• Arts and Crafts,  Books,  Breads,  Cake,  Dessert,  Fruit,  Giving,  Herbs,  Perennial vegetables,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Recipes,  Sauces,  Seeds,  Special Events,  Spices,  Vegan,  Vegetables

    Finch Frolic Marketplace, Revisited

    Wonderful, tasty winter squash of all kinds!
    Wonderful, tasty winter squash of all kinds!

    Due to popular demand, we’re having one more short Marketplace this Saturday, 9 – 1.

    Join us on Saturday, November 29nd  from 9-1  for the annual Finch Frolic Marketplace, the Extended Version!  We’ll have for sale fresh and prepared foods straight from our permaculture gardens.  All are excellent gifts, or will grace your holiday table. We’ll have the much-desired Pomegranate Gelato again, and new this year, Passionfruit Gelato!   Squash, fruit, veg, preserves, passionfruit curd, baked goods, and much more.

    Herbs, veggies, frozen juice, gelatos, curds, jams, preserves... and much more!
    Herbs, veggies, frozen juice, gelatos, curds, jams, preserves… and much more!

    Finch Frolic Garden is located at 390 Vista del Indio, Fallbrook, CA.


    Finch Frolic Garden is open by appointment only for tours, lectures and other activities.  The address is 390 Vista del Indio, Fallbrook, CA  92028-2548.  Please call only if you are lost or delayed; we use our house phone only and are often not inside.  Please use the email above for any other communication.

    From the North (Temecula and above): take 1-15 South to Exit 51 and turn right.  Make the next right onto E. Mission Rd/County Hwy-S13.  In .8 of a mile turn left onto E. Live Oak Park Rd.  In 1.6 miles turn right onto Alvarado St.  In .7 miles at the top of the hill turn left onto Vista Del Indio, at Roja’s Succulents.  Make the very first right; 390 is at the end to the left.

    From the South (Escondido and below): take I-15 North to Exit 51 and turn left over the freeway.  Make the next right onto E. Mission Rd/County Hwy-S13.  In .8 of a mile turn left onto E. Live Oak Park Rd.  In 1.6 miles turn right onto Alvarado St.  In .7 miles at the top of the hill turn left onto Vista Del Indio, at Roja’s Succulents.  Make the very first right; 390 is at the end to the left.

    From the West (I-5): take CA-76 East, Exit 54A and drive for 12.6 miles.  Turn left onto S. Mission Road/County Hwy S13 for 4.1 miles.  Turn right onto S. Stagecoach Lane (at the high school).  In 2.8 miles turn right onto Alvarado St.  At the top of the hill turn right onto Vista del Indio, at the Roja’s Succulents sign.  Make the very first right; 390 is at the end on the left.


  • Animals,  Bees,  Birding,  Books,  Building and Landscaping,  Chickens,  Cob,  Compost,  Composting toilet,  Fungus and Mushrooms,  Gardening adventures,  Heirloom Plants,  Hugelkultur,  Humor,  Living structures,  Natives,  Natural cleaners,  Other Insects,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Ponds,  Predators,  Quail,  Rain Catching,  Recycling and Repurposing,  Reptiles and Amphibians,  Seeds,  Soil,  Water Saving,  Worms

    Permaculture Lectures At Finch Frolic Garden, June 2014

    Tour Finch Frolic Garden!
    Tour Finch Frolic Garden!

    Permaculture Lectures in the Garden!

    Learn how to work with nature and save money too

    Finch Frolic Garden and Hatch Aquatics will present four fantastic, information-filled lectures in June.  Join us at beautiful Finch Frolic Garden in Fallbrook, 4 pm to 6 pm, for refreshments and talks on…

    Saturday, June 7: Introduction to Permaculture and Finch Frolic Tour: We’ll take you through the main precepts of permaculture and how it can be applied not only to your garden, but to yourself and your community.  Then we’ll tour Finch Frolic Garden and show rain catchments, swales, plant guilds, polyculture, living buildings and so much more.

    Saturday, June 14: Your Workers in the Soil and Earthworks: Learn the best methods for storing water in the soil and how to replace all your chemicals with actively aerated compost tea and compost.

    Saturday, June 21: Aquaculture: You can have a natural pond – even in a tub!  How natural ponds work, which plants clean water and which are good to eat.  Even if you don’t want a pond, you’ll learn exciting information about bioremediation and riparian habitat.

    Saturday, June 28: Wildlife in your Garden: What are all those bugs and critters and what they are doing in your yard?  We’ll discuss how to live with wildlife and the best ways to attract beneficial species.

    Your hosts and lecturers will be

    Jacob Hatch  Owner of Hatch Aquatics. With years of installing and maintaining natural ponds and waterways, and a Permaculture Design Course graduate, Jacob has installed earthworks with some of the biggest names in permaculture.

    Miranda Kennedy  OSU graduate of Wildlife Conservation and wildlife consultant, Miranda photographs and identifies flora and fauna and maps their roles in backyard ecosystems.

    Diane Kennedy  Owner of Finch Frolic Garden, lecturer, consultant, Permaculture Design Course graduate, former SDC Senior Park Ranger, Diane educates homeowners on how to save money and the environment while building their dream gardens.

    Each class limit is 50 attendees, so please make pre-paid reservations soon before they fill up.  Fee for set of four lectures and tour is $45 per person.  Single session fee is $20 per person. Contact Diane Kennedy at for reservations and directions.


          You will not want to miss this fascinating and useful information!

  • Animals,  Books,  Breads,  Chickens,  Compost,  Gardening adventures,  Giving,  Health,  Humor,  Permaculture and Edible Forest Gardening Adventures,  Pets,  Recipes,  Reptiles and Amphibians,  Soil,  Vegetables

    The Life of Di, or Fall At My House

    “And here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!”

    I like to be involved with many projects at once.  I picture my life as an opal, my birthstone, full of swirled colors and hues.  I have several books going at once, projects chipped away at around the house, volunteer responsibilities strewn across my week, and far too many animals and acres to care for.  When I’m exhausted I can spend a day on the couch reading with no trouble at all being the picture of laziness.  Prior to Thanksgiving I underwent a skin cancer preventative treatment on my face and hands, which required applying a topical cream twice a day that brings suspicious cells to the surface and burns them off.  By the end of the second week I was quite a mess, and then took another week to heal enough to be seen in public without alerting the zombie hunters.  The treatment, needless to say, kept me from being in sunlight, therefore housebound.  Always loving a clean, organized house but never actually completely cleaning or organizing, I figured I’d get some work done.  I tried sorting about 15 boxes of photo albums left by my mother and grandmother… and got through one box before I had to stop.  I wanted to bake bread, and I wanted to find something to do with the small amount of hops we harvested, so I experimented with a recipe that had a starter, sponge and rising that altogether took five days.  The Turnipseed Sisters’ White Bread from the classic Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads .

    Turnipseed Sisters’ White Loaf starter made with hops.

    The starter really smelled like beer. Not in a pleasant way, either.  However the bread was good, and baking was fun.

    Good sandwich and toast bread.

    Just the extra carbs I needed for sitting on my butt for two weeks, right?  Then I wanted to thin, clean and alphabetize the fiction section in my living room.

    Books piled alphabetically… a little later there was a small avalanche.

    Yes, I have enough books in my house that they are in sections.  Former school librarian and bookstore worker here.  I haven’t done the non-fiction section as yet, which extends to most of the other rooms in the house.  Maybe next year?  I did a little writing, a lot of reading, surrounded by my elderly dog Sophie

    Sophie enjoying good sleeps.

    who keeps returning from the brink of death to sleep about 23 hours a day, and one of my hens, Viola, who suddenly went lame in one leg.

    Viola on a healing vacation.

    All advice was to cull her, but I thought that she pulled a muscle and hadn’t broken her leg, and being vegetarian I don’t eat my pets.  Viola has been recuperating in a cage in the dining room, gaining strength in that leg, laying regular eggs, having full rein of the front yard, and crooning wonderfully. As I count wild birds for Cornell University’s Project Feederwatch, I keep an eye on the hen.  The cats ignore her, thank goodness.  I’ve quite enjoyed having a chicken in the house.  Yep, I’m starting to be one of those kinds of aging ladies.

    In between I’d spend time crawling under bushes to push and shove my 100-pound African spur thigh tortoise out of his hiding spot and into the heatlamp-warmed Rubbermaid house he shuns so that he wouldn’t catch cold in the chill damp nights.  I always come out victorious, with him angry and begrudgingly warm, and with me wet, muddy, hair full of sticks and hands full of scratches.  Does anyone have a life like this?

    “I’m performing advanced trigonometry in my head, don’t bother me, Woman!”

    Finally my skin healed enough so that I was able to venture outdoors.

    Garlic and seed sprouts guarded from birds by a rubber snake.

    I planted seeds of winter crops: collards, kale, garlic, onions, carrots, Brussels sprouts and broccoli rabe, and prepared raised beds for more.

    Yellow perfection tomatoes still ripening, as are the green zebra.

    I ordered organic pea, lupine and sweet pea seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds , all nitrogen-fixers to plant around the plant guilds.

    Pepperoncini still producing.

    On Thanksgiving I hiked 1200 feet up Monserate Mountain in a record slow time; all that sitting and all that bread causing me to often stop and watch the slow holiday traffic on Hwy. 15, and be very glad that I was on a hike instead.

    The neighbors had their annual tree butchering, paying exorbitant sums to have the same so-called landscapers come in and top their trees (shudder!) and thin others… for what reason I have no idea.  Because being retired Orange County professionals they believe that trees need to be hacked back, contorted, and ruined?  Possibly.

    Please, please, please, friends don’t let friends top trees!  Find an arborist who trims trees with an eye to their health and long-term growth and immediate beauty.  A well-pruned tree is lovely, even just after pruning.  A topped tree is brutal and ugly.

    A topped coral tree. Ugh!

    Anyway, the upside is that I claimed all the chips, giving new life to the ravaged trees as mulch for my pathways.  Two truckloads were delivered.  I think I have enough for the whole property.

    “The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see. He saw another mountain…”

    How to spread it?  Yep, one wheelbarrow full at a time.

    One wheelbarrow at a time.

    I can now condition myself for more hiking and weight lifting without leaving the property.  The heaps have a lot of pine in them (they thinned the pine trees!???) so there is a pleasant Christmassy smell emanating from the heaps.

    Hot steamy mulch.

    They are also very high nitrogen and were hot in the center on the second day and this morning were steaming right after our brief rain shower.  Mulch piles can catch fire; when I worked for San Diego County Parks we rangers would joke about who had been called out by the fire department when their newly delivered mulch pile had caught fire in the  night.

    Steam from the mulch mountains. I stood on it just now and steam went up my pant legs and warmed me up!

    I also received a gift of seven 15-gallon nursery containers of llama poo!

    The wealth of llama poo.

    Hot diggity!  Early Christmas: My diamonds are round and brown, thank-you.  I layered them in the compost heap and am ready for more.

    I also wholeheartedly participated in Small Business Saturday, finding happy locals and crossing paths with friends and aquaintences at several stores.  I received my first Merry Christmas from a man at Myrtle Creek Nursery’s parking lot as he waited for his son’s family to pick out a Christmas tree.  I do love this town.

    Sweet potatoes ready to harvest for Christmas dinner.

    That catches me up.  Lots of projects, lots of volunteering, lots of cleaning up to do before my daughter comes home for the holidays and despairs at my bachelorette living.  Lots of mulch to move. Lots of really great friends.  Lots of sunscreen to wear.  Lots to be thankful for.

  • Books,  Humor,  Travel

    Jamaica Inn


    Our first room was above the pub on the left.


    I know you are all sick of reading about bathing a hen; I’m back from a vacation in Cornwall, UK and helping my daughter move back to OSU for her Junior year.  With a gazillion photos to sort through, I’ll do my best to show you the highlights of our travels as well as keep you up on the growing of my gardens.

    Why Cornwall?  It is a land of legend, infinite beauty, the birthplace of many famous people, and is home of the pastie (a turnover with savory filling made by wives for lunch for their mining husbands).  It was also supposed to be the warmest place in the UK in September, and the best place for birding as all the migrants fly near there.  What no forecasting website let me know was that the hurricane that had hit the US East coast had moved north near Ireland, and gale-force winds were hitting most of upper Europe.  Cornwall was no exception.  The winds hit on the third day of our trip, and let up towards the end, so birding wasn’t so great ( you had to look quickly :). )

    Our first lodging in Cornwall was at the Jamaica Inn ( ).  How great is that!  For you literary types, or those who love Alfred Hitchcock films, you’ll recognize this Daphane Du Maurier title which had been made into a movie. (Hitchcock also made movies of two of her other works, Rebecca and The Birds).

    The Inn had been infamous for smuggling

    Jamaica Inn sits on the Bodmin Moor in East central Cornwall.  When we flew into Newquay (pronounced NEW-key) airport and rented our car it had just begun to rain with a little thunder thrown in for atmosphere.  The drive through traffic was slow (the highways have cow crossroads with signal lights!) and as we approached the Inn the fog rolled in.

    The museum in the rain.

    There had been an accident on one of the highways so traffic was backed up.  As we gratefully parked in the main parking lot of the Inn, an older man in a yellow traffic vest that had been out on the street came over and suggested that we park in the small lot in the front.  He explained about the traffic, and joked about us being ready to meet ghosts at the Inn.  I told him that with a meal, dry clothes and a warm bed, let the ghosts do their worst!  He laughed and replied that ‘strange things happen around there.’  I moved the car, navigating a forty-five degree turn in a narrow, brick sided gate without scratching the car (England is infamous for this sort of thing), and re-parked.  Glancing back at the road, I noticed that the man had disappeared.  We never saw him again!  Strange things, indeed.

    The neighborhood isolated by fog

    In three nights we stayed in three different rooms because of the Inn being full.

    Main entrance

    We moved from the smallest and oldest room, one which the owner vowed had the most ghostly activity, to a larger, slightly less ghostly room, to finally a large room in the ‘new wing’ with a great view of the Bodmin Moor. The staff knew us as the ‘traveling Americans’. The owner told us that only the night before the guest in that first room had stood up from the bed and felt a hand push him back, twice.  We walked through the dark pub, up the winding stairway to our room, named after one of the characters in Du Maurier’s book, and entered our room.  It could very well have been the source of many unusual phenomenom.  Being in the old section, which dated back 400 years, the floor slanted inward so much that you could imagine yourself shipboard stuck on the roll of a wave.  It was great.  After a visit to the pub, I don’t doubt that the previous guest had fallen down.

    A man who disappeared on his birthday on the moors.


    The Inn is hundreds of years old, and definately has an atmosphere.

    Original stonework and chains

    At the Rancho Guajome Adobe in Vista, I havethe feeling that the house is like an older woman who was dressed in her finest, hair done up, back straight and proud, welcoming guests to yet another party at her fine home.  At the Jamaica Inn, with its slanted floors, swaybacked roof and settled walls, I had the impression of an old, mostly toothless hag, one eye squinty, the other pierceing you with its gaze to see what you’re worth, and cackling at your dismay when you shudder.  Wonderful!

    Dining in the dark; makes you want a mug with a glass bottom!

    There was a microclimate that surrounded the Inn; it was always colder, foggier, rainier and windier than even the coastal areas both North and South.  We’d awaken to crummy weather and defiantly brave it to visit a garden or ruin, and find the weather a lot better once we left the area!  Our last night there was the beginning of the intense gale-force winds.  Flag poles were outside our room and they beat a strong tattoo all night.  In the morning I pushed the window open against the wind to have a look, and wasn’t surprised at the flag that had beat so furiously in the storm.

    The Jolly Roger

    The moor is not the wild, heath-covered marshy area one would expect anymore.  It has been cut into squares for farmland, lined with hedgerows or stacked stone walls.  It still is beautiful.  The radiant green of British and Irish fields can’t be explained, just loved.


    Bodmin Moor through our window.


    We didn’t have time to hike to the standing stones there, and tried twice to walk to the Dozmary Pool, the legendary home of the Lady of the Lake who kept King Arthur’s sword.  We had heard that the ‘bottomless lake’ of legend does, indeed, dry up, and there is another lake that claims the sword as well, so we didn’t feel too badly about missing it.  We walked across a field, sinking into wet spots, imagining Jane Eyre collapsed on a moor, and all the other stories and legends surrounding these fascinating places.  I was glad to be close to safety!

    Yes, that's fog behind the museum

    The Jamaica Inn does brisk business as a tourist stop, particularly for busloads of ghost-seekers.  They visit the Du Maurier museum, the gift store, and have lunch in the dark pub.

    On the telephone booth, the only spot of color in the courtyard.

    There are figures from the book lurking the corners, some of which speak to you when you press a button, and stocks in the front yard.

    The harried heroine of Jamaica Inn, and touch of Poe with the cask of Amantillado

    A ghost log sits next to the guest register for reporting any supernatural activity, and it is quite full.

    The ghost log

    I was mildly disappointed in not being spooked; however, if any ghost had tried to wake me up they would have been disappointed, for I was too tired to care!


    Any adventure is enjoyed even more after you are safely home.  I loved staying at the Jamaica Inn, soaked up the atmosphere, the grey stones the fog and all the corny spooky stuff set around the Inn.  The name Jamaica Inn allegedly came from all the rum that was smuggled through.  A plaque on the floor of the bar commemorates a spot where someone had been murdered.  I wouldn’t have missed staying there for the world!

  • Books,  Culture,  Humor

    Reading to a Fault

    The Library: Cookbooks, Non-Fiction, Reference (including the complete 22 volume Oxford English Dictionary), and Fiction (Not shown are Christmas books, health and gardening books and some favorite children's books)

    I need to confess:  I read.  Perhaps all of you are nodding, thinking that you, too, read.  I’m very glad of that.  However, my confession is something along the lines of AA.  I read to a fault.  I read between 3 and 5 books a week.  Yes, all of them are over 200 pages, and no, none of them have embracing couples on the front.  I read myself to sleep. I read myself awake sometimes.  I’ll take a break in the afternoon and read, and wind up several hours later with very angry cats nagging me for their dinner.  I have a stack of bedside books, books in the library, a book in each car in case of emergency.  I’ll read until I have less than half an hour to wash, dress, feed animals, grab food and drive somewhere.  I have read long through the night when I have needed to be up in the morning early.

    I feel sometimes that I’ve been consumed by the books.

    Living room: Humor, Do-It-Yourself and Old Books

    I read too quickly.  I could not recite the plots and names of the characters in the books that I read, and that is a major fault.  I have a good friend who reads steadily and slowly, and can call to mind all the characters and all the plot points in all the books that he has read.  I envy him that.

    I read mostly fiction, but I always keep at least one non-fiction going at all times.  I particularly enjoy well-crafted and researched historical mysteries.  I have learned more about the history of the world, the nuances of human struggles and the colossal efforts to survive in the face of war, disease, political and religious oppression, starvation and exhaustion, than was ever even hinted at in any of my schooling.  For instance, the Sister Fidelma mysteries are written by historian Peter Tremayne and concern the changeover from the ancient Celtic traditions to the strict and woman-hating traditions of the newly approved Roman Catholic Church in 7th century Ireland.  In the Celtic world, women could be judges, teachers and could own property.  There were universities throughout Europe.  The Picts were still present, and their written word Ogham took the form of slashes on sticks, which were bundled together to form long documents and hung on walls to form libraries.  The first witch hunts began when the Roman Catholics wanted to obtain land and power from the women and subjugate them.  A man who proved a woman a witch could have her property and belongings, and the tests for being a witch were hard to survive (drown and you are innocent, float you are a witch).

    From C. J. Sansom’s Mathew Shardlake series I learned about 16th century England and just what the dissolution of the Catholic church meant for the monks and the parishioners, and how life must have been like under a king who regularly took young wives, and had them killed when they didn’t produce a son.

    Bedroom Part One: Series, storytelling, folklore and fairytales, some reference.

    From Anne Perry I’m learning about Edwardian and Victorian England, the oppression of women, of the poor, of the inadequacies of the medical practice (they just discover chloroform so that operations can take a little longer, although most patients died of infection afterwards, anyway).  About the threat of disease from the lack of sewers and the incredible labors it took to build the new sewers, and new railroads.

    Elizabeth Peters has shown me Egypt at the turn of the century, in a series of mysteries that are as funny as they are educational.  The Amelia Peabody series is priceless; three of our chickens are named after characters in those novels, so you can see how important it is to us! (Emerson, Miss Amelia and Evelyn).

    In non-fiction I prefer travel writing.  I’d love to travel the world, lingering in each place to absorb the language, the customs and the landscapes.  If only I could do that while also staying at home!  Travel writing allows me to vicariously see the fascinating corners of the world without suffering from airports, taxis, buses and car rentals, or trying to find vegetarian meals in a meat-loving place.  I enjoy some Paul Theroux, Freya Stark, and many more who have helped me cross Africa on foot, hike through Tibet sipping hot tea with goat butter, fight the overwhelming fecundity of the sweltering, buggy Amazon rainforest, and sail through terrible storms and dead calms.

    I also love to read non-fiction about animals, such as the books written by Gerald Durrell, or about wolf re-introduction (thanks, J & J!), or what survives in extreme weather. And about gardening and the love of nature and home such as Sue Hubbell’s A Year in the Country.

    There is also satire such as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.  Incredible writing, a double-take kind of humor that makes you love your fellow man as you laugh at and with him.

    I remember the first book that I read alone when I was five.  It was a collection of fairytales. I still have it although it looks much smaller now.  I remember getting through it the first time and feeling so accomplished, and then reading it again and realizing how quickly it went.  Little did I know that I would be a slave to the written word from then on.  My parents read when they could, and greatly supported reading.  We’d attend the Carlsbad Library Book Fair, and I’d always order thin, wonderful books from the Scholastic Book Fair at school.  I loved Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, Tolkein, and The Three Investigators (so much better than the Hardy Boys!).  I worked at B. Dalton Booksellers on the El Camino Real mall, then met and married another book lover who was a manager there.  He became a book scout and I was once again going through stacks of books at sales again, trying to find treasures.  After a divorce and a career as a Park Ranger I became a middle-school librarian for eight years.  Heaven!  All those old favorites, added to purchasing books at a time when young adult literature was exploding.  So many well-written and well-researched, imaginative books!  I still follow young adult authors because what they write is often so much more rewarding and intellectually stimulating than popular fiction.  In fact, some of my go-to fiction when I need something familiar and comforting is from the young adult genre.  Tamora Pierce and Sharon Shinn, to name a couple.

    Bedroom part two: Reference on Writing, several complete series, and misc. In room behind is poetry and art, as well as all my daughter's books. And there are more books in other rooms, and in boxes in the garage, and in a stack next to my bed.

    I’ve never been a bestseller-list follower, nor a lover of award winners or book club choices.  I have had almost-conversations with women who are also good readers, and we have almost no books in common.  A couple of notable exceptions have been the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer, and finished by her daughter-in-law Annie Barrows when the author was ill, and the Ladies No. 1 Detective Agency series.  The former because it is warm, humorous, and yet describes the horror of living on an occupied island during WWII.  The latter because it exposes a completely foreign (to me) way of life of a village in Africa and the warmth, simplicity and traditions of the people there.  Both of these make me feel warmly towards the human race, which is something I need encouragement to do.  Books that dwell on hopelessness, horror, unrelieved pain and despair, I just won’t give a time of day to.  Also those mysteries that are violent and graphic for the sake of selling copies.  No, thank you.  Just keep my mind working and my interest peaked, thank you.

    So I read and read.  Have I mentioned audiobooks yet?  They are on top of the reading books.  At one point I had an audiobook for the car, one for the house, and one in the wings just in case.  I usually have one or two in the car now.  I listen to audiobooks of authors I probably wouldn’t sit down to read, or of books that are deemed important, award-winning or classic that I’ve either read and forgotten about, or never read for one reason or another, such as Pulitzer prize winners.  There are audiobook readers who are superb at what they do, such as Barbara Rosenblat, and some where I’ve had to shut the audiobook off because the reader was so terrible.  Usually authors really mess up their own work, so I try and avoid those.  I’ve had audiobooks playing in a CD player attached to an extension cord out in my yard so that I could listen while weeding.  The problem with that is you can’t easily leave the area even for a second because you’ll miss something, and your hands or gloves are too dirty to touch the CD to pause it.  Areas of my yard have an afterglow of memory of the audiobook I listened to when I was working their: my side yard is very much the 1100s in Shrewsbury, England on the border of Wales where Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael is grinding herbs and solving mysteries.  My backyard has a memory of the cold sea from listening to Anne Proulx’s The Shipping News.   

    I volunteer at the Fallbrook Library bookstore The Bottom Shelf once a month or more (there are set times and I’m also on the fill-in list).  Three hours guaranteed guilt-free shopping in a dynamic used book store: dangerous!  So many incredible books!  Old friends, and new friends, and books from other countries and on topics I’d never thought of.  How I love filling the shelves and keeping an eye out for my favorite authors!  In come people with their lists.  Decades-old index cards on keyrings that have tiny lists of titles from alphabetized authors, small notebooks, and school paper falling apart at the folds.  I have my own lists carefully saved in my purse, as well as a regular notebook at home with authors and their complete works listed chronologically by publication date with notes about the series and author and how I liked them.  I also post my books and some reviews on Goodreads, which is a virtual personal library list.  I wish that I could remember all the books I’ve read in my life so that I can list them all and be complete.  Perhaps book people are also list people.  Gotta have a list.  I buy books at a quarter, read them and return them.  Can’t beat that.

    Reading is a treat, a reward, a hobby, an education and an escape for me.  I don’t watch television; I haven’t had it hooked up for about 16 years except to play DVDs and VHS tapes.  I often wish that I could directly link all the books to my brain so that I can absorb them all and have all that knowledge. Oh, and have a memory that will handle it, too!  I share books with my family and friends.  I read aloud to my children until they were in high school, including the Complete Sherlock Holmes, all the Redwall series, most of Musashi, and stories from James Herriot, and many, many more, usually with me falling asleep while I’m reading and finishing the sentence with some garbled words my dream self interjected.

    I have many faults, but few vices. I don’t drink often, smoke, or take much medicine or drugs.  I may read murder mysteries but I can’t even feed a tomato hornworm to the chickens.  But I read.  Books, not electronic devices.  I love the feel of a book.  And I hope I always will.