I suppose that Summer is officially over now, isn’t it. I can feel it in the air, I can smell it in the air, and I sense it in the wistful way people seem to be lulling about today.
School is starting so they say. But they don’t even need to tell me because I will always feel it in my bones, even though I don’t have to do “back to school,” anymore. One word: Hurray.
I was sorting through my photos from the Summer and I thought I’d share the snippets I captured with my phone as I traveled about. This is my Summer, through Instagram tinted lenses. It was unforgettable.
Tell me what the highlight of your summer was in the comments, pretty please. Inquiring minds want to know.
I took many train rides along the Hudson River valley in New York. I was in New York for quite a few weeks to do a little business. This was one particular afternoon.
Here was another particular afternoon in Bryant Park. I love Summers there when they play movies.
This is me sitting on the train on my way to Tulipwood from said Bryant Park. My bangs were being unruly that day and I thought I should capture the moment so that you could see them. Aren’t you glad I did? I’m not sure how life would have been if you hadn’t seen my unruly bangs. It may have caused a wrinkle in time.
This is me and my friend Erika in my grandmother’s toy shop in my hometown. We had lunch, Nicoise salads to be exact, then we put on our police helmets. It felt right.
My brother took me out on the Hudson River in his Boston Whaler and for the first time in a long time, I went under the Tappan Zee Bridge, not over it.
My dad and I harvested the honey while I was home. I’m going to show you how we did it soon.
My favorite part was taking out the honey comb.
And cutting it.
And putting it into lovely boxes.
I picked the first berries at Tulipwood — the first red raspberry went straight into my belly. And I picked black currants too and popped them in the freezer for a taste of Summer in the colder months.
I also discovered that my family’s dog Charlie has an obsession with Avocados. He was helping himself to the fruit bowl often. At least he has a good palate.
And then I went to the beach. In Sea Island, Georgia.
Georgia was in Georgia!
I ate snow crab while I was there.
And saw things like this.
And my friend and I shopped and did some other extracurriculars…
Just a little vacation fun ; )
Oh, and we celebrated! Because… remember those pictures of me on the train? That was going back and forth to meet with publishers. My next book went to auction and I sold it to a wonderful editor at a wonderful publisher and I’m excited to be working on it.
Then I waited in the airport for an eternity.
Then the new Keets (baby Guinea hens) arrived at Tulipwood. They lived in the shower for a while… my parents like to have them around because they eat ticks. And we have a lot of ticks in these parts.
What, this isn’t how you use your shower?
Also let it be known that I had the insane roasted chicken at NoMad one night when my California friend came to town. They slip fois gras and brioche under the skin. I died. Then I woke up and then I died again. And I kept eating all the while.
Then I visited my new publisher.
They have a very cool lobby. Filled with history. The history of books. My editor and I ate sushi and talked about our plan of attack.
Then I went back to Tulipwood and went down the road and sat with my Godfather and ate some pie. And we watched “Dancing with the Stars.”
By then, the first yellow raspberry of the season was ripe and so that went into my belly too.
But I also picked some more for the stash I was building in the freezer.
Then I went back to Austin and spent July 4th on a boat.
Then I watched myself on Iron Chef. I never watch myself on TV but my friends made me do it and even though I ran out of the room screaming a few times, it went pretty smoothly.
I also discovered all of the fantastically fascinating covers of romance novels. For example this one. Who decided that this was the photo to go on a book? I was mesmerized. I feel like it’s a subculture that I need to be more familiar with. Because I want to know how this guy and this baby were put together for this cover and the inner workings of the process that made this cover a reality.
Then I went to a Bastille Day party at a restaurant called Justine’s. Everyone was covered in costume and body paint, and where they weren’t covered with those things they were naked.
Then it rained as if it were time for a repeat of Noah’s Ark and all of the body paint started to melt and drip and I stood under a thin little awning next to a smoke machine that blew smoke that was so thick that my world became white. And I just stood there among the dripping people and couldn’t see a thing and just let it rain on me and loved every minute.
This scene pictured above was from the photo booth at the party. I was too busy reveling in the white smoke machine to take any other photos. But I’ll let your imagination do the job.
And then to this one. That’s what I love about Austin… so many points on the spectrum can be had in one night.
Then I decided I wanted to take a road trip. For my soul. And so I drove up to the Dallas area.
And then I kept going. And I had a diet Limeade. And maybe a chocolate milk shake with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Maybe.
And I ended up here. At this magical ranch in Oklahoma at sunset.
The Ree Drummond/Pioneer Woman ranch.
It was heavenly. So many wonderful girlfriends were there who I most wanted to see in that very moment.
And we made cheese.
But more importantly, we ate cheese.
And homemade bread.
And we smiled a lot.
And I rode horses and herded cattle and it was so good for the soul.
Then I drove to Little Rock, Arkansas and had dinner at my favorite hotel there, The Capital Hotel.
And I drank with Ernest Hemingway. (With not like).
Then I drove southeast to Lake Village, Arkansas and spent time with some wonderful friends. I drove along the banks of the Mississippi River with one of them in an ATV and we looked at all of the driftwood that he was going to do cool things with… like turn into coffee tables.
And I sat on the porch and had one of these.
And saw sunsets over the lake like this.
And saw cyprus trees at sunset like this.
Then I drove around the towns and saw strange sights. Like this man selling watermelons out of shopping cards in an abandoned lot.
Then I took a little road trip to Nashville for a meeting. Through lots of farmland. For many hours.
And I went to a restaurant where they served alligator compound butter. You heard me!
And then I visited an old friend at her house late at night after dinner and it brought back memories.
And I ran into this guy who has a great hot dog shop and I used to eat here often when I lived in Nashville.
Did you know I lived in Nashville? I did. For about 5 months when I was writing my first book “Food Heroes.”
Then I went back to Arkansas and sat on the porch again and smoked cigars and drank whiskey and best of all was gifted this new hat. What do you think? I dig it.
Then I went to Pickens Plantation with my friend who helps run it and we ate lunch. And two pieces of pie.
And they were having a record year for corn harvesting so he drove me around and showed me that.
Then we had a big barbecue. There was a political fundraiser going on for a local the folks came out.
Most importantly though, I ate a lot of ribs.
Then I drove to Canton, Texas on my way back to Austin. I went from Canton to a wrecking yard with my friend Paul Michael and the outside of the place looked like this. Cool eh? We inspected all kinds of old salvaged things.
Then we hung out at his apartment in Canton above the fairgrounds. We opened the shed door and looked down on it all. It was “First Monday” there when everyone comes to buy and sell.
Paul bought a book on Mules from a guy for a few dollars. He wanted to learn about mules he said.
He never ceases to entertain me.
When I got back to Austin, I did a bit of this and that, and one night went to a party. There was a man at the party doing some art work. A painter by night. I watched and guessed what he was going to paint… “Smokey the Bear!” I blurted out.
I think I was close.
I also went to the Bruce & Kelly show, which was fun times. I recommend it.
And now I’m here.
Where do you think it is? It could be Paris? Italy? Piermont, NY?
If you guessed option 3 you are correct. I’m back in my hometown for the long weekend, doing a little work on my book, seeing friends, family, this and that.
Share some of your favorite summer highlights with us in the comments! And cheers to a fun Fall season.