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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Harvest Season and Writing by Janice Seagraves

Harvest Season and Writing
by Janice Seagraves

Harvest Season can really messes with a writer. I know, because I live in the Central Valley of California and my house is in the middle of an almond orchard.

Just last night, I worked on my manuscript until 2:00 am and finished putting in all the changes that had been suggested by my critique partner. With sinuses acting up, I had trouble falling asleep until five.

That’s okay, I thought, I’ll just sleep in.


A low flying airplane roared overhead. It could have been a crop duster. I jerked awake. What time was it? I looked at the clock, 5:45. Crap!

Then after I finally dozed again for... oh, only a couple of hours, I woke to zoom, zoom, zoom, creak, creak, creak, Shhhhh.

Oh, yes, the harvest season has begun.

As I’m writing this the shakers have gotten closer, and I can feel the vibration right through the floor. Let me break this down for you: the zoom noise is the shaker moving to the next tree, the creak noise is the clamp tightening around the tree trunk, and shhh is the almonds hitting the ground.

The almonds will lay on the ground for up to a week, until they finish drying, and then comes the part I really dread…. the sweepers will come.

When that happens, I like to go somewhere for day. I mean anywhere. Afterwards, dust coats everything. I’m serious. See that dust cloud over there? That’s my house. I’ll need a broom to clean the dust off my furniture.

So, why do I still live here? It’s quiet…. when it’s not harvest season. And, during the spring time, the almond blooms are spectacular.

Like all my experiences the harvest season has entered into my stories.

Here’s an excerpt from my book, Matrix Crystal Hunters:

The old woman chuckled. “Yes, my grandson does have a way about him.”

“Yes, he does.” Maya looked at the older woman. “About the matrix crystals—”

“Let me ask you a question instead.” Grandmother pointed out a field filled with huge, bright red blossoms. “These are treacle flowers. We collect the nectar, then allow it to dry so we can use it as a sweetener. You enjoyed that in your tea today.”

Maya admired the flowers. “I’ve heard of treacle flowers before.”

“Have you heard of the treacle flower’s pollinator?”

She shook her head. “Uh, no, I haven’t.”

“There’s a type of lizard that pollinates the flowers. They lick up the nectar, but they receive spots of pollen right here.” She touched the middle of Maya’s forehead. “If we allow the lizards to pollinate the flowers, they’ll lap up all the nectar and we’ll have none. But if we ring off the field with sulfur crystals, they don’t come near the flowers and we get the nectar.”

Maya looked for the ditch and sulfur crystals, and soon spotted them. “How do you pollinate the flowers then?”

“We don’t. We use the seeds from another field that we allowed to be pollinated.”

Maya frowned. “How is this connected to the matrix crystals?”

“I’ll think about it.” The canny old woman turned to enter the house.


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Lynda Bailey said...

Fascinating post. Sorry for all the daytime noise, especially since it seems you're kinda a night owl.
Best of luck with your endeavors! ;)

Sandy said...

What an informative post about almond harvesting, Janice.

It's so easy to use what we know in our books. Smile! Good luck with this story, Janice.

Tina Donahue said...

Fascinating blog, Janice - enjoyed your excerpt. :)

vicki batman said...

When I was a kid, my parents took us to California on vacation. I remember going down roads, seeing the almond trees and buying them at roadside stands with fruit. So you have dust for a bit--haha see plowing for planting cotton in the spring in the Texas panhandle.

Cara Marsi said...

Very interesting about the almond harvesting, Janice. The flowers are beautiful. I enjoyed your excerpt.

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Lynda,

Yup, I am a night owl. Whooo.

Thank you.

Hi Sandy,

Thank you. The sweepers are out there now, making dust.

Hi Tina,

Thank you. :)

Hi Vicky,

I'm not sure about Texas Pan Handle, but the Central Valley is damn dusty. We have dust storms here every summer and our summers are long and hot (well over a hundred for months). If I see a dust storm coming, I shut all the doors and windows.

Hi Cara,

Thank you. :)


Rose Anderson said...

Fascinating! How fun you get to borrow story ideas from your landscape. Best luck. :)

D'Ann said...

I live on a corn farm. I understand harvest season!

Judy Baker said...

I love almonds, so the harvesting was new to me. Great post.

jean hart stewart said...

Loved the information and pictures of the almonds. Interesting post............

Melissa Keir said...

What beautiful photos. I can't imagine the noise but I do sympathize with the lack of sleep! I wish you all the best!

The Matrix books sound amazing!

Janice Seagraves said...

Hi Rose,
Thank you. I borrow ideas where ever I find them. :)

Hi D'ann,
Oh, I bet you do. Can can really be messy and dusty to harvest.

Hi Judy,
Almonds are good for you or so they say. I like them roasted and salted. I'm glad you thought the inflammation interesting. :)

Hi Jean,
Thank you. I love taking photos and posting them. :)

Hi Melissa,
Thank you so much for saying so. (((hug)))

Fran Lee said...

I just learned about almonds today! Wow! You learn something new every day here...LOL! Thanks!

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