Advanced Praise for In the Wake of the Willows


Mr. Thurber should be ashamed of himself for such a scurrilous and contemptible depiction of my dear grandfather, Mr. Toad.  –Baroness Raquel Toad, Westport Point, Massachusetts.


You are sure to see this book in the newspapers, literally,… after it has been pulped and turned into newsprint.  At this point, the best use of this book would be to wrap fish, at the risk of being cruel to the fish.  –The Tidewater Beacon


Mr. Thurber should be condemned for promoting and glorifying the scandalous sport of croquet.  This book can only serve to promote the moral decay of our community. – Rev. Cotton Mather III


Mr. Thurber: You might have imagined that your libelous depiction of my client’s family to be amusing, but my client did not.  You repeated the outrageous and discredited claim that his weasel relatives had been convicted of overdue library books, but there are no records for this baseless and defamatory claim, never mind their other heinous crimes such as mismatch socks, jay walking, split infinitives, bad breath, and appalling table manners. See you in court! –Crassus “Buddy” Weasel III, Esq.


Lies, lies, damnable lies. –Portly Otter III


Since I am a literary agent, my job is to reject manuscripts, thousands and thousands of them.  These submissions quickly become a blur, but Mr. Thurber’s manuscript was so painfully bad that it stood out from the slush pile.   It was with immense pleasure that I sent him a tart rejection letter.  Imagine my shock and horror when I found this book at a local book store.  — Noelle A. Vail, Sisyphus Literary Agency


I have never seen so many berries as this year.  Peak mulberries right now.  The wineberries peaked about a week ago.  Our most robust blueberry still had a few last weekend.   Some elderberries are coming in but the birds pick them off immediatly

Swallows on the wire

During my bike trip today I noticed the first gathering of swallows (barn swallow) on the wires.  The young barn swallows must have fledged, and I could hear constant chattering between (presumably) parents and adults.  Flying lessons and bug lessons I have to assume, although Kenneth Grahame had a different opinion (see below).

In the original Wind in the Willows, Mr. Rat has an interesting conversation with the swallows (these are British swallows which as similar to our barn swallows).  It starts like this:

`O, we’re not off yet, if that’s what you mean,’ replied the first swallow. `We’re only making plans and arranging things. Talking it over, you know–what route we’re taking this year, and where we’ll stop, and so on. That’s half the fun!’

And then the swallows talk about their wintering ground:

What sun-bathed coasts, along which the white villas glittered against the olive woods! What quiet harbours, thronged with gallant shipping bound for purple islands of wine and spice, islands set low in languorous waters!

Blueberries and Swamp Azaleas

blueberriesI was out clipping weeds in our back 40 and noticed a blueberry bush with ripe blueberries!  We have zillions of wild blueberry plants but have never harvested any blueberries; we previously got small yields of green BBs that were immediately eaten by the catbirds when they ripened.

This year was different; maybe it was the wet spring or maybe the pruning.  A couple of years ago I did a heavy pruning of the blueberry bushes in the hope of stimulating more fruiting and subsequently forgot about the bushes…until today.  We have BBs everywhere; apparently there are too many for the catbirds and waxwings to eat!  These  are small wild BBs but still quite good.

As an added bonus, the swamp azaleas were adding their exquisite scent to the air as we picked.

The picking was rather romantic since one of first dates was a blueberry picking expedition some 21 years ago.  Today has turned into a delightful day.

The book has been split and trimmed

The book has been split into a trimmed edition and an extended edition.  The size of the trimmed edition has gone from about 68K words down to 47K.  I removed the non-essential nature observations and the fishing activities in the trimmed edition; this edition will be the one I market.  The extended edition will be printed in a very limited quantities.