wandering through the vineyard next door. It was quite contentedly carrying a mouse in its mouth - which thankfully it didn't choose to bring us as a present.

It took a few moments before I understood that the cat must also have been responsible for the snake's death. Makes perfect sense, really. Eliminate your mouse hunting competition, then go out and bag yourself some dinner.

Now all I have to do is keep an eye out for cars being driven by exceptionally smart cats.

Saturday July 2nd, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: chaos.

We had an excellent market today - we sold out of everything we brought, except for the plants (which we're really just bringing because we still have space to do so - though we did sell a few of those as well). That includes the approximately 240 pounds of cherries we hauled up to Penticton.

Things got pretty hectic.

But it was a good hectic :)


Money and cherries,
Swirling like drunk electrons...
I gave the wrong change?
Damn it, I'm such a moron.

Friday July 1st, 2011

The exercise:

Happy Canada Day! On a completely unrelated note (or is it?), give me four lines of prose about: the infestation.

For tomorrow's market we're bringing a few things for the first time this year: potatoes, beets, carrots, cabbage, and... cherries! Should be a good day.


"It's pretty clear what the problem is here," Inspector Adams said with a sympathetic frown. "Just look at those potato plants over there, and the rows of carrots and onions down here."

"Oh no," Alexander moaned, "we were sure we'd gotten rid of them last year."

"No siree... you've definitely got yourself a farmer infestation."