Of Rain and Mushrooms

Rain brought us back early from our first camping trip of the year.  And now the rain’s bought my husband and I a few hours of quiet as the girls catch up on their sleep….For some reason s’mores don’t taste quite as sweet as they do until the sun has been down an hour or two and our girls are always ALWAYS up by 5:30.  That coupled with non-stop fun with our friends means no one gets enough sleep on our weekends out.  It’s a nice problem to have.

April is morel mushroom month here in Illinois, we all made a trip into the woods looking for them with no luck.  They’re a bit like unicorns—rare, well loved, even mystical in a way as everyone has their own family passed traditions on how to find them…and once found, they are a heavily guarded secret.   And let’s face it, if I found a bunch of unicorns, I’d keep them for myself too.  The mushrooms? I’d fry up and serve to my friends.


Release Day and the Weekend

Friday was the big day!  Better With Sugar had its official release and I survived!  I was worried I’d obsess and be glued to my computer/phone, but the husband stepped in and did something completely unexpected.  He took me on a countryside-bar crawl.  We hopped from dive to dive and had an absolute blast.  I’m such a light weight I had a drink every other stop and yet I laughed so much.  Its crazy how we can love someone so much, but life-work-schedules get in the way and everything becomes so routine living with them.  Its good to get out, sit on a sticky bar stool and catch up every once in a while.

We ended the weekend by working in our garden.  It was so nice to get our fingers into the soil for the first time this year and as the husband finished tilling each bed, our daughters all but climbed in and went swimming in the cool, black earth. They love the way it smells and would scoop up handfuls and bury their noses in it (needless to say, there were baths later).  We sowed snap peas, green beans and a variety of lettuces and spinach.  We found worms. We collected eggs from the chickens and took a walk around the property.  It was a pretty end to a pretty exciting weekend for me.  It’s not every day a girl publishes her first book.

Tomorrow brings us 10 new baby chickens and it will bring me back to the computer.  Time to hit book two hard and start planting my words one by one until an entire garden blooms.

Magic in the Woods

My husband and I traveled to waaaaaay southern Illinois this past weekend.  There’s land in Galatia that’s been in my family for generations and while there’s not much of the old farm left today, there’s still 40 acres of woods.  They’re lovely, even if bare this time of the year. We walked with our girls and taught them to look for signs of wild life.  Tracks, scat and sounds.  We heard treefrogs, discovered coyote or fox scat, and followed along a deer path, the girls exclaiming with glee at every cloven hoove-tramped muddy patch we came across.

What they loved most were the turkey vultures circling overhead.  While the girls tried to mimic the treefrogs, got grossed out by the scat and loudly shouted at every deer track they discovered, the vultures silenced them.  They stared up, the pale sky reflected in their eyes and for once, the forest was the loudest thing for miles.

There was magic in that moment. I wish I could bottle those few precious seconds and keep them safe on a shelf.  I’d save them for the first time the girls’ hearts were broken, the first time the world let them down, the first time they questioned life, because there is no peace like that which nature brings.

Spring and Something Else have Sprung

As luck would have it, I’m publishing a very spring book in a very spring month. Better With Sugar is as much about rebirth and renewal as April is.  When the little things like these work out to make connections and circles, it makes me happy.

Life is funny that way.

Just as I sat here tonight, bemoaning to the cat that I have nothing interesting to share, I received my first fan male-I mean fan mail.  A lovely gentleman sent me a naughty compliment in Spanish regarding my lips and sugar.  And would you believe, it kind of worked? Sugar is the new sexy, I’ve got a book to prove it. So Mr. Fan Male, thanks. I bet your very dirty lips are lovely as well. Don’t kiss your mother till you wash them though.  Please.