Catching Up

Marigold magic

In bygone days when money was tight, we used to talk about getting ahead. No sooner would we feel like extra cash was on hand than an unexpected expense would loom on the horizon. We came to believe that anticipating the moment we would get ahead was a harbinger of disaster. Lately, the idea of catching up begins to feel somewhat the same.

I’ve been home for almost three weeks from a month of travel right after the regular busy summer schedule of visitors and gardening. And the summer did seem busy! With an ever-expanding garden, bears in the fruit trees, replacing our wood-burning stove, contemplating the purchase of a new vehicle and planning to reroof a section of the cabin – we were hopping.

Moving in the new stove

New roof

September is not usually a month I would choose for travelling. But with the garden produce at a steady trickle rather than a tidal wave due to cool weather and rain early in the season, I risked it. Of course, the garden took off the minute I was out the door. Bruce was kept busy with freezing blackberries and green beans and eating ten plus tomatoes a day.

Since my return, canning has been priority number one. Jars of dilly beans, stewed tomatoes, salsa, green tomato chutney, blackberry jam and relish have made their way to the pantry. And we have been enjoying the harvest with multiple veggie selections at every meal – green beans, squash, carrots, potatoes, the last of the cucumbers and zucchini as well as fresh parsley and basil.

Green cherry tomato pickles                    Salsa

Blackberry jam

We did manage a wonderful Thanksgiving turkey dinner here with guests from around the lake. A squash custard, green beans, carrots, fresh salad greens dotted with cherry tomatoes, newly dug potatoes, parsley in the dressing – all from the garden – competed for attention on a turkey laden table. And we got in a trip down Island to have our generator serviced. It was a gorgeous day and we took a lovely walk down at the spit in Campbell River.

Campbell River spit

A very dry September and the early part of October has meant a slow start to our micro-hydro system but what a bonus for the last of the garden produce. To say nothing of our local foraging for chanterelle mushrooms. They are coming in so crisp and bright!

Chanterelle bounty

So, lately I am not feeling like Francis Guenette, author of the Crater Lake Series. I’ve hardly had a moment to consider writing! That brings me to something I’ve learned over the course of the last five years of writing, self-publishing, marketing and just plain living. The living part matters. I can’t bring all that I am to the writing if all that I am is a writer.

MosaiCanada 150

This morning I woke up with an idea for how book five will end. That’s progress. Soon all the garden will be laid to rest with late fall storms, all that can be consumed will have made its way through the door, the lights will be bright with excess power and I will be writing again. The ebb and flow of life continues. I won’t be caught up but I begin to think that catching up is not an ideal I need to pursue.

Squirrel on the deck

14 comments on “Catching Up

  1. Jane Fritz says:

    Fran, could you hear my jaw dropping as I read of your extraordinary harvesting and canning activities? What productivity. Can two people eat that much over the winter?! 😉 Is the marvellous topiary of the Chinese dragon from the Mosaic Canada in Ottawa or from somewhere else? Happy settling in!

    • We will definitely work our way through all the canned and frozen home-grown, organic and yummy veggies in the coming year. We are generally opportunistic eaters – we eat what’s on hand. Or what’s on sale – LOL. Yes – the Chinese dragon is from the MosaiCanada 150 over the bridge from Ottawa in Gatineau. I want to do a whole blog on the truly breathtaking live sculptures I saw there. My son and I spent a wonderful afternoon wandering back and forth between these amazing sculptures – alive and growing grasses and plants – watching a team of workers trim and clip and keep each piece perfect. A real treat 🙂

      • Jane Fritz says:

        That MosaiCanada exhibit was beyond captivating. (Well, except for the extremely strange NB horses exhibit, an animal which nobody in NB has ever heard of!) I will look forward to your blog on it. That magnificent installation is so deserving of being shared.

  2. jane tims says:

    A diverse life has lots to offer to others! Looking forward to the next book. Perhaps Izzie will do some canning.

    • Izzy will definitely be canning! How could she not. Your third book in the Meniscus series is one of the things on my list to catch up with, Jane. A diverse life does have lots to offer, so true. It also results in endless to-do lists.

      • jane tims says:

        Life is ever busy! I will be putting out a forth book soon … the missing five weeks between book one and two. And I have a new book of poetry coming out with my publisher. Poor house, very neglected!

  3. evelynralph says:

    I do love Canada, and its productive people. Good luck with the next book.

  4. Lovely post, what an interesting life you lead and how fortunate! Hard work, great food, family and friends and writing….and such a beautiful place. Seems like heaven to me, and many fine blessings.

  5. Gallivanta says:

    I know this is not the point of your post, but I am captivated by your neatly stacked wood. It’s a work of art.

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