Catchin’ Up!

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

catching-up
Slow But Steady Wins The Race…Right?

Wow, the last few weeks have gone by in a blur, and I’m still far behind, try as I might. My inner tortoise is beating the crap outta that wily hare! I’ve had bad news (an injured back that’s almost well and foot problems that might entail yet another steel pin), good news (my first novel, Wake-Robin Ridge, made the Amazon Top 100 Best Sellers list in Fiction/Ghosts, and just regular news (hangin’ in there pretty well for a ol’ granny like myself).

This week, I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done, even though I’m not caught up yet. I finished my draft of A Boy Named Rabbit(the sequel to Wake-Robin Ridge), and it is now in edit, and hopefully will be released next month. I’m four chapters into Hunter, the sequel to Swamp Ghosts, and on schedule for…

View original 281 more words

Arizona Sun Gaillardia

gaillardia_arizona_sun

Gaillardia “Arizona Sun”
Picture found online.

We lost another of our beautiful big oak trees a few weeks ago, and the shade that came with it. Consequently, the bromeliads that had been planted around the mailbox were suddenly in full sun, and burning up rapidly. Mark moved them out, and I bought three nice looking bright yellow lantanas, one for behind, and  one for each side of the mailbox, and then I went looking for something low and colorful (and cheap) for in front of it. I ended up with some very nice looking gaillardias that I think will give me several months of color, while I consider something more permanent in this spot. The variety I found was Arizona Sun, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in full bloom. Hope they will look just like these pictures! Who grows gaillardia? Have any luck with it?

In Florida, winter is the time for many annuals that just can’t take our heat, including petunias, nasturtiums , and dianthus, to name a few. This is my favorite time of year to garden…or at least, it soon will be. I can feel just the tiniest hint of fall weather first thing in the mornings, even though it’s still hitting 90 or so by mid-afternoon. But even that little bit is enough to get me in the mood.

arizona_sun

It’s Time To GARDEN Once Again!

lablab
Purple Hyacinth Bean, or Lablab
(Photo found online)

Wow. Summer is leaving, thankfully, and cooler temps are beginning to pop up, a day here, and a day, there. That means I can start to spend an hour or two in my yard again, clearing out “excessive horticultural overgrowth” and planting winter annuals and veggies. For the last four months, I’ve been trapped inside, but I’ve been so busy working on my third novel, I didn’t have time to go outside, anyway, so I guess it worked out okay. Now as I near the end of my first draft, I can afford to take a few hours off a week to do the other thing that’s good for my soul. Plant stuff! :)

Question for any of you loyal followers who have stuck around while I was busy elsewhere. How many of you grow lablab, or purple hyacinth bean? I ordered some seeds from amazon a few weeks ago, and have been very pleased. I found a supplier offering 100 for $4.95 (the same price as those offering TEN!) I crossed my fingers that the seeds were viable, and planted them in a container by the framework of my patio gazebo. It said germination was ten days to two weeks. In three days, sprouts were popping up everywhere. In 3 weeks the first vines were nearing the top of the gazebo. And now, roughly 8 weeks later, the vines have flowers galore and purple bean pods coming out.

I’m really pleased with this one, and am planning to do the same thing on the opposing corner of the gazebo, so the vines can meet in the middle.

I’d like to hear from others who’ve grown this. There is an online argument as to whether the beans are edible, and from what I can gather, MOST sources say they can be toxic in large amounts, and recommend boiling them twice, throwing away the water each time. I don’t think I want to eat anything enough to go to that much trouble. I’ll just grow mine for looks, because the color of both the blooms and the bright purple pods is beautiful. What do you think?

Wednesday’s Guest Author: Elise Abram

Marcia:

Another cool Wednesday Author Interview on my Booki’ It blog. Hope you’ll check it out.

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

20885829

Today, our guest author is Elise Abram who writes what might be called “light science fiction,” and also has a newly released YA adult book available. Elise, welcome to Bookin’ It. So nice of you to join us today.
 
BI:. Tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
 
EA: Being a writer was never a choice for me; I’ve always felt compelled to write. Growing up, I told myself stories to keep myself occupied. Sometimes I wrote them down, but I never really liked how they sounded. I kept telling myself one day I’d write all my stories down and get them published, but I never did. The Internet changed all that, because I suddenly had access to content I couldn’t get before and…

View original 2,219 more words

Might As Well Have A Laugh Today…

Marcia:

Just for grins.

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

Yeah, it’s not Thor’s Day, my usual joke day, but sometimes I just feel the need to share a laugh, regardless. Got a couple more reviews to do today, and my Sunday Blog of the Week, but I don’t care. I’m starting with a chuckle, anyway. Hope it makes you smile, too. I might even throw in a few more throughout the day. That’s the kind of week I’ve had. Every little laugh helps! :)

  f3fc605fb198c9be27f47f39fd358cb5

View original

Great Weather for…Soliciting?

Marcia:

Who knew this would work?

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

Well, must be something about 90+ degree days that brings out the solicitors en masse. The last week or two has been one constant barrage of doorbell ringing, accompanied by the not-so-dulcet tones of two frenzied dachshunds who continue to bark for another three or four minutes after I’ve chased off whoever was at the door to trigger their stubby-legged outrage.

I’m trying to write, here, but instead, find myself under constant assault from people of all ages and clothing tastes, trying to sell me home security systems, cemetery plots, life insurance, flood insurance, frozen steaks in bulk all the way from Omaha, and even salvation, or at least their particular concept of what being saved is all about. Doesn’t matter if I tell them I have my own concept, a freezer full of steak (I wish), all the insurance I need (doubtful), a place in the garden set aside…

View original 46 more words

The Herb Tower Groweth!

herbtowersm

A couple of weeks ago, I posted a picture of my new herb tower, or “wee potager” as my friend, Nicki, likes to call it. I stacked up a galvanized washtub, and a smaller bucket, and planted with a cherry tomato, in the bucket, surrounded by herbs in the washtub. I thought you might like to see how well it’s doing.  The tomato plant is as tall as I am (close to 6′ feet), and the herbs have filled out very nicely though I did lose one spicy globe basil. For some reason, none of my basils are doing well this year, no matter where they are planted, except for my African blue basil, which is slowly becoming a monster plant and bee magnet. But that’s for another post. :)

In comparison, here is the potager right after I set it up. You can see that there has been plenty of growth in a very short time. I even have some tomatoes starting to ripen. And in spite of several days of 97 degree weather in a row, the galvanized metal doesn’t seem to be getting too hot for the root systems. I think I’m on to something here. I will be doing a lot more gardening in these tubs and containers. They are cheap, long-lasting, and apparently work quite well. In fact, rather than going to the expense of buying watering troughs for my container vegetable beds, I believe I will just stick to washtubs. I can grow plenty of bush beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, lettuces, and the like in tubs, and line them up along the same area where I had thought to put the troughs. Why not? :) Are any of you using galvanized containers in your gardens? I’d love to know how they are working for you!

herbs1sm

Wednesday’s Author Interview: “Jurnalist” Ned Hickson

Marcia:

Be sure to stop by Bookin’ It to read my interview with Ned Hickson, Humor “Jurnalist” and all-round funny guy.

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

humor_at_the_speed_of_life_296x450

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

I’m so pleased to have Ned Hickson with us today for our Wednesday Author Interview. I’ve been following Ned’s blog as long as I’ve been on WordPress, and know for a fact, it’s the perfect way to start the day. Of course, Ned’s laugh out loud sense of humor has caused me to spew Earl Grey all over my keyboard on numerous occasions, but that’s something he and I are still addressing. (You owe me for THREE now, Big Guy!) ;)

Welcome to Bookin’ It, Ned. It’s great to have you here today. Can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer?

NED:I am frequently asked how I became a writer. Mostly by my editor here at Siuslaw News. Except when she says it, the words sound more like an accusation than a question. I can honestly say I’ve been…

View original 2,300 more words

Monday Giveaway: Jim Butcher and Karen White

Marcia:

Just to remind you guys it’s Giveaway Day on Bookin’ It! Check out what you can win, and how. :)

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

thehouseontraddstreet

Happy Moon’s Day! It’s Giveaway time again! In keeping with my plan to get some readers started on Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, I’m giving away downloads of Books 2 and 3 today, along with a download of a book that’s been on my To Be Read list for far too long, Karen White’s The House on Tradd Street.

Karen White is a writer I’ve really learned to enjoy. I’ve read several of her books, and plan to work my way through all of them. The House on Tradd Streetis the beginning of a series of books about…houses. On Tradd and other streets. Needless to say, things of interest happen in these houses. In the case of this book, there’s a mystery, a romance, and a ghost story rolled up in one, and I can’t wait to read it, myself.  And you all know how I feel about…

View original 112 more words

Sunday’s Blog of the Week: Backyard Biology

Marcia:

This blog is a Don’t Miss for lovers of nature and photography. Stop by today!

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

chestnut-sided-warbler

Chestnut-Sided Warbler by Sue Chaplin

I discovered Sue’s wonderful Backyard Biology blog shortly after I started this one nearly two years ago, and have followed it regularly ever since. Sue’s nature photography just gets better and better, but even more fun is that she combines her love of photography with a genuine interest in all things related to whatever she is taking pictures of at the time. Sue shares this information with her readers, in a way that makes it all entertaining and interesting. If you love animals, birds, scenic prairies, rivers, and more, you’ll love Backyard Biology. Do stop by and see for yourself. And be sure to tell Sue I said hi! :)

Backyard Biology

View original

Wednesday Author Interview: Mystery Writer Evelyn Cullet

Marcia:

You mystery readers might enjoy this interview with Evelyn Cullet. Check it out on Bookin’ It! :)

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

Love Lies and Murder - WEB

It’s Wednesday again, and today I have the pleasure of talking to mystery writer, Evelyn Cullet. Evelyn, Welcome to Bookin’ It. It’s great to have you here. Tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?

Evelyn: I loved to write short stories in high school. It was then I decided I wanted to be a writer. After graduation, life got more complex, but over the years I always jotted down ideas for stories, or character traits, or settings, or dialog, in spiral-bound note books. One day, my husband was cleaning out our desk and wanted to throw them all out, but when I protested, he suggested I put all the information on my word processor. When I finished, I found that I had nearly an entire novel…

View original 1,580 more words

Cuttings In Blue Bottles

blue

I just love plants that make more plants! If they reseed for me, or they root easily from cuttings, I’m thrilled with them. Mostly. There ARE a few that carry the whole “making more plants” thing to extremes, and I get pretty sick of those. But for the most part, it’s a happy benefit of gardening, and a way to fill up empty beds without constantly putting out more money. And sometimes, it even looks pretty in the process.

I have a longish, narrow window above my computer, and I’ve had different things on display there over the years, but today, I gathered up some of my collection of cobalt bottles, and filled them with cuttings in water. Mostly coleus, but a bit of ivy, and some scutellaria (purple skullcap), too. Most will root, though sometimes, you have to try again. In the meantime, they look bright and cheerful, and I’m happy to have more plants inside. Fingers crossed that the cats don’t decide to jump up there and check them out. :)

The Last Baby Cardinal Update

babycardinal

No, I didn’t grab this little guy right out of the nest, I swear! The babies fledged last weekend, and for several days, we’ve been watching the parents feeding them from various locations around the yard. The babies will sit on a bamboo stem and flap their wings and beg, and the parents race around finding things for them to eat. They can now fly longer distances, but don’t have a great deal of control. Yesterday, Mark came running in to announce one of the babies was in our garage and couldn’t find his way out, and the parents birds were outside, having conniption fits. I’m sure he would have eventually flown to them–the bird, not Mark–but we were ready to close up the garage, and he needed a bit of…steering. I tried to direct him to one of the doors, but he ended up dropping to the floor behind some brooms and mops. At that point, it was easier to pick him up and take him to the front yard, where his anxious parents were flying in circles, making pitiful noises.

I stopped long enough for Mark to take this picture. You can see that the baby is colored a similar plain brown to the mother, though without the wash of orange here and there she usually sports. All the better to remain inconspicuous, and harder for predators to spot. The difference, of course, is that he has a dark beak, in contrast to both parents, which have bright orange ones. When I let him go, he flew straight to the viburnum hedge with his parents hot on his little stubby tail. :) And no, they will not reject any bird or egg handled by a person because they can “smell that a human has touched it.” This is an old wives tale. Very few birds have any sense of smell at all, and replacing fallen babies  into a nest will do nothing but make them happy. So that’s one bit of advice you can ignore.

Hopefully, this little guy will continue to thrive and add his voice to the many cardinal songs in our neighborhood.

My Bucket List Contains…

bucket1

…ACTUAL BUCKETS!

I got this brilliant–I hope–idea to replace my typical hanging baskets with galvanized buckets. I’m tired of the plastic crumbling apart after a season in our punishing sun, or the hangers all snapping off and spilling the baskets to the ground. Since I just built my “wee potager” herb tower, I thought why not try hanging buckets, too?

bucket 2

I planted this one yesterday with some 99-cent scaevola (fan flower), gazania, and India Frills coleus. My only worry, again, is if the metal will get too hot and damage the plant roots. Otherwise, I think this is a great idea, if you like the rustic look of metal buckets, and I do. My pond is a galvanized watering trough, and I plan to do some vegetable gardening come fall in some more of those. Maybe something like this, on a smaller scale.

20dd29c1838632e3d96fba1d927d4ed4

Or this one.

a40ffde4daa6755ffceafe172d79b604

Have any of you done gardening in galvanized containers? I’d love to hear about it. For more ideas and photos like these, check out my Pinterest “Garden Ideas” board.

Wednesday Author Interview: Deborah Brown

Marcia:

Check out the whole interview on Bookin’ It. Hope you enjoy it. :)

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

crazyinparadise

My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

Today, I’d like to welcome cozy mystery author Deborah Brown to Bookin’ It. Deborah’s Paradise Mysteries are so much fun, and I especially love them because they are set in south Florida, and make me feel right at home as soon as I open the covers! Thank you for being here, Deborah. I appreciate your taking the time to talk to us today.

~~~

1. Deborah, can you tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career? 

I didn’t necessarily think one day I wanted to be an author, even though I’d been writing since high school. Five years ago, after spending the summer voraciously reading I realized I wanted to try again. 

2. Lucky for us! Were you…

View original 812 more words

Update on My Cardinal Babies

Posted a picture two weeks or so ago showing Mama Cardinal sitting on her nest in my jasmine vine. The vine is on a trellis at the end of my screen porch, so we have to take pictures through the screen. I apologize for the quality, but I’m not going to come at her the other way and scare her. Last weekend, Mark managed to get pics of two babies, reaching for food. Thought you might enjoy them. I sure do.

babycardssm

Needless to say, my poor cats have been banned from the back porch until the babies fledge. No glaring through the screen at them with their big, cat eyes! :) They are not happy kitties, but they’ll survive. It won’t be a lot longer before the babies are leaving the nest. Sadly, baby birds fledge before they can fully fly, and spend a few days, running, hopping, and taking very short flights around the yard. They are super vulnerable during that time, but I’ll do my best to make sure the dogs don’t find them.

On the plus side, here in central Florida, cardinal pairs will raise several clutches of eggs and babies over the spring, summer, and fall. At least three, and sometimes four broods will be fed and nurtured, thus insuring that some of the babies do survive to be parents themselves one day.

My Interview With Wetknee Books

Marcia:

I had a great time being interviewed by Wetknee Books. Thoughtful questions, and a fun website, too. Check it out! :)

Originally posted on Bookin' It:

interviewsBanner

Sharing my interview with Wetknee Books with those of you who might enjoy it. I thought the questions were very well thought out, and I had a lot of fun trying to stick to the “one paragraph” rule! Ha. (Hey, she never mentioned how LONG the paragraphs could be! :D ) Hope you’ll stop by and check it out, and while you’re there, take a look around the rest of the site, and sign up for Anna or Aimee’s Mail List, too.

Wetknee Books Interview With…ME!

View original

Herb Tower, Chaste Tree, and Weeding!

chaste1sm

My little chaste tree has really started to grow this year, popping out with newly formed flower spikes all over the place. It’s fun, watching them turn from whitish buds to lavender blooms the bees just love. I’m really happy I planted this, even though it goes completely bare in the winter. It leafs back out so quickly in spring, and blooms so beautifully, it’s worth it.

chaste2sm

You can see the individual purple flowers opening up on these spikes. The color will deepen to a lovely lavender, and the blooms last a long time. And anything that draws bumblebees, honey bees, and butterflies is something I’m sure to love.

Also been experimenting with herb towers this week, made from galvanized tubs and buckets. I love the rustic look of them, and they are so easy to take care of. Plus, they aren’t breakable, something that can be an issue with terra cotta. Now to see if the metal gets too hot for the plant roots in full Florida sun.

herbs1sm

I just planted this one yesterday with a cherry tomato in the top bucket, and oregano, ornamental pepper, basil, and thyme in the bottom part. Still room for another herb or two, but I want to put my mints in the shade, so I’ll have to stop by the nursery this weekend. It’s late for buying herbs and the selection is limited, but I’ll find something.

herbs2sm

Another view of the tower, in relation to my patio. I could have added a 3rd bucket, but decided the tall tomato and support tower were enough for this one. I’ll post more pictures as the weeks go by. If the metal gets too hot, I’ll have to use this idea for shade loving mints or flowers like impatience. It will be a fun experiment, anyway. Off to weed a long-neglected bed this morning, before the temps hit ninety outside. It’s supposed to be a very hot weekend. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!

Check It Out!

Swamp Ghosts_kindle cover_21

The Reason I Got So Far Behind on This Blog!

Download Swamp Ghosts FREE today on Amazon. If you enjoy Romantic Suspense in a beautiful Florida setting, I hope you’ll check it out. Find out why eco-tour boat owner, Maggie Devlin, and wildlife photographer, Gunnar Wolfe, are being hunted by the most dangerous creature in the swamps…the one that walks on two legs. Love, humor, and the occasional dose of Creep Factor. It’s all there.

Only out a few days, and already has eight 5-star reviews. I couldn’t be happier! Go get yours today…you know you want to! :D

5 Stars: “Great for your summer reading list. I wish I could give it 10 stars! You will not want to put Swamp Ghosts down, it will keep you on the edge of your seat and will keep you guessing.”

5 Stars: ” The main characters are believable and the chemistry between the two is incredible. I highly recommend this book. “

Swamp Ghosts: A Riverbend Novel