Writing Evil Twin Betsy's diary


Now with farm progress thread!

Being my evil twin, Betsy is responsible for playing the way I wouldn't normally play. She's my Joja run farmer. She's also responsible for actually learning to mine, unlike my first farmer who has never actually set foot in Skull Cavern.
And, most importantly, she's the one marrying all but four of the bachelors and bachelorettes, so I can see everyone's cutscenes. (I'll be marrying those remaining four on other farms.) I started thinking about the emotional arc of marrying all those people... so here it is, Evil Twin Betsy's soap opera, er, diary.
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26 Summer

Robin got done with the house upgrade, and wow, what used to feel snug now feels big and empty. I've got a bed, a random chair that I won somehow, the kotatsu-type table that granddad left behind that warms my heart, aaaand... upstairs there's a crib and two twin beds. That is, the apparently mandatory nursery is better furnished than the entire rest of the house, especially now that I hauled that stuffed rabbit up there.

I wasn't kidding when I told Penny I hadn't thought about having kids. But the village sure seems to think I'm having kids. Or at least Robin does.

I've had my head down so long figuring out how this farming thing works and getting all the buildings and accessory buildings and things-animals-need in place and slaughtering monsters before they slaughter me, I haven't even noticed how lonely I feel. Maybe it's time to start thinking about a social life again.

23 Fall

Marriage bouquet? Marriage bouquet? I just want to date. And how did Pierre know what I was thinking? I'm guessing Abby noticed something at the saloon and said something. Small-town culture gets to me sometimes.

But when in mini-Rome, do as the mini-Romans. And since I apparently don't have any privacy anyway, I just gave Shane the bouquet right there in the saloon. He was awfully terse about it but it sure beats "Go away, don't you have work to do?"

3 Winter

I really wasn't planning to go to Emily's Clothing Therapy thing but then I thought about chatting with her in the bar, and of course she would say, "So when can you come?" with that brilliant smile and the absolutely unquestioned conviction that it will be delightful. Clearly the path of least resistance was to go.


First off, Abby's clearly serious about that combat thing. I've got to talk to Emily about how she got that outfit together. Any little advantage I can get in Skull Cavern would be great, even if it's just some extra self-confidence.

And Shane! Wowza. Who knew he had swagger? There's more to that boy than meets the eye. And I'm just in position to find out what it is.

I wonder if he'd let me borrow that outfit?

6 Winter

It's great to see Shane with some self-confidence! When he sets his mind to it he can be so creative. I went right out and bought one of those blue chickens. I bet it'll look great with the void chickens. I might sell the white chicken, it's looking kind of bland next to the others.

Am I a good influence? Is that even possible? ME?

13 Winter

It's been forever since anyone asked me out on a date. Shane and I have just been hanging out at the saloon, mostly, and I just about fell over when he showed up on my doorstep.

We were two peas in a pod in our grungy jackets and worn-out shirts. Nobody can ever accuse either of us of being romantics. But it was a lot of fun being back in the hustle and bustle of the city. I haven't missed it—I get plenty of hustle and bustle to handle with my sword, underground—but it was nice to be out on the town.

Shane was fun, didn't say much as usual, but actions speak louder than words!

I gotta wonder about how he's handling those jitters of his, though. He's been doing so well, I hope he's not slipping back.

14 Winter

Where the [email protected]#$! is a marriage pendant when you need one? Can I seriously not get married in winter?

Oh, well, it's easy to keep Shane happy. A pizza and he couldn't be more pleased. I like a man with simple tastes.

And maybe it's just as well. Winter is maybe not a good omen for marriage? Plus the house is still just as bare and echo-y as ever, except for the nursery. I'll have some time to fix it up, make it a real home.

17 Winter

I caught a midnight squid and a spookfish on the deep-sea fishing tour, and decided the upstairs room needs an aquarium. It's pretty cool seeing them swim around. I put some seaweed in there and I'll add some coral too, or maybe an urchin.

Last year I didn't like any of Lupini's paintings, but this year somehow I just really liked the clouds painting, all that Joja-mart blue, and there were banners that matched at another shop. I think they'll go with the aquarium. Look at me thinking like a decorator!

And then the next night I got the "1000 years later" painting. It's how I feel about mining, creepy and cool all at once.

Creepy is maybe not the right thing for Shane, though. I think I'll keep it in storage for now. Don't want to startle him now that things are going well.


18 Winter
I got pummeled again in Skull Cavern. This time Harvey wanted to give me a checkup and said something about my heart racing. I blew up. You try escaping 3 serpents and a mummy only to find a serpent and a big slime waiting for you and not get your heart pounding, Mr. Keep Your Sunscreen On At All Times Doctor!

He backed off and I calmed down and then I told him my concerns about Shane. He said, "It's important not to think about it as backsliding. It's relapse. He has an illness, really two, and both of them need to be managed and can get worse from time to time."


Then he said, "I hear there's a marriage bouquet. You're going to need to think about how you're going to deal with this long term." He gave me some suggestions on how to be supportive, and also make sure I had support.

Support. This is a novel idea. I clawed my way up through the ranks of Joja with zero mentoring, and getting this farm going has been one long solitary slog. But lately as I'm getting to know people, Evelyn's sending me cookies, and George is sending me rocks, which seems curmudgeonly, but I can always use them, and everyone and her brother is sending me recipes for fried calamari and ice cream and whatnot. I'm starting to feel like the village is not only all up in my business, but also like they have my back.

20 Winter
I managed to remember Evelyn's birthday and found that old note from George asking him to bring a hot pepper. So I did, and he told me about how he ended up in the wheelchair. I didn't know he was a miner. I'll have to see if I can get him to tell me some stories. I might learn something from the old grouch.

Also makes me think Harvey might actually be right to tell me to be more careful in the mines.

21 Winter
So... looks like Abigail has a crush on me? And is really embarrassed about it, too.

So how do I feel about that? Way too old, really. There must be 8 or 10 years' difference between us, and that's a lot when one of you has never left home. Or, as far as I can tell, held a job. And I don't feel like I really know her. I see her in the saloon a lot, but that's just the tip of her iceberg.

But I'm flattered.

And it occurs to me that younger ET Betsy, about the time I figured out that I liked girls as well as guys, would have wanted her for a best friend, maybe more.

Oh well. Maybe in some alternate universe.


23 Winter
Abigail showed up crazy early this morning to apologize, wholly unnecessarily and very awkwardly. She's terse, but she gets the job done. I like that.

It's Leah's birthday, so I brought her a bottle of wine at the Saloon. I meant to ask Shane if he wanted to join us, but when I tried to give him a pizza my hand slipped and I accidentally gave him a piece of coal. He got really testy so I left him to his drink. Whatever it was.

Turns out Leah's ex Kel is my ex Kelly. "Worst. Girlfriend. Ever," I said, and Leah snorted so hard I was afraid we'd have wine all over the saloon.

"True that," she said.

"Bossy..." I said.



"To exes we have gotten out from under!" she said, and we downed our glasses.

"How'd you meet her?" I asked.

"I was in a multi-artist show, and she was there with a date who was looking at the art while Kel was hanging out with the wine and cheese... the date ended up going home by herself. Which should have told me something. Did you meet at Joja?" she asked.

"No, she got me on at Joja. We met through a friend who was on the roller derby team with her. Which should have told me something. But the sparring was fun at first."

"Weren't you worried about things being sticky with the two of you at Joja?" Leah asked.

"I tend to act first, worry later, if I worry at all. But I was in logistics, we never crossed paths at work."

"She kept trying to get me into the graphics design department there but with her so high up in marketing I felt like she would be on top of me all the time," Leah said.

"Likely," I said. "How's the art going?"

"Fabulous!" she said. "I love the snowfall. I feel like I notice so much more here... the way the sound of the river changes in winter, the shapes the snow makes in the drifts and on the trees, the smell of the cold. My eye catches on things and then I think of another painting or sculpture. I'm doing a lot of little ones, they're selling pretty well."

"I guess I'm noticing things differently here too..." I say. "I more often dated women in the city, but here it's mostly men who are catching my eye."

"What do you think that's about?" she says.

I shrug. "Biological clock? Ancestral ghosts wafting over my bed at night saying, 'Procreate, child?' Being surrounded by all that woodsy scent reminds me of aftershave? Although it's not just men who strike me different. I never would have given Penny a second look in the city, but now..."

Leah arches an eyebrow. "Do tell."

"Well..." Am I blushing? "She's so determined, and making so much out of so little. I can tell she really cares about those kids. Underneath that buttoned-up sweater I think there's someone really passionate. But around her I feel like I'm a bull and she's a china shop, so I just appreciate her from a safe distance. I guess in the city, there are so many people you almost have to judge them by their surface, but here with so few neighbors you really get to see who people are underneath."

"And Shane?" she asks.

"I probably wouldn't even have been in the same bar with him in the city, much less really looked at him. But under that get-away-from me vibe there's a lot there. Good and bad. I like the intensity."

"After Kel I've had enough intensity for a good long time," Leah says. "Being away from her I get to spend time with my own intensity. And that means more art! And hey, a gallery owner got in touch with me about representing me, and he can reach wealthier clients than I can through the website. If it weren't for this K person, I wouldn't be selling any of the bigger stuff."

"Congratulations! To moving on up!" I say, and we empty our glasses again.

I stagger home happily. Being with Leah feels like pulling on a pair of old worn-in jeans, super-comfortable even when they don't quite fit right any more. I think she feels the same about me. We're about the same age, we've both lived in the city, we both date women, it's easy talking with her. I definitely would have dated her back in the day, especially when I first moved to the city. But I know how it would have ended, and I'm happier with the solid friendship we've built.

One thing I didn't tell her, I left Kelly because I felt we were too much alike. Stubborn, headed straight for whatever we want no matter who's in the way, and ready to butt heads at a moment's notice.

25 Winter
Oddities about the Feast of the Winter Star:
  1. Why do I always like hearing Willy tell the tale of the Winter Star?
  2. Why is Gus the chef so enthused about oranges?
  3. Whatever possessed Elliott to give me a poppyseed muffin? I gotta say, though, if he baked it he really knows what he's doing. I want to get to be better friends with him and see if I can get him to cook me dinner.
28 Winter
Well, the farm is about as buttoned up as I can get it before Spring, um, springs. Before bed I stood at the top of the stairs in front of the house and took a look around at the farm in the moonlight and the last of the snow.

Over the winter I got one of those super-cheap cabins for a workshop; the shed is full of kegs and preserve jars; barn and coop and house are repainted; paths make sense; I am pretty pleased with my tea shrub hedgerow between the workshop area and the barn. Grass starter is down, so pretty in the frost.

When I first got here I just needed a project to get away from all the stuff that wasn't working. But I've really come to love this crazy up-and-down farm and even feel... comfortable?

Assuming Shane says yes, I wonder what it'll be like sharing this place with someone else?


1 Spring Y3
I thought I was kidding about ancestral ghosts! But there was Grandpa, wafting over my bed. Dickens was right, ghosts do have their own light breeze.

He reminded me of that last visit when I was a little girl, before things fell apart between him and Dad. I got all emotional. I missed him so much in the years after that.

And then he said he was proud of me! That meant a lot. He was never an easy guy to please—easier for me than Dad, but mostly that meant he wasn't actually hard on me. I'm surprised—after 2 years I'm a better farmer than he is? That would explain why the place was such a mess when I got here, I guess. I always did think of him as more a miner than a farmer. Trying to follow in his footsteps...

Then he said he could rest, which I guess means he's not coming back. I'm sad about that. I wish I had some way to remember him and this night.

All that time at Joja, busting my butt and wishing someone would tell me I did a good job, and the only way it happens is me leaving. I did their community development form here so I'd get some kind of recognition from them, but Grandpa's ghost meant a lot more than that cola machine.

And then it was time to rush around and get things planted. I was a little rattled, but I got all the strawberries planted and watered and fertilized before I was completely exhausted, all nice and neat.

Grandpa didn't say a thing about procreation.

2 Spring
[email protected]#$! crows! Note to self: get the scarecrows in the ground BEFORE you plant expensive seeds. Fortunately I had a couple seeds left over. And I don't think I'll have to move the scarecrows again.

Meanwhile the ancient fruit planting in the greenhouse is almost done. Another week or so and I'll be able to start selling it. Still need one more iridium sprinkler, though, and I'm out of iridium and too distracted to mine.

I got my remembrance! I went over to Grandpa's shrine to pay my respects now that planting is done, and there was this crazy statue, like a big version of one of those good-luck cats you see at restaurants. I remember he used to like them. I stuck it by the shed.

3 Spring
Lewis told me how I could get the mermaid pendant during the winter, but of course I'd sold my last bottle of truffle oil by then (what is it with the truffle oil?? I'll have to hang onto a bottle.) Well, now I've got truffle oil, it hasn't rained, and I'm impatient. Rain totem, here we come.

4 Spring
MARRIAGE PENDANT ACCEPTED! I wanted to get it to Shane before he went to work, but wow, he leaves early. So I accepted my lot and gave it to him right there in public at the saloon. Blocking everyone's view in case I was reading him wrong.

And there was that quiet smile that just... gets me. It's like Grandpa saying he's proud of me, that feeling that I made a difference. It means so much more than a huge grin would on someone else, because it's so rare.

Aaand then he said he couldn't believe it, that it must be a prank. I just managed not to blow up at him.

But I had a lengthy debrief with Leah. That helped.

Also gave Harvey a coffee. I really appreciate his good counsel. It feels strange buying it when I have so much at home, but Gus's is better—I sell him my best beans, so it should be.

Shane says he's making all the arrangements. That's a little terrifying, but better him than me. I feel like a total ditz, can't concentrate on anything.

6 Spring
Wow, that sewing machine from Emily was well-timed. I've been really wondering what I'm going to wear for the ceremony.

I went over to consult with her and ask her what she thinks of the tiara—celebratory? too much? and to see about dying my pants.

She was doing a little ceremony with a bunch of the women and those gems I gave her. I'm with Abigail, vibing with a rock is not going to happen, but those deep breathing instructions were exactly what I needed to calm down a bit. I am never going to understand Emily, but she keeps surprising me with how helpful she is.

Emily and I ended up settling on simple black pants, white collared shirt, and accessorizing so I don't just look like an upscale waiter. Yes to the tiara, and the crystal shoes tied it all together. I feel about as elegant as I'm ever going to get.

Before I went over there I went to Marnie's to buy a blue chicken as a kind of wedding present to Shane. I sold off the white chickens, it's going to be two void and two blue. He was there fixing his breakfast and kissed me. It felt fantastic.

Then he said, hesitantly, that he was wondering if he could quit his job and earn his keep looking after the chickens. Of course I said yes. It's not like he even needs to earn anything. I have us both covered. Another feeling I never had in the city, that I could support not only me but someone else.

I spent my entire evening fussing over clothes and getting some comfy chairs in the living room and the upstairs sitting room, and some rugs.

Deep breathing, deep breathing. I'm as ready as I'll ever be.


7 Spring Y3
They sure do marriage early here. It's a good thing I had my outfit ready. Shane did a great job with the arrangements. He was looking pretty shell-shocked, but he cleans up well.

The entire town was there. Not a soul slept in or went eh, I'll just tend my parsnips. Even Pam roused herself at daybreak. Leah was looking ironic, Elliott was oddly wistful, and Marnie was just ecstatic. I guess she's ready to get Shane out of the house. Abigail was staring so fixedly off to my left that I turned to see what she was looking at, but I couldn't see a thing.

And then there we were, Shane and I, staring at each other on my front porch. One quick embrace and then I went in to change into farmer clothes and he went to put up his portable chicken coop for Charlie. Taking refuge in the familiar, both of us.

8 Spring
That was fun! Best night I've had in a long time. Shane's funny and sweet and attentive. To quote Ella Fitzgerald, "Horizontally speaking, he's at his very best."

And he let me try out his outfit from Clothes Therapy! In return I handed him my tiara. He looked very princely. Then we rummaged through the entire dresser, starting with the hat collection. I haven't laughed so much since... since I started at Joja, really. Maybe I could get used to this marriage business.

13 Spring
This morning the Junimos were harvesting and I just stood there for a while watching them. Every now and then one would jump up, just for the joy of jumping, like lambs in the spring.

I think contentment is the word for what I'm feeling. It's been a good week. I got the second Junimo hut, for one thing. And the day after I got all my ancient fruit spaces planted, a few more fruit ripened on the oldest plants. So now I'm in the ancient fruit business.

I even went to Skull Cavern and made it out on my own two feet.

Shane seems pretty happy too, a little aimless perhaps, drifting around the house, but he deserves a break. He wasn't in the kitchen this morning, and I had an awful moment of what-if, but I found him at his chicken coop. He says even Charlie's happy. I never expected Shane to be the early-to-bed, early-to-rise sort, but he is, so I'm actually getting to bed at a decent hour instead of driving myself to exhaustion. And feeling this unfamiliar relaxed feeling.

The one tiny fly in the ointment? Abigail is still beating me at the egg hunt.


15 Spring Y3
Shane asked about having children last night. My immediate response was "I'M NOT READY." He seemed to take it OK. I guess with having Jas around all the time, and being a father figure for her, he knows what he'd be in for as a parent. He is really sweet with her and I can see him as a father, when he's at his best. It's the first time I've thought of Shane as more mature than me in some ways.

16 Spring
It was a perfect luck day so I went to Skull Cavern even though I knew I was distracted. Couldn't place a staircase to save my life so of course I got beat up. Harvey patched me up and it was still early in the day so instead of heeding Harvey's advice I went down into the mines and bashed dust sprites. It was fun. I guess mining's in my blood, which really makes me wonder what I'd be like as a parent. I like the risk and the gamble of it and those aren't good attitudes when you've got small children. I'm really enjoying running the farm and mining and I guess I'm just not ready yet to settle down and put a lot of energy into raising a kid.

18 Spring
A couple of lazy days, wandering around town, picking salmon berries here and there. I asked Robin to upgrade the shed. Shane gave me pepper poppers one day and a stardrop the next! Being married is feeling pretty great. So is actually being friends with so many people in town. I don't think I've ever had so many people be happy to see me in my life. Even Alex is acting like a real human being around me instead of pretending to be Golden Boy Jock.

20 Spring
Shane's birthday was bittersweet. It started out great. He was hanging out with Charlie in the little coop, and I gave him a Golden Pumpkin for his birthday. He was pretty pleased.

And then my new dino, Danaerys, hatched! It was looking like a terrific morning until I told Shane about it, wanting to share my happiness, and he said he hates dinosaurs!

"But chickens came from dinosaurs! They practically are dinosaurs!" I said.

"No they're not, they're fluffy!" he said, and showed me the scrapes on his leg. I feel bad for not noticing them before.

"I guess the dinosaurs are kind of rough," I said.

"Yeah, they rub against me and those spikes on their back—youch! It's like they want to hurt me."

"No they don't!" I said. "They just like how warm you are." I love how they're like little green heatseeking missiles, always leaning against my legs. I hatched my dino egg because I was curious. I didn't expect them to be affectionate, and now they're my favorite of all the animals on the farm. I'm always wearing my mining boots and they're practically bullet proof, so those spikes just make things more interesting.

"Well, they're tearing me up," he said. "It's not fun going into the coop. I was really looking forward to raising chickens with you and every time I go in there I get more scar tissue."

That really got to me. I want him to enjoy our coop. I know how much those chickens mean to him. He bred all the blue chicks.

And then to really twist the knife, I went into town to pick up my iridium axe, and passed the saloon. I stopped to say hi to Marnie and Jas and we all saw Shane coming out of the saloon, saying something about having quite a session and getting all sweaty. Then he burped. Marnie was pretty upset. I picked up the axe and got more and more glum on the way home.

I want to think it was something other than drinking. He mentioned he wants to get good at Junimo Kart. But... I remember trying to convince myself things were OK with Kel when they weren't and this has the same shaky feeling.

I know I should confront him and not have this between us but we just had a fight and I don't want another one.
And now I need to figure out what to do about the dinosaurs.


Spring 21
Dude says he's going to stay home and sweep and the next thing I know I see him coming out of the saloon! This isn't looking good.

And the mud tracks are still all over his rug.

Spring 22
Okay... Shane and I kind of had another fight, but it wasn't bad. And it looks like I was worried over... not nothing, exactly, but he's OK. I don't feel like he has the sobriety thing totally figured out, but he's right, he's healthier.

I gave him some pizza right before bed time and we had a good time making up. Plus I moved the Joja Coke machine into his room. It's nice to have a use for it.

Spring 23
I asked Shane if he wanted to borrow a pair of my spare boots when he goes into the coop to protect him from the dinos. He didn't seem to like the idea but he tried them on anyway. He says they rub in the exact same place his Joja work boots did. "Your tundra boots, though, they look comfy," he says, looking impish.

"They don't come up high enough."

"C'mon, they have fur! You get to have all the fun." he says. So I get out the tundra boots.

We admire the effect. "You look so mature in these...like a grandpa in your slippers," I say.

"Now I want to try those crystal shoes."

"If you think the firewalker boots are bad, you don't want to try heels," I tell him. "I was so relieved that Pelican Town goes in for short-and-sweet weddings."

His inner fashionista (fashionisto?) wins out. He tries them on. He's a wobbly tower over me. We're both laughing like crazy.

He says he'll dance at the flower dance with me. "In the crystal shoes?" I ask.

"I love my ankles too much to do that," he says. "Almost as much as I love you."

Spring 24
Dancing in the flower dance is the corniest thing ever, and I don't even come close to knowing the moves--did they all learn them in school? And yet it is weirdly satisfying dancing with my hubby in front of the whole town. He doesn't really know the steps either and we end up doing the hokey-pokey with each other, grinning. Haley glares at us, Abby is stifling laughter, and Emily is serenely pleased as always.

It dawns on me that I could have a whole separate coop for the chickens. But where would I shoehorn it in?

Spring 25
I visit Harvey, cup o' coffee for him in hand, to discuss the situation.

"I mean, should the farm really be therapy for him?" I ask.

Harvey pauses. "You're the only one who can answer that. Well, and maybe Shane."

"There's the expense. And figuring out where to put it. I just wish I felt more sure."

"There isn't a way to be sure. You don't know if adding another coop will make him happy or not." Harvey pauses. "You have to think about how you're going to deal if it doesn't work. And, you know, talk to him first. See if he thinks it would help. Don’t just make decisions for him."

Finally he says, "You can't go on this journey for him. You need to think about what will work for you regardless."

A spare coop would make a lot of logistical problems. Harvey's right, I need to talk to Shane.

I'm still thinking it over when Shane and I meet at the new movie theater for the first ever movie in Pelican Town. It puts the coop expense into perspective, that is, the coop is nothing compared to what I dropped on getting this done.

He takes one look at the poster and starts complaining. The truth is The Brave Little Sapling wouldn't have been my choice either, but he really hates it. At least we enjoyed the popcorn...

Spring 27
I'm getting the extra coop.

I don't understand why the movie upset Shane so much, but Friday night he wasn't in bed when I finally got home. I kept waking up, he kept not being there, and he still wasn't there at sunrise. I was freaking out. I finally found him with Charlie, decent mood apparently restored.

I still haven't answered Harvey's question about what I'll do if it doesn't work out but at least I'll know I tried. And Shane says, yeah, caring for the chickens will actually be soothing if he doesn't have to deal with the dinosaurs.

So I cut down the maple grove on the hill south of the house—I can still use the maples by Grandpa's shrine if I need syrup—and talked to Robin about it today.

After all that he asked again if I wanted children and I thought "I'm not even sure I can take care of you."


8 Summer Y3
Last week was really quiet. I did get the other coop and now it looks like there are two coops Shane's not going into—that or the chickens are insanely prolific, because there are always eggs there.

I can kind of feel myself pulling away. I totally forgot Jas's birthday, but Shane didn't seem at all concerned. It's like he's not totally here. Like all the hereness comes from me. And he was crazy late getting home last night. He said he was going out, I shouldn't mind, but I do.

9 Summer
Demetrius wanted someone to cull tilapia, so today I went fishing for a change of pace.

I saw Leah sketching on the beach and we started chatting and the next thing I knew all my concern about Shane started spilling out. When I said I wasn't sure I could take care of him she said, "Wait. When you're thinking of marrying someone, shouldn't you think about how they're taking care of themself?"

"I was thinking about that all the time," I said. "At least once we started getting close. Because I was worried about him."

"Right, and marriage doesn't make that stop," Leah mused.

"No, every time he comes home late I start thinking... all kinds of things. Like he's not home because he went over a cliff. The other day he said something about becoming fertilizer when he dies."

"Well, honestly, I'd rather be fertilizer than be stuck in a box for all eternity..." Leah said.

"Yeah, but I'm not worried about you flinging yourself anywhere dangerous!"

"Do you think he's really going to do that?"

"I don't know! That's the problem. I feel like I rushed into this. I felt like I was good for him, like he was getting better, like I had a part in that, and it was great. I never felt I could have that effect on someone. But now I feel...way too much responsibility."

"Right, we all need a helping hand sometimes, we all can use someone to fill in the gaps a bit, but it's like the difference between...well, I don't know, like us now. Like I can help you talk through this but I can't be the one deciding if you stay or not. I can be a helping hand but I can't make your marriage work. And you can be a helping hand to him but you can't make his life work. Whoa, is that...wisdom coming out of my mouth? I've never thought this through before. I don't know if you're getting anything out of this conversation, but I sure am."

By then it was too late for tilapia, but I did feel better talking with her about it. And I caught lots of tuna instead.

10 Summer
Sooo much tilapia. Not quite as much as Demetrius wants, though.

One thing about fishing, it gives you time to think. Maybe that's why I haven't been doing much of it lately. Maybe that's why I don't really like fishing. All that...thinking.

12 Summer
I thought we'd have a nice night after the luau and then, today, we'd talk. In the end I got busy moving kegs around for the first big Ancient Fruit vintage and stumbled into bed at 2, kegs moved but still not stocked. Today was almost the same. I guess I can't blame him for getting home late.

Am I avoiding something?


Is he avoiding something?


13 Summer
A stormy day after a dry spring. Maybe that's symbolic.

The chickens didn't have any feed and were really grouchy. So... they are not insanely prolific.

And then Shane said "I wonder how Jas and Marnie are doing," and I... lost it.

Not the way I thought I would. I thought I'd be all furious and we'd have a huge fight, but no. I said, "I think... you should go back and stay with them. And help them out." I did not say "since you're not helping much here," but it was right there, itching to get out the gate.

"What?" he said.

"I think...we should get a divorce."

"But things are working! I'm really happy here!"

"Are you?" I said. "Because... it's really hard to tell."

"What, I'm supposed to be dancing and singing or something? That's what Emily's for!"

"No, just..." and I want to get onto the train ride about whether or not he's happy but then I realize I need to get to the point. "I know you don't want me to worry about you but I do. Always. I love you, your smile gets me like the sun coming up over the edge of the world in the morning, but... life is harder for me now. Emotionally. And with the new coop the farm is harder too. And I knew there'd be an adjustment but...I spent a lot of time on the dock this week looking at the horizon and trying to see what's over it, but I don't see a future in which this marriage doesn't make my life more difficult."

"Oh," he says. He looks stunned. "I guess I should pack...?"

I nodded. "I'll give you some space," I said. "And take care of the paperwork."

After I stopped at Lewis's to fill out the forms, I went to the beach again. Where Seb was on the dock and was weirdly nice to me, as if he knew I needed some kind of human comfort.

And I stopped in to say hi to Elliott and found him playing the piano. Who knows whether he can really write, but he's definitely musical.

14 Summer
When I got home last night Shane was still there, and he was all packed. "Lewis is coming tomorrow morning to help you with your stuff," I said.

"I didn't want to go down to Marnie's without saying goodbye," he said.

"Yeah," I said. "I'm glad you're still here."

It was a long, bittersweet goodbye. In keeping with our short, bittersweet marriage.

But in the morning he was gone, along with his stuff—quietest move ever, or else Lewis had magical help. Maybe the divorce fee covers the Rasmodius Post-Divorce Special. Somehow they even took away Charlie's coop without waking me up.

And it was still raining. The Junimos were in their hut so I got to harvest my starfruit by myself.

I wanted company, and because I apparently divorced my own brain too, I went to the saloon. And got there right before Shane walked in. He was furious. And then he was right back in his corner.

So much for that bittersweet goodbye. I guess we're down to bitter.

On the way home I saw Kent standing by the tree in his front yard, in the dark, in the rain. He said, "Now that I'm home I don't know what to do with myself."

Tell me about it, I thought as I slogged...home. If that's what to call it. It feels strange being here by myself again. It should feel familiar after two years being alone here, but it feels like a whole new kind of alone.

Lewis saw the whole thing between me and Shane at the pub. He called me over and said, "We're all worried about him. I understand you have the Dark Talisman. It's time to use it."

I don't see what the Dark Talisman has to do with Shane. But if the worry's spreading, I guess I have to find out.
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15 Summer Y3
A stormy day. The day of cleaning up the mess of my former marriage, starting with moving the chickens back into the big coop and scything out a spot for the little coop down by the quarry. There's mysteriously something in the incubator in the big coop, and now I don't have room for whatever is in there.

I actually kind of liked having the chickens to themselves. It's nothing but feathers and fluff, contented clucking and the hum of the mayo makers. But I don't like how cramped the hilltop is nor the lack of autofeeder with all the rain we've been getting.

So I went to Robin's to get the coop moved. The whole family was there and it was nice to chat about everyday things before I sucked it up and went to find out what Lewis meant about the dark talisman.

I spent some time snooping before I did the deed. The guppy in the bottle seemed pretty pedestrian, and so did the bottle of perfume or whatever, except for the wooziness it gave me. Is this witch really so bad?

The statues are scary, though.

Wiping Shane's memory seems both incredibly violent and like the best idea ever. If I'd had the power to make him think happy thoughts we'd still have a marriage. But it would be wrong, just wrong...right?

I contemplate the violence of taking away his memory. Then I contemplate the violence of him going over a cliff.

I'm not the only one worried about him. I make the offering and call it my contribution to a peaceful town.

And then I slog home again and reconcile myself to sleeping alone in a cold bed, all the worse on a damp and stormy night.

16 Summer
Elliott's reading.

I stand up front and Shane is on the other side of the room. We don't speak. Or look at each other, really, but he's more relaxed than I expected. Maybe I did make the right decision.

I'm not sure Elliott's writing is really my thing, even though he does have a way with a cliffhanger—but then he surprises me with such a romantic and generous gesture! And his determination and willingness to see it through day after day is... pretty sexy.

17 Summer
Tried catching a red mullet for George. By the time I finally got one I had no room in my pack and as I was rummaging around the mullet slipped from my hands. I offered George a halibut, but he wasn't having it. Happy mullet, unhappy George.

First real sign that I did the right thing, though: I enjoyed the fishing. Leah's been encouraging me to just enjoy the sound of the waves. And I do, and I relax. And realize how unfamiliar that sensation has been lately.

18 Summer
All the ancient fruit canes are bearing, every single one, and when I walked into the greenhouse I was bathed in the scent of them: musk, honey, a little citrus, a little edge like the skin of the purple grapes Grandpa used to grow. I just stood in the doorway and breathed for a while. Thursdays are going to be good, good days.

19 Summer
Fridays are looking a lot better than expected too! I shipped my first batch of ancient fruit wine, from last week's partial crop, 125,000g. More is maturing in kegs this week.

I gave Elliott a bottle of wine in appreciation for being so fabulous at a time I needed it and asked him if he'd like to come to the saloon. "I never see you there," I say. "It used to be so fun hanging out with you and Leah back in the day when we were all new here."

"Well," he says. Is he blushing? "You two were getting along so well, I felt as superfluous as a bicycle in a school of fish."

"Given some of the stuff I've reeled up lately, I'm sure there are fish pedaling away out there," I say.

"Really? You make me... curiously cheerful."

Light finally dawns. "Wait... you thought Leah and I had something going?"

"Um." He actually puts his hands in his pockets and turns all the way around, with remarkable grace for someone obviously embarrassed. "I have to say your marriage to Shane was a surprise. Not, um, a good one."

Now it's a lightning strike. "It wasn't Leah you were after?"

"She's a fine friend. You," he says, looking me up and down, "are a force of nature."

I like being a force of nature. "Does that make you a nature boy?" I ask. He throws back his magnificent head and laughs.

It takes me a long time to get out of his cabin, but there's one thing I want to do before I go down this road, and I feel brave enough to do it now. I went to the saloon and bought a round of beer for everyone. Except Shane, that is. I screwed up my courage and got him old traditional, pizza, and he lit up like just like old times. And then, like even older times, asked if I didn't have something better to do. I'm calling it good.

21 Summer
Now I really know I've done the right thing. It was a fantastic luck day, and for the first time in weeks I didn't feel distracted, glum, or just plain weird and clumsy. So I went to Skull Cavern and (a) went down farther than I ever have before and (b) came out in perfect health. Okay, a little scratched up, but no aches, no pains, and plenty of ore.

No regrets, no regrets. I have no regrets. Full steam ahead.


Summer 22 Y3
Elliott and I had our first official date! We went to see Sam's band. I can't believe Abi can play the flute and the drums. She must be really musical, they're such different instruments.

Elliott wanted to dance. I don't dance at concerts or, really, anywhere, except apparently at the local ritual known as the Flower Dance. I told him I just wanted to listen. Actually I mostly watched him and Leah grooving together. He moves incredibly beautifully. It was way more fun watching him than trying to dance would have been.

Summer 23
Rain. Waking up all alone on a rainy day gets old fast. I miss walking into the kitchen in the morning to get my coffee and my good-morning kiss.

I went down to the beach and brought Elliott a pomegranate. He was elegantly pleased. He seems to be getting cabin fever with all these rainy days. We gotta get him somewhere more spacious and less creaky, and I might have a plan for that.

Summer 24
Sun. Thank Yoba.

I wondered what happened to the Joja Cola machine when Shane moved. He or Lewis must have packed it up, because I found it boxed up next to the chest o' decor.

The incubator was overdue for a hatch, and making weird noises, so I moved Danaerys to the spare coop to see if that'll help.

Summer 25
More @#$!! rain. Turns out I have a new dino, which makes 5 and ruins my symmetry, which was 4 dinos, 4 chickens, 4 rabbits. I thought it would be another chicken, and I was going to sell it, but now I guess I really have to think about using that spare coop. Not getting rid of my new dino! At least Danaerys seems perfectly happy in her new digs.

I went down to the beach this evening to try to cheer Elliott up, but he'd already locked down for the night and I didn't feel comfortable disturbing him. I'll have to ask him if I should just knock next time I see him.

Summer 27
I had my first really big shipment of ancient fruit wine yesterday, and a big shipment of starfruit today, so I have over a million on hand. Sure beats being underpaid at Jojamart.

Summer 28
What a summer it's been. I don't exactly feel ready for fall but I am definitely ready for this season to end. Up, down. Divorce, new romance. Quests: I didn't manage to get Demetrius's tilapia quota filled, but I did get ectoplasm for Rasmodius, once again proving that I am a better miner than fisher.

Today was the same rollercoaster as the rest of the summer. It was a prime luck day so I went to the desert early, bringing all my jade. I was feeling pretty graceful in Skull Cavern till I hit a mob of mummies. I was overconfident and wanted to see if I could use the explosive ammo to dispatch the first one, but then two more showed up and when I ran, another three slammed into me.

So, bad, right? But I got down a few more levels this time, hardly lost anything, and once Harvey patched me up he invited me to see his model airplanes. Which made me wonder if this was code for "let me show you my etchings" but I figured that if Harvey lost his manners—unlikely—I was a lot more heavily armed than he was.

We had a terrific conversation. He suddenly reminded me of my cousin Phineas, who I had the worst crush on when I was 13. Phineas had a similarly extensive and varied model collection. I have to give it to Harvey, although he gives the impression that he could talk your ear off about any one of the planes in the collection, he doesn't actually do it like Phin. Phin is a pilot now, and he loves it, so I feel bad for Harvey not being able to reach that particular dream. For a moment I wondered if he has feelings for me... and I sure appreciate how comforting he is for me.

And then I went down to the beach for the Dance of the Midnight Jellies, my favorite festival after Spirit's Eve. And by far the most romantic... but romantic is not how it went.

I was looking forward to watching the jellies with Elliott, he's such a nature boy, and I thought he'd say something poetic about the jellies. But he was a real buzzkill, talking about how we don't respect nature anymore. He's not wrong, but I just wanted to enjoy the moment.

To my surprise, the people I vibed with best were Abi... and Shane. It looks like my pizza investment is paying off, and that Shane and I can actually be friends—and that just friends is better.

In the end I just stood at the end of the pier by myself, musing on Elliott and Harvey and watching the jellies come in. I used to hate jellyfish when I was a kid, the ones I grew up with would sting. But these look like flowers of the sea. And then the green one came in, glowing, so close I could nearly touch it, like it had something to tell me, something good.
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2 Fall Y3
Tidying up after the usual planting rush. Honestly, it's not like I need to plant pumpkins at this point, but it's fun, and I got everything cultivated, sown, watered, and fertilized, and even got a few things put away by...1:30 AM. It took me a while to get my rhythm down with the hoe and I could hear the Junimos giggling at me inside the hut.

Today I brought Penny a flower for her birthday, much appreciated, just as she and the kids were leaving the library... which was a huge relief, because Elliott was there and the other reason I was there was to give him a bottle of truffle oil.

I thought he'd enjoy the joke and the implications but he just stared at it for a moment and said, very politely, that he didn't think it was something he cared for.

"Perhaps that's because you don't know some of its uses," I said.

"Oh," he said, with a gleam in his eye. "Tell me about them."

"In this case I think it's better to show than tell," I said.

"Very writerly of you!" he said, and laughed while I admired his pristine profile and the whitest set of teeth in Stardew Valley.

3 Fall
I ordered the cellar from Robin. We had a long talk about building projects. I'm not letting go of Melody, the new dino (I don't know, the name just came into my head). So, after the cellar I'm keeping Robin busy with coop upgrades after all, and moving the coop once again back to the hilltop. Danaerys seems perfectly happy out in the back forty by herself, but I don't go check on her as much as I should.

Then Robin said that there's a project she's really been wanting to work on, but she hasn't been able to assemble the resources. When I heard what it was I realized I had everything needed on hand, so we agreed: once she's done with the coop, I'll give her some wood and the downpayment she needs for the rest of the materials and for hiring extra workers to get things done before the weather really turns cold. I'm really, really excited about being able to pull something like this off after just a few years away from Joja Mart, being my own boss, doing what feels right.

Afterward I went fishing. I had no idea the lake was such a hangout: first Demetrius scribbling away, then Linus apparently thinking deep thoughts, and then Seb wandering around the lake toward the Adventurer's Guild. I wonder if he has something going on there. Anyway, I felt like one of the guys, just standing there by the lake, fishing, and my thoughts were as calm as the lake.

5 Fall
Elliott's birthday. I found him at the bridge and gave him the golden pumpkin I won last year. "How lovely!" he said. "It'll liven up my decor. I'll be seasonal, just as Leah recommends." He seemed disinclined to leave the bridge and we were both enjoying the scenery, so we just hung out together, chatting, while I fished some more, until he had a flash of inspiration and dashed off to his cabin. He says they come around punctually at 6, and he locks the door so he can make the most of them.

So I went to the saloon and bought everyone a round—except Shane, Pam, and Seb since he is happier with coffee. My plot to renew good vibes by bribing Shane is working. That is, he was totally rude outside the saloon, but more than happy to get fed pizza.

Gus was having his crabcake special so I bought a bunch to take home, then settled down with Leah to enjoy a few with our beer.

"I'm going to marry him," I said.

"Really?" she said. "Are you sure it's not just a flirtation? Not just physical?"

"Ummmm..." I said. And then some weird impulse toward honesty overtook me and I said, "No. No, I am not... sure. But I do have evidence to the contrary! I like talking with him! Um, and yes, flirting with him is the bomb. I just... I just want a taste of all that gorgeousness. And usually men like him don't go for women like me. I'm about as curvy as a brick. So I appreciate his good taste." I wound up, trying to rescue some self-esteem.

She smiled. "I have to admit, he is quite a specimen."

"See?" I said. "Even you think so."

"But look," she said, "You're my two closest friends here. If things go wrong I am not taking sides. I am not even listening to the two of you complain about each other."

"But you really helped me out with Shane!" I said.

"I like Shane, but I don't bounce art ideas off of him or get support for doing this crazy thing that Elliott and I are trying to do, make a living off our creativity." She looked me up and down and said, "I honestly need him more than I need you. Do not mess this up for me."

Despite being two beers in I suddenly felt completely sober. I want Elliott more, but Leah is the one I need. "OK," I said. "I'll think about it."

And I did, on the way home. Losing Elliott is one thing. Losing Elliott and Leah at one blow would be another. Plus I felt kind of panicked about not having someone to talk to if things went sideways. But I also feel really lonely. And then I remembered who else I talked to about Shane. Harvey.

I will just have to sort things out somehow if things don't work, the way I always do.

6 Fall
Decision being made, I crafted a rain totem when I got home and used it. I might have been a little premature: this morning I got a note from Elliott telling me to meet him on the docks on a sunny day. I guess I beat him to the punch.

I went to the beach and arrived at his house, bearing lots of coral and a mermaid pendant. He greeted me much more cheerfully than when I visited him over the summer. When I bestowed the pendant on him, he was even more enthusiastic than I had hoped. He says he's looking forward to living on the farm. It'll be awfully different for him, I thought with a moment of misgiving. But less lonely, less fog.

He said, "I feel if we're taking this step I should know... what does ET stand for, Betsy?"

"Never call me just Betsy," I said. "Elizabeth Taylor."

"What?" he said. "You're Elizabeth Taylor?"

"What what?" I said. "I was named after my grandmother."

"Elizabeth Taylor was your grandmother?"

"No, no," I said. "Technically, grandmothers: Elizabeth Monroe and Marilyn Taylor."

He's wide-eyed. "I'm going to be Elizabeth Taylor's second husband."

"Second and last," I said. Probably. Maybe.

"Your eyes aren't in fact violet," he said. "I'm calling that a good thing."

"Onyx," I said. "I like to think I have onyx eyes."

"My onyx-eyed princess," he said.

"Watch it," I said. "Your onyx-eyed queen."

He smiles, brilliantly. "My onyx-eyed queen."


7 Fall Y3
Rain again. So instead of romance on the docks, I spent some time consulting with Emily and then running up an outfit. It doesn't quite have the Jezebel vibe I was going for, but it's a kind of dusky red that I like. Elliott brings out a bit of femme in me, so I'm wearing a long skirt. It took a lot of back-and-forth with Emily to figure out how to get it the right color. And then I'm wearing a sort of peasant blouse with a matching red bodice. I figure Elliott will appreciate the bodice. I will definitely appreciate Elliott appreciating the bodice.

8 Fall
A nice day today, but I got down to the docks too late, I guess. I found Elliott at the library. He didn't seem at all concerned; he says he's excited, that we're going on a new adventure. His optimism is refreshing.

I bumped into Abi on the docks, though, and she said she thought maybe she could be a farmer someday. "But how would that happen?" she said, and I replied, "I'll let you know if I ever I have an idea about that." She forced a laugh.

We chatted a little about the weather and then I went to find Elliott. At first I thought the exchange was kind of cute, but then I found it annoying. Really? Abi on a farm? I just can't see it. I've always thought of her as authentic, and it just felt weird to me that she would pretend to herself or me that she would like it. But then I had a vision of her surrounded by dinos, laughing, on the hilltop at the farm, and for a moment I wished it could come true.

9 Fall
Wedding day! I felt just as nervous as the first time. Elliott looked very distinguished in his best suit, and he brightened up as soon as he saw me. Lewis went through his wedding spiel, Leah looked concerned, Abi looked really sad. Shane looked possibly hung over or maybe just not quite awake.

Marnie, on the other hand, was as cheerful as ever, and I see that Robin and Demetrius also take any opportunity to dance.

When we got home we found festive cookies from Granny Evelyn, which we shared on the porch. "Chewy as ever," I said, and he replied, "But oh so flavorful." "True, I said. "I never thought of dried spiceberries in cookies but they really work."

And then I got back into my farm clothes and gave him the tour. He likes the rabbits and chickens, but is also a little shy of the dinos—worried about his clothes? But I feel really clear with him: he writes, I farm. So if he doesn't like dinos, no big deal.

I like that he moved his library in. It looks enticing. Maybe I'll find some time to read.

10 Fall
Last night, well, Elliott looks like someone Michelangelo would sculpt, except better. "How did you get so muscular?" I ask. "The only thing that looks like a weight in your cabin is a dictionary."

"Pushups, crunches, wind sprints down the beach," he said. "They clear my mind after writing."

"They give you the thighs of a Greek god," I said.

"And immense stamina," he replied.

"Come here and prove it, big boy," I said. And he did.

Today was a beautiful day. At first Elliott said he might try to get some writing done, but I said, "Maybe a mini-honeymoon? You said something about meeting me at the docks?"

"Even better than writing," he said, so off we went.

We took turns rowing across the calm bay, watching the seagulls plunge in after a school of sardines and listening to the lapping of the waves against the boat and the rhythmic squeak of the oarlocks. The town is picturesque, with the colorful houses running up the hill and the mountain rising up behind it. Jojamart is a little jarring.

"I used to row in college," I told Elliott.

"Oh really?" he said. "Something we have in common. You know, I've always admired the Amazonian quality of your physique. Harnessed power."

I blushed. Then he told me about his book, and I felt even warmer. Somehow it goes to my ego that his book is doing well, at least with the critics.

And then words failed us both, and we got very romantic. We rowed back as the sun went down and the sky shaded to pink, then purple; the first stars were out by the time we beached the boat. He said, "What do you think of the cabin for a beach house, my nereid?"

"Nery-who?" I asked.

"Nereid. Greek ocean nymph," he said happily.

"I could be a Greek nery-what in a beach house," I said. I could get used to this, I really could.

12 Fall
Evidently I should have named Percy Priscilla, because she's given birth again. I thought the barn was full! I guess it is now.

Just before the wedding I bought the butterfly hutch, and put it in the greenhouse to liven it up, but today I thought Elliott would like the butterflies, so I moved it into the living room. I also lit the fireplace for the first time since summer. A crackling fire, Elliott spouting poetry, and butterflies occasionally crossing the room... life couldn't be more romantic.

13 Fall
Abi's birthday. For some reason I felt moved to bake her a cake even though I'm sure I have an amethyst tucked away somewhere. The kitchen's still covered in flour. The house smells great, though. I might have to get beyond pepper poppers.

I say to her, "You don't really want to be on a farm, do you? I can't see you stuck feeding the pigs."

She grimaces. "That might not have been my best moment. I mean, I thought if it worked for you maybe it could for me. I don't know, it looks good on you and ..." she's looking anywhere but at me. "Kind of a stupid thing to say the day before you get married."

"Uh... have some cake?" I say for lack of anything better.

"Sure," she says. We're both awkward till she takes a bite of the cake and beams. "Hey, this is great!" she says.

"Yeah?" I say, surprised, and she gives me a hunk. And in fact it is good. Apparently I have hidden talents.
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15 Fall
Last night Elliott said, "Ah, that bodice? From your wedding dress? It was quite attractive. Perhaps you could put it on again?" We had a lot of fun with it.

I sent him off to Emily this morning with the bodice, a couple of bolts of cloth as a token of our appreciation, and instructions to ask her how to sew on buttons, because I'm not going to do it. I have a farm to run.

Elliott reminded me about the fair. I've been so busy sorting out kegs and casks that I totally forgot. I'm going to have to scramble to get my display together.

16 Fall
I decided to go for a purple theme: a Super Cucumber has to count for something, right? I should have remembered that Lewis is a little... sensitive about certain purple articles. I was pretty irritated when Pierre won—on my veggies, I'm sure.

I think next year I need to go for a gold theme and include a certain hefty statue. Right in the middle of the display, I think.

In better news, I don't suck at the slingshot any more; Shane was nice again—he's always happier at festivals, now I know to talk to him only at them or with a pizza in hand—and Welwick had a vision of me and Elliott in a field of grass. I'll have to take him down to the back 40 before the first frost.

Afterward Elliott and I slurped down all the barbecue we could hold. "You're still my series," he said, "Pierre or no Pierre." He was kind of muffled with the barbecue bun.

"Series?" I ask.

"C-E-R-E-S," he said. "Harvest goddess."

I feel a little bewildered by the various goddesses and... spirits? demigoddesses? I'm becoming in his eyes, but I'll take it.

17 Fall
Penny's new house is done! Robin asked me if I wanted her to tell Penny and Pam about my donation, and at first I was going to say yes, and then I imagined Penny feeling like she had to thank me all the time and said no. I like just being liked by her, and if she felt obliged to me it would just be... strange.

I was surprised: she seemed very calm about it. Maybe that's because Pam was the most emotional I've ever seen her. Penny sort of had to keep it together for both of them, which must be the story of her life. I meant to ask them for a tour, but it didn't seem like the moment. I walked home feeling pretty proud of myself.

18 Fall
I managed to make a pink cake for Marnie today. This baking thing is working. The kitchen was again covered in flour, but Elliott took care of it while I delivered the cake. He says he's feeling a bit burned out after finishing his first book, but I'm inspiring—his muse, he says, yet another Greek spirit-person-thing.

Thursdays are scything days and Elliott came with me. After I made a few passes he asked to try it. "A little manual labor is good for bringing on the divine afflatus!" he said. "I'm sure Tennyson scythed. Or maybe it was Tolstoy."

"The divine what?" I asked.

"Inspiration. The breath of the muse."

"Not the breath of something else?"

He glared at me. "I know what it sounds like, but no," he said.

I showed him the technique, he took the scythe, and after a few tentative passes he was scything like he'd done it since babyhood.

I sat on the quarry steps and watched. It was breathtakingly beautiful, he could be named Dances with Scythe—and then he got warm and took off his shirt. I watched until I couldn't even stand it anymore and said, "If there's a scything god, it's you."

"Yes?" He posed, deliberately, joyfully.

"Give me that scythe and come with me," I said, and he looked even more joyful.

Should I ask him to scythe again or do it myself? It's not exactly efficient for him to do it, given the effect it has on me.

Maybe efficiency isn't everything. I can just throw money at Marnie if the silos aren't completely full by frost. Life is short, watch Elliott scything while you can.

19 Fall
What a great day. All this romance is good fun, but I decided to roll up my sleeves and get down to business.

200,000 gold in one day for the first time, between ancient fruit wine and pu-er tea. I need to see Robin about that horse she mentioned.

And I got down the farthest I ever have in Skull Cavern, even though I got there late, and made it out on my own two feet. If I'd gotten there early enough, I was on pace to get down a hundred levels before the stroke of 2 and turning into a metaphorical pumpkin. I was pretty tired, though. A misstep would have been easy.

Thanks goodness Pam was burning the midnight oil and got me home. She's still all worked up about the house, can't really believe it happened.

21 Fall
More mining—but I had to come up early because I ran out of bombs. Skull Cavern is expensive! I'm starting to mine in order to get ore in order to make bombs in order to mine. Maybe I should just go make Clint a rich man.

I stopped by the saloon last night. Pam's house is the talk of the town. Now I kind of wish I'd said it was me, it would be nice to be the person they were talking about.


22 Fall Y3
This morning Elliott said, "My onyx-eyed queen, would you like to have dinner together? We could talk over our day, like a proper married couple."

I'm not proper anything, but... he's right, our days do tend to be a quick kiss and coffee together and then I have no idea what he actually does beyond that.

Of course we have crab cakes, which are excellent. "Umm...how was your day?" I ask, dutifully.

"Well, you know, I'm trying to write a spinoff from The Rise And Fall Of Planet Yazzo, and there's this love triangle between Commander Yutkin and Lieutenant Wendy and Footlebrox the alien, and I had planned a scene between Commander Yutkin and Lieutenant Wendy but I think it gives the wrong idea about Wendy's feelings for Footlebrox," and he goes into great detail about Footlebrox and Wendy.

I start thinking about whether I really should use all the coal I bought on bombs and then I hear "So I think I'm going to go with a very brief flashback with Footlebrox and Commander Yutkin, what do you think?"

"Sounds great!" I say, the supportive wife.

"Glad you agree," he says, sounding uncertain.

"It's important to show Captain Yutkin and Footlebrox's true relationship, right?" I say. "So we know what Wendy's feelings are based on."

“Commander Yutkin,” he says. “But, it's not as simple as that," he says, and launches again, while I wonder how many jars I really need and think I could have gotten the back forty logged by now, if I wanted to log the back forty, which I kind of do, if I weren't having dinner.

"So, now that we've discussed it, I think I'll just add a dream Lt. Wendy has about Footlebrox and that'll do it! I feel so much better now that I've had a chance to talk this out with you. How was your day?" he asks, and leans in slightly, which is endearing.

"Well," I say, "I just spent a small fortune at Clint's on coal and now I'm trying to decide, bombs or jars? You see, if I go with bombs..." and continue on with everything I was thinking while he was wrapped up in Yutkin and Wendy and Footlebrox and finally say, "but iron is the limiting factor for bombs so I think I'll just go up to my limit in iron and then switch to jars and see what I get, what do you think?"

I look over at him and the look in his eye is the most glazed I've seen since a Jojamart meeting. He's silent for a beat and then springs to life. "Brilliant!" he says. "I have the utmost faith in your judgment."

Well, at least he's supportive. As supportive as I am.

We're good at admiring each other, but as we go to bed I think, we might not be as good at knowing each other.

Fall 24
There's a real chill in the air these days, and I woke up this morning imagining the dinos gray and grouchy with cold. "A heater!" I thought. "I forgot about getting them a heater."

So I went over to Marnie's to take care of that, and picked up an autograbber, and then went to Clint's to get the watering can all the way upgraded—with so many sprinklers you'd think it wouldn't matter, but anything to get planting day easier. "I'm going to make you a rich man, Clint," I say. "I'm upgrading everything."

"Middle-class, anyway," says The Man Who Can Deflate Anything.

On the way home I stop by Penny's new house, hoping to find out how she liked it and get a tour. To my surprise Pam is there, not Penny. She shows me around, and I’m impressed how many books are there now that Penny has room—it's like she emptied the library into the house. It turns out the new digs haven't been the transformative experience Pam hoped, and to my amazement we end up talking religion.

Grandpa taught me the Miner's Prayer when I was little and I always say it before I go mining, but it's not like I have any deep faith. It's more like every little bit helps. I go over to George and Evelyn's to give him a leek and I ask him what he thinks of the Miner's Prayer.

"Never said it," he says. "My father wasn't a religious man and he always said trust to your tools, your weapons, and your eyes and ears. Although," he looks down at his legs, "maybe I'd have someone to blame besides myself if I did believe." He sighs. "Evelyn's the one who prays around here."

"Yoba blesses the works of your hands and the fruits of the earth. I say the Planter's Prayer when I'm in the garden. You have to say the prayers twice, you know, once for Yoba and once for yourself," says Evelyn cheerfully.

"I remember Grandpa saying that!" I says. “That second prayer helps me get my mind prepared, for sure.”

"Yes, and Yoba's for work, but never forget the Winter Star for love," she says. "One without the other is lost."

"I always did incline more to the Star," says George.

"He was such a romantic, back in the day," says Evelyn. "He used to recite poetry to me."

"And write it too," he says. They're glowing at each other, warmth well-banked through all the years and hard times. "It was pretty terrible poetry," he says, shaking his head and chuckling. It's the first time I've ever heard him laugh.

"But so heartfelt!” she says.

I leave wanting to clean up the area around Grandpa's shrine. The maple grove gets totally overgrown, I'd like something more respectable, respectful.

And I’m thinking about Elliott’s poetry. It is romantic. I’m sure it is heartfelt. But his mind just works in poetry sometimes, so it can be a little glib. But George writing poetry—he must have been crazy in love.

26 Fall
I take the Cindersap sewer route out of Krobus's shop and meet a bear who resembles a furry jelly donut and seems to want something from me. He kind of mumbles but I make out something like “oo-wish" Blue fish? I think, that's easy, and catch him a bream, but no, he wants a specific fish and whatever it is, it is not a bream. Anchovy? Sardine? Tuna? I'll have to consult with Willy.

28 Fall
Elliott's going on a tour! He 's all in a tizzy, pleased and nervous all at once. I tell him I'll be happy for him to go but I think he takes it the wrong way. I have to tell him, I'd be happy for him, happy to think of him realizing his dream. Then I ask, "Once you've finished packing, if you've got time, would you help me scythe? It's the last best chance to fill the silos."

"Anything for my Demeter," he says. And after he explains that Demeter is the Greek goddess of the harvest, he gets himself and his clothing and his conditioner together. So as the sun goes down I start by the greenhouse and he starts at the southwest pond—compromise between efficiency and enjoyment—and we get the job done.

This is one of my favorite times of year, the last moonlight scythe, when the animals are all in and I'm just in the flow of the motion until it's done, clearing the farm for winter. Having both of us in that flow is just amazing at the end, each pass getting us closer to each other. It makes a late night for both of us, but when we meet by the river grove, kissing in the dark pine-scented frosty air is the best way to end my farmer's day ever.


1 Winter Y3
It feels weird not having Elliott around. With the animals hunkered down in their buildings and the field bare and no planting to do, I feel pretty aimless. I want to log but the axe is in the shop.

So I go bring Krobus a birthday present. I’d like to get to know him better. It must be tough being the only monster in town. He has that politeness you get when you’re not sure how other people are going to jump.

He’s pretty happy with his present, so I think we’ll get to be friends.

2 Winter
I should have upgraded the axe months ago. It goes through a tree like butter, unbelievable. It took me no time at all to completely clean out the maple grove. I planted mahogany seeds, and I'm going to put paths around them so even if it takes me a while to get out there, it never gets so overrun that I can't make my way through and it'll always have a shape to it.

Plus I got my horse, and she's fantastic! I named her Misty, and she makes me so happy; riding her is as natural as walking, but faster. Another thing I should have done ages ago.

I have a chance to talk to Penny on the way to pick up the axe. She says the house is even harder to run now that there's so much of it. "That's too bad," I say. "I really thought it would be a happy thing for both of you."

"Oh, you have no idea," she says quickly. "I shouldn't be complaining. Just the fact that I can go into my own room and shut the door instead of having to deal with that little fold-up bed is a dream come true. And having shelves to fill with books—I love it. It's just that... we used to be able to pretend the trailer was the problem, and now we can’t.”

"Did you ever think it was?"

She slowly shakes her head. “It’s more like…once a dream comes true...it's like you need another dream. And the big dream, I don’t know if that’s ever going to come true.”

“Yeah,” I say. I can relate.

It turns out she had a deal with Gunther: the leftover copies of bestsellers and older books no one reads anymore all get stored in the basement, and he gave her her pick of them. "I'm going to spend all my spare time this winter reading!" she says happily.

So... there's that.

3 Winter
I'm starting to put up the winter decorations. I hope Elliott likes them. I imagine him coming home to the tree of the Winter Star. The living room is a little cramped for it. Should I put it in the kitchen? In the corner of our bedroom? I like the idea of the glow of the lights in the night. That would get me to bed early.

When I went to bed I discovered a note under the pillow, asking about children. I still don't feel ready. I feel a little nervous about answering him when he gets back.

4 Winter
Elliott's as good as his word; the first thing I do each morning when I walk out the door is read his letter to me. Today it's poetry, and I think, maybe we could end up like Evelyn and George. Hopefully with me still in possession of all my limbs.

Abigail asked me for a pumpkin shortly before Spirit's Eve, and I forgot in the midst of the day itself and Elliott's news. I also forgot to pick up the pumpkins from the west Junimo hut. So she got a gold star pumpkin today. Then she invited me to play Journey of the Prairie King again.

"If you've been playing at all you'll kick my butt," I say.

"I have been playing, and that sounds like a good time to me," she says, smirking.

And sure enough, she kicks my butt. We're going to have to have a rematch.

6 Winter
My birthday! But I...sort of forgot about it? I'm ready for Elliott to come home, and it sounds like he is too.

I collect several blue fish—sardines, herring, tuna—from the beach, and try them on the bear. Turns out that he wanted tuna. Then he wanted a red mullet, which I fortunately had. Then he wanted a breadstick. What am I, a restaurant? I guess I'll try giving him a breadstick, though. I'm starting to worry about irresponsibly feeding the wildlife.

I also pick up an urchin. Last time I was at the saloon Demetrius told me about an oceanographer—name of Zealand?—who's been investigating the urchin habit of sticking stuff on their...heads. Above bits. Upper feet. Hair? Immediately I wanted to perform my own experiment.

So now the urchin is in the aquarium and the experiment has been a success! I have proven that while I look like a total dork in earmuffs, the urchin looks cozy and chill, like it's listening to underwater beats. Seeing it kind of was a birthday present.

7 Winter
Elliott woke me up this morning, very sweetly. My day-after-birthday present. We had our morning coffee... and then, since it was a star luck day and I was feeling pretty vigorous, I jetted off to Skull Cavern. I didn't get super far—ladders weren't all that abundant and I only got a couple of shafts—but I managed to fight off three serpents and stay upright. I got lucky: I was pretty banged up by the end of the fight, and one more blow from them would have had me in Harvey's office, but I felt a lot better after I had a hunk of cheese. I miss chatting with Harvey, now that I'm leaving Shane to work things out himself and I'm better able to get out of Skull Cavern by foot instead of stretcher.

I left pretty early so I could get home before Elliott went to bed. And then we snuggled up in the flannel sheets and had a lovely sleepy dreamy time.

But I still haven't talked to him about that note of his.


Winter 8 Y3
Elliott was very courtly at the beginning of the ice fest, saying he looked forward to our competition, but he was a little, um, cool after I actually beat him. "Do you have to be so competitive?" he asked on the way home, as I was rejoicing, loudly, over having won despite hooking two strands of green algae to start out.

"What?" I said. "I earned us a little money."

"It's little to you," he said, "but I wanted to contribute."

"You contribute," I said. "It's nice when you do the watering. And the scything, even better when you do that."

"That's not what I mean," he said. "I never planned to be a househusband."

"You're a writer, OK?" I say. "That's enough. We knew I'd be the breadwinner going into this."

But he was somber all the way into bed.

I still haven't talked to him about that note. I need to take the bull by the horns.

Winter 9
Elliott did water this morning, which was lovely, and it felt like we were making up after last night's coolness.

But then I take the opportunity to say, "So... about having kids... I'm not ready."

His face falls. "What would you need to be ready?" he asks.

"I don't know. Honestly, I never have thought very hard about kids, and there's so much to do with the farm..." and I love doing all the things that go with running the farm, and I'm not ready to make the sacrifices that need to be made to have children, and I really don't want to have to tell him that.

"But you're my Aphrodite!" he says.

"I'm not your Aphrodite! Or your Demeteor! I'm just me, a surly miner who's built like a brick, or haven't you noticed?" For a moment I miss Shane. His surliness matched mine.

"I love your physique," he says. "I've told you. You're just a different kind of Aphrodite," he says.

"That doesn't help as much as you might think," I say. "I don't want to be any kind of Aphrodite. I just want to be my extremely human self."

He looks so crestfallen. I'm torn between being sorry for him and being in a rage, so I go do the chores and then I bash dust sprites and feel slightly better. I decide to go home before I pass out, but it's definitely a decision.

Winter 10
Errands. I got the coop moved and the shed painted and said hi to Maru and Demetrius and brought Seb a birthday present, well received. He's a little like Shane with his rare smiles.

Then Misty-the-horse and I go visit the bear by the sewer with bread. She's such a smart horse; a lot of them will bridle at bridges, especially these little footbridges, but she clops right over.

The bread is acceptable. Then bear wants a muffin. I have a muffin. It might be courtesy of Elliott. Then he's satisfied, or maybe it's a she, since apparently this bear is Mary Poppins in fur? I go home feeling a little grateful to Elliott, anyway, and also a little sore from riding hither and yon all day.

Winter 12
He passive-agressively refloored the bedroom overnight. What was he thinking?? It's some kind of fishscale thing that doesn't remotely resemble the rest of the flooring. NOT GRATEFUL.

I point out that he should have asked me.

He says asking me isn't going so well lately.

I say the point of asking is so people can say no.

He says he was happier back in his cabin where he could decorate the way he wants.

I shout, "Fine, you can go back there then!" and then Misty and I gallop over to Lewis's and file the divorce papers.

Then I meander all over the beach. I guess it's where I go when I get divorced, and of course it's a terrible idea, because there is the cabin in question, and the sighing sea, and the dampness and loneliness.

Who can I talk to about this?


Winter 13
Waking up divorced on a snowy winter's day is even worse than waking up divorced on a rainy summer's day.

I arrive at Harvey's place with a marriage bouquet and a cup of coffee and he looks the happiest I've ever seen him.

Winter 14
With a lot of trepidation I head over to the saloon. I buy Leah dinner and say, "I'm not going into any details, I'm not asking you to take sides, but we just got divorced."

She says, "I saw this coming," and shakes her head and repeats, "I saw this coming. You know what he's going to do, right? What writers always do, make a book out of the whole thing."

Failed Aphrodite will be its title, I think. I hightail it out of there to take care of that problem. He can't write about me if he can't remember me.

To my surprise, when I pass the mountain house, Maru's out in the back yard with her telescope and she invites me to look at the stars. The frigid air makes everything clear, she says. At first it all looks like one big black blank but she starts pointing things out to me and things start coming into focus and it's beautiful. I stay hanging on to that beauty and her calm voice until I can't feel my toes.

Then I go make my offering, and feel like Hecate instead of Aphrodite, but when I come back out into that clean cold air I feel like things will be all right after all, and I feel like just me.


Winter 15
First perfect-luck day in a long time, so I head to Skull Cavern with my staircases and my bombs and my best weaponry and a couple of Spicy Eels, and at first the luck is great, ladders are just there without any pickaxing or bombing, but then I get clumsy and start putting down staircases when I want to bomb and pick up a bomb when I need cheese, with predictable results. I think I'm the tiniest bit distracted from all the turmoil.

When my vision clears and I see Harvey bending over me I say, "I've missed our little chats."

He helps me up and says, "You know you don't have to go to such drastic measures to have them."

"I just want you to know how much I care," I say, smiling, and he chuckles. It's antidotal to the despair I feel having lost every single one of my staircases.

I head home and bring him a grateful-patient rabbit's foot and then have the happy thought to spend the rest of the day clearing out the quarry, and on the way have the even happier thought to check in with Marlon.

Marlon is kind and says he thinks he can recover the staircases. So my little jaunt was worth the scar tissue.

Winter 16
I barged in on Clint's appointment with Harvey so I could give Harvey his coffee—and since I brought extra, I give Clint one. I should give him stuff more often, it's the only thing that makes him happy.

Elliott was at the Night Market and was perfectly cheerful.

I caught a blobfish on the fishing tour, which is now adorning the aquarium, which makes me cheerful.

Winter 21
It's all been really quiet. Visited Evelyn and George and Alex yesterday to celebrate Evelyn's birthday. Dusty sure is living large these days. It's not just the dog house: he looks bigger. Alex says he has no clue where the dog house came from. One evening he heard something singing "mumf, mumf, mumf" to the tune of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and the next morning, there was Dusty's palace.

I'm getting paths put down and putting in oaks and maples so the back 40 isn't all pines; I want it to be prettier in the fall. I'm clearing out seeds too, so I have lush pastures. I like trees, but I don't need a whole lot of them now. I have almost enough kegs to process the entire Ancient Fruit crop. I'll probably put in more casks, but I think I could make enough now to fill the whole cellar.

Today I barged in on Jas's appointment this time; I did not give her coffee. Or Marnie, for that matter. It's kind of fun hanging out at Harvey's office, everyone is a little different there.

Yesterday and today were perfect luck days so I went Skull Cavern diving. Yesterday I did OK for a while, then got flustered and decided to exit before I made an idiot of myself. Today I was doing fine but hit a succession of serpents and didn't get to my cheese fast enough. So, a little more scar tissue, and another little chat with Harvey. He honestly seemed to be a little irked to get pulled away from his radio. I guess I can't blame him, he works hard and he needs his time off.

I stopped by the saloon, bought everyone a round, and had a chat with Leah. "I've got my eye on Harvey."

"Really?" she says. "I mean, OK, if opposites attract... but opposites is definitely what you are. Are what you are? This is why I'm an artist, not an editor."

"I like to think of it as creative tension," I say. "He does help me think through things."

"As long as it's more creative than tense," she says.

"Of all the people in this town, he's the one I can talk to after you. I feel safe with him," I say.

"You say that like it's a good thing," she says.

"Isn't it?"

"Is it for you?" she asks. I haven't really thought of it like that. I'm not sure. But safety is refreshing, in small doses.

Winter 22
I guess Harvey wasn't too irked, or maybe he was being cool so he wouldn't spoil the surprise, because the first thing I saw this morning was his invitation for a date. We had a fabulous time on our excursion. Well, I had a fabulous time, and he looked like he was enjoying it after he got over his nerves. He's awfully cuddly when he's nervous.

He was getting down on himself, but I said, "I'm proud of you. You're facing your fears. It takes courage."

"I feel braver with you," he said, and relaxed a bit, and then we just enjoyed the amazing view: geese flying past, the bay in front of us, the mountains behind us, swans flying past. We didn't talk much, just held onto each other and enjoyed the scenery. I could do this kind of thing more often.

So it's a good thing I got those rain totems on yesterday's Skull Cavern dive.

Winter 23
Harvey's a happy man. I'm a happy woman. He's nervous about getting everything done in time, but he doesn't seem at all nervous about moving in with me. Given my track record, he probably should be...

It is not true that everyone is different at the doctor's office. George is exactly the same, or perhaps even grouchier than ever.

It's Leah's birthday, so I took a bottle of ancient fruit wine down to the saloon so we could celebrate.

"I don't care if you just gave me a bottle of wine worth half my rent, I'm still not talking with you about Elliott. Or are you over it now that you're seeing Harvey?" she says. "Besides, I have my own troubles."

"Eh, Elliott and I are fine. He was his old look-at-me self at the library yesterday."

"Really?" She gives me a funny look. "He was so smitten with you. But it's true, I haven't seen the least sign of grief in him. And all of a sudden he has a bunch of new book ideas."

"See? It's all fine." I say, although I'm a little nervous about those book ideas. I ask, "What's going on with you?"

"It's unbelievable." She shakes her head. "Yesterday I was talking to the gallery owner who's showing my work and he said, 'This is really rewarding for me—financially and emotionally, I love your art and we're making good money. I'm glad Kel walked in with your portfolio.' It was her that got me into this gallery, and she never told me!! I thought of pulling out, but right before the Feast of the Winter Star? This is the peak time to sell stuff."

"What??" I start laughing. "Kel finally did something right."

"Seriously?" Leah's outraged. "It's intrusive, it's humiliating...she needs to get a life, not keep running after me."

"She's still running after you? It's been years."

"It's not like she's holding the gallery over my head, but...I felt like we were finally managing that exes to friends transition, but I hate owing her anything. And she should have talked to me about it first!"

"Well, have it out with her."

"Another fight. You'd think breaking up would have finished the fights, but no."

"Have it out with her... and then the next time she calls, think about whether you even want to answer," I say.

"I can't believe I'm having all this trouble and things with you and Elliott are like nothing ever happened," she says.

"I have my ways," I say, and fill up her wine glass.


Winter 25
Secret Santa day and I get dressed up in my Santa clothes. Seb was easy to find something for, and Leah was my secret Santa! She gave me... wine. As if I'm not rolling in it. "It's not super-expensive, but it's good," she says. "Thought it might give you some ideas for your winery."

"I will never turn down free wine," I tell her. So we had a tiny bachelorette party after the feast. And the wine was good.

Winter 26
I regret nothing: I got married in my Santa outfit. It's festive, anyway. Harvey was downright handsome in his bow tie and cummerbund, which more or less matched my Santa hat. We went back to the farm, he said, "Time to get to work," and I said, "I like the way you think. But first, want the tour?"

I loan him my boots. "It's good to have outside shoes, more sanitary," he says. I don't tell him I've been known to fall asleep with my boots on.

He likes the cows and the rabbits. He's neutral on chickens and pigs. When we get to Dino Hill, he stops and stays on the top step as the dinos happily abrade my footwear. "What do you like about them?" he asks.

"They're cute! And weird. And the most affectionate things with scales ever," I say. I'm sad that I have yet again married a dino-hater, but I have learned not to expect my husband to share my livestock enthusiasms. Then we got busy.

I also gave Clint his birthday present, then visited Krobus, who told me that slimes are the deer of the mines: they reproduce like crazy and then overrun the place. "So, it's not so bad if I cull the population?" I ask.

"Exactly," he says.

Then I went into the swamp and harvested fiber and bug meat. Ready for spring fishing and grass starter.

Winter 27
Last night, Harvey was a little tentative at first.

"C'mon, you of all people know I'm no delicate flower," I say "I mean, I used to play rugby in college."

"So not all of these are from the mines?" he says, tracing some of my scars: lacerations from serpents' teeth, the burn mark from that one Pepper Rex, a little swarm of pockmarks high on my calf from those tiny slimes in Skull Cavern.

"Hmmm..." I hunt around. Mostly I got scraped up on the field, nothing that left traces for any length of time. "Oh right!" I show him where my right pinky is crooked. "Busted after a hard tackle. I learned to keep my pinkies down after that. But that's not what we're here for, right?"

He smiles. "I certainly hope not!" he says. "Fair warning, I don't plan on tackling anyone."

"What if you're Harvey the dashing flight instructor and I'm ET Betsy the enthusiastic, reckless aviation student?"

"You might just be the woman of my dreams." His smile gets wider. "ET Betsy, let me show you around the equipment," he says, and pretty soon we're flying, all right.

Winter 28
This morning Harvey said he thought a farm was the best possible place to raise children, "scientifically speaking" and asked what I thought.

"I haven't really thought about it," I stammer. "I guess? But there's always so much to do and right now I have to get my grass starter down." Why is he in such a hurry? But Leah would tell me I should have this discussion before I get married. It does keep coming up.

The rush to get down grass starter is nearly as bad as planting season, but it's done and the farm should be lush tomorrow! Harvey and I are both looking forward to it.