Wednesday August 31st, 2011

The exercise:

Welcome to the final day of August, 2011. My, how time does fly.

Today we shall write about: the tribe.

Yet another big harvest for the restaurant this morning - we were pleasantly surprised to find that the blackberries had bounced back so enthusiastically. You just never know.


His tribe follows his lead,
Without question or hesitation;
His commands never meet
With demands for an explanation.

He keeps them safe and fed,
Their laughs bring him such jubilation;
Two daughters and a son,
They've brought him such inspiration.

Tuesday August 30th, 2011

The exercise:

This week's Two Haiku Tuesday would like you to play pretend - gimme a couple of haiku, as written by James Bond.

Don't ask me where that came from, because I have noooo idea.


How inglorious,
I'm stuck waiting for the bus -
bloody budget cuts.

*     *     *

An exciting life,
filled with guns, girls, and fast cars,
still leaves me lonely.

Monday August 29th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we shall write about: the slave.

Fairly quiet day in the garden here. Kat's teacher friend left for home just after lunch, and then we spent the rest of the day getting things ready for the book club meeting Kat hosted this evening. It sounds like it went well, and everyone enjoyed the berries, veggies, and fruit Kat put together for them.

Back to weeding tomorrow.


Though he's been searching for it for weeks, he still can't find the chain that has tethered him to his desk. He knows it's there, he can feel its secure grip and its heavy weight, but still he cannot see it.

He is certain that if only he can lay eyes on it he'll be able to find a weak link, a way to break free. Surely, he tells himself for the hundredth time, there must be a way to escape.

His supervisor drops in to see how the report is coming along and he responds without thinking. The conversation follows the same tired path as all the ones that came before. The deadline has been moved up again, but he'll find a way to be done in time. He always does.

Alone once again with his invisible chain, he allows himself a moment to daydream of freedom, of blue skies overhead and green grass beneath his feet.

And then he begins typing again.

Sunday August 28th, 2011

The exercise:

Today's location shall be: the swamp.

Very relaxing day off. One of Kat's former teaching colleagues is staying with us for a few days so we spent some time with her at the beach this afternoon before joining her for dinner out.

Back to harvesting for local orders tomorrow morning.


Kevin swam lazily through the dark waters, following the rowboat at a safe distance. Two of the occupants were working the oars while a third was busy baiting their fishing hooks. It was tempting to give the boat a nudge, causing a hook to catch a finger or two, but Kevin resisted the temptation.

The silent pursuit continued for another ten minutes before the rowboat's anchor was dropped overboard. Flies flew in noisy circles overhead as the fishermen grabbed their rods and looked for a direction to lay claim to, their voices loud in Kevin's ears as he moved ever closer.

Three lures hit the water, one after the other, but none of them came even close to Kevin's position. With a wide smile he glided the rest of the distance to the boat. Unseen, he came to a stop beneath it.

Diving deeper, he turned and came rushing back toward the surface as fast as he could manage. With a muted thunk his head hit one side of the boat with enough force to tip it over, spilling the three men into the water with him.

"Holy hell!" One of the fishermen hollered when he laid eyes on Kevin. "Crocodile!"

Saturday August 27th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: family.

We had a pretty good market this morning, after which we dropped in for a short visit with some of Kat's family who live in Penticton. It was good times and we're hoping to do it more regularly.


Full of rotten apples,
As dysfunctional as can be;
But I would never trade
My one and only family.

Friday August 26th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the peak.

Because this evening's harvest confirmed what I already suspected: the blackberries peaked for Wednesday's pick.

I always find it a little depressing to do the first pick after peak, but hopefully they'll stick around for a little while longer.


He had been training all year for the championship event. All eyes were on him and his competitors but he knew he was ready. His body was at its absolute peak, he had made sure of that.

"All right everyone," the announcer called out to the eager audience, "the hot dog eating contest will begin in just five minutes!"

Thursday August 25th, 2011

The exercise:

Write something in or about: the ruins.

Found inspiration in a National Geographic article about the search for Cleopatra's tomb I was reading earlier this evening.


Many years ago,
A temple stood here,
Though most wouldn't know.
For the desert,
Patient as Death himself,
Has reclaimed these holy grounds
For itself.

An altar gleamed,
Brighter than the sun...
Or so it seemed.
Behind its shelter
Priests shouted and swayed,
Demanding their fickle flocks
Nod and obey.

Not so long ago,
A temple stood here,
Though only I know.
Now all around
Looks exactly the same;
But in this very spot
They worshipped my name.

Wednesday August 24th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's see what we can do with: demands.

We managed to fill most of the restaurant order this morning, only falling short (for the second consecutive week) with the cherry tomatoes. But we more than made up for that with all the blackberries we got them.

I always wonder if they regret asking for 'all' of our available berries when we show up with so many...


"Do the kidnappers have any demands?" The chief of police didn't look up from the paperwork on his desk when he asked the question, as though he were barely interested in the answer.

"Well... yes, they've provided us with a short list of things they'd like in exchange for the Hamilton family," his second-in-command replied with a slight grimace.


"They, uh... they want extra sprinkles on their donuts for dessert, which they insist on eating in front of the TV, and to stay up past nine o'clock tonight."

Tuesday August 23rd, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku dealing with one or both of: dirtiness / cleanliness.

Today was a day of weeding, which was good. Back to harvesting tomorrow morning, as the restaurant has placed a very large order this week. We probably won't be able to fill it completely, but we ought to be close.

And yes, my first one is based on something that happened this evening.


Weeding on all fours.
Stands up for a rest, becomes
Known as The Black Knees

*     *     *

Sterile surfaces
Cover each inch of my house,
But it's not a home

Monday August 22nd, 2011

The exercise:

Write a little something about: the hunter.

Harvesting for our local orders kept us busy most of the morning, but that was mainly the fault of the beans - those things take forever to pick.

Jeez, September sure is getting close all of a sudden, isn't it?


Puffing a cigar, he studies the heads affixed to his study walls. From lions to tigers to bears, he's bagged them all. There's even a rhino head in the hall. Fingering the scar on his right side, he ponders that close call.

They're just trophies, nothing more, nothing less. He's claimed victory in all those games of survival chess, leaving his defeated foes a bloody mess. His collection cannot fail to impress.

And yet there is a feeling, he must admit, that his heart will rarely emit. It's not, exactly, that he gets upset when he considers all those animal obits. No, he won't label it, but I submit that he is haunted by regret.

Sunday August 21st, 2011

The exercise:

Do what you will with: lost and found.

Relaxing day off, ending with gelato at the beach with Kat. More days should end that way, really.


This morning I found something that had been missing since Tuesday: my wedding ring.

To say that my inability to find it had been causing me some stress and frustration would be a definite understatement. I knew I had seen it Tuesday morning when we were packing up to return home after our housesitting escapades, and I was pretty sure I'd stuck it in my bag - but not 100% sure.

When I was unpacking that afternoon, I couldn't find it. So I tried to convince myself I'd left it up there, but when we went back up to feed the horses one last time and to clean up after ourselves I still couldn't find it. That was when I began to seriously worry I had lost it for good.

I'd asked the owners to keep an eye out for it but really wasn't holding out much hope they'd spot it where I hadn't. As the week went on I went over Tuesday morning in my head again and again, trying to remember what on Earth I'd done with my ring.

So where was it all that time?

In a side pocket of my bag.

Which I'd checked at least five different times.

Saturday August 20th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the carnival.

Had a pretty solid market this morning, selling out of most of what we brought. Looking forward to our day off tomorrow.


Stuck atop the Ferris wheel,
I try to enjoy the view;
But my heart keeps telling me,
It would be better with you.

Friday August 19th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the janitor.

Big harvest today for tomorrow's market. Fitting everything in the truck before we head off will be, as it often tends to be, quite the challenge. Here's hoping we don't bring much of it back!


He stared balefully at his blaring alarm clock, unmoving. Any other morning of the week and he would have already been in the shower, maybe even standing before his coffee maker. But not Mondays; he hated Mondays.

Who had the bright idea to start off each school week with Pizza Day, anyway?

Thursday August 18th, 2011

The exercise:

I'm feeling like a musical prompt today. So pick the title of any song (feel free to ramble about YouTube or skip around your iPod to find one that works) and use it as the inspiration for your writing today - just the title, not the lyrics.

I went a little old school with mine.


Bullet with Butterfly Wings - Smashing Pumpkins

She tapped out the password on the safe's keypad while whistling softly to herself. The lyrics to the song escaped her; it was just something she'd heard on the radio earlier in the day. Something about flying without wings, maybe.

Pulling the safe door open with her right hand, she reached in with her left and removed the unmarked box. She brought it over to the couch before placing it on the coffee table and taking a seat. Without looking, she grabbed the open bottle of tequila that had been lurking on the end table to her right and took a long swig.

She placed the bottle next to the box, which she now turned her attention to. Using her long pink fingernails she eased the cover upwards to reveal a handgun, a box of bullets, and a pencil case filled with paints and paintbrushes. The song returned to her lips as she unzipped the last item and extracted a brush with a very fine point and several miniature paint tins.

Next she pulled a single bullet from its container and set to work. The butterfly wings took shape on its side quickly as her fingers moved with practiced grace. Once she was satisfied, she set it aside to dry and took another taste of tequila. After a moment's hesitation she took out a second bullet and began painting it as well.

Just in case.

Wednesday August 17th, 2011

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: abandon.

We had a good harvest for the restaurant this morning, though we fell a little short of what they wanted for cherry tomatoes. Hopefully the weather can stay a bit more consistently warm and they'll really get going.

It really is incredible how much cooler than usual it's been this year.


We abandoned the car in the middle of a corn field and began making our way back to the road. T.J. had taken the key out of the ignition and thrown it as far as he could; I hadn't heard it land, but the wind had picked up by then and was making a racket as it made its way between the stalks.

I wanted to ask him if we were doing the right thing but I already knew he'd just laugh at me if I did. It was infuriating how confident of our direction he was, especially when I felt so adrift. I kept looking back as we walked, even after the car was out of sight.

When we reached the road T.J. turned towards the setting sun and kept moving. I followed a few steps behind, my shoes scuffing the gravel at the edge of the asphalt. How had we managed to get to this point so quickly? I could hardly place all the blame on T.J. - it's not like he had held a gun to my head.

I slowed to a stop, my head turning towards the corn field of its own volition. Maybe I could make a break for it.

But then a car came around the corner towards us and T.J. stuck out his thumb. I watched as the driver brought the station wagon up to him and rolled down the window. And before I could do or say anything, it all started over again.

Tuesday August 16th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the florist.

Here, at long last, is the view from where Kat and I were housesitting this weekend:

You can't quite see our house in that one, but if I'd thought to take a picture right at the railing you would. It's probably hiding behind that tree just to the left of the middle. Ah well.


He spends every day
arranging perfect bouquets
he'll never receive

*     *     *

He's never on time,
for he is always stopping
to smell the roses

Monday August 15th, 2011

The exercise:

Today we write about: the mime.

Calling it an early night tonight, see you all tomorrow.


"He still ain't talking, boss."

"He's one tough nut to crack, I'll give him that. But I ain't giving up this easy."

"What you wants us to do? We already sent in the spiders and the snakes."

"Release the hounds."

Sunday August 14th, 2011

The exercise:

The word of the day is: hesitation.

Had a very relaxing day today. Back to the garden tomorrow morning.


The briefest of pauses,
That was all that it took,
And everything was lost
To that God-awful crook.

Why did I look away,
I was so damned stupid!
Now he's taken my wife -
Evil little Cupid!

Saturday August 13th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the burglar.

We had a pretty successful market this morning, and now we're taking it easy up on the mountain. We're housesitting until Tuesday morning, with only having to go up and down the windy road on Monday for work.

I'll get some pictures of the view and the horses tomorrow.


He's stolen all your paintings,
All the earnings of your life;
But what really ticks you off
Is he didn't take your wife.

Friday August 12th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose about: the comedian.

I'm just going to get to writing, seeing as I've spent the last half hour or so asleep in front of my laptop.


He can't take it anymore. The constant pressure to be funny, the never-ending joke suggestions from friends, relatives, complete strangers. It's all just too much.

"Thank you all for coming," he announces at the beginning of his final set, "I'm very excited to share with you my new hobby: counting imaginary sheep... in my head."

Thursday August 11th, 2011

The exercise:

Let us see what we can do with: the leak.

Got some good weeding done in the garden today before getting back to harvesting for the market tomorrow. Hoping we'll be able to find a few cobs of corn that are ready to come off the plants, and we'll have a boatload of nectarines to go with them.


Our circle has sprung a leak,
One of our bonds has grown weak;
Now outsiders know too much,
This stronghold sways at a touch.

So I must take up my gun -
A partnership I thought done.
But I accept with a shrug,
Because this leak must be plugged.

Wednesday August 10th, 2011

The exercise:

Let's go with: the drawing.

I'll admit that mine might have been inspired by Greg's style of writing.

Spent most of today rototilling the walking paths in the garden, so still no extra energy to take care of comments. I swear I'll get to them!


Miss Darnwell moved silently about the classroom, like a rain cloud determined to block out the sun at every possible angle. The children didn't dare look up from their task, black, grey, or brown crayons choked between their pudgy fingers.

"Five more minutes," their teacher suddenly announced, causing several students to snap their drawing instruments in half. The more determined among those used it as an opportunity to draw with both hands.

When time ran out, Miss Darnwell called for the drawings to be placed on her desk. Damien, her pet rottweiler, eyed each child with open hunger but remained perfectly still, unleashed as he was.

He could afford to be patient, for he knew that the student judged to have created the worst piece of art would be served up as his dinner that night.

Tuesday August 9th, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: the cowboy.

For those of you not familiar with the form, haiku are three line poems, with the first and third lines being 5 syllables and the second line being 7 syllables. You'll find two examples below, handily enough.

Still badly in need of sleep. I'll get to responding to your comments eventually, I promise.


The scar on his right
cheek is hidden by dried dirt
and autumn's twilight.

*     *     *

Matching hat and boots,
belt buckle big as Texas,
never seen a horse.

Monday August 8th, 2011

The exercise:

Write about: the bear.

Because we saw one on the way home yesterday. Not sure when, but it was somewhere between 9:15 am (when we left Dawson Creek) and 2:30 am (when we arrived in Osoyoos). Hurray for trips that take over 17 hours.

I've got nothing else for you today, I'm rather tired still.


He wanders through the woods,
Broken twigs in his hair,
Checking berry bushes
With no worries or cares.
His path goes unchallenged,
For he is known as Bear.

He's not one for talking,
This big old grizzly dude;
Connecting with nature -
In wondrous solitude -
It's all he's really done
Since the divorce came through.

Sunday August 7th, 2011

The exercise:

Let us write about: the bodyguard.

On our way home, but not quite there yet - so this is a scheduled post.


He does his best,
Which isn't very much;
It's not his fault
He faints at a touch.

He has a gun,
Though it's never loaded,
And the barrel
Is terribly corroded.

I'd fire him
But I can't; you see,
Despite all his faults...
At least he's free.

Saturday August 6th, 2011

The exercise:

A four line poem about: the ceremony.

We're attending Kat's brother's wedding today, so this is a scheduled post.


The guests sit waiting,
Watching the nervous groom;
Only the ten-time divorcee
Mutters warnings of doom.

Friday August 5th, 2011

The exercise:

Four lines of prose which take place on, in, or by: the lake.

Continuing to draw inspiration from yesterday's incident, it would seem.

I'm heading out early, so this is a scheduled post. See you when I get back.


The wind picked up as the afternoon dragged on, causing the boat to rock from side to side and the fish to continue to decline to bite. Stupid slimy little buggers. If I'd been allowed to bring my gun it would have been a different story.

But no, the field trip supervisors and teachers had been so bloody insistent.

Thursday August 4th, 2011

The exercise:

The word for today shall be: bursting.

Explanation below.

I'm off tomorrow morning, to return either late Sunday or early Monday. I'll get to replying to your comments once I've settled back in. See you then!


For the three days we'll be away from the farm the forecast is calling for an average high of 33 degrees. So we've been trying to get everything very well watered before we take off, and as part of that attempt I went out to the garden late this afternoon to get a couple of lines going.

As I turned on the first line, a hose broke free of its clamp and started gushing water. I quickly turned it off, reattached the clamp as best I could, and very slowly turned it back on. It held, though I didn't really trust it - but the couple I mentioned yesterday were coming by shortly to pick up their order, so I had to get back to the house.

Unfortunately I had to wait almost an hour before they showed up, at which point I went back up to the garden to check on things.

Which was when I saw the lake the burst hose had made of the driveway. Sigh.

Shut it off, clamped the hose shut, turned the line back on again. The lake has mostly soaked into the ground already, but this was not a headache I needed today.

Wednesday August 3rd, 2011

The exercise:

Today we write about: dedication.

Big harvest for the restaurant this morning, even with the raspberries being almost finished - only 3 pints to be found out there. Thankfully the blackberries are just getting started; I managed to find one pint for them and there are plenty more on their way.

Busy day tomorrow with lots of things to get done before I leave on Friday for Kat's brother's wedding in Dawson Creek. Including getting some posts scheduled to keep you guys busy while I'm gone!


We don't have a huge number of local customers ordering every week, but it's been reasonably steady. And we're really just getting into the time of year where we have enough veggies available to support more people. But we do have a few people that are really dedicated to supporting us and enjoying our produce.

One couple, for example, just came back from being away for two weeks. Despite this, they're only missing one week with us - they picked up a small order the day before they left, and they're picking up this week's order tomorrow (usually we do pickup/delivery on Mondays but we made an exception for them this week).

It's really very rewarding to have customers like that. And it helps to make all this friggin' weeding feel like it's actually worth it...

Tuesday August 2nd, 2011

The exercise:

Two haiku about: addiction.

Saw my parents off this morning and then got to weeding. I'm not sure where all those damned weeds came from, I could have sworn they weren't there the last time I looked.

This afternoon I went up to have a look at the place Kat and I will be housesitting the weekend following her brother's weekend. And to get instructions on how to take care of the three horses (they're Norwegian Fjord Horses). And when I say 'up', I mean way, way up. The view is friggin' spectacular.

Oh yes, there will be pictures.


I just need one more,
then I will be satisfied.
Well, maybe one more.

*     *     *

They tell me to stop,
to make the right decision -
as though it's a choice.

Monday August 1st, 2011

The exercise:

Welcome to August (already?). Let us write about something which takes place in: the grocery store.

Because one of our favorite parts of having visitors is telling them to go grocery shopping in the garden before they leave. My parents will get to enjoy that honor tomorrow morning before they head for home - just shy of two months after they left.

My mom helped me pick green beans for our local orders this morning. That was pretty fun.


I was just minding my own business,
I swear it's true!
Why won't someone here please tell me,
What did I do?

They've kicked me out the grocery store,
Like a felon -
Just for admiring the produce girl's
Perfect melons.