Happy merry.

Dear friend,        

This week my lovely Bride asked me why a pile of lumber had appeared in our driveway, thinking maybe I had some Christmas project in store.

“That’s for the garden beds,” I said.

 “You do know it’s December, yes?” she replied. Which, from her perspective, was probably a perfectly rational thing to ask.

“Yes. But one day, it will be warm again. And I want to be ready.”

 Every once in a while, someone asks me where I’m from. I’m always mildly surprised that my liberal usage of words like “Y’all,” “Ma’am,” and “It’s not breakfast without gravy” don’t give it away.

 The guys in the local feed store know where I’m from. I’m the guy buying packs of vegetable seeds in March, a full two months before the locals put away their snow shovels. It’s the South in me that’s in an ongoing struggle with the length of a Maine growing season. Which is rather shorter than my Georgia roots feel is appropriate for anything called “summer.”  I’ve come to love all the New England seasons (except maybe that six-week interval between Winter and Spring, which locals call “Mud”). However, calling the two and a half weeks of mild heat we get in Maine ‘Summer’ is more of a polite euphemism than accurate description.

 This is not the South, where you can lazily decide to put in a tomato plant or thirty any weekend between April and June, and expect to harvest a bumper crop of red awesomeness to top your sandwiches with for months to come. You have got to be *ready* in Maine, or you’ve missed your opportunity and you’ll have to wait for at least one more Mud to come and go before you get to plant again. And like any good child of Appalachia, I like my winter pantry stocked full of the bounty of summer. My Bride will pickle and can corn, zucchini, beans, watermelon rind, and pretty much anything else that used to be tethered to a bit of dirt.

 Last year, I managed to get a little early spinach in the ground, and some lettuce that was worth eating. But I got so busy that even the zucchini I managed to eventually get out into the garden struggled to grow.

When you’re struggling to grow zucchini, either you’re from Los Angeles, or you’ve something seriously wrong.  I’m pretty sure there are Inuit families that can grow enough squash to get sick of zucchini bread before the 4 hours of Barrow, Alaska summer is over.

So yes. Garden beds in December.

It’s snowing outside at the moment. But I’m going to ignore that white crap falling from the sky and go build me some raised beds. Screw winter. And screw Mud.  

Maybe I’ll plant a Christmas tree.

When you come visit, bring seeds.

The Gradys   

He has absolutely no idea

I don't remember when I started it, but I know it started as a joke. Every day when I see the kids off to school - usually when I'm headed out the door to work, but sometimes when I am loading one onto the bus, or dropping the other off at school - I give the kids a kiss and a hug, and I say in mock seriousness "Make good choices."

It makes me laugh. And it makes the Critter, in her infinite 12 year old wisdom, roll her eyes. So. Double win for me. 

This week, I was packing my bags for a quick trip out to the West Coast, and giving the Boy a hug as he headed out to catch the school bus. 

He stopped. Turned around. Pointed at me, and said: "Make good... what is it, Daddy?" 


He nodded. "Yep. Make good choices, daddy." 

Without a hint of sarcasm. 

And then my heart exploded. And I had to get on the plane like that. 

Playing catch-up

It's been a while since I've had that magical combination of inspiration, energy and time to write anything much. But in the past few months, I've had both the 

 The tally for the last 90 day stretch includes:

  • Leaving my job
  • Throwing a farewell blow-out backyard pig roast 
  • Growing 'unemployment beard'
  • Stacking rocks & masterminding several clambakes on the northern shores of Maine
  • Hosting an intimate starlit dinner of homemade charcuterie & home grown victuals
  • Starting both kids in new schools
  • Starting a new job
  • Transporting 3 live pigs a hundred miles to their new home
  • Selling our house in Massachusetts
  • Buying a house in Maine
  • Moving a shit-ton of household goods onto a truck
  • Unpacking a half-shit-ton of things into a new house. And realizing we have too much stuff. 
  • (the other half are still in their boxes. And will likely stay that way for another 6 months)
  • Putting a dog down
  • Burying one pig in the new backyard after a Death Of Mysterious Cause
  • Shipping a new puppy up from Atlanta
  • Starting renovation of our new house

  The above list is more or less in order. Note that we moved the pigs to Maine BEFORE we had bought a new house. 

I will write more about a few of these over the coming days. We're well settled into our new adventure up in the great white north (there was snow yesterday. Seriously. Snow. Holy shit.) 

But for now, this is me, stacking rocks.  

I have mad skilz. ovinm