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Friday, August 31, 2012

Going Crazy with the Walls Closing In!

I'm as bad a sick person as I am a nurse. I'm not good with sickies - very little sympathy - and I have even less for myself. This is day two for me in bed and it's killing me.

What do you do when you're sick, like take to the bed sick? Television? I'm not a TV person and we don't have one in our bedroom. I'm being good and keeping my germs to myself so no front room for me. Do you read. Oh, I hope so. And preferably one of my books. LOL Or do you just lay and stare at the ceiling or sleep? I've tried to do a lot of sleeping but the pains in my stomach are worse when I am vertical.

I've gotten some writing done, I'll admit, but considering my fuzzy head, I wonder if I'll think it's any good once the virus fog lifts. I sent off my first completed novel and the synopsis for the next two books. I plan on a series - romantic mystery. I'm pumped. Here's my first stab at a blurb for the first book:

Lacy Dahl’s research uncovers secrets about the mother she never knew; secrets that dispute the identity of her father and threaten her life. When Sheriff Chance Meadowlark comes to her rescue, she begins to think their present is more important than her past…until his connection to her mother and a murder spin her deeper into danger and further from love.

When the past and present collide, Lacy discovers that where she came from is not nearly as important as where she’s going.

Ta Da!!!

Rusty loves this sick spell. He spends his day lying at the foot of my bed, drowsily lifting a lid now and then to check on me. I did crawl out of bed this morning and cleaned up the kitchen a bit. I heard from two people to leave it alone and they would take care of it. Hmm...wonder who they are.

I didn't get in on the harvesting this morning which was well overdue. We'd had a string of days of rain and then with the wedding taking up our time (yea!!!), nearly all the veggies were multiplying quicker than bunnies. They don't take time off for weddings or sick days. So I peeked my head out of the bedroom a few minutes ago. I'm not sure I want to come out for a few days. Going to be lots of canning and freezing going on.

The wedding was spectacular. Fun and beautiful and surprising moments. Can't wait for the pictures to come back.

The hot water heater quit heating last night. Finally, our home warranty was useful for something. If you'll remember, it didn't help when the fridge quit. The guy came out within a couple of hours of calling him today and we have hot water again. For a $55 deductible, it's fixed.

I know this is disjointed and senseless but so is my stuffy head. Next week, better news from the farm and retirement and writing. Maybe some helpful hints.

Monday, August 20, 2012

From Slimy to Wormy #44

Okra slime
What a week it was on Tortuga Flats Farm. The wind blew harder than ever, the rain came hard, there were worms in the corn, the baby's heartbeat pattered, the love of friends renewed and I had to write a synopsis for a book.

It's windy here most days at least by mid-morning. But one evening the wind blew so hard we feared for the veggies. Then the rain came. It was coming down at such a slant, everything on the back patio got drenched. And there was some damage. The tomato plants are so tangled together we might have to leave them that way. The tomatillos are in serious need of staking, if we can untangle them from the row next to them. Not sure how the corn will survive. I'd already picked the first twenty or so but have tons more not ripe yet and many stalks are falling over.

Cornstalks battling the wind
And speaking of corn, I think of worms. Every single ear I picked had a worm at the top that had mushed the silk and eaten some of the corn. So gross. I had to hack off the top and save as much of the cob as I could. This is a common problem here and not easily prevented. My neighbor said very casually - oh just ignore the worms. Yeah, right.

Bags of peppers
Meanwhile, several things are ready to harvest and we're getting overrun with veggies. I think about our little plot and the amount of food we have, and I wonder how there are people starving in this country. And are farmers still being paid to NOT plant? That's a whole different blog. Anyway, those nine bags I wrote about last time are frozen and we have fourteen more grocery bags of peppers, patty pan, and zucchini sitting in the kitchen waiting to be blanched and frozen. In the fridge, there are bags of purple green beans and okra waiting for the same fate. (side note here: I love okra, the slime factor when blanching it to freeze can make me gag)

And there is more to harvest but both the fridge freezer and chest freezer are full.

Which brings me to friends renewed. We reconnected with some long time friends, John and Karen Daniel, a few weeks back. Yesterday, we threw up our hands and decided to use the emergency fund to buy a freezer at Costco. We've given veggies away and frozen some. We need more to get us through the winter and knew this day would come when we needed another freezer. Couldn't stall any longer. Then John and Karen show up unannounced on our doorstep. As it turns out, they have a freezer to give us. They don't use it. Can you believe the timing? And they're refusing payment. We'll keep giving them veggies!

I did get the synopsis written and rewritten and still another writing to do. Pulling my hair out? Yeah, I hate them but one of those necessary evils.

The best thing that happened this week - Lance and Christie heard the heartbeat of my grandchild. At 162 beats, the child is coming along perfectly! I'm so looking forward to February...


Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's a Jungle on Tortuga #43

It's been wild since so many vegetables started ripening. We can't get anymore into the refrigerator. We have bags of squash in the freezer and there are nine grocery bags more sitting in the kitchen waiting to be processed to freeze. I have no idea how many bags we've given away.

Some things require drying before storing. We have bushes of chamomile hanging in the garage, dill plants hanging where I normally hang clothes to dry in the laundry room and onions hanging in the lawn shed.

Frank has pickled cucumbers several times. We've yet to taste the results. In a couple of days, we'll open one of those first jars.

The apples and pears are getting close too. In fact, the pears might be ripe. They're red bartletts. You have to pick pears when still hard and then ripen so not as easy to figure out as other fruits and veggies. We picked a couple and now in a day or so we'll know if we should have.

We have rows and rows of peppers of all kinds. They should be coming ripe in the next few weeks. Frank and Christie will tackle those along with the tomatoes. And will we have tomatoes! We chose not to trim back plants like most growers tell you to do. Hey, we're experimenting. The main thing they said is the tomatoes will not be as large. We decided to see exactly what that meant. Our tomato quadrant is a jungle! There are hundreds of green tomatoes. I think I'll take a solo vacation far from the farm about the time they all turn red.




Sunday, August 12, 2012

All of Me, Please Look at All of Me! #42

Last week I had my regular three month dermatology full body check at the Indian Hospital in Phoenix. Always a treat. My dermatologist is leaving. No great loss. I liked the guy, very friendly and talkative but not very thorough. I think I mentioned before he avoids my private areas. What I don't want is a shy doctor! And it's hard to understand how the man got through med school being shy. So he didn't want to be a gynecologist, but surely he knew we have skin under our underwear. He really skimmed my body this time. I'm looking forward to the new guy because I'm going to set the record on what I expect on the very first visit. All of me, why not look at all of me?

There are things to save money on and then there are things...

Total blonde early on
Take for instance, hair. I've colored my hair since I was fifteen years old. There was a brief period in my early twenties I let it grow, au naturale, down to the middle of my back. Wore it straight for a while and then permed it. That only lasted a couple of years when I started having it foiled.

So last week, with my son's wedding only three weeks away, I decided to do my own hair. I didn't try the streaking thing - went for the all over color. It's okay. Not sure how many times I can do it without losing the multi-colors. For now it's not bad. Then I decided I'd cut it. I trimmed a bit on the different layers. Not liking it so much. If I didn't care if it shortened, I'd really go for it and whack away - it's only hair. But with the wedding coming up and wedding pictures? I think I'll have to get a real trim this week. I certainly can't go to Ulta in Phoenix anymore, so wish me luck finding someone to trim it at a reasonable cost who knows what they're doing.
My real color back when...

Meanwhile, my son's wedding is getting so close! When I went to Phoenix for my dermatology appointment, I shopped for a dress with mom and sister in tow. They know their way around Arrowhead Mall like their own homes. At Dillards, I found a long, rust colored sheath with great texture - simple and not too dressy. I managed to stay under $120 which I thought was fantastic. But it's sleeveless. Heber, AZ will be cooler, plus I'm not cool with exposing  my aging arms except in the garden. Ah, vanity. I couldn't find a shrug at a decent price. Paying more than half of what the dress cost seemed stupid. But a few days later, I scoured Prescott for something more reasonably priced. After five stores, I ended up at a store I hate - Ross. But I found a shrug so ridiculously cheap that I won't even tell you. It's black. Black and rust are not really "my" colors but hopefully I can pull them off - if I get a decent hair cut!

And a bit of writing news - I have an agent!!  Now someone can do the shopping for a publisher for my latest novel, The Art of Love and Murder. I want to try a bigger publisher this time and only an agent can get in those doors. She's in New York and been in the business a long time. I'm pretty psyched about this.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Animal Stories #41

Down the road is the Big Chino Wash. There are a few trees in the wash on one side of the road that offer rare shade for the baby antelope. Every time we cross over the bridge on the way to Chino Valley, I look for the babies. Antelope are such delicate creatures. The babies are really slight little creatures.

Big Chino Wash. Seems like an understatement. It's so wide and flat that some farmer has crops growing in part of it. On average, he must get wiped out every seven years. With all the rain we had in the last couple of weeks, some here on Tortuga Flats, but always in the mountains around us, I thought we might see it run. Only the lowest ribbon of a strip had any water.

We have hummingbirds. I thought they were skittish, sweet birds until we hung three feeders. They are not social creatures and fight amongst themselves all the time. We have one bully who tries to run off the others even when not feeding. They are fearless of us. In fact, one dive bombed Frank. But we do get entertainment watching them.

One more animal story - Xena (our toad licking female) likes strawberries. I planted two plants in the area out front of the house just because the plants are cheap and attractive. One plant puts out one berry at a time and Xena always beats me to picking it when it ripens. I wouldn't know this except we caught her the first time. Now I watch and try to get it just as it ripens but that naughty girl beats me every time.

One writing note: If you like ebooks, western stories, romance and entertainment, my latest is part of a series from The Wild Rose Press that is getting lots of good reviews.