Fox Gloves and Sprinklers

Good morning, Everyone

The rain blew out of the south shore of Long Island, leaving a more temperate week. I can smell summer! Pour your coffee. Let’s catch up.

If we were having coffee together, I would report that I learned how to create and use a landing page. As you may recall, I am working on building an audience of readers for my books. Providing an easy sign up is key. I also need to arrange for giveaways. This week I drafted a FREE slate of Middle Grade Historical Fiction Books I read so far this year. It makes a great summer reading list for kids of all ages. When you click on the link, sign up for Stories Served Around The Table mailing list ( a list I NEVER share) and never miss a story. 

I also have a special landing page for Becoming America’s Stories Book Launch Team and exclusive membership to the private Facebook page. Join the team to take a role in the promotional activities and live events. You will have advanced views of Book 2’s title, cover options, and the manuscript, and be the first to post reviews and show off the Becoming America’s Stories swag.

As part of the promoting/marketing agenda, I am learning to navigate Instagram. As much as I resist, I understand the benefits of engaging in yet another social media outlet. I am told to pay attention to the analytics, but it all baffles me. You can follow my stumbling journey here.

If we were having coffee together, I would show you my side yard. The fox gloves climbed and burst in shades of purple and white. It looks like a foxglove forest. The tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, lettuce, peas grow in the raised beds. Matt wrapped and coiled a soaker hose to keep the crops irrigated. 

Speaking of irrigation, my mom needed a new sprinkler system for her large yard and gardens. Before Dad passed, he was wrestling with the sprinklers. Over the years he weaved a web of pipes, sprinkler heads and creative watering zones. Like everything else that had to do with the house, his mark was everywhere.  Whenever Mom rearranged a garden bed, Dad came up with a hose connection and exact sprinkler to rain on the plants. When a storm knocked over trees and destroyed fences and the gardens, he reconnected, repaired his way with whatever spare parts lying around in the garage.

Last summer, the greenhouse and sheds he built years ago on the side yard fell victim to a northeaster and the crash of a giant tree. The structures held a menagerie of yard tools, boat parts, port-a-potties (another story), garden supplies, and part of the control system to the sprinklers. What a mess! The greenhouse and sheds have their own stories. I will fast forward to the outcome of the storm clean up. 

Dad fashioned a box to rewire and reset the sprinklers. He screwed a plastic container over it to protect from the outside weather. Unfortunately, Dad struggled to remember where the pipes lead to, which switch turned on what, and what valve turned which way. The timer was “off”. He sat in the side yard tinkering, pondering solutions, trialing possibilities while trying to ignore his physical pain. He died before he could puzzle it out. The “map” died with him. 

My sister, brother-in-law, Bill and I investigated switches and facets in the basement. What an amazing maze of wires, pipes, and clamps. For Dad’s backyard memorial, we attempted to shut the whole system down without shutting off the water supply to the house. Did I mention the timer was “off”? We missed something. Sprinklers randomly popped up and midst for a few minutes during the ceremony.

We called a professional, who happens to be a friend and my sprinkler maintenance guy. He and Bill attempted to untangle the maze. The map was with Dad. Finally, the inevitable conclusion became obvious. Mom needed a new sprinkler system. 

The sprinkler guy and his helper lay a pattern of pipes, sprinkler heads, misters, and repaired hoses to the deck so Mom could water her flowers. It took a full day. There is now one mission control box in the basement and an app on our phones to manage it. Very slick!

As nice as it is to have a predictable system with a virtual map, my family is sure Dad would not be impressed. He wasn’t there suggesting his frugal methods to drive the price down. He didn’t coach the installer, or make his own improvements with spare parts lying around the garage, all to claim his mark on the project. He is so missed. 

That’s about it. Thanks for indulging me. Great big thank you to Natalie the Explorer, the incredible host of Weekend Coffee Share.

 Be kind. Be safe.

Have a great week, Everyone. Make it funtastic.

Enjoy‌ ‌❤️.‌ ‌Like‌ ‌‌👍‌.‌ ‌Share‌ ‌😊.‌ ‌  

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If you had purchased a paperback or ebook Daily Bread and/or Becoming America’s Food StoriesThank you!

Take a picture of you with Daily Bread and/or Becoming America’s Food Stories, and I’ll send you Reader’s Swag and add you to the Becoming America’s Stories Readers slideshow, coming soon! Kid pics are welcomed with parent or guardian permission. Don’t forget to leave a rating and quick comment on Amazon and/or Goodreads.


Daily Bread is set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 1911. The story follows nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, who wants to prove she is not a little kid. To be a big kid in the crowded tenement neighborhoods, she must tackle bigotry, bullies, disasters, dotty bakers, and learn to cross the street by herself
Hope you are hungry. Becoming America’s Food Stories recalls the tales that have been told around my family’s dinner table. The histories explain the motivations over bowls of macaroni, antics play out while slurping soup, and laughter echoes throughout the dining room. Pull up a seat. There’s always room.

“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina

Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.

10 thoughts

  1. Antoinette, Your yard looks beautiful. Glad to hear your Mom got a new and slick sprinkler system. Good for you to tackle landing pages and Instagram. Thank you for linking with #weekendcoffeeshare.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your side yard is beautiful. Oh boy…how crazy about the sprinkler system. I’m enjoying being a part and reading your stories. So fun! Have a great week.


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