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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thankful Thursday/Fried Friday

Thanksgiving 2012 on Tortuga Flats
I wrote this on Friday and didn't get it posted before I headed off to do a bit of Black Friday shopping. I went to one store with my coupons. My intention was to run in, grab a couple of things and get the heck out. I didn't go early to avoid the rush of madness. Ha. Stood in line at the check out for and hour and a half with my measly little purchase. What I'll do to save a buck! So here's the post finally.

After Thankful Thursday, it's Fried Friday on Tortuga. We hosted the family and friends Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. No way would I face the crowds before noon today. Besides, we took to the farm on a shoestring budget, Christmas follows the same guidelines. It's never been about the presents for me anyway. But I do need to get busy on gifts. We've made quite a few already. I have a few items to buy and then I'll get the rest put together.

The seasons of the earth are magical to me. I bought a book on Winter Solstice. We're going to resurrect some original traditions and put our own twist on the season. For one thing, there really are twelve days in the season and I'm all for celebrating for twelve days! The Christmas traditions had their start with Winter Solstice origins from the tree to the yule log. I want to know the why and go from there. 

With sister and Mom on Thanksgiving
No definitive plans yet on what this farm will look like next year. We did find out conventional financing is out of the question. There are government loan options but not until next year. We have to have a viable year and plan in action before submitting. Kind of the old saying - takes money to make money. We'll figure it out. We're pretty resourceful.

Christie wants to make goat cheese. We'd like our own goats but not sure when. Goats as pets are pretty easy and not too expensive to keep but if you want good milk goats, there is considerable expense. We also want chickens. Both are on our list. But they fall below farming more land.

Our major expense for this year is at least out of the way. We now have a back up hand pump for the well. If we were to lose electricity for any length of time, people and plants would be dead on the vine. So tick that one off our list. The next major expense is the tractor and a greenhouse. I have my own little major expense wishes like new carpeting and flooring but since those don't generate any income, no one else has them on their list.

Frank got the watering system winterized. We have grass now in all areas of the yard which is sort of like winterizing - keeps the mud down that the dogs bring in during the winter.

We'd like to clear the land before the tumbleweeds start blowing which is right around the corner. Without a tractor or the very least a ride on mower, we can't do it without hiring it done. So...looking into that.

Where the pronghorn play
And while researching my current book, I learned American antelope aren't really antelope at all. They're pronghorn, the only surviving member of an ancient family that dates back about twenty million years.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Humongous and the Sexy


Whenever it gets to be near the end of the year, I rethink how I want next year to go. I start making lists and marking the calendar for next year.

2013 is going to be a humongous year on Tortuga Flats. At least it should be. We have all kinds of ideas we're brainstorming. And then there's the baby! And then there's the hope I have for the mystery series I'm writing sold.
We'll need to quadruple this for next year

One of our last harvests
We're researching how we can get our other two acres farmed, what we should grow and how to sell the crop. Should we grow several things or specialize? What's our market? Two acres really isn't all that much land but still quite a bit for four people to handle. We're also brainstorming different ways to bring in help. I'm gathering Farmers' Markets information. Frank is researching crop prices and output per acre, etc. Lance is planning layout of the land and what equipment we're going to need. I'm looking into nontraditional avenues of funding while Frank is looking toward traditional means. Lance is on the lookout for the really nontraditional ideas. Hopefully, by the first of the year, a plan will unfold.

My sexy new hero looks like who??
I've established some self-imposed deadlines for my writing projects. I'm having a little trouble right now nailing down my latest hero, Mason. Who he is in my head is not translating on paper, but once I get that figured out, my newest novel needs to get completed.

I've decided to have a regular schedule for this blog and my web page newsletter. Next year I'll blog about the farm on Tortuga Thursdays. On Mondays I'll blog about writing. And occasionally I'll have guest bloggers on all kinds of subjects. I'd like to hear what you think about this sort of regular schedule. My web newsletter has only gone out sporadically when I've had something to announce. I'm going to start sending it out quarterly. If you'd like to get on that mailing list go here: http://www.brendawhiteside.com/contact.html#newsletter

Mom on her 80th last year
Last week, I spent three nights with my mom. The trip to the big city had three purposes - three month full body dermatology check, shopping with mom and an all day writers' workshop in Scottsdale. Mom and I shopped for two days straight at the mall. No wonder I'm under the weather today and staying in bed. I'm not a good shopper. But I felt like the country gal who couldn't get enough of the big city stores! My mom is eighty and she ran me ragged.

Wish I had some interesting pictures of Tortuga Flats to post, but this is that ugly in between time of year. In another week or so we'll (well, not me actually) burn and turn the land. I'll get some of that recorded.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fire and Mice

The Halloween hullabaloo is over - which for me was several blogs. Prizes are awarded. We didn't get any kids at our door but then we didn't expect any. When houses are acres apart, on rough dirt roads and it's SOOOO dark I wouldn't let my kids trick or treat either. I'm guessing there were things in Chino Valley for kids to do.

We had our own belated trick last night. We switched the AC over to heat and it set the smoke alarms off. It smelled like an electrical fire. There was debate whether it was just the dusty heat smell of using it the first time or not. I say not. Definitely electrical. We turned it off and will try again today in the daylight. Keeping fingers crossed.

We have mice. I happen to think Mice are cute but I DO NOT want them roaming freely in my house. I suppose with the cold temps they are coming into the warmth. When I'm sitting in bed with my laptop and one darts across the floor, I'm not a happy writer. Frank is our mice trap setter. He's got three so far.

Last weekend, we had a family barbecue with my immediate family. We'd hoped for some of Christie's family but her grandmother had surgery and they all stuck close at home. She's fine by the way. Ten minutes before everyone arrived, the well quit. No water. We had some emergency containers so no real problem. We had a great time. But we were without water for three days. Our pump had to be replaced. So very, very glad we had the home warranty program from when we bought the house. This could have cost us thousands. We paid $55 for the deductible. Whew! Our neighbor across the street let us refill our containers as needed. I made a trip to my sister's in Prescott one day and took a real shower. Ah!

Speaking of the neighbor across the street, she adopted Debo, our cat. If you remember, we inherited Debo from a friend. We can't have him in the house cause Christie is allergic so we lock him in the garage at night to protect him from coyotes and feral cats. But he's decided to start peeing on Frank's life jacket. Not nice. Sharon, our neighbor, loves Debo. He spends a lot of time over there anyway. She gladly adopted him. He still comes to visit.

Frank had a birthday. Christie made his requested dinner - pizza and chocolate cake. I think Christie's belly might be getting in her way now. LOL It was quite a feast!