Tag Archives: Gardening

About Audio Books

I have come slowly to audio books.

While I love to listen to music on my iPod while doing this or that — pulling weeds, washing dishes, puttering around — I have always thought that reading should be a quiet activity, a reward for having pulled weeds, done the dishes and done all the necessary puttering.

But I’m changing my mind about that.

Lizard Wine Audio cover

Several of my books are now available in the audio format, and I have discovered that I enjoy listening to audio books. My favorite way to listen, of course, is still sitting quietly–so I knit and listen. But I can also listen while pulling weeds, doing the dishes and puttering.

Lizard Wine is now available as an audio book, narrated by the astonishing Voice of America, Jim Tedder. This is one of my perennial bestselling thrillers, and Jim brings a very nice depth of emotion to the narration. You can download a sample and then decide whether or not you are interested in listening to more.

Baggage Check, my latest thriller, is also available, narrated by Roger Wood.

baggage check audio cover

Lizzie Borden, of course, is also available as an audio book. As is my very first book, When Darkness Loves Us.

Lizzie audio cover

Sadly to say, my time to read for pleasure has shrunk in the past few years, but with audio books, I can “read” while driving, and while I’m doing almost anything else.

And, like browsing in a bookstore, I can “sample” a book before I buy or borrow.

Audio books have changed the way I read. I’m sorry that my life has come to this type of multi-tasking, but that is the current state of affairs. Maybe some day I will have a hammock and the type of leisure time to while away the day with superb fiction, but that isn’t my world today.

The point is, whether I have headphones or a tablet or paper book in my lap, whether I’m listening or reading, I’m still engaging with wonderful literature.

And that is my lifeblood.

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The peas are in!

The last two weeks of February are almost always beautiful. This is the promise of spring, I guess, or the false-hope that spring has actually arrived. These two glorious weeks of blue sky and light-jacket weather after months of cold gray drizzle make me a little giddy.

The first thing I do is get the pea bed ready, put up the trellis, and plant the peas.  I did that today.  And while I was in the garden, I pulled a bunch of weeds, and noticed the violets that are up, and the crocus. The daffodils are budding, and the tulips are popping up. Spring is definitely on the way.

But after the peas are in, winter returns. It always does. In fact, it’s going to rain tomorrow and turn cold again. But the rain isn’t the worst part. The worst is the fog. So we have cold, drizzly fog, after two weeks of actually believing that spring might be within grasp.

Every year I tell myself not to fall for nature’s cruel trick, but it never works.  I fall for it.  And I’m disappointed. Every year.

And yet, the peas will eventually come up, cold, drizzly fog and all, and by the time they’re ready to be lightly steamed and salted,  it really will be spring.

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My Summer Kitchen

My kitchen is a mess in the summer. Always. The floor has bits of dried leaves and things that all three of us (husband, dog, me) track in from the garden, the countertop always has some dirt-filled things, like garlic drying or onions. Right now there is a bowl of raspberries left over from breakfast, to be snacked on until they’re gone (before lunch).  Soon, I hope, the perpetual bowl of tomatoes will be there.

We live as much outside as inside during the summer, and while my winter kitchen is spotless and everything is in its place, the summer kitchen tends to be a riot of seeds,  plants, and rooting cuttings, compost for the worm bin and on and on and on.  Sometimes it bugs me, and I get busy, cleaning, cleaning, but the next day it’s back to its normal summer state. And I guess I’m growing to love it.

When the tomatoes are over, the pickles are in the pantry, the rest of the produce in the freezer, my kitchen will again be clean and ready for the winter. And then I’ll miss the chaos, and I’ll miss my summer kitchen.

Meanwhile, I’m kind of enjoying the mess.

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What Waters Your Spirit?

Garden walking, for one, waters mine.

Yesterday, my good friend Keri and I visited seven magnificent open gardens which was a fund raising event for our local symphony. These gardens were magnificent. Not all enormous, professionally-designed and maintained, although a couple of them were. Some were tiny back yards, artifully done.

If you can’t tell, I’m an avid gardener. I don’t exactly have a green thumb, and my heart is broken more often than not when I fail to recognize what a favorite plant is trying to tell me as it expires. But I do love it and thrill when plants find their right combination of things to thrive. I can grow a mean tomato. I’ve learned how to do that, and slowly, the garden at this house is becoming beautiful.

But seeing new plants, trying to identify things I’ve never seen before but are remniscent of others, noting new foliage combinations, as well as what people have done with rock, trellis, wall and arbor… it all waters my spirit. Especially in the company of a good friend and particularly if that Sunday includes a good girl-talk lunch. 

We all spend enough time tackling our “must-do” lists, and spend even more time than that on our “should-do” lists, and not nearly enough time on our “would-love-to-do” lists. In fact, I think one item from the latter should be included at least every week on the first list.

Our spirits need nourishment, too, just like the clematis growing on the trellis next to my rhubarb. My clematis will be ablaze with flowers soon, and I’ve already had two rhubarb pies this year.

I’m sure each of us has felt our spirits wilt. That happens to everyone occasionally. But we should carefully tend the garden of the spirit so that it will bear fruit abundantly and thrive. 


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