Saturday, July 20, 2013

Book review: "A Siimple Change" by Judith Miller

I am a huge fan of historical fiction.  I long for a simpler life and community and I love the idea of the Amana colonies.  I read anything about that subject on which I can get my hands.  "A Simple Change" was not disappointing.

"A Simple Change" is about Jancey Rhoder and her family who move to the Amana colonies in 1881.  Jancey's parents grew up and met in the colonies but moved away to avoid the one year waiting period for them to get married.  Jancey was born and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri the daughter of a successful business owner.  Her parents want to move back to the colonies so her ill mother can live out the rest of her life in a more peaceful place.  Jancey, a volunteer teacher at an orphanage in Kansas City, chooses to move with to stay close to her mother.

What ensues is a less sedate life than Jancey expected.  She immediately obtains a suitor, gets caught up in a mystery and has her former suitor travel to rescue her.  Along with all that Jancey has to decide if she's going to remain in the colonies after her mother passes.  She is educated and longs to be a teacher again but her job in the colonies is cleaning and laundry. 

"A Simple Change" was full of drama and intrigue.  I finished it well before I expected to considering it is over 350 pages.  I loved it.  There are some editing tasks that still need to be done but that didn't deter me.  It is written in first person which is not my usual preference but I barely noticed it.  If you have an interest in historical fiction, particularly the Amana colonies, I would highly recommend this book as it gives factual information about the colonies included with the dramatic fiction.

*I received a complimentary copy of "A Simple Change" from Baker Publishing for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013: How does my garden grow?

Today is July 2, 2013 and time for an update on the garden.  

 I have three tomato plants doing well ....
 and two kind of smallish.
 One tomato plant did not survive.
 I have four kohlrabi plants in two different sizes.
 Looking good!
 Here are two of the four pumpkin plants.  The other two are on the sides.
And two pathetic looking zucchini.  There's a third equally pathetic on the other side.
Cucumbers and lettuce did not survive.

I think, because I want to cast blame somewhere other than me, that our rainy season has had something to do with the poor growth we've had.  For almost two weeks it seemed like it rained every day.  Up until this week every field around us had a lake and most of the fields around here are drain tiled.  We even had our own LaLake that Lilyana was able to use as a waterpark for two days.

And don't get me started on the fly-sized mosquitoes.  My new not-so-favorite perfume is called Deet.  I can't decide what's worse:  the chemicals in deet or the diseases from mosquitoes.

 Hopefully by August we'll be eating something from this garden ... definitely the kohlrabi.