Late August Mornings and Looking Ahead

Rugburn, taking a selfie.... Okay, I held up the camera, but it looks like he is.

Rugburn, taking a selfie…. Okay, I held up the camera, but it looks like he is.

I’m up early this morning, and while 8am isn’t the crack of dawn, when you go to bed after two, 8 is early. My puppy, a 12 year old puppy mind you, has an unusual growth under his eye, the same eye that I had a cyst removed from back in June.  So it required calling the vet first thing this late August morning.  (and while I have to wait till Wednesday for a visit, I’m stressing. I mean, I don’t know what I would do without him)

It’s one of those mornings where it smells like almost fall.  Not quite there, but almost.  I feel like fall might come on a bit sooner this year because everything else seems to be coming on so fast.  Yet looking back, it I remember everything falling into place at its normal time. In July we had our massive heat spell, then out of nowhere, it broke with two weeks of rainy sort of coastal weather. Suddenly, Boom! There was that first hint of fall in the air.  I always hate when that happens because I actually like the summer heat and smells.  Okay, I can’t really handle anything above 95 and feel really good, but that’s beside the point.  I like summer. It’s usually the season I’m feeling the best.

You know it's late summer when the wild clematis is sending out it seeds.

You know it’s late summer when the wild clematis is sending out it seeds.

So here we are at a week from September.  Today is the first day of school… No really I just pulled up the School District and there it was. No one in my family could remember.  So it is like officially fall, in that pre sort of way that it happens a month before it reads on the calendar.  Truthfully though, after reading Liza Dalby‘s East Wind Melts the Ice, where she says how the seasons actually start before the date on the calendar, I never look at the dates on the calendar as accurate. I think about fall almost a month before it happens, while mentally grabbing a hold of ‘summer’ that is and trying to dig my heels in.  I want to wear shorts and summer camisoles as long as I can. I want to feel warm when I walk outside.  And gosh darn it! I want to keep my tan which is so pale since I have this super pale FinishGermanWelshIrishWhatnot skin. My tan is like what a normal person gets in one week of the summer.

I’m hoping though with the cooler weather (ha! right. considering it was 90+ degrees yesterday) that I might be able to settle down and write more. I have pretty much given up doing much major writing over the summer because it was hot, I was tired, there was so much to do, I was reading…….. excuses. Except for the fact that I just got a letter from Susan Wooldridge who said she wasn’t writing a lot either.  I need cooler weather to write. Granted, I have dabbled in some poetry. I have a couple marvelous ones that I’m happy with and some that I have half finished and various starts. Eventually I hope to have them finished.

I never know what to do with my poetry. Do I post it here? Do I try to publish it? I have this Coral flushed series I’m doing that sort of relate to Boris… Okay, fine, they are technically just for Boris, but in my opinion they are good. So what do I do with them?  I really like dabbling in poetry because it’s something ‘small’ but I can take it anywhere with me.  I have my little book and pencil, because I seem to like to write poetry in pencil unless I’m out and all I have is a pen and several pieces of scratch paper or the back of my library book receipts.(those are actually fun to write on)

Fiction is sometimes so BIG in feeling that I feel like I have to really sit down to write it. But poetry is really something you can take with you, even down to having a small Moleskin or Field Notes and pencil (or pen) in your back pocket You don’t have to take hardly anything with you. It kind of makes it this perfect thing to write, because even if you don’t really do poetry, everyone has a poem in them just from how they might describe a flower they just saw.

And now I’m starting to ramble off on a tangent that is far from what I was thinking when I sat down on the couch on the porch waiting for the coffee to finish perking and listening to the Stellars Jays…… Oh wow does that sound so good to me.

What I wanted to say was that I am going to be doing a 31 Days in October again.  This year the theme will be ladies, femininity and all things girly. Or relating to me since I’m a girl. I have to keep a few options open just in case I can’t figure out a post or two.  I need to start working on posts and plotting out some ideas a bit more, along with deciding what I want a button for the  challenge to look like and a place for all these posts to go. I didn’t like that I have a header tab that is for last years listing. Maybe I can add under that or something. I clearly did not thing about it at the time.

So, new stuff for October is coming…. along with three new book reviews this month. I received a book last Monday and by Wednesday, I was done.  Okay it was lightish reading, but still I flew through it.

And now I am at 900+ words. Wow, I really just let it all fly out. I should stop.

Until I write again at some random point. Happy Monday, Dearies. (September means OUAT is coming soon! Yes!)


Haying Season

I wrote this back in mid June when I happened to be waiting for my dachshund to have eye surgery. Then life got busy and I did not finish posting it. I still have it in my notebook. So, finally, after a month and a half and here we are in August, is my post on haying season.

It’s haying season here in Norcal. The air has a perpetual haze and an ever present ‘green’ smell that you don’t even really notice is the scent of freshly cut alfalfa or grass. Personally, I feel the alfalfa has a more green smell than the grass. I would know as we have a few alfalfa bushes growing in our yard and I cut the plant for compost, feeding chickens, or in the past, rabbits. I know green smells. I live with them year round.

Haying is an essential commodity in a farming community. Here, because we are in the mountains, our hay/alfalfa is supreme. Because of the mountains, shorter growing season,and probably other factors I don’t know about, we only get three cuttings versus the seven to nine that come from, say, the Central Valley of California. Farmers here don’t use their own hay for their cattle, instead purchasing hay from outside the area and selling their own hay for a higher prices for other outside areas. Inf fact, our hay is so rich and nutritious that it is used in racing stables for high end horses. So it is worht it for the farmers and ranchers to sell the hay they grow for a high price, then ship in hay for their own livestock.

Right now we are in the first cutting. There is something so base and primal about seeing the land produce a crop so critical to life’s function. I get a set of chills when I see the cut alfalfa or grass laying in neat rows. Seeing the outer parts of the field cut first, maybe three rows and all the inner field still tall, is perfection. Then there is the turning process, or combining the cut rows into larger rows ready for baling. I have only seen hay baled by a very small operation, but seeing bales coming out of the back end of machinery is amazing. But the best part about the haying process is seeing the bales in the ‘zen’ fields. Pure perfection. Neat, compact rows of tight, green rectangles following a neat grid.

Depending on the rancher, bale size and placement differs. The H ranch has bales that are the sixe of four regular bales, while just down the road are messy, non-uniform bales. Over the hill and down into another small valley are the neatest, most uniform bales I have ever seen. Like soldiers lined in a row……. No, more like bricks. Row upon row.

I have tried to capture the magic i feel seeing the hay, but it defies me and unless you experience and have an emotional connection to the land, you won’t get it. The same chills I get listening to a symphony or watching our military fighter planes take off or having wind in the pine trees, hit me when I see the haying process. I can travel up the twelve mile long  valley and see every stage from green fields, to cutting, turning, combining, baling, and finally stacking. Big, beautiful stacked rows of hay. And lastly, the large trucks hauling the green bales down the valley to be delivered elsewhere.

This is a very big ranching and farming community, and while for the most part I don’t like most ranchers, I have such a  personal connection to the land. There is magic in growing. There is the amazing opportunity to see God’s hand at work. I never had much feeling for the farming life, but I hold it in high regard, especially since living here for fifteen years.

Having Boris in my life has made me take a closer look at the life as well. I don’t think I’ve ever told him what haying is to me. Which is funny because he grew up on a Kansas ranch and still owns and runs it. Ranching/farming is half his life.

I have dreams of seeing a field of Kansas wheat then seeing it cut and baled. The sky of blue and golden waves. There is John Denver’s song “Matthew” and it talks about those two things.

Gold was just a windy Kansas wheat field,
blue was just the Kansas summer sky.

Himmel licht (Sky light)

Himmel licht (Sky light)

I can see it in my mind, but I’d love to see it in person.  That is a hint to Boris…..

For me hay season is magic season. Just don’t get me started on my allergy complaints……


Unmotivated Me

It’s not that I don’t have things to write about. It’s not even that I don’t have the time…. Okay, well time is limited right now. But I’m just not motivated to write.  I have a two book reviews I need to post, a book I need to finish reading before I can write a review, letters to friends, ideas for writing, a blog post on haying season, pictures….. The list goes on and on.

But right now about all I’m interested in doing is daydreaming and reading. I haven’t even written much of anything. Okay, that’s not true. I did write a poem just this last week titled “Elephants”. I should type it up and share it because I’m kind of proud of how it turned out.

I have been dabbling in a new piece of fiction which was inspired by ASMR and The French Whisperer over on Youtube. I seriously suggest if you are interested in ASMR to check his channel out. The tingles this guy can put up my spine….. Whew!  Magic. Puts me to sleep every time I listen to him at night.  Recently I listened to his take on the History of the Palace of Versailles.  That was really interesting for one, and really relaxing for another.  And I’m going off on a different tangent.

My reading has consisted of a bit of poetry; Rumi, Billy Collins, Rilke; an Emilie Loring, a few random fiction books, and the desire to read A Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby.  I have failed to finish anything nor get very far in anything.

One major reason for all this lack of motivation is right now the farming is in full swing.  What with watering, picking, and the heat….. well there isn’t a lot of down time. I am getting to the point of the season where I can spend two to three hours picking blueberries. Not to mention a few hours watering, oh and I cook two meals a day and do the laundry and pick up the house… Okay the house is kind of a joke right now.  There is way too much dust in all spots and I would NOT want anyone to come over.  Some places make me want to scream.

California is in a serious drought so watering is a conscious effort to not waste water.  Lawns? Pshaw! Those are going by the wayside except for where there are fruit trees because anyone who knows anything about gardening knows that fruit tree roots extend beyond what you think.  So the lawn around the trees gets watered.  And because this is a very dry year, the spider mites have set in.  On the positive side of things, the spider mites are the reason we have had burnt looking leaves on several plants for several years.  One would think it would be crazy to say that was a positive thing, but now I know that it wasn’t my fault in how I watered. Okay, indirectly it was because lack of water leads to the mites coming in, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t watering good enough, it was more that it wasn’t quite enough to deal with the infestation.

So, as you can see, it’s rather busy.  I hope to get a book review for a Christian romance up this week. And also Persephone Books let me read their book The Homemaker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  Marvelous book. I have been a bit behind with getting that review written as well.  And lastly, my post on haying season with pictures…..

So, hopefully soon this blog will be back into ship shape…. Excluding my random pages that need a serious updating.

I need a maid.

Le sigh, as Jules says.



What Are We – Poem (and more)

What Are WeI swear, I have written more ‘good’ poetry in the past week than I have all year. Sometimes one needs a focus, and right now, I have one. (on a side note, I’ve been watching too much ‘magical-ish’ type things as I’m thinking of ley lines and focuses for magic) But as writers, we do need a focus. Be it a song, a picture, or a person. Everyone needs their muse. My muse is a person right now. Frustration runs supreme with him, but it makes for some of my best work. I honestly wonder if writers can actually be happy. Maybe they need the unhappy in life to write the happy. Because I can say that I write best when I’m in a depressed mood. Not like seriously depressed, but when I’m not my perfect giddy self. When I’m giddy, I just want to absorb life. When I’m down, I write to escape life. I focus on the gritty of life. I write poetry and I get my hands dirty. So to speak.

So, as you can see, my frustration is hitting my poetry. And I’m listening to the most amazing playlist and it works with my mood. Check out the playlist here, Great Northern Campfire Vol. 5. 

Maybe you can play it while you write. Maybe it will inspire you during this cold time of year. While the nights come too soon, and the new year is here.


Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas deariesMerry Christmas, readers one and all. My dearies who have held up under my very random, but Christmas inspired 25 Days of Christmas.

I hope you all have a wonderful day. I’ll be taking a few days off through the weekend to just relax a bit and hopefully write some posts for future dates. I’ve been doing these blog challenges and I love ’em, but man, they require a bit more foresight that I don’t seem to always have. Especially towards the end. I still have a Toolbox post in the works. A Writer’s Path (Ryan, I think)  knows what I mean since I commented about his blog and his toolbox… I’m rambling. Anyways, I have ideas in the works. I still need to attempt more flash fiction, but it seems to have escaped me this month. Ironically since I want to write Christmas flash fiction! I had this thought about being snowbound at Christmas, a la Hallmark-y film with the Bing wallpaper that was the other day’s…..SJMountainCabin_EN-US11195673674_1920x1080 I just have ideas I need to work on!  Now that I don’t have sewing projects, I might be able to finish or start some writing things.

So, I hope you all are having a great Christmas wherever you are. North, south, east and west.


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

merry christmasJust a short post today since it is Christmas Eve and I’m sure we are all traveling somewhere, or are with our friends and family for the holidays.  This year it is very quiet for my family and I. We didn’t go to any friend’s house for eggnog and cheer… though we did do it a couple weeks ago and hot buttered rum was the specialty of the day…. That was incredibly good and I’ve since made the recipe and we have enjoyed that immensely.

My grandparents are way down south, along with my girl friend Jules (Mrs. Austen) and Boris is down under…. As in Australia.  (pssst…. I wish I could have gone with him. I’d love to go to Australia. And well, to go with Boris… who has someone drive him to his hotel. He doesn’t drive himself. I swear, it’s like Edward from Pretty Woman….)

There is snow on the mountains here in CA. A fast moving storm blew in and dropped a bit up in the peaks… And made it incredibly cold. Brrr.  Not a white Christmas per say, but close enough.

So, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! (don’t forget to hang those stockings and put out the milk and cookies.)


Christmas Stars

Twinkle, Twinkle little star, what a miracle you are, wonder how you ever came to be…


Stars at Christmastime is almost as synonymous as snow and Christmas. Clear, crisp nights with stars so bright you could almost touch them. Little diamonds in the sky. Orion shooting across the sky, trailing Taurus, and Leo chasing him.

Snowy nights with the stars above. Twinkling, twinkling, always twinkling.  Yes, stars are winter, and stars are Christmas. And it finally dawned on me the other day, why stars are so important this time of year. It’s all because of one star. The star in the sky that led the wise men to Bethlehem where Jesus was.  That was one very important star. The star the shepherds saw in the sky that led them to the stable. The star that remained in the sky for two years, leading those wise men west.

How very important a star can be.

And while I know stars are just flaming balls of hot gas in space, somehow I can’t ever seem to remember that scientific fact when I’m looking up at their magical diamond-ness.  No, I just can’t look at it as anything but a magical, very important thing.

I love the stars. I love looking at stars and the constellations.  The stars are my ‘friends’. I never can get enough of the night sky. And I think of the majesty contained in those sparkling pinpoints of light. They were put there for a reason, and I thank God for them. Somehow they seem to bring Him just a little bit closer.

William Blake wrote, ‘To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.”

The stars are infinity and eternity.

Anyways, it’s that one star from so long ago that was so important.  I have the Gaither Trio’s song in my head. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great joy….” It used to be one of my favorites.  And at this time of year, as Christians, we rejoice.


I Smell Snow

Tonight, it smells like snow.  Or December.  I think December has a very distinct smell that reminds me of The Carpenters, John Denver‘s “Aspenglow” song, Columbia, California  and clearly Christmas.  It’s this woodsmoke and cold, mountain air. It’s misty cold from the pines. It’s pines.  It’s the smell of Christmas trees and old candy canes.

Snow smells. People that don’t get snow wouldn’t understand, but snow has this metallic, slightly dirty smell. Like damp dust.  Only it’s cleaner and fresher. And colder.  I know it sounds strange to say snow smells like dust, but every snowflake is made from a speck of dust.  you would not have snow unless you had dirt.  Sounds even stranger.  But seriously, melt snow and the water isn’t very clean at the bottom.  And it tastes weird.  Definitely dirty.  I like to eat snow, but even it doesn’t taste like clean water. Yet you think it is because it’s white.

So, tonight, it smells like metallic cold pines and woodsmoke.

Tonight I smell snow.

That being said, I don’t know if it’s going to snow, but it might be in the mountains. All of California is getting much needed precipitation of some sort.