Work In Progress: March 2021

The current cross stitch project (“Canal Home,” by Artecy in Aida 18 ct, 72 colors) is going to take a while. It’s larger and more challenging, with a lot of what cross stitchers call “confetti”–many different colors in a 10×10 square of fabric. But what is life but a whole series of confetti challenges? Managing […]

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Look Down: Henbit and Chickweed

If you look down at your feet, you might just see a new green world. For me, that’s what happens every spring here at Meadow Knoll. Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) flourishes in the early spring, and if I allowed it, this little eager beaver would monopolize my garden beds. A member of the mint family (but […]

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Life Out of Left Field

For a full year now, we’ve been learning to live life out of the ordinary. Life unpredictable, unforeseeable, unexpected. Life iffy, unlooked for, out of left field, not in the cards, subject to change, can’t-count-on-it life. At all levels of life–personal, familial, local, national, global–we no longer know what’s normal. COVID-19 (with its many and […]

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The Great Freeze-up: Winter 2021

I’ve started this post several times, only to lose it as the power went off again. This is our fourth day with intermittent, unpredictable power. When I can get email, I can see numerous thoughtful messages–thank you. I won’t be able to answer each one, so please consider this quick post an answer to all, […]

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Works in Progress: Februrary 2021

Here in the Texas Hill Country, it doesn’t usually get very cold–not much below freezing and then for only a couple of hours. This week, though, we’ll join all of you Northerners in the cold that’s pushing down from the Arctic. The weather folks are telling us that we’ll be in the 20s for a […]

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Writing a Woman’s Life: Rose Wilder Lane, Part 3

This completes this three-part series. Go here for Part One and Part Two. For me, biographical fiction—novels built on the lives and times of real people—is the most interesting and challenging of all fictional genres. I read all I can find, from Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck to Melanie Benjamin’s The Aviator’s Wife to the superb Watergate: A Novel, by Thomas […]

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Lichens: Celebrating the Small

They may be tiny, but they’re beautiful: a landscape in miniature, a tiny garden, so small that they are usually beneath our notice. Which, given the destructive habits of our species, is probably a good thing. But being tiny doesn’t mean being unsuccessful. Lichens are among the oldest living things on earth. They inhabit every […]

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November: Works in Progress

My early Christmas present arrived last week and I’ve been enjoying it enormously–not just for the pleasure of playing again after decades away from the keyboard, but because of the memories. Lots of them. Like many kids, I started piano lessons when I was eight–not yet old enough, certainly, to appreciate the opportunity. That came […]

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Another Dahlias Giveaway!

We’re having another book giveaway to celebrate the publication of The Darling Dahlias and the Voodoo Lily. You can win these four signed hardcovers for yourself or for gifting. One of the things I enjoy about this series is writing about Southern food–especially (since these are 1930s novels) the foods that were popular in the […]

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Election Cake: A Tasty Slice of History

  I love old recipes. They show us what foods people liked, what ingredients were available, and–sometimes–what traditions and events they celebrated. I was browsing through a late eighteenth-century cookbook not long ago when I came across a  recipe for something called Election Cake. “Old-fashioned election cake,” I read, “is made of 30 quarts of […]

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