anonymous asked:

do you have a favourite homesteading passage from the books? one of my favourite aspects of the outlander novels is their depiction of early american settlement and subsistence farming, like the scenes from the first winter on the ridge in DoA. more than anything in book 9 i'm looking forward to more little snippets of that simple 18th c isolated farm life... which i realise is pretty weird!

What a fascinating ask! Not weird at all, anon - after all the pain and heartbreak that Jamie and Claire have been through, it’s so rewarding to see them leading a quiet, peaceful, domestic life. The life they always wanted to have together.

I’ve always loved this passage from The Fiery Cross - where Jamie is slowly kissing every inch of Claire, and tasting her. And in so doing, tells a story about how Claire spends her days - busy with domestic affairs - and we learn a lot about the simple pleasures that Jamie takes from their life together. And how much he appreciates just how hard she works to maintain that life.

He took my hand and lifted it to his nose, sniffing delicately. “Onions,” he said, “and garlic. Something hot … peppercorns. Aye, and clove. Squirrel-blood and meat-juice.” His tongue flicked out like a snake’s, touching my knuckles. “Starch—potatoes—and something woody. Toadstools.”  

  “Not fair at all,” I said, trying to get my hand back. “You know perfectly well what we had for dinner. And they weren’t toadstools, they were woodears.”  

  “Mm?” He turned my hand over and sniffed at my palm, then my wrist and up my forearm. “Vinegar and dill; ye’ve been making cucumber pickles, aye? Good, I like those. Mm, oh, and soured milk here in the fine hairs on your arm—were ye splashed churning butter, or skimming cream?”  

  “You guess, since you’re so good at it.”  


  “Damn.” I was still trying to pull away, but only because the stubble on his face tickled the sensitive skin of my upper arm. He smelled his way up my arm into the hollow of my shoulder, making me squeak as the strands of his hair drifted across my skin.  

   He lifted my arm a bit, touched the damp silky hair there, and ran his fingers under his nose. “Eau de femme,” he murmured, and I heard the laughter in his voice. “Ma petite fleur.”

– The Fiery Cross


Letting go is tough.

I’m stuck and I’ve been coasting through each day knowing it. Some days have been pretty bad where my evil twin makes an appearance and truth be told I let her beat me up. What a bitch!

I finally got my taxes done. I’m happy with the results even though I have to pay state. My income more than doubled last year so I was sweatin’ bullets.

I bought my daughter a new phone for her birthday, which is next month, but the gift couldn’t wait. Her old phone was anicent by technology standards (over 3 years old). It was time.

I joined the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge. I am going to read 50 books this year. Two down 48 more to go! However, according to Goodreads I’m 9 books behind, but c'mon! I joined the challenge just yesterday =:p

Tagged by the wonderful @datironass

Tag 9 people you want to get to know better

1. Relationship status? Single

2. Favourite colour? Black, blue or purple

3. Lipstick or chapstick? Lipstick

4. Last song I listened to? Schulyler Sisters from Hamilton or Wires by The Neighbourhood. I can’t remember.

5. Last movie I watched? Probably Life of Pi

6. Top 3 shows? DS9, SPN and You’ve Been Framed

7. Top 3 characters? I can’t pick three so Castiel, Julian Bashir, Jadzia Dax and Elim Garak

8. Top 3 ships? Kirax/Dara (idk), Garashir and Destiel

9: Books I’m reading? Panic by Lauren Oliver

I’m tagging:
@cinemasims @vanillasimsfan @thesyntheticlifeform @citrontart @guljerry @alonelyflowey @ultrawhalnar @juliansbashir and @iamthecutestofborg

Feel free to ignore if it’ll mess up your theme

Diana’s Daily Lines - “Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone” (Book 9)

#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIamGONE #BookNine #notyet #notforalongtime #gowatchS2DVDs#dreamofbattle

I was having the delightful sort of dream where you realize that you’re asleep and are enjoying it extremely. I was warm, bonelessly relaxed, and my mind was an exquisite blank. I was just beginning to sink down through this cloudy layer of bliss to the deeper realms of unconsciousness when a violent movement of the mattress under me jerked me into instant alertness.

By reflex, I rolled onto my side and reached for Jamie. I hadn’t reached the stage of conscious thought yet, but my synapses had already drawn their own conclusions. He was still in bed, so we weren’t under attack and the house wasn’t afire. I heard nothing but his rapid breathing; the children were all right and no one had broken in. Ergo…it was his own dream that had wakened him.

This thought penetrated into the conscious part of my mind just as my hand touched his shoulder. He drew back, but not with the violent recoil he usually showed if I touched him too suddenly after a bad dream. He was awake, then; he knew it was me. _Thank God for that_, I thought, and drew a deep breath of my own.

“Jamie?” I said softly. My eyes were dark-adapted already; I could see him, half-curled beside me, tense, facing me.

“Dinna touch me, Sassenach,” he said, just as softly. “Not yet. Let it pass.” He’d gone to bed in a nightshirt; the room was still chilly. But he was naked now. When had he taken it off? And why?

He didn’t move, but his body seemed to flow, the faint glow of the smoored fire shifting on his skin as he relaxed, hair by hair, his breathing slowing.

I relaxed a little, too, in response, though I still watched him warily. It wasn’t a Wentworth dream—he wasn’t sweating; I could almost literally smell fear and blood on him when he woke from those. They came rarely—but were terrible when they did come.

Battlefield? Perhaps; I hoped so. Some of those were worse than others, but he usually came back from a dream of battle fairly quickly, and would let me cradle him in my arms and gentle him back toward sleep. I longed to do it now.

An ember cracked on the hearth behind me, and the tiny spurt of sparks lit his face for an instant, surprising me. He looked…peaceful, his eyes dark-wide and fixed on something he could still see.

“What is it?” I whispered, after a few moments. “What do you see, Jamie?”

He shook his head slowly, eyes still fixed. Very slowly, though, the focus came back into them, and he saw me. He sighed once, deeply, and his shoulders went loose. He reached for me and I all but lunged into his arms, holding him tight.

“It’s all right, Sassenach,” he said into my hair. “I’m not… It’s all right.”

His voice sounded odd, almost puzzled. But he meant it; he was all right. He rubbed my back gently, between the shoulder blades and I gulped a little. He was very warm, despite the chill, and the clinical part of my mind checked him quickly—no shivering, no flinching…his breathing was quite normal and so was his heart-rate, easily perceptible against my breast.

“Do you…_can_ you tell me about it?” I said, after a bit. Sometimes he could, and it seemed to help. More often, he couldn’t, and would just shake until the dream let go its grip on his mind and let him turn away.

“I don’t know,” he said, the note of surprise still in his voice. “I mean—it was Culloden, but…it was different.”

“How?” I asked warily. I knew from what he’d told me that he remembered only bits and pieces of the battle, single vivid images. I’d never encouraged him to try to remember more, but I _had_ noticed that such dreams came more frequently, the closer we came to any looming conflict. “Did you see Murtagh?”

“Aye, I did.” The tone of surprise in his voice deepened, and his hand stilled on my back. “He was with me, by me. But I could see his face; it shone like the sun.”

This description of his late godfather was more than peculiar; Murtagh had been one of the more dour specimens of Scottish manhood ever produced in the Highlands.

“He was…happy?” I ventured doubtfully. I couldn’t imagine anyone who’d set foot on Culloden moor that day had cracked so much as a smile—likely not even the Duke of Cumberland.

“Oh, more than happy, Sassenach—filled wi’ joy.” He let go of me then, and glanced down into my face. “We all were.”

“All of you—who else was there?” My concern for him had mostly subsided now, replaced by curiosity.

“I dinna ken, quite…there was Alex Kincaid, and Ronnie…”

“Ronnie MacNab?” I blurted, astonished.

“Aye,” he said, scarcely noticing my interruption. His brows were drawn inward in concentration, and there was still something of an odd radiance about his own face. “My father was there, too, and my grand-sire—“ He laughed aloud at that, surprised afresh. “I canna imagine why _he’d_ be there—but there he was, plain as day, standing by the field, glowering at the goings-on, but lit up like a turnip on Samhain, nonetheless.”

I didn’t want to point out to him that everyone he’d mentioned so far was dead. Many of them hadn’t even been on the field that day—Alex Kincaid had died at Prestonpans, and Ronnie MacNab… I glanced involuntarily at the fire, glowing on the new black slate of the hearthstone. But Jamie was still looking into the depths of his dream.

“Ken, when ye fight, mostly it’s just hard work. Ye get tired. Your sword’s so heavy ye think ye canna lift it one more time—but ye do, of course.” He stretched, flexing his left arm and turning it, watching the play of light over the sun-bleached hairs and deep-cut muscle. “It’s hot—or it’s freezing—and either way, ye just want to go be somewhere else. Ye’re scairt or ye’re too busy to be scairt until it’s over, and then ye shake because of what ye’ve just been doing….” He shook his head hard at this, dislodging the thoughts.

“Not this time. “

Diana’s Daily Lines - “Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone” (Book 9)

#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIAmGONE #Book9 #BackwoodsEtiquette #noitsnotfinished #nowherenear#butitsgoingfine #dontworry

My breath steamed white in the dimness of the smoke-shed. No fire had been lit in here for over a month, and the air smelt of bitter ash and the tang of old blood.

“How much do you think this thing weighs?” Brianna put both hands on the shoulder of the enormous black and white hog lying on the crude table by the back wall and leaned her own weight experimentally against it. The shoulder moved slightly—rigor had long since passed, despite the cold weather—but the hog itself didn’t budge an inch.

“At a guess, it originally weighed somewhat more than your father. Maybe three hundred pounds on the hoof?” Jamie had bled and gralloched the hog when he killed it; that had probably lightened his load by a hundred pounds or so, but it was still a lot of meat. A pleasant thought for the winter’s food, but a daunting prospect at the moment.

I unrolled the pocketed cloth in which I kept my larger surgical tools; this was no job for an ordinary kitchen knife.

“What do you think about the intestines?” I asked. “Usable, do you think?”

She wrinkled her nose, considering. Jamie hadn’t been able to carry much beyond the carcass itself—and in fact had dragged that—but had thoughtfully salvaged twenty or thirty pounds of intestine. He’d roughly stripped the contents, but two days in a canvas pack hadn’t improved the condition of the uncleaned entrails, not savory to start with. I’d looked at them dubiously, but put them to soak overnight in a tub of salt water, on the off chance that the tissue hadn’t broken down too far to prevent their use as sausage casing.

“I don’t know, Mama,” Bree said reluctantly. “I think they’re pretty far gone. But we might save some of it.”

“If we can’t, we can’t.” I pulled out the largest of my amputation saws and checked the teeth. “We can make square sausage, after all.” Cased sausage was much easier to preserve; once properly smoked, they’d last indefinitely. Sausage patties were fine, but took more careful handling, and had to be packed into wooden casks or boxes in layers of lard for keeping…we hadn’t any casks, but–

“Lard!” I exclaimed, looking up. “Bloody hell–I’d forgotten all about that. We don’t have a kettle, bar the kitchen cauldron, and we can’t use that.” Rendering lard took several days, and the kitchen cauldron supplied at least half our cooked food, to say nothing of hot water.

“Can we borrow one?” Bree glanced toward the door, where a flicker of movement showed. “Jem, is that you?”

“No, it’s me, auntie.” Germain stuck his head in, sniffing cautiously. “Mandy wanted to visit Rachel’s _petit bonbon_, and _Grand-pere _ said she could go if Jem or me would take her. We threw bones and he lost.”

“Oh. Fine, then. Will you go up to the kitchen and fetch the bag of salt from Grannie’s surgery?”

“There isn’t any,” I said, grasping the pig by one ear and setting the saw in the crease of the neck. “There wasn’t much, and we used all but a handful soaking the intestines. We’ll need to borrow that, too.”

I dragged the saw through the first cut, and was pleased to find that while the fascia between skin and muscle had begun to give way—the skin slipped a little with rough handling—the underlying flesh was still firm.

“I tell you what, Bree,” I said, bearing down on the saw as I felt the teeth bite between the neck bones, “it’s going to take a bit of time before I’ve got this skinned and jointed. Why don’t you call round and see which lady might lend us her rendering kettle for a couple of days, and a half-pound of salt to be going on with?”

“Right,” Bree said, seizing the opportunity with obvious relief. “What should I offer her? One of the hams?”

“Oh, no, auntie,” said Germain, quite shocked. “That’s much too much for the lend of a kettle! And ye shouldna offer anyway,” he added, small fair brows drawing together in a frown. “Ye dinna bargain a favor. She’ll ken ye’ll give her what’s right.”

She gave him a look, half questioning, half amused, then glanced at me. I nodded.

“I see I’ve been gone too long,” she said lightly, and giving Germain a pat on the head, vanished on her errand

Diana’s Daily Lines - “Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone” (Book 9)

#DailyLines #GoTELLTheBEESThatIHaveGONE #BookNine #ForVeteransDay

“How old were you, the first time you saw a man killed?” Roger asked abruptly.

“Eight,” Jamie replied without hesitation. “In a fight during my first cattle raid. I wasna much troubled about it.”

Jamie stopped quite suddenly, and Roger had to step to the side to avoid running into him.

“Look,” Jamie said, and he did. They were standing at the top of a small rise, where the trees fell away for a moment, and the Ridge and the north side of the cove below it spread before them, a massive chunk of solid black against the indigo of the faded sky. Tiny lights pricked the blackness, though; the windows and sparking chimneys of a dozen cabins.

“It’s not only our wives and our weans, ken?” Jamie said, and nodded toward the lights. “It’s them, as well. All of them.” His voice held an odd note; a sort of pride—but rue and resignation, too.

_All of them._

Seventy-three households in all, Roger knew. He’d seen the ledgers Jamie kept, written with painful care, noting the economy and welfare of each family who occupied his land—and his mind.

“_Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel_.” The quote sprang to mind and he’d spoken it aloud before he could think.

Jamie drew a deep, audible breath.

“Aye,” he said. “Sheep would be easier.” Then, abruptly, “Claire and Brianna say the war is coming to the south. I canna shield them, should it come close.” He nodded toward the distant sparks, and it was clear to Roger that by “them,” he meant his tenants—his people. He didn’t pause for a reply, but re-settled the creel on his shoulder and started down.

The trail narrowed. Roger’s shoulder brushed Jamie’s, close, and he fell back a step, following his father-in-law. The moon was late in rising tonight, and sliver-thin. It was dark and the air had a bite in it now.

“I’ll help you protect them,” he said to Jamie’s back. His voice was gruff.

“I ken that,” Jamie said, softly. There was a short pause, as though Jamie was waiting for him to speak further, and he realized that he should.

“With my body,” Roger said quietly, into the night. “And with my soul, if that should be necessary.”

He saw Jamie in brief silhouette, saw him draw breath deep and his shoulders relax as he let it out. They walked more briskly now; the trail was dark, and they strayed now and then, the brush catching at their bare legs.
At the edge of their own clearing, Jamie paused to let Roger come up with him, and laid a hand on his arm.

“The things that happen in a war—the things that ye do…they mark ye,” he said at last, quietly. “I dinna think bein’ a priest will spare you, is what I’m sayin’, and I’m sorry for it.”

_They’ve marked you. And I’m sorry for it_. But he said nothing; only touched Jamie’s hand lightly where it lay upon his arm. Then Jamie took his hand away and they walked home together, silent.


*He fed me. He bought all food, cooked all meals, washed all dishes.

*He dressed me in the morning, undressed me at night, and took my laundry to the cleaners along with his. One evening, while taking off my shoes, he decided they needed resoling and took them to the shoemaker the next day.

*He read to me endlessly: newspapers, magazines, murder mysteries, Katherine Mansfield short stories, and my own files when I brought them home to catch up on work.

*Every three days he washed my hair. He dried it with my hand dryer and was clumsy at it only the first two times. One day he bought an outrageously expensive Kent of London hairbrush and beat me with it that evening. Its bruises persisted beyond all others. But every night he used it to brush my hair. Neither before nor since has my hair been brushed so thoroughly, for such long periods at a time, so lovingly. It shone.

*He bought tampons for me and inserted and extricated them. When I was dumbfounded the first time he said, “I eat you while you’re menstruating and we both like that. There’s no difference.”

*He ran my bath every night, experimenting with different gels, crystals, and oils, taking an adolescent girls delight in buying great varieties of bath products for me, while sticking steadfastly to a routine of showers, ivory soap, and Prell Concentrate for himself. I never stopped to contemplate what his cleaning woman thought of the whip lying on the kitchen counter, of the handcuffs dangling from the dining room doorknob, of the snakes’ heap of narrow, silvery chains cooled in the corner of the bedroom. I did idly wonder what she thought of this sudden proliferation of jars and bottles, nine barely used shampoos crowding the medicine chest, eleven different bath salts lined up on the edge of the tub.

*Every night he took my makeup off. If I live to be a hundred, I won’t forget how it felt to sit in an armchair, my eyes closed, my head thrown back, while the gentle pressure of a cotton ball soaked in lotion moved across my forehead, over my cheeks, lingering on my eyelids…



—  Elizabeth McNeill, Nine and A Half Weeks: A Memoir of A Love Affair