o much to celebrate this time of year -- we have Father's Day soon; and coming right up is the Fourth of July; it's Summer (and that's enough right there!) and LOOK at my corn and zucchini! When I realized I would be in California until the end of August, I decided to do the thing I don't have space for in Martha's Vineyard, and grow corn! It's looking so good I started to worry the other day, maybe it's too good! Big wide juicy-looking leaves, strong stalks, past my waist now. Almost scary, something's bound to go wrong.
So I called my dad, garden expert, actually expert on all things in life; he would have been the perfect Dear Abby (well, maybe more of a counterbalance). Anyway, he's growing corn too. "Dad, what's the bug that goes after corn? There must be one." I say to him, innocently, forgetting who he is for a moment.
"Corn worms," he says, "Look for moths that lay eggs in the corn silk, they turn into worms. They'll ruin your ears of corn. You should spray the minute you see the silk start to show."
"Spray? I don't want to spray" I said, "Isn't there something organic, like soapy water or something I could put on them?"
"I'm not sure," he says.
That's odd, I think, he's always sure: my Dad-Radar switches on. Any of you with a Dad who's constantly joking will recognize this moment.
"Perhaps," he says, you should soak some old organic cigarette butts in water and spray the corn with that." I am digesting this information when he follows up with "OK, if you're a crunchy-granola-purist, you can pick off the paper and the filter before you soak . . . uh, maybe better if you leave the filter," he says, "that's where all the good stuff is."
here is never a dull moment with my father. So I have started with mineral oil on the baby silks and will be going from there, won't be soaking any organic cigarette butts, even though this would probably work!
My dad was 23 when I was born, I'm the first of his 8 children. We are both a lot older now, but I'm still his baby. A couple of years ago I was on the train, almost to Galesburg, talking to him on my cell -- he was in Arizona. Cell service from the train is spotty, and the reception started going bad; he couldn't hear me anymore. I could hear him fine; he was saying, "Sue, I can't hear you, Sue? Sue! I'm losing you. I'm LOSING you . . ." I felt helpless with the phone in my hand; I could hear him and was doing that frantic cell thing, "Dad! Dad, can you hear me?" -- and even though I knew we were just talking about a phone call, the "losing you" felt so sad, I had tears in my eyes, I wanted to say, "you're not losing me, here I am, I'm right here; you'll never lose me."
Even though I'll always be his baby, it's wonderful when your parents turn into your friends.
hat else is new in the Heart of the Home? Well, let's see: first off, we are very excited to announce that there are Susan Branch Facebook Fan Clubs! Two of them, both went up in the last month, one of them only 3 days ago. I think that's exciting, something very nice, I'm honored! I see so many faces on there I recognize! I haven't joined yet because Facebook scares me; with the way I am, I think I could make it into a full-time job! Maybe after I get this book written! It could be my reward.
The other thing is that our new calendars for 2010 will be here soon, in probably another 4 or 5 weeks; we're cleaning out the warehouse so we can fit them in. Besides our new regular wall calendar, which as you can see, is adorable this year (if I do say so myself), I finally got to design something I've wanted to do for everyone's desk forEVER, a big blotter calendar! Oh yeah! You will love it. Plus, for all of you requesting, yes, there will be an easel calendar this year! As usual, we never get a billion of anything, so watch for all of this so you can get yours for Christmas (not nice to say that word in June, sorry, it's the Girl Scout, "be prepared" thing in me that does this!).
ou know by now I'm sure, that we have a Weekly Surprise Sale Item on our web site, something new for you every Friday. It's our way of saying thank you for the support you've brought us that keeps us alive, and it also says, "Recession? We spit on recession."
here is actually something I'm finding oddly enjoyable about this recession -- it's nice to be thinking straight, not wasting things, being more conscious about the world, the earth, being more grateful for the little things in life; we are so blessed. When you look at some other countries, and at history, for centuries people had a terrible time, just keeping warm, or cooking food; no electricity alone would probably do me in. We live better than kings did! I don't mean it's enjoyable for anyone losing a job, and my prayers do go out to everyone in this rough time everyday, but we have been so wasteful, me included, this has been a wake up call.
here are still little ways to spark things up, and that's what our web store tries to provide, useful things that put a little more Heart in your home (not that you don't already DO that -- but we try to help)! Besides my Summer Book, which is a mountain of summer celebration, picnics, dinners, barbecues and garden ideas, we have lots of new products; stuff for your KITCHEN (I finally found the perfect cake plate, etched glass, with dome, not too big, very charming, yay!), the new scrapbooking KIT, new EMMA BRIDGEWATER (we got heart plates, since you loved the heart cups and teapot so much!), and new VINTAGE excitement (can you say "new vintage" and have it mean anything?). Our HOME PAGE tries to share ideas you can do to put more into the moment, not things that cost money, but things, more of the heart.
'm gearing up to go give a TALK on August 10 in Los Angeles to the Flying Geese Quilt Guild, an event which anyone can attend. Even after all these years, I am still a nervous wreck to stand up and talk in front of people! I don't know how I get myself into these things. I said yes to this a year and a half ago, that's the problem. Because at the time, it's so far away; in the back of your mind you're thinking perhaps you will be dead by then and not have to go. But here it comes, tick tick tick, the clock is ticking, so I am gearing up. I hope to see lots of you there! (That's the good part, after the talk, when I sign books and meet everyone!) I'm hoping I will get to bring along samples of my NEW BABY FABRIC (which should be in quilt stores by October, and completely out of stock by February if the past is any measure, so watch for it if you have a baby coming!).
ut the really big news is that my kitty has lost 4 pounds so far! Instead of 26 1/2 pounds, he is a mere shadow of his former fat self, and is 22 1/2 pounds now, still losing. We are on a regimen, which is why, right this minute, his head is on my computer. Because he KNOWS it's feeding time. He is happier, sweeter than ever, and having much more fun these days, especially with the lizards in our neighborhood, but for every pound he has lost (as is the law of physics), I have gained two. I don't know how long I can keep this up! Time to make his breakfast, which makes me hungry for toast. Which I will take, with my tea, to the beautiful outdoors this sparkling-clear summer morning, making hay, as they say, when the sun shines.
ou know how I love quotes, right? Here is a wonderful one, written in 1944, about eating outdoors with Father in summers gone by; and a reminder of the simple memories you can make for yourself and the people you love, on these summer days....
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