Thursday June 30th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is: vacant.

Tomorrow is Canada Day and we have plans to catch the parade in town in the morning. We also have two young boys, so we'll see if any of our plans actually work out.

Another busy bakery morning. When I left at 12:30 we were completely sold out of all the bread loaves, cinnamon buns, croissants, focaccia, ciabatta loaves and buns, and were down to one bagel, one butter tart, and a handful of coffee cake slices.

So yeah, they were pretty much closing up and getting ready for tomorrow's craziness as I was leaving. Feeling very glad to not be working there either of the next two days.

This afternoon we spent some time at the beach with the boys, which was very nice. A dip in the lake is a great way to cool off when the heat hits like this.


People lived here,
A long time ago,
Or was it just
Hard to say.
Time is funny that way...

Children laughed here...
If you listen
With all of your being
You just might here them
I don't know how.
Maybe they echo in the walls,

Now this is a spider
Here resides a moth,
A cockroach,
A mouse.
What's more,
The ghosts of all those
Who lived here

Wednesday June 29th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the observatory.

Busy busy morning at the bakery. I do believe the tourists have arrived.

Sounds like there will be two of us out front right from opening tomorrow, which should make a huge difference. I'll probably still need a coffee in me before we unlock the door though.


As the blinding light of dawn drew steadily nearer, the man in the faded blue jeans and threadbare sweater wrote hastily in his notebook. With one eye seemingly glued to his telescope the words were messy and (he would later discover) illegible in places but he could not tear himself away from the view.

In the distance the phone in his office began to ring. Again. The man paid it no heed. Again.

His discovery had been made hours before, an object orbiting a distant sun in an expanse of space he had studied hundreds of times. Somehow, though, he had never seen this planet before. This Earth-sized, Earth-shaped, Earth... like object.

Was there life there? Life like ours? Was there someone there, right then, staring back at him and pondering the same questions about Earth?

Impossible to know. But so very tempting to imagine.

At last the man's writing hand began to cramp so badly that he had to put his pen down. But he continued to stare at this mysterious, intriguing object until the sun chased the night away, obliterating his view. A sudden sadness overcame him then, more powerful than the one that typically accompanied the ending of the night.

Would he be able to find it again? Or was it lost forever? What if it was only visible once every twenty years? Would he live long enough to make that discovery?

His phone rang again. The man turned his head and contemplated answering it. Then, slowly, stiffly, he lay down in the makeshift bed on the floor, and tried to get some sleep before the dark joys of nighttime returned.

Tuesday June 28th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: the hunter.

One of the orders that was being picked up this afternoon was put in by a family from Penticton who normally visit our stall at the farmers market. They were away on Saturday and will be away again this coming weekend, so they made the trip down to see us (and our produce, I suppose).

They're pretty much my favorite customers, thanks to their genuine enthusiasm for the produce, how appreciative they are of the work we do, and because they are just really, really, really nice. It was a real treat to have them visit the farm for the first time, and their daughter (seven or eight years old, maybe?) got a kick out of picking a few apricots right from the trees.

Back to the bakery tomorrow morning. Time to switch gears once more.

Oh, the new laptop finally arrived today. Still trying to get things set up the way we like it, but it's looking good so far.


No line is too long,
nor store too far, to deter
The Bargain Hunter

*     *     *

With his rifle at
the ready, he stalks these woods,
searching for his prey

Monday June 27th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the swimmer.

Kat took Max and Miles to the beach this morning to meet up with some friends and to get into the lake for the first time this year. Highs of 33 will do that (it's supposed to be going up to 35 tomorrow).

I spent the morning weeding out the garlic patch and our row of tomato plants. Hopefully a little fertilizer will get the tomatoes back on track, as they are clearly in need of some love.

Not a tonne of local orders to pick for tomorrow, but we need to get all the ripe raspberries off the canes regardless. Fingers crossed that the heat hasn't burned them to a crisp before we can get to them.


"Hey Hal?"


"I thought you said George was a good swimmer."

"No, I said sinker. He's a great sinker."

"What? Who even says something like that?"

"Me, you idiot. I do. Obviously."

"Oh for... is he at least wearing a life jacket?"

"A life jacket? Are you serious? How do you think we're keeping the beer cold?"

Sunday June 26th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the stray.

It was a hot one today. Did manage to finally rototill the paths in our veggie garden before the heat got excessive. We didn't plant much but I'm still doing a fine job of neglecting it. Hoping to get on top of things this week.

Not even going to talk about how far behind on replying to comments I am...


"She's back again."

"That's nice." Dale didn't need to ask who his wife was talking about. He knew. "She better not be pregnant again."

"Doesn't look it."

"That's what you said last time." Dale turned to the next page in the local newspaper and began reading an opinion piece about the town council. The author, unsurprisingly, was not a supporter.

"Oh, come on Dale. We both know you thought those kittens were danged cute."

"I never said no such thing." Despite his best efforts, a small smile appeared on his face. He tried to erase it with a sip of coffee and was only partially successful.

"She's making herself comfy by the woodpile. Do you think she'll be all right there?"

"She ain't our danged cat, Violet. What's it matter to us if she's all right or not?"

"Well, somebody ought to be looking out for her. And if she keeps coming back to us then it's safe to say nobody else is."

"She's a cat, Violet. She can take care of herself. Probably has an owner somewhere doing their level best to keep her happy and she's too high and mighty to approve of their work. Cats are like that."

"Oh, what do you know about cats anyway? Your family only ever had dogs when you were growing up. You're just being racist against cats, that's all."

"I don't think racist is the word you're looking for," Dale muttered but Violet was already out the kitchen door, heading for the woodpile with a saucer of milk. "Ah hell, here we go again..."

Saturday June 25th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: the car show.

We sold out of raspberries (eventually), broccoli, cabbage, Moroccan mint plants, gold plums, apples (close enough), and cherries at the market this morning. So that was good.

We also sold less than half of the apricots we brought with us. So that was less good.

Not really sure what happened there. Lots of people were at the market. My only guess is that most people were looking for stuff that was ready to eat right away and the fact that the apricots need to sit out for a day or two before they're ripe enough to eat did them no favors.

Ah well, we'll do our best to sell them locally.


Come on down and see them,
All our cars are finally here!
Don't miss your chance because
We only use them twice a year...

Friday June 24th, 2016

The exercise:

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

Bringing raspberries, apricots, apples, cherries, plums, broccoli, cabbage, mint plants, and photography stuff to the market tomorrow. Lots of apricots (18 crates) and bits and pieces of everything else. There's a car show going on this weekend next door to us, so hopefully it'll be pretty busy.

I should probably get some sleep.


There is a gnawing in my gut, as though a wild animal resides there and it is scavenging for food. It is finding nothing and that only serves to make it angry. I am helpless before its increasingly frantic search.

"Yeah, I guess I will go with the lunch special... give me those dozen donuts with my soup and sandwich."

Thursday June 23rd, 2016

The exercise:

It's been longer than I'd realized since we did the Random Book prompt, so that's what we're up to today.

Choose a book as randomly as you like and make use of its first line in your prose today. Take it from there, as your imagination dictates, but as always remember to give credit where it's due. For mine, I chose to skip the introduction and go straight to the first chapter - do whatever works best for you.

Another busy morning at the bakery. I think the summer rush is beginning to build. For now, though, my focus returns to the farm as I'll be up early tomorrow to pick raspberries (and maybe some cabbage and broccoli) for this weekend's market.


This is Your Brain on Parasites by Kathleen McAuliffe

It's not easy being a parasite. For starters, not a single person out there reading this has any sympathy for me. Well, except for those of you currently under the control of a parasite of your own. But do you really even count?

Yeah, it's fun to be in charge of something so much larger than myself. But it is seriously hard work. Every little thing that happens while I'm behind the wheel? I gotta make sure it happens. Look left. Look down. Lift leg. Put leg down. Pick that up. No, with the other hand. That hand already has coffee in it.

It's exhausting!

And once somebody figures out I'm charge (because some nosy bugger always does) - look out! Here come the doctors and the pills and the needles (I hate needles). So now on top of all the stuff I'm already in charge of I've got to fight off this pesky crew of chemicals that want to evict me from the penthouse.

I dunno, man. Maybe I should figure out something else to do for a living. Kick my stress levels down a few notches. I gotta relax before I lose it. A vacation would be nice. Find a nice beach, bask in the sun...

Actually, this could work. I could be a tropical parasite! I hear those guys do pretty well for themselves. If your host manages enough free will to head for the airport, you just switch to a new arrival. Endless vacation, if you do it right.

Yup, that's the way to go. Now I just need to get this fool to book his stay in paradise.

Okay, lift foot. No, the other foot! Okay, now lift that foot. Reach for the laptop. Not with the coffee hand! Oh for crying out loud...

Wednesday June 22nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write a little something about: the bandit.

Had a huge rush right at opening this morning before things settled into a more manageable pace. Then the new girl came in at ten and I was able to leave at eleven. I didn't mind at all though, as I needed to get a couple things done in town before heading home for lunch.

Did all right with the going to bed early thing last night. Might as well try it again tonight.


As soon as I walked into the tavern I knew they were having a busy night. Two guys at the bar instead of the usual one? Check. Customers seated at three tables, with at least three cowboys at each of them? Yup. Waitress... yeah, no waitress in sight.

"What can I get you?" the bartender asked, his words whistling as they worked their way through the gaps in his teeth.

"A dozen glasses of whatever passes for your finest ale."

"Drinking to celebrate?" he asked as he began to line glasses up on the bar between us. "Or to forget?"

"They're not all for me," I said with an indulgent smile. "The rest of the gang will be here shortly."

"So there's twelve of you?" The bartender pauses, his hand lingering on the final glass.

"That's right," I replied as I eased myself onto a stool. "So maybe you should do more pouring and less asking."

"Sure, right." He did as I suggested, but his eyes kept checking the door. By the fourth glass he was spilling more on the bar than he was getting into the containers.

"Easy now," I told him. "Maybe I should take care of the rest of those, hmm? You look like you could use some fresh air maybe?"

"Uh, yeah... okay."

"Take your time. Me and the gang will still be here when you get back. We're in no rush."

"Right, okay." For some reason that didn't seem to make him any happier. "So, uh, is the whole Wilson Gang coming in tonight?"

"I guess you'll see when you come back," I told him. "After your break. Remember?"

"Right, got it." He hurried off, looking back every few steps until he nearly walked into the wall at the end of the bar. I waved him away with a frown and he finally disappeared around the corner.

"Right," I muttered as I set to work. "Let's see how many of these I can drink before he realizes the Wilson boys left town last night."

Tuesday June 21st, 2016

The exercise:

Write two work references. In haiku form. Because it's Tuesday, and haiku are what we do around here on Tuesdays.

We got all the raspberries and apricots we needed for local orders today, along with 42 pounds of the cherries that were leftover from the market. We sold them at a discounted rate, but I'm just happy to have saved most of them from going in the compost (Kat's mom has already canned, dried, and made as much jam as she needs for the winter).

Back to the bakery tomorrow morning. This is me pretending that I'll actually get to bed earlier tonight in order to make the waking up in the morning part a little easier.


He's a good worker;
Does his best to fight off his

*     *     *

She is truly a
model employee... if you
ignore the lying

Monday June 20th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the cat.

Spent most of the morning researching laptops, as we've decided to get one to replace this thing, which we bought just over four years ago. Found what looks like a really good deal online but wanted to stop in at the local store to see what they had in stock.

Nothing came even close, so I put in the order and it should be here in a week or so. Pretty excited about the affordable upgrade.

Natalie came over after lunch and spent the afternoon playing and arguing and playing and arguing and playing with Max. Mostly entertaining with a few moments of genuine frustration.

Back to harvesting for local orders in the morning.


We were never certain where Banjo had come from. He had some manners (at least two of them, maybe three), so we figured he couldn't be wild. But ours was a small town and we knew nobody was missing a pet, or had even recently welcomed a litter into the world.

He seemed to like us well enough. Mom especially, what with the way she was always tossing him leftovers (and sometimes extra food she had made especially for him - though she'd never admit to doing it). I don't think he ever scratched any of us. Even when Oscar, my little brother, would yank on his tail.

Heck, I would've scratched him for that.

Banjo wasn't much of a mouser. In fact I'm pretty sure I saw him sharing a plate with the local rodent population one night. But he was pleasant company and sure knew how to keep a lap warm when the nights turned cold - but not cold enough to abandon the porch and go inside.

He hasn't been round in a while though, and nobody seems to know where he might have gone. Pretty typical stuff for him, but I miss him all the same. Mom says maybe he's off visiting with another family that's in need of his company. I like that idea. It's better, at any rate, than what Dad suggested at breakfast the other morning.

Anyhow, I don't think Banjo would be foolish enough to allow himself to be cooked - I don't care how tough that bacon was.

Sunday June 19th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the family dinner.

Enjoyed breakfast in bed this morning, courtesy of Kat and Max, who also gave me a lovely card he'd made himself (with help from Kat). Then I hung out with the boys while Kat made the chocolate quinoa cake that would later serve as dessert for Father's Day dinner.

Took a family trip into town for lunch (was initially supposed to be for coffee, then lunch... but then we didn't leave the house until 11:30 and that was that). Had a Skype chat with Max and my parents. Went out to the garden with Max to harvest veggies for dinner (broccoli, carrots, peas, and a cucumber from the greenhouse).

Then it was time for dinner on the deck, with the four of us, Kat's parents, Kat's brother and his family, and Becky's brother and mom. Was a lot of fun, especially when Natalie and Max started telling knock knock jokes.

Took two dishwasher loads to take care of most of the cleanup which, I have to say, is a helluva lot nicer than doing them all by hand.

Overall a really nice Father's Day. How could it not be, with these two:

Lucky me.


"Pass the gravy."


"Pass the gravy... please."

"Maybe you should pass the bar before you pass the gravy."

"I wasn't asking you."

"You no good loser. What a disappointment you've become. Why couldn't you have been more like your old man?"

"Just pass the gravy, please."

"I bet you'd like that, wouldn't you? Have somebody else do all the work for you, like usual. You lazy bum."

"Would someone please just pass me the gravy?!?"

Saturday June 18th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: while you were sleeping.

Bit of an odd market today. The rain held off until around noon, which was nice. But things were so slow at our stall for most of the morning. Raspberries took much longer than usual to sell out and the cherries felt like they were moving off the table in slow motion.

I think in the end we did okay, and I did sell nine of my cards, but I was left feeling disappointed that we brought six crates of cherries home.

Hopefully we'll have better weather and better luck next week when we bring a full load of apricots with us.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to tomorrow and my first Father's Day as the daddy to two boys.


We're at the market already?
Wow, that doesn't feel real!
Um, should I be worried that
You were behind the wheel?

Friday June 17th, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose which take place at: the beach.

Between Becky and I we picked 22 pints of raspberries this morning. Adam managed 6 pints of strawberries before heading to work. I can only shake my head at his insistence on getting those. And, I suppose, thank him for his efforts.

We'll also be taking the final 16 crates of cherries and a couple large bags filled with heads of broccoli to the market tomorrow morning. Oh, and Kat's parents also found enough apricots to fill one crate and enough transparent apples to fill half of another.

Hopefully the rain will hold off long enough for us to sell most of our produce.


"Helen... when you said you were taking us to a muscle beach, I really wasn't expecting... this."

"What's the problem, girl?"

"I just didn't think you'd be so... literal."

"Ooooh baby, check out the stud with the bulging quad!"

Thursday June 16th, 2016

The exercise:

It's the middle of the month (already?) so, as promised in (very) late May, it's time to return to the House of Mercy.

Bakery was annoyingly steady this morning. There were no huge rushes, it was just that every time I went in the back to get something done (dishes, get more stock, etc) a new customer would come in within a minute or two. It was very hard to get anything done that way.

Back to picking raspberries tomorrow morning. Apparently Adam is going to have one last go at the strawberries. I will not be joining him.


"How are you feeling this morning, dear?"

Julie continued to stare at the ceiling, thinking happy thoughts. Babs leaned over to put her face into Julie's line of sight. An ache appeared in Julie's temples as the image of a gorilla briefly appeared in Babs' stead, but then the vision passed. As did the pain.

"A little spacier than usual? Are you getting enough sleep at night, dear?"

Julie's lips parted slightly and she allowed her tongue to loll to one side.

"Hmm." Babs made a few notes in the chart in her clipboard. The sound of her pen scritching across the page reminded Julie of a chicken looking for food in a barnyard. "Perhaps it's time to review your medicine routine with one of the doctors."

"As long as it's not Dr. Lizard," Julie said with a giggle that went on just a little too long.

"So Dr. Richards still looks like a lizard to you?" Babs eyed her closely before making an additional note. Then, so quietly that Julie almost didn't hear her, she muttered, "That's good."

Good? Julie thought. Why was that good?

"Have a good rest, dear. I'll check in on you around lunch time and we'll have another chat then. See if these nice little pills of yours have helped you get back on track. Bye for now, dear girl."

"Bye bye, monkey lady," Julie said, waving enthusiastically. Babs frowned slightly before ducking out of the room.

The moment the door closed behind her Julie stopped waving. She hopped out of bed and managed to get to the toilet just in time. She was getting better at holding the pills in but that had been a close call.

"Am I overdoing it?" she asked her reflection in the small mirror above the sink, wiping the sick from her chin. "She seems to be getting suspicious. But how am I supposed to know how I was acting with all those drugs in my system?"

Well, she suddenly realized, the answer to that was fairly simple. In fact, she wasn't sure why she hadn't thought of it before then. Perhaps her head had cleared a little more overnight.

She needed to get a hold of her chart.

Wednesday June 15th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the henchman.

Fairly quiet morning at the bakery. Another new girl started today, after the last quit with no notice to take another job a couple weeks ago. It was her training shift so I had help for more of the day than usual, which is something I could get used to.

Made it through the day without getting more rain. So that was a nice change. Chillier than it has been though.

Kat's parents picked the last of the cherries today, so they're in the cooler waiting to be taken to Penticton on Saturday. Still up in the air as to whether or not we'll have the first few crates of apricots. Fingers crossed on that one.


"You called, sir?"

"Thank you for coming so quickly, Lester."

"Of course, sir. What do you need me to do?"

"That's one of the many things I like about you, Lester. Never why, just what."

"I like my job, sir. The work is enough. No further motivation is required."

"Indeed, indeed. I am so lucky to have found you, Lester."

"... what do you need from me today, sir?"

"My apologies, all of this sentimentality is clearly making you uncomfortable. Let us get down to the business of the task at hand, shall we?"

"I would very much like that, sir."

"Of course. You are familiar with a man named Gary McDonald?"

"You mean my brother, sir?"

"Yes, that's the one."

"What of him, sir?"

"I need him dead."

Tuesday June 14th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about: safe haven.

Started picking this morning beneath blue skies. Was totally focused on the raspberries and they were plentiful and I was feeling good.

Then I happened to look up.

Oh, hello black clouds moving in from the south. I guess I should pick up the pace, huh?

I did not pick up the pace enough. Ended up having to finish the pick for local orders in the rain. Definitely easier doing that with raspberries than strawberries, but still unpleasant.

On the plus side, we are pretty much officially done with strawberries for this year. Just need to confirm with everybody that they're okay with that.

Would be incredibly surprised to encounter any resistance to that suggestion.


How did this happen?
Bullets and blood everywhere...
We should have been safe.

*     *     *

You gave me shelter
in times of such great need. Let
me repay you now

Monday June 13th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is on: the top shelf.

Kat's friends did, indeed, arrive this afternoon. Max and Harrison, their three year old son, took about five minutes to warm up to each other and then they were playing together like old friends. It was pretty fun to see that.

After dinner Becky and I got started on the berry picking for this week's local orders. We've got about half of the raspberries we need and we're into we'll take more if you have more territory with the strawberries.

Now we just need the rain to stay away tomorrow morning for us to finish things off. Fingers crossed.


Up so high
I think that I
Would need to fly
Just to touch it.

I wonder why
They think that I
Should have to fly
Just to touch it?

I shall learn to fly
To reach the sky
So that one day I
Will touch it.

Perhaps that's why
It's up so high -
So that I
Will not be satisfied
By all that I
Can touch without
Needing to fly?

Sunday June 12th, 2016

The exercise:

Write something which takes place at an: awards show.

Spent the morning and early afternoon preparing for guests to arrive. Then, when we still hadn't heard from them, Kat double checked her messages and realized her friends weren't coming until tomorrow.

Oh well, all that stuff needed doing anyway, and now we won't have to rush around doing it on Monday.

Andrea and Sherman and their two boys (similar ages to our boys) will be camping here for a couple nights before heading back to Victoria. Hopefully the weather is a little nicer to them than what they're currently forecasting.


"Good luck tonight."

"Luck? I don't need luck. This is about talent, not luck."

"Right, of course. Well then, good luck with that."

"With what, exactly?"

"With your category being based on talent and performance and all that silly stuff."

"And all that silly stuff?!? What else would it be based on?"

"Oh, you know, the usual."

"No, I don't know. What the hell is the usual?"

"Oh, just things like how big the bribes were, how pretty the hookers were, how high quality the drugs were, how pr-"

"I think I'm going to be ill. Where's the nearest bathroom?"

"Yeah, good luck with that, too."

Saturday June 11th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: thunder.

Had a pretty decent market this morning. Sold out of berries and rhubarb, and managed to sell 16.5 of the 25 crates of cherries we brought with us. The second week of cherries is always slower than the first, as so many more vendors have them by then, so I think we did all right.

The weather was kind to us as well, other than a 15 minute thunder shower at noon that cleared out the market. But customers came back out of hiding afterward and we did get a few more sales before things closed up at one.

Ready for a day off now.


A low rumbling
Turns into a roar;
Rain is coming
And it's going to pour

Friday June 10th, 2016

The exercise:

Use four lines of prose to give me a: weather report.

We had lots of rain today, which made picking strawberries and raspberries a challenge. Kat's parents had to deal with it while trying to pick cherries as well. At least it finally knocked it off for good late afternoon.

Strawberries are really slowing down, and all this wetness isn't going to help things. Going to do one more pick for locals on Monday/Tuesday and then I'm pretty sure that's going to be it for this year.

Raspberries are getting going though, as we managed to get 14 pints off the canes. They definitely like this cooler, rainier weather.

So, not a lot of berries. But Becky picked a crate of rhubarb and Kat's parents managed to get us another 25 crates of cherries, so it should still be a great market.

And I should get some sleep now.


It's looking like another beautiful day out there, folks! Lots of sunshine and... oh, hold on... nope, it is very definitely pouring rain right now. Get inside quick, before you drown or... wait... back to your gardens and beaches and picnics, people, the sun is here to stay for sure this time... or maybe not... yup, those rain cl-


Thursday June 9th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that is: purple.

The bakery had its busy moments this morning but was generally pretty manageable. Back to picking strawberries tomorrow morning for Saturday's market.


"Hey Dad."


"... what?"


"Oh come on! I didn't even ask for anything."


"You've become very cynical in your old age, you know that right?"


"Will you at least let your only son tell you why I'm visiting you?"


"... okay, can I at least tell you why I'm visiting you to ask for money?"

"... fine."

"Do you see that sweet looking car out there? With the badass rims? There's a wicked engine under the hood too, and th-"


"Well, yeah, it's also purple. But it's, like, a dark purple."


"Yeah, I think we can agree that's what color it is. But here's the thing, okay? My friend needs to sell it real quick like and I-"


"... who? Oh, the friend who's selling it? Yeah. But I don't see what difference that makes. The price is am-"


Wednesday June 8th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: friendship.

Remarkably tired. One day I'll feel properly rested again.

That's what I keep telling myself at any rate.


A treasured bond,
Lasting a lifetime,
Sometimes less.
Often less.
But so precious
While it lasts,
Until it burns out
Or fades away
Now and then,
Comes back again.
Simply stays.
Often changing
And rearranging
And adapting -
If we are so lucky -
To all that life
Throws our way.
But even just
In passing,
While it lasts,
It is so vital.
For alone
Can be so much
Than when we are
Without a true

Tuesday June 7th, 2016

The exercise:

Write two haiku about something that is: bittersweet.

We managed to get the 142 pounds of strawberries that were ordered by locals for this afternoon's pickup. By the end of the pick I think we were all fading pretty fast, but it was very satisfying to get enough off the bushes to satisfy everybody.

The weather is supposed to start cooling off tomorrow. That would be nice.

For all of us, really. Because then you guys don't have to listen to me complain about the heat on every single post. Wouldn't that be nice?

Back to the bakery tomorrow morning, assuming I can get out of bed.


With this ring I thee
wed; now it's sitting behind
glass in a pawn shop

*     *     *

Strawberries fading,
last pick looms; soon shall come the
glory of peaches

Monday June 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the dance.

Took Max to the dentist this morning for his first cleaning. He did awesome, way better than I expected. Super proud of how well he handled it.

Spent the rest of the day trying to avoid the worst of the heat. Had some success, but 37 degrees in early June is not easy to deal with.

Getting up early tomorrow morning to try to pick as many strawberries as possible before it gets too hot again. Wish me luck.


You ask what he's doing
And he says Dancing.
But you can't help wonder
If it's the advancing
Of some unknown disease
That controls his arms,
So you watch with unease
And pray for minimal harm
To us all.

Sunday June 5th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about something that has been: extended.

So hot.

Brain all melty.

Night night sleep time.


I rose from my desk slowly, sore muscles protesting at the sudden movement after having been still for so long. My chair was high quality, but I don't think anything could have kept me comfortable for the amount of time I'd resided in it.

As I grabbed my keys and headed for the door, I could hear running in the hallway. I did my best to hurry, as I'd dealt with more than enough students for one day - especially that twenty minute session with Chloe in which she mostly discussed the cultural relevance of Beyonce - and I wasn't interested in any last second questions.

Alas, I am too old and too slow. Just as I was closing my office door an arm dove through, clutching a thick roll of papers in its fist. The thump of the body attached to it hitting the floor outside was quite impressively loud.

"Mr. Newell!"

"Yes, Tommy?" I could have recognized that dolt's voice in Central Station during rush hour.

"I've got my Trump essay! Did I make it in time? Please tell me I made it in time. I ran all the way from my dorm!"

"Ah, so that's why you weren't in class this morning."

"Sorry about that, sir. I just thought it was more important to get this done on time than to... uh... to..."

"Listen to me drone on about some nonsense you don't really care about?"

"That's not what I was going to say!"

"Well, Tommy, if you had been in class this morning, you may have heard me drone on about extending the deadline for this assignment."

"... You did?"

"I did. Now would you please be so kind as to get your arm out of my doorway so that I may go home? Or should I go fetch my knife and... that's a good lad."

Saturday June 4th, 2016

The exercise:

Write a four line poem about: all hands on deck.

Strawberries sold out, I'm guessing, around 10:30 this morning - all 30 quarts and 120 pints of them. They were at Adam's end of the table so I can't say for sure what time the last pint sold. 

I was busy with the cherries. I had lots of help from Becky and Kat (and Adam once the berries were gone), but they were my main focus for the market.

At the end of the market we had 1.75 pounds of cherries left. I made up a one pound bag and a .75 pound bag and left them on the table while we packed up. I wound up giving (full disclosure: I just typed gaving the first time and it wasn't a typo - my brain was convinced that was a word) the smaller bag to the vendors across the street from us and, just before I gave up, sold the final bag.

I haven't counted up the money yet (too tired, I'm sure you'll be surprised to learn) but I'm pretty sure that was the most income we've brought in at a single market. We're splitting it three ways (Kat's parents get half the cherry money while we get a quarter and Becky and Adam get a quarter, and we get half the berry money while Becky and Adam get the other half) but it's still going to be a nice bit of cash for us.

And now we rest. Well, I'm going to go pass out until Max jumps on my head and demands food.

Night night.


Trouble is brewing,
So crack your knuckles and your neck.
It's time to fight boys,
We better get all hands on deck.

Friday June 3rd, 2016

The exercise:

Write four lines of prose about: the long day.

I picked berries for approximately ten hours today. I feel like that's longer than a reasonable person would consider wise.

It's going to be a busy market tomorrow, between strawberries (and the customers returning for them) and having 25 crates (about 500 pounds) of the first sweet cherries of the season. I'm driving up with Adam first thing, then Kat and Becky are coming up together with the babies, and Kat's parents are coming with the toddlers as well.

Should be quite the gong show, all told. I'm looking forward to it.


The sun is easing its way below the horizon, having finished its work for the day. Lucky bastard.

No such good fortune for sorry old me. I gotta keep searching through this damned haystack...

Thursday June 2nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write something that takes place at: the racetrack.

Much more normal shift at the bakery this morning. Busy when I figured it would be, quieter at other points as expected. Totally manageable.

The dishwasher has finally been installed. Things weren't fully in place until after dinner this evening, due to more delays this afternoon. But it's currently running through its first cycle with dishes in it and I am quite excited about that.

Spending all day tomorrow picking strawberries, as Kat's parents will be picking cherries for us to bring to the market. I know Becky is going to try to help in the morning, and Adam is taking the afternoon off work to pick as well.

We'll still be lucky to get them all picked before dark, but I'm going to try to get out there as early as I can.


Eyes of steel,
Hands on the wheel,
Waiting for the man
With the flag in his hand
To set him free.

Foot to the floor,
Hear the engine roar!
Life becomes a blur -
He forgets him, him, and her -
Now it's all about speed.

He steps on the gas
To make a pass,
But he's tried too soon -
There's not enough room!
He's headed for the wall...

It's too late,
He's sealed his fate.
His hopes are dashed
In one last crash,
And his wife gets The Call...

Wednesday June 1st, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the watering hole.

We seem to have reached June already. Hmm. That doesn't seem right.

Had a crazy busy start to the day at the bakery, but then things got super quiet. I find that particularly hard, as I find the lack of customers and urgency very difficult to settle into following a chaotic period of time.

Made some progress on installing our dishwasher this evening. Hoping to get it finished tomorrow afternoon. Such a slow process, with all the parts and plumbing and whatnot required. Very much looking forward to having it working.


They come from miles around. United by a common need for this precious liquid, an uneasy truce rules here. Prey drink while keeping a wary eye on predators doing the same.

No blood has ever been shed here. There is an understanding, unspoken though it remains. That enough members of each group must survive in order to ensure the continued existence of all groups. An elimination of a single link in the food chain would be catastrophic for all.

Well, except, perhaps, for those of us at the top of the ladder. Though I suppose, eventually, we would work our way through them all... and then what would we do?

Find another watering hole, I imagine. Inconvenient, certainly, for this is a very nice one. But easily survivable. I think I would miss this place. The shady trees. The plethora of dining options.

So we let them drink, so that we may eat.

That is why we maintain the truce.

I wonder why they do it?