Mar 232016
 

WW37aNo writing news to speak of this week.  And much of this is a rehashing of a Facebook status I posted last week.  But there could be one or two of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, so here goes.

Spring has officially sprung. And as if to prove that she’s mellowing, Mother Nature has given us a few weeks of really nice weather, varying from daytime highs from the sixties all the way into the occasional eighty-something.  So last week I decided it was time to start getting ready for this year’s gardening.

Last year, I planted a huge 40 x 40 foot garden, planting hundreds of onions (don’t ask me why I did it, call it a momentary lapse of sanity), several varieties of peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, asparagus, and some corn.

I’m scaling back this year.  I still have a bit of variety, but I’m cutting back on the quantity, in most cases planting only one or two of each cultivar.  For those of you keeping track at home, in the main garden I’m planning:


• Red Malabar spinach
• Bloomsdale spinach
• Anaheim Peppers
• Texas Cream peas
• Jalapeno peppers
• Iceberg lettuce
• California Wonder bell peppers
• Black beauty eggplant
• Bibb lettuce
• Black Beauty zucchini
• Poblano peppers
• Black Krim tomatoes
• San Marzano tomatoes
• Straight Eight cucumbers
• Cherokee purple tomatoes
• Orange Oxheart tomatoes
• Golden California Wonder bell peppers
• Roma tomatoes
• Better Belle bell peppers

 

And since some of last year’s strawberries not only survived the winter, but are actually spreading, I decided to take some of them and put them in the top area of the Garden Tower (which was a huge success last year). Additionally, in the “pockets” of the tower, I planted:

• Cilantro
• Lemon basil (from the seeds I gathered from last year’s growth)
• Garlic chives
• Oregano
• Cimarron Romaine lettuce
• Buttercrunch lettuce
• Little Gem lettuce
• Common chives
• Sweet basil
• Arugula
• Iceberg lettuce (which probably won’t grow in such a confined area, but it’s an experiment)
• Genovese basil

Additionally, I still have the four pawpaw trees, two Cornelian Cherry trees, one tiny peach tree, three of the cold hardy Issai Kiwis (though one is male), two Honeyberry bushes, two Sea Berry bushes, and my wife’s fancy honeysuckle. The newest addition (planted just last week) is a new seedless white grape-vine we planted in the back, southwest corner of the fence. We planted it there so we can train it along the fence rails as it grows.  I also have some bocking #4 comfrey that I’ve grown from root cuttings in those two white buckets in the picture.  Comfrey is a fantastic medicinal plant, as well as a natural fertilizer, so I’ll be transferring the two I’ve got from the buckets into the yard near the other trees in a few weeks.

And since the cantaloupes were such a huge success last year, I’ll be planting more of them this year, as well as some Black Diamond watermelons (I saved seeds from the one good melon we got last year, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed).

In the front bed, last year’s rosemary plant not only survived the winter, but is now three times its original size. And the peppermint is coming back as well.  Additionally, I’ll be planting more basil there, (because you can NEVER have too much basil), and more Swiss Chard and Kale.

Hmmm…  You know, when I actually write it all out, it really doesn’t look like much of a scaling back, does it?  But it really is… I think.  :struggle:

WW37bBut here’s the real kicker.  You remember how I mentioned that Mother Nature has been all mellow lately?  How the temps have been so nice?

Well Mother Nature can suck it!   :teeth:  Don’t let her fool you!  She’s a lying, deceitful, conniving bitch who was just waiting for me to commit those seeds!  And of course, the day after I did was the day I found out that we had some “unseasonably late freezes” headed our way.

Now, I’m not too worried about the seed trays.  Those are easy enough to bring inside while it’s cold.  But the garden tower is too big and heavy to bring in out of the cold.  Luckily, I still have the economy pop-up “greenhouse” I bought last year.  And while some of the parts have been scavenged for other uses (the metal support poles make great tree stakes), there was enough left of the main structure that MBH and I were able to put it up around the garden tower.  Hopefully it will be sufficient to get us through the next week or so of freezing temps.

That’s it for now.  Next week there will be more interesting items to post, I promise.  But for now, stay safe.  I’ll talk to you later.   :bye:

Dec 022015
 

The new homesteadEach day on Facebook I get a reminder and a link to a set of posts that I made or participated in on the anniversary of the date.  Today’s reminders contained a link that started this reflective mood.  One year ago today is when I first posted about having turned in my notice at a job I had held for seventeen years.  I wrote about it on this blog in the post titled “Rebooting My Life“.

Reading back on that post made me reflect on all the things that led up to that decision.  More than that, it made me look back on the year that has passed since then.  Needless to say, not everything in the last year has worked out the way I expected it to.  Some of it has worked out better, some worse.  Of course, I suppose that’s pretty much the way life is.  No complaints.  I’ve got a good home, good life, and a wonderful wife to share it with.

Sure, there are things that I wanted to accomplish in 2015 that didn’t pan out the way I planned.  There’s the book that I spent the first several months of the year writing.  Chucklers now languishes unpublished in the virtual drawer awaiting a fresh perspective and rewrites.  My second writing project of the year is Year 12, the sequel to Half Past Midnight.  If things had gone according to plan, it would already be published.  But it’s also still unfinished.  In fact, the only thing that I’ve managed to publish this year is a horror novella that I wrote in 2014.  It sold well for Halloween, but now is barely moving.

Then there’s my gardening.  I had high hopes that I was going to be able to help cut costs on our groceries by bringing in all sorts of fruits and veggies.  Instead, between the bad growing season we had this year, and the money I spent on getting good soil into the garden, I think I probably managed to cost us a couple of hundred dollars more than what we would have spent just buying the groceries.

But here’s the thing… I learned what to do next year.  I learned where I messed up by planting too early, and so stunting some of my veggies.  I learned that the huge garden I have is simply too big for me to handle.  So I’ll be scaling it back for next year, and I’ll hold off on planting for next year until late April or early May.

And for my writing, I should be set up pretty well for the next year.  My plan for Chucklers is to clear up the confusing timeline issues by splitting it into two different books.  And the first draft of Y12 should (hopefully) be finished by the end of this year, setting it up for publication next year as well.  If all that goes according to plan, I could have three new books published by this time next year.

But not if I don’t get my phatass back to work.  So enough reflection for now.  Be careful everyone, and stay safe.   :bye:

Nov 112015
 

WW20Reading –

I just finished reading In Ashes Born by Nathan Lowell.  I’ve been a fan of his “Trader’s Tales From the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper” books for years.  When I heard he had begun a new series set in the same universe, I was stoked.

Unfortunately, I only just got the chance to read it.  As with Nathan’s other tales, In Ashes Born does not disappoint.  The man has an amazing way with the English language, as well as with story telling.  If you’ve never read his books and like sci-fi and coming of age stories, I strongly suggest that you pick up Quarter Sharethe first of hisTrader’s Tales…” books.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll be hooked from that point on.  If you’ve already read all of them and weren’t aware of the new “Seeker’s Tales From the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper” series, well what are you waiting on?  You already know what an amazing writer this guy is.  Go get In Ashes Born.  Go!  NOW!   :rotfl:

And the picture?  It’s part of a Facebook campaign fans of the book are running.  If you want to know more about it, contact me.  If you’ve already read the book, you’ll get it.

 

Writing –

Work on Year 12 has  been coming in spurts.  I get into a scene or section and the words seem to fly out of my hands.  Then I hit a transition and I barely get a few hundred words per day out.  It’s frustrating, but I suppose it’s still progress.  Y12 is currently sitting at a bit over 70,000 words and still going.  At this point, it looks like the book will come in around 95-100k words.  Of course, that’s first draft.  There’s no telling what will happen once it goes to beta readers and then through editing.

 

Garden –

The garden is about done for the year.  There are a few jalapenos, poblanos, and a smattering of tomatoes left.  The only other things growing out there (besides the weeds) are the gourds.  Looks like I’ve got thirteen of them, and I’ll likely be cutting them off the vine in the next week or two.  Then the chore of breaking down the garden will begin.  And boy, won’t that be fun?!?   :-/

 

Personal –

MBH is on a business trip to Wisconsin this week.  She was looking forward to getting a chance to wrap her hands around something new, and when her company presented her with the opportunity to help out with a situation there, she went for it.  It’s just a few days, but she loves new opportunities.  And it gets her away from my ugly mug, so win / win for her, right?   ;-)

 

And that’s it for now.  I need to get more words written.  Take care everyone, and stay safe.   :bye:

 

Jun 222015
 

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve already fallen off on my resolution to post here daily. I thought about it before letting the blog slide for a few days, but had a couple of people point out to me that the time I was spending on blog posts was time that I wasn’t working on the WIP. It’s a valid point, and after considering it I’ve come to the conclusion that my time would be better served by blogging less, and spending more time on the book.

I’m not yet sure how often I will end up posting, but it will probably be at least once a week… maybe more. Maybe I’ll make Wednesdays my blogging days – “website Wednesday”. Who knows? But today is Monday, and I’m here, so…

So, what’s happened lately? The obvious one is that yesterday was Father’s Day. It was a peaceful relaxed day, with my wife trying to pamper me, and me feeling guilty when she did. The kids all called to wish me a good one, so that was really nice.

The hardest thing about it was trying not to dwell too much on the fact that it was my first Father’s Day since my dad passed. I kept finding myself thinking about him, and at times had to make myself busy doing something else to keep from tearing up. I guess it’s natural, and I know there are so many people who have gone through the same thing or worse. But it’s new for me, and I’m still finding my way.

20150622_071322We spent several hours of Friday evening and Saturday morning on the yard. With it being a much bigger yard, it takes MBH and I working together for a good three or four hours. And for the last two times we’ve mowed, we’ve noticed that the riding mower seems to be cutting crooked. This morning when walking the girls, we got back home and MBH looked at the yard and said, “It looks like one of those crazy hair styles where someone was trying to cut a pattern into their hair.” Personally, I think it looks more like drunken aliens were trying to make crop circles, and couldn’t quite hold the pattern. Either way, it doesn’t look like a well maintained lawn. I don’t know if you can see the lawn art in the attached picture, but there it is. I really need to take a look at the deck of the mower & see if there is some sort of adjustment to straighten it up.

But the garden is growing, the yard is mowed, and today it’s back to writing. Let’s see how that works out today, shall we?

Oh! A PS for the person who left a comment asking whether or not I built this website myself – First, I am using a discontinued WordPress theme called “Suffusion”. It’s very adaptable, and you can pretty much make it look however you want. I elected for a relatively simple color scheme with light print on a darker, static background. Here’s the thing though… your comment appears to be clickbait spam. Granted, if it is, it’s better written than most, but it’s suspicious enough that I’m not going to allow the pending comment through. If you are an actual person, please feel free to reply to this & let me know who you are, but until such time as I am convinced, your link will die in limbo.

Stay safe, everyone.   :bye:

Jun 162015
 

cabbage wormInvasion of the lettuce eating something or other worm!

We noticed several days ago that there was something munching on some of the green leafies in the Garden Tower. At the time, it wasn’t too much, and I wasn’t too concerned (what with me trying to be Mr. Organic Gardener and all that.) Two days ago, I got much more concerned when I found quite a bit more lettuce chewed, as well as some of the spinach. Worse yet, some of the lettuce was beginning to rot.

Picking through the lettuce, I found several spots with black eggs all over the leaves, and finally, I found this little guy (or more accurately, this gal) happily munching away and laying her eggs. I picked out the leaves she was on, as well as the ones on which she had laid her eggs, and tossed them into the burn pit.

Alas, that was not to be the end of the story. Yesterday was another rainy day, so I didn’t go outside to check on things. Late in the evening, MBH called me outside. She found another of the little buggers, and more eggs scattered throughout an entire section of lettuce. Trying to cut our losses, I pulled the entire pocket from the tower and looked closely for any more eggs or worms. Let’s hope I go them all.

On the writing front, yesterday was a great day. It was the first mostly full day of writing I’ve gotten, and I knocked out just a bit shy of 3000 words. W00t! If only every day could be like that. LOL

So off I go again, to the WIP. Stay safe.