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breeden
ursulav

Nothing Much To Report

I have managed to hammer out nearly 10K so far this week, which is pretty darn good for me. (May never go anywhere, but it's nearly 20K at this point, and generally once it cracks 15K it's alive and is A Thing That Will Happen Eventually, so I am cautiously optimistic.)

I got a review that called "Jackalope Wives" "not a great story" and I spent two days moping at the bottom of the Weeping Closet, from which I was extracted via Cheesecake Factory. Because this is how writers are. (Well, how I am. YMMV.)

Penguin sent me a check. (We eat! Woo!) Amazon UK also sent me a check, because I had my preferences set wrong, and that meant that the poor tellers at my local bank had to work out how to cash a check in pounds from Luxembourg, which is not something that comes up much in rural North Carolina. (Dusty binders were removed from dusty filing cabinets. They were very nice about it.)

My agent informed me that she was sending Regency Ninja out to an editor who requested to see it. I have no real hope, but I'm thrilled that she still loves it enough to be trying to get into editorial hands.

I ordered a bunch of vegetable seeds and bought a couple of books on vegetable gardening in the Southeast, in hopes that I will find the one book that says "You. Ursula Vernon. With the wombats. You are to lay down cow manure on this date, follow with some garden soil because that crap clay you've got isn't dirt. You are to plant seeds on this date in this precise place and then you are to mulch when the seedlings are X high. You will fertilize with THIS on the following dates. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?!"

This book does not exist, but I keep hoping.

Really, nothing much going on--just holding on until spring.


You are not looking for a gardening book, you are looking for a wise and not necessarily kind neighbor.


(Deleted comment)
That's pretty much how I feel about gardening books and blogs that try to teach you. "That's great but what do I need to do?

More helpfully, have you interacted with the Master Gardener program? My mom does this in her home state, and they may not have the exact info you need, they might be a close thing. Assuming your county is covered and that the program is anywhere near as good in your state as in hers (and that it isn't being consumed by politics as it is, currently, in hers)...

http://www.ncstategardening.org/extension_master_gardener/index.php

YES! (Anonymous) Expand
"Holding on until spring" is pretty much what we're doing here in Denver. Gah, I hate subfreezing temps.

Pretty much, yeah. I told my husband I needed to expand the window sill so I could put more pots in the front window (the only one with any decent sun), and he just rolled his eyes and asked why I couldn't just plant them all in the ground. I had to count to twenty. Twice.

Pfeh, stupid reviewer. I was actually just thinking of "Jackalope Wives" the other day (one of the scenes toward the end), and *I* think it's an excellent story -- and it's obviously one that sticks with the reader.

Hooray for Cheesecake Factory, and getting paid!! <3

Paid is good!

I think I've finally been beaten by the crap red clay that they call soil around here. I may just build raised beds, bring in some actual dirt, and call it good.

You cannot beat clay. you build over it. Compost, compost, compost, and you can just mound, don't have to do the built raised beds thing. I live on brick clay- really, there was a brick plant just south of us. :( 22 years of trying to hand farm on this sh.....
But if seeds can start in the compost they will root in the clay, and it gives root crops Great flavor.

What you want is a biodynamic calendar, which advises you how to plant and harvest according to the phases of the moon, sometimes down to the hour.

I have no idea whether it works, but it's the kind of instruction you were looking for.

...I suspect Ms. Vernon shares my...skepticism...regarding biodynamic farming.
(I could be wrong. Also, a "do this NOW" calendar in general probably /would/ be useful, even if she had to create it herself...)

That said, one thing my summer on that dysfunctional, "forgot"-to-tell-us-they-were-going-biodynamic farm taught me was that you CAN make clay into topsoil...if you're prepared to double-dig it. Probably by hand, probably multiple times. #whyimnotafarmer
Otherwise...yeah, pretend it's bedrock.

*MASSIVE SQUEE*

Regency ninja! Regency ninja! Regency ninja!!!11

(Pleaseohgodplease if you can't get a regular publisher dear god self-publish I will buy 50 copies pleeeeeeeaaaasseeeee? *bambi eyes*)

/fangirling


Yeah, pretty much this.

I would love to read Regency Ninja, and I would be thrilled to see it published in any medium, including self published, though I know that was a horrific ordeal. But! You'll never get better at it if you don't practice, right? *looks hopeful*

Here's what we did with our clay. Built a fence to retain everything. Cheap wire fence from. Lowes. 3 feet high. Went to the local horse boarding facility in the fall. Added horse manure to the depth of 4 inches, Quit when your back hurts. Then get all your neighbors leaves. They very kindly bag them up so the city can remove them. debag and add to a total depth of 2 feet. Get out the hose and wet it down. Other wise it will blow away and annoy everyone. Toss more horse manure on top. Just a little. Enough to coat it.

Wait all winter. This will decompose and leave you with something to till in. Rent a tiller from tool rental outlet. This decomposed over an Ohio winter. The snow melted off of it.

You are good for the rest of your life. This came out about 4 inches higher than surrounding area , but the wire fence holds it in.

just sayin' but I started following you because of Regency Ninja and I'm very much hoping to see more of the story.

I got a review that called "Jackalope Wives" "not a great story"

Well bless that person's heart. *sniffs* There's no accounting for taste.

My credit card is at the ready if you need to do the self-publishing route with Regency Ninjas.

Me too re self pub Regency Ninjas

I want a gardening book that tells me why the tilth in my #2-4 raised beds sucks.

Sending prayers, offers of chocolate and whatever else the Publishing Gods need to get Regency Ninja a real thing :) I loved that concept SO HARD!!!

And for the next time you need cheesecake or cheering up, I have wombats of cuteness

http://cuteoverload.com/2014/02/03/wombatswombatswombatswombats/

*vibes* for the weeping closet, but huzzah for the cheesecake and check!

what you might wnat to look into is a consulation with a local, very experienced gardener and then write it all up for yourself into a book.

but in general: lay down stuff *now*, and whenever the bed(s) isn't/aren't in use. lots of organic matter. if you're up to it, make lasagna layers. if not and you have a shredder, run everything through it and then mulch with that. either way it'll compost in place and attract loads of worms.

i've found in my heavy clay, tilling or digging in isn't helpful, nor is just adding top soil (works great for a year, then needs a lot more organic matter since the nutrients have been used up).

but piling up entire hosts of nutrients to attract the worms and letting the worms do their work turns the clay into open, fluffy soil with a great structure -- so long as i keep adding more nutrients on top and keep it well mulched (when i don't, it goes back to heavy clay in 2-3 years. seriously. back to brick hard in the summer sun clay. what can i say, i love to experiment, and i had an extra bale of hay that i let rot in place one year...)

That's more or less what I've been doing--the flower beds are actually in pretty good shape, I just dump a load of mushroom compost on and hardwood mulch every year. The places I'm working on now are either veggie beds--need much more work, since I'm yanking a lot out--or places where I just threw mulch over the top a year ago to start things softening, and there's very little actual dirt to work with.

So I'm putting the topsoil down this year to jump start and then starting it on mushroom compost next year. With our clay, even the local garden books are like "This is not great soil. You'll be amending for your entire life. Accept it." Sigh.

Seventeenthing the vote for regency ninja.

That is all.