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  • Ken Ilgunas

Spring at Acorn Abbey

It’s been a rough week for the writing life. I started editing my first 13 chapters (45,000 words so far), and much to my horror I found myself moaning–on every other page–“This is fucking awful!”

“This isn’t just a shitty book,” I thought to myself. “This is the shittiest book I’ve ever read. And it will be–yes, I can guarantee it–THE WORST BOOK EVER WRITTEN.”

For two days I sunk into a minor (though still gloomy) depression, hardly able to get out of bed to open up the dreaded Word document again. Add to that my financial troubles (I had to replace my serpentine belt to pass inspection, which cost me yet another $100+), and my uncertain future prospects, and it was a perfect storm for a couple days of despondency.

I just read my book over again and decided: “Well… it’s not that bad.”

Thankfully, spring has arrived at Acorn Abbey and a little hard physical labor was just what the doctor ordered.

We are growing our garden from seed. Soon, our spring crops will be taken out of doors and into the garden. We are growing cabbage, celery, Brussels sprouts, spinach, and snow peas. (Later we’ll grow our summer crop from seed including tomatoes, squash, watermelon, etc.) It is–I will posit–a universally human pleasure to watch things grow, and it certainly has been a pleasure for me.

We are in the process of revitalizing David’s soil. We’ve mixed in loads of organic fertilizer, lime, and compost before churning it all together with the tiller.

I also–and this is going to sound insane–tied almost two miles worth of fishing line above the fence (400 ft. perimeter) to keep the hawks from swooping down and attacking the chickens. Since I’ve put it up, there hasn’t been any more hawk encounters.

Here I am about to smooch my favorite chicken, Patience, who’s the closest thing I have to a girlfriend.

And here’s David’s cat, Lily, who–in the seven months I’ve lived here–has exhibited nothing but disdain for me. The last time we “played” together (and when I say “play” I mean when I try to pet her as she sprints away), she drew blood from one of my knuckles.

Next step, is planting our crops in the garden, digging an asparagus bed, and building a fence within the fence to keep the chickens out of our crops.


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