The night time frogs are keeping me up. They gurgle and burp like little monsters from the woods behind my home. When they stop to catch a breath, the buzzing insects start, not cricket, not locust, but something. The frogs sound thirsty and they sound close. This morning I bathed the yard with sweet-smelling eco-safe and sound skeeter spray. It doesn’t harm anything but the ticks and mosquitoes– I checked– the honeybees still buzzed about, as did the wasp. The roses didn’t wilt, and neither did the zinnia. But I must have disturbed some balance. How could I have not? Does the death of the mosquito from the space of my small yard make the frogs chirp louder? Have I stolen their supper? I drink hot milk with saffron, try to read about Cromwell and the Cardinal, but I am distracted. Someone is out walking their dog. Can they hear the frogs too?
I’m delighted to announce that Vintage will be publishing both As Sweet As Honey and Inheritance as paperbacks, on November 5, 2013. The date is coincidental but serendipitous, as it happens to be my birthday. It is been tremendously fun and fulfilling to have a new novel out after so many years. I’ll celebrate the sixth-month anniversary of As Sweet As Honey in mid-August. My agency with Sandra, Elise, and Andrea at the helm is patient and enthusiastic, cheering me up when my spirits were down, and applauding my small steps. I am so grateful Sonny Mehta signed off on the project with his blessings, and that Ann, my editor par excellence, stood by me as the novel took its final shape. Sara, my publicist, has been promoted, and I am now in the capable hands of Erinn, whom I look forward to working with. Random House merged with Penguin, combining two of my favorite houses to ally against faceless corporate booksellers. And now, Vintage, keeping me in print. An embarrassment of riches.
Here is a peek at the new covers:
I was gifted with two enormous zucchini from a local gardener. When I heard I was getting two, I thought, how nice, how restrained, just a sample. I went to pick them up, and I think they must be three pounds each, maybe four. A few days ago, I made, with now what I must now call petite zucchini, linguine from Heidi Swanson’s book, Supernatural Everyday, a cookbook I received after reading at Brookline Bookstore. It calls for wringing or squeezing water out of shredded squash, which is much easier than, say, to do with a stone. The result was delicious. Now I tempted to make her spicy zucchini bread but I must wait until midnight, when it has cooled off enough to turn on the oven.
Whenever I think about cooking at midnight, I am reminded of a poet, Pasquale Verdicchio, who taught several of us how to make Midnight Pasta, a dish so simple, and so heavenly that it needs a magic hour for its own. I had thrown a party, in San Diego, and we were all mildly stunned with drink, so that we needed the fortification of restorative pasta. To learn how to make it, you need a party, spaghetti, garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes. It sounds like another pasta dish, but it isn’t.
The other day, when I couldn’t sleep, I remembered an ayurvedic recipe from John Douillard’s website, which I made, since the only party I was at was on Facebook. It might be better mixed in a blender, so you you don’t need to spoon up the dates and almonds, but it did the trick.
I have two fans going on now. It is nearly 5:00 PM. Seven hours to go.
A friend of mine keeps bees and invited me along to help her introduce a new queen to the hive. I held a small box which contained the new queen and her attendants as they munched away on sugar. A cork that my friend dislodged would create a way for the queen to eat her way out of the box to the new hive, but slowly, so the bees all had time to adjust to one another. We prepared a sugar syrup to spray the bees to help calm them down, and attired in beekeep veils and jumpsuit, my friend led the way to the hive. Using a smoker, she slowly pushed the bees away as she removed box after box of the bee hive or complex, inspecting the screens for cells. Bravely, she scraped off bee cells, while I stood several feet away, ready with the queen. We could hear the burbling sound the bees made and when I ventured close, I could see the way they clustered close, jam-packed like Ashtangis at a popular studio, only much, much more crowded. Finally, my friend asked me to bring over the queen, and she lowered her in. Then each box had to go back.
Finally finished, we toasted our work with wine spritzers as the bees set out to eventually, in their own time, make honey.
- Giant swarm of 60,000 honey bees found in Westfield home (nj.com)
- Huge 60,000-strong beehive moved from Westfleld attic to Roselle Park churchyard (nj.com)
- Beekeeping: Getting Started (georgiajimsbeesupply.wordpress.com)
- Bees, Bees, Bees (wallacefamilyapiary.wordpress.com)
- Visit to Brown’s Bee Farm, changing sugar syrup in a nightgown & other notes (beemusement.wordpress.com)