Wednesday July 31st, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something that is: forgotten.

We're back home with Max, as of this afternoon. He's still not seeming fully back to himself though, so we're sleeping up at Kat's parent's house for the extra overnight support.

Hopefully that's where we'll be when the sun comes up as well, because I'm not really interested in another middle of the night trip to the hospital.

My take on the prompt is super short because I want to get back up to the house, which does not have internet. Plus? I am very tired.


Apparently today is my third wedding anniversary. Not too surprisingly, we've been so distracted the last few days I'd pretty much forgotten about it.

I'd been thinking about it last week though. We'd even planned on going out for dinner while Kat's parents watched Max for us.

That's all been pushed aside, for now at least. Hopefully in a few days we'll be able to celebrate the occasion properly.

But for now, our focus is elsewhere. In fact, if Kat's aunt hadn't wished me a happy anniversary this morning I probably would have completely forgotten that today was the day Kat and I got hitched.

Tuesday July 30th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something: fuzzy.

If you're wondering where the hell I've been, I'd suggest scrolling down a little bit.


No sleep for ages,
my vision's getting fuzzy.
Time to stop driving.

*     *     *

A treat for a ride
in a noisy ambulance:
a cuddly new friend.

Max is gaining a much larger collection of teddy bears due to ambulance rides than I'd prefer.

Monday July 29th, 2013

The exercise:

Hi there. Let's just get right to it, shall we?

Write about: the relapse.


Actually, now that I've chosen that topic I'm not entirely certain it's totally accurate for what I'm about to write. Oh well, I don't have the energy to think of something better. Onwards we go.

So you remember how two weeks ago Max decided to scare the hell out of us? Well, he did it again.

This time around it began Saturday night, just before midnight. It was more of a gradual waking up before the screaming began, but he got there eventually. We called the ambulance sooner this time, as we had an idea of what was happening (not why, obviously, but at least what). Max was still upset when the paramedics got there so they took him up to the hospital in Oliver with Kat.

When I got there shortly after they did Kat told me that he had returned to his usual self about halfway there. So after a few more checks and a brief conversation with the doctor we went back home.

And all was well.

Until Sunday night (technically Monday morning, but whatever) at one o'clock. Another waking turning to screaming. So we just put him in the car and drove to Oliver ourselves, as we knew the routine by that point.

As I was carrying him from the car toward emergency, however, he decided to add a new wrinkle to the pattern by throwing up all over me.

Now, we're pretty sure he's never done that before. He had a few small spit ups when he was very little, but nothing major. They ran a few tests and while he still seemed upset it was starting to seem like he was just over-tired. So they suggested we get him back in the car and drive around a bit to see if we could get him to sleep.

He was out less than a minute after we left the parking lot.

So back home we went. But when we got there he woke up fussing again, and then shortly after that he threw up for the second time. We called the ER in Oliver and they said to just head straight to Penticton.

We got there around quarter to six (I'd had about an hour's worth of sleep, Kat maybe had two). While he was getting checked out in emergency he threw up yet again. He added one more for good measure a little while after that. And then, after a good long nap, he was back to his usual self.

They checked us in for the night to observe him, not really having any clue what was wrong with him. He threw up a few more times last night, but there were no screams and he generally seemed unfazed by it. He did have a bit of diarrhea, which was another first for him. And then he was back to his usual self today (by today I mean Tuesday... I'd write this as though it's Monday but my brain can't handle that right now).

Max is spending the night at the hospital with Kat again tonight but we're hoping to be heading home tomorrow morning. At this point they still don't really know what's wrong, but the thinking is that he caught a virus of some sort and it's working its way through his system (the diarrhea is hopefully a sign of this). We'll see how tonight goes though.

Anyway. That, in long, is why the blog has been rather quiet. I made the trip back to Osoyoos this afternoon to get more clothes and things, and grabbed the laptop while I was at it. I'm spending the night again at Kat's aunt and uncle's place in Penticton and they have wireless internet, so hopefully things won't be interrupted again.

Okay? Okay. I'm going to go write today's (Tuesday) post now.

Sunday July 28th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the land of broken promises.

Had a fairly uneventful day off.

That's not a complaint.


He moves through the changing landscape slowly, with heavy feet and sagging shoulders. It seems that no matter where he looks, his eyes fall on familiar sights.

A baseball glove gathering dust in a closet, no ball to be found nearby. Dinner growing cold at an abandoned table with candle holders covered with melted wax in the shape of teardrops. Flowers dumped upside down in a trashcan.

And on and on it goes.

And all the while a lone thought keeps repeating itself in his mind.

"Ah yes, I have been here before."

Saturday July 27th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the singer.

Now that was more like it, Penticton (and visiting tourists). After emptying out the cooler this morning to pack up the truck (it holds about 20 crates of produce) I only had 4 crates to put back in there upon my return this afternoon.

I suspect the slightly cooler weather (high twenties/low thirties instead of high thirties) and a small reduction in the price of our apricots were both contributing factors.

Whatever it was, I was busy pretty much from opening until the usual noon hour slowdown. With the next market coming on the long weekend, I expect more of the same next time around.


His duets with the radio
Led to dreams of superstardom,
Though his wife secretly hoped
He would instead be struck dumb.

Friday July 26th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the vampire.

No proper reason for that prompt, outside me realizing earlier today that I'd yet to use it.

Excited to go to the market tomorrow with the first of our nectarines. The 25 pints of blackberries are pretty neat too.


The fear was a nuisance, one that he wished he could do without, move beyond. A remnant from childhood that clung tight through his teenage years and lingered still at an age that was, in his opinion, well past such foolishness.

All the talk and rationalization had yet to free him, though.

And so, as the day drew ever closer, his stomach turned and churned at the mere thought of his impending dentist appointment.

Thursday July 25th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something (or someone) that has been: tied down.

Our tomato plants have been sadly neglected recently, and as a result are badly in need of pruning and tying. We've been trying to make amends this week and there are definite signs of improvement.

Still a ways to go though.


The wind came screaming across the water in the black of night, dumping the captain and his ragtag crew out of their bunks with zealous glee. As waves slapped the side of the ship and threatened to wash across the decks, shouted orders were drowned and swallowed in the chaos.

Not that the men needed to be told what to do. The captain just felt like he needed to do more than keep his feet beneath him.

The ship rocked and heaved in a way that would make weak men ill. So only a third of the crew paused in their work to visit the railings and empty their stomachs overboard. The rest moved about in varying states of digestive distress, making sure that every item on board was secure.

Except, the captain noted as the black and green container was launched into the roiling waters by a particularly enthusiastic wave, the last of their food supplies.

Wednesday July 24th, 2013

The exercise:

Write something that was to do with: insurance.

Had a relatively quick pick for the restaurant this morning before taking it easy for the rest of the day. When it's 40 degrees in the shade before one o'clock, it kind of inspires relaxation.

Funny, that.


"I'm not quite sure I understand." The woman on the other end of the phone line, to her credit, is remaining very polite. "Perhaps we have a bad connection and I misheard you?"

"I don't hear any static."

"Well, no, I don't either." She sounds a little flustered now. Poor thing.

"Then I guess the problem is not, as you suggest, between our phones, but instead between your ears."

"Mr. Blake I do not appreciate -"

"And I do not care what you do or do not appreciate." This is so much fun. I should have retired years ago. "So please stop dallying and do your job. Just tell me how much it would cost to get life insurance for my ten goldfish."

Tuesday July 23rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something that is: fleeting.

Had a much too short visit from a high school friend and her family this afternoon. Great to catch up and show her around the farm, just wish they'd been able to stay a bit longer. Or that we'd been less busy with produce boxes.

Ah well, maybe next time.


What is here today
may be gone tomorrow; may
we treasure it now.

*     *     *

An unexpected
breeze brings me hints of lilac...
now death's stench returns.

Monday July 22nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something that has been: repurposed.

I went into Kat's parents home during my morning break to get some water and started reading John Grisham's Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer after I found it in their living room. Kat's dad always has a few books checked out of the library and I tend to at least glance at them whenever I'm up there.

Anyway. In the opening chapter there is a reference to a hearse being repurposed for... a business vehicle that sold cheese, or something. It was painted bright yellow, at any rate. I stopped reading right at that point, as I needed to get back to the garden.

While I was out there I was thinking of all sorts of lines that could follow that description. When I went back in again later on I picked up the book... and was quite disappointed when it was just left at that.

Perhaps later on it gets expanded upon. I hope so, as I think there's a lot of fun to be had with that vehicle.

For now, though, we get my take on it.


When Valerie bought the hearse at the funeral home's liquidation sale more than a few heads turned her way in surprise. She'd never really struck any of them as the morbid sort. And while the price she paid was more than reasonable, it certainly wasn't cheap enough to give the impression that a tight budget was the main motivation for the purchase.

The coat of bright yellow paint, her neighbours were quick to agree, definitely made it a cheerier sight when it was parked in Valerie's driveway. The shape of the hearse, however, remained the same. And that made it impossible to forget its previous career.

Valerie didn't care what her friends and family thought, much less her nosy community. She was not concerned by their ability to see her new car as nothing more than a hearse with a dash of sunshine splashed across its outside.

She hadn't painted it for them.

She had painted it solely in the hopes that its former occupants would no longer recognize it.

And they didn't, for a while. But you can only fool angry ghosts for so long...

Sunday July 21st, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something that: sticks.

It was a hot one here today, so things moved pretty slowly. My brain, apparently, is still moving slowly.

So I'll just get to that writing thing.


A whisper that floated
Through the air,
Light as a feather,
Has chased him through the years,
Dogging his steps
No matter the weather.

There is no escaping
Words like those,
Even when spoken by liars.
When gossip's for sale
You'll always be
Surrounded by eager buyers.

Saturday July 20th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something: odd.

It was a bit of a strange market this morning, as things were moving very slowly. We didn't sell our final pint of raspberries until after noon and typically we're sold out of berries by eleven at the latest. And when we only have a few to begin with?

We're lucky to make it to opening before they're all gone.

Like, just as an example, our three pints of blackberries this morning.

We also brought home a lot of apricots, which was disappointing. Hopefully between our local customers, the bakery, and the restaurant we'll be able to move most of them. Plus if we can keep them in the cooler they might still be good for next weekend.

But from speaking to a few other vendors, it sounds like it was a slow day for everyone. I guess it was too hot for a street market for a lot of people, so they went to the beach instead?


People just keep walking...
Are they blind? Can't they see?
We've got lovely produce...
What's wrong? They want it free?

Friday July 19th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the wishing well.

Heading back to the market tomorrow with a truck loaded down with produce to sell. Lots of apricots, apples, plums, cabbages, even a few pints of blackberries and a couple of cucumbers.

The forecast is calling for a hot day, so here's hoping the crowds are hungry.


Drop a dollar in the well and your wish is guaranteed to come true - but only if you don't tell a soul what you wished for!

What absolute nonsense. The soulless monster getting rich off of all these desperate saps should be arrested or, better yet, taken out back and put down.



... *splash*

Thursday July 18th, 2013

The exercise:

I think it's about time to bring the Random CD Prompt back for another whirl.

So pick a song as randomly as you wish, then borrow its first line to use as your own. From there take it where you please, be it in poetry or prose. Credit, most obviously, should be given where it's due.

On top of collecting five pounds of swiss chard for the restaurant, this morning I picked a couple bags of broccoli for our own winter use. After dinner we finally got around to freezing it, under the critical eye of our supervisor.

Pretty certain Max approved of the work we did. Guess we'll find out for sure when we try feeding it to him when January rolls back around.


Valentine's Park Part 2 by Monument Valley

I was the bottle that you broke across the back of a new life. You left me shattered, all sharp edges that cut anyone who dared try to comfort me. Unwitting strangers who passed too close were no safer - my rage and confusion spilled their blood just as eagerly as they wounded friends and family.

You moved on, blissfully unaware of what you'd done. Or were you? I always wondered. Did you know? Did you care?

No, I suspect not. You were too preoccupied with your new joys and toys. With your new man.

Unfettered, your spirit soared and sang. I could hear it, even in the dark depths I made my home in those days and weeks. Months. Years? I... don't wish to think of that place anymore.

I left it eventually, of course. It was inevitable. A desire to go forth and live again returned. Fresh air filled my lungs, eager blood pumped through my veins. Purpose came back to me.

I bet, now that you fully understand what you did to me, you wish it hadn't.

Wednesday July 17th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: fatigue.

We had a couple of customers skip this week due to the switch in days, so we didn't have to harvest quite as much produce as usual today. I'm actually rather thankful for that.

Though that was partially countered by having to also pick and deliver a restaurant order on the same day.

It served as a good reminder of why we typically do these things on different days. Oh well, I shall sleep well tonight.


I am awake. I am paying attention. I am taking perfect notes. The best of anyone in this classroom.

I am awake. I am paying too much money for this course. I am taking a night off tonight. I should be teaching this class.

I am awake. Did I remember to pay my electricity bill last week? Wouldn't coming home to a pitch black apartment be the perfect ending to this terrible day? I should make a note to double check that after class.

I am drifting. But only a little. There's only a few minutes left in class, I can make it. Why are my eyelids so friggin' heavy?

I am dreaming. I am soaring high above a crowd, everyone is paying attention to me. They are chanting my name in perfect unison. I am the best of anyone.

I am awake. I am.. where did everybody go?

Tuesday July 16th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: safety.

Back home with Max, all of us safe and sound. He's definitely seeming to be back to his usual self, but of course Kat and I are still a bit on edge. I'm sure that will fade in the coming days but it's a bit hard to deal with at the moment.

We're doing our boxes and local orders tomorrow instead of today, so I'm fairly confident that I will have no idea what day it is all week.


Danger approaches,
shaking the earth as it comes.
I will keep you safe.

*     *     *

Guards, alarms, fences...
I'm sorry dear, but safety
is an illusion.

Monday July 15th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the scream.

To quote myself from yesterday: "Back to the garden tomorrow."

To quote myself just now, after reading that: "Or not."


Around five o'clock this morning Max woke up screaming.

This was not a hungry scream. This was not a bumped head against the crib scream. This was not a bad dream scream.

This was a pain scream. An acute, unrelenting pain scream.

We've never seen him so inconsolable. He wouldn't eat, changing him did nothing. Eventually he stopped though, which was very briefly great.

And then he started to go limp while gasping for breath.

I'm reasonably certain that I have never been so terrified in my entire life.

We called 911 but by the time the ambulance arrived Max was doing much better. As they were loading him and Kat into the back so that they could take him to the hospital in Oliver he was already smiling and acting more like his usual self.

The emergency room doctor in Oliver couldn't tell us what happened but was reasonably sure it wouldn't happen again. Just one of those things that happens to babies sometimes. But if we wanted a second opinion we were welcome to head to Penticton to see a pediatrician.

We did.

The pediatrician also couldn't tell us what had happened, but he did want to keep Max overnight for observation. So I went home to collect some of our things while Kat stayed with him. By the time I got back Max had been doing so well for so long that the pediatrician changed his mind and offered to let us go home.

We chose instead to spend the night at Kat's aunt and uncle's place in Penticton, just five minutes away from the hospital.

Max is still doing great, which is a relief. Hopefully this was in fact a one time deal and we won't have to deal with a day like this ever again.

Sunday July 14th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a little something about: the monkey.

Enjoyed a nice day off with my family, spending a good portion of it having a picnic at the lake. Though Max was more interested in the grass and passersby and crawling around and... pretty much everything... than actually eating anything.

Back to the garden tomorrow.


Lewis and Maddox lived in an apartment defined by serenity. They agreed on all major concerns and were able to recognize when a transgression slotted into the No Big Deal category, which therefore allowed it to be ignored completely.

Dishes were never allowed to fester on the counter, empty milk jugs were replaced before the other might find need of it. Messes were rare and, when they did appear, were usually relegated to one of their bedrooms.

Out of sight, out of potential argument.

Newspapers were shared over coffee, each man with his favorite sections. Crosswords were done in pencil and erased when completed (rare) or abandoned (extremely often) so that the other could approach them with a clean slate.

Peace reigned, even as girlfriends entered and exited their lives.

Sadly, this idyllic setting came to a very sudden end the day Lewis came home with his new pet monkey.

Saturday July 13th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: suspicion.

Market went well this morning, as we sold out of apples, plums, and green beans. Only had one cabbage left, and we moved all but a couple pounds of the riper variety of apricots. The less ripe apricots will definitely still be good for Tuesday's boxes, so that works out pretty nicely.

Also sold a good number of my greeting cards, which sent me home happy.


I'm full of suspicion,
Was it you? Was it you?
I just wish I could tell
What is true? What is true?

Friday July 12th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the busker.

Managed to get through last night without anything else being stolen. Hurray?

Heading back to the market tomorrow with nearly 300 pounds of apricots, about 60 pounds of Transparent apples, several heads of cabbage, and 8 pints of raspberries. What else? Right, also harvested some bags of our tender green beans. Oh, and we should have a couple boxes of gold plums to sell as well.

Looking forward to being there again after skipping last weekend.


An upside down hat sits patiently on the pavement before him as he tunes his guitar. It waits to receive the day's wage, collecting spare change from passersby who barely hear a single note he plays. They drop coins out of habit, not because they appreciate what he does.

And he tells himself, over and over again, that he doesn't mind.

Thursday July 11th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: thieves in the night.

I'll get to that in a second.

Sandwiched around spending time with Max and his cousin Natalie, I used a weed trimmer to clean up some of our sprinkler rows in the garden (they can't be tilled because the irrigation pipes run just under the surface) and pruned and tied tomatoes.

The temperatures have suddenly become quite comfortable after the heat wave we experienced last week. I think everyone is rather relieved, Max perhaps most of all.

Right, on to the prompt.


This morning a rather unpleasant discovery was made in the orchard. Apparently someone (likely someones) came in the night and picked all the cherries off the lone Lapins tree. At a guess, there were probably a few hundred dollars worth of fruit on that guy.

No longer.

There have been fruit thefts before, but nothing quite like this. It's fairly common to have people stop their vehicles at the edge of the orchard and pick a few apples off the trees before driving off. It's almost expected when there isn't a fence around the property, though it still pisses me off.

But this? To steal all of the fruit off of a single tree? When that single tree isn't even visible from the road? In the middle of the night, which surely required flashlights?

Brazen doesn't even begin to describe it.

The thing that bothers me the most though, the aspect I find most unsettling, is the fact that the Lapins tree is nowhere near the road. It is three or four rows down from Kat's parents house, maybe fifteen rows up from our place, at the end of its row, facing the vineyard next door.

There is absolutely no way someone could find that tree at night if they didn't know exactly where it was.

I have always felt completely safe here. Totally secure, no concerns about trespassers. I feel like that feeling has been lost.

Tonight I sleep with one ear straining to hear movements in the night.

Wednesday July 10th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about an: emergence.

Had a big harvest of greens for the restaurant this morning that needed to be delivered before lunch (actually, they wanted them yesterday but we were way too busy with the boxes). I dislike picking with a deadline like that.

Anyway, I got it done on time. This evening we had another go at picnicking at Haynes Point (with Kat's parents and her brother's family) and it actually worked this time. Though the wind did pick up pretty strongly just as we were finishing dessert - Max's hat got blown away and if it hadn't been for a perfectly placed tree it probably would have ended up in the water on the other side of the point.

We stuffed Max into a swim diaper and let him play in the water for a little while and he seemed to really enjoy it. For a bit, at least. And then he very definitely had had enough.


The fog lay heavy and thick on the hills above our village that morning, causing the once sturdy trees on their slopes to appear to float. As the sun rose higher in the sky we expected the mists to dissipate, allowing our landscape to return to its normal state.

But it was not so easily dismissed. It clung to the earth with a ferocious grip, remaining steadfast even as the noon hour came and went.

All eyes and conversation were focused on this odd phenomenon. Many theories were put forth as to its origin, meaning, and purpose. All were summarily tossed aside. Some of us thought that armed men should be posted to keep watch, to ensure that evil forces were not at work. They were shouted down by those in the village who thought that to be childish nonsense.

I must admit, to my great regret, that I was among those doing the shouting.

For as dusk gathered around us that night, the creatures which emerged from the fog to descend upon our unguarded homes were undeniably evil.

Tuesday July 9th, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: adversity.

Another successful box program day is in the books, despite us not getting back home until just before dinner yesterday. We managed to only miscalculate one item, and there was enough time for me to run out to the garden and get the extras we needed before the affected customers arrived.

Also slipped in some time with visiting relatives. The definite highlight being Max and his 22 month old cousin playing piano together.

And I do mean playing in the loosest sense possible.


Hard times are coming;
prepare now and you may live.
Time for a beer run.

*     *     *

Distant memories
of sleep and time to myself...
he's still worth it though.

Monday July 8th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: teleportation.

Feeling very tired. It was another long day on the road, as Max seems to have suddenly lost his ability to sleep through car trips.

But at least when we did finally arrive, Kat's brother, sister-in-law, and our niece were here waiting for us. We had dinner with them at Kat's parent's house and hung out for a little bit afterward. Definitely looking forward to spending more time with them before they have to head back home on Friday.

Probably not too much tomorrow, though. For tomorrow is box program day.


It is breathtaking,
The power of
A scent, a book,
A taste, a touch,
A voice, a word,
A single look,
A faded photograph,
Or a passing face
To transport me
To another place.

Sunday July 7th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the speech.

So I ran out of time and ideas Friday night and didn't get a post scheduled for today before we left Osoyoos. Thankfully they have WiFi here, so I'm able to make amends for that tonight.

Each graduate at the ceremony this morning gave a speech. I wasn't able to catch most of them, as I was watching Max and trying to keep him entertained and somewhat quiet. But we were, of course, there for Kat's turn.

She was magnificent.


I strode on to the balcony to the roaring approval of thousands, my notes held tightly in my sweaty grasp. The smile plastered to my face held steady as I surveyed the people below. My people, now.

A sea change was at hand for our nation. After too long under the fickle thumb of my violent predecessor, it was time to steer our efforts in a new direction. Preferably one which required less bloodshed and oppression.

They needed my words to send that message clearly, leaving no room for misinterpretations or doubt, both to their waiting ears and to the world leaders watching around the globe. And they would. I had spent many hours with the best speech writers money could buy, lost countless nights of sleep to fretting over various paragraphs, sentences, and, on one occasion, a single word.

The speech would do what was required. All I had to do was give it to them before I fainted.

I took a deep breath, placed one hand on the railing before me for support, and opened my mouth.

And that was when a sudden gust came rushing past and blew my notes out and over the palace walls.

Saturday July 6th, 2013

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the graduate.

Off to see Kat's graduation ceremony, so this is a scheduled post.


So much hard work
Will culminate right here.
I hope you know
How proud I am my dear.

Friday July 5th, 2013

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: rolling.

Taking the family to the Lower Mainland tomorrow morning for Kat's graduation ceremony. She's just finished her third and final year of her online course to become a counsellor and most of her classmates are gathering in Langley for the celebration - the rest will be joining in online.

It's been an incredible amount of hard work and she's shown a remarkable level of dedication to get to this point. I'm looking forward to sharing this moment with her.

That means we're skipping the farmers market tomorrow, which we would have done anyway as we're between major fruit crops - the cherries are done and the apricots are just starting. It's not really worth the trip with what we'd be able to scrounge from the garden.

But I ended up spending most of the morning harvesting anyway, as the restaurant put in another order for greens and kohlrabi, and we have a local customer who wanted extra raspberries for freezing.

But it'll be nice to not wake up at five o'clock tomorrow morning (right Max?) and I'm really looking forward to the weekend away.

We'll be back sometime Monday afternoon, so Saturday and Sunday will be scheduled posts. See you when we return.


The hill is steep but covered with soft, inviting grass. We know we should keep walking, ignore this silly distraction. But the temptation is terribly strong...

So here we are, rolling down the hill, laughing like madmen and covering our suits with grass stains.

Thursday July 4th, 2013

The exercise:

It is time to have another visit to Mejaran.

You likely know the drill by now. If not, click the link and get drilled.

Er, something like that.

This afternoon my parents were kind and generous enough to treat myself and Kat to a couples massage at one of the local spas. It was much needed (I haven't had a massage in years) and much appreciated.

Anyway, back to the village. I felt like, now that we're past the halfway point, it might be time to kick things up a notch. Or two.


On the fourth day of rain crowds gathered at both bridges in the village, each of which had somehow survived unscathed to that point. East and West Mejaran were well represented by those safeguarding the links between each side, though not all were motivated by the purest of intentions.

Some villagers just wanted to make sure that the other side of the river did not seem more eager than theirs to keep the bridges intact.

Few words were spoken by the sodden men and women gathered there; even fewer were shared between those from opposite banks. Though, inevitably, as the day wore on, the rain refused to relent, and tempers worsened, that began to change.

Yarel didn't hear the exchange that broke the levee at the north bridge. So when he was asked what happened afterward he was unable to point an accurate finger at the instigators. Though, truth be told, even if he had born witness to the initial confrontation he would have been hard pressed to remember any of the details.

For in the minutes that followed he was far too preoccupied with simply staying alive amidst the chaos.

He could, however, be trusted to know one piece of information, as the image was seared into his nightmares after dusk and lurked in shadows past dawn for many years to come.

Azmar's sword was the first to draw blood.

Wednesday July 3rd, 2013

The exercise:

Write about: the rattle.

You know it's getting bad when thirty degrees feels like a reasonable high.

Regardless, greens were successfully harvested this morning (and delivered this afternoon) and my parents arrived safely (and have not yet bolted for cooler climes).

And I owe you guys a trip to Mejaran. Tomorrow, perhaps?


I was out in the garden this morning collecting a few things for dinner (some kohlrabi, a head of romaine lettuce, a few potatoes, a broccoli) when I decided to get a few tomato plants pruned before heading in.

One of our tomato sections is next door to a field we're not using this year; it just has some buckwheat in there as a cover crop to build up the soil a bit. So basically it's a bunch of tall weeds and buckwheat and not much else.

And so it shall remain until it all gets tilled in and then we plant some more buckwheat (probably within a couple weeks).

Anyway. As I walked towards the plants I wanted to prune I heard a very definite rattle coming from that field. Well, not so definite that I didn't go completely still and focus all my attention on the spot I thought was the source of that noise.

Which is when I very, very definitely heard it again.

I didn't exactly go charging over there to find out if a rattlesnake had wandered onto the property, as that struck me as a rather bad idea. But I did stare very hard at that spot and, after not seeing anything of interest, I kept a close eye on it while doing my pruning work.

The thing is, it probably wasn't one of our poisonous neighbours. They generally stick to the dry hills and avoid the farm, as they don't care for the dampness brought on by irrigation. Plus, and here's the kicker, there are quite a few animals in the area that can mimic that rattling sound.

They use it as a form of self-defense, causing their predators to steer clear of what they believe is a rather unpleasant and dangerous snake. It's rather brilliant, really. But it's a bit of a bum deal for the rattlesnakes around here, don't you think?

I know I'd be annoyed if everybody started copying my trademark sound like that.

Tuesday July 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something that is: refreshing.

Mother of mercy was it ever hot today. The high was supposedly 38 degrees, but our thermometer was 37 at five o'clock and it was mostly in the shade. So... yeah, they need to take their readings around our place before I start believing it.

We were definitely racing to get the greens picked for the boxes this morning. Off the plant, into the bag, and into the cooler as quickly as possible. Everything was looking good during pickup this afternoon though, so we must have done well.

It's supposed to be a bit more reasonable tomorrow. Which is good, because we need to harvest another six pounds of arugula and six pounds of salad blend for the restaurant.

Also: I don't want it to be excessively hot for when my parents arrive after lunch, or else they might not stay until Saturday like they're currently planning. But I suppose Max would just have to be extra cute if it is hot again in order to convince them to put up with it.


I'm sorry, my dear -
was that truth slipping through your
lips? How refreshing!

*     *     *

The road's waving hot,
plants reach down with wilted hands;
shower me with ice.

Monday July 1st, 2013

The exercise:

Welcome to July, happy Canada Day, and write about: the light.

Just getting everything out of the way right up front today. I need to get some sleep.


There's a strange light in the sky tonight. I don't know where it is coming from - certainly not the sun or the moon. Perhaps it originates from some human contraption on the ground. That seems... unlikely, somehow.

It is a distraction, nothing more. I keep telling myself that but still my eyes are drawn to it. Still my imagination is consumed by its possibilities, by the mystery of it all.

It matters not. It means nothing. A fluke reflection, or refraction, or whatever it might be. There's no hidden meaning, no ominous warning hanging above us as we go about our private businesses in our separate, unconnected lives.

Unless, of course, it is all that and more.

Which is why I cannot drag myself away from the sight of it.