Category Archives: garden

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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The Tomato of Disappointment

I was so excited to spot this little guy. And then crushed with disappointment.

Bob: Are you still going to eat it?

Me: Of course.

(I have more vacation stuff. Stay tuned.)

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Hey. This Thing Still Work?

My husband is hilarious. He’s going on an overnight trip and I bought him some food to take with him. (I’m hilarious too because the first thing I thought when he told me he would be gone overnight was: oh yay. I can clean the oven.)

He blustered through the door this afternoon to pick something up at the house before he ran out and did errands. He suddenly stopped and said: You bought me snacks.

He was thrilled. We had to stop and look at them. You know, fancy stuff like beef jerky and “nutritious” bars with almonds and dried cranberries.

I’m working another project of August. I’ve been outlining and planning and I finally am grinding out words. The timeframe is a little tight but I can do it. (er, I think.) Already I panic every time I see something added to the calendar.

So far, I’ve been invited to 5 things on June 11. Is that some sort of magical day? Keep in mind that in a big year, I’m invited to 5 things all year. One of the events is a wedding out of town and the bride asked me to save the date last summer so gratefully, I don’t have to dither around trying to pick.

Earlier this year I found a bowl of pumpkin seeds I saved from my pumpkins. I was replacing it with a new bowl and for some reason I threw the old bowl in the compost.

Right now my back garden has tons of potatoes, tons of tomatillos and surprise: tons of pumpkin volunteers.

There were so many I finally had to break down and yank some of the pumpkins which broke my heart. Let the pumpkins live! A couple hours later I realized, I could transplant them to the front. I usually sprout them on the window sill to put out front anyway. So I dug them out of the compost and planted in the front yard.

You can see how thrilled they are to be there. I’m going to sprout some seeds on the window sill, too. I pretty sure these are going to end up back in the compost.

And look how quick the slugs got at them. That was less than 24 hours and there were huge holes in the leaves. Slug bait has been slung.

Project of August which I hope will have a name soon:

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Guess I’m Not Going To Catch Up On Yard Work

Either I have weather and no time or time and no weather.

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Little Green Tidbits

Last weekend I cleared out the front flower bed in honor of the bulbs. There’s already a cat turd right in the middle of the cleared out spot. Delightful animals!

But also these cute green little bits pushing their way out.

I have an old email address (since 2004) with a sorta cartoony name and over Christmas someone started using it to sign up for various social media. I’m assuming this person is doing so mistakenly. Out of curiosity I put the name into a search engine and every hit on the first page was something inappropriate and included the words: hot teen.

How does this happen to me?

I ignored the first round but there was a second attempt to confirm an Instagram account. The confirmation email says click here if this isn’t you. I clicked here and went to a page that said: invalid URL. Now that I had committed to caring about this I went to the support page where it said I could report a feature that wasn’t working, except there was no place to report anything. It was just menus with examples of problems a user could have none of them having to do with a random hot “teen” who doesn’t know her own damn email address.

That was the end of my good citizen attempt to fix. It’s hard to be optimistic that this is over.

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The Potato Portal Is Real

After threatening to go out and work in the yard for months but never actually doing it, I managed to put in a couple hours this weekend.

I cut back all kinds of dead stalks. I raked up a bunch of stuff on the garden plot that wasn’t going to compost and look what rolled out.

A potato.

It’s like they’re just messing with me.

I hope that long after I’m gone that patch of land is known for bubbling up with potatoes from nowhere.

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