Friday, June 29, 2012


by Willow Vanderling from Threaded for Trouble, the second in the Threadville Mystery Series

“Stop!” Haylee ordered. “I want some of those flowers.” A farm stand featured large cans overflowing with orange cut flowers.

I parked my car. Haylee and I clambered out. . Storybook white clouds sailed in a blue sky, and the breeze was warm with none of the humidity that often drifts in from Lake Erie.

 “Beautiful day,” I commented to a man in denim overalls and a baseball cap.

With a grunt, the man strode toward the farmhouse. A beagle puppy bounced beside him. Each time the puppy’s paws hit the ground, they stirred up puffs of dust.

I could barely see the woman inside the farm stand. Shaded by the roof, only her eyes and the top of her head peeked over the tall flowers. A frown wrinkled the skin between her eyebrows. “You people might think it’s a nice day, but if your livelihood depended on rain like ours does, you wouldn’t think it was so nice. A long, soaking rainy week, now that would be good weather.”

“Your corn looks good,” I managed. Didn’t old timey farmers like to say that corn should be knee-high by the fourth of July? That was a few days away, and the corn in the field beside us was nearly hip-high. “I’ve never seen it grow so fast.” I smiled, probably showing too many teeth in my attempt to appear encouraging and enthusiastic.

 Haylee added, “There was a thunderstorm last night.”

The woman threw us a scornful look. “Yeah, well, that’s great, but if we don’t get some meaningful rain that doesn’t just run off the top of our sandy fields, the corn and all our other crops will shrivel to nothing. You mark my words.”

“Your flowers are beautiful,” Haylee murmured. “I’d like two bunches. What are they?”

Photo © Imagaman
The woman’s laugh was dryer than her fields. “Daylilies. Wild. They just grow here, year after year, along the side of the road in the dust, come rain and come shine. Who’d have ever thought they could be our main crop?”

I bought two bunches of daylilies, too. Hoping the woman was exaggerating, we climbed back into the car.

Driving off slowly so I wouldn't spray dust, I asked Haylee, “Is that why we’ve hardly seen any mosquitoes this June?”

“I think so.” She laughed. “Is that the silver lining to this dry, dry cloud?”

 I moaned, “Now I wish it would rain.” But those white puffy clouds in that pure blue sky could have been put there by an artist. It wasn’t going to rain any time soon.

Have you also been experiencing a dry spring and a mosquito-free June? Do you like it, or do you worry about crops and gardens?

You can find out how Willow and Haylee fare later on, in August, in THREADED FOR TROUBLE, the second book in the Threadville Mystery series.

DIRE THREADS, the first in the series, was nominated for both an Agatha Award for Best First novel and for the Bloody Words Light Mystery Award (the Bony Blithe.)

You can order DIRE THREADS and THREADED FOR TROUBLE from any bookstore or from these booksellers.

Visit Janet at facebook and twitter and check here again for information about the third Threadville Mystery, due in June, 2013.


  1. I don't know about anyone else, but I do love a rainy day! I like it pouring down outside while I enjoy a good book and a strong cup of tea. And my garden could use a good soaking about now!!

    1. I'm the same way, Victoria. I hear it's going to rain, and I immediately think it's perfect for a pot of tea and a book. Or for some designing, sewing, and machine embroidery...

  2. We seem to be getting a good mix of hot, humid days and rain (often overnight, which is ideal). However, the hot days are winning out in the lawn situation. It's a patchwork yellow and pale green right now.

  3. The shady parts of my lawn are still green, but the sunny spots seem to burn in only one day of this hot sun. The soil here on the Lake Erie shore is very sandy, so last night's rain didn't help much, and neither does watering.

  4. Willow, we always worry about crops and gardens in Ohio. And sometimes cops and robbers. LOL.

    Charlotte Bessette, simply being silly today.