Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30?

Can you believe this weather? Here it is the last day of November, and the day before yesterday I was out on the back deck with a cup of coffee, reading a book! Amazing!
Cold weather is coming soon, though, time to snuggle in for the winter, I think.

Just canned another batch of Dorie's veggie-beef soup, and we're looking at doing up another batch of applesauce, while they still have apples at a decent price at the orchard. We've got some granddaughters who can't get enough of that stuff! And I should have made a double batch of apple butter as well!

The garden is resting for the winter, but there's activity going on underneath. The garlic is in, and I'm doing next year's garden on paper -- lots of heirloom tomatoes, more parsnips, and I'll be trying some of the vertical gardening techniques I've been learning about.

Didn't get the tunnel greenhouse built this year, but it's still on the burner for next year. Of course, if the snow holds off I just might still be able to get it put up this year.

Finally got my shop cleared out so that I can work in it again. I'm hoping that one of the Edenpure heaters will keep it warm enough, as I don't like using the kerosene heater in a space that small.

Still working on the next two books, and planning to send them all to the various Ebook venues, like Kindle, Nook, Sony reader, etc. Maybe soon!


Friday, October 14, 2011

So much happening!

Taking a break from shredding and canning sauerkraut, and thought I'd catch up a bit.

We went up into New England for a long weekend, went on a whale watch, then drove up to Freeport, ME to the L.L.Bean store. Fun! We had perfect weather for it, nice and warm and clear. The fall foliage is a little dull this year, with only a few spots showing good color.

I got my garlic planted earlier this week, and helped Dorie with canning. She's been doing beets, pickled beets, applesauce, veggie-beef soup, and grape jelly. Still lots to do, but the garden is about done for the season.

I'm close to sending my next short story collection into Kindle for publication, and will probably send Mattie's Place there as well. The new Kindle Fire looks good, and the pricing changes on the old ones are attractive as well, so I figure it's going to be a good market for me.

Back to the grind ,,, errr,,, shred!   :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011


Lots going on, with the floods and all. So many people hurting, and so many people helping, even in the midst of their own hurts. I've heard about folks who have lost everything, but still take time helping those who are even less fortunate. One local business owner, after losing his car dealership and service station, put everything on hold, and personally went to help those of his employees who had been displaced by the floods. He maintained his payroll, and kept everyone going. "There's time enough to replace inventory and things later. Right now my employees need the help more than I do." God bless him, and others like him!

As my heading indicates, I'm now officially retired! I'd been feeling lousy the past few weeks, and finally went to the doctor, who informed me that I had walking pneumonia, and put me on an antibiotic. I decided then that I'd had enough of slinging groceries, and told my managers at Weis that I would be resigning. They didn't hold me to the customary two weeks' notice, so I cleaned out my locker and left. Feel some better now, but still fighting the remnants of the pneumonia.

Those who enjoy gardening might enjoy my garlic article, published in the last issue of Backwoods Home Magazine. You can see it online at

Thursday, September 8, 2011


There are lots of hurting people around here today. These are the worst floods in recent memory, more devastating even, than the 2006 flooding. We're high and dry here at home, but have friends and family who have been flooded out. Binghamton, Vestal, Endicott -- the whole Chenango/Susquehanna river valley, in fact, is inundated by flood waters dumped from tropical storm Lee when it stalled over us. We've been told to expect more, that it's not over yet. You may still be able to see the pictures at

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Stormy Weather

Sitting here waiting for Irene to arrive, but feeling her presence already. She's reaching out and touching the arthritis. Hoping it feels better once she's passed.

We had a bit of a flap a week ago. Dorie went downstairs at around 3AM, and came running back up and woke me up, saying that the kitchen was flooded. The hot water line under the sink had come apart, and we had about two inches of water on the floor. It ran into the adjacent sewing room as well, and soaked the carpet there.
It ruined the carpet, all the base cabinets in the kitchen, and the linoleum has to be replaced as well. It's not quite all dry yet, and we're waiting to receive the estimate from the insurance adjuster on it.

Life is interesting!

Remember Hurricane Hazel? I do, way back in 1954. I wrote a poem about her a few years ago, and just posted it in her honor on the "Etcetera Page" of my website,


Thursday, August 11, 2011

What a pain!

New laptop, new OS (switching from XP pro to Windows7, new mail (can't run Outlook Express) but dunno which one to run. I have Outlook, Gmail, and Roadrunner mail, but they're all so different from OE that it's going to be a royal mash-up to get one of them running while saving all my old stuff.
May be mumbling for a while.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


A whole month gone by! Talk about busy! Been writing, gardening, working, sweating (a lot) etc etc.

Mattie's Place is doing okay, but not selling as fast as I had hoped. The follow-on book is almost ready to send in to the publisher, and I need one more short story for my "Loose Canon" collection. That's a "twilight zone" type bunch of strange short stories -- some scifi, some ghost stories, some flash fiction. I'm planning that one for the Kindle. Also for the Kindle is the futuristic (post-apocalyptic) trilogy I've been working on. The first one is in final edit mode, and may be placed on Kindle in August. I figure if I get that one out there it will give incentive to get the next one done. Especially if it sells well!  :-)

Re : Loose Canon, that's a working title. Will probably change it for pub. I woke up a couple of weeks ago with a story on my mind, and had to get up (at 3AM) and write it. That makes two in that collection that hit me that way. It's an eerie feeling -- sort of like just being a channel form wherever the story originated. No, I'm not into "channeling" -- just a figure of speech!

The garden is out there. Not doing well, but it's out there. We're getting a few tomatoes and cucumbers, but no squash yet. Garlic is nearly ready to harvest. I planted beets, more peas, and more cukes and beans. Getting ready to start the broccoli, and will put in some kale for winter harvest, and some tunips as well. .

Watch for the August/September issue of Backwoods Home Magazine -- my garlic article should be in there.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Dorie got me another Kindle -- thank you, Honey! I promise I won't soak this one in coffee!

Reading several books right now, Laurence Leamer's King of the Night, the Life of Johnny Carson is one, along with a Dean Koontz novel, A Mid-Summer Night's Dream, Decision Points, and Demonic, by Ann Coulter. I switch between them, depending on the mood. 

Garden is spotty, at best. There are some peas ready to pick, and it's time to plant follow-on crops of beans and potatoes. The tomatoes look good, and the cukes are starting to come on strong. Weather has still been weird, but things are shaping up. Cherries were a bust again -- too much rain at the wrong time, ditto the strawberries. 

The doc wants me to take some time off my job -- says that standing at the register all day is hurting my back and legs. Can't really afford it, but will talk to mgmt about it next week. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Storms again!

Rain, thunder, lightning. Wind. More lightning and thunder, more rain. It's really getting strange. All the rain has put the kibosh on my (and everyone else's) strawberries and cherries too. Green Brothers normally has a 7-10 day picking season, but they were done in six hours this year! My plants look great, sending out runners all over the place, but what few berries showed up rotted before they ripened. Same with the two cherry trees -- turned brown and dropped, and the few ripening ones have  big brown spot on them. Too much rain.

The peas are filling out, may pick some early next week! Yum! Still have more peas to plant, and more beans, potatoes, corn, cukes, beets, and squash. The tomatoes are coming along nicely, as are the peppers. I planted several varieties, ranging from mild to temporary insanity. Hoping they do well.

Going to try Tattler reusable canning jar lids this year. I ordered some, and they look good. They're supposed to be good for at least 20 cycles, so if they work well it will cut down considerably on our canning costs. Check for more info and to purchase them.

Still getting good responses on my book! See for more on that.

Hoping it will be dry enough to get out into the garden tomorrow!

Friday, June 17, 2011

World Without End

Almost forgot -- was going to say a few words about Ken Follett's new book World Without End -- the sequel to The Pillars Of The Earth. Excellent book! I enjoyed it very much, even through some of the slower-paced spots. Set 200 years after Pillars (14th century) it give a great picture of life uder the thumb of feudal lords, the church, and the guilds. I saw much of today's New York State in it  I'd recommend it to anyone interested in that period!

Ain't technology wonderful!

Sitting here in the Kia dealer's shop, waiting for some service on my Sedona, and still bemoaning the loss of my coffee-soaked Kindle. I've had it sitting in rice (took the back off it first) but I think it's DOA. Bummer! Was in the middle of several books too -- currently reading a collection of Flannery O'connor short stories, as well as Midsummer Night's Dream, editing my new book, and reviewing a copy of a new book written by my son-in-law'a pastor. Now all I need is a new Kindle!

So I had to bring my laptop with me (they have a hotspot here) and might as well catch up on some writing while I wait. I've been tweaking the web page my son-in-law Aaron set up for me at, and it's looking good! Thanks, Aaron! Now looking at setting up an RSS feed on it. Looks fairly straightforward to do with Joomla -- that's what he used to set up the page, and they make it look easy to include some other bells and whistles too. I'm increasingly impressed with Joomla as a webpage builder!

Also working on Mattie's Place Two -- How Bump Really Got His Nickname! So far that's the working title, and folks who read the first one will draw the connection with little effort.

I wish I had started all this a long time ago! I still don't have a sense of time being short, but feel driven to write, to complete a few projects I've started and not finished. The extra $$ from my part time job at the supermarket do help, but the work, as much as I enjoy it, really cuts into my writing time! Not sure how much longer that will last.

Garden is going well -- actually had to water it again! The asparagus is done until next spring, but there are strawberries ripening, blossoms on the peas, even some little tomatoes on the plants! I count time in the garden as writing time too, as I write in my mind while working on weeding, etc, and I've actually sold an article to Backwoods Home Magazine on how I grow garlic. Won't get rich doing that, but it did pay for a month's internet provider service. Now working on another article for them.

On that note, gotta get busy!

Friday, June 3, 2011

This is weather?

Well I guess! This past week the temp has ranged from near 90F to this morning's low of 40F, with wind, rain, and thunder, and I actually had to go out and water the tomatoes a few nights ago. I almost went out and covered the garden last night, but decided to go ahead and take a chance. No frost, but the cold does slow the tomatoes and peppers a bit.

I've got three dozen tomato plants (mostly Roma for canning and sauce), two dozen assorted peppers -- sweet, hot, hotter, hottest, and Masochist's Delights, plus cukes, peas (up about 8 inches) , strawberries, asparacus, garlic, and some posies. More of those, plus the usual suspects left to plant. Wasn't going to do beets this year, as I got a good crop last year and canned a whole bunch, but I forgot to do the pickled beets. Not a good lapse there -- we love those things, so I'll plant them again.

There are lots of little green sweet cherries on the trees, and if I can save them from the birds, we might have a pie or two.

Speaking of the birds, had lots of  finches, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, wrens, etc, until last week's storm. Now very few. A big crow has been stopping once in a while, but the little guys are scarce. Hummingbirds are back, and they'll fly right up close to me, but the rest are noticeably absent.

No bees either, and that's still scary. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Guess what -- it's raining!

Shoulda got my garden in last week, but was afraid of the frost. We have a tub of water on the back porch that I've been using to water the plants, and it had ice in it a couple of mornings. I haven't had to bring them in for the past three nights, though, so may be able to set them out into the garden before Christmas. :-)

Forecast now is for rain every day through Friday, with possible flooding in some areas. It doesn't really bother my garden, as this sandy soil drains well, but I would like to get stuff planted soon. The first peas are growing okay, and the end of the week will be just about right for the second planting of those.

The second book is going well, and should be ready to submit to the publisher in a couple of months or so. I'm planning, along with a couple of other local authors, to do a booth at the county fair this summer, and I'd like to include the second Mattie's Place book.

Back to the grindstone ....

Friday, May 13, 2011

My web site is open!

My website,, is now open for business! I think it looks great! Thank you Aaron! I appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Way too busy!

One of my chief complaints about blogs I've followed is that the blogger would go without posting for weeks at a time. Ooops! It's been a whole month since I've posted, and I can see how it can happen.

Been busy doing Other Things, and suddenly it's Now, and I can see all the empty pages I've left since Then.

Did lots of things over the past month, mostly accompanied by shivering. It's been cold, and Spring has come later than usual.

Sold a few books so far, but have seen no reviews on any of the book store sites. Perhaps that's a kindness. But folks seem to be enjoying it. I gave a copy to our local library, and the librarian told me the other day that it's on a waiting list, and I now have a second book signing scheduled for there, a week after the one at Barnes and Noble.

Someone told me they saw posters advertising the B&N signing already, and they are planning to come. Should be fun!

I got my early peas planted finally, a few weeks after I wanted to plant them. While tilling for them I noticed a few aparagus spears coming up, and couldn't wait -- I picked and ate one right there. Yum! The garlic is up 8 or 10 inches, and is growing nicely. I just got a check in the mail yesterday from the magazine that accepted the article  I wrote about planting it, last fall. Gotta get busy and write some more! I write that not to brag, but to tell you that it's never too late to start doing the things you've been putting off.

If you have an article or a story that you would like to tell, find the magazine that prints similar stuff, and look on their website for "Guidelines for Submission." Follow them, and send it in! Worst case, they say no. Best case, you get a check in the mail a while later, and maybe an invitation to write something more for them!

That's what I have to do now -- finish another garden article and send it in!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Book has been released!

After way too long my book is on sale at Halo, Amazon, and many other book stores!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


It's already March! Haven't posted here since Feb 12, but have been doing lots of writing. Two kids' books, plus one in the works (for my youngest granddaughters), and now 23k words into a new novel.

But that's not the big news --  "Mattie's Place" is in final production at Halo Publishing! They'll be taking orders sometime later in March.



Saturday, February 12, 2011

All sorts of stuff

It's almost quiet here! Two of our grandkids stayed with us this past week, and now they've gone home. Cari is here, playing with Sam (our Golden Retriever) and watching Blue's Clues.

It's been cooooooold! Temp got down to -15 earlier this week, and is now back up to 33, but the wind chill is lots lower than that. Still looking for Spring!

I've got some of my garden seeds in hand -- still have to get more beets and cabbage, and a few other items. I've had a garden for so long now, that I simply can't believe how the enclosed video clip can happen! Talk about fascism! I think there's be bruises if anyone tried that in my neighborhood!

Waiting for a proof copy of Mattie's Place from the publisher. It's getting close!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

writing, writing, writing

Well, my Mattie's Place ms has been sent to the publisher, and I've been working on the cover art. Learning a lot about the art of creating and selling a book! I didn't realize just how much is involved in getting one out to the market place, and I'm thinking that the writing part was the easiest! 

But we're on track, I guess, and it'll be interesting to see how well it does.

I've also been working on a couple of new stories, as my three youngest granddaughters have been after me to write each of them a book with them as the central character. Got one done so far, and one pretty well along the way. The third granddaughter, Joy, is here now for a few days, so I imagine we'll get around to working on that one too. Then to get them out to the publisher to see if they pass muster.  This could be addictive! 

On another note, it's raining and freezing here  -- has been all day -- and the roads are atrocious! We need to get down to our church to do the bulletins for tomorrow morning, but I don't know if we'll make it or not. If not, we'll have to do it in the morning. We get there early in any case, so that's not much of a problem, but it'll be more to do.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Coold again!

The temp was a little below 0 F this morning, and a couple of our water lines froze, but nothing too serious. It's up to 7 now, and Ijust came in from feeding the birds. We've got a Carolina Wren hanging around this year -- real pretty! It's the first one we've noticed in all the years we've been tending the feeders.
Still working on the story for Cari Grace. A puppy named Daisy, and a unicorn so far. Got several possible scenarios, and working towards one of them. Not easy writing for a precocious six-year-old!
Sent off my ms to the publisher yesterday, for initial edit. Hoping not to have to explain/insist on a couple of purposely misspelled words and grammatical anomalies.
Gotta go make some more sourkraut. We're down to one jar left, and it's good! I posted it here back in November 2009. when I first made it. It's still back there if you want to search back for it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January Thirteenth

It's been a while! Too many trips to the funeral parlor -- been there five times since the New Year began, and that's not a pleasant way to start the year.

It's shaping up to be a cold weekend here! Supposed to get down near the single digits (F) tonight, and I'm getting to the point where I just can't handle that any more. I've decided that of the two choices, I'd rather complain about being too hot than too cold!

But while I'm shivering, I'm looking out at the garden and deciding what and where to plant in a few months. It's almost time to start onion seed, and a few other things follow shortly thereafter.

It's almost book time too! another month or so, and it should be out. Now working on a special book for my granddaughter. She's requested a story about a puppy named Daisy, and I'm hoping I get it right. Not easy writing for a six year old!

Gotta close this -- supper smells great!