We’re hanging in there, are you?

Garden May 1 056

I am starting the day with coffee today. I have cut back drastically on my coffee. For a few months I was drinking half to one pot per day. Before lunch. With cream and sugar. I have found I can get the same energy from orange juice so I do that a few days each week and the coffee once or twice each week. Luckily I didn’t have much of a reaction from the lack of caffine.

I have so many pictures stored up and so many posts in my head but I am completely deadline driven at the moment. I signed a contract to write a short book about water storage for household and emergency use that is due at the end of August. About a day later I was contacted about my proposal for a brief history of my home town. Accepted, and could I have it ready by mid-August? The two projects total are only 100,000 words so it’s not out of the realm of possibility to get it done, in fact I typed (wrote?) 3,000 words on one of them just yesterday. Juggling the two projects along with my 20 hour per week gig and trying to pitch a few other stories here and there is challenging though. Not to mention keeping up with the garden and all of its oddities (things happen, I don’t know why so I end up interneting to try and figure out if I need to be worried!) and not totally ignoring the dog and I am keeping relatively busy. I think the crock-pot will be my friend this summer.

In two weeks we will go on vacation for a week or so down to the Gulf coast in Alabama. I have gotten our first few campgrounds reserved and that is probably all the planning I will get to do. I do know we will be stopping for a short jaunt in New Orleans (I’ve never been) so I put Cafe Du Monde at the top of my list of things to see with beignets and cafe au lait. There are several things in my book of 1,000 Place to See Before You Die in the USA and Canada in the general area we will be in so we will probably try and mark a few off the list. We got four or five of them in Colorado last summer so it will be fun to add a few more. It’s a nice travel journal of sorts. If we visit a place, I make a few notes in the margins along with the date we were there.

Last weekend I went to a basic class about raising chickens. I think chickens will definitely be in our future. Robert wants to make sure we build the shed first, so the plan is to build the shed after vacation and into July and as soon as it is done get the chickens. Well, after we build the coop. I think we will start small with only a few chickens. Unless of course I find out that the local processor will take care of some of them for us for a reasonable price, then we will order 25, raise them all for 6 or 8 weeks and send most of the boys off to Trenton to be ready for the freezer. That I can handle. Doing it ourselves? Not so much. But, we do want to avoid the $64 tomato phenomenon with our little homestead adventures.

I am trying to make sure I put aside money each time I get paid for “projects.” Things like chickens, blueberry bushes, fruit trees, all the cool stuff I want to do for our little bit of land. Robert is much more supportive of my schemes if I have some funds to back them up!

Okay, back to work. And in case you’re wondering, that’s my Texas mug in the picture. It holds probably three 8 oz. cups of coffee at once and has all sorts of Texas-isms on it. My favorite? “You can all go to hell and I’ll go to Texas.” said by Davy Crockett. 🙂 The mug is from our vacation to Fort Worth.

Just call us the Busy Bees

There is just so much going on sometimes. Daisy dog got spayed on Monday. She slept most of yesterday but today she is ready to go. I think we will have to take a walk later to burn off some energy.

I was pretty bummed during the last week of March to find out I wouldn’t be writing for Green Daily anymore. It looks like they cut the staff down to only 2 bloggers. Ouch. As usual, the bad news was pretty easy to turn into a new opportunity though. I am working with a company called Grow and Make and writing some green living guides and articles which is really fun. And, the articles are longer so I can dig into topics more which I am enjoying. The other nice thing is that there is a set schedule. I need to write x number of posts per week/month and I get paid a flat fee. I like that. Sometimes too much freedom makes me lazy since I figure I can do it later, etc. So, I am writing for them. I am also working on some articles for the BootsnAll travel site. I met a bunch of people that write and edit for them at South By Southwest. Speaking of which, I need to get back to work on my article. I definitely need to get better at time management for myself. It is difficult to work on the internet so much since there are some many things that can be distracting so quickly.

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On Saturday night I broke the clothesline. Argh! The clothes were not quite dry so I left then out, thinking I would bring them in before I went to bed (pretty common practice here). Before I went to bed it started raining. Now, this has happened before and we’ve just left the clothes out on the line so they would have a chance to dry in the morning. It hasn’t been a big deal. Of course, we hadn’t done it when there were heavy thunderstorms before. The clothes got wetter and wetter and heavier and heavier until finally the arm bent. I guess the upside is I can use at least one side of it until we either fix it or get a new one so that is good. I wasn’t looking forward to jumping up the electric bill this month by using the dryer a lot.

On Sunday we decided to stay home from the family brunch. We just really needed some time together at home. Robert continues to be crazy busy at work and doing fire department stuff and we needed time to be together, work together and just reconnect. Some weeks two or three nights involve him coming home from work, eating dinner, changing into his fire department uniform and leaving again. Other nights he comes home, eats dinner, watches something on TV and can barely stay awake. On the weekends it is really great to have time working together at home and talking. It helps him to relax and unwind and it really helps me to feel reconnected to him.

I recently made a list of things that needed to be done at home that I needed help with. On Sunday we picked one and got to work on it. Not surprisingly the first thing my husband chose to do was to update and organize the disaster kit. He has a master’s degree in emergency preparedness so of course we are prepared at home. Our time on Sunday was mainly spent going through everything and pulling out expired things, brainstorming about what needed to be added for myself and Daisy and then a trip to Walmart to pick up replacements for expired things and other things we decided to add. Robert made the original kit and list several years ago so he needed to update some of the things he needed or didn’t need as well.

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Other time was spent on the garden and the yard. Robert smoked a beef brisket on Sunday afternoon so we were outside most of the afternoon so he could keep a general eye on it. The photo is one of the rows of peas in the garden. The peas are doing wonderfully. The rest of the garden just seems to be waiting for it to get warm. It’s still a bit cool overall. Usually spring in Texas seems like it lasts for a week and then it’s hot and in the 80s and even 90s by the time May hits. Obviously it’s not May yet but we do seem to be having more spring than usual.

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The Indian Hawthorn bushes in the front of the house have finally bloomed. We have been waiting for them for a few weeks now. They always look pretty when they bloom.

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These are the annuals I planted last spring. They never really went away all winter and now that spring is here they have gotten much bigger. I can’t remember what they are, but they sure do look good so I’m not complaining! My Aunt tells me this is not an uncommon thing for the annuals to just keep going for a few years. Nice! We are working on finding good perennials for most of the spaces in  the landscaping beds that need something. Drought tolerant perennials too so they will look good even if we don’t water the heck out of them. We definitely like the idea of low maintenance landscaping!

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The other thing growing really well so far is the lettuces. I have a little lettuce garden in the front, planted in two livestock troughs. The lettuce seems to  be really happy there and I think in a week or two we will be eating a LOT of salad. The big plant to the left is some spinach that survived the winter that we have been picking off lately. It’s flowered and everything now though so  think I will cut it  completely back and see what it does.

I have been cooking a lot, sewing some (not as much as I want to), trying to get the house cleaned up and decluttered and working, working, working. I stumbled across a blog the other day that quoted a Bible verse and I wanted to look it up in Message Bible and see what that version said. I stumbled across something else I had underlined nearby and I liked it so much I printed it up in a large font so I could put it on the wall in my office.

“Pursue a righteous life – a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith.”1 Timothy 6:11-12

Isn’t that great? A life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness and courtesy… That sounds about perfect to me!

Still Here!

I wasn’t feeling too great yesterday and took a day off from my writing job to soak in the tub, read a book and generally loaf. It helped me feel a bit better, mentally and physically. So, today, I am trying to double my daily average of posts to make up for my day off.

So, I haven’t had time to write here… I have to kind of go with the money-making writing flow when it hits me. Some days it’s a struggle to get the ideas flowing and other days I get into a groove, find some good stuff and just really go to town. That’s they way it has been this evening.

How about tomorrow I come back with pictures and I will tell you about my recent breakthrough in motivation. I found a good way to get myself really well motivated in my paid writing and so far, it’s working!