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Sneak Peak at My Next Release

May 2, 2021

This spring has been a bustle of activity. I have several projects on the go, and I’m busy outside getting the garden in and building a goose shack.

One of those projects is the production of my next novel in the Romance Collection: Natural Selection. Originally, this novel was entitled Seeds of Life but after much discussion and thought, the title has changed.

The novel is set for release October 2021. At the moment, it’s in its revision stage. We’re generating accompanying material, such as the description. Here is where we are with that:

The wisdom of seeds grows naturally.

The year is 2050. Almost three decades have passed since the Devastation destroyed civilization. Only the strong and wise survived; the weak and intellects perished. New societies emerged, forging a future with skills from the distant past.

In Green Wood, Eloise has lived in seclusion with her uncle for the past 12 years. While they receive visitors to Larkspur Cottage, the number of friends they have can be counted on one hand. When strangers arrive and capture her uncle, she is forced to run, but who can she turn to when she doesn’t know the land outside Green Wood or where those friends live?

More news to come as production continues.

What could go wrong if I block out the sun?

February 9, 2021

What do you think? Is this a good premise for a short story? Is it believable or science fiction?

The story opens with the population on planet Ragstone worried their planet is getting too warm to support life. For millions of years, the temperature had risen and fallen, at times being completely tropical and other times being gripped by an ice age with thick ice across the land.

The climate on this planet is constantly changing. Core samples taken at various locations reveal that sometimes it’s warmer than it is right now, and sometimes it’s colder. Still life goes on. The humans on this planet have been around in their current form for more than 200,000 years. That’s a pretty long time, and they’ve survived the heat and the cold because humans adapt. It’s one of the things they excel at. The weak succumb, but the strong adapt and thrive.

Most people on Ragstone don’t know about the planet’s climate history; they just believe without questioning those making claims the temperature is rising and all life is at risk.

Along comes a man, who is known for his intelligence but not his wisdom. He’s a geek and has been bullied in his early years because, let’s be honest, he’s weird. Let’s call him Will.

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In the Garden: Growing Garlic

January 27, 2021

I use a lot of garlic. While I’ve grown it off and on over the years, I’ve never planned for the future of my garlic patch. I’d buy bulbs in the fall and plant in October, then eat all I harvested the following year thinking if I decided to grow it again, I’d buy more bulbs at the garden centre.

That changed in 2019 when I walked into the feed store and saw locally-grown organic garlic for sale. Something in my brain said, “Buy it; grow it; grow it again. Be sustainable in garlic.”

Stepping onto the Self-sustaining Path

With little money to invest in my big plan, I bought one bulb. That one bulb had three cloves. It was already mid November but the ground was still workable, so I planted the three cloves at the end of a garden bed that had grown tomatoes that year. After tossing a small mound of hay and two evergreen boughs over the patch, I walked away and hoped for the best.

Planting 3 cloves of garlic in the garden November 2019

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The Magic of Stones: Chrysocolla

January 25, 2021

I came into possession of my chrysocolla stone about four years ago when I met a man selling stones. Before I had met this man, I had not heard of it. I was first attracted to its brilliant glistening green. I also loved the shape. It is not smooth to the touch and feels more like light-weight sandpaper.

At times I carry it in my pocket. Other times, it is tucked away with other stones. Since the beginning of this year, it’s been resting on my laptop between the couplings of the oak leaf and rose hip and the chestnut and sprig of rosemary.

The tag that came with the stone reads:

Chrysocolla is first and foremost a Stone of Communication. Its very essence is devoted to expression, empowerment and teaching. The serenity of its turquoise-blue colour discharges negative energies, calms and allows truth and inner wisdom to surface and be heard. A peaceful stone, it emphasizes the power our words and actions have on those around us, and encourages compassion and strengthening of character.

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A Snowy Saturday in Pictures

January 23, 2021

Several inches of snow fell yesterday and into the overnight. Here is what New Scotland looks like on a snowy day. The morning was crisp at -14 degrees Celsius. That’s 6.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

The sun was just below the horizon and rising quickly.

Five minutes later, the sun crest the horizon and bathed the land in warm light.

The thick clouds sharpened the rays.

By the time I had fed the critters and started on my walk, the sun had risen behind the clouds, leaving the heavily-laden branches under grey skies.

The clouds were expansive and with lots of texture.

The donkeys were more interested in hay than they are in me.

The fresh snow revealed the many visitors that had passed through during the night, including one busy fox. Or maybe it was more than one. There were an awful lot of tracks along the trail, in and out of the woods, around the hayfield and through the donkey pasture.

Happy Saturday. Stay warm.

What is a Druid?

January 22, 2021

In the second book of the Mystical epic fantasy series, Within the Myst, Ryder Somerled takes Hickory Asuwish to see her das’ aunt, Cordelia Beinn (nee Welig) in Muighland. Just before they arrive, he breaks the news to her: her grandaunt is a druid of Awen.

Hickory is shocked and regrets coming because she has been taught druids, like foretellers, are bad people. She has been forbidden to see them.

I’m currently writing this scene that appears in chapter 9.

But what is a druid?

If I google that question, this is one answer I find:

A druid was a member of the high-ranking class in ancient Celtic cultures. Perhaps best remembered as religious leaders, they were also legal authorities, adjudicators, lorekeepers, medical professionals and political advisors.

Wikipedia
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In the Garden: Goals for 2021

January 20, 2021

In January, I set goals for the coming growing season in the garden. While I can’t dig in the frozen soil, I can plan what I’ll grow to become more self-sufficient.

Last year, my goal was to grow a year’s supply of herbs to use in my cooking. That was accomplished. In fact, I have more variety than I usually do. The herbs I grew, harvested and dried were rosemary, basil (green and purple), thyme, sage, summer savory and parsley (straight and curly)

I also grew and dried peppermint and lemon balm to use as a tea mix. Opening that bottle of peppermint and taking a deep breath, it smells like After Eight mints. Mmm.

2021 Garden Goals

This summer, I want to repeat my success and grow all the herbs I use in cooking. To this, I’m adding sweet marjoram and dill.

parsley, sage and thyme

An added goal is to grow several plants I can harvest and dry to make tea that will supply me for one year. This means I’ll grow and harvest more peppermint and lemon balm. To this list, I’ll add stevia (a natural sweetener), German chamomile, stinging nettle and fennel. I’ll also harvest some of the lavender flowers and raspberry leaves from the many plants I have.

While I’ll grow the foods I grew last summer, one specific goal is to grow 80 pounds of potatoes. Last year, I grew about 40 pounds. Yesterday, I ate the last of the potatoes grown in 2020. They still tasted great, even when eaten raw.

So far, I’ve already sown rosemary, an herb that take a long time to grow. By the time I’m ready to plant it outside, it should be about three inches tall. I’m experimenting with keeping last year’s plants alive in our cold winter, so hopefully, I’ll start the summer with a few mature plants already in the garden as well as new ones.

Happy gardening.

The Magic of Stones: Personal History

January 18, 2021

Isla of Maura, one of the main characters in the Castle Keepers series, has an attraction to stones. When the energy in a stone calls to her, she picks it up and carries it until she finds the person who needs it.

This character trait came from my own curiosity and habit of gathering stones. My interest in stones has walked with me all my life; it is so strong that when I was 14 years old, I stole a stone that had caught my eye. I know: who steals rocks?

The odd circumstances around this theft has stayed on my mind for almost four decades. You see, that day, my father and I were driving in his truck, perhaps going to the general store in Spanish Ship Bay, when he pulled into the driveway of the long white building along the harbour that used to be a restaurant at times. I believe it was called the Lighthouse Restaurant in the early 80s.

Anyways, at this time, the restaurant had closed, and an older man I did not know occupied it. Perhaps my father knew him since this was the area where he had been born and raised. It was summer. We walked in and my eyes drank in the boxes filled with various types of rocks. While my father and the man chatted, I walked around ogling the rocks. Some were undisturbed, as if recently plucked from the ground and put into the box. Others were polished smooth. Some where cut into shapes.

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It’s Seed Ordering Time

January 15, 2021

Shortly after Christmas, I went through Veseys Seed Catalogue and made a list of seeds I wanted to order for the coming growing season. This year’s order was small though I’m still contemplating a few other things. I’ll make up my mind before the end of January and make a second order if needed.

Harvesting Seeds

Why is my order small? Over the years, I’ve ordered many packages of seeds from various companies. I often don’t use all the seeds in an envelope, so I store them for the future. Seeds are good for a few years if they are kept in a dry, dark, cool (not below zero) place.

Last year, I put time into gathering seeds from plants in the garden. Once I learned how, it was easy to save many seeds. Usually I buy a few different varieties of tomato seeds, but I’m not buying any this year. I have about 300 seeds ready to be sown, but I’m not planting that many. I usually put in about a dozen plants.

The bonus about learning how to harvest seeds for future use is I save money. I usually spend about $50 a year on seeds and root stock. Since I don’t have to buy many seeds this year, I’m expanding my collection and buying a few different things I’ve never grown before. Two of those things are watermelon and stevia.

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Book Review: Permaculture by Jenni Blackmore

January 12, 2021

I met Jenni Blackmore in late summer 2015 at the Musquodoboit Farmer’s Market in Musquodoboit Harbour, NS. She had a vendor’s table next to mine. I was selling my homemade goat milk soap and my novels, and she was selling, amongst other things, copies of her book, Permaculture – for the rest of us –  Abundant Living on Less Than an Acre.

As a long-time gardener who began learning about building a food forest and permaculture only a few years ago, Blackmore’s book intrigued me.

The reasons I bought the book after talking with Blackmore were:

  • I wanted to learn more about permaculture in general.
  • I wanted to learn what Blackmore experienced from growing food in similar weather conditions and climate zone as I grew in.
  • Although a long-time gardener, I wanted to see if she had general garden knowledge to share that I had yet to learn.
  • Speaking with the author provided an insight not available when buying the book online or in a store, and I got the sense that Blackmore not only had a passion for gardening, she knew what she was talking about. She not only wrote the book, I believed she had valuable hands-on experiences to share.
  • I wanted to support a local author.
blackmore-jenni-permaculture

I’ve been gardening since I was a child, playing beside my mother, watching her plant potatoes, beets and carrots, and listening to her explain the different methods of planting each vegetable. She learned her gardening skills from her parents in the 1920s in a small community on the shoreline of Newfoundland where if your crops failed, you went hungry.

In my mid-20s, I began working at a large garden centre. By this time, I had grown many things. My knowledge continued to increase as I listened to the experts (though not all advice was good advice for the organic gardener), read magazines and bought books to increase the size of my library.

Many years later, I have a large collection of printed material to keep me busy reading through long winter nights. Unfortunately, not all of it is garden friendly. Some of the material discusses herbicides, pesticides and other nasty things to introduce into the growing environment. The preferred method of gardening in some of these books is not what I practise now. I prefer to walk with nature, not stomp over it and conquer it.

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