Tuesday June 30th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the informant.

Since it was such a small pick for locals this morning I took care of it by myself (with a little help from Kat last night when she collected two thirds of the raspberries we needed). That freed up Kat to take Max up to Penticton to run several errands.

While they were gone I harvested the remaining raspberries, three heads of broccoli, three bunches of carrots, two cabbages, two bags of salad mix, and two bags of kale. I also put together a ten pound order of apricots. Unfortunately I didn't finish early enough to get some weeding done, but at least I was out of the heat before noon.

Max had a little nap on the way back home, which meant he fell asleep tonight around 10, instead of his usual 7 (I'm not sure how a half hour nap pushes his bedtime back by three hours, but whatever). So the three of us went out to the garden after dinner to weed and mulch and eat strawberries.

The eating was mostly Max. Though he did manage to stuff one in my mouth while I was mulching.


I'm an informant,
so don't you dare call me a
dirty little snitch

*     *     *

I'll drop the dime on
any friend of mine - so, yeah,
I'll hide the body...

Monday June 29th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: nimble.

This morning's weather was certainly... eventful. While Rebecca and I were weeding and mulching the new strawberry patch we had a nice cool breeze, a heavy drizzle, a calm stretch, a heavy downpour, another calm stretch, another downpour, and then finished off with a round of blue skies and heat.

My body was feeling a little confused after all that.

Spent the afternoon with Max who was, for whatever reason, bursting with energy. It was a little hard to keep up with, but I managed.

We've got a fairly small harvest for local orders tomorrow, so I'm hoping it goes quickly enough that there will be time to do some weeding as well.

Edit: crap, I forgot I was going to talk about Max's response to the water bombers. I guess I'll save that for Wednesday.


Everyone who met Bo agreed that he was surprisingly agile for someone his size. They would watch with unconcealed amazement as he spun and leapt and spun until most folks would fall over in a dizzy heap but instead paused for a moment... and then started his routine all over again.

His balance was spectacular. The steepest railings and narrowest branches were no match for him. No one had ever seen him so much as slip, never mind fall.

Should you be foolish enough to play tag with him, Bo would evade you as though you were both in the ocean... only he was an eel and you were a tugboat. The way he deked and juked reminded onlookers of NFL running backs. Some even suggested that arena as a professional future, with the shrewder among those offering to be his agent.

But the football field was never where Bo was destined to perform. That was simply not the direction his genetics and role model pointed him in.

No, Bo was undoubtedly going to follow in his father's footsteps to become an elite, world-renowned cat burglar. That much was clear, even though Bo was only two years old.

Sunday June 28th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something in the style of: Dr. Seuss.

Greg, I trust that you've had time to do your homework since the last time the good doctor was mentioned here on the blog?

The lightning last night set off a number of fires in the hills around us - that we can see, at least. I would not be surprised to learn that there are more which are out of our sight lines, as there were a whole lot of strikes during that storm.

Anyway. The closest cluster is on our side of the lake, maybe (and I hesitate to throw this out there as I am a horrible judge of distance) five kilometers away. We had a pretty good view of the water bombers doing their work this evening, at any rate.

Max was... let me just say excited for now. I will provide more details tomorrow, if I remember.


On our farm we farm without harm. Except of course for weeds and other necessary dirty deeds.

Indeed those weeds simply have to go. Go where? Go here, go there, I don't know! Just, please, do not grow around my plants, or even in the rows!

When I see a weed I stop! Then I hop! Then I pull and yank and chop until that weed goes plop!

Then I feel very good, just like I should! Do I wish to do it again? I would!

When I see another weed has gone astray my happiness goes away. So I carry on without delay, saving play for another day, as I pull and yank and chop and slay until... okay... I can say...

Nope! Another weedy dope! Time to act, don't give them hope!

So it goes, day after day after day... and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday June 27th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about (or by, I suppose): Elvis.

It was a bit of a weird market this morning - the customers seemed more picky than usual, and not as happy as they tend to be, overall. Maybe something to do with the heat, I suppose. But I think it had more to do with the two festivals going on around us (one of which was the Penticton Elvis Festival). I'm thinking people who don't typically attend farmers markets but decided to check things out since we were right there.

Whatever it was, our end result was still very good. We brought 20 crates of apricots and only came back with 4 and a quarter. Our peas didn't sell very well but we did move some, same with the broccoli. We brought home a pint of raspberries, which is ridiculously rare, but we did sell the other 29 so... I'm trying to focus on that.

I took Rebecca with me and left Kat and Max at home to escape the heat. Well, not especially true. I left them to go to the beach in the morning and Kat's parents (air conditioned) house in the afternoon to beat the heat.

And now... there's a thunderstorm going on outside. So maybe I should get this done and posted before the power decides to go out.


I don't want to be me,
Not anymore at least;
I watch in confusion
While others play my role

Friday June 26th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose which take place in: the wasteland.

Off to the market tomorrow, need sleep, talk more later.


It is silent here now. Car alarms have faded away, all the glass that could be broken has been shattered. No dogs or cats or even birds disturb the long lingering hush.

But that does not mean we are alone.

Thursday June 25th, 2015

The exercise:

I am feeling a touch random tonight. Random Book Prompt random, you ask?


So find a book, as randomly as you like. Off your shelf, perhaps. Personally I hit up Amazon and used their Look Inside! feature to find mine. I prefer to use books that I haven't read yet, but you guys are free to ignore that option.

Anyway. Borrow the first line of your chosen book and use it as your opening, then take it from there.

I spent some time this morning mulching the new strawberries and also weeding around the blackberries... because those guys are coming on quick. So it would be nice to be able to access them a little more easily before they're ripe and ready to come off the bushes.

Tomorrow morning we're back to harvesting for the market. Kat and I will be picking raspberries, strawberries, snow and shelling peas, and broccoli. Kat's parents will be collecting apricots and the first apples of the year - transparents.

It's going to be a hot one, so we're hoping for an early start to beat the worst of the heat.


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks. I approach cautiously, half expecting to find a severed limb, but none await my inspection. I crouch down and find the blue shirt and khaki pants are spotless, not even a speck of dirt sullies their surface. They smell worn but not sweaty.

I look up and down the tracks and find no other evidence of humanity.

Not expecting to find anything, I check the pant pockets. I find exactly what I figured I would: nothing. A wallet containing photo ID would have been ideal but I would have been happy with car keys or even a shopping list.

A suicide note? Yeah, maybe I'd been preparing myself for that.

The discarded clothes are devoid of clues though. Is this some sort of elaborate joke? I can't imagine this trail gets much foot traffic. Maybe a passenger was drying their outfit by holding it out of their window and then... whoops, there it goes, fluttering away with no hope of stopping the train to retrieve them.

Is there a man out there somewhere in only his underwear and socks, trying to figure out how to escape his train without being seen? An amusing thought, surely, but somehow...

Somehow it feels like there is more to this than that. Something that doesn't have such a light and happy ending.

Wednesday June 24th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the light.

With Rebecca and her boyfriend's help the raspberries were fully harvested by shortly after 10 this morning. The remainder of our time in the garden was spent mulching the new strawberry patch, which I'm hellbent on being better managed than the current patch that is drawing to a close this season.

So, yeah, felt good to get going with that.

This evening Rebecca's boyfriend, who is originally from Mexico, made us tacos with salsa and guacamole for dinner. Uh... yum? Yes, yum.

He's heading back to Vancouver tomorrow but is planning on returning for another visit in July. He is, needless to say, welcome back at any time.


"You got a light?"

That's how it all started, with those four little words. I was standing on a bustling sidewalk, part of a crowd of people waiting to get into a night club. Everyone else seemed to be part of a group, doused in cheap cologne, perfume, and pre-drinks, but I was on my own.

I wonder if that's why she chose to approach me.

"Yeah, I do," I said. I started to reach for my lighter but then I noticed she didn't have a cigarette in her hand or, more noticeably, between her ruby red lips. "Uh... do you need one?"

"Not yet," she said with a smile and a wink, then turned and disappeared back into the crowd.

I tried to watch her go, craning my head this way and that, getting up on my toes. But it was like she was a ghost that had appeared only for me - no one else even seemed to notice her.

I shook my head, eventually, and returned to whatever thoughts were occupying my brain. School, most likely, but I can't say for sure now. That would have been as good a reason as any for me to hit the bar solo on a Wednesday night.

After a wait that lasted far too long (as per usual) I managed to escape the outside world and find solace in the dark, pounding heart of the club. I went straight to the bar (also as per usual) and ordered a drink. While I waited for my overpriced rum and coke, she appeared at my elbow.

"Hi again." Good lord, that smile. She must have practiced it. If she'd always smiled like that she must have been pretty damned used to getting her way with the boys.

"Hey." Ah, I was a smooth one.

"You still got that light?" I pretended not to hear, forcing her to ask again closer to my ear. Okay, maybe I was a little bit smooth.

"We're not allowed to smoke inside," I replied, feeling like a bore. Uncool, actually. And I so desperately wanted to seem cool to her.

"Oh, I know that, silly." Her eyes twinkled and she bumped her shoulder into mine, playfully. My knees went weak and I had to hold on to the bar in order to remain upright.

"Then why do you need a light?" I tried for teasing but I felt like I was coming across closer to stupid.

"I forgot mine at home," she said with a cute little shrug. "So how else am I going to burn this place to the ground?"

Tuesday June 23rd, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: chores.

Had a successful harvest for local customers today. We're still working on the raspberries for the bakery, but hopefully that won't take too much of tomorrow morning to finish off.

Speaking of raspberries... I took a break from picking this morning in order to take a couple pictures. I like this one best:

Pretty sure I haven't shared a picture of anything with you guys in ages. Sorry about that. It's partially because I haven't been taking very many lately, but mostly because the ones I have taken are living on either my camera or my phone.

Strange how big a step that transition can seem sometimes...


Don't want to do that.
Don't want to do that either.
Got anything else?

*     *     *

Spring shifts to summer;
Cleanliness is forgotten
Until fall returns

Monday June 22nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something that is: faulty.

Inspired by the weed eater refusing to work this morning. Kat's dad took it in to have it looked at this afternoon and the problem turned out to be a filter that needs cleaning twice a year. I'm guessing it's never been cleaned. So at least that's taken care of now.

I ended up doing some hand weeding in the garden and then took another chunk out of the weeds by our raspberries. The second variety that we grow is coming into season and my goodness are they ever big. I'm looking forward to picking those tomorrow.

Rebecca is returning this evening and she's bringing her boyfriend with her. Not sure exactly how long he'll be staying, maybe until the weekend, but for however long it ends up being it'll be nice to have another set of hands around to help out, as he sounds quite eager to be a part of things on the farm.


Vincent was having a great deal of difficulty focusing on the task at hand. He could feel the weight of the onlookers stares on his shoulder blades. Sweat was beginning to slip from his brow and into his eyes. His fingers felt as though they were growing thicker and more clumsy with each passing second.

"Maybe jiggle it a bit?"

And, oh yes, the well-meant suggestions. They kept battering into him like boulders careening down a mountain.

"Have you tried unplugging it and then plugging it back in again?"

Vincent forced himself to breathe in through his nostrils and out through his mouth. It didn't really calm him down, but it seemed to be holding his temper in check. Which was definitely something.

"Do I get to leave if this muttonhead can't figure it out?"

Vincent turned at this, his eyes going hard. He knew that voice. He'd been hearing far too much of it recently.

"You don't get to walk," he told the man strapped to the electric chair, "just because the switch is acting up. It might take a while, so you best get yourself comfy. But not, you know, too comfy..."

Sunday June 21st, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the father and the son.

Had a pretty pleasant Father's Day here, capped off with a BBQ at the beach with Kat's family. Max spent quite a bit of time in the water while I was cooking the salmon, but promises of Kat's potato salad and chocolate dessert managed to get him back on dry land eventually.

Plus we somehow got him home before he fell asleep, so no awkward transition from car seat to bed was required.

Back to the garden tomorrow. Can't remember at the moment what I was thinking of working on. Feeling pretty okay about that.


"Hey Dad, I've got a question for you."

"Sure. Fire away."

"I was talking with some of the guys at school during lunch today."

"Okay... that always leads to something interesting."

"I know, right? So a couple guys were going on about church stuff and I ended up feeling a little confused."

"Church stuff, huh? All right, not my area of expertise, but I'll do what I can to help you out."

"Cool. So, like, you're the father, right?"

"Uh... yes?"

"And I'm the son."


"Well... then who is our holy ghost?"

"Our... um, we don't have one of those."

"What about Auntie Bernice? She passed away last year, right?"

"Son, if Aunt Bernice is still hanging around... she would not be a holy ghost."

Saturday June 20th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: bad habits.

The strawberries were sold to fellow vendors before the market opened this morning. The raspberries eventually sold out as well. As did the peas (the shelling peas disappeared in the blink of an eye, while the last bag of snow peas sat on the table for a long, long time). Sold four (I think) of my greeting cards. The cherries sold steadily throughout the day, but we fell about half a crate shy of selling out.

Which still made for a very good market.

Now I am pretty much exhausted and ready for a day off.


Writing, reading, working,
There are deadlines to keep;
But then before you know it,
I've fallen asleep...

Friday June 19th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose which take place within the confines of: the flower shop.

We're all set for tomorrow's farmers market, with a cooler full of cherries (another 20 crates this week because we might as well), raspberries (34 pints!), snow peas and shelling peas (10 bags total), and... 8 pints of strawberries.

What can I say? The new patch is producing strawberries already and I am incapable of letting them go to waste out there.

Rebecca has returned to Vancouver for a few days to attend a friend's wedding, but Kat's brother will be joining us at the market. It'll be nice to have his help, both at the stall and with keeping Max entertained.


Shards of glass rest in puddles of water. Dead petals lie in clusters as more fall gently down to join them. A trail of blood leads to the back door.

There was love here, once, but now it is no more.

Thursday June 18th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the destroyer.

This morning I began work on our sprinkler rows, one of my least favorite jobs on the farm. They run between the garden plots and cannot be tilled by the tractor because the lines run too close to the surface (not to mention the bits where the actual sprinklers stick up out of the ground). So that means we either weed spray them (no thank you, not right next to our veggies) or use the weed eater on them.

I do not enjoy using the weed eater. It is loud and heavy and awkward and it makes my hands sore.

Anyway, I managed to get a row fully done, leaving three to go. It was probably the least overgrown of the bunch, but I had to start somewhere and I figured the least problematic row was the way to go.

During breaks from that I did a bit of hand weeding around the broccoli, beets, and carrots. I'm quite pleased with how little weeding remains to be done in the garden itself.

Now if only the same could be said about the sprinkler rows...


"He's gone missing."

"Who has?"

"Who... are you serious? Are you being serious right now?"

"Uh... yeah? I don't know who you're talking about."

"This is unbelievable. I just... I just don't even know you. Maybe I should just go."

"Or... maybe you could tell me what the hell you're going on about?"

"If you don't already know then I'm not sure why I should even bother."


"All right, fine. The Destroyer's gone missing."

"The who now?"

"The... seriously?"

"Oh, just get on with it!"

"The Destroyer. That's my nickname for my right bicep. I was just in the weight room an-"

"You have a nickname for your right bicep?"

"You don't?"

"... just finish the story."

"I was just in the weight room and, as you well know, Thursdays are arm days. I was doing curls and... and... I couldn't curl my usual dumbbell with my right arm. It's like... The Destroyer vanished on me or something! I don't understand it, man. I just... I just don't!"

"How tragic. I'm leaving now."

Wednesday June 17th, 2015

The exercise:

This afternoon I asked Max what today's prompt should be. He said canvas, so here we are. Write something to do with: the canvas.

Final tally for the bakery was ten pounds of raspberries, which is pretty impressive. I delivered them after lunch but in between finishing the pick and that, Rebecca and I took a serious chunk out of the wilderness of weeds that had cropped up around the raspberries and blackberries. Hoping to take another chunk out of that tomorrow and maybe even finish the job.

I'm trying to get this done relatively early so that I have time to start catching up on comments, so away I go.


"Pleasure doing business with you," Duke Damien called over his shoulder as he exited the art gallery. "See you again next week."

Rosalie, the gallery's curator, raised a hand in farewell but said nothing. She did not believe for one moment that he was actually a Duke, though that did nothing to prevent her from displaying his work on her walls. It was simply another reason to dislike the man.

If his paintings did not have such a devoted following her feelings on the matter would have been drastically different. But they sold, week after week, ridiculously overpriced as they were.

Rosalie did not understand the appeal.

She considered the scenes uninteresting and poorly executed. The colours looked cheap (she was fairly certain they were cheap but after the first sale she couldn't bring herself to take a closer look) and the brush strokes were comparable to a drunken toddler's (yes, she'd seen some, and no, she wouldn't provide details if you inquired).

For some reason she could not fathom, they sold like nothing before them. The commissions were extraordinary, but she was unable to let it go. There was something going on, something secret, that some part of her needed to uncover.

And then, at long last, she finally inspected the canvasses upon which the Duke's art was painted...

Tuesday June 16th, 2015

The exercise:

We're going to do some continuations today. And yes, it is still Two Haiku Tuesday.

I'll get things started, and then the next person to post gets to continue the story from where I left it. Carry it on as far as you can with your two haiku and then the next writer gets to go from there.

I'm fully aware we have no hope of completing a story in the span of three or four haiku. But let's be honest: we've never finished a story doing continuations in the usual prose-y manner either. So I figured why not mix things up a bit?

If things get interesting I might bring us back to this tale next Tuesday. We'll see how things go.

Picked lots of peas and raspberries today. Kat picked lots of greens and raspberries. We filled all our local orders, though two people did not pick theirs up - one due to car trouble (she'll be by tomorrow morning), the other because, presumably, she forgot. We still haven't heard from her.

Tomorrow morning I'll finish the remaining raspberries with Rebecca for the bakery and then we shall weed the garden. Looking forward to it.


In the middle of
a land of sand a young man
chose to build a home.

Above his door he
hung a sign that read: Don't ya
knawk less yer 'bout dead

Monday June 15th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the last chance.

I am, once again, horribly behind on replying to comments. I will try to get going with that in the next couple of days.

Spent the morning weeding in the garden, the afternoon hanging out with Max, and the evening... hanging out with Max while he should have been sleeping.

Back out to the garden tomorrow morning to harvest peas and raspberries for local orders.


"Take me back, baby - please!"

She looks at him for a while, watches him squirm. Her face is impassive, her eyes dry. She says nothing.

"Come on, you know I love you!"

It is difficult for her to resist rolling her eyes at this, but she manages. She has heard this before.

"Look, I know I screwed up, okay? Big time! I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."

Her jaw tenses for a moment before she is able to force it to relax. He is being unwise. She does not want to be reminded of his transgressions. It would be in his best interests if she never thought of them again.

"I'll make it up to you!"

This has her attention. She arches an eyebrow, cocks her head to the right. A single word escapes her lips.


The words come tumbling out now, seemingly racing each other out of his mouth. She listens. Eventually he stumbles to a halt. He waits, his expression pained, hopeful. She considers what she has just been told, a little longer than absolutely necessary.

She smiles.

"One last chance."

Sunday June 14th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the cow.

Had a fairly quiet day off, spent mostly on the farm. We had a little BBQ at the beach with Kat's brother this evening that we'd hoped would be a little more well attended, but Rebecca was feeling tired and needed to get some school work done and another family we'd invited weren't able to make it either.

It was still nice though.

Feeling mostly ready to get back to the garden tomorrow. Hopefully a decent night's sleep will get me the rest of the way there.


She's at peace with the world,
Or so it seems.
We see the outside but
What's in her dreams?

As she chomps and she chews,
What does she think?
Does she daydream or is
She on the brink?

Of a nervous breakdown,
A killing spree?
Whatever it may be...
I'll be ready.

*rests a loaded shotgun against his shoulder*

Saturday June 13th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: speed.

The strawberries were sold by 8:40 (I think. I was too busy to notice the exact time).

All but one of the raspberry pints were gone by mid-morning (that last one hung out for a long, long time by itself. I was feeling rather bad for it until someone finally came along and rescued it).

I have no idea when the last Moroccan mint plant sold (I don't think I personally sold any of the five we brought).

The last bag of snow peas... mid-morning maybe? Hard to say (again, too busy with cherries to notice the time).

The last three pounds of cherries sat on the table for probably twenty minutes. Then a guy came along and bought all of them - marking their sellout point at 12:40.

So for the last twenty minutes of the market we were down to one table (from the three we started with), selling nothing but my cards and prints.

That was a good market.


Faster, faster, zoom, zoom,
That's another one gone!
We're all sold out so soon?
It isn't even dawn!

Friday June 12th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about being: pushed around.

That's how I felt while picking strawberries and raspberries this afternoon in very, very strong winds. The raspberries were especially fun, what with the canes blowing all over the place, keeping berries out of reach and thorny bits dancing around my face.

Totals for the day: 20 pints of strawberries, 27 pints of raspberries. My feeling at the moment is that was the final major strawberry pick of the year, which I'm more than ready for. Kat also harvested five bags worth of snow peas and her parents got the... what was it again?

Ah, right. Cherries. Eighteen crates of them. And they're planning on getting us two or three more before I pack up the truck tomorrow morning.

It's going to be a busy market. Good thing Kat's brother and Rebecca will be chipping in to help get us through it. Wish us luck!


After far too many years, he had finally grown tired of his treatment. Forced to go this way and that at the whim of others, never consulted as to which direction he wished to go in. No more, at last.

It was time for the grocery cart to lose a wheel and be left to his own devices.

Thursday June 11th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the disappearance.

I've actually used this prompt twice before, but it's been over four years since the last time so I felt it was fair game to bring it around again.

This morning I finished tilling the remainder of our paths in the garden, which is a pretty great feeling (other than the feeling of my hand cramping up if I lift anything heavy - I barely got through the dishes tonight thanks to our cast iron pan). Then I did some hand weeding around our pepper plants, onions, and leeks.

It's almost like we're on top of things out there.

The 'no picking strawberries' thing suffered a close call though. While I was working Kat and Max were showing Rebecca around the farm. I was having a water break when Max made a break for the raspberry canes. I kept an eye on him from a distance and he came back out pretty quickly... and then headed for the strawberries.

"Where you going?" I asked.

"I'm going to pick strawberries and then eat them," he replied. "You want to pick some strawberries with me?"

I was strong and said no. He didn't care. He was off to eat strawberries.

I actually had other things I wanted to mention as well but this is getting long enough. I do need to use space for one last thing before I get to the prompt though: happy birthday Dad!


"I know I left them around here somewhere," Gary's father muttered as he passed through the living room for the ninth (or was it tenth?) time.

"I'm sure you did, Dad." Gary sipped from his glass as he watched his old man shuffle by.

"Help me find them, then!"

"That wouldn't do you any good," Gary said, giving his now empty glass a shake and a stern look. "If you rely on me finding things your brain will go to mush even faster."

"Well we're not getting out of here until I find my keys!" The shout came from down the hall somewhere - likely the kitchen.

"I know, Dad." Gary reached for the bottle of expensive whiskey and poured himself another drink. As he did so a soft jingle could be heard in his jacket pocket. "Trust me, I know."

Wednesday June 10th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about: the fixer upper.

This morning I weeded one of our sections of carrots and then I used the rototiller to clean up the paths between several rows of plantings. It was glorious to do something other than pick strawberries.

Oh, and then I picked two more pints of strawberries for a customer who was coming by this afternoon.

Because of course I did.

Tomorrow though! Tomorrow I shall pick no strawberries.

Rebecca got off to a late start today, as her parents home flooded this morning. She stuck around to help out and do some plumbing (sounds like we've got a handywoman around the farm for the next while - I could get used to that) and then she hit the road. She didn't arrive until just after dark (she was dropping a friend off in Penticton and stayed to visit for a bit), but she did at last arrive.



"So... what do you think?" The real estate agent gave us her best smile and flourished her arm with an ease and grace which spoke to countless hours of practice in front of her bathroom mirror.

"Of the house?" I asked. Other reasonable options: of her, of the choices we'd made in our lives to reach that place and time, and of our chances of escaping with our sanity still intact.

"Yes, silly! Of course the house!" She laughed then. I was reminded of girls in my high school that laughed like that. I hated them all.

"Well, where should I begin?" It was an honest question, as it was difficult for me to pinpoint a starting point in that mess. Thankfully my wife was more prepared for the occasion.

"Maybe the hole on that wall, where I would assume a safe was once located?"

"Oh, that..."

"Or perhaps the pile of ash in the corner which, if I had to guess, was where they piled up all the furniture in the house and burned it. You know, judging by the smoke stains in that area."

"Nothing a good-"

"No, no. Let's just start with the man in the leg cast, who utterly reeks of booze, sleeping on the mattress in the middle of the kitchen?"

"Darlings, you did say you were in the market for a fixer upper, didn't you?"

Tuesday June 9th, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the cheapskate.

Sorry for the late posting. Apparently I fell asleep on the couch for a very long time and when I woke up I was too groggy to figure out what was going on, so I just went to bed instead.

That may or may not have had something to do with picking strawberries all morning. And then again all evening. At least that's done for now.

Rebecca didn't arrive on Monday as planned, due to some issues with her truck brakes. That should be all sorted out now and we're expecting her sometime on Wednesday morning.

Oh, hey - seven years ago I started this blog. Happy blogaversary to Daily Writing Practice!


He cuts his own hair.
Well, that's not so bad, is it?
With borrowed scissors.

*     *     *

His clothes are ninth-hand,
His watch fake, and he's banned from
All all-you-can-eats

Monday June 8th, 2015

The exercise:

Write something that has to do with: don't look back.

Mine is a song that was inspired by a TV show Kat and I have been watching on Netflix. It got stuck in my head while I was working in the garden today, so I figured I should probably get it out - at least as much of it as I can remember.

I'm not going to say which one, because it's mildly embarrassing to admit that I've written a song based on any TV show, much less this one. So feel free to guess but I won't be responding to any of them.

Spent this morning and evening picking strawberries. There are still more to be picked tomorrow morning. Pretty sure my back is about to go on strike.


Don't look back when you walk away
Please baby please
Just keep looking straight ahead
And I hope that you'll see
Somebody's waiting for you there
And he's a whole lot better than me
A whole lot better than me
A whole lot better than me

We're still young enough
For me to say
We've got a lot more tomorrows
Than we had yesterdays
So don't waste your time thinking about
All that went wrong
It's too far away now
Yeah it's long gone
Keep your eyes on the horizon
And keep carrying on
Yeah keep carrying on
Just carry on

Don't look back when you walk away
Please baby please
Keep looking straight ahead
And I hope that you'll see
Somebody's waiting for you there
And he's a whole lot better than me
A whole lot better than me
Yeah so much better than me

Our lips already said
Their goodbyes
I don't wanna say it again
With our eyes
I don't think
I'd survive
So remember me
As the guy
Who stood strong
In his lie
Not the one who's watching you go
And starting to cry

Just don't look back when you walk away
Please baby please
Keep looking straight ahead
And I hope that you'll see
Somebody's waiting for you there
And he's a whole lot better than me
A whole lot better than me
So much better than me
Please baby please
Don't look back
Oh, don't look back at me

Sunday June 7th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: vicious.

Good lord it is hot here. I think the high was 35 this afternoon, but the house is still sweltering as midnight approaches. All the windows are open and we've got the fan going... but I think it's about time to get the air conditioner in our bedroom window again.

Max's cousin and aunt returned north today, which was sad. But this time is different. This time they'll be back in just over a month. And that time? That'll be the last time.

Any day now the foundations will be laid for their new house on the farm. It's not looking like it'll be completed before they move down, so they'll be joining Kat's brother at their parent's house for what should hopefully be only a few weeks.

And then... then Max will have two houses he'd rather be at than his own.


"When I throw them out I don't want them to come back. I hope that the struggle to return here is so long and arduous that they die of starvation. I hope that on their journey back to this place that they fall prey to a predator - preferably one who gifts them with a slow, painful death."

"I'm n-"

"I want them to get so lost that they never find their way back. Death by exposure to the elements? Sounds about right to me. Failing that, I want them to take so long in returning that by the time they do get here no food remains for them to eat."

"That sounds a little... vicious, don't you think?  I mean, they're just bugs, after all."

"These bloody little bugs are eating my bloody strawberries!"

Saturday June 6th, 2015

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: balancing.

So we ended up with 52 pints of strawberries, as Kat's dad was helping us pick yesterday and his pints needed some topping up. We had another 3 set aside for a friend and 2 pints of raspberries set aside for an extremely loyal customer, which left 49 pints of strawberries and 9 pints of raspberries on the table to start the day.

They were all gone by 8:50.

Just a quick reminder: the market opens at 8:30.

Nuts. Utterly nuts. Shame we didn't have more, but I'm hopeful that with a warm week of weather ahead of us we'll have better numbers next Saturday.

The rest of the market was pretty slow (most anything would be after that start) but we did manage to sell some more tomato and pepper plants, along with a few Moroccan mint plants. When we got home from the market we tossed the remaining tomato plants, as we have enough for our garden and there's really no use in continuing to bring them to market at this point.

Plus, you know, next weekend we'll have cherries for the first time and that will keep us plenty busy.


Serenely swaying down the street,
A full water jug on her head;
Not a single drop will be spilled,
Or her husband will see red.

Friday June 5th, 2015

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose that have something to do with: thrown away.

I guess the rain and cooler weather really slowed things down with the strawberries, as we only got 55 pints out of our patch this morning. Had they been peaking as I was expecting them to (aka warmer weather this week) I would have expected around 100.

Oh well, can't control the weather, blah blah blah.

We also got 11 pints of raspberries, so at least those guys appreciated what Mother Nature tossed our way this week.

Max spent the vast majority of the day running around with Natalie (including literally running around in circles while the rest of us ate dinner) and then cratered after dinner. Hopefully he gets a decent night's sleep, as it's going to be an early morning to get to the market.


For years he was your best friend. Trusted with secrets, always there for you through thick and thin, he never let you down. And after all that... you just threw him away?

Sitting atop a throne of rotting food and decaying plastic, the only thing poor King Teddy rules now is the landfill.

Thursday June 4th, 2015

The exercise:

Write about something or someone that is: timely.

Took Max in for a haircut this afternoon. It's amazing the difference five or ten minutes can make in his appearance.

His cousin Natalie and Aunt Becky arrived this afternoon and it didn't take all that long before the two kids were making an excessive amount of noise while having just the right amount of fun together. So glad they were doing that at Grandma and Papa's house, not ours.

Spent the morning in the garden with Kat (when she wasn't chasing after our son) and Max (when he wasn't wandering off to see Grandma, or seeing what Papa was doing on the tractor, or hitting up the raspberry canes for berries). With all the weeding we managed to get done we're actually at a pretty reasonable point out there.

Not quite on top of things, but pretty darn close.

And we're about to get some help with that.


At this point last year we already had two volunteers from the WWOOF organization camping in our backyard and working in the garden with us. I remember feeling fortunate to have found two helpers so quickly, but since it was our first year as a host farm in the organization I really had nothing to compare it to.

Fast forward to this year and we'd had a grand total of two people who had contacted us and we didn't feel like either was a very good fit here. Nothing particularly wrong with them, it's just that with a young child we're prone to being rather picky with who we want living in close quarters with us.

With a major downsize in the garden this season Kat and I had been talking about the feasibility of doing it all on our own. But we still have the same number of berries as previous years. And Max still takes up a lot of time and energy. And it would be nice to take a little more time off from the garden without having the weeds overthrow the entire system.

We don't need a huge amount of help to accomplish this - just a little bit. But was that little bit of help worth having a stranger (initially, anyway) living, eating, and working with us? We were leaning towards no - our volunteers and the work they do for us have always been greatly appreciated, but it has felt on more than one occasion very intrusive.

Enter: Rebecca.

She emailed last night, wondering if she could park her camper on the farm in exchange for maybe a day of work each week. Her camper has a bed and kitchen, all she needed is access to the bathroom. And she didn't want to volunteer too much because she has a student loan debt to pay off (through working in town for the summer).

Holy ideal, Batman.

We asked her if she'd be willing to do another half day of work each week if we gave her access to our veggies, berries, and fruit in order to keep herself fed (and honestly it would have felt wrong having someone helping us out while they bought their produce at the grocery store).

This evening she replied, quite happy with this agreement. A few emails later and... she'll be arriving Monday night.

Who knows how things will end up working out, but we're feeling pretty hopeful at this point. She sounds friendly and interesting and is looking for just the right amount of work on the farm. Combine that with the independence her camper will provide her with and we're off to a promising start.

I'm very much looking forward to meeting and working with her.

Wednesday June 3rd, 2015

The exercise:

I think that it is time to return to The Colony.

Most because Morganna's post the other day reminded me that a new month means a new entry to our yearlong story. It, uh, may have slipped my mind otherwise.

The rain let up enough for me to get some weeding done in the garden this morning. It was still a pretty cloudy, grey day though, with several periods of light rain. Thankfully tomorrow is expected to feature real, actual sunshine.

Also: Max's cousin Natalie and her mother will be arriving in the afternoon for a weekend visit. Very much looking forward to that.


I may have made a mistake. A very, very big mistake.

I was just trying to help, okay? Looking out for everyone's best interests, that's all. The whole crew, the mission, all that good stuff. But now I'm pretty sure I've screwed up.

I can't find Robbie or Melina.

No one else seems to have noticed their absence yet. Should I report to Vassily? Probably. But that would mean admitting I messed up. Huge. And maybe I haven't! I mean, I don't know for sure yet.

All I have to do is find them. And Melina isn't exactly a needle in a haystack, you know. She's practically an Amazon! So it shouldn't be a problem.

Except I can't find them. I just can't. I've looked everywhere.

How was I supposed to know that Robbie's recent behaviour was a symptom of something much more sinister than him going a little loopy out here in space? Nothing I saw him do or say struck me as dangerous.

But now the woman I asked to talk to him, to investigate those mental issues of his, has disappeared. Kidnapped? Held hostage somewhere I can't seem to find? Or... something worse?

God, I can't even say it. I don't even want to think it! The very idea of it is giving me a headache that's threatening to split my head in two. And why does that stupid monitor in the corner of my room keep flashing like that? It's driving me crazier than Robbie!

Wait, what is that it's showing? Is that surveillance footage? Why would I be getting security video in my room... and why is it stuck in some kind of loop?

What... who... oh no. No no no no no.

Tuesday June 2nd, 2015

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something: soggy.

Yup, we got rained on this morning. All morning. It continued on throughout the day, but the morning was the problematic part as that was when we were out picking strawberries. It's still raining as I type this, actually.

Both Kat and I went through two sets of clothing as we attempted to stay somewhat dry and somewhat warm. It worked long enough to get the majority of the berries picked, but then we both reached a point where we'd had enough.

We got enough to fill our local orders, with another 11 pounds leftover for the bakery. It would have been nice to get a few more (I'm guessing four or five pounds were left out there) for them, but we still did pretty well considering the conditions.

The weather is supposed to get hot and dry again by Thursday, so hopefully the market pick will be a little more... pleasant.


A morning in the
rain leads to comparisons
to mad drowning rats

*     *     *

More Dada. More please.
Just a lit- no! Too much milk!
Need new cereal.

Monday June 1st, 2015

The exercise:

Apparently it is June now. Hmm.

Write something that has to do with: knives.

Spent the morning with Max, mostly running errands in town. Had to hand in my payroll paperwork at Town Hall, drop off a criminal record check at the police station (because when I'm called into work at the Community Centre I'll be working around/with kids), returned a book to the library, booked Max a haircut for later this week, and bought some groceries. There was a snack and coffee time in there somewhere as well.

After dinner I got started on the next strawberry harvest. Partially because it's going to take a long time to get through them all, but mostly because the forecast seems to be suggesting that tomorrow morning will consist of rain, rain, and more rain.

Also: rain.

So I wanted to get as much done in the not rain as possible.

Wish us luck tomorrow. And warmth.


The knives have been sharpened,
They're ready for use.
She's staring out the window,
Tired of the abuse.
She has suffered enough,
There will be no more;
She is feeling so focused
She doesn't hear the door.
He comes up behind her,
His expression hard,
And joins her silent vigil
On the backyard.
They watch their veggie garden
Until it appears,
Then she hurries outside,
Grabs the rabbit by the ears.
Enough carrots have gone missing,
She says with a sigh.
Now play time is over -
The rabbit must die.