I sit here in late spring, listening to thunder while rain only flirts with us as “verga” – that rain that will fall but never reach the ground. This is my fourth year gardening in Colorado. I spent the first fifty years of my life in Missouri, more than half of them, gardening in one fashion or another. We always had a huge vegetable garden at home, and as an adult, I planted a vegetable garden in every yard of every rental house I ever lived in. In my early forties, my mother and I had an organic “community supported agriculture” operation on a piece of land south of St. Louis. We grew it all – beans, tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, squash, herbs, and chickens!
I learned a lot from those years of gardening. What works, what doesn’t, all while sweating it out under the hot, humid, pollen-filled Missouri skies.
Then I moved to Colorado. It is cold here. Not all the time, of course, but it is cold. Winter exists until Memorial Day. Snow doesn’t melt from the highest peaks until late July, if at all, although snow doesn’t stay around long on the plains where I live. Snow reappears up high in late August. I live along the front range, about six miles east of the mountains proper, but still 5,000 feet above sea level. We get snow, and bitterly cold temperatures, from October until end of May. “Spring” doesn’t arrive here until after Mother’s Day.
But yet, I garden. I garden because it is my habit. I also garden because I am good at it. I can’t grow everything I could grow in Missouri. Tomatoes are stunted, and melons never get bigger than goose eggs. Water is limited, because, despite all the snow, there is very little rain. Ambient humidity rarely rises above 15%, thus the thundering overhead while the rain never makes it to the ground. After three years, I’ve kind of figured it out. I grow a lot of kohlrabi and cabbage, squash and beans, kale and pumpkins. I grow immense pumpkins. We eat well come summer, even if summer takes its time getting here.
Vegetable gardening is like any high drama – there are the highest highs, and the lowest lows. A random 30 seconds of hail can devastate everything. But a hot summer and a warm fall can yield pumpkins weighing over twenty pounds. There is loss, but there is glorious victory as well. The villains are well-known, if unpredictable, and in the end, our heroic efforts mean we get to eat what we’ve grown.
Such drama! Such good eating!
Susabelle Kelmer is a wife and mother living at the base of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. She believes in romance, second chances, and the magic of moonlight. When she isn’t writing, she works with students with disabilities in the college environment. You can find her books and blog at www.susabelle.com.
Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.
Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Younglood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.
When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.
“Who said anything about a relationship?” he said, standing up so he could tower over her again. “I’m just trying to have a little fun. You know, fun?”
If he’d been an animal, she was sure he’d have had hair raised on the back of his neck, he seemed so angry, and it struck her painfully. She hadn’t wanted to anger him or hurt him. She turned away from him and closed her eyes to tamp down the tears she knew would come if she let them. She crossed her arms over her chest, to hold in the pain. Being tired made her much too vulnerable.
“Yes,” she finally said. “I know about fun. Life isn’t always fun, though.”
“Princess.” His voice was soft, tender. “I won’t hurt you. It’s not in my plan.”
Despite herself, she felt the shivers of desire race down from her shoulders, down her arms and legs, and back up to that secret, soft place at her core. She bowed her head and gritted her teeth, hoping for the feeling to go away.
“And what is your plan, Gage?”
“It’s a simple plan. I want you to feel good. I want to feel good, too.”
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Website – http://www.susabelle.com