Thursday July 31st, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: silk.

Because apparently that's one of the traditional fourth wedding anniversary gifts. There's some interesting items on that list... particularly for the nineteenth.

The leeks and onions have been weeded once again, and likely for the last time this season. Carrots and beets are pretty much clear as well, and I got a start on the squash plants. Things are feeling... relatively under control out there.

Had a very nice family dinner up at Kat's parents place this evening. Once Max got used to Kat's aunt being around he was his usual charming self.

Farmers market harvest tomorrow as we head into the long weekend.


Soft to the touch
As it glides across
Exposed skin;
Slowly, gently,
Whispers of
Promised sin.

Music serenades,
Lit by candles,
Scented with roses:
The perfect setting
To do whatever
He proposes.

Wednesday July 30th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: double duty.

Since one of Kat's aunts is coming for dinner tomorrow night, we went out for dinner this evening to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary. The food was very good, the setting was lovely, and it was nice to have a night out without Max, who was busy having a blast in the garden with Kat's parents.

While we were eating dinner a group was seated at the table next to us. Their server did not fit the usual image of a waiter and he seemed a little unsure of himself. This became totally excusable when I overheard him explain to the group while he was pouring their wine that he's actually one of the chefs, but he was filling in because the restaurant has been short-staffed this week.

And thus, a writing prompt was born...


"It's a nice truck, obviously."

"So what's the problem?"

"Well, I just don't understand why the price tag is so... steep."

"You mean like a mountain?"

"No, no. No. More along the lines of... expensive."

"The price tag isn't expensive. It's just a piece of cardboard I wrote the price on. I think I got it from an old cereal box. You can have it, if you want."

"No, not the... wow. Really? Okay. What I don't understand is why the truck is expensive. That's a lot of money you're asking for."

"Oh. Well, it's not just a truck, you know."

"It's not?"

"No sir! It also pulls double duty as a wildlife habitat. Come on, I'll pop the hood - you won't believe the number of snakes I've got living in there!"

Tuesday July 29th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the plumber.

Our bathroom sink started leaking the other day, so I asked Kat's dad to come down and have a look at it. Max, of course, wanted to help Papa, despite the lack of room.

I figure if we give him another couple years of this he'll be taking care of our plumbing needs:

Another box day in the books. There were at least three screw ups on our end, plus we had two separate groups of customers show up half an hour early to collect their produce (which likely contributed to two of the mistakes)... but we got it done.

Back to weeding and such things tomorrow morning.


His rates may be high,
but at least the ass crack is

*     *     *

Water at my knees,
he said he'd be right over.
Water at my neck...

Monday July 28th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: pockets.

There are random pockets of colder air on the farm that you only notice as you walk through them. I try not to think about them too much.

Except until I finish today's writing.


From where I stand I can see the lake to the west and the mountains to the east. The valley runs straight away to the south and curves off to the north.

Facing the lake, the apple trees lurk behind me and the plum trees are to my right. Neither fruit are ripe yet, but it won't be long now. Not with this heat wave.

I watch the workers move about, tools in hand. Pruning shears, wrenches and irrigation parts, ladders short and tall. Everything is moving.

Other than me, of course.

I remember the day, just over there, that I saw my dog for the last time. And a few steps in the opposite direction is where I was standing when I got the phone call that let me know my wife had passed on.

There are other, happier memories within view as well. That apple tree at the end of the row there? I picked my first apple from it, when I was barely big enough to stand. And that house, up at the top of the hill? I was married there, underneath that beautiful oak tree.

People come and go, some passing close but most keeping their distance. Those that step too near seem to shiver involuntarily. From some unseen cold?

Or just because they know that this is the exact spot the tractor rolled over on me?

Sunday July 27th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: good fortune.



We went for a BBQ dinner at the beach with Kat's parents and Becky this evening. It was really nice, weather, food, and company wise.

When we got home it took me about half a minute to realize I didn't have my phone. I searched our bags, double checked the car, but that sinking feeling was hitting me already. That knowledge that I had done something stupid and the phone was gone.

I tried calling it, just to be sure, and we couldn't hear it ringing. So I hopped back in the car and... ahem, drove very safely and within the posted speed limits... back to the beach. I searched where we had been eating, the parking lot, all the places I had followed Max as he wandered around. Nada.

I think that was about the time I remembered that most likely what had happened was this: I had put my phone on top of the car while I was getting Max back into the car to go home, got distracted, and forgot it there. Which meant that we drove off with the phone on the roof.

A slow drive home tracing the route we had taken revealed nothing. So I double checked the car again and then used Kat's phone to send a text to mine, asking whoever might have found it to please call her number.

A few minutes later, just as I was really getting going with the mental ass kicking I felt I deserved, her phone rang. And, amazingly, it was a guy who had found my phone at the side of the road outside his house, about two blocks from where we'd been parked.

I drove over (with a hastily picked quart of apricots as a sign of appreciation in tow) and collected my phone. Not only did I have the good fortune of a kind soul finding my phone, but I was also lucky enough to retrieve it in full working order. The only damage was a crack to the protective case, which I'm going to replace just because it's a little sharp and Max has a tendency to grab it whenever I leave it within reach.

I am feeling very grateful tonight.

Saturday July 26th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: finality.

Market went much better than expected today, as we only came home with about four of the 160'ish pounds of apricots we brought with us. Plus the blackberries, raspberries, gold plums, pickling cukes, and green beans all sold out.

It's always nice at the end of the market when we only have enough stuff left for one table and the other two tables are already folded up and waiting to go in the truck.

Day off tomorrow. Maybe I'll use part of it to get caught up on comments.


The words were soft,
But heavy with finality:
Do it again,
I'll respond with lethality.

Friday July 25th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: word crimes.

If you haven't seen Weird Al's parody of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines, take a few minutes to go appreciate it. Though I suppose to get the full experience you'd need to watch the original video, but I highly prefer the version with Jimmy Fallon and The Roots so you can go find it yourself if you want.

We all know how YouTube works.

Lots of blackberries headed to tomorrow's market, along with the remainder of the apricots, a few raspberries, some green beans, and garlic. Not expecting to be super busy, but hopefully we'll be able to sell most of what we bring.


"Mr. Ranger, your crimes have been laid out in great detail. The punishment for these indiscretions are explicit and unbending. Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

"Well, dude, it's like I've been saying all along... I still don't think you can prove that I was the very first person in, like, the whole wide world to type LOL online."

Thursday July 24th, 2014

The exercise:

Baseball Theme Week comes to its conclusion with scribblings involving: padres. Or, in my case at least, the padre.

Apologies to Greg, by the way. I should have known you'd not have had any idea what was coming next. Perhaps next time I can do a Premier League theme week... though then I would probably end up not knowing what I was writing about every single day of it!

Garlic is almost done, just a couple of crates left to clean up. Becky and I (mostly Becky, I was also running errands) took care of twenty-one pounds worth of them this morning. Which is a whole lot of garlic.

All set for our farmers market harvest tomorrow morning, and the sun should be out there to join us for the first time in several days.


Padre Diego smiled a wide, gap-toothed grin at his hosts and scratched his backside vigorously. Aside from the harsh fabric of his horribly uncomfortable robe, he did not appear to have a care in the world.

"Ah yes," he replied, his words infused with the smell of cheap church wine. "I am so looking forward to discussing the grand success of our mission!"

Success? one angel breathed.

Our? another hissed.

"Of course!" Padre Diego waddled forward, arms spread wide as though a hug was imminent. "The mariners I hired found our dear missing pirate and -"

King Tobias' forgotten brother was many things, the male angel interrupted with a smirk. A pirate, a proper one at any rate, was not one of them.

"Whatever." Padre Diego shrugged this away as he would a beggar asking for alms. "He is on his way home, first to see us and then to take his place on the throne as our puppet king."

The priest wriggled his fingers and giggled as he watched his imaginary marionette dance for him. He did not notice the look exchanged between the three angels. Nor did he see the black smoke coalescing around his feet.

The king's brother...

... Lightning Beard, as he fancied himself...

... is resting at the bottom of the sea.

"What?" The blood drained from Padre Diego's face with alarming speed.

Throat slit by his rescuing captain. The man you employed.

"Ivan? Why would that idiot do such a thing?"

The other giant captains The Nameless.

It would seem that he is smart enough to fool you.

Or at least, unlike you, he is able to sense a mistake when he sees one.

Though to be fair, the twins helped make the final call.

"I don't know what you're going on about." The priest tried to back away but found himself unable to move. Looking down he saw black smoke swirling around his waist with increasing velocity. "What is the meaning of this?"

Prince Matthew will be king.

You have failed us.


"What? No! There is still time! The royals trust me yet! I can bring that whelp to our side. Give me a year or two and -"

The Boy King would see through your clumsy lies.

It has been foreseen.

And your shortcomings cannot be allowed to pass without punishment.

"Now hold on!" Padre Diego's eyes bulged as the smoke reached his chest. "If anyone should bear the brunt of this... failure... it's those bloody sailors! If they'd just done what they should have then -"

But the dark angels had heard enough. Without a word or change of expression from any of them the smoke funneled upward and into the priest's mouth, like water rushing down the throat of a drowning man.

And just like that, Padre Diego was no more.

Wednesday July 23rd, 2014

The exercise:

Having reached the second to last day of Baseball Theme Week, our writing today shall involve: angels.

I feel like I've left myself a lot of territory to cover in tomorrow's post, so there's a good chance it will be a long one for me. My story has not gone along with the plan I'd originally hatched while picking the baseball team names I'd use this week, which I think has made the whole thing more interesting for me.

Also: I think by this point it should be abundantly clear which team name we'll be finishing on tomorrow, so I hope that helps you plan your final two days of writing.

Had a mostly sunny morning here, which allowed for a good amount of weeding to get done. The thunder and lightning storms arrived this afternoon though, so Becky and I stuck close to the house after dinner while we cleaned garlic.

Might be more of that tomorrow morning, if the forecast is accurate.


In a room deep below the royal city three figures waited with growing impatience. Illuminated by a soft white light with no apparent source, the crowded space was filled with wooden crates stacked three or four tall, dust covered furniture, and a single stone pedestal which bore some resemblance to a bird bath.

Gathered around this last item, the three stood with their eyes locked on the still, silvery liquid contained in its bowl. Two females and a male, they wore tattered white robes that ended just below their knees in ragged, singed lines. Black smoke curled around their legs and arms but did not dissipate.

This was not the agreement. The words were more breathed than spoken by the male.

The two females nodded in solemn unison. Somewhere far above a door groaned open before slamming closed again with enough force to knock dirt off the walls.

There will be consequences.

Silence returned as they continued their study of the liquid. Another hour passed before one of the females raised her gaze to the wooden door at the far end of the room.

He comes at last.

The others could hear faint footsteps not long afterward and soon the door swung inward, allowing a heavyset man in coarse brown robes to enter.

Padre Diego, a voice sighed. We have much to discuss.

Tuesday July 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Day five of Baseball Theme Week would like for you to write about: royals.

If you're not writing a week long, connected piece then you're welcome to write two haiku today. If you are... well, I'd be impressed if you're able to slip just one into your writing. As I'm typing this I have a strong desire to include one in mine, but I have absolutely no idea how to go about it.

Boxes went surprisingly smoothly today - there was even some time leftover this morning for Becky to do some weeding and for me to work on cleaning up some more garlic. Highly unusual.

The heat broke as well today, with rain making a brief appearance in the morning. We're supposed to get more of that for the next couple of days but the weather should be good again by the weekend.


"You sent for me, father?" Prince Matthew asked from the doorway, his voice just strong enough to carry to the bed where the king lay ashen-faced.

"Come closer," King Tobias said. Even in his weakened state his words demanded obedience. "Closer, now. There is nothing to fear... I am not contagious."

"That is not what I fear, father."

"What then, death?" A trembling nod in reply. "Death is not so bad. Not when a man has lived as long as I have. It will be a relief to be taken into his embrace."

"I will be lost without you, father." Prince Matthew bit his lower lip hard, desperate to prevent tears from escaping his eyes. "If mother were still here I would have hope, but -"

"Your mother watches over you still," the king said sternly. "And soon, so shall I."

"No, surely there is still more time! There is still so much I don't know! Who will teach me if not you?"

"I have left instructions." A cough shuddered its way out of the king's lungs and there was a lengthy, painful pause as he regained his composure. "You are in good hands. The best. Padre Diego will guide you, help you to be a better ruler than I ever was."

"But father," the prince replied, "no one has seen the Padre since last Sunday!"

Monday July 21st, 2014

The exercise:

Day four of Baseball Theme Week already? That feels quick to me. But apparently it's true, so today we write about: twins.

Hung out with Max at our favorite coffee shop while Kat got her haircut this morning. It's been a while since we've been there and it was a little startling to be seated at a table with Max sitting across from me, on his own chair. He was mostly steady and I only had a couple of minor heart attacks when he seemed to forget where the edge of his seat was.

Here's a picture I took to commemorate the occasion:

This evening I picked blackberries with Becky for tomorrow's boxes and this week's bakery order. And possibly for Kat's mom to make jam with, as there were more than I was expecting.


The Twins jointly held the position of Navigator on the unnamed ship. Now, there are two things that might surprise you about that statement. The second is easier to explain, so we shall begin with that: the nameless ship was born not from a dearth of creativity but from a desire to remain anonymous.

If there was no name associated with the ship, then it was nearly impossible for her or her crew to gain a reputation - of any sort, good or bad. Each sailor was encouraged to refer to their boat by a different name at each port of call, leaving behind a trail of confusion and making each stop a blank slate. They could be whoever they wished to be every time they stepped ashore.

So that's that. Now, to the matter of two Navigators on a single vessel.

The Twins, who unlike their ship did in fact have names, were usually collective referred to as such: The Twins. On the odd occasion that they were seen separately a gender was tacked on to the end of their moniker: Twin Boy or Twin Girl.

Each of them were highly skilled in their trade and any crew would have considered themselves lucky to have either twin guiding their voyage. And it was not like their abilities were stronger together; they performed equally without the other. It's just that... well, they didn't like to.

Be apart, that is. Not out of some sibling attachment or loyalty or comfort, mind you. It was more along the lines of, if they were apart too long they might forget where they were in their decades long argument. And then, if too much time passed, the whole thing could be entirely forgotten.

And then who would be declared the winner?

The Twins agreed on very, very little. The ship's current speed was not one of those things. Nor was their position on whatever map they happened to be consulting. Nor was... well, I could go on for quite some time.

The point is that when they did agree on something, everyone on board took notice. So when word began to spread that the Twins were amiably discussing the strange coincidence that Padre Diego's specified route happened to take them on a wide detour that passed within sight of a miniscule island hosting a stranded, slightly mad pirate... questions began to be asked.

Sunday July 20th, 2014

The exercise:

Baseball Theme Week enters day three with writings that involve: giants.

I picked up twenty pounds of blueberries from one of our fellow farmers market vendors yesterday and we got a start on freezing them last night. That continued today and we've probably got one more batch to go tomorrow.

Combine that with the ten pounds I bought last week and we should have enough in the freezer to get Max through the winter...

Nah, going to need at least another ten pounds next week.


Ivan never understood why everyone he met assumed he was stupid before he could even say a word. They were right, unfortunately, but that didn't make things less confusing to him.

His younger brother Igor, however, knew perfectly well what was going on. Born from the same parents, he was blessed with a similar, hulking physique to his brother, but he still had all the smarts as well. When Ivan was a young boy he was playing with his father's broadsword collection when one came free from its place on the wall and landed flush on his skull - he'd been a bit slow ever since.

But Igor knew that strangers had no knowledge of this incident. Instead they seemed to think that all of their energy and nutrition went into building towering, muscular bodies, leaving little or nothing leftover for the development of silly things like brain cells. Since this was not the case with Igor, and really should not have been the appearance for his brother, he found this incredibly aggravating and generally avoided dealing with other humans.

How, precisely, the brothers came into joint possession of three equally imposing wolves was not something anyone seemed too keen to investigate.

They had been accepted into their current sailing crew with open arms, which made Ivan girlishly happy and Igor deeply suspicious. At least at first. It wasn't long before he understood their appreciation for their ability to do the work of three men each, as well as the extra protection their friends (never, ever pets) brought with them.

After a few months the rest of the crew began to understand that Igor's quiet intelligence dwarfed their own and before he realized what was going on he had been promoted to First Mate. When their captain fell ill several weeks later he assumed that role until the old man's passing, at which point no other choice for the position was given any consideration whatsoever.

Captain Igor was still getting used to the title when his ship, in the midst of a mission given them by Padre Diego, encountered a stranded man on a tiny island. As he watched his brother row the man with the odd beard back to the boat he grew steadily uneasier. Partially because he saw that he was about to meet an equal... in rank only. He worried that his inexperience would make itself known through the wrong word or lack of ceremony.

But mostly his skin began to crawl because something was telling him that they should have left the man to his fate; that whatever circumstances had led to his being on that island, the end result was just. 

That there was something not quite right about the man about to step foot on his ship.

Saturday July 19th, 2014

The exercise:

Baseball Week continues by requesting that your writing has something to do with: pirates. Inclusion of a four line poem not necessary if you're writing a story that connects throughout this theme week, but feel free to do so if you're able to find a way.

We had a bit of a slower market this morning, as a whole lot of vendors had apricots. We still managed to sell most of them but it was definitely not one of our better ones. Especially with our blackberries just getting started and our current run of raspberries coming to an end.

Looking forward to a day off with my family tomorrow.


Captain Lightning Beard, as he insisted on being called, was never a very popular man among his peers. Or his crew, for that matter. His temper was ferocious and violent, even by pirate standards. He preferred motivation through insults and intimidation rather than encouragement and rewards. Loot was rarely split fairly, if he bothered to share it at all.

So it came to no one's surprise (other than to the captain himself) when his most recent collection of mistreated and unappreciated sailors mutinied and left him stranded on an island no bigger than his former cabin.

Lightning Beard survived his first week by drinking heavily (it's impossible to say with certainty how he was able to sneak a bottle or three off of his ship) and sleeping often. The second week was more of a struggle as hunger and sobriety took hold and the sun did its work with few clouds impeding its glare.

He'd taken to using the hook on his left hand to carve short poems into the sand at his feet. His final verse read as follows:

Me crew be dead,
On that ye can bet;
They be in the ground,
They just don't know it yet.

He sat, arms resting on knees, studying his work for quite some time while the fingers of his good hand combed his bushy black beard with its vivid streaks of white and silver. When he looked up and saw the ship on the horizon he thought he was hallucinating, or had simply gone completely mad.

When he heard the wolves howling, he became certain of it.

Friday July 18th, 2014

The exercise:

It's been a while since our last theme week and, if memory serves, even longer since I've used it as an opportunity to tell a tale over seven days. I'd say it's about time to change that.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Baseball Week.

Over the course of the next week we will be writing based on prompts from various Major League Baseball team names. If you're not feeling up to connecting each day's writing that's totally fine, though I'd like to encourage you to do so this time around - I'm making an effort to have a theme within a theme in order to make week long stories a little easier.

Also to make things more manageable? Fridays are usually four lines of prose days and that won't change this week. However Saturday's four line poems and Tuesday's two haiku are out the window. You're welcome to incorporate a poem or haiku (or two!) into your writings on those days but it is absolutely not necessary.

And one last thing: all prompts are plural but you can choose to go with the singular version on any or all days.

Okay, I think that's everything. Let's get this started by writing four lines of prose about: the mariners.

They do not need to be from Seattle. Though they certainly could be.


They took to the seas - ten men, two women, and three loyal to the extreme, highly trained wolves - on a misty spring morning. Sailors dating back several generations (Snarl, Howl, and Whisper included), they were convinced that they were on a mission ordained by the gods.

And they were, most certainly.

It's just that the commission was not handed down by the gods the mariners worshipped, despite what they had been led to believe.

Thursday July 17th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: window shopping.

The car has its new ignition, though I realized this morning I probably should have provided a link to the recall yesterday. Well, better today than not at all, yes?

Spent the morning weeding in the garden with Kat and Becky while Max hung out with his local grandparents. We're making progress out there, slowly but surely.

Oh, that theme week I mentioned yesterday? It's starting tomorrow.

Don't worry, I've got a few tweaks planned to make things more manageable. All will be explained soon.


The display was carefully arranged each morning, with loving care and nearly excessive attention to detail. Each piece had its place, never crowding any other sale item, always adding to the whole.

When the first rays of sunshine landed on the window every morning a collective, audible sigh escaped from the store's employees. It was perfect. Couldn't be better.

If only it could last.

But no, right on schedule Mrs. Strawbucks would arrive ten minutes after opening, her twin hellions in tow. After that it was only a matter of minutes before the boys were jumping and crawling all over the display, ruining everything.

Until the morning one especially motivated employee managed to stick a price tag on each of them and an unsuspecting, overly optimistic retired couple took them away for the low, low price of ten dollars each.

Wednesday July 16th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about something that is or being: among the stars.

So I've got another theme week in the works. Not sure when I'm going to start it, but I'll likely save it until next Monday unless the timing works out better for another day.

Taking the car up to Penticton tomorrow afternoon to finally get the ignition replaced. GM sent out recall notices... I don't even remember when we got our first one. April? Anyway, they admitted there was a defect in their ignition switches but parts weren't currently available. Then parts started becoming available to order so I called the GM dealer in Penticton and had to wait until the parts came in.

They called me back on Monday (which was about a month later than they said it would be in) so I booked an appointment for tomorrow. I'd say it'll be nice to finally have it taken care of... except since then I've received another recall notice for a different issue and you'll never imagine it... but the parts aren't available for that either.

So I guess I'll be going through this again in another... oh, six months or so.


Some might say that I am overshadowed by my sparkling companions. That I will never have songs or poems or stories written about me, that no heartbroken lover will ever beg me for favors.

I am okay with this. All of this. For I know the truth.

It is not a complicated one. In fact, I would say it is quite obvious. So obvious, even, that I suspect everyone knows it... though they may not be aware of it.

For, quite simply, without me, those brilliant, shining lights would garner no fame, no glory, no adoration. Men, women, children... none of them would gaze upward during the night in order to find constellations, comets, meaning... if it were not for me.

I find easy comfort in this knowledge. I know my place in the universe, which is more than most can say.

For I am the background, the foundation, the blackness between the stars.

Tuesday July 15th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: concentration.

Another box day in the books. We had our first sighting of ripe cherry tomatoes in the garden, so I'm hoping there will be enough coming ready this week to include them next time.

Back to weeding tomorrow.


I try to focus
on the task at hand, but then...
Oh! Something shiny!

*     *     *

Drifting lazily
across cloudless skies, yet still
not easy to catch

Monday July 14th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the legend.

Enjoyed a nice family day today. Max took us all by surprise by sleeping in until 9:30 this morning, which almost sort of makes up for all of the lack of sleep last week. Once we got ourselves sorted out we went into town to do some shopping, have some iced tea at a new cafe, and get Max an overdue haircut.

We came prepared for this one, with a little container of blueberries meant to help keep him content. It wasn't really needed though, as he was very calm and cooperative throughout the process. The hairdresser was great with him once again, and he seemed quite pleased with his new word as he kept saying haircut at random intervals. He didn't even want to leave when all was said and done!

This evening I went out to the garden with Becky to get started on our raspberry pick for tomorrow's boxes and managed to get our first two pints of blackberries of the season as well. It's meant to be another hot one tomorrow, so we're aiming for an early start.

After this morning's unexpected sleep in, that means setting the alarm.


There were so very many stories surrounding the old man who lived in the house at the end of the road. They cannot possibly be true, not all of them. It would take three lifetimes to live them all.

So I, like all the other children in our neighborhood, did what was necessary: I picked and chose which ones were true and which were false, to me at least.

Most everyone believed he fought in World War II, but I was one of the few who was sure that he had killed Hitler with his own two hands. If you'd just looked at them closely enough you'd see the Fuhrer's teethmarks.

Not that I ever got that close. I didn't need to.

Back home he caught the largest lobster in the world, in a trap he crafted himself, and then ate it all in one sitting. He burned a church to the ground, he drove a race car from one end of the country to the other and back again and wasn't issued a single speeding ticket. I always said it wasn't that the cops didn't see him, it was just that they couldn't catch him.

I never believed the stuff about him having four wives at the same time. He didn't seem the type. Nor did I trust any fool who claimed that his basement was a high tech vault which contained stolen valuables from around the world.

Obviously the only thing down there was the original copy of the bible.

Our parents thought us kids were silly, playing make believe games about a harmless old gentleman that never bothered nobody. But I'd put good money on the table that said they had their own myths and legends about him.

Because no matter what the truth might have actually been, the stories were far superior.

At least, I'd always thought so. Right up until my phone rang last night.

Sunday July 13th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the findings.

Uncomfortably hot once again today. Managed to avoid the worst of it, surviving until we took Becky to the beach for a BBQ dinner.

I grilled up yams, patty pan, and sausages while Kat prepared a salad. Max, despite once again skipping his afternoon nap, quite enjoyed himself - especially when a fellow beachgoer's dog came over for a visit.

Taking tomorrow morning and afternoon off before beginning the box program harvest tomorrow night.


The investigation had been a lengthy affair, one of the most complicated and confounding tasks our department had ever undertaken. All hands were on deck by the end, with the rest of our projects set to the side until a satisfactory conclusion could be found.

And, eventually, it was. Just in time, too. If things had dragged on much longer we likely would have begun to lose employees, either because they quit or because they died. Exhaustion would have claimed as many victims as old age.

The final report was thicker than a dictionary and was delivered by our department head (with help from his strapping young assistant). I'm told he entered the boardroom with his head held high and his back straighter than it had been in... well, I'm fairly certain he came out of the womb with poor posture.

Our CEO (not the one who had commissioned the report - that one had quit years earlier) seemed suitably impressed as he began to peruse our findings. He was fascinated within hours, carrying on even as the cracks began to appear in his desk from the weight of the thing.

Last I heard, he's nearly halfway through it now, and there's hope that he might finish it before the results are obsolete!

Saturday July 12th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about something or someone that is: picky.

We had a very busy start to the market this morning, as people seemed to be coming out early in order to beat the heat. Things remained pretty steady until around noon, at which point pretty much everybody had either gone home or to the beach.

By that point we only had a few pounds of apricots left, one apple (it drives me a little nuts when someone buys all but the last one like that), several pounds of plums, and about half of the cabbage. Raspberries and green beans had already sold out and we'd done pretty well with our first batch of garlic.

I ended up donating half of the cabbage to the food bank people that come around at the end of every market, and we'll either eat the remaining fruit or save them for the boxes.

All in all a pretty decent market.


He knows what he wants,
It never varies;
So just hand over
All the blueberries

Friday July 11th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: urges.

Raspberries, apricots, apples, plums, cabbage, green beans... oh, and garlic too. That will be our market table tomorrow. Becky will be joining me for the first time and I'm looking forward to sharing the experience with her.

Hopefully the sun will show some mercy on us.


It approaches slowly, unnoticed in its silence and delicate footsteps. There is no fault in not seeing it coming, as no one ever does. If you had some warning of its arrival you might be able to prepare, to fight back, to retain... some semblance of control.

But that, of course, is not how this sort of thing works.

Thursday July 10th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: glass.

This evening Becky helped me harvest all of the garlic in the garden - all 500 plants or so. I brought the truck over, we loaded 12 (I think) very full crates onto the back, and put them on Kat's parents deck to cure for a few days. The next big job will be cleaning them up and getting them ready for storage, which will likely take place over a couple of days next week.

Our heirloom tomatoes have now all been pruned and tied, and the potatoes have been mostly weeded. I think there's just a partial row left to go.

But tomorrow we're back to harvesting, as Saturday's farmers market awaits.


It was a very unusual order. Claude Marcel du Pamplemousse had thought it was a joke at first, some sort of juvenile prank. In his many years as a stained glass maker he had never encountered anything quite like it.

The penmanship was laughable, the requested work was bizarre. Guidelines and details were few and far between and the dimensions of the window openings were approximated.

But then he saw the source of the request and everything made perfect sense: Church of the Children.

Of course, Claude thought. That was why they had listed (in crayon, no less) two cherry stained windows, three blueberry stained windows, a strawberry stained window...

Wednesday July 9th, 2014

The exercise:

Write something which has to do with: glue.

Spent the morning getting caught up on rototilling again while Becky worked on weeding around the potato plants. It was hot, but not unbearably so.

This evening has been much more pleasant than the one I suffered through yesterday. It already felt basically comfortable by 10 pm and we might not need to have the air conditioner going all night.


"This is a bit much, don't you think?"

"Well, you see, I d-"

"Anytime now. Come on."

"I'd really like t-"

"Honestly? Still? Do we have to do this?"

"I'm sorry, I re-"

"Just let go already! I'm not here to set any sort of record for the world's longest handshake!"

"It's like I've been trying to tell you..."

Tuesday July 8th, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: overheating.

Well that was a much more manageable box day. Amazing the difference one person can make.

We even had time for a quick trip to the beach after lunch! Mostly because Max wasn't interested in napping. Also because it was stupid, stupid hot out.

Still is, really. We had to get the air conditioner out of the basement and back into our bedroom window this afternoon. Out here in the living room is still miserably hot though.

I suppose I should go to bed, if for no other reason than to cool off.


Melted thoughts drip out
my ear while my eyes stare at
nothing but thin air

*     *     *

An empty highway,
except for the lone parked car
wreathed in engine smoke

Monday July 7th, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the wrong number.

Becky arrived safe and sound this afternoon, but not without a minor complication. She was supposed to send me a text when her bus was leaving Penticton so that I had an idea of when to expect her but I didn't get anything. Eventually I called the Greyhound station up there to see what time the bus had left, if it had left at all, and was told that it headed our way right on time.

So I went to the bus stop here in town without having heard from her, hoping there was just some sort of mix up. Forgot her phone, phone battery was dead, something like that.

Turns out? She wrote down the wrong number and had been texting somebody else the whole trip. I asked if she got any interesting replies but she said she never heard back.

In other news: Max left his teenage months behind today, as it has now been twenty months since he was born.



A moment of distraction, of not paying quite enough attention to what I was doing. That's all it took. If not for a brief loss of focus none of this would have ever happened.

Is that true? It must be. I find it difficult to comprehend though, that something so minor could lead to something so... life-altering.

What if I had written the number down more clearly? What if I had remembered hearing them in a different order and recognized my error before it was too late?

But I did not. So I parked my car at the curb and strolled confidently toward the front door, leaving the traitorous piece of paper in the glove box. I knocked with a firm hand, not too loud, not too softly. The flowers were tucked behind my back, safely out of sight and ready to be flourished at just the right time.

And then... surprise! You opened the door. Not at all who I was expecting.

But, perhaps, exactly who I needed.

Sunday July 6th, 2014

The exercise:

It's time for our seventh visit to the world of Vancouver Irrealis.

Took the time this morning to once again shave the ridiculous growth on my face that has been masquerading as a beard. After that I went to the beach with Kat and Max, which was nice. We got him in the water very briefly and then he just wanted to stand on the beach and throw rocks into the lake.

This afternoon I finally fixed the hand towel rack in the bathroom - it wasn't put in properly to begin with and it had been slowly getting more and more loose. Last week (or was it the week before?) it came all the way out, leaving behind two big holes. So I screwed a block of wood over the holes and attached the rack to that instead.

I also weeded around the tents in our backyard, since Becky will be arriving tomorrow afternoon and I'd like her to be able to find hers without needing a guide or a machete.


"Do you know who took my place back there when I came here?" Tristam had to run that through his head a couple of times to make sure it made sense.

"Puy." Terpe sipped from his cup and looked as though that was all he was going to say. But then Rewand gave him a suggestive cough and Anne-Marie shot him a threatening look and he continued after a quiet laugh. "Her name is N-"

"Her?" Tristam was certain that he'd misheard.

"Puy. That's how it goes... huh, sometimes. Why, does that make you... huh, uncomfortable? You must be wondering what she's doing with your b-"

"Just get on with it," Anne-Marie said before Tristam could reply.

"Fine by me." Another sip. "Her name is Nkare Sonsimp. Been in and out of jail since she was old enough to hold a knife. Her crimes grew steadily more serious, and then more gruesome. Never stayed locked up for long though. Always found that... huh, interesting."

"Never ceases to surprise me," Rewand murmured, "what friends in high places can do for a person."

"Puy. So she's playing over in your world," a thick finger leveled at Tristam, "and somebody doesn't want her coming back until she's finished doing... huh, whatever it is they want her to do. That's why the search for you has been so... huh, intense."

"If I understand how this all works," Tristam said slowly, massaging his temples with his forefingers, "she comes back here as soon as I return there. Right?" Three sets of solemnly nodding heads. "Okay. So how do I get back home?"

"It's... complicated," Rewand replied with a grimace. Just as Tristam was about to demand a better answer a sound in the street below the apartment snapped all heads in the room in its direction. An eternal second of silence passed before Terpe spoke.


Saturday July 5th, 2014

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: location(, location, location).

We're fortunate to be farming in a place where the weather often allows us to have the first fruit in the region. The apricots that were picked here for the first time yesterday likely won't be ready at any of the other farms who attend the market in Penticton until sometime next week.

Which means we were the only ones selling them this morning.

Which, at least in part, explains why we sold all of the 300 pounds of apricots we brought with us, with the last pound leaving the table shortly before 12:30. The fact that they were big and beautiful and delicious did the rest of the work for us.

Since we are between helpers, Kat and Max came up with me in the truck early this morning. Max spent most of the drive playing a harmonica that our bakery friends lent (gave?) us. It was pretty amazing how far he progressed in less than an hour.

He then proceeded to spend the market stealing raspberries, apricots, and cherries off of the table (in between going for walks and listening to buskers).

Good day, but I am very tired and ready for bed now. How tired am I? I originally spelled lent in the fifth paragraph as leant. And I was very confused, if only for a moment, as to why that wasn't right.

Good night.


A world class realtor
Finally met his match
When he was tasked with selling
A dress shop in a briar patch

Friday July 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about something that is: too much.

Spent most of the day picking raspberries for tomorrow's market. Hard to say how many pints I managed to get, as we ran out of the containers we'd been using and their replacements are slightly larger. No idea what to call that size, but it has made things a little awkward.

Anyway, the true stars of the show will be our first apricots of the year. Though I imagine at least a few people will be excited to see the Transparent apples as well.


I want so badly to continue on but I cannot. The pain is too intense, the challenge is over and above my abilities, with a reward not large enough to push me beyond my limits. It is simply all too much.

So, while it dismays me deeply, I fear that I must withdraw from this ice cream eating contest, though I am only on my tenth bowl.

Thursday July 3rd, 2014

The exercise:

Our word for today is: perturbed.

Why? Because it's one of those words I like for no particular reason. The sound of it, I suppose.

Woke up this morning to an email from a potential new WWOOFer, looking to come soon and stay until the middle of August. Obviously we jumped all over that one, replying from my phone while I was out weeding carrots with Kat.

We had a quick Skype chat before dinner and Becky will be joining us either on Monday (preferably) or Tuesday next week. Very excited by this development.

Max did not nap this afternoon. This made for a long day for all of us. Thankfully he went to bed early tonight but I'm still missing my usual nap.



That's what I was. No getting around it, no explaining it away. Didn't matter how unreasonable, how utterly unfounded it was. The feeling was inescapable.

I guess it didn't help that I was alone. The complete lack of light probably didn't help matters either. Odd noises coming from creatures I couldn't see? Yeah, there were those too. Couldn't have even told you where in the house they were emanating from.

I should have just manned up and gone to bed. Ignored the uneasiness, the sounds, the smell my imagination had cooked up. Oh, did I forget to mention the smell?

How to describe it? A mix of gasoline, stale cigarettes, and... maybe a touch of damp earth. Ridiculous, right? I know, I know.

Should have written it off as foolishness, childish fears playing tricks with me. But I didn't. Couldn't, really.

I had to go investigate.

Wednesday July 2nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the selection.

Apparently the temperatures today peaked at 35 degrees. It still feels like 30 right now (apparently it's 23... but feels like 28, so I'm not far off).

I weeded around our squash, potatoes, and zucchini this morning, as well as pruned and tied some tomato plants. Kat went out after dinner and continued on with our attempts to salvage our carrots. Max, for the third evening in a row, tried to eat as many raspberries off the canes as he could get his hands on.

Ripe, unripe, who cares? Just get in my belly.

At least Kat's dad has been around to convince him to leave the garden to go play by their house until one of us comes to collect him.

I'm ridiculously behind on comments once again. I should do something about that.


The candidates are not perfectly equal, but they might as well be. One's weakness is the other's strength and, inevitably, vice versa. The first has youth and exuberance, the second age and experience.

It hardly seems fair to choose one over the other, regardless of how I do it. I'd hire both but the men who control the purse strings have made it very clear that there is only enough money available for one.

Maybe they should pick the winner then.

No, that's my job. This is my job. If I hand over the decision to them I might as well request my walking papers at the same time.

So. Who to choose? Either one will be an excellent fit with the company, so there's no losing here. Not for us, anyway. Just for the one I don't hire.

I can feel the ulcer forming in my stomach already. I need to get this over with. Oh well, here it goes.

Eeny, meeny, miny...

Tuesday July 1st, 2014

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: endings.

Happy Canada Day!

To celebrate, Kat and I harvested all morning for this week's boxes. Genevieve overdid it yesterday in the heat and was not feeling up to helping us (especially right before a long drive home to Calgary), so we did it ourselves.

Definitely a longer day than the last three Tuesdays have been, but we got it done.

Now to up the search for help...


Our time together
has come to its end; I would
do it all again.

*     *     *

Haiku should end at
just the right spot, but I can't
seem to figure this