Ok, y’all, anyone who’s been following this blog knows I’ve been meaning to repot my Camellia effing sinensis (CES) Jr for around 2 years. Well, today I finally did it. I read a thing while researching something else, and it said as how you should repot your container-ground Camellias about every 3 years, and realized this shrublet is probably around 3-4 years old. And has NEVER been repotted. So I finally got off my butt today and did something about it.


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I am BEYOND excited to announce that I’ll have an author booth at the Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival on October 2 in Fredericksburg, VA!

Check out their website! But don’t judge it though because they haven’t updated everything yet!! https://fredbookfest.com/

That second one is clickable! Here’s a clickbait filler picture that I literally just stole off their website of the location! It’s a rendering, but I’m willing to bet that the location is a real place!

HAHA, y’all, I’m just really excited about festivals again.

Especially this one, because it’ll be a day trip for me. COME SEE ME ON OCTOBER 2 YALL!!!!!

Hike Like a Girl: Part Three: The Clothes

Clothes make the man! People say that, right? I’m pretty sure I’ve heard someone say that. Anyway, for backpacking and hiking in general, it’s absolutely true.

Lightweight, packable, comfortable: these are key words to keep in mind. You’re going to be carrying enough weight in your pack in the form of water, food, tent, and everything else. For a 7-day trip I generally pack: 1 rain shell, 1 midlayer insulator, 2 base layers shirts, 1 pants, 1 shorts, 2 pairs of socks, and (unfortunately) 2 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of gloves, 1 insulating hat. LEAVE YOUR BRA AT HOME. Fuck it, throw your bra away. Fuck bras.

A rain shell is a lightweight packable jacket that is waterproof and, preferably, windproof. An example of a midlayer insulator would be a waffle fleece or suchlike; I pack my trusty ArcTeryx Atom LT jacket. You can get one HERE: https://arcteryx.com/ca/en/shop/womens/atom-lt-hoody And honestly, I do recommend getting one. It’s absolutely worth the price. I love mine!

That’s a pic of me wearing my Arc’Teryx Atom LT jacket as well as a pair of the pants I tend to bring backpacking. Lightweight, durable, quick-drying, HAS POCKETS (*sigh*), and can be rolled up easily. I’m actually describing my Atom LT jacket as well as the pants.

This is more than a love-fest for the Arc’Teryx Atom LT jacket though. My laundry list above of the clothing I bring on a 7-day backpacking trip may look minimal, but it’s really all you should need. The trail doesn’t care if you stink. Honestly, neither my partner nor I smell our stink until we’re back in the car (where you should absolutely have a change of fresh clothes and a thing of deodorant available upon your return.) The trail doesn’t care if you’re dirty. The trail doesn’t care if you walked around wearing the same outfit just two days ago. And you damn well better not care because if you bring extra stuff then that’s just more weight to carry and more stuff to take up valuable room in your pack that could otherwise hold another pouch of freeze-dry dinner or another bag of water.

You’ll get mixed recommendations on wool vs cotton vs synthetics vs etc. Whatever. They’re all right, and honestly they’re all trying to sell you something. Lightweight, packable, comfortable. Lightweight, packable, comfortable. Lightweight, packable, comfortable. These are the keys. I don’t get any more philosophical than that.

Oh, and one more thing: if you’re going into the mountains (which honestly is where most backpacking trips go isn’t it?) then do not pay attention to the weather forecast. Or, if you do, take it as a general guess; which honestly is always how I treat weather forecasts anyway. The mountain does whatever the fuck it wants. The trail conjures up whatever weather it fucking wants. If you layer as advised, you should be prepared for temperature fluctuations. Remember: you WILL warm up as you hike. TRAPPED SWEAT IS YOUR WORST ENEMY. If you are sweating, shed a layer. Your sweat is designed to cool you as it evaporates. If it can’t evaporate, you will be miserable.

Paper Towel Seed Test

Got some old seeds around and not sure whether they’re viable? Me too! I kept ignoring these pumpkin seeds in their mason jar for roughly 4 years and first tested them about 2 weeks ago by soaking then for a few hours. They all floated, which supposedly means they’re not viable. But I wasn’t totally convinced and figured I’d try another method: the paper towel test!

The idea here is that you moisten two paper towels and lay out the seeds between them. Seal these in a Ziploc and place somewhere warm but not in direct sunlight. I left them alone like this for about a week, and came back to surprising results!

Success! I sowed these wee plants this morning and we’re now sitting under a tropical storm warning with rain starting 2 hours before it was supposed to. They’re off to a marvelous start!