In spite of snow and several nights when the temperature hit 18 (F), it still looks like Spring out there. The flowering quince was hit hard and its pink blossoms are brown, as are the blooms of the Star Magnolia. And the day lilies which had put out greenery far too early have been knocked back. But much of the forsythia is still looking good as are the daffodils which were bowed to the ground but perked back up in the sunshine.
The hellebores -- which have been blooming since December -- are better than ever.
They are such an obliging plant -- and evidently the deer don't like them. Mr. Google tells me that White Hellebore was used as a poison -- and to treat cholera -- often with less than desirable effects. Hmmm.
It's still a tad to chilly for me to want to stay out long, especially when the wind blows.
But it felt good to make a little inspection tour and find how much had survived -- even the tree peony and its swelling buds!
Our visiting Florida cousins -- artists and teachers of art -- spent one morning doing a little painting . . .
I had showed Barb (as one does) the x-ray of my broken ankle and she immediately asked for a copy --- so she could paint it. She produced several enigmatic studies in shades of black and grey and was moving on to some lovely pastel variations when lunchtime forced her to abandon the works for the moment.
But she went home a happy woman, with her copies of the ankle x-ray, along with the pictures ( in living color!) from my colonoscopy.
I did request that my name not be attached to any art resulting from the latter.
The Florida cousins are paying us a visit and as Barb was showing me a picture of her cats on her phone, my eyes went to the very basic, very loud, Roman Stripe quilt in the background.
1974 -- We are living on a lake in Odessa, Florida. John's Uncle Charley is getting married and John's sister Fay and I decide to make a quilt as a gift. Neither of us has ever quilted but I have a book of patterns and basic instructions. We pick out the Roman Stripe as being the easiest. . .
Today, the color choices make me question my sanity and taste but, as I recall, we thought it was something the recipients would like, based on some other quilts they had recently bought. So we assembled a bunch of primary colored fabrics and set to work.
This was before I'd ever heard of roller cutters and I suspect that we used cardboard templates to trace the many rectangles and then scissors to cut them out. The quilt was for a king size bed and it took roughly forever to make enough squares and then sew them together.
At last it was complete and we layered it with batting and backing and wrestled it onto a homemade quilting frame hanging from the ceiling of our house.
Several hours of novice (first time) quilting later, our progress was so minimal that we faced reality. If this quilt was to be finished before the up-coming wedding, we would have to tie it, rather than quilt it.
So that's what we did and how we beamed with pride when we presented our gift.
The marriage eventually ended and Uncle Charley is gone now but the quilt still adorns a bed in the house that our cousins inherited.
It looks to have held up pretty well. But, my heavens, it's a gaudy thing! Even the cats won't sleep on it.
We awoke yesterday to a little over an inch of snow . . . and warming temperatures.
Whenever snow is predicted in March, those of us who remember The Great Blizzard of '93, look to our supplies -- wood, food, water, batteries -- what ever it might take to weather whatever the weather might bring.
In '93 we were taken by surprise by heavy snow and a power outage that lasted over a week. Our driveway and, indeed, the the roads were impassable. No running water because the well pump needed power.
My older boy was home for Spring Break with a passel of college friends -- five or six, if memory serves. Making nine of us in the house. And no one could leave.
It would have been a perfect setup for a murder mystery -- deep snow, flickering kerosene lamps, communication with the outside world gone . . . though helicopters did fly over twice to see if anyone was signalling for help.
But thanks to wood stoves a good supply of canned goods, two chest freezers full of beef and pork and garden produce, and a reservoir from pre-well days which John hooked back up after slogging through snow that was chest high in places, we did quite well.
The young uns built snow forts and had snowball fights during the day and played Dungeons and Dragons at night. The house was draped with drying clothes and I kept making stews and soup and cocoa and bread.
An unforgettable time. Even fun, in a way.
But we were happy when yesterday's snow was mostly gone by midday.
June 1o - Speaking at a luncheon at Montreat College
June 25-July 1 -- John C. Campbell Folk School. I'll be teaching A Practical Guide to Writing Popular Fiction. Your novel starts here with this intense, week-long class. We will focus on writing realistic dialogue and creating characters that move through and interact with a fully realized setting. We will discuss different approaches to plotting, tricks for building suspense, means of ensuring continuity, and the avoidance of info dumps. We'll also talk about forming or joining critique groups, the ins and outs of self editing, agents and how to query them, as well as the various publishing alternatives available today. All levels welcome. Link to JCC HERE.
July 8-15 Wildacres Writing Workshop. I will be leading a workshop on the novel. Here's your chance to spend a week surrounded by writers of all sorts. More info for 2017 HERE.
All images and content are subject to copyright and are the sole property of Vicki Lane Mysteries. If you would like to use something from my blog on your blog or website, please email me and ask first. I'll probably say yes.
I'm the author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Full Circle Farm Appalachian Mysteries from Bantam Dell. The series includes SIGNS IN THE BLOOD (LA MONTAGNE DES SECRETS in France), ART'S BLOOD, (LE SECRET DES APPALACHES in France,) OLD WOUNDS,IN A DARK SEASON (Anthony Nominee, Best PBO), and UNDER THE SKIN. There's also THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS (a spinoff/standalone)chronicling the unexpected life story of Miss Birdie, one of Elizabeth's neighbors.
Currently I have just completed a historical novel, dealing with a massacre in my county during the Civil War.
I came to this weird business late (my first novel was published in 2005) and am still trying to figure it out.
As my novels are set in a place much like my real life home, I thought I'd use this blog to share pictures of our farm and county. I've been blogging for nearly nine years now, on an almost daily basis, and the topics have ranged from writing, chickens, food, books, quilts, flora and fauna of all sorts, to the occasional tiny rant. There's no plan, but there are lots of pictures.
There's more information about me and my books on my web site: http://vickilanemysteries.com/