Thursday, May 30, 2019

This a first

In my garden, anyway.

At the old house, I always wanted to plant asparagus, but I balked at the time you had to let it grow before you could harvest.

"Three years," I grumbled. "Who wants to wait three years before eating asparagus?"

Well, considering it was readily available at our weekly farmer's market during that time, it wouldn't have been a hardship. We bought it and ate it anyway.

And three years would have passed. Hell, eighteen years passed in that house.

So this year, I bought a pack of 15 asparagus crowns from an organic online gardening place. (Couldn't buy less than that, thought I was skeptical that I wanted 15 plants). Then I read the planting instructions and realized I couldn't have 15 plants, unless I wanted to dedicate 3 whole raised beds to their planting.

I gave away 10, planted 5, hoping for the best. Since my beds are raised, I can't plant as deep as recommended. But gardening is an experiment, so I ... experimented.

Lo and behold, many weeks later, there are two little stalks of asparagus waving over the soil. BTW, I didn't keep the bed wholly for asparagus. I planted lima bean starts in each corner with a trellis, so hopefully they aren't intruding too much. Nobody gets that much space in limited real estate. They'll have to fight it out.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Updates

New bed from the corner of the drive
First, because I guess this is more important, I had my follow up exam with the eye surgeon today. We're a little more than 2.5 weeks out from the surgery, and he was very pleased. More importantly, he was pleased enough to put my next appointment at the end of September, so other than twice-daily eyedrops until I run out, I'm FREE!

Second, almost as important, the front hedge is gone and I'm well on the way to having the garden borders I only dreamed of when we bought Sleeping Beauty's cottage-behind-the-hedge. 

It's taken a few weeks, ten yard waste bags and a few trash cans full of debris, but the entire frontage is now clear of hedge, English ivy, and vinca (which I loathe almost as much as ivy for its ability to run everywhere and pop up where I think I've removed it).

I put in some plants that I split off from mine - I love coral bells' ability to increase magically during the season. Between those and hostas and a few lavender from the local garden center, and two Autumn Joy sedum picked up at a yard sale on Saturday, along with a puny hydrangea that I got at Aldi for $4, the beds are furnished and covered in leftover wood chip from the back yard.

The side bed was done last fall and some early spring
Large scale gardening is never a budget-friendly thing, but if you've got a strong back and patience, it gets done on the relative cheap. I figured out that between landscape fabric, raised bed kits, 2 yards of wood chip, 2 yards of mushroom soil/topsoil combination, veggie starts and seeds, and those few new plants for the front border, I've spent just under $500. It's a little ouchy to think about, but the bulk of that expense will never be repeated, and the plants will either give us food or more plants for next year.

So I'm calling it a win.

Obligatory before photo
And yes, I'm tired from all that digging. Mario helped when he got in from work, but since I'm home all day right now, I did the bulk of it because...impatient.

Serves me right.











Bonus tidy back yard status photo

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Research

So despite my afflictions (which are getting better, BTW, though I'm still ridiculously red-eyed), I've been getting a lot of writing done.

Since one of my eyedrops is to keep my eye dilated, I'm a little light-sensitive, so typing in sunglasses has been the order of the day.

But I've hit 65,000 words on the new book and I'm happy with it so far. Obviously it's a first draft and there will be massive rearranging, swearing, rewriting, and various other forms of self-inflicted writer torture yet to come, but still.

65,000 words is no slouch.

One of the fun things about writing historical fiction is the stuff you get to research. Instead of the Tudor era, like my other book, this one is actually set in times where I can access newspapers, which I did. I made a very, very organized list of things I needed to know, and got myself a seven day free trial of Newspapers.com, and knocked out most of my list, including a few things I hadn't planned on researching, but that fit the time period and themes of the book, so they got included.

Some topics that got researched: bootleg coal mines, the Lindbergh baby, the Bonus Army, the prices of everything in 1931-1933, Hoovervilles and orphanages in and around Philadelphia. Also, what it's like to have many children - something I obviously don't know firsthand, but an online friend was kind enough to answer a long list of questions so I feel like I know my main character a little better.

I sometimes read, but doubt I would ever write fantasy: I'd rather research a world than make one up from scratch. I read, but am not sure I would ever write contemporary, either, since one of the reasons I write is to get away from the present. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Normal is good

So on Wednesday we got up at the ass crack of dawn to drive to the hospital. Know what sucks about being up that early? We drove almost a half hour, parked, and were inside before the sun even came up. The least I expected was a sunrise.

Somehow I had neglected to realize that anesthesia, even the local variety, would require an IV, and we had to do the dance of needle phobia again. They knocked me totally out for the very beginning, and then brought me up so that I could respond to directions to move my eyes, etc. Somewhere close to the end of the procedure, I realized I was listening to conversation and equipment noises, but it didn't bother me. Then they rolled me back to my cubicle and I startled the nurse by getting up and asking for coffee.

I had to wear the fly shield over the eye all yesterday, and took it off this a.m. at my follow up appointment, where I was given three kinds of eye drops, each with its own schedule.

I can see ok already. There are blurry spots in my vision,which will clear as the stitches dissolve and the swelling goes down. The white of my eye is pretty solidly red, which is bruising. I'm a little discolored, but not the shiner I expected.

Another appointment in a week to see how the healing is coming along. Assuming it's started already, because the stitches are itching like I've got sand in my eye and I can't rub or scratch.

Best part of today: the shower in the afternoon and wine with dinner. Normal is good.