Thursday, September 1, 2011

LI - September 2011

Between the abundant garden and the two, count them, two, Jersey girls and their rich milk, it seems I hardly left the kitchen in August. It was too hot to spend much time outside anyway -- dart out early to water the garden and pick the beans or corn or tomatoes or basil and back to the kitchen to process same.  Frozen beans and corn, canned tomatoes, roasted tomatoes to freeze, and lots of pints of basil pesto, also freezer bound.

We've enjoyed gazpacho, BLTs, plain tomato sandwiches, salad caprese, and every other sort of dish where these wonderful seasonal treats will shine. One of my blog friends wrote to suggest putting sliced tomatoes and fresh basil leaves on a pimento cheese sandwich and that proved to be rather sublime. (My mouth is watering as I type the words...)

And then there's the milk.  Pretty much all I want. Justin and Claui do most of the milking with John providing backup. I've been making yogurt and Greek yogurt and farmer cheese and butter and ice cream and frozen yogurt . . . Oh, life is good!

Oops! Did I mention fall fashions and crinoline in the reminder I sent last night? I was sleepy and confused.  The crinolines are on my (almost ) daily blog HERE.

I should be receiving a few early copies of Under the Skin by the end of this month.  I already did a drawing over on my (almost) daily blog for some advance reading copies -- and they are all gone.  So I'll do a drawing here for two lucky commenters to win early copies. Just leave a comment and say Count me in. I'll draw names on the 15th  and notify the winners. And I'll send the books as soon as I get them.

So many people love The Help and now they love the movie. I still haven’t read the book (nor seen the movie.)  But I have been reading about it  HERE  and also HERE. Both of these excellent pieces address some of the misgivings I have about this story.
I'll read it eventually, I'm sure. After all, this story, set in the early Sixties, is pretty familiar to me. We had 'help' and they used separate bathrooms -- at my grandmother's house, they had separate dishes and silverware.  It's appalling to remember how normal it all seemed to me in those pre-Civil Rights movement days. 

Would I be capable of telling you what Lee or Annie or Grace or any of those other women who worked for my family felt? No, I would not. There was an invisible barrier between us.  It was the world of ‘the way things are’ and I – as a child and a teenager never questioned it.

I was a freshman when I was asked to sign a form asking if I favored integration or segregation at Emory University. By then my eyes had been opened and I signed  in favor of integration. The cute little blonde sorority girl who was doing the survey looked at my answer and said, "Do you know integration means letting them in? Maybe you got confused..."  

I assured her that I hadn't. I should have gone on to say 'I once was blind but now I see."

The second article makes an interesting point, noting that all the bigots in the movie are unlikeable. The author says "To suggest that bad people were racist implies that good people were not.”

Sadly, a lot of good people were -- blind and racists.
As I type this on the last day of August, the hot weather has abated, thank goodness. But it's dry, dreadfully dry. and our pastures are looking sad. we felt no effects here from Irene, not even a shower which would have been most welcome.

I hope all of you who were in her path came through unharmed -- so much destruction.

A few leaves are turning already and as I sat in the dining room at lunch today, a little breeze brought a flock of yellow leaves dancing past the windows. There's a lovely golden quality to the afternoon light and a feeling of slowing down after the hurry of summer.

Are you looking forward to Autumn?
Book Reports

I just did a blog post on The Stranger You Seek -- a debut thriller by Amanda Kyle Williams.  Keye Street is a salty, flawed, kick-ass private eye who is drawn into the search for a sadistic serial killer. This was a real page turner -- a twisty plot, great descriptions of Atlanta, and quite a bit of humor along with the darker stuff. I have a real feeling this one's set to be a best seller.
As I've indicated before, I do love to reread. I began rereading the Sigrid Harald books -- the series Margaret Maron wrote before she moved on to the Deborah Knott series. Sigrid is a police lieutenant in NYC and for some reason, I like her even better than I like the down home NC Deborah Knott. Go figure. 

The Sigrid Harald books have been our of print for a while -- I have three tattered paperbacks. Imagine my delight when just recently Maron did a blog post over at Meandering and Muses and announced that the books were now available on Kindle.  Hurrah! So now I'm in a Maron-a-thon.
Pat in east TN reports: 
....   I just finished reading THE LAST CHILD, by John Hart.  I highly recommend it!  It sure has twists and turns, and I just couldn't read it fast enough.  I read another of his books, DOWN RIVER, a few years back and enjoyed it too.  He has a new book out, IRON HOUSE, ( I believe the title is) and it's gotten great reviews.  I really enjoy his work.  Although I was tempted to read another of his books immediately, I decided to wait a bit and am now going to read UNDER THE MERCY TREES.  I read about it in the Asheville C-T's quite a while ago and it also has great reviews on Amazon.  While 'hibernating' in the house in the afternoons, ha, I have lots of reading time, although tomatoes are calling and they'll keep me busy soon.

Deana the Queena says:
I completely agree with Mary about the poor writing in "The Help." I'm still not sure why that book got so much hype.

"Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter," by Tom Franklin, was really a good read, particularly well-done was the sense of place (Mississippi) and the interaction between the two main characters. I liked how the story of their relationship with each other unfolded very gradually. There's a mystery involved, but it's actually fairly obvious. 

Beth Elsey writes:  I really enjoyed "Anatomy of Ghosts" by Andrew Taylor, won the Dagger Award, set in late 1700's England; also "Revenge of the Radioactive Woman" set in Tallahassee--amusing and touching.  Just started "The Glass Demon" by Helen Grant--looks promising.  Can you remember the author who writes about an inspector in Quebec who has adventures in a village called Three Pines?  I read all of them and somewhere saw a new one out, but can't remember the author.

(Beth is thinking about the award-winning Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny.)
And here's a slideshow from August. . . 
Just below the slideshow is where you can leave a comment.
Click on the word COMMENTS down there.

Posted by Picasa


Anonymous said...

Fall is probably my favorite season, with the colorful blazes of reds of all hues on the hillside, moderate temperatures, and dry air. Under the surface winter lurks, reminding us to savor every moment of the light and warmth.

Re "The Help;" I will probably see the movie in spite of my not liking the book, because I've read such good things about Violet Davis's performance, and also because so many women have roles. Gotta support our sisters!

Count me in!

Deana the queena

Byron Ballard said...

O, fall! I smelled it a couple of weeks ago, on the pre-dawn cool breeze but it was gone in the sweltering day that followed. I'm still watering the peppers and new beans but my rain barrels are low. Good to hear about all your milk and maters. It has been a good year, in spite of those hard dog days of August. Looking forward to the new book!

Anonymous said...

I have been feeling fall here for a couple of weeks, love it! If I wasn't laid up on crutches right now I would be out in my garden and inside packing up summer decorations and getting out the fall things. Can't wait! I want to make soups, bread, and butterscotch cake!

Count me in!

Carol in Fletcher WNC

Anonymous said...

Anticipating fall and all the goodness that comes along with it... it's such a wonderful season for all the senses!

Please do count me in! Looking forward to your new book and many more future ones to come,

Ingrid in Garner, NC

Cea said...

My friend Kelly and I made pesto, lots and lots of pesto with the bounty of basil in our gardens. Michigan has been hot and wet though the heat broke for fair, thank heavens. Keeping the horses' fair stalls clean in 90 degree weather is no fun.
Summer has been fun but fall will be beautiful. I hope you have a glorious Sptember! And please,

Count me in

Sue P said...

I think I got Happy Fingers before and posted before I was ready, so I may have two or three rather garbled comments. Bear with me, please!

And,oh, yes, please! Count me in.

I haven't posted to this in far too long - I've missed being a part of it.

Vicki, thanks for sharing your life with us. It is full of such treasures and richness.

Have recently read a couple of excellent books, most notably, THE HOMECOMING OF SAMUEL LAKE by Jenny Wingfield. Her first novel, although she has done a couple of screen plays (The Man In the Moon). It is a marvelous read. Critics compared it to TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and I can understand why. Loved it.

I also read and liked THE HELP. While I agree that it couldn't address the true depth of the feelings of the people, nor fully realize just how tragic and awful it was, it was still a way for people (like my daughters, ages 36 and 29) to get some idea of what that time was like.

Am looking forward to trying THE STRANGER YOU SEEK. Sounds intriguing.

Kimberly said...

I can't wait for this book to come out! I work in a library and I have turned so many people on to your books.

Kimberly Burnette-Dean

Vicki Lane said...

Ahh! That's the sound of our pastures giving thanks for the near four inches of rain we've had. And just now it's lovely and cool.

I think that Fall gives us a renewed joy in living, after being worn down by summer heat.

Oh, yes, time for soups and stews and breads -- and butterscotch cake sounds like a fine idea.

Sue P -- good to hear from you again!

And thank you, Kimberly, for spreading the word!

Sheila said...

Hi Vicki, I haven't read the help and don't intend to, too many other goodies to read. My grandma in southern Missouri had help for laundry, as did my aunt in the 30's. Grandma would wait and eat dinner with her so they ate together. I'm rereading Elisabeth Ogilvie's books.

Please enter me in your drawing, can't wait to read your newest.