Archive | June 2014

Great Weather for…Soliciting?

Who knew this would work?

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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…

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The Herb Tower Groweth!

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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!

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Wednesday’s Author Interview: “Jurnalist” Ned Hickson

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

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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…

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Monday Giveaway: Jim Butcher and Karen White

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

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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…

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Sunday’s Blog of the Week: Backyard Biology

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

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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

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Wednesday Author Interview: Mystery Writer Evelyn Cullet

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

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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…

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Cuttings In Blue Bottles

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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

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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.