Tuesday April 30th, 2013

The exercise:

It's Two Haiku Tuesday again! So... write a couple of haiku about: floating.

How is it the end of April already? On top of days and weeks, Max must also be eating months now. It's the only possible explanation for his size.

Mine:

With a whispered word
I'm launched skyward to hang with
Cupid on his cloud.

*     *     *

I fly like a bird,
safe beyond the reach of stress...
until the rope breaks.

Monday April 29th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the element(s).

The day off was much appreciated. Back to work tomorrow.

If you're interested in hearing the inspiration for what follows, feel free to click here.

Mine:

He's had a hard knock life,
He's been periodically tabled,
Forced to fit inside a box
And then callously labelled.

Transported hither and thither
Within thick-walled cars,
Either as a coin in a chest
Or hanging out in bars.

Whether worn on suntanned wrists,
Hanging heavily off sagging ears,
Or squeezing wrinkled necks,
He draws shouted plaudits and hissed jeers.

Wars have been waged for him,
Fools sacrificing both young and old;
All for the glory and honor
Of this precious, precious gold.

Sunday April 28th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the landlord.

Bit of a quieter day around here, as the major accomplishment was getting more tomato seedlings potted up this afternoon.

Actually taking an entire day off tomorrow. Well, we're going to try to, anyway.

Mine:

He collects cheques
With a smile
That's a few teeth shy
Of perfection.

Calling his cell
Will get an answer,
As long as he's not lost
In reflection.

He'll fix your fixtures,
Leaving behind
Fingerprints and a hint
Of garlic in the air.

You'd move out,
But the next place
Is likely worse...
So you don't dare.

Saturday April 27th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something: meaningless.

The Canucks wrapped up their regular season tonight with a meaningless game against Edmonton. They lost, but rested most of their best players - and even if they'd won they wouldn't have moved from their third seed in the west going into the playoffs.

It looks like their first round opponent will be San Jose, which should prove to be an entertaining series. Here's hoping the end result goes in the Canucks favor.

Many, many leeks were planted in the garden this morning. Also some onions.

It was fantastic to have the help.

Mine:

We're going through the motions
With no sign of emotions;
We're not getting back together -
This parting will last forever.

Friday April 26th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the split.

Inspired by the migraine currently trying to split my head in two. Which is also, aggravatingly, going to keep me from catching up on your comments like I had planned to do tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

This morning we picked up a couple more loads of wood chips for spreading around our strawberry plants, then spent most of the afternoon transplanting onions. Going to be doing more of that tomorrow morning, with help from our farmer friends in Cawston.

Looking forward to seeing them again, getting their help, and for one of them to meet Max for the first time.

Mine:

The silence in the room was not a pleasant one. Much was said through sharp gestures and hard stares, more than had ever been expressed with words. An agreement needed to be reached, and eventually it would... but there was no going back after a night like that one.

And sitting patiently in the middle of the room, the source of all that tension, the take from the bank robbery waited to see which man would go home with the largest cut.

Thursday April 25th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the play.

This morning I finished transplanting our cabbages, and then after dinner I seeded a couple rows of salad blend and arugula. In between that, Kat did some potting up of tomatoes in the afternoon. Feels good to be making some progress on that stuff.

Oh, here's a picture of some blossoms in the orchard:


Turns out? A side benefit of working in the evening is passing through the orchard just as the sun hits magic hour. It may take me a little longer to get to the garden, but hopefully I'll get a few print/greeting cards out it.

Mine:

The audience sits in the darkened theater, restless and fidgety with no gadgets to absorb their focus. No words are exchanged, as all attempts at small talk between neighbours died off long ago. All eyes are on the motionless red curtain standing between the attendees and the play they have come to see.

It seems as though they have been frozen like this for hours, but a mere handful of minutes have passed since the lights went down. Nervous coughs begin to fill the air and are soon joined by the clearing of throats and awkward swallows of excess saliva.

No one dares leave, though surely many are tempted to do just that. They have paid hard earned money for their tickets, they have read rave reviews. Likely they have told friends about tonight's entertainment, perhaps even bragged about the quality of their seats.

But they have not been let in on the secret. They sit and they wait and they grow uncomfortable. They wonder and they check the time and they expect the curtain to be raised. Any moment now. Can't be much longer.

And they are utterly unaware that, from this side of the curtain, they are the show.

Wednesday April 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the shift.

Managed to get all of our broccoli planted in the garden today, as well as some of our savoy cabbage. With things taking so long, I ended up going back out after dinner for an evening shift... which I believe is the first time I've done that this year.

We must be getting into the busy time of year or something.

Mine:

A keen eye is required in my line of work. There are a lot of critical details of the subtle variety, none of which you want to miss. Not if you want to survive.

You will be tempted by distractions, slight of hand nonsense. Do not allow yourself to be drawn in. Keep your focus where it ought to be. Where it must be.

There will be days and nights when you are not at your best. Too much drink, too little food. A quarrel with an old friend or lover tugs at your thoughts. When these times are at hand, remember one thing above all others.

When a man shifts his weight in order to reach for his gun, you better be ready to draw.

Tuesday April 23rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: delays.

The weather has been pushing back our attempts at planting out our seedlings that are currently residing in the greenhouse. First it was rain on the days we wanted to do it, then it was cold overnight temperatures forecast after days that would have otherwise worked.

But tonight is the last night they're calling for risk of frost for the foreseeable future, so I'm planning on a finding a home for our cabbages and broccoli in the garden tomorrow.

Hopefully the clear skies and warmth that has been predicted comes through.

Mine:

My flight is delayed.
By what force? They will not say.
Someone's gonna pay.

*     *     *

Wait for it. Hold on.
Just a little bit longer.
It'll be worth it...

Monday April 22nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something that goes: smash.

This evening while emptying out the dish rack ahead of doing the dinner dishes, I was shaking the water off one of our mugs when the handle broke off. It fell into the sink with a bang, landing - and breaking - one of our plates.

When I smash dishes, I don't mess around.

Mine:

The second hand inched its way around its glass prison once more, unaware that anything unusual would happen when it reached the ornate 12 at the peak of its circuit. Surely, like most of us in the room, it expected to hear a tick, a slight shift by both the minute and hour hands, and nothing more.

Most of us in the room, but not all.

For there were those among us who knew exactly what that final tick would spark. The plan had been discussed at length, fine-tuned until all possible faults had been ironed out. They had their supplies, their weapons on hand.

They were prepared.

When that clock struck midnight, it was smashing time.

Sunday April 21st, 2013

The exercise:

I do believe it's time for another go at the Random CD prompt. So pick a song as randomly as you please, then use its first line as your own (credit going where it's due, as always). Then? Take it from there.

I've been listening to the song I used quite a bit over the last week, with a few different lines stuck on repeat in my head. Once I realized this line was the opening line, it was pretty much a done deal that I had to use it with this prompt.

Had a farming first today: I got to till up the garden using the attachment on the tractor. Usually Kat's dad does that for us, but I figured it was probably time for me to learn how it's done.

Aside from the freezing cold wind and a couple moments of frustration (I am not patient with myself when learning new things), I'd say it went pretty well.

Mine:

Winter Winds by Mumford & Sons

As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts, I move through the streets carrying a secret smile. Safe and secure inside my thick down jacket, I watch the hunched shoulders and downcast faces of my fellow pedestrians as they force themselves about their daily business.

I am light and nimble on my feet, but I try not to be too obvious about it. I'd hate for one of these sad sacks to take out their pain and longing on me. Their suffering has nothing to do with me. I am not responsible for it, nor do I wish to assist with its healing.

My heart is at peace, and I intend to keep it that way. No man or woman is the source of this contentment. It is safer this way. More reliable, less fickle. I am a visitor to this depressing place and I shall leave in the same state of mind as I arrived.

Well, perhaps I will leave just a smidgen happier.

For I am alone, but I am not lonely. All this misery surrounding me is fantastic company.

Saturday April 20th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that: backfired.

Started spreading the wood chips around our yard this morning. Slow going, but the area I finished looks loads better.

It was a hot one here too. So hot that we decided to have lunch out on the deck, and Max was kind enough to join us (as did his monkey):
 


The Canucks clinched a spot tonight in this year's playoffs, which begin... pretty soon. There are only three games remaining in the shortened regular season, at any rate. So probably in just over a week things will be getting very interesting once again.

Mine:

He plotted his revenge
For months that became years,
But despite his cunning
His are the only tears.

Friday April 19th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the haze.

Took Max out in the orchard this morning to try to get some pictures of him with us and the blossoms. I think a few shots might turn out okay, but there's definitely a great shot of him with Kat's dad.

Afterward I went on a little road trip with Kat's dad to get a truckload of wood chips - the first of many, I'm sure. This one will be spread around our yard. The rest will be stuffed around our berry plants.

Mine:

There's a haze around the moon tonight, it's following it across the sky. The moon's trying to escape it, giving it the evil eye.

But there's no relief in sight, that haze may never stop. We've colonized the moon, and our factories have set up shop.

Thursday April 18th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: starting over.

Spent most of the morning bouncing the rototiller around our yard, trying to tidy up the worst of the weeds before getting some mulch on top of them. Hopefully that will happen this weekend and then it will just be a matter of doing some minor weeding this summer to keep on top of things.

Also: Sir Phillip has returned! You remember Sir Phillip, don't you?

Of course you do. I've been hearing him around for the last couple of weeks but this evening was the first time I actually laid eyes on him.

And yes, I'm fully aware this might not be the same pheasant. And yes, I don't care. I'll be calling him Sir Phillip for as long as he (they?) cares to hang out around here.

Mine:

Everything was so new. The town, the job, the apartment. The life. He could not get used to all the newness.

Though of course it wouldn't always be this way. After a few weeks or months or years had passed, all that was now new would become old. Normal, routine, commonplace. Boring.

But that knowledge did nothing to ease his current discomfort. It did not dispel the unease he felt each morning when his alarm clock roused him from unsettling dreams. It provided no comfort when, forgetting, he turned his head in the direction of the other side of his bed.

Empty.

Always empty.

Not forever, perhaps, but that hardly mattered. Not with the memory of his ex-wife fresh in his mind.

Wednesday April 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the bookcase.

Max and I made our triumphant return to Mother Goose this morning, after not going for over a month. He seemed to enjoy it (as usual) and didn't have a huge meltdown later in the day from being overstimulated, so I'm hoping we'll be able to go regularly again.

Either way, it was nice to see that we hadn't been forgotten during our absence.

Mine:

"Please, help yourself."

I glanced over my shoulder, fully expecting to find our host leaning against the door frame with his hunting rifle in hand. Daring me to be foolish enough to believe him, so that he could justify the bullet in my back as having thwarted a brazen robbery. One of his precious books clutched in my pale, clammy grip all the evidence required to ensure his freedom from prison.

But no, he was empty handed. His smile seemed sincere. He even waved a hand to bring my attention back to his bookcase.

"Whichever one has caught your fancy."

"Are you sure?" I was looking at the display again, unable to look at him while questioning his words. "All of them are so... perfect."

"And I can see that you appreciate that," he said with a rumbling laugh that rattled my bones. "So pick one - but only one - and enjoy its contents. If you bring it back in one piece, then perhaps you can trade it for another."

"Thank you," I whispered. Biting my lower lip, I reached for a silver book, its title printed on its spine in bold, black letters. Then I paused, changing aim at the last moment and grabbed instead a red book with a white title.

"Ah, a fine choice."

I mumbled another thanks, eyes on the floor, as I hurried past him into the hallway, the book clutched in my little five-year-old hands.

Tuesday April 16th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the tortoise and the hare.

References to the fable welcome, as are haiku that ignore it completely. Me? I went for the one of each approach.

Inspired by my experience seeding spinach in the garden today. It was a long row, and I know I could have done it much more quickly than I did. But I took my time and enjoyed not having to rush through it.

And in the end, the row was seeded all the same.

Mine:

One fast, one slow, each
unaware the finish line
hosts an eager chef.

*     *     *

On Blackberry Lane
a hare awaits today's mail;
it could be a while.

Monday April 15th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: bedlam.

I really hate days like this.

Mine:

Shouts and screams all around. Panic on an overwhelming scale. Pushing, shoving, run away, run away, run away.

Just pick a direction and go.

Rooted to the ground, unable to think. Head on a swivel, searching for a way out. Where had the chaos started? Smoke. Find the smoke, find the smoke.

Just pick a direction and go.

Everyone else is moving. No common destination, but at least they are moving. A desire to join them sets my extremities to tingling. But what if I choose the wrong way? Would it be better to stay right here?

Just pick a direction and go.

A safe place. Have to find a safe place. Wait this out, in a safe place. Is anywhere safe?

Just pick a direction and go.

Sunday April 14th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: a forgotten place.

Because all the way up to Penticton today I could not, for the life of me, remember the name of the coffee shop I wanted to go to.

It was Opus, just for the record.

Mine:

In my years of research I have uncovered many maps, each created by a different hand. Though they all depict the same place, they have personal touches; landmarks deemed significant by one are ignored by the rest.

Unless, of course, the landscape changed drastically between each cartographer's arrival. Unlikely, certainly, but I refuse to place anything beyond the realm of possibility when this mysterious area is involved.

In musty basements, in secret backrooms, even, once, on a blustery rooftop, I have studied them all. From faded black ink to vibrant red, labelled in elegant letters or nearly indecipherable scratchings, they are my dearest friends. I could never choose a favorite.

Despite their differences, they do share one aspect in common. One infuriating quality unites them. One... flaw, a man might call it.

As they approach the center of each drawing, roads end, trees disappear, landmarks vanish, leaving a gaping hole in each explorer's history of this land. As though, upon departing, each one has forgotten that this parcel of land exists.

I have made it my mission, my life's work, to discover why. What is it about this uncharted domain that must remain hidden? Its secret will not escape my curious grasp.

Though I must admit... I have a lingering suspicion that this is not the first time I have made that declaration.

Saturday April 13th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the postcard.

Pretty productive day around these parts. Actually did some weeding by our garlic, in preparation for getting another layer of mulch around them. Which I started as well.

Also: the first potting up of the season, which included sage, rosemary, and some of our first seeded tomatoes.

Tomorrow shall be a day off from yard and garden work, as we're headed to Penticton for some errands and to meet up with a couple of Kat's friends. Looking forward to it.

Mine:

It arrived yesterday,
Covered with words but no names.
Unsure who it's meant for,
I treasure it all the same.

Friday April 12th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: distraction.

Managed to get some good yard work done today. The two garden boxes in our backyard that we use for our own cooking were topped up with organic mulch and the lilac bushes out front were mostly cleaned up as well.

Tomorrow my focus returns to the big garden and those wonderful berries of ours.

Mine:

"We need to distract these damned guards if we want to have any chance of getting inside."

"I just thought of a great idea."

"If it involves taking off your pants again, keep thinking."

"... actually, I was going to suggest that we could just give them access to the internet."

Thursday April 11th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the elephant.

I should get this posted and then catch up on replying to your comments. Some of them, at least. But first, a picture:


Took that this evening, just before dinner. Fairly certain it's a nectarine blossom, but it might also be a peach blossom. I shall consult the experts (aka, Kat's parents) and get back to you on it.

Mine:

On the horizon, silhouetted against a sunset sky, stands a lone elephant. At this distance, at least. If a fellow were foolish enough to get quite a ways closer, that elephant would become his horizon. I am not, I am pleased to report, that foolish.

The grey beast is magnificent, even from this vantage point. A moveable mountain of muscle with two elegant tusks, the end of its trunk hovering just above the ground. I wonder where his compatriots are.

He is absolutely motionless. If I were not standing here I would swear I'm looking at a postcard, not real life. I imagine him contemplating his day, thinking of distant relatives, perhaps planning tomorrow's route across the plain.

Of course, if I were much closer than is strictly wise, I would know that the truth is much simpler: he is waiting for a mouse to go away.

Wednesday April 10th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the chameleon.

Uneventful day. Hoping to get some work done tomorrow.

Sorry this is going up late, I got a little carried away with mine.

Mine:

In the silence
That accompanies
His presence,
He speaks to the bouncer.
His words are not loud
Slipping through his easy smile
As he scans the crowd.

With a Benjamin handshake
He lets the bouncer know
Which two lovely ladies
Are going to go.
He takes them out of line
And brings them in on his elbows.

Speakers shrieking,
The floor seems to shake;
He buys a drink
For all the cops on the take,
Then brings his beer
To the back table,
Where he has the mayor's ear.

Their conversation
Doesn't last very long,
As a call interrupts
After just one song.
He shrugs his apologies,
Leaves a few bottles from the rack,
And with no explanation
Makes his way to the back.

A dark room
With one wooden chair;
Hands bound, mouth gagged,
A traitor waits there.
He walks in,
Closes the door with a sigh,
Cracks his knuckles,
Then removes his jacket and tie.

The beating is precise,
No energy is wasted;
Though before it ends
His own blood is tasted.
The tie and jacket return,
He gives his knuckles a rub,
And before a word is spoken
He returns to the club.

Tuesday April 9th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: feet.

Hey, why not, right?

We met our farm intern today in person, as she came down for a visit from Penticton (where she's staying until she starts working with us). It was great to have a chance to hang out with her before her first day and to get to know her a bit better.

Feeling pretty positive that things will work out nicely for her here.

Mine:

He waits by the wall,
alone; no girl wants to dance
with his two left feet.

*     *     *

She stands all day long,
dreaming of a massage that
will never arrive.

Monday April 8th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the kick.

We had a nicer day here, with the sun managing to slip between the clouds for most of it. Finally got around to doing some work in the yard - hopefully we'll be able to get on top of that this week and make it less of a hassle for the rest of the year.

Mine:

"He did what?"

"You heard me, mother. He left the table without a word of thanks for all the effort I put into dinner."

"That's disgusting! It's like his manners were dissolved by all the wine he drank."

"I don't think he had any, actually."

"Even worse! That boy simply deserves a swift kick in the pants."

"Oh mom, I don't think you can call dad a boy anymore..."

Sunday April 7th, 2013

The exercise:

Our writing word for today shall be: solid.

Last night was a whole lot of fun. Met a bunch of interesting fellow restaurant suppliers, from fish and meat vendors to other farmers, and caught up with some familiar faces as well.

Also: our room was amazing. Was not expecting a lakeview at all.

Mine:

To celebrate Max reaching the ripe old age of five months, we started him on solid foods today. Well, if you can consider a bit of mushed up banana mixed with breast milk solid.

Anyway, he's been showing a lot of interest in our food at meal times lately. Honestly he was probably ready to chow down a few weeks ago but we wanted to hold off as long as was reasonable. Plus we very definitely didn't want to start this leg of the parenting journey right before we left for our road trip.

But he can pretty much sit up on his own now (still a bit wobbly) and he's been reaching for our food like he knows what he's doing for weeks. It just didn't seem fair to make him wait any longer.

He seemed to enjoy the experience, though he clearly wasn't entirely sure of what was going on. I think this picture sums up the whole thing pretty well:


Saturday April 6th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the big time.

I'm scheduling this post as Kat and I are being treated tonight to a producer's dinner at our new restaurant and then we get a complimentary night's stay at the attached resort.

I keep thinking we're not "big enough" for such treatment. That we don't belong, especially when one of the other farms we know is attending is like 100 acres.

I'm sure I'll get over all that pretty quickly once we're there though, and we're really looking forward to the overnight stay.

Mine:

Surrounded on all sides
By the leading figures of crime;
I think it's safe to say
We've been welcomed to the big time.

Friday April 5th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the new guy. Or girl. Whatever.

Right, before I forget again, here's one of the pictures I took of the apricot blossoms the other day:


The last couple of days have been grey and dreary, but I'm hoping the sun shall return soon.

Mine:

I walk in the door and feel all eyes on me. I can hear their whispers, hushed words slipping between fingers too loosely clasped together.

"Who's the new guy?"

They'll know soon enough.

Thursday April 4th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the shark.

Decided to treat myself this afternoon by going for a haircut and a shave. I can't remember the last time I had a proper cut (hurray for curly hair I can chop myself whenever I see a strand getting too long) and before today the only person who has ever shaved my face was me.

I quite enjoyed it. Max seemed to find it pretty funny when I got home (I've probably been clean-shaven three times since he was born and he's never seen my hair this short).

Though I did get a bit panicky the first time the barber put the hot towel on my face. I could breathe through my nose fine, but the sensation of being smothered was highly unpleasant for a few moments - especially because he walked away to do something else after putting it on.

Mine:

Gliding through dark waters,
Searching for a meal.
He'll have white meat, dark meat,
Anything that squeals.

He's a patient hunter,
In no rush to dine.
Stomach full of surfer,
So he's feeling fine.

No hurry, no worries,
He's as cool as mud.
Well, at least until he
Smells a bit of blood.

Wednesday April 3rd, 2013

The exercise:

It's time for our fourth visit to: Mejaran.

Click the link if you're new or just need a refresher. If you're just joining in, you can either build on what's already been written or add something completely new (that still fits the setting, obviously).

I was going to save this for the weekend, but then I got an idea for mine a couple of days ago and got all excited. So here we are.

Max seems to be taking these shots in stride, other than a bit of extra sleepiness. Much better than last time, so far.

Mine:

"What's with all the swords anyway?" Yarel asked Orsana as the blacksmith returned to her work. Word had traveled fast that Shotek was already out of custody - long before the duo could do anything they might regret. "Seems like a lot more than anybody in Mejaran would need."

"You know that quiet fellow, Azmar? The one who seems to spend all his time standing in the cold staring at windows and roofs? He put in the order."

"What in the world for?" Yarel stretched out a hand to feel one of the finished hilts but it never reached its destination, as Orsana swatted it away without turning around. "Ow. You have eyes in the back of your head, don't you?"

"Believe what you will, youngblood."

"Don't worry, I shall." Yarel squinted at his friend's back. Had that been a giggle? Surely not. "You didn't answer my question. I know the real estate business around here must be deader than Lady Helen's conscience, but he doesn't seem the sort to go into arms dealing."

"Apparently he's starting a swordsman's club of some sorts." Orsana brought her hammer down once more, then paused to study the steel. "You know, dueling and all that nonsense. Boys with too much time on their hands."

"What?" Yarel's voice had gone higher than he'd intended and he forced it back down before continuing. "If he's starting a club like that, why is this the first I'm hearing about it? There should be posters on every window!"

"Indeed," Azmar said softly from the doorway behind him, startling Yarel just enough for him to wet himself (but only slightly). "It's almost as though everything is not quite as it appears..."

Tuesday April 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the needle.

Max is going in for his second round of vaccinations tomorrow morning. Blech.

Mine:

It's for my own good,
or so they say; if I could,
I'd take my chances.

*     *     *

Don't look. Never look.
One glance and you'd know that it's
longer than your arm.

Monday April 1st, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the bee.

The apricot trees are in bloom and the orchard is buzzing with the newly arrived bees. Pictures to come.

I've mentioned this in previous years, but for those of you just joining us: I think April Fools' Day is stupid. So don't expect any pranks around here.

Got back to weeding the strawberries today, which is finally nearing completion. Also did some more greenhouse work with Kat, which is nowhere near completion.

Mine:

Buzzing from blossom to blossom,
Doing the work we will not do;
Such busy little worker bees -
These trees would be lost without you.

Population dropping worldwide,
For a reason we cannot see;
Hurry humans to the rescue,
Before our hourglass empties...