Category Archives: garden

Little Gray Little Sun

The front dahlia has been bursting out with one giant pink beauty after the other. Every time I get out of my car I have to run over and inspect the latest.

I brought all the squash in. I rarely process any before Thanksgiving and back in the day I sometimes waited until January but I noticed a little black spot on one. I learned the hard way not to ignore those. I processed three of them this weekend.

This all went into the freezer.

While I was awake in the middle of the night I had the idea of making a pumpkin pie now and shaving dark chocolate into the blind baked pie crust when it came out of the oven to create a chocolate layer. However, I’m going back to using all my brain cells for writing again so baking projects might be few and far between.

I tried the Milk Bar compost cookies this weekend and had medium results, mostly because I made a huge amateur hour mistake and while I was attempting to dump my sifted dry ingredients into the mix, the mixer part jostled my bowl and a significant quantity of dry ingredients sprayed artfully across me and my kitchen.

I’d already invested all those other ingredients so I kept going. I stuck them in the oven and put the timer at the recommended time rather than a couple minutes early to check — I should know better. My oven has a mind of its own. The cookies came out super crunchy but still yummy enough that I will try again.

Posted in baking disasters, garden | Comments Off on Little Gray Little Sun

Just a Big Pile of Dirt with Compost

The paperback is ready: Sweetheart Braves.

If everyone buys 250 copies, I should finally crack the bestseller list. Don’t let me down!

I’m finally back at it and working on Book 4. I still haven’t figured out my process yet so I’m trying something different. That’s a joke because I have figured out my process. It’s to start strong, flail early, have a major freakout, write in circles with intermittent periods of pulling my hair out and sending almost daily whiny messages to my friend Kira about how I really and truly can’t figure out how to finish it this time. Then I make myself finish it because Lorelei has me on the schedule.

But I want to do it differently this time. With less whining and gnashing. More on that story as it develops.

I’ve been doing my last bits of fall gardening. I bought 90 bulbs online and then found a bin of clearance bulbs at Fred Meyer and bought 30 more. I moaned and groaned but I buried a lug of bulbs last weekend and finished up on Monday night. It’s going to be pretty in March.

I optimistically left 2 tomato plants in the ground, both loaded with green tomatoes. Not much progress. I picked everything today and put it on the window sill. I also had this brilliant idea to buy broad beans to do magic to my soil. Actually it wasn’t my idea, it was in this newsletter that I subscribe to.

The only newsletter that is actually helpful, doesn’t come too often, and contains things I actually want to buy: Territorial Seed Company. It was their idea. I need to send them a note and tell them their marketing team is gold medal champion if they’re getting me to stay subscribed, read every one, and buy stuff.

This evening in the 20 minutes before dinner time I was in the dirt with a hand trowel, shoving broad beans in.

I wanted to get things done today because the rains are coming. This is the flower part of the garden and it still looks pretty. There’s lots of work to do on this side yet but I’ll wait until the cold and rain shrivels everything.

Posted in garden | Comments Off on Just a Big Pile of Dirt with Compost

Autumn Leaves Falling

I started yanking stuff out before I took a photo and had to run back in and grab the camera.

I am putting the garden to bed earlier than usual this year. The tomatoes have been completely underwhelming and I’m tired of watering. I did a little homework and I’m trying a cover crop again this year and more soil conditioning/fertilizing methods. It’s still a work in progress. I’ve been trying to get out there all afternoon but there’s always one more thing to take care of.

I get up a little after five so my bedtime is a little after nine.

My body completely rebels when I try to go to bed before nine. Even if it’s just a few minutes. Sometimes after a long week, a girl is tired. I could not keep my eyes open one more minute and had read the same page in my book about 10 times so at 8:50 I said, good enough, and turned out the light and conked out immediately. Woke up, wide awake at 2am. Flopped around for at least 2 hours. The rule is always to tough it out until 9.

Last week I read an article, it might have been about the new Apple watch. I’m not interested in the watch I was just skimming various news sources and came across this in passing. I saw a remark that the medical tracker was good at recognizing AFib and I swear what my brain processed was that this medical tracker could recognize lies, as in: a fib. I thought that was going to be a very interesting device.

Posted in doing it wrong, garden | Comments Off on Autumn Leaves Falling

And Boy Are My Arms Tired

Back in the days when we had plants out front.

I thought I would work some soil amendment in and prep this area for planting. When you have giant bushes for 20+ years the dirt turns into a massive root ball. I spent over two hours trying to get this cleaned up–chopping and yanking at roots and more roots. That was all of the upper body strength I had saved up for yard work on Friday. Me and my noodle arms retreated inside for a much deserved icy cold beer and Day 1 of NCAA gymnastics finals.

But I checked the weather and it appeared that Saturday was going to be rain and cool so I heaved my weary ass back out there to clean up the garden spot since I didn’t know when I would have time and good weather again. I pulled weeds and mixed in fertilizer. Then I did that thing where I found all my old seeds and flung them out there. Plus I bought a ton of new seeds. I carefully read the directions and then completely ignored them. Thrive or die vegetables!

A few more hours later I staggered back in the house. I was completely filthy so I took shower, whimpering as I tried to raise my arms above my head to shampoo my hair. I was still tired on Saturday. There is an endless amount of work to do out there but I feel some sense of accomplishment.

Will have to do word count update later. It’s not impressive but still inching forward.

Posted in garden | Comments Off on And Boy Are My Arms Tired

Cooking Along

Yesterday was my favorite day of the year: First home match of the season. It was a typical first match, raining and cold which is why I failed to take very many photos. I might brush off my pocket camera and bring it to a match. I think it takes better photos than the phone.

Here is the rhodie update: it’s completely dead. I asked the landscaper about taking it out and he pushed the trunk and it broke off at the spot where the shrub met the dirt. It’s gone and we now have nothing in front of our house. I expect to remedy that but first I need to do some household due diligence/maintenance/pain in the butt stuff –long story.

Everything in life: TBD.

This is the view from my bus stop. That high rise in progress used to be a gas station.

For the first time in ages I am trying a new recipe. I am making beef broth from some bones I had in the freezer leftover from a fancy dinner a couple months ago. It smells AMAZING. I keep finding an excuse to go in the kitchen and give it a stir. But the real recipe is onion soup. I’m doing a Cooks Illustrated method of cooking the onions in the Dutch oven in the oven. We’re in about 70 minutes so far. That smells good, too.

I had my most productive writing weekend in months and months. I am plodding more quickly. But now my brain is mush and I’m still trying to tie up loose ends.

Looks like this counter works again and I like it better because seeing that percentage thing go up gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

Posted in cooking, garden, TIMBERS! | Comments Off on Cooking Along

Might Be Halfway

We bought four blueberry plants last year and this is the early one. We had a little bit of snow last night and I intended to get out there and get a photo but I was too distracted by writing and the sun has melted almost all of it away.

The goal for the weekend was to get a handle on everything I have so far and hopefully be at least halfway. I’m still not sure if I’m there yet. I rearranged some things which meant I needed to rearrange other things so I’m only about halfway to my goal of being halfway. As soon as I hit post I’m going right back to it.

If you haven’t heard from me, that’s why. The situation will not improve for some time.

This is the flowerbed out front. These will be daffodils and tulips. I meant to throw more bulbs in last fall but I don’t think I ever got around to it.

Here’s the latest on the neighbor situation. After the party I did some research and talked to the leasing agent and learned how to make a non-emergency phone call to the police. I didn’t know you could do that. So the following weekend when I was woken up again in the middle of the night, I called the police. I honestly hated to do it and there was lots of handwringing but I figured if there was going to be change someone had to do something.

I do not know what happened but the tenant came over and introduced herself this weekend and apologized for the noise and left a phone number. She has a son. They woke me up again but it was before midnight so I sucked it up. This is me trying to be reasonable. But at least we have a dialogue so looks like there is hope.

This is the daffodil situation in the backyard. That one little flower. When it snowed the flower drooped over and was buried in the tiny accumulation. This is a metaphor for everything.

I haven’t even had time to watch much Olympics. It seems like whenever I remember to turn on my DVR it’s a bunch of things I don’t care to watch. I have a list of skating programs I want to go back and find online but I haven’t gotten to that either.

Hope you’re keeping your feet warm.

Posted in doing it wrong, garden | Tagged | Comments Off on Might Be Halfway

Bad Gourd

This lizard was committed to the playing dead thing. I was like, “I know you’re not dead. Run and do something.” But it stayed frozen.

Big tragedy – the pumpkins all started getting squishy and moldy within days of bringing them into the house.

I’m not sure what went wrong. I didn’t do anything different from normal.

Maybe a spore from the garden? Maybe different weather pattern that I didn’t read right?

When I discovered the problem, I had just come home from work and was so tired I could hardly see straight. I threw them in the fridge and processed everything this weekend. I saved enough pumpkin for pies and chili.

The butternut squash are still looking good so we’ll have some soup or something fun with those.

Posted in cooking, garden | Comments Off on Bad Gourd

Junior High School Talent Show — Click the Link

My pumpkins and gourds with a beet, a few tomatoes, and a little too much photoshop.

Back in September when I took 15 minutes off, I managed to cram in two movies. I saw Wonder Woman and I saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at what used to be the “fancy theater” about 15 years ago. Now it’s $3.50 all the time and still pretty nice.

Since the ticket was so cheap I thought I’d treat myself to some popcorn. They have to make money somehow.

Here: treat yourself to a Hot Butter Popcorn earworm.

For $6.50 you could get one of those little paper bags, the same size they give you for free at the credit union.

For $7 you could get a small cup and for $8 you could get a giant tub that could house a family of 4.

I did not get any popcorn.

Posted in doing it wrong, garden | Comments Off on Junior High School Talent Show — Click the Link

Tomato Universe

The tomato situation finally grew out of control. I took everything off the windowsill and picked out all the ones that were getting squishy or had a spot or looked the ripest and I made them into soup.

I use Deborah Madison’s recipe: start with a few tablespoons of butter, handful of chopped shallots. While that cooks, quarter a bunch of tomatoes. Throw tomatoes into the pot and leave on stove for a few hours, stirring every so often. Strain and reheat. Season to taste. Add a glug of cream or whole milk if you want.

I ate a bowl, sent a bowl to my mother-in-law, saved a bowl for later, and froze a bowl for a cold terrible day in January when I will wish to remember summer. My husband isn’t a fan of tomato soup, if you’re wondering why none of this soup is for him.

It’s supposed to rain all week so I’m guessing I’m not going to get much else out of my plants. This morning I picked everything with a hint of color in it and stuck it on the windowsill. I’m leaving the plants in the ground. I can get a few more if the weather gets nice again.

I found my raincoat and put it out so I don’t have to look for it when I leave for work tomorrow. I pulled out a bunch of socks since I’ll be wearing closed toe shoes again. I didn’t flip the closet yet but I pulled out some of the stuff. I washed my long underwear since it didn’t smell delightful when I pulled it out of the storage container.

Bob’s back in school. Summer is over.

Posted in garden | Tagged | Comments Off on Tomato Universe

Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #5

Clarion West is starting week 5 today. I am reporting on my write-a-thon progress from Week #4.

I did all the things I said I’d do. A draft of the blurb/bleargh exists and I am finalizing the manuscript like a champ. I’m sending it off one week from today and I need every minute to work on it.

This week is a quick garden report:

Remember this? This is one of the tomato plants about a week after I planted it Memorial Day weekend. I wish I had a photo from when I first put them in the ground because they were about as big as my thumb.

There will be an update at the end of this post.

This was the first dahlia this yard. I have a yellow one and a few red and a couple of big pink ones out front. There are more on the way.

Check out that franken flower in the middle. It’s a head taller than the others. What’s up with that? And yes, I realize I have way too many for that tiny patch. They volunteer and I yank tons of them out but I always underestimate them. There’s one little tomato planted back there that is overrun with sunflowers and pumpkin leaves.

This is a backyard tomato that I grew from a seed. I think it’s a Stupice which is an early tomato. Probably helps if you plant it earlier which I did not.

Backyard pumpkin. In the early days the best pumpkins grew out front. This year the backyard is where the cool squash are hanging out.

Here they are – the huge tomatoes out front and growing like crazy.

Thanks again to everyone contributing to the write-a-thon. The last report said $9631 raised so far (not me, for the whole thing). Small donations are welcome. If you’re still considering a donation, please sponsor one of my great Clarion West classmates:


Posted in Clarion West, garden | Comments Off on Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #5