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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

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.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For

Maggie in my side yard last winter.
Here in Northeast Ohio, and indeed much of the country in January, the weather was horrible – bitter cold and lots of snow. But I didn’t mind too much because that is the time of the year when I like to hibernate and get more reading and writing done. I love getting comfortable in my nesting chair with a good book, and also have more time to write. February was equally a bitter cold month with more snow falling. That’s when I started looking forward to spring, but I figured it was coming soon. Maybe March would even come in like a lamb as it has done sometimes in the past. It didn’t. By then I was really getting sick and tired of winter; hauling buckets of water from the house to the barn for my ponies and old hens because the outside pump had frozen. Oh, how I wished spring would come. I longed to walk in the woods mornings again, but couldn’t not only because of the extreme cold, but the depth of the snow. Finally, on March 30th, I was able to walk in the woods wearing boots, of course, and the water pump thawed so I didn’t have to carry water buckets from the house.
Daffodils in my back yard in April.

April was warmer; however with April we got those April showers that bring May flowers. For all of April I wore barn boots and squished and sloshed on much of my path through the woods. My driveway had puddles and the lawn was squishy with puddles, too. Later the daffodils started to bloom as well as some of the earlier flowers in the woods, and I was happy spring was finally here in spite of the sloppy squishy ground.

Phoebe hasn't quite lost all her winter coat yet.

That is I was happy it was here until after I came home from Malice in early May. You see, I wasn’t the only living thing that met spring with exuberance. New flowers kept appearing, and that made me happy, but not the weeds that grew faster and thicker than my flowers. And then there was the grass. I no sooner mowed one section, then four or five days later, I had to mow again. I don’t really mind the dandelions, I love the little suns blooming everywhere, but the grass around them kept getting higher and higher. Now I don’t have a riding lawn mower, I have a self-propelled old mower that I still have to let go of the self-propelled lever to pull back on the mower and maneuver it through different areas. When I’m mowing areas with really high grass, my mower clogs up and quits, so I have to turn it over and clean out the grass stuck under there. Once it has dried a day or two later I rake the cut grass for my ponies.

And apparently on the tree telegraph line, my few white ash trees have heard the Emerald Ash Borer is on its way, so they have liberally sown seeds through every one of my gardens so saplings are growing everywhere some waist high or more. Of course, there are also the branches that came down in the winter to clean up as well as dead branches hanging low on trees that I tend to run into when I’m mowing and not paying attention.

Flowers, rose bushes, etc. in front of pots and weeding buckets.

In an early burst of exuberance on my part, when my two sisters and I went to Bluestone Perennials the week before Malice, I bought a lot of plants. Unfortunately many of them are still in the flats I brought home. Over the past few weeks I bought more flowers, a few herbs and vegetables, four rose bushes and a Japanese maple – almost none have been planted yet except for one window box and three planters I took to the cemetery for the graves I decorate.

Hard to believe that most of this was full of veggies last year. 

Why haven’t I planted them yet? Well, the fenced in vegetable garden with raised beds is full of weeds – big healthy weeds. I did get a small part of it weeded and planted, and part of my strawberry patch is weeded, but the rest of it is a horror, and I don’t use weed killer. Even the brick sidewalks – darn Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello that gave me the idea that brick walks would be nice. Ever try weeding brick walks?  Every flower garden in my extensive gardens is filled with weeds, even the ones I had so nicely weeded last year. The problem with Pollyanna exuberance, which I’m deeply afflicted with, we tend to overlook the negative side of things. At least we do until it’s staring us in the face. My gardens would actually be quite lovely if I didn’t have to spend a part of most days mowing and even more so if I could afford several – make that three, or more gardeners.  
My little goldfish pool still needs cleaned, too.
But alas and alack, I can’t. The only thing for me is to keep working at it a little at a time. It is such a pleasure to look at a weeded and neat looking garden area when I finish it. Unfortunately, those evil little weeds tend to sneak in during the night and take over again. Since I can’t fight them, I’ve decided to put on my Pollyanna mantle and declare my gardens are wild flower gardens. And you know what? I’ve found that except for dedicated gardeners – especially the neatniks, most people think my gardens are lovely. It’s all a point of view, after all.

Yeah, twelve yards under that. A kid is coming to shovel it in.

One more thing I wished for that came to pass last week. I wanted to find someone who would deliver sawdust for my pony stalls so I’d no longer have to buy bales of pine chips from Tractor Supply. My Amish blacksmith gave me the name of a man, and a week ago he delivered twelve yards of sawdust. Now all I have to do is find someone who will move it a wheelbarrow at a time into a stall I have ready in the barn to store it. Do you have any idea how big a pile of twelve yards of sawdust is?

Several of many rhododendrons I have blooming at my place.

I’ll admit when I drive through neighborhoods with neat lawns and gardens with everything trimmed and looking perfect, I feel a moment of wistfulness, but it doesn’t last long. Last week I visited a friend with the most awesome hosta gardens and other plants, too. I mean, I swear there was not a weed hiding anywhere. Of course, she and her husband spend hours and hours to make them look so perfect. As for me, I’ve always loved walking through fields and woods where nothing is trimmed neatly. I’m more in tune with what is natural, and even though that may have a bit of making excuses for the state of my gardens, in truth, I have so many other interests that I don’t want to spend all my time working in my gardens. However, I’m still wishing for a gardener who works for free.

So far everyone has ignored this sign. :(
What have you wished for that wasn’t exactly what you wanted?


Margaret Turkevich said...

Gloria, my weeds are waist high; I've spent the week yanking them out of the wet clay. I like the idea of a wild flower garden.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I weed trees from my wildflower garden that occupies the land over the septic field. Maples, aspen, hemlocks, cedar, spruce and balsam all think that ground is meant for their woods – and technically they are correct, but I disabuse them that the time is right -- 200 trees a day.

That’s my daily weeding. It will take me the better part of two months, but never seems onerous when done in 200 “weed” batches. Plus, with the mosquitoes out, I can afford just about that much blood loss before I faint.

Of course, they’ll be back next year. (I suppose the they could refer to either the trees or the mosquitoes -- with equal truth.)

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

Weeding is like washing laundry or dishes. It is never completely done.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, I have wet clay, too. It's a bugger to weed with clay because the roots tend
to come out with huge clumps of clay around them - at least that's true when it's soggy
wet. Yes, at least it's nice having some of my gardens wild, at least the ones I never
find the time to get to.

Jim, I not only have the little ash saplings, but oak and maple, too, and even worse are
the invasive trumpet vines that appear everywhere in my side yard gardens. As much as I
know they're good for the humming birds, I'm sorry I ever planted the trumpet vine. Yes,
the mosquitoes are horrible when one lives in wooded areas. Just walking in my woods
every morning is a test of my endurance. I do spritz my clothes with a Deep Woods Off,
and that helps a little. However, for me what I hate the most are the nasty deer flies.

Warren, you are so right about that. However, as much as I complain about it, I really
do like to weed. There's a feeling of satisfaction when looking at a newly weeded area,
even if it doesn't last.

Grace Topping said...

Gloria, you simply amaze me that you are able to tend your gardens and animals and still find time to write. In a previous life you were probably one of those brave women who crossed the prairie and set up home in the wilderness. Thanks for the pictures. I've read your postings about the work you do, but it is a pleasure seeing where you work and what you've been able to accomplish. Now, looking at my poor neglected garden, I feel guilty.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks for commenting, Grace. I do my gardening,mowing, etc. in the mornings and evenings
mostly and my writing in the afternoons when it's too warm outside. Of course, I have more
time to write when the weather outside is bad. No matter how neglected your garden is, it can't come anywhere near what mine is. The good news is a kid showed up yesterday and put
that huge amount of sawdust in the stall in the barn I had ready for him. It took him three
hours and that included having to borrow a garden cart from my daughter-in-law because he managed to flatten the wheel on my wheelbarrow with heavy loads - something all guys who help me manage to do. :-) I'll drop it off at the local gas station on my way to Mobile Meals shortly and they'll inflate it for me. Now I'll have to find someone to put it back on for me.

Shari Randall said...

Well, I can't complain about my little plot when I see all the work you have to do, Gloria! But even with the weeds, you are surrounded by beauty. I like your idea of calling it a wildflower garden.
and glad you have help with all that work! We used to have a huge yard and I hired a local 12-year-old boy to help out - Kids that age are wonderful workers - I paid him very well (his dad used to complain that I over paid him) but I think he would have done the work for free as long as I kept giving him lemonade and cookies.

vicki batman said...

How lovely you have spring! Ours was short lived and while everyone wished for water, we got water plus. The best news is no more drought. Can you imagine only watering your yard once every 2 weeks? Incredible. So while many are wishing for no more rain, I don't. Because the drought is far worse. The downside is I haven't put out spring/summer flowers. lol

Patg said...

See, I told you gardening was exhausting. :)
I have pots, but I still get weeks and have that 'one spring day' when I attack them all. What I miss stays. But more than weeks I have moss and mold, and removing that gives me the creeps. I rush in the house and 'disinfect' frequently. Then, get out the power washer and really have a maniacal good time. :)

Anonymous said...

What you wish for vs what you get -- reminds me of Fantasy Island. You work harder than anyone I know, from feeding and watering the animals, to writing and marketing your work. You are an inspiration. But even in the face of all those weeds, I know it is a labor of love.

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Shari, I get such pleasure walking around and seeing what new is blooming. I'm lucky to have this teenager and sometimes my grandson to help out, but for a long time I had trouble finding any teenager who wanted to work. I pay a reasonable amount over minimum wage, and don't make a fuss when they flatten the wheel on my wheelbarrow or weed whack something I don't want weed whacked.

Vicki, my California daughter has the same problem. She put in her own irrigation system and only runs it for 5 or 10 minutes every four or five days. She also saves the water she uses heating up her bath or shower in buckets. When she moved into her new house a year ago, she bought and planted only drought tolerant plants for her yard and gardens.

Pat, sure it's exhausting, but it's healthy. If I weren't gardening, mowing, caring for animals, I'd be spending most of my time sitting at the computer and that is unhealthy.
Besides, I really do love weeding. I prefer walking in the woods and working in my garden to running inside on a treadmill - which I don't have anyway.

Kara Cerise said...

Your gardens look beautiful, Gloria! I'm amazed that you can find time to write.

I know what you mean about wishes... When my husband and I first moved to the D.C. area, I wished that people would visit us. The deluge of family and friends began the second week we were in our new place. At that point our living room was unfurnished and we had moving boxes full of stuff stacked up. For about six months there were so many people visiting that I kept file folders of itineraries so I wouldn't get confused. When life finally calmed down and we met our neighbors, one asked how many people actually lived in our house.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks you, Kara. I write when it's cold or in the afternoons when it's too hot outside,
or if it's raining. I try to break up the time I spend on the computer with some activity,
even if it's running the sweeper. For me weeding is restful because it doesn't take a lot
of thought - sort of mind relaxing.

I can understand family and friends wanting to come to tour the DC with a place to stay
close by. My family and I visited once when there was actually a state park close to the
DC where we camped. Another time I came with my Girl Scout troop and stayed at a Girl Scout
Camp and lodge near the DC, too. I think that's been long gone now. So often I read about people who live near the ocean or in Florida who have too many people come and just assume
they're welcome no matter how often they come or how long they stay.

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for the lovely pictures! Your place looks so peaceful. And I love how your interest in gardening shows through in your books.

I mow in sections, and by the time I finish the last bit, the first one needs to be mowed again.

Kait said...

What a wonderful post. And I love both your sign, and the arbor in front of your garage. That is spectacular. All that snow must have left a good bit of moisture in the ground too. Amazing what turns up. Sometimes,they are self-seeded wild flowers. Enjoy Spring!

E. B. Davis said...

Due to getting what I wished for, I was so busy, I failed to comment yesterday. My apologies. Spring chores are numerous and the days are short getting everything I have to do done! We're already experiencing 90 degree heat and have the air conditioning on. Of course, I haven't finished washing windows yet. I'm hoping the temperatures will drop down so I don't have to waste energy while finishing spring chores. Good luck, Gloria. I know well what you have to do.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks, KM. I mow in sections also. About a half hour or so with each section, and then when
I done each section, it's time to start over with the first section which is usually the front yard.

Thanks, Kait. Both of my signs were gifts. The one about if I'm not home, weed, was made by one of my sisters. So far no one has paid attention to the plea.

E.D. I hate when it gets that hot. Fortunately, although I have a small room air conditioner that hasn't been brought in yet, my house usually doesn't heat up much because of the trees surrounding my home. Wash the windows???? I won't be able to get to them until I have more of the garden under control and everything planted that needs planted. I hope the temperatures cool down for you soon.