FALLING INTO FALL

Autumn, also known as fall in North America, is here. The free dictionary describes it this way:

1. The season of the year between summer and winter, during which the weather becomes cooler and many plants become dormant, extending in the Northern Hemisphere from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice and popularly considered to include the months of September, October, and November; fall. In the Southern Hemisphere autumn includes March, April, and May.http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Fall+(season)

It’s an explanation that falls (see what I did there?) far short of what autumn is. I prefer a collection of 24 quotes in Country Living. I share copies of 2 of them. To see them all go to:http://www.countryliving.com/life/g1897/fall-quotes/?slide=1

I’m privileged to live in a small town with a college where there is a botanical garden and a wetlands project. And where I can walk and enjoy the plantings. I present some for your pleasure.

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I love autumn: Long walks, colorful leaves, cool air and a scent all its own. There is not room or time to list all the things I love about fall.

How do you feel about fall? What are your favorite things?

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LOTSA LISTS

I  confess to be a lover of lists. How do people live without them? How do they keep their lives running smoothly? I simply don’t know.

Here are some of my favorite lists:

1. The to-do list. I have one for the week and one for each day and yes, I have been known to write something on mine after I’ve done the job so I can then cross it off. It’s a form of celebrating what I’ve accomplished.

2. The shopping list. If it isn’t written down it doesn’t get bought. (Mostly because I can’t remember it). Not to admit to being OCD but my list is organized listed in order of how the stores appear in town. If someone suggests an addition after the fact, I just say it’s too late. It wasn’t on the list and I don’t backtrack.

3. Honey-do list. It saves nagging, saves excuses such as ‘I didn’t hear’ or ‘I forgot.’ I’ve learned to put no more than 2 or 3 things on a list at any one time.

4. Kid-do list. Same reasons as above. Mind you I don’t do these much any more but it’s interesting to see how many of my kids do lists. Even more interesting is that the ones who said they would never do that to their children are slowly learning it’s not a bad idea.

5. Goal list which is different than to-do list. This one is more expansive and far reaching. I include writing deadlines here.

6. Bucket list. Oh, my bucket list. One thing I was able to cross off was visiting Paris. But now I have ‘visit Paris again.’ (I need to go back and get digital photos!) There are a number of other places I’d like to visit. Another item I was able to cross off this year was renting a cabin at our favorite nearby lake and spending a week there with some of my family.

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7. A gratitude list. One year I made it my goal to each day list 5 things I was grateful for. I have so much. Anyone living in our country has so much and  yet I find people grumble and complain. (Yes, I am among those who do). Being deliberate about thinking of what I have helps me avoid this.

8. Harvest list. Every year I keep a list of what comes off my garden—beans, peas and apples in the freezer; carrots, potatoes and turnips in the root cellar; beet pickles in the basement.

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9. Exercise list. I confess this one has been less than successful but I am trying to find enjoyable ways to add exercise to my winter life. I don’t need more exercise in the summer—I have the garden and it’s fun to be outside. Winter, not so much.

10. Last but not least, I borrow from The Sound of Music and enjoy listing my favorite things. The colors of autumn would be on this list.

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There is one last list. One I don’t like. It’s the one that springs to mind in the wee dark hours of the night. It’s a reminder to me of all the embarrassing, awkward, wrong things I’ve said and done throughout my life. And in this, my memory is infallible. Crying face I can remember things from Grade One. What is with that???

Are you a list maker? Or do you find the practice horrifying?

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LIFE ACCORDING TO PEANUT

It’s been a tough week. I don’t want to talk about it and you don’t want to hear about it so instead I am going to talk about my cat. His name is Peanut.

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We’ve had him for two years. From the beginning he has been a character. Even when little he would rush out and grab people around the ankle. I put up a sign saying: WARNING:ATTACK CAT. People laughed and then screamed as he grabbed them.

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He loves to play. By the hour. It keeps the guy in the wheelchair occupied.

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But most of it, he likes to sleep. And he has a laid-back attitude toward the world. But then what does he know about deadlines, and demands?

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It got me to thinking about how we, as humans, forget to enjoy life. The words in the book, Jesus Calling, say it better than I could. I quote from that book:

‘So many people dream of the day when they will finally be happy; when they are out of debt, when their children are out of trouble, when they have more leisure time, and so on. While they day dream, their moments are trickling into the ground like precious balm spilling wastefully from overturned bottles.’

So for today I am going to do my best to look for and enjoy each precious moment.

 

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MY FICKLE AFFECTIONS

May 8, 2016. The garden is ready to plant. Should I plant 4 or 6 rows of beans? I can never have too many and if I do, I’ll give them away or leave them so I plant 6 rows or maybe it was 8.

June, early in the month. Weeding is hard work but is there anything that looks better than row after row of cleanly weeded emerging plants.

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June, late in the month. The beans, and the rest of the garden, are doing well after a dry spring. I can’t wait for fresh beans to eat.

July. Rains have broken the drought. The garden looks great. Can’t wait for fresh beans and peas.

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August: Rains continue. And the beans have started to produce. So nice.

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Mid August. The beans are really producing. REALLY producing.  I pick prepare and freeze 20 gals. in one picking. Do I really like beans as much as I thought?

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late Aug. Beans, beans, beans. If I never see another bean it will be too soon for me. I have 35 gallons in the freezer. I pick more and give them away.

Sept.3, 2016. The beans are about done. Yahoo. I pull the vines out and pile them up to be hauled away. Here is the pile so far. I’m only about 3/4 done ripping them out.

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PATCHWORK WRITING

I’m sure you’ve heard of patchwork quilts. Years ago, the girls and I made several crazy patchwork quilts. No pattern except that the quilt was made in 12” squares. The result is colorful and…well, crazy. Kind of fun to make.

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This week I am doing a major revision on one of my stories. I am taking out some elements, adding others and rearranging much of the scenes. It’s messy and a real work out for my brain. Pages look like this. (Page purposely blurred so no one can see which story it is and judge me. You know you would! Smile)

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It’s not my favorite way to write but hopefully, after much more editing, it will produce a story that works.

For no real reason except to clear your mind after that blurred picture here are some flowers from Hawaii. Besides, flowers are pretty and easy on the eyes (and brain).

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Do you do anything that seems to have no rhyme nor reason until the project is finished?

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AT THE LAKE

I spent a week at a nearby lake (one of my favorite places) with 2 daughters and 5 granddaughters.

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There is something about the water,

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the beach,

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the many benches and chairs along the promenade,

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and the ice-cream stores—Big Moo and More Moo.

The powers that be continue to improve the park. New amusements are added.

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It was a break from writing, weeding and gardening. A time of refreshment and enjoying my family.

What is your favorite activity of the summer so far?

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GUESS WHAT I’M DONG!

It’s August. The garden is at its peak which means…

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beans, peas and raspberries to pick. (that’s 5 gal. of beans.)

A new book has arrived. It never gets old to get these boxes of my book. This is the first of a new series set in NW Montana during a gold rush.

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And working on a new series of stories I plan—romances along the Santa Fe Trail. So doing lots of research.

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How about you? How is your August shaping up?

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FAMILY

This weekend, my husband and I attended a family reunion for my side of the family.

I come from a mixed up family. My father married a woman with four children. His wife was injured in a car accident and subsequently passed away. She and my father had three children. So now there were 7. A few years later, my father met and married my mother and there were three more children. I am the second youngest. All in all, there were 10 children spread over quite a few years. But was have always been family and cherish our times together.

Seeing my remaining siblings brought to mind the story I did line edits on this week. It’s the second in my new series BIG SKY COUNTRY. The book is to be titled, MONTANA COWBOY FAMILY  and will be out in 2017

It is a story about family. I’ve created a collection of quotes from the story.

 

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JUST JULY

I was going to title this bog July Joys but then I would have had to list a whole bunch of things like family reunions, company, trips with grandkids to the lake, picnics, wiener roasts, long walks in the cool of the evening, etc. I don’t have time for that. Laughing out loud So instead I am just going to share a couple of things from July.

First and foremost because it consumes the most of my time is the gardens. I know when I say garden, some people think little flower gardens. I do have those which are sadly neglected.

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But for me gardening means the long rows of vegetables. Already we are enjoying baby carrots fresh from the garden, beet top greens (which are so good drowned in butter), fresh sweet lettuce and raspberries. The peas are heavy with pods so they will be next. My fingers are crossed that the beans hold out until the peas are done but only time will tell.

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July has also been extremely rainy. 6” in the first two weeks. Sudden and vicious storms almost daily. We now have warmer weather but with all the moisture there is, we also have evening storms.

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And yes, I can relate this back to my writing.Smile Because I am writing up a storm most days as well.

 

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NEW SERIES—FIRST BOOK

The first book in a new series will be out in Oct. but I can’t wait to share the cover with you.

The six-book series is called BIG SKY COUNTRY. As you might guess, it is set in Montana. The setting is a fictional town called Bella Creek that has been built mostly by a big old cowboy—the patriarch of the Marshall family. The series will tell the stories of the three young Marshall cowboys, their sister and a couple of their closest friends.

It is set in the 1890s when gold was found in north western Montana. The town was built as an alternative to the nearby rough mining town.

Things I like about this series:

1. The strong family unit the Marshalls are. They support each other through thick and thin.

2. The setting—to the west is rugged mountain areas, to the east, rolling grasslands perfect for raising cattle. As one character says, “Good cow country.”

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3. The strong community that pulls together to take care of its own.

4. The research I got to do which involved a trip to that part of Montana. Such beautiful country.

5. Cowboys. Need I say more?

And here it is. The cover of the first book in the series: Montana Cowboy Daddy.

Montana Cowboy Daddy

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