Showing posts from November, 2010

In which I achieve my fifty-thousand-word goal for NaNoWriMo

Thank you to all my friends and blog-readers for your encouragement, support, and fabulous ideas to incorporate into my NaNoWriMo novel, Skookum. I hit the 50,000-word mark yesterday morning--hooray!

This novel was a new experience for me, in that I actually got more fond of my characters as the month progressed. Yesterday, having achieved my word-goal, I was surprised that I spent my drive to work in the afternoon actually thinking up another chapter. Clearly, I am not done with Skookum, and it is not done with me.

For those who may be joining the story late, a few words of introduction about Skookum, the town, and Skookum, the book.

The town is a moderately-fictional place located somewhere in Western Washington State, probably between Seattle and the Canadian border. I say that it is "moderately fictional" because past experience has taught me that well-told elements of a story tend to become real. Therefore, Skookum, the town, is made up of parts of many real and mostly-rea…

In which I play along with Sunday Stills, thanks to my good friend Jacqui

Jacqui was visiting over Thanksgiving weekend--I'll post more about that later.

But, since the "Sunday Stills" challenge this week was to show the person behind the blog, I am happy to post this photo, which Jacqui snapped yesterday afternoon:More later. Meantime: LIFE. IS. GOOD.

In which Thanksgiving takes several days to celebrate properly

Isn't Thanksgiving just the BEST holiday?

Family. Friends. Food. Foolin' around. More food. I love that. The weather, not so much.

Check it out:

Jim started the apple-citrus brine for the turkey on Tuesday evening (while talking long-distance to his brothers in Colorado). Just don't drop the phone into the turkey's, errr, cavity!
The brining bucket is better known as our red camping cooler. It kept the turkey from freezing while it was outside in the pump house, covered in brine.While the turkey is soaking in brine, it's time to bottle the wine. Jim made 12 gallons of dry plum wine from our plum harvest in 2009 (that's more than 50 bottles of wine!) and 6 gallons of sweet blackberry wine from all the blackberries he and I picked down by the river this summer.

The herbs for the chicken and the stuffing came from our garden, as did the potatoes.

The glorious bird!

Everyone has plenty to eat today....except for Puzzle, who claims that he should be served the entire …

In which there is a NaNoWriMo chapter about a bit of luck

I didn't have the faintest idea what to write on my NaNoWriMo novel this morning. It was like the entire population of Skookum went indoors and turned off the porch lights.

Then Jim and I braved the snowy roads to go into town and get a few essentials (chicken feed, extension cords, a truckload of gravel--you know, farmer stuff), and in the cashier's line at the hardware store I saw a man who seemed to me to be the world's tallest leprechaun.

And there was my story.

(Just so you know, Jim saw him too)

December 30, 2010 Skookum Tribune issue number whatever, volume whatever
Meet: A Lucky Woman
By Annabeth Spencer

Margaret was nearing the end of the unluckiest day of her life.

So far today she had lost her job, dropped her cell phone into a sink of soapy dishes, left her husband, and packed up her clunker of a car with a few boxes and suitcases (mostly filled with clothing for her 3-month-old daughter) in an attempt to get herself and young Bridget all the way to Margaret’s parent…

In which the weather is rather frightful but NaNoWriMo isn't

The dang sn*w continues to fall here at Haiku Farm, and more is forecast for tomorrow. I can only hope that the rain will come to our rescue before Thanksgiving Day! Meanwhile, the brightside of being sn*wbound: my NaNoWriMo project is now at 36,168 words!

Here's a new chapter:

December 28th, 2010
Skookum Tribune issue number whatever, volume whatever
Meet: The Bird Painter
By Annabeth Spencer

Ed Rucker has been working for Pilchuck Public Works for nearly forty years. He’s been married to Betty Rucker for thirty-eight of those years. Ed is the father of two adult daughters, a deacon of the Pilchuck Presbyterian Church, a member of the Elks Club, a volunteer fireman. But if you ask most people who know Ed, they don’t mention the man’s job, or his family, or his club memberships.

People who know Ed talk about his birds.

Ed started drawing birds when he was in high school. He worked three summers in Alaska, and while he was there, a guy on the fishing boat he worked showed Ed how to sketch…

In which the best part of sn*w in the Swamp is that it's gone pretty fast

This is not what I want to see when I look out the windows at the Farm:
Ahem. Pumpkins are supposed to be ORANGE. Not WHITE.


There's only one cure for the way I feel...
c'mon Fiddle. Let's go check out the woods.

Hmmm. White here, too? Bah!

The trails are still the right color, at least.

and the longer we stayed out, the less whiteness we saw.
Fine! Perfect! Excellent!
Green, red, yellow, brown: all good colors.
Mimsy and Puzzle also think that purple is another nice color for a cold November afternoon!
Life is good. (The sn*w is gone again, at least for now. Whew!)

In which there is a new NaNoWriMo chapter, with naked ladies!

June 30, 2011 Skookum Tribune issue number whatever, volume whatever
Meet: The Godiva Riders
By Annabeth Spencer

Like a lot of small towns in America, Skookum hosts many annual parades. There are patriotic parades, like the Fourth of July Parade and the Veteran’s Day Parade. There are seasonal parades, like the Blossomtime Parade in May, and the Turkey Trot Parade in November, and the Jingle Bell Parade in December.

Lots of towns have parades featuring floats built by the Rotary and the Elks, marching bands from the local high schools, clowns and shiny cars and the local equivalent of the Dairy Princesses standing in glamorous gowns on top of fire trucks tossing candy to bystanders.

Only in Skookum is there a parade consisting entirely of naked ladies on horses and bicycles.

The Godiva Parade tradition started more than ten years ago, when then-mayor Robin Redstone was having dinner with a bunch of friends from college. The dinner wasn’t formal, just a salmon barbeque cooked up by one of th…

In which there's a new NaNoWriMo chapter: Clifford, the big red dog!

September 10th, 2010 Skookum Tribune issue number whatever, volume whatever
“It’s all Okay”
Meet Clifford, the library dog
By Annabeth Spencer

Newcomers to Skookum maybe surprised when they investigate the city library, located behind City Hall on Salmon Street. From the outside, the library appears to be an ordinary, moderately-maintained Carnegie building, with large bay windows decorated with children’s drawings. Indoors, the antique furniture is oak, the recently-replaced carpeting is understated, and the hand-wound grandmother clock opposite the librarian’s desk chimes reminders of the hour in the key of C. There is nothing immediately evident in the physical space of the building to alert a new library patron that this library is anything but stereotypical.

The Skookum Public Library, now a member of the Pilchuck County Library Consortium, was organized and built in 1904 by a number of civic-minded women who wanted opportunities made available for men’s entertainment as alternatives…

In which there is a new NaNoWriMo chapter about a drummer

November 19th, 2010 Skookum Tribune issue number whatever, volume whatever
Meet: The Different Drummer
By Annabeth Spencer

Tall black letters written in Sharpie onto the up-ended plastic cat litter containers read K-E-N-N-E-T-H.

Kenneth is surrounded by the resonant plastic boxes, arranged in a semi-circle around the chair-box. Some are partially full of water. Others contain aluminum cans, empty plastic water bottles, and other items that Kenneth the Different Drummer has found along the side of the road: ping pong balls, plastic buttons, a bicycle chain. A pyramid of boxes behind him provides a backdrop and acoustic rear wall for this street musician who performs in the round at Salmon Run park near the heart of the town of Skookum. Sometimes he reaches into the pyramid and selects a new box of trash to add to the percussion instruments ranged in front of him, a new sound to add to the music he creates for the people walking by him.

His rhythm today is cheerful, skipping, and infectious.…

In which NaNoWrimo reveals my true thoughts about elections

November 12th, 2010 Skookum Tribune issue number whatever, volume whatever
“It’s all Okay”
Meet the Vitriolic Candidates
By Annabeth Spencer

Senate candidates Jack deKost and Dick Olson have been adversaries for a long time.

deKost was a star football player at Skookum High in 1977. Olson led the Skookum basketball team to the State Championships that year.

In college, they both played baseball: deKost played for the WSU Cougars, and Olson pitched for the arch-rival UW Huskies.

For the last decade, they have opposed each other as County Councilmen, and as local businessmen.

This year, the two adversaries faced each other once again: in an election bid for the Senate.

deKost, a Republican, thinks that incombent Olson spends too much time in “the other Washington” and spends too much money on frivolous projects that local constituents don’t support.

Olson, a Democrat, thinks that deKost wants to supports big business to the detriment of local people, and thinks that people who make a lot of money…

In which I haven't forgotten to ride my horse in the (rare) sunshine

Group ride today!

Physically, Fiddle is acceptably fit. Her training is progressing nicely on trails and in the arena. I can point her at any trail, over any obstacle, and I can trust her to navigate safely through all kinds of terrain.

But her manners in a group still need work, so out we went today.
Dory remembers when Fiddle was a gawky, angry toddler. It's nice to have someone alone who can say, "no really, this horse is greatly improved." Fee still pins her ears at other horses, especially Shine
but she no longer tries to bite them, and she doesn't even try to kick. Well, not very often. Patty is getting her "baby" horse Shine, plus her other "baby" horse Fly (ridden by Kendall today) ready for the 2011 XP Ride: 2000 miles along the old Pony Express trail. Both horses will be 9 years old in the spring, but Patty starts her horses slowly and with great care. The XP ride will consist of 8 weeks of 5 day (50 mile) rides, starting in Josep…