The summer sky was hazy with distant wildfire smoke, making the weather unseasonably cool and rainy, and everyone craved hot tea.
Rabbit’s shop had been full every day for at least the past week, and Raccoon’s kitchen was a frenzied mess of spilled flour, sugar grit and butter smears on the counter, and jumbled piles of spice jars, as she kept up with demand for scones and lemon bars and herb-studded shortbread cookies.
But, she declared to no one in particular, she would clean up later. Right now, she needed to work on this batch of strawberry cupcakes. Squirrel was on his way over, any minute, with a satchel full of strawberries she’d asked him to (discreetly) steal from the potted strawberry plants on the cottage porch, which had recently borne slightly-out-of-season fruit.