Category Archives: garden

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:


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Clarion West Beg-A-Thon Week #2

You know what loves this hot weather we’re having? The garden. This morning I wandered through and you could practically measure how much taller the tomatoes are today. Things are blossoming. It’s nice out there if you don’t mind the heat.

My writing goals do not slot easily into 6 week bits but this week I accomplished the following:

–> In early drafts I tend to use repetitive phrases and words. When I put together the early reader draft, I made a list of items to go back and look for. I did that and while doing that identified some others to work on this week.
–> I worked on the blurb. It’s not done but I have a start to work with.
–> I worked on the prequel story which I am spending way too much time on but I love these characters. I wrote about 700 words.

The plan is to continue on this course except maybe more faster on the prequel story.

As of this minute – these are my classmates who are doing the write-a-thon. The folks not listed are surprisingly strong at resisting my powers of persuasion. I think this is it. Fourteen out of eighteen is still pretty good. If you are inclined to donate, please pick any one of them. They would all love it.


This is the main garden and looks like a mess because, as always, I didn’t pull enough of the sunflowers out. Colleague gave me some heirloom seeds that they handed out at a national tribal event, I can’t remember which one, and I have a couple of stalks of corn in there, too.

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Current State of The Garden and Reading Report

This the garden at the moment — mostly volunteers and who knows what from when I wildly scattered seeds everywhere.

Today I wanted to write about my Goodreads accounts except I’ve fried up all my time trying to fix a couple of simple things which led to having to update and reset passwords and click and reclick in a circular FAQ where no questions were answered and now I’m tired and cranky and don’t feel very charitable toward Goodreads.

Different part of garden with volunteers and surprise-me-later seed dispersal.

Pen name has a Goodreads here.

I have a profile here.

I periodically check in and add books I’ve read and rate them and try to add books I want to read.

I noticed that I still had Ted Chaing’s Story of Your Life up there. I have no idea what happened to that book. I *might* have left it at my mom’s. But I also remember leaving it at the office because sometimes when I’m by myself I have time to read when I finish eating my lunch. That’s the last place I remember seeing it and it’s not there now.

I would be pleased to learn that it was stolen. I would love to be a part of someone discovering that book, even a book thief.

Meanwhile, I never finished it. The book reading situation is bad, just no time for reading. After three weeks I’m about a fourth of the way through Paladin of Souls – I have relented and read books on my phone now because then I always have them with me. So I might finish it by July.

I am about three weeks out from having to turn the manuscript over to beta readers and it’s still a frustrating mess. All my time and energy is on that right now.

My good news is I have a new spec fiction story coming out in Apex Magazine. I will post details when I have them.

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