Thursday, December 11, 2014

Snap, Crackle, Pop

 Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.
 
We've been trying to move the RV to Tonto Basin for a few weeks but it's been one thing after another. First the garlic took longer to get in. Then came the three day rain. The area we pull out and turn around in is next to the garlic crop and all dirt. Or mud when it rains. It's still pretty wet but Frank thought he could make it. The trailer jackknifed a bit too much and broke the rear window out of the truck. Loud pop! The soonest we could get it fixed was the next day. Then it had to set for a day. Thanks goodness for auto glass coverage. No cost to us.

We might actually get away today. We'll barely get it set up, and I'll have to go to Phoenix tomorrow for three days of book signings while Frank will head back to the farm for the Farmers' Market on Saturday. Never a dull moment.

So here's to having glass coverage. I'm not sure what it costs us on the policy because Frank is the insurance man but it can't be much or he wouldn't have added it. But it's worth it. That's my money saving tip for you today. In the long run, you'll save a bunch.

The green house plants were hit hard with the freeze. Lance cleaned it out yesterday and will plant some varieties for the winter. More to come on that progress.

We're a bit concerned about the garlic. Since we're new at planting on such a large scale with ten varieties, we're not sure how the wet ground will affect the seeds. And it appears we already have weeds or at least grass. It's not easy to tell. Some of it could be garlic shoots. The hay we used as mulch could've had various grass seeds in it. If that's the case, we're going to have to do more research on hay next year and possibly have to go further for our supply. This first year will be a learning process - something we do a lot of on Tortuga Flats Farm. Lance the farmer will figure it out. He always does.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rain and a Recipe for What Ails You

Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Last Tortuga Thursday I complained about November being a discouraging month. That'll teach me to whine. A bug hit me on the last day, and it's still hanging on. No sooner had I kicked the two day virus when a head cold settled on me and then morphed into a chest cold. A triple thriller to start off December. I don't care. This is my favorite month of the year, and I can't be bothered.

We're into our third day of rain here on Tortuga Flats Farm. It should move out tonight. We need a little rain every month for the garlic. If we get the rain, we won't need to irrigate with the drip system. Rain is so much better for crops.

Luckily, I felt good enough between the virus and the head cold to get the tree up. I even managed a few other decorations. We went simple this year with a smaller tree since Sadi is at the age she likes to redecorate the tree a few times each day. She is so much fun this year. When she saw the outside lights Pa Pa (grandpa) put up, her excitement overwhelmed her. She ran into his arms and gave him a gigantic hug.

Made from our t-shirts by a customer
I'll end with a recipe I shared on our Facebook page. When Frank and I lived in Germany, I fell in love with German sauerkraut which is nothing like the canned stuff you get in the states. It isn't really sour, more of a sweet-sour, and so flavorful. This recipe comes close to that flavor. I think the trick is the pressure cooker. Years ago, I had a pressure cooker. It was the old rocker kind that had to be monitored and timed. We just got this digital one and love it! It can also cook like a slow cooker and does rice too. Be warned, I am guessing at the amounts of herbs. I tend to just sprinkle it on without measuring.

One head cabbage, cut into strips
Two pound pork roast
one tsp celery seed
2 tsp dill weed
1-2 tsp cumin
Himalayan salt to taste
1/4 cup vinegar
1 1/14 cup water
3 carrots, sliced


Cabbage goes in bottom of cooker. Pour vinegar and water over it. Sprinkle all  herbs and salt. Add carrots. Place roast on top. Follow the directions for your cooker and cook for 40 minutes.

We had this last night and could be the reason I feel better today!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November...Forget About It

Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

It's Thanksgiving Day as you read this. And if you're reading this then you over indulged in turkey and pie and needed a break from the festivities. Or maybe one of the relatives was boring you to tears so you escaped. Whatever, I'm wishing you the best of Thanksgivings. I wrote this in advance since we'll be feasting with the families in Phoenix this year. We'll have dinner at my mom's early then Lance and Christie will travel across town to do it again with her family.

Thanksgiving is a happy ending to a month I could've done without. I am more than ever happy to see December, which is my favorite season. Yes, I know it's technically a month, but to me it's more of a season.

Row 8 planted a few days ago
Here on the farm, October hung on to warm weather so long that the garlic planting lapsed into November and was finished just yesterday. I had planned a trip with my mother the first week of the month and had booked myself at book sales and signings for every weekend in November because I assumed garlic planting would be done or near done. Taking me out of the mix prolonged the planting and gave me a guilt complex.

Barely a week into November, Christie ended up in the hospital. She is still recovering from a flare, as it is called. She's been diagnosed with a life long condition that luckily can be controlled but will require some work. She's been so very ill. A huge knock against November. Her illness taxed the garlic planting schedule, but more importantly had us all worried.

Add my mom into the mix with a few medical mishaps and all I could do was give up on November.

But...only two days left in this month and the garlic is in the ground, my
sweet daughter in law is home and feeling better, Mom's tests show nothing wrong beyond her age, and I still have some book events to go to without guilt. Let's jump into December with a wonderful Solstice celebration and a beautiful Christmas time!

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Teaser and a Taste: Book Two



MUSE MONDAY

Writing murder mysteries is all in a day's work until an obsessed fan brings Phoebe's stories to life.

My long awaited (to me anyway) release date for book two in my Love and Murder Series is right around the corner. Southwest of Love and Murder will release worldwide on January 7, 2015. You met Phoebe Anderson, best friend of Lacy Dahl, in The Art of Love and Murder. She and Lacy seem as different as night and day so I think you'll enjoy a deeper tread into Phoebe's life as a mystery writer. You heard mention of Chance's twin brother, Mason, in book one. What happens when Phoebe and Mason come together with murder right behind them is the story in Southwest of Love and Murder.


Mystery writer, Phoebe Anderson, owes her success to killing her first husband on paper seventeen years earlier. Now, someone has actually done it. When she decides to take a few days away on the ranch of her best friend’s brother-in-law, she doesn’t expect romance to find her...or murder to follow her.

Mason Meadowlark is happy with his wild cowboy ways, avoiding love since the death of his baby and the end of his marriage twenty years ago. When Phoebe shows up, he fights to control his emotions, but soon wonders if she just might be worth the risk of opening his heart again.

With an obsessed fan close on her heels, Phoebe is thrown into her own murder mystery…and the next target on his list is Mason.

Excerpt: 

Phoebe shuddered and stilled.
Like the aftershocks of an earthquake, trembling overtook her body. Her knees wobbled, but Mason caught her before she collapsed.

“What’s wrong?” He hugged her briefly then brought his face even with hers. “Phoebe, tell me. Why are you shaking? What’s happened?”

“Oh my God, Mason.” She spread her hands on his chest and glanced back at the bathroom. “Tell someone to call an ambulance. Hurry!”

He took a step toward the ladies’ room, but she grabbed his shirtfront. “No!” She peered around him and shouted. “Someone call nine one one.”

Mason touched his pocket. “My cell’s in the truck.” He grabbed the shoulder of a male customer, the closest person to them. “You got a cell on you?”

The man nodded and pulled a phone from his pocket.

“Call nine one one right now. There’s been…” His face questioned her.

“Someone’s badly hurt in the bathroom. Oh hell, hurry!” She thumped her palms against his chest.

The man pulled out his cell as he raced into the ladies’ room.

Phoebe wrapped her arms around Mason, tipped her chin upward, and found the words. “It’s that
waitress, Mason. Carla.”

His expression went blank, from concern for her to no comprehension.

“There’s so much blood.” She stifled a gag, the sweet, copper penny reek still heavy in her nostrils. “Her throat.” A shudder rippled the length of her body. “I think she’s dead.”

If you've put off reading The Art of Love and Murder, make it a holiday treat for yourself. You can order print or eBook on line everywhere but here are a couple of quick links for you:
 


Friday, November 21, 2014

BATTLE CRY by Melissa Snark

FEARLESS FRIDAY

You could win this!
For Fearless Friday, I ask my guests this question: Have you done something lately that's rash or life changing (moved across country, quit your day job, jumped off a cliff for research for your book - the sky is the limit on the subject) and you can blog about it? 

My guest today is Melissa Snark and she has this for us:

Initially, this question left me completely stumped. As a rule, I don't do things that are rash. My definition of excitement is a large Mocha at Pete's or having my nails done. I'm not impulsive–I'm methodical. My definition of a life altering decision was forcing my teenage sons to learn to unload the dishwasher. (Hey, I was risking dishes and sanity, but wow, did it pay off!)

Eventually, I asked a friend, Sheryl Hayes, for suggestions. "Hey, have I ever done anything rash or exciting in the entire time you've known me?"

"Well, you self-published," she said. "That took guts."

Okay, yeah. Her answer surprised me but I guess it's a good answer. I've long regarded my entire jaunt into self-publishing as a blind leap of faith. I've brought my same methodical approach to the writing process to Indie book publication, and I feel it's paid off. I'm careful and meticulous. However, in my mind, I'm not taking chances. I'm doing what makes me happy.

A SPECIAL NOTE FROM MELISSA:


Hello! My name is Melissa Snark, and I'm a fantasy and romance author. If I could have a moment of your time, I'd like to ask for your help as a reader. Please consider nominating my Norse folklore fantasy novel Battle Cry on Kindle Scout.


Amazon's new publishing program is called Kindle Scout, an innovative platform that provides readers with a sneak peek at unreleased books as well as the opportunity to have a say in what gets chosen. The timing of Scout was amazing. The announcement came just as I neared completion of my novel. The terms being offered are attractive. As a publisher, Amazon has as much clout as one of the traditional publishers. This simply seemed like too good of an opportunity to pass on, so I submitted Battle Cry for consideration.


Per the FAQ: How does Kindle Scout benefit readers?
Kindle Scout readers get to preview new, never-before-published books and influence which ones are made available to millions of readers on Amazon. In addition, any time a reader's nomination gets published, they will receive a free copy.


I appreciate your support!  To nominate Battle Cry, you only need to be logged into your Amazon account. You can head over to the Kindle Scout website and view Battle Cry's profile page. If you like what you see, please consider voting for Battle Cry.  Thank you so much!


 

 
Don't miss out on Melissa's giveaway!
 
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Survival demands sacrifices; healing requires forgiveness.

Men revere him; monsters fear him. Jake Barrett, the notorious Hunter King, values loyalty to family and followers above all else. When the daughter of his closest ally murders Daniel, his oldest son, it sets off a chain reaction of violence and destruction that claims the lives of both wolves and hunters. Determined to avenge his son, Jake seeks the truth at any cost.

After losing her lover and then her mate, Victoria Storm simply wants to get on with building a new life in Sierra Pines, California. A vengeful Jake Barrett and his organization aren't going to make that easy, especially with the unwelcome attraction between her and the Hunter King's second son. Perils beyond the mortal coil plague Victoria.

When the Norse Fates predict Victoria will destroy the world, her duties as a priestess of Freya come into conflict with her responsibilities as a Valkyrie of Odin. When they tell her she will do it to save her unborn child, she's not so sure they are wrong.

Sawyer Barrett has been trying to kill Victoria for so long, he doesn't know whether he loves her or hates her. Desperate to end the war, he's willing to take chances with everything–except his heart. The hunter harbors a deadly secret he can't reveal without risking the ceasefire and his life.

At Sawyer's urging, Victoria agrees to peace talks with Jake. All the while, an ancient vampire plots the destruction of wolves and hunters alike. If the embittered rivalry between hunters and wolves doesn't end—and fast—there is no hope for Victoria's pack... or for their world.



  • Melissa Snark is published with The Wild Rose Press & as an Indie author with five unique titles: A CAT'S TALE, THE MATING GAME, LEARNING TO FLY, THE CHILD THIEF, and HUNGER MOON.
  • Her Loki's Wolves series includes THE CHILD THIEF, HUNGER MOON and BATTLE CRY.
  • She lives in the San Francisco bay area with her husband, three children and a glaring of cats.
  • She is a professional cat herder and unrepentant satirist who blogs about books and writing on The Snarkology.

Connect with Melissa Snark:
Email: melissasnark at gmail.com
Twitter: @MelissaSnark