Literary luminaries

There was that time 7 years ago when I went to a conference (ICFA – the International Conference for Fantastic in the Arts, a perfect combination of academics and writers giving talks) and met the incomparable Terry Bisson. There’s photographic proof!

I actually went to the conference to fan-girl over Connie Willis (the one seated wearing green). If you don’t know who Connie Willis is, shame on you! And go read To Say Nothing of the Dog immediately 😀

Thanks to my wonderful Gotham Writers Workshop Speculative Fiction instructor, Michaela Roessner, I also met other super talented authors such as James Kelly, Ted Chiang, Theodora Goss, and Andy Duncan.

It was a good conference. I bought too many books, but that’s my modus operandi anyway.

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Boy, I sure did have long hair back then!

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Green, the color of hope and growth

Some kids pick up stray animals; my older child picks up stray plants. Here are a few of the more interesting ones (because we could all use a bit of pretty green things today).

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He didn’t actually pick this one up but grew it from seed. It’s a lychee (Litchee chinensis).

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I have no idea what this one is…but I want to stick in a mini ship-wrecked figure underneath it.

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Lately, he’s returned to his early interest in carnivorous plant. There are butterworts, pitcher plants, sundews (I think) and Venus flytraps here.

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He didn’t pick up this one either. It’s a Key lime plant we bought from Logee’s a few years back. It’s always been pathetic at producing anything (despite my making like a bee and pollinating regularly) but this year, we set it out on the deck in the summer and it got so happy, it actually produced about 6 reasonable-sized fruits. We’ll see if they last to maturity. And nature’s pollinators are tons better at their jobs than I am. :-/

Happy Halloween!

We live out in the boonies where nobody comes by for trick-or-treating anyway so it doesn’t matter. But I’m cooking up some appropriately colored things…both of which stain my hands a lovely blood red.  😛

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juicing black raspberries for making jelly

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boiling beets 

Re-inventing the blog

For years, my main blog was Homestead Notes where I wrote about the 3 Hs: homesteading, homemade, and homeschooling.

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We still do the homesteading thing of growing a lot of our own food and I still enjoy making things by hand. But the kids have grown and we no longer homeschool. As well, I have less time and a lot less energy do hand-crafting. So I’ve pretty much given up on the old blog.

This blog, on the other hand, was started because I was insane inspired by other 365-blogs. I focused on dinner because I’m all about food. That went fine for a while. Then, I changed it up a bit to include other things, renaming the blog “One Good Thing” from “What’s For Dinner.”

But due to various reasons (one of which is that most blogs are dying a slow, lingering death), I’ve let this blog slide, too, but I’m going to attempt a resuscitation effort. In order to do that, I needed come up with my “brand” (one of those 21st Century buzzwords).

I assessed what I currently deem most important and have decided that the things dearest to me are my cultural heritage, science and nature, and scientists. So in the future, I hope to share more of those things in this blog. Plus, food. Because I’m still all about food! Some things never change.

Squirrel Antics and “When A Tree Grows” news

I have a love-hate relationship with squirrels but they always amuse me. 😀 I cannot wait for my sweet and talented friend Cathy’s book to come out! It will be awesome; I guarantee it!

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Fact: The yard is filled with acorns.
Fact: The yard is filled with squirrels.
Fact: Squirrels exceed my shutter speed.

In preparation for the launch of my picture book, When A Tree Grows from Sterling Children’s Books, I’ve been trying to capture some silly squirrel antics on camera.

The squirrels must know. They taunt me.

It rained all morning. The squirrels squatted plumply on the grass, nibbling nuts and holding their thick, fluffy tails over their heads like umbrellas. “How cute!” I thought, and raced for my camera. Alas…

But these speedsters can’t compare to the cute squirrel rendered at the pen of illustrator Kasia Nowowiejska. Just wait until you see!

Our squirrels dangle from tree limbs,         
race across fence tops, and snack on our
flowers when they tire of the acorn buffet.

The other character in the book is a moose.
I am…

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Book Giveaway: Thirty Minutes over Oregon

Sounds like an excellent read!

Writing and Illustrating

Author Marc Tyler Nobleman has new picture book titled,THIRTY MINUTES OVER OREGON. It is illustrated by Melissa Iwai. It hit bookshelves yesterday. Marc has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Marc and Melissa!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In this important and moving true story of reconciliation after war, beautifully illustrated in watercolor, a Japanese pilot bombs the continental U.S. during WWII—the only enemy ever to do so—and comes back 20 years…

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I know I’ve been absent lately

But I have good reasons…mostly involving writing and being forgetful. 🙂 And I will probably be even busier on the writing front (or the marketing front) because of this:

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All ready for a vacation…from social media!

Social media is much like school: there are so many relationship intricacies and nuanced interactions to sort through and master; too much time is spent building a good image of yourself (or at least an image that you want to project to the world about yourself); and there are vast amounts of information to read and be tested on, though grades on social media are not lettered (unless you count the letters in the names people might call you).

So, just like with school, it’s good to take an extended break once or twice a year…a summer or winter vacation, or both.

Me, I plan to spend quality time with my 50-pound pail of coconut oil trying out new soap recipes during my July break-from-social-media.

See y’all in August (maybe…unless I enjoy vacation too much)

Note to self: stick with the 25 lbs buckets next time; I have the arm strength of an 8 year old and 50 pounds is almost 50% of my body weight…

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How does the garden grow? June 2018 edition

This pictorial garden tour is specifically for my friend Pamela C. who loves to teach young children about the joys of growing their own food.

The driveway leads down from the house to the main road. We come first to the greenhouse where the cucumbers grow wild and the tomatoes are getting to be a decent size.

Behind the greenhouse is the “north garden” which was bigger but hubby has since decreased its size. Then we look into the “main garden” which has 27 approximately 10’x3′ beds. See the gorgeous grapes growing on the fencing?

There are lots of volunteer veggies that have sprung up on the paths. Hubby tends to leave them so we can harvest extra stuff.

We’ve already had a number of eggplants. They are SO good!

The panoramic photo of the “main garden” doesn’t do it justice.

The long curved bed is the “south garden.” Hubby usually grows things in there that take up a lot of space, like various squashes and melons. He’s also planted corn there and this year, he has tomatoes in the fenced part, too.

The apple trees have a blight and aren’t looking so great this year. But that’s how it goes. I don’t know that we’ll get a ton of peaches like we did last year either. They usually go in cycles of productivity.

So there ya have it! That’s how we grow much of our own vegetables…enough for the summer and enough to can/freeze/dry a bunch more for the winter.

Pro tip: the secret to keeping down the weeding work is lots and lots of mulch (hubby uses grass clippings for his mulch…free resource)

Bye, bye, birdies (or £*@€ those raccoons)

On top of all the horrific things happening in the world, raccoons killed two of our chickens last night. One of them was Bulgaria, my favorite. I’ll miss her zen personality.

This is a photo of Son1 holding her. She had a habit of lying still on your palm like she was a piece of rock. You didn’t have to restrain her.

The other hen was Scrawny. I didn’t know her well but I’ll miss her eggs  😬

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