Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On an Early Spring

     You were all warned that this next post was going to be about all things green. I can't help it, the urge to plant, cultivate, and harvest runs deep in the DNA. My mother came from a farming family and she had us kids in our large garden from the time we could walk. I was helping to harvest strawberries and cucumbers before I knew how to read or write what they were. It is something we all took pride in, especially as we grew older and were able to help our elderly neighbor with his two acre plot of green goodness. Ol' Ben and I spent many long hours under the shade of two trees that sat smack in the middle of his yard. He'd be in his chair and I'd perch on the picnic table, all legs and full of questions. I loved that man as if he were my own grandfather and miss him dearly. Between him and my mother there was no chance for the green thumb to remain dormant.
     Even when I could not have a proper garden, containers filled with tomatoes, peppers, carrots and lettuce would line the porch. Now that my husband and I live on a beautiful three acres, my life is made so much more sweet. We have five 4 x 10 raised beds, with a sixth one going in this year. Out of those seemingly small beds we raised enough vegetables and legumes that, since November, we've only purchased one bag of frozen vegetables and no cans. Where my mother shied away from preserving in any form other than freezing, I have embraced the pressure canner and food dehydrator. Our kitchen cabinets and pantry are lined with various products of our labor.
    And now, it is starting again. Last week, the box of seeds was taken from its secure location. Packets were counted, lists were made, visits to the co-op and an online heirloom seed exchange kept the credit card active and the "master plan" was drawn on graph paper. On Saturday, the table and grow lights were set up indoors. A collection cardboard drink containers, the tops cut away and bottoms rinsed, along with various planters, were lined up. Out on the porch, a mess was being made as I painstakingly mixed a custom starter soil and hauled the tub of it inside. The seeds, preciously tiny promises of a future plant full of nutritious fruits, were pressed into the soil and lovingly covered. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, marigolds, basil, parsley, and more are now burrowed in the ground, starting the birthing process and preparing to break soil and grow up towards the light.
     Next weekend, the first of the early outdoor crops will do the same. The beds have already been supplemented and turned over, thanks to the help of one very eager teenager. We built a second fruit bed, and the strawberries which I have carried from house to house for six years now are finally in a permanent location. Spring, it is my favorite time of the year.

    *Book update! I was interviewed by the local paper last week. We are waiting with anticipation to see the article. Sales have been steady and reviews have been amazing. I'm really hoping that this article will help with the next stage of breaking into the public. I'll be back up in Winchester soon too, following up with the bookstores who have offered signing events and consignment sales.*

Thursday, February 2, 2012

On Time Flying

     Here it is, February second, and I'm wondering why it has been so long since the last blog post. Some of you may be thinking the same thing. Last month went by in a blur and, looking back, it was quite an interesting one.
     January seemed to have started off slowly. Working as a substitute meant I was home on most days because refreshed teachers, term one ending, and state tests meant very few were taking days off. Those days at home were emotionally frustrating. I wanted to be at work and was missing the human contact. However, it allowed me to start on our big computer room renovation. The house is still a mess from that, but the new wall-to-wall bookshelf will be up by this weekend. Did I ever mention that I love painting? Working on those shelves, doing layer after layer of primer and paint...it is something I really do enjoy. Once those early days were over with though, I've been in the schools constantly and the rest of the month seemed to vanish in moments.
      Those days off also meant I could start working on book two. Yes, I know that book one has only been out for thirteen weeks, but these things don't write themselves. It was quite the experience, starting the second book in a series. There is a fine line to walk between writing enough information so that those who skipped the first one are not totally lost and the other side of saying too much. The first nineteen pages took quite a few re-writes before getting to that point. Midnight to Morning has been entered into the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist contest and I am praying it makes it at least through the first round. Self-promoting takes a lot of time and January was a bit slow for sales. However, several new reviews were written and praise God they were all good. I'll be focusing this month on getting the novel onto some sites that are specifically for self-promoting and will be continuing my efforts to let the local public know about it.
      I've found other creative outlets too. Don't get me wrong, I am still mourning the loss of my original outlet, SWG, but I've found a few things to keep my ADD mind going. Minecraft is a seemingly simple, yet amazingly complex building and survival game. While I love playing on our multi-player server, I have found something even better. The game in creative mode gives you all the building blocks and parts available. My big project is building the underground bunker from Midnight to Morning inside this virtual world. Sadly though, that is an isolating exercise. For the social side of me, there is Star Trek Online. It is now a free-to-play game and some of my old guild members are there. FDWS (the guild) may once again rise from the ashes! When I'm not there, my dear friend and I have gone back to Shores of Hazeron. It is a early beta test, really buggy, colony game, but its completely addictive. The big difference with all three though, is I am limiting my time online. There is so much I want to do away from the computer, that I've been logging in late and leaving early to do those things. Yes, that surprises even me! It has allowed this month to go quickly though and also allowed me to feel like so much more is being accomplished. Looking forward to what this month brings.
     This month? Well it is February....that means the homestead growing season starts in just a couple of weeks. But that is for another post (one done after the deck greenhouse is set back up and my fingernails are dirt filled) **for a hint of what is to come, see my Amazon store...its linked to this site**
Clear Skies!