Tag Archives: gardening

My off day

Today was kind of a surprise, but has been known since the weekend. My wife is off, and that makes writing impossible. I moved one big chore to today so I could recover tomorrow as a writing day.

I spent quite a bit of my morning on various social media sites, because there was no good reason not to. I find myself avoiding Twitter on my off days, and this held true today. I put most of my Twitter effort into supporting others, so I tweeted out those blogs I read. I’ll get back to tweeting out your pinned tweets later this week.

I waited until about ten o’clock to head for the dump. First I salvaged the few high peaches the birds didn’t get to, and put my ladder away. The season is over, but these late peaches are the best ones I’ve ever grown. I’ve been snacking on them morning noon and night. I’ll miss them until next year.

The dump has evolved since I was a kid. In my hometown you could go to the dump whenever you wanted and it didn’t cost a thing. This included the middle of the night if that’s the time you had available. Today they have business hours and they charge.

There is the pay booth, then you have to stop again for some kind of traffic director guy. He had a problem because I had branches and grass. They want to mulch the branches, but can’t do it if there is grass worked in. I finally convinced him it was one single bag of grass and I could easily place it aside. He directed me to unload my branches, but I had to put the bag of clippings in a different place. (Dude, I’m sorry I didn’t bring two trucks so one included only a single bag of clippings.)

Finally, he handed me a green safety vest and let me in. (I’d already paid, so I didn’t think he would send me home for a second truck.) Since when do we have to wear a safety fest to unload garbage???

The load was nasty and slimy, because the remaining peach parts were rotting now. I got wet, I got slimed, and there is some kind of ooze in my truck bed now. However, it’s done. I don’t have to deal with it tomorrow, and there are no clouds on my Wednesday horizon.

I did make some baby steps on the formatting front for Viral Blues. These involved an exchange of emails to address some minor issues. It had to get done, and this kept it off my Wednesday schedule, so bonus.

Many of you were interested in my zucchini grown in a pot. This old pot has grown petunias out front for over ten years. When the idea occurred to me, I dumped the tired remaining soil in the flower bed and raked it smooth. I bought a big bag of potting soil, cleaned some doggie debris from the back yard for the bottom of the pot, then added the potting soil. When the roots reach the bottom, they’ll get a dose of high-powered fertilizer when they likely need it.

The pot is on the back patio now. I selected a bush variety to avoid vines going everywhere. Most of those don’t produce as much, but let’s face it, zucchini tend to produce more than you want anyway.

The whole project is about four feet tall now, and may get a little bigger as summer goes on. My wife is talking about some stuffed squash blossoms for supper very soon.

Attempting to write tomorrow, then it’s back to work for the rest of the week.

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The day I gave completely up

This may sound kind of spoiled to a few of you, but it’s a slice of the author life. My prime writing time has always been mornings. This applies to all endeavors in life. If you want me at my best, catch me early. This works at the paycheck job and everywhere else.

My tree trimming insists on getting done in the morning. This is a matter of necessity, because of the heat. You can see this shaping up to be a struggle.

I got up early and tackled HMS Lanternfish. It’s now over 11,000 words and growing. Today was never going to be a super productive one, because I talk to my parents every Sunday. After that, I tackled the tree… again.

With my brand new blade on the Sawsall, I sallied forth. Thirty minutes later, I’d managed to cut one branch about the size of a half-dollar. What the hell! My goal was to chunk these up into manageable sizes, removing weight until I reached the break. This way the final cut wouldn’t cause more damage.

I gave up on plan A, and tackled the big cut. This thing was smoking before I finally managed the cut, and there is still one more to do. Some minor branches got broken in the big event, so I got out the ladder and a hand saw. It seemed to work faster than the damned electronic thing did. While I was up there, I salvaged some nice high fruit.

Old What’s Her Face came home from work and helped me load my truck. I was nearly there… until she said, “The dump is closed today. You can just do it tomorrow.” That’s when I lost it. I’ve given up my morning every single day of this vacation for this stupid project. Now I have to give up even more time to finish it.

She reminded me that she’s off Tuesday, which isn’t ideal for my productivity. I wanted to go through the roof, but resisted. Essentially, I lost Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. I don’t begrudge her a day off, it’s just the way things happen. I decided the damned residue could sit in my truck until Tuesday, and I’d haul it off then.

If you remember the heat, my garage smells like peach schnapps now, and I don’t care. I’ll deal with it Tuesday, but I’m going to do my thing – for me – tomorrow. (And I’m going to drink tonight. The hard stuff.)

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Not a writing day

Otto let me sleep in until 6:00. It felt good after a week at 4:00. Today is my flex day, but Old What’s Her Face is off today too. I fed the dogs and they went back to bed with my wife.

She likes to sleep in, so I took my chance, it just wasn’t my day for it. I weaved through social media, then backed up a chapter and made a few adjustments so I could forge ahead.

That’s when my wife and the dogs woke up for real. I know when to admit defeat, and I’ll have the house to myself tomorrow.

I picked these a few moments ago.

There are probably another hundred basket-fulls still on the tree. I may take a basket to the office if I remember to pick them Sunday night. My wife wants to take some to the hospital too.

The birds are starting to get to some of them, but the tree produces enough for everyone. I just glean through mine to make sure they haven’t been sampled.

These went in the refrigerator to chill for a while. Then I’m going to eat them as presented. I might dig out some salsa or a daiquiri recipe. Maybe I’ll make a cobbler, but I’m leaning more toward some waffles covered with peaches instead.

It wasn’t much of a writing day, but my chances were low anyway. Besides, the battle for the rope toy is going on under my chair.

It’s been a loooong work week for me. It might not be a bad thing to kick back for a day and eat peaches.

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Home once more

I got home about 10:00 last night. My final seminar lasted until noon, and I had a tight connection in Houston. Of course Houston had traffic problems, so we got parked on the runway in NOLA.

By the time we got there, we had to run from one plane to the other, but we made it. This left me in a position of having the standard powdered egg breakfast at my hotel, and nothing else all day. I planned on a burger in Houston.

I avoided sitting by the weirdo, or the rowdy children on the planes. Everything was good until the last plane, Houston to Boise. This is when the lady who marinated in perfume sat beside me. I sneezed the whole way home.

It was a good trip. I went to some good seminars, volunteered for a few projects, and got to see some old friends from other states. Even got my one night out for a decent meal.

The dogs were happy to see me. We had to play with all their toys today. I woke up to this in my back yard.

If the weather allows it, I could have some peaches this summer. I don’t see any bees yet, so I hope a few show up.

I worked up shticks for two more Lisa Burton Radio interviews and got them out the door. I have a dozen I could work on, but don’t see the value in creating a backlog when it comes time to post them.

I also wrote and scheduled my next item on Story Empire. I tried to simplify a complex issue, so we’ll see how it comes across. I added one photo, but it doesn’t seem sexy enough for Story Empire. I may find another image and squeeze it in. It doesn’t post for another week.

Now I have to baby my sourdough starter. My wife kept it fed, but it looks like it took a hit. I’ll have it in baking shape in a week.

Many of you asked about Laurie’s trick for the Charlie horses. This was down in the comments the other day. She said to place a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near where I got all the cramps. I tried it, and did not get any more Charlie horses. I toned down the long walks, and drank more water, so I can’t say for sure if the soap made the difference, but there were no more cramps.

I googled this and it’s a real thing. I don’t care so much about the science behind it. If it lets me sleep and gets rid of the cramps, I’m all over it. Thank you, Laurie.

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The saga of my weekend

Yesterday was the day of chores. Disassembling the sink was the easy part. Even reassembling it wasn't too bad. I have creaky parts today in my body, presumably from crawling around in the sink cabinet.

What is the deal with that stopper linkage? It isn't bad enough to have to crawl around and get covered with old sink gunk. At the end, you have to solve some kind of money puzzle that is kind of like taking the bent nail off of a horseshoe while blindfolded, contorted into a pretzel, and with your hands behind your back.

I confess that my sink still doesn't have a functional stopper, but I can use it otherwise. I'll probably get it if I keep trying for another few months.

I also managed to fertilize the lawn. Old What's Her Face* bought into a system from Zamzow's this year. We have to put certain bags of stuff on the lawn at certain times to make everything beautiful. I have no idea what their Humagreen product has in it, but it is the dirtiest stuff I've ever seen.

My feet turned black while looking at the bag, and it got worse from there. I bathed immediately afterward, and the black stuff sunk to the bottom and formed a sandbar. I Googled the ingredients, and it contains 10% iron. Iron's heavy enough to act like that.

Blog break: Otto invaded Old What's Her Face's shower. It was my job to dry him off, now he's running around like a crazy dog. Back to the weekend report.

We had date night at The Yardhouse. I had an upscale hamburger, and it was so filling I couldn't finish. I had a couple of wonderful beers, a stout and a Belgian Quad.

I woke up this morning to the sound of sirens. Someone must have decided to run from the cops at 6:00 AM. They must have driven circles around my subdivision.

Good news, we've had rain and thunderstorms all day. Idaho needs the water, but that has to be great for the fertilizer I just spread. I'm taking it as a stroke of luck.

After calling my parents this morning, I decided to tackle writerly things. I worked through my critiques and shaped up The Yak Guy Project. I decided I need to rewrite a character the guys haven't even seen yet. Yak Guy has several mentors, and I find them all talking the same way. This one can be more of an older brother type character to make him distinct. It's going to take some time, but will be well worth it.

I also worked through a wonderful markup of The Experimental Notebook II. This also took some time, but it improved my short stories greatly. Everything is looking good on my publishing schedule for this one.

This afternoon, I assembled another Lisa Burton Radio show, and scheduled a couple of guest posts to this blog. We have several interesting guests this week, so stay tuned.

I never wrote a single new word of fiction, but consider it a very productive weekend. I hope all of you had a great one too.

* Not my wife's actual name.

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A day of chores

Old What’s her Face* took Otto to Nevada this weekend. That left me to my own devices, and I have some chores to take care of.

I started out early to avoid the heat. I watered all the potted plants and baskets, then trimmed up my crab apple tree. Part of it decided to grow downward, as apples will, and the weight of the fruit had it covering the lawn. I sawed off three branches as thick as my arm and dragged them out front. I need to cut them up for the garbage man, but need a better temperature. Maybe tomorrow. This is green wood, plus fruit. I swear I’ve dragged mule deer bucks that weighed less than the biggest branch.

I sprayed Sevin on my fruit trees next. This is a mild insecticide, intended for vegetable gardens. Coddling Moth can ruin my fruit, and the Sevin usually takes care of them without resorting to crop dusters or anything. It was a bonus having Otto gone for a few days, because the lawn will water a couple of times before he returns, and he doesn’t climb trees (yet).

I was still driving on the factory tires that came with my Tundra. I checked the tread and knew it wasn’t looking too good. When I got it serviced a couple of weeks ago they confirmed it. Today I waited at Les Schwab while they installed four new ones. Tires are ungodly expensive these days, but I don’t want to drag the camper to the coast on four old baldies either.

While I was out, I picked up ink cartridges for the printer. These are expensive too, and we use a lot of ink around here. It’s gotten to the point where I can almost by a new printer for the cost of ink cartridges. I haven’t loaded them yet, because I’m waiting for one more critique submission. If he doesn’t deliver it this weekend, I may not be able to work on it before we meet.

I spent the hot hours indoors with my next Notebook. I did a bunch of word searches. It’s interesting how target words show up inside other words. There shows up in gathered, was shows up in wash, etc. I also finished a comprehension pass.

I have a few more passes, but will be asking for beta readers soon. Maybe even sometime this week. Cover art is coming, and I want to release this at the end of summer some time. I have a rough plan, but some of it depends on my book club.

Rest of the evening? Since baseball is a pay-per-view option these days, maybe I’ll crack open a beer and watch a movie.

*Not my wife’s actual name

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They taste a little bit like artichokes

I got to the writing cabin later than usual. It was great sleeping in, and the crisp morning air made it hard to get out of bed. Even the new puppy slept in.

The weather was so nice, I left the gyrocopter on the runway and walked in through the front door. Lisa* stepped around the corner to see what was going on. She wore some old school envelope jeans and a tiny Summer top.

“That doesn't look like office appropriate attire.”

“You were supposed to go fishing today. That means it's not an office today.”

“Oh, the wind blew the kids' tent over and they came home. Fishing's off. Tonight we have a houseful of grandkids, so I thought I'd stop by to get some things done. I haven't seen those fold over, envelope jeans since 1990. They were pretty hot back in the day. Where did you find them?”

“I think they're hot too, and they aren't easy to find.” She twirled in a circle to show them off. “eBay has them though. I planned on working outside, but that's okay. What are we going to do?”

“I think I'll catch up on some reading. You can do whatever you had planned. Is there any coffee?”

“I'll make some. Then I'm putting your mouse-eating house plants out for the Summer. It's nice outside now. <Snort> Mouse-eating house plants, they're mouseplants, get it?”

“Um, yeah. I'll be in my office, reading if you need me.” I dug into Naked Alliances by S. K. Nichols. This book hasn't been published yet, but you guys are in for a treat when it is. I finished it and really enjoyed it.

Lisa donned a big Summer hat and lugged potted plants out to the deck. She went downstairs and brought back a small bag of fertilizer.

I assembled a blog post for later this week, I love the scheduling feature on WordPress. I gripe about them, but I think they're still the best blogging option out there.

When I surfed through social media, I posted a picture of Otto on Facebook. He's pretty popular, and maybe he can bait a few people into following my Entertaining Stories page. Can you imagine doubling your size in two weeks and how that must feel? It's no wonder puppies take a bunch of naps and eat like crazy, they need the energy for growing.

I nearly started reading Wings of Mayhem, by Sue Coletta. I've wanted to read this one for a long time, and will start it before the weekend's over.

Lisa screamed, followed by a clanging of kitchen pots, running water, and slamming kitchen cabinets.

“What are you doing out there? Is everything alright?”

“Everything's just fine! I'm starting your lunch.”

“Sounds good, what are we having?”

“It's, um something new. Kind of a vegetarian delight.”

You know it isn't half bad, tastes a little bit like artichokes once you get past the teeth. Does anyone know if you can start a new mouseplant from a leaf cutting?

*Lisa is my robotic personal assistant. She's also the spokesmodel for Entertaining Stories and my writing career. She has her own Facebook page here.

I'm also looking for more followers on the Entertaining Stories Facebook page, if you're so inclined. You know you want to, there's a new picture of Otto and his pull toy.

 

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Stresssss!

Today was rough. My wife was in a panic because she couldn't retrieve her email off the Cableone account. She connected with some service kid in Bangalore. Then she yelled at him, because he couldn't understand her. She was to the point of stomping her hoof, once for yes and two for no, before handing the phone to me. I had the poor tech in one ear and my angry wife in the other for well over two hours. (And I wonder how I wound up with high blood pressure.)

I wound up allowing him to access our computer to fix the problem, which still took over an hour. I need to go back in and lock out access after I post this.

Then my work contacted me, because apparently no one can cover for me if I take a vacation. If I never take a vacation I get in trouble for that. I'm almost better off to go home and never plan anything, just so I can be available on-call to approve things.

We spent the afternoon loading the camper and hooking up the truck. I have several items locked in my backseat. I'll transfer those to the truck bed before we drive away. I just didn't want someone stealing them overnight.

Right now, I'm about ready to scream, and may still. The only saving grace was my father. He grew this in his vegetable garden and is very proud of it.

To tell you the truth, I don't know if it's one of their fancy odd colored carrots, or if it's a parsnip. It kind of made my day in the same way it made Dad's. It's probably a good thing I didn't see this before writing Will O' the Wisp. Those who read the book will know what I'm referring to.

It's even more entertaining after two pints of Smithwick's. I rarely post on Tuesdays, but tomorrow is mostly about traveling. I can probably answer comments after I get camp made. Have a great time and I'll check in later.

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Slacker!

I skipped my normal Sunday post this weekend. It isn't that I had no topic, we were just busy. It didn't even involve writing related stuff.

My wife earmarked the spot where my deceased apricot tree was removed. She's also a sucker for a good promotion. A local nursery gives away what they call “bucks” during the Spring and early Summer sales period. If you save these bucks, you can use them after the season winds down to purchase items they didn't sell during the rush. (I was thinking tools perhaps. Silly me.)

It's a great business idea. People who don't care where they buy petunias go out of their way to shop where they get bucks. They return toward the end of the season to spend bucks on junk the nursery could not sell.

This time, we got lucky. My wife picked out a magnolia tree that was over $100. We paid less than $40 because she had so many bucks to spend. That means I got to plant a rather large tree on Sunday. Our soil is rocky, and this takes a bit of effort. I even screened the soil to remove the rocks before it went back in the hole. (I didn't need dynamite, but it was close.) (Also, can I get some bucks for a back massage and some muscle relaxers?)

Immediately after finishing it was time to clean up, and dress up. We made a mad dash to The Morrison Center to watch The Book of Mormon. This is the Broadway play that was put together by the fellows who brought us South Park. We wound up getting there about fifteen minutes late because a stoplight was out.

Sometimes even I get lucky. So many patrons were blocked by the light that they held up the curtain. All was well. The play was hilarious. We grabbed a sandwich and a beer on the way home, and that about did it for me.

Tomorrow, we have tickets to the final tour for Motley Crüe. My wife is way excited, but I saw them live before I ever met her. They will be excellent, and I'm not worried about being bored. I'm looking forward to Alice Cooper who is also part of the bill. I've never seen him perform, and always wanted to.

We almost never buy tickets to the big stuff. It's kind of once per year, or less. It just so happens this year we have tickets to two events in three days. If I consider the play as last year's event, and the concert as this year's event, can I go to something fun again next summer?

Oddly enough, I need a tie for work tomorrow. Sunday, I went from shorts and a tee shirt to putting on a tie for the play. Tomorrow, I'll rush home to get rid of the tie and pull on shorts and a tee shirt.

So I was a slacker in blogland. I may have missed a post or two that I should have read. I didn't write, edit, or promote a darned thing. I had a pretty good time though. I may even see some interesting people to make up stories about tomorrow.

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Petunias, manure, and Ultron

It was one of those days today. My wife had a workout class for an hour and a half this morning. I used the time to add five pages to my new story. It isn’t much, but it’s progress. I’ve been tied up for weeks and it felt good to move the story ahead.

We went to a high dollar nursery and bought some potted plants for our porch and back deck. I think I must be in the wrong business. I could shove a bunch of annual flowers in a peat pot, put a basic plastic hanger on it, and sell it for $80.

I’m not above doing it either, but my wife believes the more you pay for something the better it is. We drove down the road to Home Depot and bought many flats of petunias. I had the guy load me up with ten bags of manure too.

This year the manure is for the flower beds. Some years I top dress the lawn, but the beds really needed it this year. After spreading it, I took a long bath. Old What’s Her Face* used her iPad to buy our Avengers tickets.

Our daughter decided to go with us, and she’s 21 now. We bought tickets to the adult section of the theatre. They serve beer and real food up there.

Our daughter took so long to get ready that we completely missed the window to order beer and hot food. The maddening part was that she’d been at work and already looked fine to go out. I will never understand those females that take hours to go anywhere. My wife has always been wash and wear, and that’s something we never had to deal with.

I walked down to the bar during the previews and ordered my own beer anyway. I’m creative like that.

Ultron is an artificial intelligence housed in a robot who wants to destroy the world. It’s a comic book movie, they always want to destroy the world.

In a way, it made me think of Lisa Burton, one of my original characters. She’s a robot too, and she pays the price for all the terminators, HALs, and Ultrons out there. She’s the artificial intelligence who doesn’t want to destroy the world. She just wants to blend into society.

I really enjoyed the movie, but it isn’t as good as the first one. (In my opinion.) There are so many characters that none of them get much screen time. Still, I enjoyed it and that’s what counts.

After that, it was a late dinner and home. We were busy and got a lot accomplished. I even managed a few new words.

* Not the name on my wife’s birth certificate.

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