An Update on the Harvest

We spent much of the weekend preparing our land for the coming winter. Sunday, however, was focused mostly on harvesting crops that go into cold storage. We harvested our carrots and winter squashes, cleaned them, stored the squash and will store the carrots tonight. How much fun it was to see how many we had — especially since we have been eating carrots all summer long!


Then, we also pulled all the plants that have gone by, and fed them to the alpacas. It definitely is Ellsbury’s favorite time of the year!



Harvesting Time

The weather is going to get colder over the next few days, and we have the threat of a frost later this weekend. This means that it is time to take the last of the less hardy vegetables out of the garden and store them for the winter. The carrots, beets, onions and leeks will come in, and the last tomatoes will be picked before the plants are pulled and fed to the alpacas. Winter squash and pumpkins will be harvested, cleaned, and put in cold storage.

The radishes, lettuce, chard, pea pods and kale will get their hoop house covers to keep them going for the next month or so.

Harvesting both makes me so happy, and a little melancholy as it means winter is coming. I love the colder weather, fires in the wood stove, knitting and spinning by the fire, and the beauty of the coming snow, but miss the vibrant greens of the summer.

Maybe I should go make some soup!

What a year!

October 9, 2017, about 9 at night, I had sat down to make sure that everything was all set for my first romance novel, That One Small Omission, to be released on October 11th. I had specifically picked 10/11 as the release date, wanting to have a positive new anniversary in October, but not wanting it to fall on the emotionally-charged 10/9.

Imagine my surprise when I logged into Amazon, and found that it had released just a couple hours before, on 10/9. My publisher and Amazon couldn’t tell me why it released early, it just did. After some shock, I laughed, thinking that it was likely that Sam had made sure it released on 10/9, wanting me/us to a have positive anniversary on that date.

A year later, it is time to reflect on the year that has passed. In that time, I have published three romance novels.  It’s not that I wrote all three in the last year, two of them were written long ago, just re-written and edited more recently. The third novel, yes, that was finished within the last year.

Then there was Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude. I had started writing it several years ago, but finished it within this year, had amazing editors, and now it is complete.

There have been book events for the fiction, and upcoming events for the memoir.

Now, as I reflect, it amazes me how much has happened. My goal originally was to someday have a book published, I could never have imagined that all this would happen — especially not all in one year.


I continued my 31 days of gratitude tonight by writing that I am thankful for love. But as this day comes to a close, I want to expand on that a bit more.

Today was the 5th anniversary of Sam’s death. As I write in my memoir, the fifth anniversary scared me — it seems like another huge milestone. I admit to dreading it for days, maybe weeks. As I awoke this morning, after a night of horrible dreams, all I could feel was the dread and the heavy, heavy weight of the grief.

Then our phones buzzed, and they buzzed all day long. Friends and family texted, called and messaged us from around the country, to tell us they care, to tell us how much they miss Sam. Voices broke with emotion, a lot of tears were shed, but through it all was this incredible love.

After planting Sam’s garlic, we visited the cemetery to bring a hot pepper and a head of garlic, then we took a long drive through the mountains, talking, listening to music, and smiling each time another message arrived.

Sam was and is love. He loved the people in his life with pure, unwavering, loud, unflinching love. The really amazing thing is, that love has just grown and grown, and how lucky we are to have it in our lives.


As the weekend comes to a close, I am so thankful and touched by the incredible response to Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude being available for purchase. While many copies have been sold here through this website, many others contacted me directly and bought copies that way. Wow! I am amazed and so appreciative of the support. Thank you all.

Available Now!

I am thrilled to announce that copies of Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude are now available for sale in my bookstore on this website. Each copy ordered will be signed — please put to whom you would like it signed in the “order notes/comments” field when you order.

It is my goal to ship out books within 5 business days of receiving the order.

If you are local, please note that there will be plenty of local events and opportunities to buy them without waiting for them to ship to you.

To order a copy (and have it shipped to you), please visit “The Bookstore” at the top of the page.


The first copies have arrived!

Yesterday, a box arrived at my house. I knew it was coming. I had tracked it on the UPS site, watching it inch closer. When I got home, it was sitting there waiting for me.


That box sat on the braided rug in my house, and for a moment, I was afraid to open it. I have worked for so long on this book, and the idea of actually holding it in my hands suddenly seemed scary.

Slowly I opened the box, and looked under the packing.


Seeing it in full color, print copies took my breath away. They are so beautiful, and I am so proud and yet the grief is still so strong.

With slightly trembling hands, I picked up a copy and held it in my hands for the first time.


Tonight, I will go through a copy carefully, making sure there are no printing issues. Once that is done, I will be able to order my copies so I can post them for sale on this site, and also have them for book events.

The thrill of holding a book I have written and has been published still hasn’t worn off. In less than a year, I have held four of them after they were published. But this one? This one carries an emotional weight that is hard to describe.

After I posted on Facebook that it had arrived, one of Sam’s friends posted that he (Sam) would have crowed in glee and pride that his mom had written a book — and that made me smile, and I can hear him boasting in my mind.

The 31 Days of Gratitude — October

Today is the first day of October. Until 2013, October was my favorite month of the year. Vermont is spectacularly beautiful in October — the foliage takes your breath away with its beauty. The weather tends to be great, apples and cider abound, and my birthday falls in October.

But since 2013? No matter how I try to not focus on this, October is the month we lost Sam. No matter how hard I try, October now seems dark and sad. That’s not to say there aren’t moments of joy, light, love and laughter in October, but I have to work harder than normal to remember the good things.

Therefore, I have decided that I am going to write a continuing post entitled “The 31 Days of Gratitude — October.” As I write the post each day, I will be actively looking for (and identifying) for what I am grateful.

Monday, October 1 — Today, I am grateful for the changing colors of the leaves as we come fully into fall foliage. The maple trees are a wonderful mix of greens, yellows, and the start of orange and red.

Tuesday, October 2nd — I am grateful for friends who support me, offering to do their own 31 days of gratitude with me. I am also grateful for Leicester Central School, where all four of our children flourished, so supported and loved — and how the faculty there continue to be part of our lives even now that our children are adults.

Wednesday, October 3rd: Today I am thankful for the humor of my children — they make me laugh.

Thursday, October 4th: I am thankful for the friends and family who remember and honor Sam in a variety of ways, letting us know how much they love him still, and help us keep his memory alive.

Friday, October 5th: I am thankful for seeing friends, delivering chickens (two of them) to a wonderful new home, and sitting in the beautiful weather watching a football game.

Saturday, October 6th: I am thankful for the amazing response to Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude being available in print!

Sunday, October 7th: I am thankful for listening to our youngest watching football with his dad while I make hot sauce and soup — love to hear them talk and laugh.

Monday, October 8th: I am thankful for being able to sit on a cool and damp evening with a steaming bowl of leek and potato soup, where every single thing in the soup except the salt and pepper was produced on our land, by our hands.

Tuesday, October 9th: love. I am thankful for love.

Wednesday, October 10th: Today I am thankful for a voice from the past reaching out to me. It mattered.

Thursday, October 11th: today I am thankful for the beauty of the foliage — even when it was grey and cloudy, the colors of the leaves are incredible.

Friday, October 12th: I am thankful for the amazing outpouring of support for Of Grief, Garlic and Gratitude! Thank you all.

Saturday, October 13th: today for the incredible kindness of the people around us. Their love, support, humor, patience and guidance is so appreciated.

Sunday, October 14th: I am more thankful than I can express for standing in the sunshine with Paul and a friend, hearing about her cross-country trip.  

Monday, October 15th: I am thankful for the wood stove and a comforting homemade dinner.

Tuesday, October 16th: today I am thankful for great music — Twiddle, Arlo Guthrie and Yanni were the soundtrack of my commute today.

Wednesday, October 17th: today I am thankful for the wonders of technology. Being able to stay in contact with friends and family who are far away is a gift.

Thursday, October 18th: I am thankful for seeing great local theater!

Friday, October 19th: the beauty of Vermont, time with Paul, and seeing a friend I haven’t seen in years all made for a great day. And our youngest is coming home for the weekend!

Saturday, October 20th: the joy of seeing friends, harvesting lettuce and kale from the garden, and the gorgeous sunshine, all made for a great day.

Sunday, October 21st: today I am thankful for harvesting the last potatoes, making pizza, making two dinners for the coming week, and some time to write.

Monday, October 22nd: for years, our youngest played Little League baseball on the county all star team. The team was made up of the most amazing group of young men — and they have the most amazing families. The years we were with this group of people almost daily was a joy for us all. Today, for the first time in a long time, I got to spend time with one of the moms, and it was pure joy. How lucky we are to be surrounded by this community!

Tuesday, October 23rd: besides the love we share, I am thankful for the skills of my husband. His ability to fix things, problem-solve, and keep things going is just plain amazing!

Wednesday, October 24th: today I am thankful for the people who work to start the difficult conversations and keep communication open no matter how great the differences between people.

Thursday, October 25th: today, I am thankful for time to sit at the spinning wheel and make beautiful yarn.

Friday, October 26th: today, I am thankful for love.

Saturday, October 27th: today, I am for laughter, and saffron (the spice).

Sunday, October 28th: today I am thankful for time with my husband and youngest son, the Boston Red Sox, and friends who bring surprises.

Monday, October 29th: today I am thankful for my chickens — they make me laugh, get us eggs, keep us tick-free, and are so amazing!

Tuesday, October 30th: I am thankful for good friends, food we grow, and laughter.

Wednesday, October 31st: I am thankful for great Halloween memories, even if some of them make my throat tighten with a twinge of grief.