Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Winter Solstice

Today's the shortest day of the year, which is cause for celebration at Onemilebridge. Now the days will gradually grow longer, and the longer the day the more chance we have of absorbing enough solar energy to run our house. We've run the generator a few times already.

I haven't posted on my blog for ages because I've been writing. That's right, I've been too busy writing to write. I've moved back into the novel I completed before I started my memoir. This is actually the third draft and it's definitely improved in this version I think. In the last draft I dispensed with the first five or so chapters and started later in the action. This time around I've kept that structure. It's meant feeding in a lot of earlier events as flashbacks, and that calls for a delicate touch. I have to take care not to overload the story and not to introduce the flashbacks in a clunky fashion. It's hard work and takes a lot of concentration.

As well as that, in this draft I'm telling the story from the first person point of view. I thought I'd try it and then if it didn't work I'd revert back to third person, but in the meantime I'd have learned a lot about my character. As soon as I made the change the novel sprang to life, as though Charlotte, my heroine, had been patiently waiting for me to come and rescue her.

I'm not sure how far I'll get and even if this is the final draft, but I'm obsessed with it for now and that's a lovely feeling. I love it when my writing takes over my life - demanding time and brain room.

Nevertheless life goes on around the farm and there is always work to do there too. One of the first lessons I learned when I moved to the country was that when a tree falls it will always fall across the nearest fence.

After the recent wild weather we went searching for trees that had come down. Fortunately the driveway was clear but we found a tree had landed on the fence between a patch of bush on our land and the holding paddock. Farmdoc has taken his chainsaw in to be sharpened before he begins the repair job.

And this week we begin daily feeding out of hay to the stock. In one paddock we're experimenting with round bales that we buy from our neighbour. Each round bale is the equivalent of 15 square bales and if it works this approach will mean less hay carting in summer and less feeding out in winter.

The trouble is that goats are greedy, and rough feeders too, and so far it looks like they can eat their way through a round bale in ten days, leaving a lot of wasted hay, trampled and excreted on, in their wake. Looks like the easy way out might not work. Pity.

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