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Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” – Thomas A. Edison

I’m not sure if I am astounding myself, but I am working hard on numerous projects:

*Judging a poetry competition–both a fun and challenging job. I love reading what creative minds come up with!

Rocket space ship . Mixed media*Editing 2 anthologies, “Re-Launch” and “Re-Quest” for Pole to Pole Publishing. And I will be reading for 2 more anthologies (“Re-Terrify” and “Re-Enchanted”) shortly.

*Finishing a novel, adding to 2 in-progress short story collections, and working on a nonfiction book.

*Writing several short stories and poems for anthologies or magazines.

*Thinning the book herd. (My bookshelves are sagging dangerously low).

*Putting together a bibliography of my writing and illustrations – then, entering the speculative work into http://isfdb.org  Plus, if the publication qualifies, adding it to my listing on Poets & Writers data base.

*Working on genealogy–and putting together several books based on that information. Yes, I know these publications won’t be “best-sellers,” but it’s a nice way to preserve the information and make it available to family members and other interested people. And I have no “time limit” on these books — as more information trickles in and I want to include as much as possible. (Librarians be warned, I will need help in doing the research to “ground” these historical accounts in history).

*Knitting 30-plus scarf & hat sets by Christmas for daughters (I do call my daughters-in-law, “daughters,” too, because they are dear to me), sisters, nieces, etc. I was given a huge amount of lovely yarn, and I’m aiming to use up much of it in the process. Plus, knitting at least a dozen men’s hats for sons, nephews, brothers-in-law, etc. for Christmas.

*Then, there is family: time spent with husband, kids, grandkids, friends, my mom and other family members. And art – I want to paint at least 2 new pieces of cover art this summer. And visits – I’ve fallen behind on my visits due to a 2017 and 2016 filled with trips to NC and SC to help older relatives who were dying. Wait, I’ve forgotten gardening! My gardens so need work. And the birds – feeders need to be repaired or replaced and birdhouses need to be hung.

I could (and should) go on. But I hope you get the idea.

I encourage you to look at your life. List what you are doing and what goals you can set for yourself. Can’t think of anything to do? Check out the volunteer opportunities in your area. I challenge you to astound yourself!

 

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I enjoy gardening – though since my fall  last July I’ve done less of it than I like. But I’m always on the look out for tips to make my life as a gardener easierm and to make my plants happier. (Also, it’s bonus if there’s a remedy for the much dreaded stink bug invasion!)

So I was intrigued with an article I spotted on using Epsom Salt as a garden tool. I plan to try a few of these hints, maybe you’ll want to try them, too. Here’s the link to Epsom Salt Is A Secret Weapon That Every Gardener Should Have.

And let me know what works (or doesn’t for you.

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I often write in my bio to be used at the end of a story or the back of an anthology or book which contains my writing that I believe the world is still filled with mystery, magic, and miracles. And I do still believe. But I think the number of us who still listen to the voices of the cicada and crickets in September as they foretell the arrival of autumn is growing smaller.

When the first star appears in the dusky sky, less and less of us make a wish. When salt spills, fewer and fewer of us toss a few grains over our left shoulder into the devil’s eye. And I don’t know many other people who still make sure they put their right shoe on first in the morning so they’ll have a good day.

The magic which permeated our lives and world is slowly vanishing. Perhaps it’s because many people don’t believe any more. Perhaps it’s because the hum of air conditioners and thrum of automobile’s have made it too hard for us to hear the whispers of fairies in the garden.

I’ve heard the term, Granny Witch, used to describe women who dabbled in herb-craft, storytelling, and maybe a bit of dousing. The women who say a prayer or make a wish for good health as they knit a blanket for a baby. The girls who add not just sugar and flour, but blessings, to every cake they bake.

I suppose as a teller of stories, a grower of herbs, a star-wisher, cloverhand, and knitter & crocheter of special gifts, I qualify as a Granny Witch. and I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

Here’s the link for a fabulous essay on Granny Witches at Appalachian Ink, the blog of writer Anna Wess.

 

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‘”There,” Jon said. He swung his horse around and galloped back across the bridge. They watched him dismount where the direwolf lay dead in the snow, watching him kneel. A moment later he was riding back to them, smiling.

“He must have crawled away from the others,” Jon said.

“Or been driven away,” their father said, looking at the sixth pup. His fur was white, where the rest of the litter was grey. His eyes were as red as the blood of the ragged man who had died that morning. Bran thought it curious that this pup alone would have opened his eyes while the others were still blind.’ — George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

I’m a fan of George R.R. Martin’s writing. In this seemingly small exchange from the beginning of the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, the reader learns a lot about the children of Ned Stark. Since the direwolves are each given to one of Ned’s children, the quote seems to say that Jon is a Stark, too, and that he’s the only one who will see when his “brothers” and “sisters” are still blind. Hmm!

But that’s not why I picked a George R.R. Martin quote. I was pointed to an interesting article about the opening of a novel by fellow Broad Universe member, Greta van der Rol. In Myth #3 – ‘You have to know your “story problem” and “protagonist’s problem” before you start,’ the old terms “planners” and “pantsers” are used. I’ve never been a fan of those terms, and found the terms used by George R.R. Martin in that paragraph, “architects and gardeners,” more appealing and more accurate.

I count myself among the “gardeners,” because I, like Martin, plant a seed with just an idea of what the seed might become.

So for all you architects (outliners and planners), gardeners (those who write by the seat of their pants), and readers who enjoy understanding the inner workings of writing – check out Lit Reactor’s What Every Successful Novel Opening Must Do: Myth vs. Reality by Susan Defreitas. Let me know what you think!

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Some days, I don’t have the necessary motivation to write (or paint). Perhaps I’m tired physically, mentally, or emotionally,  perhaps I’ve received one too many rejection letters, or perhaps I’m overwhelmed with the hugeness of a task. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to lift my hands to type, much less turn on the necessary creativity to build a world!

But feelings of being overwhelmed or just not motivated, dog us all — not only in writing and art, but in life. Maybe the lawn needs a machete before you turn on the lawn mower, maybe the shelves are bare before you go food shopping, or maybe the spiders’ webs have begun to block your view out your windows before you take a broom to them.

For me, I need to set a small, reachable goal for the day. Something along the lines of: paint a background wash on a painting or revise the first page of a story or weed the first three feet of a flower garden. Quite often, once I begin the task, I find myself completing far more than I anticipated. But even if I only achieve the small goal I set for the day, I’ve already decided it will be enough.

I think the slow, but steady approach to mountains of work is the best approach for me. For some people, having a scheduled time or a set routine also helps. For me, it’s hard to keep to schedules and routines, but whether I devote an hour to writing at 9 AM or 9 PM, it’s the goal of spending an hour on my writing that I focus on achieving.

For another point of view, check out this article from Life on the Sunnyside.

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Some gardeners are practical sorts with a focus on tidy rows and neatly-trimmed shrubs. I am not one of those gardeners!

I like the look of a garden that is unexpected – one with little nooks and crannies and surprises. I have quite a few cement animals and gargoyles hidden here and there amongst my flowers. I enjoy the surprised and delighted looks on the faces of children and the young-at-heart who spot the hidden garden statues.

I’ve decided to add a Fairy Garden to my backyard this year. And why not? Surely, there must be sprites and gnomes visiting my garden along with the rabbits, squirrels, snakes, crows, toads, and various other woodland creatures.

For a magical article with pictures of fairy gardens, check out a recent post, Fantastic Fairy Gardens, from House of Hawthornes.

Happy gardening, and happy fairy watching!

 

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Today, a break from my usual science-fiction, fantasy, and writing-related posts. Though, of course, as I read the article whose link is at the bottome of the post, I couldn’t resist jotting a couple of ideas down for potential stories!

Ladybugs, or lady-beetles, if you prefer are a gardener’s friend. They consume lots of other insects which are harmful to the plants we (yes, I dabble in gardening) are trying to cultivate.

Their bright, red-with-black-spots wings make them a favorite with children and children’s book authors. Though if anyone has picked them up, they’ve found these cute insects have a rather nasty smelly! Why, there’s even a children’s rhyme urging a ladybug to hurry home and rescue her children.

A fun look at a rainbow of ladybugs can be viewed in this article.

Happy reading, and happy gardening, too!

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