Southern Indiana has the sort of summer that leaves you fuzzy headed and listless in the heat of day, and angsty through the evenings, which calm only enough for the mosquitoes to come out.

We accomplish any outdoor things we are going to get done before 10 am and spend the rest of the day, fitful, fogged and sweaty indoors.

We’ve harvested a good deal of carrots and garlic, cabbage, mustards, lettuce, beet greens and kale. The mint is going wild and we’re putting it in everything. And there are weeds- lots and lots of weeds (some edible, some not).

We’re making half sour pickles with lovage, chervil and dill, and are also whey-fermenting purple cabbage kimchi, ginger carrots, and cardamom beats. We’re hoping to pickle a good collection of grape leaves before the Japanese beetles get too comfortable in our yard. We are also hoping to rescue a lot of red raspberry leaves from them to dry for winter teas.

It is the end of the sweet berry season- gone in a blink, strawberries, mulberries, cherries, blueberries raspberries and now the end of the blackberries. Peaches and apples are fattening on their limbs and the elderberries are darkening.

Peas are done and beans are up and we are watching it go.

Andjoli started at preschool last month and is loving her sweet new friends. We tried preschool at an earlier age and she didn’t take to it- she’s happy as a clam now. We’re pretty thrilled too- it’s a parent run cooperative preschool, and we have a lot of say in what the kids learn (languages, music, gardening, etc) and what they have available to them (worm composting is this weeks thing).  The preschool is on campus, very close to the building in which I teach in the fall. It is a short (but very hot!) bike ride from our house, and if we could get the afternoons to turn down about 25 degrees here we would be in summer bliss.

During the summer, while I’m not teaching, I get to spend half my day writing (heat permitting) and half my day with B. We’re reading together again and making headway through our clean laundry room (which was once an office and is now a pile)

I have had four pieces accepted for publication this summer, and because my family is nervous about the sorts of things I’m writing (and will write- the horror!) I’m now writing under a pen name- Nicol Stavlas- my middle name and my godmother’s family name. I changed the name on this online journal as well, because I was a finalist in the Creative Nonfiction writing competition this spring and they hyper-linked back to my journal. For the world that doesn’t know me personally, I’m trying to separate my real world name-on-the-credit card self and my writerly self, but it’s not the easiest of tasks.

I’m still planning on finishing the PhD (one more year of coursework, and then quals and dissertation) but I’ve also been scouting MFA programs in non-fiction or family friendly writing residencies (especially those that are located in cooler climates) for when I’m done here.  Since January I’ve been polishing and submitting work to journals and this is something I really want to keep investing my time in.  If you know of any good writing programs let me know!

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