January 26, 2012

The pictures above are of sandhill cranes.  We didn't take them.  They are from a blog called The Fire

We got a wildlife camera for Christmas.  You tie it to a tree and wait to see what shows up overnight.  It uses an infrared flash so the animal (or person) doesn’t know he is being photographed.  Someone not far from us caught a picture of a drug mule carrying a bag of marijuana, but fortunately all we’ve go (so far) is animals.

First we saw one of the neighbor’s bulls emptying our water ponds.  He sneaks in by walking carefully at the edge of the cattle guard on our gate.  He’s a handsome creature.  Then we saw a grey fox, a coyote, a beautiful fluffy skunk, and the usual herd of twenty javelinas that keep trying to eat our prickly pear.  On another night we saw both the male and female coyote.  He came first and gobbled up the over-ripe pear and stale bread we left outside before his mate could get to it.  She’s smaller.  I’m sure she’s feeding cubs somewhere and I hope we get to see these.  She walks in front of our front porch in daylight.  It’s generally a bad idea to leave food out for animals, but it’s tempting to get rid of food we don’t want.  Last week we left out an over-ripe watermelon.  Daniel (our son) chopped it into pieces.  Unfortunately, it rained and we had to bring the camera in, so we don’t know who had the feeding frenzy that night.  In the morning not a seed or shred of skin was left.

On the other side of the mountain is a marsh where sandhill cranes gather this time of year – over 30,000 of them.  We made an expedition to see them.  It was bitterly cold and the wind was blowing, but the cranes come from as far away as Siberia so it was like summer to them.  When we got there, we couldn’t see any, though there were a lot of ducks floating around.  Then we heard hundreds of birds calling, both near and far, but we couldn’t see them.  Daniel spotted them in the sky.  Vast flocks of them circled in and out of low clouds, slowly drifting closer.  It was really beautiful, like listening to angels sing.  Gradually, they floated down and at the last minute spread their long legs and fitted themselves into a mass of gray birds already on the ground.  They only sang in the sky.  Possibly, this is how they stay together as a flock.

On the way to the marsh we saw many border patrol agents, some in cars and others on a kind of three-wheeled motor bike for going over rough terrain.  A group of them had surrounded a twelve-year-old girl who must have been terrified.  It was out where no one, let alone a child, should be.  But she was lucky to have been found.  Groups of illegals cross through the desert and are met by a pick-up car or truck at an assigned spot.  The car only passes once and if the illegals miss it, they are on their own.  In some cases the slowest persons in the group are abandoned, as I think happened with this girl.  Then they might very well die.  This time of year it’s below freezing at night and a lot of people don’t realize how cold it gets and aren’t dressed for it.  The girl had no sweater.  She will survive because she was found.

When Daniel was coming to visit us, he saw a group of border patrolmen surrounding a car only a few miles from where we live.  Two men were driving the car and in the trunk was a body.  The patrolmen laid him out on the ground.  Daniel said his skin was blue and he was clearly dead.  We don’t know whether the man froze or whether he was murdered, but so far nothing has appeared in the news.  This kind of thing goes on all the time along the border.

As for the sequel, I am writing as fast as I can.  I think you will like it, because I sure do.  I discovered that music helps me write faster.  For years I haven’t been able to listen to music because it disturbs Harold when he is working.  We lived in a very small apartment.  Now I have a whole office with sound-proofed walls between me and Harold’s office.  The first time I put on a CD I almost passed out it was so beautiful.  I wrote for five hours without stopping.

I will answer letters very soon.  I do read all of them and thank you for sending them.  They keep my spirits up.  I wish I could help some of you with your papers, but I simply don’t have time.  If you look over my website you will find a lot of information you can use.

1/29/2012 04:56:25 am

I so enjoy reading your website & blog. Your voice is the same as your books and I am enjoying reading the Trolls Trilogy. I love reading YA books and my grandchildren are now old enough that I pass them along so they can enjoy them also. I will be picking up 2 copies of the Trilogy to send to Arizona & Long Island for my families to enjoy. I am so glad I have found you. Thanks

charlie bone
2/3/2012 02:29:50 pm

Hi Mrs. Farmer this is the first time since September that I post. Sorry that a lot of people might be getting impatient. I read one of your replies to a letter and for that I am sorry. Everyone please try to be patient, it's not easy writing a book. Writers have lives too ya know. Anyway, I also didn't know your son fights pirates that so awesome!!!! Your son is true hero. I wish I could fight the drug cartels in México, but there is a special reason I can't.

2/9/2012 09:05:23 am

I was deeply pleased with the sea of trolls trilogy. But I did not feel that it was finished. I'm not asking, but beging you to write more books in the series. You have a awsome backbone to build your story on. Please, if not me, then do it for the many other people who want it. I know this is just one lonely comment, but it would make my day if you do it.

2/16/2012 10:14:14 am

Nancy Farmer,

I am pleased to announce that Arizona now has an affiliate chapter for ALLIANCE, Scholastic's national awards for art and writing.

Last year, Billy Gerchick, a good buddy and long time colleague, invited me to share the experience of Scolastic's 'Gold Key' awards at Carnegie Hall, to which he was invited via NETA. We were so very impressed at the calibur with which these adolescents produced written and visual work, we decided our Arizona needed to become an affiliate! We worked with Kat Hendrix, an ALLIANCE national administrator at Scholastic, training to set up our chapter.

This fall, our first for the 'Gold Keys' in Az, saw just over 300 submissions. I am pleased to announce our first annual 'Gold Key' awards ceremony will officially be held at 530pm on Saturday, April 14th at Coronado High School in south Scottsdale!

Our humble request and great honor would be for you attend; ideally as our key note speaker, reasonably as an audience member, or merely across the web as an admiring observer.

I personally believe that you would have an enormous impact on our youth, especially considering the amount of them that have read your beautifully written works!

I understand time is running out, and this year may not be in the stars. I will most definitely attempt to contact you about being our honored guest next year, with the expectation of more than doubling the quantity of student participation from this year!

We are extremely excited to have ALLIANCE as part of our desert culture, and are very proud of the legacy these awards have left behind.

I do want to point out a young author, 8th grader, by the name of Sabrina Ramirez. She won 3 awards this year; both Gold and Silver Keys for the Flash Fiction category went to her, as well as the Gold Key for Poetry. Her story "Hands of a Child" floored us! Honestly, she blew away the competition, even at the upper-classmen level! Look for her name in the future!

I will assume my contact will reach you. If not, I will attempt to be in touch, perhaps through the Poison Pen book store.

Thank you for continuing to produce such great art and writing!
Hope to hear from you soon.


Jay T. Morganstern

2/23/2012 01:25:38 pm

Mrs. Farmer,

I have recently read your novel The House of the Scorpion for my Honors English class at my high school. Firstly, I would like to thank you for writing an entertaining book that many people, not just young adults can make connections with. I really enjoyed the way you chose to narrate Matt's tale letting his voice in the story change as Matt himself matured and developed. This challenged me, as a reader, to see the situations in book according to Matt's perspective.

Like any book, there are a few characters in The House of the Scorpion that I want to know more about. Specifically, Senator Mendoza's relationship with El Patron raised a few questions. Who benefits from their friendship, El Patron or the senator? Additionally, I would like to know what keeps these two in a partnership together. While discussing this topic, our class came up with the theory that El Patron may the financial baking for Senator Mendoza's campaign, in exchange for the senator casting his vote on laws that would benefit the trade of opium in the United States. However, only you, the author, can confirm or deny our suspicions.

Furthermore, I have a few questions about Tam Lin (doesn't everybody?). I mean, I understand his reasoning for choosing to take the poison; he was trying to find justice for his crimes that he felt were unforgivable. However, I was curious about the manor of his relationship with Celia. Was there something more there? For example, how did those two realize that is was even a possibility for them to team up to protect Matt and bring down El Patron? If I were either of them, I would be too scared of El Patron and the consequences to look for an ally.

Lastly, I, along with everyone else who has ever picked up The House of the Scorpion, am so excited to hear that you are in the process of writing a sequel! There is a lot more of Matt to share and I am anxious to see it. Also, good luck on the next book and a big thank you for choosing to writing a sequel. I am looking forward to reading it!

Baylie Carroll

7/10/2013 09:24:05 pm

The snaps of sandhill cranes truly make this post more colorful. You had a great taste in photography and I can feel if by reading the blog contents. Thanks a many for this colorful read and expecting more photography experiences of you.

8/4/2015 09:50:57 am

Thanks, It works......


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