Monthly Archives: April 2014

Blueberries

I don’t know about you, but I love blueberries. On my yogurt, in my cereal, plucked straight off the bush. They’re delicious and healthy and only have one downside. They stain your teeth. Ugh. Bring a toothbrush out to the garden, right? A little staining isn’t going to stop me from enjoying this delectable fruit!

delectable blueberries

And now I have my very own blueberry orchard. Sort of. A dozen or so bushes might not qualify for orchard status, but it does around my house. Now that the birds and I are on good terms–they don’t eat my blueberries and I don’t let my son scare them with his arsenal of boy tricks and tactics–we have complete harmony. Every morning on my way to the garden, I stop by the blueberry patch and pluck a handful of sweet blues.

plump blueberry

Really beautiful… And fairly easy to grow. You need a mix of varieties to ensure good pollination and the proper mix of fertilizer, say a 12-4-8. Blueberries prefer a slightly acidic soil (4.0 – 5.0pH), which is why I use pine bark mulch. Prune during the summer months after harvest for a more vigorous growth, and come winter, they’ll be ready to “chill.” Did you know that blueberry bushes need a certain number of hours at cold temps in order to set blossoms? They do! Hours generally range from 200 – 500 in temperatures around 32 – 45 degrees F. Interesting.

bluberries yet to blue.

Anyhoo. If you like, blueberries, these plants are worth a try.

Perspective

I spent the past few days stressing about all sorts of things. About my lagging word count. About my ever-growing to-do list. About the half-empty shelves in my pantry and the lack of time I have to fill them. About the guests in my house and the weeds in my yard and the pollen falling from the sky. It’s like the more I stress, the more I have to stress about because I stress about everything, big things and silly things and everything in between.

Until a dear friend’s email landed in my inbox yesterday. Her father died, suddenly and unexpectedly and far, far too young. He wasn’t sick. He wasn’t unhealthy. One day he was fine, the next he was gone.

And just like that, all those things I’d been stressing about for days evaporated like a puddle in the July sun. So what if the weeds are taking over? Who cares if there’s no bread in the pantry? No words today? Tomorrow will be better. There’s nothing like death for putting life in perspective, and my new perspective is this: don’t stress the small stuff.

Today, there’s only one item on my to-do list. Call all my people and tell them I love them.

Coffee and More

At this writing I’m sitting at a coffee shop, having just devoured a croissant, which was perfectly flaky on its outside and perfectly fluffy on its inside, around that filling of almond cream cheese. I’m sipping on a dark mocha made with whole milk and whipped cream. I won’t lie, it’s been a good start to the day.

ID-100145651

from freedigitalphotos.net

I’m sitting across the table from my significant other. (His coffee is black.) He (an educator) is grading quizzes and (also a research scientist) reviewing a lab paper. I am spread out with my laptop, intermittently free writing, letting my thoughts flow onto an open document. Maybe there’s a little room for fiction after.

We are doing this coffee shop thing up right.

But what adds to the cool factor that is already plentiful this morning is that there’s a woman a few tables away. A couple paperbacks and a journal, into which she occasionally jots notes, are open before her. I have decided she is a writer. Her long gray hair is pulled into a loose ponytail, out of the way, she is no frills. The glasses she wears are subtle, but hip, indicative of her underlying personality.

She is researching something for her new novel’s premise, I think, and alternately people-watching, to draw real-world inspiration as writers do. (People-watching at coffee shops, in level of satisfaction attained, is second only to mochas.) She—I have spontaneously dubbed her Gloria—is here to soak up the vibe. To smell the coffee and feed off the energy and work in the white noise, which brings her comfort, more so than the quiet at her home, where only her aging and apathetic cat offers company.

Maybe as I sit here conjuring her story, Gloria is conjuring mine. What would she assume? What would she name me? Who would I be, and what is my purpose as I work on some wordy, mysterious document?

I could be Valerie or Samantha or Beth. I am a dance studio owner, composing the verbiage for our spring playbill. Or a mom on the PTA who will lead tonight’s meeting, and I’m typing the agenda. Maybe I’m a law student cramming for this afternoon’s exam, or a nurse free from duty and writing a letter to my aunt in Minnetonka. Or maybe I’m a writer, just doing that writing thing.

I catch her eye and smile, trying to pass a certain camaraderie across the room.

I take another sip of my drink and get back to my work, leaving Gloria to hers. We both soak up the vibe. Feed off the energy, and work in the white noise.

How cool is that?

Tell us about your last experience in a coffee shop.

Easter’s Coming Up

Now that my kids are 20 and 15 Easter Sunday doesn’t carry the anticipation it used to when they were young. In the past I had to wait until they were sound asleep before I filled their baskets with chocolates and stuffed animals then I’d have to find a good place to set the baskets — away from anywhere the dogs could get at them. I’d leave a trail of tiny eggs that eventually met up with the baskets. My husband would take videos of the kids (EARLY in the morning) looking and finding their gifts from the Easter Bunny. It was all so much fun.

And now? Easter Sunday has metamorphosed into a day where my daughter makes up baskets for each of us and I do the same for the two kids and though we “say” they’re from the E.B., it’s not the same. We host dinner for the family and enjoy each other’s company but the anticipation and excitement is in the past, replaced with watching some sort of sports on the television and eating ham and sweet potatoes.

I long for the days when I played the E.B. role.

What do you do to celebrate Easter?

Duck Shenanigans, Snow, and Reading Material…

Apr15, 2014 snowWhile some—or many…or maybe all!!!—of you are experiencing the wonderful delights of spring, we’re getting snow again. It’s beautiful, of course. Big white fluffy flakes that I hope will not accumulate overnight. I’m ready to put on my shorts, not my snow boots and winter jacket and toque.

And even though it’s chilly out there, hovering around the freezing temps, in the last week, the geese have arrived. And this morning, our ducks are on the pond, swimming along the edges where the ice has melted, picking their way across the still frozen middle—or iceberg as I joyfully refer to one of the last remnants of our winter.

Our mother duck is far braver than daddy duck, and has ventured onto the thin layer of ice which was water yesterday, but overnight has developed a thin crust of ice. We watch her fall through the paper thin ice, then she sits there and stares at her husband as though she expects him to venture out and rescue her. He doesn’t. Apparently he has more common sense than his female counterpart.

Eventually she manages to crawl back onto the ice, breaks through again, then finally finds a spot that will hold her minuscule weight long enough for her to waddle over to the open water where she spends some time swimming with her mate. But soon they wander out of the water and disappear, searching, I imagine, for a safe spot to nest.

I want to tell them there are no safe spots, except for maybe in our shop. There’s predators all around…that nasty cat who caught our mother duck last year and nearly made a meal of her, foxes and coyotes and believe it or not, a cougar, too.

So while I watch our wildlife settle back onto the acreage, and wait for the warm temps to arrive, I’ve lined up some new releases for my reading material:

The Memory Child by Steena HolmesA Numbers Game by Tracy SolheimDon't Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

The Memory Child by Steena Holmes

A Numbers Game by Tracy Solheim

Don’t Let Go by Sharla Lovelace

How about you? Is your part of the world warm or cold? What book(s) are you reading right now? Have you entered the Authors In Bloom bloghop for a chance to win some great prizes (last day is April 16, 2014!)?

Happy Easter!

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