Day 72: Plum Day


Harvesting plums is a lot of work, so today we bought some children.

The price was reasonable, and included a free dog. We made them work all day, and gave them nothing at all to eat.

(Unless you count the french toast breakfast we cooked for the whole crew.)

The first part of the day was spent harvesting plums.

> Oh no, not the plum mines!
Quiet you. Back to work.

No, you can’t have a ladder.

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One of the crew nearly started a plum fight.

Once they had collected enough, the harvest had to be hauled 18 miles from the yard to the kitchen, up a steep, winding, treacherous path. We lost a few of them here.

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Without any regard for safety, we handed them all knives and made them cut up all 50 million plums, to get them ready to go in the pot.


It’s endless toil, and no talking or laughing allowed at all.

The cat decided to hide amongst the groceries.

The kids all wanted to pour the boiling jam into the jars, so we didn’t let them.

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My muse made one of her plum tarts, but we didn’t guard it well enough. The little urchins overpowered her and got into it.

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We’ll do this again next week, though we may have to shop for some fresh kids. These ones are all tired now.

Random assertion: You can invite friends over to work all day, if you call it a party. This trick may not work the second time.

Steganographic data: 1838/2.1

Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 10:21 am  Comments (2)  
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Day 71: Grass Valley

About halfway between Sacramento and Reno, there’s a place called Grass Valley. When life’s too crazy, and you’re ready to be surrounded by mountains and trees and music and friendly dogs and good food, this is the place you’re looking for.

Look out. The dogs are friendly, but they’re wet.

I’m lucky to have family in Grass Valley, and today is my Aunt Betty Rae’s birthday party. They told us not to bring anything, and we’re ignoring them. There are just too many plums.


My muse sends me to get 25 of them so she can make one of her incredible tarts.
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There’s a small one custom made for me, to keep my paws off the big one. It’s kind like a decoy.


“Hey stop opening the oven!”

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The big tart is intact. The decoy is not. She’s a smart one.

It’s a 2.5 hour drive to Grass Valley, but it’s easy. Mom and Dad can’t make it because they’re in the Alaskan wilderness, and that’s a much longer drive from here.

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There’s music, food, dogs, a dance floor, and a red lawn tractor.

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Run for your life, the toddler’s driving.

There are three generations here. My cousins and I used to be “the kids” but there’s a totally new group of those now, so we’re “the middles.”

It’s a good place to be; we can still go jump off the nearby cliffs into the river, but now we can do it without supervision.

I’m going to stay in the “middles” group for as long as I can.

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As usual, everyone’s got excellent stories. That’s the best part, always.

While the party guests are distracted, there’s a heist. The security camera caught it, but not well enough to make a positive ID.

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Fortunately, the jelly bean was insured for more than they bought it for.

The loudest part of the evening comes when Betty Rae’s son shows up unexpectedly.

It’s easy to tell that this is her favorite birthday present.

By the time we head home we’re tired, full and smiling.


Random assertion: Stories can be used as currency anywhere in the world. Collecting good ones is a way to save for a happy retirement.

Steganographic data: 1834/0.8

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Day 29: Summer Tarts

My muse is going to take a week off around July 4th, so the first thing we do today is plan an escape.

By “plan” I mean that we find a place on the map neither of us has ever been, and decide to figure the rest out as it comes.

Speaking of figuring things out as we go, she wants to make a summer dinner for friends tonight. No argument from me, I’ll help. Did I mention she’s the best cook I’ve ever met? We text some acrobat-friends to see if they’re hungry, and it’s all set.

The last time we had dinner with Oli, Elysa and Delilah, we were all in Costa Rica at Graham‘s wedding. They’re highly skilled flying trapeze artists, and accomplished scientists and entrepreneurs. In general, they spend their time making life better for people around them.

Dinner is very tasty. Salad, tomatoes, cheese from Cowgirl, and a fantastic roasted leg of lamb with potatoes.

For dessert, the muse makes a raspberry summer dessert. She does everything from scratch, including the sweet crunchy crust.

The girl makes an excellent tart.

Random assertion: Every hour spent with someone in the kitchen gets added as bonus time onto the end of your life.

Steganographic data: 1866/1.6

Published in: on June 15, 2008 at 10:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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