If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Research the Hard Way

I love doing research most of the time. Books are filled with information that I find useful and fascinating. The internet surprises me with a plum now and then. I have always engaged in re-enactments and emersion weekends, where you get to dress up and live the lives of those from the chosen time period. Sometimes the research comes too close to home. Irene made her way up the east coast and threatened my home and the two mills I love with flooding and wind damage. My first preparation was to make sure all the Greenbank sheep would be safe. The barn and pasture is flood prone, and the sheep could be trapped in the barn and drown. So, I had to move fences and gates to secure them in the top pasture. Our fences are split rail, which means that the sections are not fastened together by anything except gravity. A good flood would wash them away.
The sheep were outside during the storm because it is safer for them, not just because of flooding, but because if they panicked in an enclosed location the whole flock could run into one of the stone walls. We have lost lambs to broken necks from being forced into a wall at high speed. They will find the safest spot in the pasture and lie down till the wind dies down. The next step was to make sure we had ample food for the sheep. We buy commercial food in 50 pound bags, and I moved 10 bags into the barn and emptied them into the containers. My sheep farming ancestors would not have had to move 50 pound bags, but they would have had to do a lot of physical labor to keep the sheep safe and secure. And they wouldn’t have had the two days notice I had. The sheep and the house survived the storm with no damage. While the flood came up around the house we kept it out of the basement with sandbags and sump pumps. But my vegetable garden washed away. I went to work at the Newlin Grist Mill on Monday and found that the basements had flooded and the electricity was off. Generators and garden hoses ran all day, but the telephones and computers didn’t. No hot water or hot food unless we wanted to build a fire in the hearth and cook over that. We were too busy with repairs to spare someone to tend the fire and cook. So, I came out of the weekend with a healthy respect for sudden changes in weather and how our farming ancestors had to respond to those changes quickly. I found out on a deeper level than simply understanding how electricity pervades our lives. I realized that hot food is a luxury and to be had only when the other chores are done. I would have no preserved vegetables for the winter. I can go to the grocery, but they couldn’t. I also came to realize that many of our current notions of how life did not hold true for our ancestors. People who care about them were surprised that the sheep would do better outside than inside, but no one augured with me. Sure enough, they were fine.


E. B. Davis said...

I'm glad everyone survived Irene, KB. I also hope that Katia stays at sea. Do you sell goat milk for cheese making and the wool for yarn making? How did you come to tend sheep?
Just nosy-kinda figures.

Pauline Alldred said...

Your blog is so revealing about how our ancestors managed. I can't imagine they had a minute to spare for just hanging out or getting into trouble. That's interesting about the sheep. Animals have a survival instinct as strong if not stronger than ours.

Kara Cerise said...

Sitting in my comfortable chair safely out of the elements, it's easy to forget how difficult life was for our ancestors.

Shirley Wells said...

So glad all concerned survived Irene. It's fascinating to think of how our ancestors would have been forced to try and cope. That's something we forget to do.