Sunday, June 25, 2006

Writer's Weekend

I dropped in at a writer's conference near Seattle this weekend, to spend some time with tale spinners and the people who help get those tales pubished. It was fascinating to hear how the publishing process works, and why it takes so long to hear back when you submit a manuscript. It was very inspiring being around so many writers, listening to success stories, and learning more about the business of writing.

Check out for a report from my friend who attended the full conference. While there be sure to read the rest of her blog, and you'll understand why she's had an agent and an editor request her manuscript.

It was a lovely weekend to be in the Puget Sound area. The Northwest has taken summer by the horns. It's been in the 80s and 90s, which is unusual for June. Actually, it doesn't usually stop raining until after July 4th. This spring has been wonderful. It's so beautiful here in spring and summer - the mountains gleem, the water glistens, and the lush green foliage looks positively tropical. Tonight a swift breeze is helping keep this web-footed northwesterner from melting. It was fun to spend some time in the city, but I'm glad to be back in my rural abode.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Elusive Peachicks

My peafowl flock is growing! The brown cluster by the peahen in the background is her clutch of 3 chicks. The hen in the foreground is last years' chick. While they are generally friendly Mom is very wary, and as soon as I get the camera out she ushers her chicks away. The family, including the peacock, are usually found together. Not, alas, for pictures.
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Sheep Field in Bloom

This is my sheep field with foxglove in full bloom. Not much room for grass, but it's lovely. Fortunately, the grass, berries, and other foliage along the lane is doing very well indeed, so the sheep still have fresh browse while they perform important mowing tasks.

Part of the road maintenance crew.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Nature's Plan

When I moved here, my newly-widened lane was flanked with the red-brown clay that passes here for soil. I decided I needed to plant flowering trees along it, to brighten up the woods and hopefully help keep back the blackberries. I started this winter, planting a few lilacs. And then the Elderberries came into bloom. The Elderberries that seem to sprout up wherever there is disturbed soil, and that now line sections of the lane. Their creamy white blossoms cheerily announced spring.

Other native trees are now taking on the brightening duties, with flowers (I think these are Oregon Boxwoods) and colorful seed pods.

Some scrappy-looking plants have been establishing themselves in the clay. I'd been wondering what they were and if it was wise to let something that spread so fast to take hold, but decided anything was better than the Himalayan blackberries that are the bane of the Northwest. They then put on a growth spurt and turned into flows of delightful long-stemmed greenish-white and pink flower stalks. Tellima grandiflora or fringecup, a northwest native described as "somewhat aggressive", seems to be out-competing everything. Pretty pink claytonia sibirica, a purslane called candy flower, adds color interest.

I can't wait to see what blooms next. One of the lilacs I planted shows up in front of the log as a forked white stem. It isn't doing so well. And I thought I could improve upon nature.