I can't remember when we made it an annual thing. Sometime in the past nine years, since we found ourselves in our 1899 Victorian with a large yard and plenty of rooms to move through. Every year, for much of the past decade, with the exception of Covid in 2020, we have hosted our Annual Garden Party and Potluck.
Each year there is more to discover, and enjoy, as we expand on the gardens and continue repairs in the house.
Last year, both sections of the pond were newly installed. The very next day we discovered a huge leak in the lower pond, and this, and the subsequent "fixes" that didn't fix squat, meant that the lower level remained empty of water this year. However, last year, with a brand new pond liner and zero algae, it made for some great swimming fun for the kids.
This year, our brand-new gazebo (a kit assembled by my husband and teen), was a huge draw. The Airstream was as well.
I love hosting these annual get-togethers. As a high-functioning introvert, hosting a party is somehow far easier than attending a party somewhere else. I do try and get out, though, and overcome my reticence. It's just really hard. Hosting one, especially after 2+ years of short-term rental hosting, feels natural and easy. It's an extension of the Cottages (Cottage West and the Hedy Lamarr Airstream) in a sense. Smile. Feed people. Give them something to drink. Share stories and laugh. Good company, good friends. It just... works.
We had a couple of rough spots. We desperately needed help from some stronger adults to get the cupola roof up on the gazebo. After positioning the ladders in place and everyone lifting in unison, a metal plate flew off and hit a friend of mine right above the eye. It scared the heck out of me and I was so worried she would need stitches! Thankfully, it was an abrasion that quickly stopped bleeding. Other than that, some of the littles decided that the pond was a good place to throw empty beer bottles and cans (bad children!). We discovered a small stash of unopened soda bottles and cans stashed in bushes by them as well (apparently they are survivalists in training) and I did have to send my six-year-old inside to turn around her swimming suit (on backwards and stuffed full of cloths so that she had one massive rectangular shaped boob).
I'm beginning to think that if there isn't some blood spilled, or minor injury of some kind, it isn't a proper party at all. The fish in the pond are still alive this year, though, and that's an improvement over last year's debacle which included the littles draining the pond when the adults turned their backs.
Last night, as things began to wind down, I was hanging out with three women, all readers, which always makes me happy. One I had never met, and after showing them our newly refinished floors upstairs, we settled into the pool hall and I asked her, "So what do you read?"
She hesitated, but only for a moment. "Romance."
I could work with that! "Okay, check this out." I handed her a hardcover version of my romantic thriller, Hired Gun and then a few minutes later I trotted out the paperback versions of both Hired Gun and Smoke and Steel, which have the updated covers (naked man chest!) on them.
I gave a copy of Winter's Child to my friend. She likes horror, but also reads thrillers and I hope she enjoys it. She has promised to pass it on to her mother-in-law after she is finished.
It was the perfect end to a spectacular day filled with friends, good food, and lots of laughs.
As usual, I forgot to take any pictures. So instead, you get pictures of my yard from the day after. It is a cool, rainy day and the garden is full of blooms and new growth. Our 500+ strawberries are doing fantastic and I look forward to them growing and expanding in the years to come.
Did You Know?
Did you know that you can get all of my books in large print versions? You can find them here on Amazon...
LARGE PRINT Paperbacks on Amazon:
Just click on the book title and it will take you directly to that sales page on Amazon. Also, if you would like to see my books at your favorite local library, talk to your librarian! Hardcover versions of all of my books, as well as hardcover large print versions, are listed on Ingram Spark, which is where bookstores and libraries go to request books! And if you love the convenience of ebooks, well, heck, you can find them everywhere - through Nook, on Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords, and even the library services should have them (Overdrive, Hoopla, and Bibliotheca). Help others to see my books by going to your library or bookstore and requesting they stock the books!
My goal is to make it easy for you to find my books. Let me know if there are places I'm missing out on and I will do my best to make it happen.
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