The Green Side of Life: Garden update September 2021

Our gardening season was cut short this year by some pretty intense heat. Everything was growing and flowering, but the heat just overwhelmed my veggies and that was the end. My Roma tomatoes grew in such a weird fashion that i seriously wondered if the heat hadn’t mutated them into a new strain.

I don’t think I’ll do container gardening for tomatoes again. When they’re at their peak, they need so much water that the soil in the pots just doesn’t retain enough to keep them steady. Half the tomatoes I had, had to be thrown away because of bottom rot.

I got one cucumber from the vine, the other two were short, fat and round. No squash as all the flowers were male and no sweet potatoes. Hubby got a pile of squash from his, so I must be doing something wrong.

Check out the sad pictures of my garden. The first two are from mine, the rest are from Hubby’s.

Instagram Link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CUF3r7mrkz5/

Ah well, there’s always next year, right?

Five Things Every Writer Should Know About Twitter.

This post might seem generic or even obvious, but I feel it’s good to remind people just what this platform can do, and try to make it less intimidating. One of the fastest, and most prolific forms of online communication, Twitter came onto the social media scene in 2006, but it wasn’t until 2010 that it exploded. Since then, it has become one of the main ways people get a lot their information—good and bad, and a wonderful way for authors to connect with readers and other authors.

If I had to list in order, the platforms authors should be on, Twitter would be second (a blog being first). Because it’s written, it’s the next logical step for any author who wants to build their online presence, and agents along with publishers are looking for a strong presence, but it can be contentious as well. It’s a good way to expand your author platform: For the new writer, Twitter is the first step into a very large pond. With the majority of posts in real-time, you can get an almost instant feel for the publishing world through this medium. Agents, authors and publishing houses post daily and the best thing, you can interact with them. With all the pros and cons of the platform I’ve put together things every writer should know.

1. Automated Tweets: This is a must for writers when you’re promoting your work. It’s great for when you’re at work or reaching an audience that is awake when you’re asleep. Consistency is everything and automated tweets can help.

2. It’s a simple to use: Sign up, and start tweeting. That’s it. There is a Twitter phone app that allows you to post from anywhere you are. A great thing if you want to give short updates from conventions.

3. Hashtags: Connecting to hashtags allows authors to pinpoint their audience to understand what it is that they’re looking for. Every genre has it’s own hashtag and with apps like Tweetdeck, you can follow as many as you want.

4. Can connect to other social media platforms: Along with automated tweets, being able to connect all your platforms is a time saver. Twitter can connect to most blog programs, allowing your followers to discover another side of you.

5. It’s addictive: Like all social media, you can lose track of time. Not a good thing to be doing if you have other things to do. Some people set aside a certain amount of time to scroll, which is a good idea, especially if you’re at work.

What are some things you like/dislike about Twitter, or is there anything I should add?

The Crystal Realm: When you need some balance in your life.

September is a wild month, in more ways than one. Back to school flurry, gardens are going dormant and the season is noticeably changing. The hot summer days are mixing with cooler weather, and that can bring all sorts of atmospheric energy that can play havoc with your body. The energy of an approaching storm front can mess with me to the point I feel scattered, hyper, and seriously disoriented.

During the fall and spring I like to wear balancing and grounding stones. With everything in such flux, these stones help to keep me focus, especially when the energy level is high. Most of the stones I use are black; black tourmaline and hematite. I wear a hematite ring every day (especially when I go to work), to protect against negative energy. As a bonus, this stone helps combat energy from electronics that can affect one’s aura and physical wellbeing.

I carry a piece of black tourmaline to alleviate stress, think positive, and help with physical ailments. Many of the characteristics of this stone deals with bringing positivity into one’s life, and I find it a great companion stone to the ring.

I found a few web site that lists, in great detail, quite a few stones that can help with just about every calm and balance issue. You can read it them HERE and HERE.

Finding the right stone may take some time as each crystal can help with more than one problem, so it’s nice to have seveal to cover your needs. Also, some stones are more expensive than others and if you’re just starting to collect, try to purchase a less expensive stone, and don’t worry, you’re still recieving the same amount of protection no matter how big or small the stone.

I try to cleanse my more used stones once a month during the full moon. All stones need to be rid of the toxic energy they collect, and all stones should be cleansed once they’re brought home before you use them. Good luck and happy collecting!

A Wiccan Journey: Mabon Ritual.

It’s been almost ten years since I posted anything about Mabon. There are so many other sites that have much more detail information that I haven’t bothered. Not to mention that in the last few years, between work, school, and the stress from the pandemic, I haven’t done very many rites, and I want to change that.

Mabon ( Autumn Equinox) is September 22, a week from tomorrow, and I’ve put together a whole day of doing things. I asked for the day off too. I’ll start in the morning and hopefully, go all day, culminating in a Mabon dinner and maybe meditation outside afterward as the sun sets.

[NOTE: this is what I have planned. Whether or not I end up doing everything is a whole other matter.]

So, first thing in the morning, I’ll have my tea outside (weather permitting). I’ll have breakfast of ginger pancakes and fried apples. Recipe found HERE.

During the morning, I plan on smudging several rooms in the house. I asked a Native friend of mine for permission to use her custom, as smudging DID NOT originate from any Pagan tradition. I’d like to do the whole house, because it’s never been done, but we’ll see. I may even smudge the property. I had planned on doing a crystal protection spell on the house and property, but I may leave that for another time.

After lunch I will start putting together a Mabon meal for the evening. I’m having chicken and corn chowder with corn bread. I’ll set up my altar to be ready for 3:21. That is the official time Autumn will arrive.

After supper, I will sit and meditate outside, in front of my small cauldron with a fire going and listen to the crickets, burn some incense and just take in the night. I created this poem to say as well.

The night draws near,

The land begins it’s yearly rest,

I honour the balance of night and day,

and cherish the memories of the long summer

The earth grows cooler.
Gardens and fields are plowed.
The leaves of orange, gold and brown

nourishing the land for the coming spring
From this day on, the darkness grows,

I bid farewell to summer, and welcome Mabon.

It’s a work in progress.

Most of this is weather depending, and they are predicting rain for that day, but it’s still a way off and that might change. I have the day off too, but I’m wondering if I’ve planned too much and won’t have time to do everything. Some things I want to do I’ve decided against so I could have a full Samhain ritual.

Bring on the pumpkin spice!

Random Question: What was your most embarrassing moment?

What was your most embarrassing moment?

Years ago during the holiday season, our city used to have an event called Festival of Trees, where there would be dozens of Christmas trees elaborately decorated. It would last for a week, and the last day there would be a silent auction of the displays.

Every year hubby and I said we’d go, but never did. One year he bought tickets on the spur of the moment and I was so excited. The day came, and unfortunately, we had to work for most of the night, but he picked me up after work and we went right down. Now, I worked as a waitress so I was in my uniform and smelled like greasy food, and him being in construction, he was still in his work clothes and covered in crap.

Have that image in your mind? Good.

We walked into the building where the event was held and it was beautiful! The entire place was decorated from floor to ceiling and the trees were so beautiful, but it didn’t take us long to realize that we were standing out. Everyone was dressed so nice, and at first I thought it was a bit much, until we realized that he bought tickets for the night of the silent auction and the organizers had made it a black-tie affair.

Yeah. We were the ONLY ONES who weren’t dressed fancy. We felt so uncomfortable we left right away, and laughted about it when we got outside. Hubby is not a fancy dress person and of course he picked THE ONLY DAY. He said he didn’t pay any attention to the date, he just wanted to get tickets.

The event didn’t continued for a couple years after that, but at least we did finally go.

From the Recipe Box: Vegetarian nachos.

My husband is a pescatarian; which means he eats fish, seafood, and dairy, just not red or white meat. Needless to say, there’s no hamburger on his nachos. There are a lot of recipes out there for vegetarian nachos, unfortunately for someone like myself who can’t eat spicy foods, half the ingredients in these recipes would leave me with stomach problems for the rest of the day.

I researched several vegitarian and vegan recipes and found that not only did quite a few of them have spicy ingredients, but several included non-meat meat (vegan meat substitute), and served hot, so I was really surprised when Hubby gave me a plate that was vegan and cold.

Yes, cold. Nothing hot on it. Great for hot summer days, and it’s just as good as regular nachos. Instead of having melted cheese hold everything together, you have the salsa, sour cream, or guacamole. Instead of melted cheese sauce, he had chunks of cheese spread across, and instead of black beans, chick peas or lentils, he put brown beans.

Honestly, it was so good!

Now, let’s talk chips. Sure, you can go with regular nacho chips, but next time try ones with added flavour. Hubby found lime flavoured chips and they add a bit of tang to the meal. Also, if you don’t like store bought chips, why not make your own? I found a great recipe for making nacho chips and all it requires is tortia bread, a deep fryer (or air fryer), and a pizza cutter. I have yet to try this out, but they sound yummy!

Now that Hubby has made them, I want to experiment and see what I can add. I’m thinking avocado chunks, pineapple, and olive slices. Have you tried veggie nachos? What were your toppings? I need some ideas!

Of Writers and Prose: Writing fads come and go, but a good story lasts forever.

The popularity of some genre’s come and go like the ebb and flow of tides. One year vampires are all the rage, and then something else comes along and knocks them by the wayside—but only for a short time, because everyone knows that vampires are immortal, and so is the genre. There’s just one problem; you don’t have a vampire novel to publish, and therefore miss out on the popularity and sales.

Welcome to writing fads, and there’s a few problems. One is having characters exactly like the characters of other stories. Some tropes are a necessity of the genre, but you can always tweak those to make them an original creation. What is it about your characters that make them stand out from others in the same genre? What quirk about them could you explore or enhance? Do they have an interesting habit, good or bad? Small things like this can create interesting plots that could set your story apart from the others, and still be part of the genre.

Fads are something that come up rather quickly, one reason why they’re not really popular with Traditional publishers. Putting a book out with them can take months, even several years, and by the time your vampire story is ready, the moment has most likey passed. Self-publishers have a better chance with fad books, especially if you’re a prolific writer. Just remember, a bad book stays in the mind of readers just as much as a good one.

Writing to fads can be frustrating especially when you miss the current wave, or the market is already saturated, but these trends come in cycles and will return again and again, so don’t give up. Write that vampire, werewolf, or zombie novel, because the trend will return and when it does, you’ll be right there, ready to unleaseh your story on the world.

Writing Update: Thursday, August 28th, 2021.

There’s only one project to update on, and I am proud to say that Eva and Sky’s Magical Hair Solution is DONE.

This is the first YA story I’ve ever written and I was surprised how easily the plot evolved considering the last YA I wrote was when I was a YA myself. Maybe it was the setting? It’s based in the early 80s, and even though I do remember some things of what it was like back then, there was still a lot of research I had to do. For instance, the book opens in 1982 and I had a few of the characters dressed like Madonna, but she didn’t come on the music scene until almost a year later. I remember the whole Madonna craze, I just couldn’t remember what came before her.

When I mean done, I mean revised, edited, revised again and final edits. I have a couple pitches for PitMad this September 2nd, and a 1000-word synopsis. I’ve worked on this for a solid year, and it feels so good to finally have it complete.

There was a lot I cut from this story, including a major sub-plot that really didn’t push the story forward, but if I end up doing a second book, I can put it in there because at that point, it will be part of the plot.

While I wait for Pitmad to start, I have some time to look at where I want the story to go. I do have an overall plot for four books, but I as the characters are in high school, I need to connect the plot to that setting. I have a fews ideas, and I think it’ll be fun but I need to worked hard to keep it from feeling like Harry Potter, and I’m pretty sure I can accomplish that.

Hopefully, I’ll have some good news for next month’s update.

Movie Night: Old Scifi Movies.

I thought I’d do a post about movies, instead of a review.

Lately Hubby and I have been watching the old black and white B movies from the 50’s and 60’s. Not the ones you all know, but the lesser known ones like The Killer Shrews, The Giant Claw, The Tingler (no, not that kind of tingle), and there was one with invisible brains with spinal cords wandering the land sucking the brain out of it’s victims. While these movies might have been scary sixty or seventy years ago (I know right!), the fear they create is far less than movies of today, but there were a lot of them hinting that there was a large audience for these movies, but why?

These old movies highlight an era when science was exploring into new and unknown paths. Nuclear testing and space flight, once the plots of science fiction stories, became more of a reality as society entered the mid 20th century. Fiction became fact, and that could be a scary thing, especially to the layman. Nuclear testing could result in a world of mutants and mutations. Space travel could take us to the stars or bring aliens to us, and scientific experiments could produce any number of possiblities of things going wrong, and what better way to explore all these frightening possibilities than through movies.

There are several papers on why people love to watch horror movies, but mostly I think it boils down to the fact that people want to be scared. It’s an adrenaline rush, or an adventure they could never take, and can safely watch the whole thing play out without any consequences to themselves, which I think, is a pretty good adventure to have.

The Green Side of Life: Garden update August 2021

I set out to garden late in the season, and I’m still surprised I got anything in the ground, let alone growing, but it happened. I used the containers my mother bought last year again, and because I started so late, I didn’t get a lot of what I wanted so I had to start just about everything from seeds.

I have pictures, but because this post is very picture heavy, I’m posting them on Instagram and posted the link here.

My veggie garden:

Instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CShEwtorvfQ/

This year I planted tomatoes, green peppers, squash, cucumbers, beets, and sweet potatoes.

Most of my plants are in containers. I do really well with them, but as you can see, the tomatoes just go nuts. I started all my tomatoes from seeds I got from a roma tomato. As you can see, they haven’t started to turn red. Next year, I’m starting them earlier.

Green peppers are doing well and I’ve already had a couple. Cucumbers were so strange. I started them by seed and all they did at first was just clump in one spot. I couldn’t get them to climb at all. My squash seems to only have male flowers, no female, but it’s still early so we’ll see, and my sweet potatoes are a bust. I don’t know whats under the ground, but I don’t think it’ll be nice. Beets are a bust too, and my strawberries that I had from last year gave a few, but I think I’ll have to seperate them and plant them in the ground next year.

Hubby’s Garden:

Instagram link: https://www.instagram.com/p/CShFDt6LXGo/

He did wonderful this year. He planted tomatoes, green peppers, squash, peas, eggplant and beans. He did a lot better than I did, especially with tomatoes and squash, and I’ve never seen beans like this before. I am so growing these next year. Unfortunately, we had some strong storms blow through and the last one blew over the beans, but you can see from the pictures that it was pretty tall.

Did you garden this year? How did you do? Anything you want to plant next year that you didn’t this year?

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