Posted by on Dec 3, 2010 in Writing
First, some announcements:
  1. Media Free Week begins next Monday! Consider taking a break from one, or all the media you use, for a week, or even a day. Announce yourself here, and make it real!
  2. If you’re a knitter, or a reader, or especially both, consider swinging by Cloverhill Yarn Shop this Sunday December 5th, from 2-4pm for “Catfish, Snakes, and Critters, Oh My!” featuring my book, “I’m Not Afraid of Snakes” and the knitting kit Cloverhill has put together with the Walking Catfish from the story.
  3. I’m taking part in Reverb10 – a month-long reflection on the year, and you can, too! Below is my responses to the prompts for the last two days.

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

David and I were staying in an old schoolhouse with family and friends for our summer vacation. We had an amazing view of Lake Champlain out the front window, and to the rear, we looked out at series of gardens, and beyond that, fields of the neighboring farm, with its two horses. A heat wave was on – a shock to all of us in early September – and we got up early to beat the worst of the sun. David and I put on our cowboy hats (which only look good when we’re on vacation), and walked out to the vegetable patch.

david picking cherry tomatoesThe owner told us we could pick whatever we wanted, and so, with colanders and buckets in hand, we did just that. I picked bright red tomatoes – the big juicy kind. The ones that were ripe and unblemished went in my colander, the overripe ones were chucked into the field for the horses. David said, “There’s nothing like a tomato freshly picked  – go ahead and eat one.” So I did, and he was right. The tomato was sweet and tangy, and the warm juice squirted down my chin and onto my shirt.

Hidden behind the tomatoes, David found Italian eggplants, jalapeño and bell peppers. A few rows over, I began working on the raspberries – there were hundreds. Even though I ate quite a few, I still picked over a quart of them, their delicate velvet beads falling right off the stems into my hand. I also found some other red berries – we knew they were edible, but not sure what they were – boysenberries? They were tangier and had much smaller beads of fruit, with no discernible seeds.

It was quiet in the yard – the house was on a dirt street, and the cars driving down the road broke thefreshly picked wild berriescomparative silence infrequently. The real noise was in the backyard – a squirrel chirped angrily, protecting its nest whenever we walked to close to a certain tree. The crickets and frogs held a chorus – a humming din that I always equate with tall grass and hot days. And the bees swirled around our cowboy hats, buzzing a secret in our ears, then flying away.

The noise of our family was uneven and sharp in comparison, I could hear my father’s voice rise and fall on the porch, and my mother’s call, “What are you guys finding out there?” broke through our meditative harvesting.

We brought our bounty back to the house, and over the course of the 2 weeks we were there, we used them in all our meals. I made an eggplant, pepper, and tomato sauce for the fresh pasta we bought at the Grand Isle Farmers Market. We ate the raspberries with cereal or yogurt, and quite often ate them straight out of the bowl sitting on the counter. Later in the week, we went out and picked more of them, too.

But nothing compares to that first day, when we discovered we had everything we needed in our own backyard.

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta)

I’m squeezing this one in since I realized it’s so simple: over-checking e-mails.

Too often, when I decide to log into 750words.com, I use the friendly e-mail they send me, and then I get stuck replying to e-mails, clicking on links, and otherwise NOT WRITING. I’m going to start each day writing my 750 words without going first to the inbox. How about you?


  1. Tweets that mention Harvesting -- Topsy.com
    December 3, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gin Ferrara, Gin Ferrara. Gin Ferrara said: #reverb10 Day 3 – a memorable moment in the sun, a good memory on a cold day: http://ow.ly/3jE9X […]

  2. Heather
    December 3, 2010


    Great post! The description of your harvest day put the taste of sun-warmed, fresh tomatoes in my mouth — quite a feat on this cold December day!

    I love Leo Babauta’s blog. I started doing almost the same thing this week. I start the work day with tackling and finishing one project before opening my e-mail. This has been much more powerful for me than it sounds. Once I’ve finished that one project I’m in that magical “accomplishment mode” and crossing off items on my list that have been loitering for weeks.

    Sorry I can’t make it to Cloverhill on Sunday. We have guests from out of town. Maybe we can catch up next week?