Dear Sunday Letter friends,
Are you as excited as I am that September is here? I treasure the change of seasons, and yes I’m counting down to the first day of fall. Nineteen days!
I’m also counting down to Bernice Runs Away which launches on October 1. Twenty-seven days!
Maybe I will too.
Honestly, I can’t believe my next book is almost here. Sometimes this writing and editing and publishing endeavor smothers me, feeling like such an impossible, exhausting thing, and then—💥—it all comes together as it should. Not without a little hair pulling and a lot of second guessing, mind you.
While we were at the lake, a couple of monarchs moved into our garden and busily laid eggs on the milkweed. And now a few eggs have hatched. Finally, the process of metamorphosis is well underway! I quickly spied five caterpillars during my hunt on Thursday morning.
Going on a Monarch Hunt is a game I often play. Do you know it? It involves standing outside (sometimes with my magnifying glass, sometimes with my first cup of coffee, often in my slippers and pjs) while searching for tiny caterpillars.
This summer the game has mostly been a pointless one. But, I knew if I kept at it, my efforts would eventually be rewarded.
I bet there are many more than five hiding in my milkweed, but because the no-see-ums were feasting on my bare ankles, I cut short the game.
What a summer this has been. Rain early and then crazy hot for weeks on end. I have no idea if the weather resulted in my lack of monarchs, but now that temps seem more seasonable, life in our backyard appears more balanced.
One thing I know for sure—the aphids have been having a large time during the summer of 2022…
Last summer, I raised over fifty caterpillars on our back porch, practically running myself ragged between three butterfly hotels. This summer, it’s almost like the good Lord knew I didn’t have time for it, not with surgery and a book to birth. So here at the end of summer, I’ve decided it’s too late to open the hotels for business. Mother Nature knows what she’s doing, and I will trust these caterpillars to do their thing without my assistance. In fact, some studies show human interference may even be worse for monarchs.
I need to do more research on this…
Back home on the farm, my farmer friends have begun harvest 2022. Here in Fayetteville, this is what my harvest looks like so far.
My first Trombetta squash of 2022!
I was very late to get my seeds in the ground, and then with the heat, the fruit wouldn’t set. But just like searching for monarch caterpillars, I kept watering (and talking to) my squash plants, especially during the stifling dog days of summer. Finally, results. I’m crossing my fingers that fall will bring a bumper crop.
About Trombetta squash: I grew this variety of Italian squash a couple of years ago with great success (thanks to my neighbor, Valeria, who gives me seeds). This year she even let me sow the seeds in her sunny backyard garden while she was out of the country. So this is a joint project, you might say.
If you missed my prior posts about this incredible and unusual squash and the variety of dishes I’ve cooked with it, you can read more HERE.
This week I baked squash/carrot bread. It’s ever so yummy! (Recipe is linked in the paragraph above.)
Over on Facebook, on the Bernice Fan Club Page, our virtual book launch party is well underway. The first giveaway question was posted on September 1, and the first Bernice Box up for grabs is bird + nature themed (which ties into Bernice Runs Away).
Birdseed Critter: this cute woodland owl will add whimsey to your landscape while feeding the birds (and probably squirrels);
Candy Garden Notecards: 14 blank notecards depicting colorful blooms and birds—for all those greetings you’ve been meaning to send;
Nature in a Jar: this recovery moisturizer from Philosophy promises to soothe, nourish, and restore—who doesn’t need a little of that?;
Sprout Bookmark: one of my favorite ways to mark my place in a book; and,
Bernice Stickers: just because they are fun!
The party will last throughout the month of September and will include chances to win five Bernice Boxes (all boxes will be different, but each is themed to the book). Unlike my prior book launch parties, this one is slower paced, a join-as-you-can event.
(For more info on the party and other details click HERE. Winners selected by random number generator / sorry, I can only ship in the USA.)
I don’t know if we will have a spectacular fall this year or not, but I’ve already noticed some stunning color in our neighborhood. I get absolutely giddy every time I see an orange or red or yellow leaf.
The dogwoods are leading the way.
And lucky for us, our neighborhood has lots of dogwood trees!
Have you noticed the beginning of fall color where you live?
Things Momma Says:
I almost had to cut my bra off last night.
(These words were spoken during our lake trip after eating too much for supper. Who can relate!?)
Thanks for always being here and for being so enthusiastic about my Sunday Letter. Coming soon to the blog this week—Book Reviews for the books I read in August.
Now tell me, what are you anticipating in the coming week?
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.