Sunday June 30th, 2013

The exercise:

Our writing today shall revolve around the word: skittish.

Summer has apparently arrived in Osoyoos. It was supposedly 32 today (felt hotter than that) and the forecast is calling for 36 tomorrow.

I do believe I hear the beach calling my name...


There are a very small number of things that I can trust without hesitation in this world. Beyond what follows, I view everything with suspicion and doubt. It's not an easy way to live, but it's allowed me to get this far.

Firstly, I know that any wind strong enough to bend a pine tree to the point that it is parallel to the horizon is one that requires shelter be sought immediately.

Secondly, if a man has enough liquor in him he will believe himself invincible.

I make absolutely certain that I never consume to this point, no matter how safe the situation appears. Especially in those moments when all seems well.

And finally, should my trusted horse Crimson become skittish I know, without the smallest shadow of a doubt, that Trouble has saddled up and is on its way to my door.

Saturday June 29th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something (or someone?) that is: off-limits.

Good day at the market. We sold out of the last 160 pounds of cherries we were able to salvage from the rain, as well as the shelling peas, raspberries, cabbage (all two heads of it), Moroccan mint and peppermint plants, and finally sold the last of the cinnamon basil plants that we had.

I even sold five (I think - I'm getting quite terrible at keeping track) of my greeting cards.

The last hour and a quarter before closing was pretty quiet, which was kind of nice. As long as I don't think about how much more we could have sold if we'd had additional cherries and raspberries and shelling peas...

Anyway. It was another good market.


Unless, my dear child,
You wish for me to slaughter
Your parents and pets,
Keep your hands off my daughter.

Friday June 28th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the mistress.

Collected a whole lot of snow and shelling peas, 19 pints of raspberries, a couple heads of green cabbage, and a little bit of rhubarb for the market tomorrow. Taking the last of the cherries with us as well so it should be a good one, especially with it being a long weekend.

Also? Bringing a pint of blackcurrants. We only have two plants, and I was really just picking them to give to Kat's mom. But she somehow convinced me to bring them tomorrow to try to sell them, because 'Someone might want them!'

Which is fine.

But I have absolutely no idea how much to charge for them.

Oh well, if nobody buys them I'll just bring them back home and Kat's mom can make jam out of them.


In the early morning light she moves through the empty apartment on bare feet, her t-shirt falling just short of her knees. Though there are no other occupants, nor are any expected to arrive before nightfall, she feels unwelcome, unwanted.

Not by him, of course.

But by the other woman in his life, the one that, sooner or later, she must face.

Thursday June 27th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the spray.

This evening I went out and took care of all the weeds that were hassling our cabbage plants. Then I gave the plants an organic spray to help them fend off potential pests.

Felt rather productive, really.

I think we're getting close to being on top of the weeds again. The garden is looking much better than it did a week or so ago, at any rate.


It clings to me
Like a bothersome ex,
Or the stench of
Instantly regretted sex.

I've yet to find
A soap powerful enough
To vanquish it,
Though I scrub till my skin sloughs.

Leave me alone!
I do not deserve this pain!
I shall never
Tease a stupid skunk again!

Wednesday June 26th, 2013

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: Robin Hood.

The inspiration for that is not particularly straightforward, nor is it very interesting, so I'll spare you all and just keep it to myself.

Just before I left this morning to go out to the garden we got an email from the restaurant we supply, putting in a pretty decent order. Six pounds of cherries (eh), six pounds of arugula (happy to get that out of the garden before it all bolted), and twenty heads of kohlrabi (very glad to harvest that before they get too big).

Hopefully, with tourist season about to kick into high gear around here, this will mark the start of bigger, more consistent orders from them.


The moment the covered wagon drew into the courtyard I knew what had happened. The multiple arrows protruding from the stretched canvas, the downtrodden driver and guard, the way the horses stepped nervously.

I took a deep breath and moved to meet them.

"Welcome to -"

"There must have been twenty of them!" the driver cried out, the fear still gripping his throat making his words difficult to understand.

"Twenty?" the guard gave his companion a disgusted look before turning to face me. "Fifty, at least. Maybe even a hundred."

"Ambushed in the forest?" I asked the question only as a formality. The man never launched an attack elsewhere.

"With all those trees and bushes there might have been two hundred of 'em! We didn't stand a chance!"

It was possible, I suppose, that there had actually been that many. Unlikely, but possible. In the end, though, it wouldn't matter how many men Robin Hood had brought with him. Prince... King John would take out his anger and frustration on the poor sods who had allowed his gold to be stolen away from him.

Tuesday June 25th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the master.

Had a successful (and dry!) harvest for our boxes this morning. Doing ten produce boxes each week is feeling a lot more manageable than I expected it to.

It's looking like the weather is in the process of turning a corner, with highs reaching into the 30's by the weekend. I would appreciate that, and I'm sure the garden would love the extra attention we'd be able to lavish on it.

The weeds, though? They probably won't care for that forecast at all.


He rules this place with
lethal enthusiasm;
we will usurp him.

*     *     *

A Jack of all trades
is supposed to master none?
We'll see about that.

Monday June 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a little something that has to do with: dodging.

Managed to get the raspberries picked for tomorrow's boxes, despite all the rain. Otherwise it wasn't an especially productive day, but we did get a bit of clothes shopping done for Max this morning.

Now I'm just hoping that the rest of the harvest tomorrow morning won't be a wet one.


Before I met Art I'd never even heard of anyone who could dodge raindrops. So you can imagine my surprise the day I realized he could do just that.

Now I'm not saying that he could cross a street in a torrential downpour and not get wet. That would be a level of insanity such that I wouldn't bother trying to convince others of its truth. Better to keep that knowledge to myself and avoid all that padded room time, thank you kindly.

No, Art was much more subtle than that. I must have witnessed it ten or twenty times before I cottoned on. But he did it, all right.

The first time I saw it, long before I figured out what he was doing, we were out walking on Main Street. There were a few clouds overhead, not particularly dark though. The weatherman was calling for zero precipitation all week and Monday and Tuesday had taken his side of things.

This was Wednesday, though, and she had other ideas. But before she let everyone in on her surprise Art glanced up (I remember wondering if he'd seen a rare bird or something and followed his gaze), then stepped into a crowded coffee shop. I followed after him, but not fast enough to avoid the first drops of rain.

Next he cancelled at the last possible moment when he was supposed to meet us at the beach. I could have sworn I saw his car leaving the parking lot as we all ran for cover from a sudden cloudburst (I would have been right).

There were many more examples after that, but I seem to be the only one who has put it all together. I don't know how he does it, but I plan to find out.

Only problem is, I suspect that Art knows I'm working on unearthing his secret.

And I don't think he's happy about that.

Sunday June 23rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: sticking to your guns.

To make up for getting rained out of the garden last week I went out to get some weeding done this morning. The garlic, I'm happy to report, can breath again now.

Hmm, that sounds rather more sinister than I had intended...


With dawn came the attack,
We stood ready to fight;
They gave us no respite,
Though day soon became night.

We held firm at our posts
As stars punctured the sky
And bullets echoed loud
In the towers on high.

We were breached at midnight
And some fools chose to run;
The north wind was blowing,
So I stuck to my gun.

Saturday June 22nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the pest.

This week we brought approximately 300 pounds of cherries to the farmers market, figuring an extra 100 pounds over last week combined with more vendors having them would work out all right. Selling out so early last week was hard, knowing that we could have definitely sold a whole lot more.

So instead of running out just before 11 (like we did last Saturday), we sold out shortly after noon. I reckon at most we could have sold another crate's worth (20 pounds or so) today, so that was a definite improvement.

People really go bananas over fresh cherries here.

Not that I blame them.


Overhead or underfoot,
Always in the damned way;
My patience is waning,
Gone with one last delay.

Friday June 21st, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the secretary.

It sounds like the cherries are going to be okay, which means we should have them again at next weekend's market. This is great news, as we were considering skipping that market if we didn't have them, as we don't really have enough of anything else to make the drive worth it otherwise.

Of course, it would have been nice to have some extra weeding time in the garden...


"Your 10:30 is here to see you sir," the smoke-stained words came floating into Henri's office, rousing him from a rather detailed daydream.

"And who, exactly, am I meant to see at 10:30 this morning?" Henri shouted back, loud enough for both his secretary and his waiting appointment to hear where they were stationed in the reception area down the hall.

"Why it's Monsieur Stewart, obviously... oh... oh, darn it, I did it again."

Henri retrieved a full pack of cigarettes from his top drawer, fully aware that he'd need every last cancer stick if he was going to survive yet another meeting that had not been marked on his calendar.

Thursday June 20th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the wilderness.

We cancelled our trip to Penticton after a night of not much sleep for anybody in the family. Instead we got a couple of things done around the house before dropping off a small restaurant order (eight pounds of cherries) in the afternoon.

Which lead to one of the sous chefs ordering cherries for her own use. Looks like I'll be dropping those off tomorrow afternoon.

Still too early to tell how much damage the rain has done to the cherries remaining on the trees. Might have a better idea by tomorrow night. Fingers still crossed it'll be good news.


It seems so stationary. I have watched it for hours at a time, staring into its depths until my eyes ached, and detected no movement. No signs of advance, no indication that anything is changing.

And yet it draws closer every day. There are mornings that I wake and look out my window and recoil with shock, so much ground has been covered in the night. Thinking that it only dares to approach under cover of darkness, I have shunned my bed, lit bonfires in the yard, and kept watch from dusk until dawn.

Nothing. No knowledge of its workings gained, only sleep lost.

Then I turn away for a moment, lower my guard for a breath, and onward it comes. I fear that it can only be held at bay by my vigilance.

But I cannot do this alone. I must sleep. If only others could see the danger so close at hand. Partners must be recruited, shifts established. The watch must be kept.

I will convince others to join me, or all will be lost to the encroaching wilderness.

Wednesday June 19th, 2013

The exercise:

Our theme for today's writing is: piece by piece.

The weather has returned us to Rain Land for a little while. Tomorrow is looking to be worse than today (which wasn't excessively bad, to be honest - but it still kept me out of the garden), so we're considering making a rare non-market trip to Penticton to run a few errands and maybe meet up with some friends.

Also hoping that the wetness doesn't end up splitting all of the cherries still on the trees.


In the past year or so I have left a lot of stories over on Protagonize hanging. I really haven't done very much writing outside of this blog - probably none at all this year, actually. That might be a lie, but the fact that I'm not sure if it is kinda proves my point here.

A big reason for that is my tendency to want a large chunk of time to get writing done. I may not necessarily get it finished in one sitting, but I'll walk away from it knowing that there's not much left to be done before I'm happy with it.

Thing is? Those big blocks of time are almost impossible to come by these days. So writing projects gather dust. Stories languish. Readers forget and move on to other tales. 

Writing partners suspect that I've died.

So I made a long overdue decision today. I'm going to get back to those stories, one at a time. I'm going to work on them every day, even if it's just for ten minutes. It may take me a week or two to write something worth posting, but that's better than waiting a month or two (or ten) just so that I can write it all at once.

It's not my usual style, but I'm hoping that it'll work. I think the writing will benefit, as it usually does when I have time to let ideas simmer and stir in the back of my head before continuing on. And I wouldn't be terribly surprised if those 'ten minutes a day' suddenly turn into twenty or thirty minutes, even an hour.

Piece by piece, no matter the number of words hammered onto the page at each sitting, it's time to get those stories moving again.

Tuesday June 18th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the spider.

Well, that's our first box program day for this season over and done with. We managed to successfully navigate our way through it, despite a couple of wrong turns and more than a few moments of confusion.

But considering we're opening the season with ten box customers, when we only had four at the beginning of last year's, I'd say that's all rather forgivable.


Crawling through the night,
a long journey's end in sight;
step between the lips.

*     *     *

Creepy, hairy beast!
Don't let it come close to me!
Foul, nasty human.

Monday June 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: grim tidings.

Spent most of the day picking strawberries. There were not a whole lot out there, but we have what we need for our boxes tomorrow and enough leftover for freezing and making jam for ourselves.

Looking forward to our first box program day of the year, while also hoping that we're not forgetting anything important or run short of any produce we're planning on including.


The day dawned like any other, with the sun peering over the eastern horizon and the livestock in the yard coming noisily to life. Nelson swung his legs off the right side of his bed, his left foot landing in a slipper while his right touched down on cold floorboards.

It didn't seem to matter how he adjusted their positions when he went to bed, one slipper always managed to evade his toes in the morning.

He moved stiffly through the house until he arrived in the kitchen. Once a pot of porridge was heating on the stove he bent over the sink and splashed running water on his face until he had cleared away most of the cobwebs from inside his head.

The coffee would take care of those that remained.

Straightening, Nelson looked into his front yard while blinking his vision clear. Truthfully, he saw it immediately. But he did not trust his eyes, or did not want to believe them. And so he did not react until the water had dried, once there could be no denying the reality of what had been left under the cover of darkness.

A dead body propped up against his front gate was not the way he had intended to begin his day.

Sunday June 16th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the first of many.

Because today was my first Father's Day on this side of things, with many, many more to come.


The plan was to go to Haynes Point to have a BBQ dinner on the beach this evening with Kat's parents and our farm intern. And all day it was clear skies and hot sunshine as we prepared the dishes and supplies we were going to bring with us.

So, of course, right before we're about to leave home the dark clouds gather and the wind begins to blow. Refusing to be so easily daunted, we piled Max and our help into our car and headed across town to meet up with Kat's parents.

On the drive there I was still pretty sure things would work out and we'd have good enough weather to allow our planned event to go on. But then we pulled into the parking lot and the wind was absolutely howling - and, of course, the picnic area was on the unsheltered side of the point.

After a brief discussion with Kat's parents we all got back in our cars and came back to our place. We ended up having a lovely BBQ on our deck, where we were mostly protected from the wind by our home.

It didn't go as we had hoped, but it was only my first Father's Day. There will be many more to come - one of them is bound to have a warm, calm evening that we'll enjoy by the lake.

For now, Max decided to show off one of his new tricks this afternoon as his present to me:

Saturday June 15th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that is: in demand.

So we were sold out of cherries shortly before eleven o'clock this morning.

Combine that with all the berries, peas, plants, cards, and rhubarb we sold and we managed to have our best market ever. We just beat out a market from almost three years ago, when we were lifted up by a combination of peaches and nectarines.

It's been a pretty excellent start to the farming season.

And to think that our box program doesn't even start until this Tuesday...


Never enough on hand,
Demand exceeds supply;
We have had a great day...
(Wish there was more nearby).

Friday June 14th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: summer camp.

Heading back to the market tomorrow morning with seventy pints of strawberries, four pints of raspberries, and two hundred pounds of cherries. Oh, and some rhubarb and the last of our bedding plants. And, you know, my greeting cards. I guess.

They're kind of feeling like an afterthought this week though.


The counsellors gathered in the open field beyond the children's cabins, standing silently with hands stuffed deep into jacket and short pockets. Above them the moon was obscured in the night sky by patchy, silver-lined clouds.

"Tony was a real pain in the ass today," a voice finally said, though it was difficult to say which of them had spoken. "My vote goes to eating him tomorrow."

Thursday June 13th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the origins.

Of what? Of whatever you like, but of course!

With my parents heading out this morning and my aunt and uncle saying their farewells last night, the farm is feeling a little empty right now. But I'm glad that everyone was able to stay for a while and spend some time with us and Max.

On the wildfire front, as best I could tell things were taken care of by the time I got up this morning. It looked like they'd dropped a perimeter of fire retardant on the mountainside before it got dark, so the fire was unlikely to get far overnight.

Which, I suppose, is better than saying 'Screw it, let's go to bed. We'll see how things look after we've all had a good sleep."


The naming of the Killdeer


"Good lord, what is that racket out in the garden?"

"Looks like a little bird, carrying on for no good reason."

"Be a dear, won't you, and kill it?"



"Do you hear that?"

"How could I not, darling?"

"Just like the one before, isn't it? Hurts my ears terribly."

"I am sorry, love."

"Kill it for me, dear?"



"What, again?"

"I hear it too."

"Kill it, deer."



"Kill, deer."


Wednesday June 12th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: going off-road.

Interesting afternoon and evening around these parts. As of ten o'clock we could still see small patches of flames on the hillside just to the north of us.

I went out in the orchard before dinner and snapped a few pictures of the water bomber, with this probably turning out the best:

Hopefully things are totally under control by morning.


Eyelids drooping,
Shoulders aching;
Thoughts are fuzzy,
Daylight's fading.

Another bend,
One final hill;
I press the brakes,
Go faster still.

Corner coming,
Brakes are burning;
Panic takes hold,
No room for turning.

Hold on real tight,
We're shifting modes;
It's time for us
To go off-road.

Tuesday June 11th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: strawberries.

Had probably our most successful ever local order day today, selling more than forty pounds of strawberries and a couple crates worth of greens. Also: the first three pints of raspberries of the year, which were a pleasant surprise discovery this morning. Wasn't expecting to get more than one container at this point.

Apparently today was my dad's birthday. Could have fooled everyone around here. Oh well, we're still celebrating it tomorrow night, before my parents and aunt and uncle all hit the road again for destinations elsewhere on Thursday morning.


You know they're local
when it's no surprise that they're
red all the way through.

*     *     *

Sparkling ruby,
sweet as newfound love; likewise
leaving far too soon.

Monday June 10th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the lift.

With the help of my dad and uncle I performed my first oil change this afternoon. It was pretty fun, actually, and they both seemed to enjoy themselves. My dad in particular, as he suffered through my many years of complete lack of interest in 'car stuff'.

I imagine I'll be seeing and hearing about the pictures they insisted on taking for quite some time.


Cigarette smoke gathered around her face in the still morning air, framing her weather-beaten features and giving observers the impression that she'd just finished emerging from the depths of hell. A long exhale hid her from view for a moment and when she reappeared nothing seemed to have changed.

On the outside, at least. She still seemed deeply unhappy about some unknowable conflict. Internal? External? Spiritual? She had no interest in discussing it and only a fool would have pressed the issue.

But inside a change had been set in motion. It struggled through her veins, caressed tense muscles until they relaxed, almost against their will. A sigh detached from her belly and rose, ever so slowly, toward her lips.

The smoke had given her the lift she had so desperately needed.

Sunday June 9th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the culmination.

Right, time to catch up on recent happenings. On Thursday afternoon my parents arrived to stay with us for a little while. On Friday afternoon my sisters and my brother-in-law came to town for a weekend visit, staying in a hotel because we're plum out of room here.

So that made for two big family dinners on the deck in a row. My aunt and uncle from Montreal stopped in to see us at the farmers market on Saturday before meeting up for dinner with us that night (more on that in a minute). After selling out of strawberries Brittany and I spent the next three hours selling plants, a few of my cards, and most of the rhubarb we brought with us.

On the way home from the market I got a call on my phone, which I didn't answer because I was driving. We got into Osoyoos and I stopped to put gas in the truck and checked the voice mail that had been left.

Turned out it was from the chef at the Watermark, the local restaurant we started supplying this year. His salad greens and arugula guy hadn't turned up on Friday and he'd been unable to get a hold of him, so he was a bit desperate for greens. When he called again before I could even finish fueling the truck I said we were heading his way for dinner that night, would 5:30 be too late?

He said yes, but he could come to the farm to pick them up and that he'd take whatever we had. So I asked for a bit more than an hour to get home, unpack the truck, and pick the greens (in the hot, hot heat - thankfully the water had just been turned off in the garden so things weren't too wilted).

If he hadn't been in such a tight spot there is no way in hell I would have offered to extend an already long day. Normally when I get home from the market we unpack the truck and I go to sleep. Anyway, he was appreciative and I was glad to improve our budding relationship.

As for the rest of the day...


Saturday night's dinner was the culmination of seven months of plotting and planning. It began during the family reunion in Jamaica that Kat and I were unable to attend, due to the imminent arrival of a certain someone.

My Uncle Roger and my sister Sue set things in motion down there. What followed were countless little lies and secret plans and increasing stress levels as the date drew nigh. My mother told my sister they wouldn't be around for them to visit on this road trip because they would be away attending a baseball game in Seattle. My sister Nicky flew into Calgary from Boston the night before my aunt and uncle were leaving there for here, telling them that she was just there to go camping with Sue and her husband Jake.

Me? I had to tell my aunt that the drive from Calgary was really best done over two days, both for the distance and to appreciate the drive. Plus that way they could drop in on us at the market in Penticton before meeting up for dinner later that evening.

So Nicky, Sue, and Jake actually left Calgary first (got to get an early start on that camping trip) and made the drive to Osoyoos in one day. Meanwhile my aunt and uncle stopped for the night partway here.

But Nicky had never seen the farmers market in Penticton, so the three of them came back up early in the morning to check it out. All the while keeping an eye out for my aunt and uncle, who were due to arrive later in the morning. The stress levels at our stall when Nicky was out wandering without a watch or phone as the clock ticked onwards were quite something to behold.

Anyway, they got out of there what turned out to be almost an hour before my aunt and uncle arrived. I arranged the dinner location and time, and even offered to make the reservation (which had already been made two weeks ago). As soon as they were safely on their way again I called home to Kat and to Sue on the road to let them know where they were.

My aunt and uncle ended up driving through Oliver while my sisters and brother-in-law were having lunch on Main Street - thankfully, not on the patio.

Anyway, I get home and not long before we're all set to leave I get a call from my aunt, asking us to come to their room (which was at the resort in which the restaurant is located) early so that she could spend some time with Max and they could get to know each other a bit. Because as far as she knew, meeting Max was the main point of coming here.

Not, you know, the surprise 80th birthday dinner we were planning for her.

So we gathered everyone in the restaurant and I went up alone (because Kat wasn't sure she could pull the lie off) and said that Max was being fussy and needed a nap, so it would be dinner with just Kat and myself. My aunt was disappointed but I assured her that she would still get to meet him the following morning.

So we came down from the fourth floor (boy was that a long elevator ride), walked into the restaurant and headed for the rear of the patio, where my family lay in wait. One final wrinkle though.

"Hi there, do you have a reservation?"

"Yes," my Aunt Monica says. "Under Roger and Monica."

"And for how many people?"


"Oh." Slight look of confusion. Because I made the reservation for nine. Looks toward the bar. I catch his eye and give him the biggest friggin' wink ever, knowing that I had included a note about the surprise in the reservation. "Oh right. Yes, right this way."

Somehow, someway, despite innumerable opportunities for the secret to be blown, we managed to get my aunt ten feet away from the table before she realized what was going on.

Saturday June 8th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the ruse.

Good lord, so much happened today. And I don't have the energy to write about it, so I shall save almost all of it for tomorrow.

The one bit I'll share today?

We sold out of strawberries at 10:04 this morning.


String her along,
Don't let the truth slip;
One small misstep
May well sink this ship.

Friday June 7th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: together again.

Very tired. We picked sixty-sixty pints of strawberries this morning.

Because that's when we ran out of pints and started picking into quarts. I think we picked another twenty-six quarts, but that was quite some time ago and my brain has long since stopped working. If it starts working again by market open I'll try to remember to count them all before they sell out.

Good night.


The journey was... long. Yes, let us label it only as such and move on. Further description would require further examination and the end result of all that is surely insanity.

So be quiet and allow me a few moments to enjoy having the band back together before whatever comes next chooses to arrive.

Thursday June 6th, 2013

The exercise:

Today we're going to use song titles as the inspiration for our writing. But not just any song titles. I want you to pick one of the songs on this list of the worst song titles ever.

Worlds and worlds and worlds of possibilities in there.

This morning we got a late message from the restaurant we supply, asking for ten pounds of strawberries. As it was our first order from them I decided to make the effort to fill it and the cooks seemed suitably impressed with our berries.

I'm saving the rest of those bad boys for our market pick tomorrow morning though.


I Changed Her Oil, She Changed My Life

The smell of grease and exhaust lingers still, residing in coveralls and rags, lurking beneath fingernails. I hear the rumble of an idling engine in the silent hours before midnight, guiding me toward comforting dreams.

Fingers twitch when they find themselves unused, grasping for tools long since put away. Mufflers and brake lines occupy the corners of my eyes, always disappearing when I turn my head to get a better view. I keep on turning, though. Can't seem to stop myself.

It's been years, so many years since I left that life behind. Seems like that life isn't ready to leave me quite so easily. But that's all right, that's just fine.

I don't regret my choice.


Wednesday June 5th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the victim.

We didn't hear back from any of potential strawberry buyers so it was decided (for us?) that this week shall only feature two picks - Monday night and Friday morning. It works timing wise, and hopefully this hot hot heat we've been having won't result in too many overripe berries on Friday.

Speaking of the end of the week, Max is turning seven months old in two days. Ridiculous.


His rise to the top
Was hard-earned;
Mistakes acknowledged,
Lessons learned.

But friends came calling,
Wanting cash:
"Your ocean won't miss
this small splash!"

So he gave until
His excess
Became poverty -
What a mess!

He died penniless,
A victim of his
Own success.

Tuesday June 4th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something: boring.

So the grand total for this pick of strawberries came in around sixty pounds. And we sold them all.

Hoping to do that again tomorrow but we're still waiting to hear back from a couple of different possible buyers. We shall see.


Do it again, and
again, and again. Again.
There is no reward.

*     *     *

Does anyone have
any questions? About what?
Sorry, I just woke.

Monday June 3rd, 2013

The exercise:

Let us return once more to Mejaran.

Planted out our peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, and zucchini in the garden this morning. This evening I helped Kat's parents finish up their cherry tree netting, then they helped pick most of the strawberries for tomorrow's local orders.

With two rows still to be picked we got somewhere in the neighbourhood of fifty pounds out of there.

Rather looking forward to Saturday's market at this point.


Doctor Maximus Jaycox was a rare case within the boundaries of Mejaran. For most villagers it was common for everyone else to know their parents, usually their grandparents, and, more often than an outsider might expect, their great grandparents. Family trees were public knowledge, necessary for everything from prolonging petty personal feuds to avoiding inbreeding.

But the village's elderly physician seemed to be the exception to the rule. Whenever his ancestry was discussed memories clouded over and names fled from searching tongues. As he was extremely skilled at his chosen profession and not in danger of becoming a parent himself, no proper investigation was ever launched.

Which was fine by him. He just wanted to be left to work in peace, not get tangled up in the strange politics of that isolated place.

Maximus was busy doing just that, his fingers attending to his young patient while rain lashed against his office windows. Thunder rumbled through the streets as he completed his final stitch before turning to watch the storm with an unreadable expression on his wrinkled features.

"It's been three days now," Yarel said into a silence he suddenly found uncomfortable. "That storm doesn't seem to have any interest in moving on."

"No, I suppose it does not," Maximus said quietly, turning back to his patient. "I've been seeing a lot of these injuries recently. Nicks and cuts, some major, most minor. All on excitable young men such as yourself."

"I don't know anything about that."

"No, of course you do not." Maximus rose slowly to his feet and shuffled to a nearby sink to wash his hands. "Still, it seems like something I should bring to the attention of our ruling ladies. Let them decide how best to keep our young citizens safe from themselves."

"I'd prefer if you didn't do that." Yarel's smile was strained, the muscles in his neck and shoulders tense. Without appearing to realize it he'd moved his hand to the blade at his waist.

"Indeed?" A crack of lightning turned both of their heads to the window looking out over the back alley. "You remind me quite strongly of your father, you know."

"Ah, yes." Yarel stood, making a show of examining the work done to his arm. "I have heard that you were the one to administer the poison at his execution. Let it be known that I hold no grudge against you. Orders must be followed, lest those orders be turned upon those who have been ordered."

"Certainly. I believe your father said something similar, moments before the needle entered his veins."

"May I go now? I have no interest in discussing those brief moments you spent with my father."

"Oh goodness, child," Maximus said with a rattling laugh. "Your father and I knew each other long before that day."

Sunday June 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

I had no idea that it has been so long since the last time I made use of the Random Book Prompt.

Which would be my way of letting you know that today we shall use the first line of a book, randomly chosen, as the opening of our prose. From there, after giving credit where it is due, we shall go where our imaginations take us.

Feel free to click the label to see previous examples. In case, you know, that description was so terrible that you need additional assistance.

On my day off I slept half the morning away. The other half was spent watching Max so that Kat could also get some rest. Then I helped Kat's parents put the nets on the cherry trees in the afternoon, and after dinner I finally mowed the lawn - because it really, really needed it.

So... yeah, not feeling particularly rested. If you'd seen the first draft of this opening you would not have needed me to tell you that (holy Typo City... which strikes me as a pretty good prompt, actually). I think I shall go to bed early.


419 by Will Ferguson

A car, falling through darkness. The rush of air through open windows, forcing out all other sounds. Driver and passenger expressionless, though their postures convey more than they wish.

Outside the countryside slips past, unseen. Rolling fields, abandoned farmhouses, a lone owl hunting for prey. The narrow road continues its descent, carrying the rattling car and its occupants closer to the edge of the continent.

At the coast a town awaits their arrival. No streetlights illuminate its roads and buildings, the moon remains hidden behind lingering clouds. Only a single porch light battles the gathering night, though no souls brave the November chill to witness its struggle.

Within the home, however, a man is awake. He is waiting, but not patiently. He alone is expecting the arrival of the oncoming car and its two silent men. He knows what they want and how they plan to get it.

And he is furious.

Saturday June 1st, 2013

The exercise:

Welcome to June! Write a four line poem about: the cook.

So we sold out of strawberries around 10 o'clock this morning. The market, as a reminder, opens at 8:30 and goes until 1. I'm already looking forward to the abundance we'll have to sell next weekend, while also wondering just how many pints we'd need to have in order to not sell them all by closing time.

On top of the fast-moving strawberries we also sold a lot more bedding plants than I'd been expecting. So overall it was probably one of our best markets ever.


She presents dessert,
Expecting her praises to be sung.
But I remain mute,
For her parfait has dissolved my tongue.