Photo Portfolio Building dry-stack stone walls is like building crime novels. Dreaming the idea, ground prep, sweat and toil, editing for balance, whimsical pieces to fill in the nooks. Plain blind bone-tired but satisfied at the end of the day. Sometimes a happy ending. I’m grateful to be able to keep working at both. And then you fill it with dirt and plants and hope. Beautiful villains. They operate with impunity, they eat all manner of plants that are advertised as deer-resistant. They put their dainty hooves up on my window ledge and peer inside at me pecking away on my keyboard, causing the cat and I to suffer a joint heart attack. Yas’s name means Child of the Snow. He becomes ecstatic when it snows, and dives like a porpoise into drifts. When fate is cruel and there is no snow, he prefers running to gardening. He has ice blue eyes that can communicate a crime novel in under five seconds. Now. Let’s go now. Before someone dies. Can’t you see I’m dying here? If we don’t go now I will be forced to dig a large hole in the garden. Large enough to bury a body. Whose body? Don’t ask. Jaak harvests our Italian plum tree while Yas pretends to be a shark circling below. The deer used to practically climb this tree to pillage the fruit before we fenced it off. The fruit is a gorgeous shade of deep purple, with the silvery bloom that polishes off when you roll it against your shirt. It is mandatory that I eat too many, and after the season is over, regret that I didn’t eat more. Steinbeck made me crave sweet peas after I read his short story in The Long Valley, about a farmer who risks his livelihood to plant 45 acres of sweet peas to sell for seed. Every year I sacrifice all my compost to my modest twenty foot row – wait, who am I kidding? There is nothing modest about sweet peas. Their fragrance is intoxicating and their delicate ruffles are like flamenco skirts. I am their willing garden slave. Our sometimes live-aboard home is a 1948 MCI bus made in Canada. Jaak and I used to live aboard boats, so we finished the bus inside like a sailboat. We run bio-diesel from recycled oil from french fries. Well, not just french fries, probably fritters and tempura too. You can check out more pics of our bus on my Facebook page. When we live in our restored 1948 bus, I get to write with a view to anywhere. This is the bus that my character, detective Mary Swift, lives in too. We share it.