Prep week

Monday I begin my annual poetry intensive workshop. Out of all the poets who applied, I chose twelve and two alternates. One of the alternates got in when a poet I had chosen began a new job could not take the week off to come to Wellfleet. I spent much of the last month reading each of the participant’s manuscripts of fifteen poems that will form the basis of our conference during the week. We’ll go over the poems together at our conference, I’ll include some general advice and I’ll give the person my notes at the end of our conference. If the weather cooperates, we’ll meet in the gazebo on our land; if it’s rainy or very windy, we’ll use the diningroom. The only cat we take out to the gazebo is our oldest, Mingus, as he is used to it and doesn’t try to claw his way through the screens. He likes being out there and is very well behaved.

The cats do not enjoy the workshop week, as I’m gone every morning and busy every afternoon. Because of the very late spring, the outdoors is not as well groomed as it usually is in time for the workshop. Woody did fix up the gazebo and we’ve been doing some weeding, but planting our vegetable gardens late means that the ornamentals have been mostly neglected. This morning I finally got some plants I need to fill two large pots that sit on either side of the path at the head of the driveway leading up to the house. We’ve both been weeding, most along stairways and paths and he has been cutting back the wild grasses that form what lawn we bother with. They planted themselves. I’m also cutting back some of the bushes and tree branches to facilitate walking around.

I froze rhubarb this week, two quarts so far. I have also frozen enough packets of cilantro to last the year. Sp far the pumpkins look great and I had terrific germination with my butternut and other winter squashes in the lower garden, where I have three raised beds. The pole beans Woody planted have also germinated well. He has the teepees up for them already. He put dried blood down and since it finally rained for two days, he’ill have to give them more. Dried blood spread around plants keeps the vegetarian rodents away from them – mice, voles, rabbits, chipmunks. They all eat tender seedlings when they can get at them.

Dale is going to work Mondays for me through the summer this year. He’s no longer working as a lighthouse docent in Truro as he had done for many years, but he still operates the Chamber of Commerce information shack. I probably shouldn’t call it that, as it’s airconditioned. It’s like a little house beside Route 6 shortly after drivers enter our village from the north.

I’m tidying the house too. Melenie and Jay will be arriving Thursday. Melenie will sell books at the reading Thursday evening at the Wellfleet library and we’ll cook together Friday afternoon for the workshop party. I haven’t seen her in a couple of months, so I’m really looking forward.

It used to be that as soon as the workshop was over, I’d take a week off and then start at once getting ready for our joint memoir workshop at Omega. We decided during the workshop two years ago that we weren’t doing it again . We made good money through the years and enjoyed the workshop participants, but the accommodations were always minimal, the food had deteriorated – no longer any local fruit in the middle of orchard country – and while the classrooms are airconditioned, the cabins are not. We taught there for about twenty years. It’s a warm sunny weekend, pleasant and not too hot with lovely dry air.


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