Friday, 30 August 2013

Photos at Horse Hill Berry Farm

photography photos pictures raspberries berry picking august summer rustic farm bench chippy farmhouse

Living in a tiny duplex in the suburbs, we so rarely have the opportunity to take pictures with a decent background.  So when we were at a local raspberry farm half an hour earlier than we needed to be, I took the opportunity to take a few photos.  The "office" at the farm is this adorable rustic red shed.  My sister-in-law took the picture above.  They live closer to Horse Hill Berry Farm than we do, so we invited them on our raspberry picking adventure.

photography photos pictures raspberries berry picking august summer rustic farm bench chippy farmhouse

It's a beautiful property, and I'm sure if it's not already on any local photographer's list of locations, it should be (Hint, hint Julie and Erika!).  We picked raspberries at the same place two years ago (click the link—-recipe included!), and I knew I'd be back.  I was so impressed with the grassy, clean, mosquito-free (it seemed) property (and the cleanest, freshest country outhouse I've ever seen).

photography photos pictures raspberries berry picking august summer rustic farm bench chippy farmhouse

photography photos pictures raspberries berry picking august summer rustic farm bench chippy farmhouse

photography photos pictures raspberries berry picking august summer rustic farm bench chippy farmhouse

photography photos pictures raspberries berry picking august summer rustic farm bench chippy farmhouse
The kids and their cousins.  The boys quickly lost interest in picking and enjoyed chasing each other around.  I was amazed at how long the girls picked for!  I just might have to plan a raspberry picking birthday party for my August-born son next year.

photography photos pictures raspberries berry picking august summer rustic farm bench chippy farmhouse

photography photos pictures raspberries berry picking august summer rustic farm bench chippy farmhouse

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Writing Course Assignment - Paris

Source: Not Paris

I'm taking a writing course via the public library.  I'm enjoying it so far.  Since I haven't yet moved camera pictures to the computer, and therefore have nothing else to post about, I thought I'd share my first writing assignment for the course.  I had to write a 300-word story, using one of about 5 first lines as a prompt.  I ended up writing over 400 words, and was only able to pare it back to 327, which is a first for me!  Usually I struggle to make the minimum word count.  Caveat: I know next to nothing about the specifics of WWII.  But I do know there was some bombing in Paris in 1940, as well as in 1944, thanks to my good friend, Google.

Looking at Paris in this light, with the eastern sun illuminating the devastation of the night’s bombing, I struggle to see the city’s legendary romance. Whatever charm there once was in this city of lights hidden in the rubble. Yet despite the evidence before my eyes, I know that somewhere in the dawning day, there is still hope instead of despair, there is still life instead of death, there is still laughter instead of this awful, unmoving silence.
How did I end up in Paris at the start of the war? With a little too much pocket money and a summer to enjoy before continuing medical school, I jaunted over the Atlantic to see the great European art and architecture. Now I volunteer with the French army and see more death and tragedy than I would have ever seen in my entire medical training.
“Charlie! Over here!” I turn toward the sound of my name. Rene, a fellow medic, waves and I jog toward him. His customary cheerful expression is displaced by a look of despair that I try not to mirror. I cling to my optimism, my hope, even as we move out of the sun into a dim and dusty old half-collapsed building.

Rene leads the way. “He’s big—I can’t get him out on my own.” We descend a few steps and move into a back room. In the corner lies a Frenchman, his arm pinned by a beam. He moans loudly as we lift the wood off him. It is too dangerous to remain here to see to his wounds.

“Ready?” I glance at Rene, who has grasped the man’s legs in preparation to lift him. He nods. I grip the man securely under his arms, brace my legs, and lift. Half dragging, half carrying, we move him outside. As we lay him on the pavement, the building shudders, then caves on itself in a cloud of dust and debris.


Friday, 16 August 2013

Story

teen writer writing binder story fiction
My writing binder and constant companion.
 I've meant to post.  I've even started posts.  I've had good ideas to write about.  But something is missing.

I've meant to write.  I've finished a story and an article, and I have a good start on my first column (on spec, but still quite a triumph for me.)  But I can't figure out what story I want to grab hold of and run with.  I am, at heart, a fiction writer.  Or at least a fiction-story-dreamer-upper.  I have movies constantly running in my head of stories, possibilities, what-ifs.  It explains my klutziness and forgetfulness at least.  But I want to write a story, to finish a novel, and I want to be passionate about it.  But which one?

These are my already-begun options:
- Medieval mercenary historical, England in the 1300s (The Magpie, or something like that) - Requires the most research (and began from a character sketch that was directly inspired by Sigmund Brouwer's Winds of Light series that I read and re-read as a teen.)
- Regency romance (Beatrix and the Inventor...sigh...!)
- Contemporary Romantic suspense (Disappear, or something like that. I never think seriously about titles until something is finished.) - Set mostly in Australia, which might be a problem for me since it's been 20 years since I was there.  I may need to beg my Australian cousins for help after I finish the first draft!
Or perhaps it would be better to start fresh with something else entirely (I have a couple of ideas brewing).

young writer course sigmund brouwer hero writing fan-girl
When I was 13, I attended a workshop taught by my hero
I attended a writers group meeting, at which Sigmund Brouwer (my childhood writing hero!) spoke and answered questions.  I managed to refrain from gushing like a fan-girl, and instead studiously listened and took notes.  Five pages of notes.  But pretty much everything he said boiled down to stories.  Stories are what readers read for.  Stories are what I lived for when I was scribbling dialogue and family trees on reams of loose-leaf paper and carrying my huge 3-inch-thick writing binder with me everywhere I went.  Stories are what captivated me.

Because "every great story makes you feel something" (Brouwer).  I want to write great stories.  What do I want my readers to feel?  What do you want to feel?

Friday, 2 August 2013

Eradicating a Wasted Space

One of the most frustrating things about this house is the inefficiencies in the kitchen.  And the rest of the house too, but mostly the kitchen, since that is where I spend most of my waking hours (I'm even typing this in the kitchen right now).

Our lower cupboards have always irked me.  The one shelf only comes out half-way!  So even though there is lots of space, the cupboard doesn't really store much at all.  Well, in my pot cupboard, I solved that problem.

Before:  Mostly organised, but storing a lot of dead air.



After: No more dead space!  I used 1.5-inch cup hooks, after reinforcing the space with some handy plywood (tucked into some perfectly-sized gaps and nailed in place). The plywood was left over from my other wasted space project.


I'm not 100% sure that I like it because it does make it a bit more difficult to get my frying pan out...or at least much noisier.  I use my frying pan nearly every day, it seems.  But I think with some organisation, I should be able to fix that.  And maybe even finally have a place to put my pretty blue cast-iron stock pot.