Monday June 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the bus driver.

I got Maja to the 5:50 bus this morning (with time to spare, believe it or not) before coming back home and going back to sleep. It already feels very strange to not have her around.

Genevieve came by to work this morning and then spent the rest of the day with her visiting family at her grandfather's house here in town. She's catching a ride back to Calgary late tomorrow morning but has kindly offered to help out with the box harvest pretty much right up until her parents are ready to leave town.

Once both of our helpers have left it will feel extremely different around here.

But for now the focus is on week four of the boxes. After dinner Kat helped me pick all the raspberries we'll need for tomorrow, so that's a big chunk of work out of the way. It's going to be a hot one so the plan is to get an early start.

So maybe I should stop writing and get some sleep.

Mine:

All day long people come and go. If I'm lucky some will even say hello. Most don't, though. They just tell me I'm late, I'm late, I'm much too slow.

There are always too many cars on the road, uncaring of my heavy passenger load. Tempers flare and patience erodes. Just a matter of time before someone explodes.

Another coin jangles in place, delivered by one more unsmiling face. Move to the back, there's always space. Quickly now, we're losing the race! The neighbourhood snail sets a punishing pace...

Sunday June 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about a: decision.

We took Maja to the Osoyoos Desert Centre this morning for one last touristy experience before we say farewell tomorrow. She seemed to enjoy it, and the sun was kind enough to hide behind the clouds for most of our time there.

Max enjoyed pushing his stroller around the boardwalk.

Earlier this morning my parents headed out to continue their trek across Canada. They'll be stopping in again on their way back home in just over a month, hopefully for a longer visit.

I need to wake up early to drive Maja to the bus station tomorrow, so I should get to this writing business.

Mine:

This should be easy,
Simple as pie!
The right choice is clear,
I can't deny.

And yet I delay,
Listen to doubts;
I need some silence,
But my mind shouts.

Please give me advice,
I want your thoughts.
Won't you please help me
Connect the dots?

No, that is nonsense!
Why suggest that?
I'll stand on my own...
Or just fall flat.

Saturday June 28th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something that was left: unwritten.

By the end of the market today we'd sold out of raspberries, strawberries, peas, and cherries (in that order). Moved a few mint plants as well, which was nice. But it was definitely a quieter market than last weekend's, so it was probably a good thing that we didn't have as many cherries as I had been wishing for earlier this week.

Maja is leaving us Monday morning, as she's headed to Vancouver for a few days of being a tourist before heading home to Denmark. Genevieve is going back to Calgary on Monday for a couple of weeks as well, since she needs to get some things sorted out at home before rejoining us, hopefully for the remainder of the summer. We will certainly miss them both.

Especially since we don't currently have any helpers lined up for July.

It could be an interesting stretch coming up.

Mine:

I thought it was understood,
That it need not be spelled out;
But you appear confounded,
So I shall erase all doubt.

Friday June 27th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the draft.

Back to the market tomorrow, bringing the last nine crates of cherries (screw you, rain), the last 44 pints of strawberries (woo hoo, no more strawberry picks for this year), 31 pints of raspberries, and a whole lot of shelling peas (didn't bother counting the number of bags).

Now as long as the weather plays nice it should be another good one. Not nearly as ridiculous as last week's, but we won't be topping that one any time soon. Maja is coming with me for her final market before she leaves us on Monday, Genevieve will stick around the farm to get some more weeding done, and Kat and Max will be coming up mid-morning'ish with my parents.

Seriously, weather. Play nice.

Mine:

I put the final touches on it and then carefully tuck it inside a box I had set aside for just this purpose. It fits perfectly, cushioned by coloured paper and bubble wrap. Then the lid goes on, removing it from sight - likely forever - and I begin my search for an ideal hiding spot.

The first draft of my novel can never be seen by anyone.

Thursday June 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something that was: left unsaid.

We can thank Greg for this one, in a roundabout sort of way. His comment on yesterday's post inspired me to share my piece from another point of view, and this was the prompt that came out of that.

My parents arrived safe and sound this afternoon. It took Max about two hours to get fully comfortable with them, and then the performance began in earnest. By the end of the night he was bossing them around and laughing like a maniac, which was just lovely to see.

Mine:

I can still remember the smell of his coffee. Though I rented the second floor of a cramped house I could always tell when he walked past as he made his way to the river, even if I wasn't sitting by my kitchen window in the morning. Which I often was.

Okay, almost always.

I suppose you could say I was waiting for him. Not that I ever meant to. It just sort of seemed to happen that I would be near that window every morning around the same time. And he would come along like clockwork at 7:15; he could have been my alarm, if he'd only have knocked at my door instead of continuing on.

Instead I would grab my purse and follow after him. On those mornings that spare change jangled in my coat pocket I bought my own coffee, but all too often there was not a forint leftover after rent and meals had been accounted for. Times were tight back then.

So I drank from his cup. He never seemed to mind, though I wondered if he only did it out of pity for my poverty. I never asked because I feared his answer.

So much was left unsaid between us. So much I wish I could have told him, confessed to him. But one word I never spoke haunts me most of all. Just one simple word.

I could not have seen my arrest coming, but if I had and there was time for but one single thing to be done before I was locked in that miserable cell... I would have said goodbye.

Wednesday June 25th, 2014

The exercise:

It's time to get a little random up in here. Pick a song as arbitrarily as you wish, and then make use of its first line as your own. Poetry or prose, credit goes where it's due. You know the drill.

Did a lot of rototilling this morning as we tried to catch up on weeding. Managed to do the paths between our carrots and beets, as well as around our squash plantings, while the girls worked on the onions, shallots, and leeks.

Tomorrow looks like more of the same, as the onion section should be done by early morning and then the hand weeding of the carrots and beets can recommence. I'll be tilling around the tomatoes and zucchini, and maybe by the greens and peas as well. Hoping to be more on top of things by the end of the day, at any rate.

Also tomorrow? My parents are arriving for a brief visit. Really looking forward to Max seeing them again and spending good quality time with his 'other' grandparents.

Mine:

Budapest by George Ezra

My house in Budapest sat only a short walk from the western bank of the Danube. It was a path my feet travelled more times than I could possibly recall. I would sit and watch the boats glide past, often with a freshly brewed cup of coffee in my hand.

I would go there to be alone with my thoughts, but it was rare the days that they would be my only company. Mira often joined me, usually appearing at my side within minutes of my arrival. Sometimes she would have her own coffee, but mostly she just sipped from mine. She might miss a day here or there, for reasons never explained or questioned, but never two days in a row.

We didn't talk all that much, which was the way I liked it. The less I spoke, the less chance of me saying something stupid or off-putting. I enjoyed her company, despite the constant fear of driving her away. That ought to tell you plenty about how great a gal she was.

Or maybe it just tells you too much about how big an idiot I am.

There was never any agreement to meet there again before we parted ways, it was just understood. I'd show up, then she would. Boats and time would pass, my cup would empty, the day could begin in earnest.

It was just understood. I was convinced of that, you know? How could I have been so certain of something never expressed in words? I never suspected how deeply mistaken I was, how much I had to lose.

Not until the day after she stopped meeting me at the side of the Danube.

Tuesday June 24th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: loss.

We're only at week three of our box program and already we had two families forget to collect their produce today. I feel like that's not a particularly good sign.

Though I do feel it is a sign that we should start charging people some sort of holding fee when that happens.

Anyway. A lot of veggies were harvested in the rain this morning but by this afternoon the clouds had cleared and the heat had returned. After dinner we drove our helpers up to the lookout point above Osoyoos to enjoy the view, since it's not really a place within reasonable biking or walking distance.

Also: Max napped today. Good and long. Hurray!

Mine:

They tell me that my
memory is gone, but I
don't really miss it.

*     *     *

What? Say it again!
What? You need to speak louder!
 Dad's loss hurts us all...

Monday June 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: strings.

Our helpers spent most of their morning picking strawberries, collecting a grand total of 46 pints. Add those to the 17 they got yesterday for a local order and dinner and it's easy to see the plants are slowing down. But not quite as much as I expected, so there might be a reasonable number available for this Saturday's market.

I helped a little with the pick, but I needed to come home for a mid-morning Skype chat with a WOOFer who is interested in joining us for the month of August. She seems like she should fit in on the farm; plus it would be very nice to know we've got help lined up this far ahead of time.

This evening was spent picking raspberries, and tomorrow we get into week three of our box program.

Max refused to nap for the second straight afternoon today. Last night he went to sleep very, very quickly, but tonight he just wanted to stay up and play and play and play. But once we finally managed to get him into the bedroom he was out like a light.

We're hoping it's just a blip on the radar, something to do with the summer solstice, and not an indication that he's giving up his afternoon naps already.

Mine:

The puppets dance upon the stage, twisting and swaying and saying all the right things. Smiles don't reach eyes in this choreographed performance, but no one seems to mind. They are getting what they want and who could ask for anything more than that?

Bright lights, brighter colours, a nearly nauseating amount of motion. It's like being a passenger on a boat full of clowns in stormy weather, if you watch too closely or for too long.

Carefully scripted words spill from gaping maws, sounding earnest and believable... if you want to believe them badly enough. They are simply dying to hear what these puppets have to say, so I make sure that they get exactly that and nothing more.

I remain in the shadows though. I do not care for the spotlight. I have no interest in being recognized. No photographs, no autographs. I am most content staying out of sight so that I can concentrate fully on these pretty, delicate strings I pull.

Sunday June 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the gathering.

Spent this morning hanging out with Max, mostly in town. Saw lots of people and puppies, so that kept him quite entertained.

This afternoon was spent preparing for the potluck dinner we hosted on our deck tonight. We joined a locavore group shortly after it formed last summer that meets once a month at member's homes while local food is in season. Everyone brings a dish that contains as much local produce as possible and we spend an evening hanging out, usually with at least half a dozen kids in tow.

Tonight Kat prepared an arugula and strawberry salad for dinner, and chocolate covered cherries for dessert. The chocolate was obviously not local, but I'm pretty sure everyone forgave her that one pretty easily.

Other dishes included pulled pork from a family that raises their own pigs, Greek salads, and a rhubarb pie. We invited Maja and Genevieve to join us and they seemed to enjoy themselves, even contributing a hummus that was made from beans that Kat's mom grew last summer.

Mine:

The air is crowded, full of friendly words bouncing off one another, while others entangle and form new meanings. No apologies required, no feelings are bruised, no one is bothered.

Fragrant, flavourful food is abundant, shared and enjoyed with pride and enthusiasm. By the parents, at least. The children are busy climbing trees and playing games that appear to involve a lot of running and screaming.

A sunshine warmed deck underfoot, blue skies overhead. Views of the orchard, vineyard, hills. Happy faces in all directions.

Summer has truly begun.

Saturday June 21st, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: smashing.

We got all the berries and cherries on the truck this morning, with minimal fussing around. The strawberries sold out by 10:30, the raspberries were gone long before that. The cherries?

Well, we had about half a pound left at 12:30 and it was looking pretty sad and lonely on the table. So I gave them to the woman at the bakery stand next to ours. Technically, not a sell out... but I'm fairly certain I don't give a crap about that technicality.

Consider any previous best market records utterly and completely smashed.

Genevieve took the overnight bus from Vancouver to meet us at the start of what turned out to be a very, very busy market. We got back home while Max was napping so he came wandering out in a very dopey state... and still was pretty much immediately happy to see her.

And now I am exhausted and ready for bed.

Mine:

We all believed
The old records would stand,
But then things got
A little out of hand...

Friday June 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the gamble.

All the pieces are in place to have an utterly ridiculous market tomorrow. 117 pints of strawberries, 10 pints of raspberries, my cards, maybe a few mint plants if we have room for them on the truck.

And, oh yes, twenty crates (approximately twenty pounds per) of cherries.

Again, assuming we have room on the truck for all of them.

The most cherries we've ever sold at a single market was 15 crates, so I'm feeling a touch nervous about bringing so many tomorrow. But the area has been hard hit with rain and hail this spring, so I'm not sure how many other vendors will have them.

Plus we've got the boxes and local orders on Tuesday to take some leftovers if need be, so it's not an all or nothing proposition. We'll see how it goes, I guess.

Either way, very happy to report that Genevieve will be meeting us at the market. No matter how things sell, it'll be more manageable with a three person crew.

Mine:

Though I keep my focus on the cards in my hand, I know that all eyes in the room are on me. I pretend not to notice, remind myself to breathe normally. Play it cool, can't let them know I've lost ten or twenty pounds in sweat in the last ten minutes.

And maybe, just maybe, if I keep stalling long enough people will start leaving and I'll be able to think clearly again.

Thursday June 19th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the wildlife habitat.

So, due to circumstances that seem to be beyond her control, Genevieve won't be back until Saturday at this point. Which is problematic, since I was counting on her being with us at the market because it's guaranteed to be a busy one between the remaining strawberries and the newly arriving cherries.

It's still possible that she'll be able to return in time to help us out, but if she's not I'm sure we'll manage. Just would be a little less hectic if she's there.

This morning the garlic patch was cleared of its final weed stragglers and then I got started on our onions. After dinner I wanted to clear out the area around our raspberry bushes, as we'll be picking them tomorrow and I didn't want to have to wade through the weeds in order to do so.

Weeds, weeds, weeds...

Mine:

There are places, certain areas on this planet, that are so fearsome to behold that most men would continue on as though they had never laid eyes on them. The rare few will stop and contemplate them for a while, but they know better than to draw nearer.

And of course there are the fools who choose to investigate. To dive headfirst into shallow, rock-strewn waters as though they are immortal.

It is a clear sign that an area of the garden has been ignored too long when it begins to resemble one of these areas. When weeding feels less like pulling unwanted plants out of the soil and more like the destruction of wildlife habitat.

At least now, after this evening's work, our helpers are less likely to say things like, "You have raspberry plants? Where?!"

Wednesday June 18th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the art class.

Spent my time in the garden today weeding around our cabbage and broccoli plants. I'm pleased to say I managed to finish that section after dinner, which then allowed me to get an organic spray on them to deal with the cabbage worms that have been chewing on the leaves.

Just in time, too, as there are heads of cabbage forming out there. Might even be a few smaller ones ready for next week's boxes.

Genevieve is scheduled to return to us tomorrow (though I haven't heard from her yet to confirm that) and I'm looking forward to having the extra help once again.

Mine:

Little Joey Stevens always submitted the same thing, no matter what I assigned to the class. Though it's been nearly thirty years, I have absolutely no trouble recalling each of his pieces.

Sometimes he used construction paper, in colours ranging from white to yellow to black, other times he made use of wood or felt or velvet. There was even that one time he brought in a chunk of aluminum siding.

And while his materials differed, the content never did. No pen or paintbrush or pencil ever touched those surfaces. And when I turned it over, without fail, I would find a plain white flash card glued to the back with the title of his piece printed in careful capital letters.

DRAWING A BLANK, BY JOEY STEVENS

The first time he pulled that trick I kindly informed him that, while it was somewhat amusing, he'd need to hand in a proper piece of art. He gave me a confused look and resubmitted the exact same thing the following day.

Time after time this happened. I will admit to losing my temper at the end. Normally I adhere to my policy of never writing on or making any sort of mark on a student's artwork. I broke that with Joey when he handed in a black piece of construction paper with that same title on the back.

I dipped a fine brush into red paint and added a simple F in the top right hand corner.

He was some kind of upset. Threw a hissy fit like you wouldn't believe. When he wouldn't quit I threatened to send him to the principal's office.

He countered that I was the one who should go see Mr. Brown for punishment, since I had ruined his artwork.

Just goes to show how little he knew. I heard the other day that piece was sold at a fancy New York gallery for twice the usual price of other pieces in his collection...

Tuesday June 17th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the passenger.

Box day number two is over and out. On top of the 13 boxes we sold a few hundred dollars worth of strawberries, the first two pints of raspberries we've picked this year, and an extra bag of cherries that was leftover from what Kat's parents picked for us this morning.

Looking forward to bringing those guys to the market for the first time this Saturday. They're always a big seller and we should still have a good number of strawberries also. It'll be a busy one, I'm sure, so it'll be nice to have both Maja and Genevieve with me for it.

We had much kinder weather today and it's supposed to remain that way for the foreseeable future. That would be nice.

Mine:

He gives directions
like he receives them from God.
Get out of my car.

*     *     *

She was stranded at
the side of the road; soon she
will see her mistake.

Monday June 16th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: an unrefined man.

The weather was not being very agreeable today. Maja and I still managed to get 84 pints out of the strawberry patch but we were nowhere near finished.

We had just had our fill of the rain by that point.

Might finish the pick in the morning, if there is time leftover after the box harvest. And if it's not raining.

Mine:

"Hold on, hold on! You can't possibly be serious. You did not just call Harold an unrefined man."

"That's precisely what I just said," Moira said. "Why, what would you call him?"

"Me? Oh, I don't know... how about boorish? Or maybe uncouth, primitive. Or... hold on a second." Richard grabbed his smartphone off of the coffee table and began fiddling with it.

"What in the world are you doing, dear?"

"He's pulling up Thesaurus.com," Angie called from the kitchen.

"How could you possibly know that, darling? You're practically at the other end of the house!"

"Because -"

"Thesaurus.com has some interesting suggestions," Richard cut in, his nose almost touching the glowing screen before him. "Like vulgar and barbaric. Ooh! How about troglodytic? That sounds pretty badass, right? Do you think we could get him to legally change his name to that?"

"Because," Angie continued after a deep sigh, "he does this every time someone tries to say something remotely polite about his dad."

Sunday June 15th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: drowning.

Had a lovely Father's Day, spending the vast majority of it hanging out with Max. Kat was doing some weeding in the garden this morning so me and the young sir went into town to hang at our favorite coffee shop and pick up some hamburger buns for dinner.

This evening Kat's parents joined us for barbequed burgers, salad, and sauted garlic scapes. Oh, and an amazing dessert that Kat made for us.

Oh, and I was also served breakfast in bed.

Yeah, good day.

Mine:

The glass waiting before me is smeared with sweat and oil on the outside, full of numbing liquid on the inside. I sit and observe it in silence, hands clasped loosely together on my lap, murky thoughts running sloppy laps in my head.

I am trying to make a decision but it is a long time in coming.

There is a steady hum of noise surrounding me, with regular bursts of laughter and raised voices. I pay them no heed. The air is an unpleasant mix of cigarettes and alcohol and unwashed humanity. I notice it briefly, now and then.

An image flashes through my brain and without hesitation I reach out and grab the glass. Its contents are down my throat in a blink, then I place the empty vessel back on the bar.

"Another," I tell the bartender. It is an easy decision this time, for it seems that I can still remember her face.

Saturday June 14th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the drummer.

Well the strawberries lasted until almost 11:45 this morning before the last pint was sold. But in fairness to Penticton, it was a much cloudier, cooler day than what we had for last week's market.

Plus, you know, that was a whole lot of strawberries.


Max seems to be responding well to his treatment, with the swelling going down significantly today. Hopefully he'll be good as new before we sit down to Father's Day dinner tomorrow night.

Mine:

He may not look like it
But he's the dopest drummer, man.
He keeps that funky beat
On his upside down garbage can.

Friday June 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the bite. 

We spent the morning picking strawberries. By 'we' I mean myself, Maja, and both of Kat's parents. Genevieve has left us for a week to attend her cousin's graduation in Kamloops and then visit her mother in Vancouver but I look forward to her return.

If for no other reason than to tell her she missed the day we picked 159 pints of strawberries.

Mine:

Unfortunately Max and Kat were not around to experience the bountiful harvest either, as they were up in Oliver's emergency room for most of the morning.

We were concerned that he was having an allergic reaction to eating those very same strawberries, as his cheek was red and there was swelling around his eye. He hadn't had any since Wednesday morning, but he'd also had a large mosquito bite on that cheek that only really went away overnight... leaving behind some pretty clear signs that something else was going on.

The emergency doctor believes it's an infection from the mosquito bite (he'd been scratching and rubbing at it a lot), so we're going to treat that and hope things return to normal soon.

Thursday June 12th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a: field report.

Not really sure why I chose this prompt...

Mine:

*Bzzzzt*

Greetings fellow Weedlings,

This is a field report filed earlier tonight by our brethren in the garlic patch. We should warn you now: this is not a happy account.

*Bzzzzt*

What in the...?

*Bzzzzt*

When dawn broke this morning we felt that victory was within our reach. We were in control. Some of our brethren even had a literal stranglehold on several of the garlic plants. Our enemy seemed to have forgotten about us, or perhaps simply given up.

Here is a view of the battlefield taken earlier today:


We were confident. We were sure that we were safe. We were mistaken.

*Bzzzzt*

How did you get that picture off of my phone?

*Bzzzzt*

Our enemy attacked viciously, making use of the smoking machine with the whirling metal blades. Many lives were lost in the initial onslaught, but those of us encamped closest to the garlic plants were spared.

Next an assault was launched with the long handled blade. Our men and women fought bravely and succeeded in breaking the foul weapon:


We thought our enemy would fold.

*Bzzzzt*

Wait, you guys did that on purpose?

*Bzzzzt*

But our enemy proved resilient. A smaller version of this weapon was employed, with savage efficiency. Our brethren on the Southern Front were defenseless. By the end of the morning... we must caution those with a tender constitution: this image is quite graphic.


Horrendous.

*Bzzzzt*

Glorious, actually. You should -

*Bzzzzt*

Our control of the signal is growing weaker. We must finish swiftly. Grow strong, grow quick! Our enemy will return and we must be prepared! Dig your roots deep into the earth and make your stand! We outnumber our enemy still!

Our brethren in the strawberry patch expect another incursion tomorrow. We have some time to recover, and we must use it well. While our enemy is distracted we shall -

*Bzzzzt*

It doesn't matter how long you have. Hours or days or weeks. The end result will be the same.

I am coming for you and I will destroy you all.

Wednesday June 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the hill.

Spent most of my garden time seeding today. It's amazing how much can get done with two helpers: squash, cucumbers, zucchini, beans, and corn seeds are all finally in the ground. There was even a couple of brief periods of weeding in there while they either waited for me to get organized (where the hell did those seeds go?) or to do the solo part of the work (row marking, mostly).

So now the seeding is basically done. I'll get another row of beans in the soil in a week or two, there might be some more squash and pumpkins to add, but the vast majority of that stage of our garden is finished for the year. Behind schedule, certainly, but I can finally check that one off my list.

Tomorrow shall be spent weeding. That's it, just pulling weeds out of the ground. I have waiting a long time to get to this point.

Mine:

Get to the top first, before all of the others.

That's all I have to do. Simple enough, right? I'm in good shape, I had a healthy breakfast this morning. Wearing the right shoes for the terrain.

But of course it's not that simple. It never is, is it?

Just look at these guys I'm competing against. It's like they were all created in some secret laboratory, designed for peak physical performance and... no, that's probably about it. I'd run circles around them in math class, destroy their confidence in the band room, eat their souls in biology.

We're not in a classroom though, are we? No, we're at the bottom of this stupid hill, all of us pretending to not feel the chill in the early morning air. All eyes on the prize, standing way, way up there. Waiting for the first of us to arrive to claim her as his own.

Damn you Ashley Jones for putting me through this.

Tuesday June 10th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something that is: superficial.

First box program day has come to a successful close, with thirteen happy customers taking home a whole lot of produce. On top of that, with additional strawberry orders from this morning, the grand total was 81 pints going elsewhere with 13 pints going to Kat's mom for jam and freezing.

Big day. I'm tired, but it's a very satisfied tired.

Mine:

They say that beauty
is only skin deep. I say
that is deep enough.

*     *     *

He claims to be a
friend; his actions speak louder
than sly promises

Monday June 9th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something which happens: daily.

We finished getting our tomato plants into the garden this morning, then shifted to picking strawberries. Our box program is starting tomorrow, and we also had quite a few local orders for them as well. Plus the bakery wants a bunch more.

But I'm pretty sure we'll still have some of our 94 pints leftover after that.

Thankfully Kat's mom is wanting to do up several batches of strawberry jam, so that should take care of that.

Feeling a little nervous on the eve of our first box day. 13 boxes is the most we've ever attempted and I'm having trouble picturing that we have enough stuff ready for them. But there's nothing left to do at this point but cross my fingers and hope for the best.

Mine:

So six long years ago I wrote this. The very first post in Daily Writing Practice's history.

A lot has happened since then. Marriage. Fatherhood. A couple of NaNoWriMo successes. Became a farmer. Lost my appendix.

But, most of all, a rather incredible amount of writing. As of today, 2,192 days in a row worth of creative expressions. Fiction. Non-fiction. Stand-alones and continuations. Poetry and prose. The good, the bad, the ugly.

I've got no plans to stop. I imagine I will at some point, for some reason or another. But for now this practice of writing every day is continuing on, and I hope you all will continue to join me.

Sunday June 8th, 2014

The exercise:

Before we get too far into the month I figured we'd better make a return trip to Vancouver Irrealis.

Enjoyed a slow and restful day off. Went to the park with Max this morning, napped in the afternoon, and had a picnic dinner at the beach this evening with my family and Maja (Genevieve was out with an aunt who lives in town).

Back at it tomorrow.

Mine:

Tristam rose instinctively, his eyes searching for an exit or at least a half decent hiding spot. Finding nothing suitable, he began to sweat and had to force himself to breathe normally. Then his gaze landed on Rewand, who was regarding him with a poorly disguised smile and, by all appearances, absolutely no panic, and he forced himself to sit back down.

Voices, speaking in hurried whispers, preceded Anne-Marie and the late night visitor's entrance to the room. To Tristam's desperately untrained ear they sounded nearly indistinguishable from each other, though he was fairly certain the new arrival was male.

Seconds later his hunch proved to be correct.

"Terpe, this is Tristam," Anne-Marie said as she extended an arm in Tristam's direction. "He is a guest from the other side, and not of his choosing."

Terpe was an inch or two taller than Anne-Marie and carried twenty or thirty pounds more weight, all of it muscle. He wore a long black coat, the tails of which brushed the tops of his equally black combat boots. Dark eyes beneath closely cropped red hair studied Tristam with great interest.

"Oh Marie, how did you get yourself tangled up in yet another mess?" Terpe gave her a hard clap on the back before making his way over to where Tristam was sitting. For a reason he couldn't quite explain, Tristam took an immediate disliking to the man. "Hello there, Trouble."

"It's Tristam, actually." Ignoring the gloved hand waiting in the air between them, he didn't remember to be annoyed by the new version of his name. "To what do I owe this... pleasure?"

"Have a seat, Terpe." Rewand's words cut through a suddenly frosty silence. "We have much to discuss." Turning to Tristam he added, "Terpe is on our side, for all that he wears the uniform of the Icepol. He has been an incredibly useful source of information that I would otherwise have no possible way to access."

"And you trust him because...?" Tristam gave the newcomer his most skeptical look. It was received with a dismissive sneer.

"We trust him," Anne-Marie replied, "because he is my brother."

Saturday June 7th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: rejection.

Yeah, the Friday and Saturday pairings might be becoming a regular thing.

We had a wonderful return to the market this morning, selling out of strawberries just before 10 am, moving the majority of the tomato plants and rhubarb that we brought with us, and quite a few greeting cards found new homes as well. It was also really nice to see so many familiar faces.

Already looking forward to going back next weekend with even more strawberries.

Mine:

I can see you put your heart and soul
Into trying to sing;
Must be hard to know your heart and soul
Ain't worth a Goddamned thing.

Friday June 6th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the submission.

Heading to the farmers market bright and early tomorrow morning, bringing 54(!?) pints of strawberries, three crates of tomato plants, two crates of mint plants, a crate of rhubarb, and a refreshed stack of greeting cards.

I'm pretty excited. Not as pumped up as Genevieve, who I'll be bringing with me while Maja stays here to do more garden work, but I'm totally looking forward to it.

Hopefully we're both able to get some sleep tonight.

Mine:

A teetering tower of printed paper, heavy with ink and reeking of desperation, guards the far corner of his desk. Toying with the latest app on his phone he ignores it without any hint of guilt.

The submission deadline was three (or was it four?) months ago; surely the hopeful authors were checking their email, real mail, and phones daily (if not hourly) for a response.

He is in no hurry though since there was nothing in the entry guidelines about when authors could expect a reply - he had made sure of that.

Thursday June 5th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: gaining ground.

With the potatoes finally in the ground and all of our heirloom tomato plants transferred to the garden, that was the feeling I was left with today. We still need to get the cherry, beefsteak, and roma tomato plants out there, along with a whole bunch of seeding, but I'm feeling a little more optimistic today.

Also: exhausted. I helped Kat's parents with more cherry tree netting this evening and by the end I literally could not lift my arms. The feeling passed fairly quickly, but it was still rather unsettling.

Tomorrow we pick strawberries and get ourselves organized for our first farmers market of the year. It's been a while and I'm fairly confident I'm going to forget something important, but it's still exciting.

Mine:

He is far ahead, confident in his position. I can see him easing off the gas pedal, prioritizing caution ahead of speed. The fool.

The finish line must be in sight now. I imagine he's picturing himself crossing over it, breaking the tape. Basking in the glory of victory. Already he is spending his winnings, plucking models off the beach with his reputation alone.

He slows just a little more.

I step on the gas. Hard.

It will be close. But he is leaving the door open for me to catch him, to snatch this win right out from underneath him. Before long I will fill his rear view mirror. That ought to startle him out of his pretty little daydreams.

Then the race shall truly begin.

Wednesday June 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that has been: blown away.

Spent the morning transplanting heirloom tomato plants with Genevieve, after marking out the rows where our potatoes will be going in. This evening I was supposed to help Kat's parents with the cherry nets again but it was too windy for that.

Which made me think that maybe all those tomato plants should probably be staked and tied so that they wouldn't break in the wind. So that was my after dinner job.

Maja arrived this afternoon after a sleepless night in Vancouver. Max has, of course, taken a liking to her already. We'll see if she's up for putting in potatoes tomorrow morning.

Which, I think, would be more likely if this friggin' wind would calm the hell down.

Mine:

This place is unfamiliar to me. I do not recognize anything, no matter which way I turn. No building, no street, no tree gives me the comfort of knowing that I have laid eyes on it before.

Locals give me strange looks but no welcome, no advice. Worst of all, they give me no direction.

I could start walking, but on which path? Will any of them lead me to somewhere that I am sure is closer to home than where I am now? It seems unlikely.

So I remain rooted to this spot, slowly becoming a familiar part of the scenery to those who pass by. I do not like this, but I cannot seem to force myself to move.

How did I even arrive here? I cannot remember, not exactly. I know I was walking, quickly I think, along my street. Trying to get home before the storm arrived in full force. The rain came, that is definitely true.

I must have opened my umbrella to protect myself and my new suit from getting soaked... but when I try to think of what came next, my memory is blown viciously clear...

Tuesday June 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about feeling or being: overwhelmed.

Our first strawberry harvest yielded 24 pints, which was quite a bit more than I was expecting. We had orders for 8 of those, and then sold two more to people wanting more when they came to pick up this afternoon (we'd placed a limit of 2 pints per customer this week, not knowing how much we'd get from the first pick).

The rest will be arriving at the bakery tomorrow morning, which should make both the bakers and their customers quite happy.

This evening marked the beginning of the battle with the cherry tree netting. I'd say the nets won the first round, but we'll be back for more tomorrow night.

Mine:

The to-do list on
the fridge has grown so long that
it touches the floor

*     *     *

Do it all, do it
now? No problem... as long as
I can clone myself.

Monday June 2nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the temple.

We didn't have quite enough time this morning to finish mulching the strawberries, plus it was getting much too hot to be out there as lunch time approached. Thankfully we were able to get it done before dinner, though we did have to put up with a pestering wind while we did so.

So much frustration when you've only got a few feet left to do and the wind is blowing mulch off your shovel, into your eyes... pretty much everywhere you don't want it to go.

But it's done. Hallelujah, it's done.

Mine:

The day is hot, the streets are dusty. Step inside, step inside.

I give you shade, free of charge. Free of obligation. I have drinks to slake your thirst, ease the burning in your throats. There is much to eat, for body and soul. I will sustain you, maintain you. Step inside, step inside.

Music is playing, low and gentle. Much kinder than the shouts of vendors, the cries of children. A melody to ease your worries, better than the finest wine. Come and listen, stay awhile. Step inside, step inside.

My seats will take your weight with grace. Come, give your tired feet a break. Leave the hustle and bustle behind for some time. Your soul will thank you. Your mind will be grateful. Your body will remember what peace feels like. Step inside, step inside.

I will welcome you with open arms. My altar will reassure, my servants will guide you there. Step inside, you will not wish to leave.

Not that you will have any choice in the matter.

Step inside, step inside...

Sunday June 1st, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the translator.

Genevieve offered to work this morning alongside our bakery volunteer, so I actually had two helpers out there with me. It was a nice preview of what I'll get starting this Thursday (Maja is arriving in Vancouver from Denmark on Tuesday night, catching a bus to Osoyoos Wednesday morning... so I'm not expecting her to be ready to get out there until Thursday at the earliest).

We raked out a very large section of the garden and seeded some more carrots and beets. The potatoes will also be going into the other end of that section, so we'll need to get on that as soon as possible. We're a good two weeks behind on starting those.

The hope is for Genevieve and I to finish mulching the strawberries tomorrow morning, which will then free up a whole chunk of time to get back on top of things on the vegetable side of things. We'll see how that goes.

Mine:

May I present to you the evolution of Max's communication skills:

video

To begin, let us go over what he actually said, starting around the 20 second mark of the video:

"I go."

"A ball."

"Vroom, vroom!"

Now allow me to run that through my Daddy Translator Supreme 2014 Edition:

"I'm going over there, and I'm taking the balls in the truck."

He has been saying each of those three individual phrases/sound effects for quite some time now, but only recently has he been starting to put them together in order to really communicate something.

It's... all rather strange and fascinating. And amazing, obviously.

He'll be having proper conversations with us before we know it.