Friday, August 22, 2014
The kittehs were appalled. Actually, so were we, on discovering that the wooden underpinnings of our sink were being gnawed on by larder beetles, dropping a powdery residue, as well as grubs and beetle bodies into the drawers and cabinets in the vicinity;
DIY guy to the rescue! John decided to replace the wood and formica with an un-gnawable concrete countertop. After a lot of careful study of various DIY books on the subject, he built a form down in his shop and poured the concrete mixture. After it had hardened, there was grinding the surface flat and polishing and sealing. (This was a slow process, over a period of weeks.)
At last it was ready. Drawers and cupboards had to be emptied and the sink removed (we had an interesting few days without it -- washing dishes and garden produce in the bathroom.)
And here it is!
No one wants to drop this on a toe . . .
Once it's on the hand truck, tensions abate.
But then there are the steps . . .
Justin pulls: John pushes . . .
Yep, this endeavor involved a lot of tools . . .
Easing it into place . . .
And there it is. Now John is casting some long narrow bits for the backsplash.
Thank you, John! You are a man of many talents!
I'm pretty impressed with how nice concrete can look . . .
Even if the kittehs aren't.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
A few years ago, I heard that a writers' retreat had sprung up on Doe Branch, just seven miles down the road from our farm.
Cool, I thought and filed the info away in what passes for my brain and pretty much forgot about it. Then, this summer at Wildacres, one of the faculty (Marjorie Hudson, whose ACCIDENTAL BIRDS OF THE CAROLINAS I blogged about a while ago) mentioned that she'd led a workshop there and what a terrific place it was.
Cool, I thought, and pretty much forgot about it.
Then, last week I got an email, asking me to lead a fiction workshop there this October.
Cool, I thought . . . and met with the director to discuss it.
So, this is the offering as seen on the Doe Branch Ink website:
0/19-10/25 Vicki Lane, Jump Start Your Novel
Vicki’s workshop — Jump Start Your Novel — is ideal for writers starting or under way with their first book length project. The workshop follows a proven approach for Vicki and her students of all ages.
JUMP START YOUR NOVEL – The Nuts and Bolts Approach
Whether you have a novel in progress, an idea for a novel, or just the idea that you’d like to write a novel, this is the workshop for you. It was a workshop like this that started Vicki’s writing career (six novels published and counting) and a workshop like this that has resulted in completed novels from a number of her students.
During morning meetings, Vicki will offer guidance in the basics of setting, plot, characterization, and dialogue with practical and cautionary information about seeking an agent, submitting a manuscript, and building a career. There will be some brief in-class writing prompts and there will be short (1-2 pages) assignments (which may incorporate the writer’s work in progress) written outside of class time. These assignments will be discussed during the next day’s workshop. Afternoon and evenings will be free for writing, rest, reflection, or relaxation. Vicki will be available most afternoons for one on one conferences. The text will be the highly acclaimed Don’t Sabotage Your Submission by career manuscript editor Chris Roerden (Bella Rosa books –ISBN 978-1-933523-31-6.)
It really sounds pretty idyllic -- no more than eight workshop participants, meals catered by Zumas -- a quirky coffeeshop/eatery in nearby Marshall, fall in the mountains at what is usually the peak of leaf color, a beautiful, secluded location, lots of free time . . . There could even be a field trip to our farm -- to talk about creating a fictional setting from a real place . .
If any of you are interested, there's much more info HERE about Doe Branch Ink -- and I'll try to answer questions if I know the answers.
This could be the start of something big . . .
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
It's coming . . .
Fields of tobacco are golden and harvest-ready . . .
Some of the maples are beginning to turn . . .
Autumn Clematis (Virgin's Bower) is draping the roadsides . . .
Doubtless there'll be more hot weather before fall truly arrives but meanwhile . . .
There's corn, corn, and more corn . . .
Monday, August 18, 2014
Marta McDowell's charming look at Beatrix Potter's world traces Potter's development as a gardener and as an artist. (the two are inextricably linked) and takes the reader through the four seasons in Potter's garden.
Richly illustrated with photographs, both current and archival, as well as Potter's lovely drawings and watercolors, the book is comfort food for gardeners.
This delightful book is also for anyone who has fond memories of Peter Rabbit or Jemima Puddleduck or Mrs. Tiggy Wiggle . . .
And for anyone interested in seeing how Beatrix Potter's environs shaped her work -- and , for she was an ambitious and gifted gardener, how her work shaped her environs.
For Anglophiles and for lovers of landscape . . .
And for watercolorists -- and those who wish they were.