CES Jr: Before the Freeze

So, yes, this year is CES Jr’s fourth winter, I think. Something like that. I potted her up this past season so she’s got plenty of space for roots and insulating soil. And yes, last winter I kept her in the garage. And this winter I figured she’d probably grown enough to be okay outdoors.

And then I got scared. Tonight’s forecasted low in my area is 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and where CES Jr currently sits is shaded by the house for most of the warming afternoon sunlight time. This means it will probably get cooler there than the forecasted low, and let’s be honest how accurate are those ever, really. So I figured there will probably be some frost around or on her in the morning. But I still wanted to keep her outdoors this winter. Sooooo…….

I put a translucent plastic bag over her, container and all. In theory this should provide a greenhouse-like effect. And then, because maybe I was panicking a little, this happened.

This container holds the bonus blackberry plant that split from the larger shrub’s rootmass when I potted up all of my berries last week. I also grow blueberries and blackberries, you know. But that’s a different story. Check out my Instagram page if you want to see more about that. https://www.instagram.com/nicolerordway/?hl=en

Anyhow, I also covered up the wee bonus blackberry. You’ll notice it’s next to, but not in, my cold frame. This is because the container area I had set aside within for this winter is already full to capacity. I wanted to grow plenty of kale. Looks like, in exchange, I might have compromised some tiny plants in containers. But hopefully it’ll survive. Blackberries are notoriously good at surviving.

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!

Brackets

When I’m writing, I commonly leave myself brackets around words that I either need to go back in the typed document to fact check, or that I need to find a synonym for. In the pictured case below, it’s a fact check. I hand write my drafts and my first line of editing is when I type my written sections up, usually a chapter at a time. Do you do this? If not, it might help! For me, it gives me permission to keep writing and not stall my progress with a word check.

Anniversary Japanese Maple update

You may or may not recall (because I may or may not have blogged about this, I don’t remember) but my partner gave me a peedie Japanese maple seedling when we first got serious about dating roughly 7 years ago. Well, I decided right then that I wanted to raise it to bonsai because then I could always bring it with us wherever we moved (which is turning out to be a great call, thanks growing-up-as-an-Army-brat.) This past winter I decided it was big enough to start training. In preparation, I had repotted it down a pot size and cleaned and trimmed the roots.

This past winter, I topped it.

And you know I crossed my fingers hard and checked on it every day.

Guess what: it’s surviving!

And more than that, it’s thriving! It has so many baby leaves opening up and a glorious amount of leaf buds growing on the main trunk. I suppose my next step is finding the pot that I want to keep it in. Then, this coming winter, I’ll repot it and trim the roots some more.

There’s an App for That!

In a previous post I’d wondered whether WordPress had an app for post creation. I didn’t look into that until about 15 minutes ago…. And guess what! They do!!

I hope this will mean that I’ll update this blog more often. No guarantee, of course. Accessibility is only one part of the cure to procrastination. 😉 Dog pic for the boost! Haha! Really, though, Aggie and Riley are just tucked in waiting for 2021.

Determination

Previously, my books have taken years between them for the writing process to occur. I’d set goals and organize little trackers to, in theory, help motivate myself by seeing the progress as it happened. And, to a degree, these worked: books were written and subsequently published. I’ve got 3 out, y’know. But then I read a summary of survey results regarding Writing Habits of the People That Actually Do This For A Living (And Don’t You Want To?) (my title, not theirs) and it seems that people who make a living with their books have published over 20 titles.

As a person who works in retail, this made a lot of sense to me.

So I’ve become more determined to get the series started by “Civil Dusk”  populated as quickly as I can while still maintaining a particular sense of quality. To that end, I made a goal for myself: I’d write 1.5 pages every day until First Watch was complete. Ideally, I’d like it to be fully drafted and edited by the end of August 2020, so that I can get all the cover work and last bits done in September for publication in early October or late September.

My math is laughably WRONG in this case, but whatever, that just means First Watch will be done waaay ahead of schedule if I stick to my goal. And so far, dear readers, I’ve been tempted to stray. I finished the first chapter as scheduled, and typed it up, and then TOOK A DAY OFF FROM WRITING.

MISTAKE, dear readers, MISTAKE.

My muse shattered. I lost inspiration for a whole second day. I knew generally where chapter two was going but had no impetus to write; until my day job boss gave me the next day off on the one stipulation that I WOULD WRITE. He’s super cool. 😉 Maybe he was sick of hearing about my writing woes. Whatever.

So according to my goal I now had 4.5 pages to write to catch back up to schedule. And I DID IT. And then, the FREAKING MAGIC HAPPENED: my muse didn’t pass out! I kept going! I drafted an entire chapter in ONE FREAKING DAY! It was a first for me and my writing.

And it taught me something. I needed structure, and I needed to be determined enough to actually keep working at the writing thing until it was fluid enough to keep writing without me. (Writers know what I mean by this.) Guess what? I’ve just done TWO MORE PAGES tonight because I sat down and stared at the page and jotted notes and stupid things down until the writing started. I meant to do 1.5 pages tonight; I GOT 2 DONE.

It’s exciting. Summary, as presented by my dog Aggie: be determined enough and you can do it, even if the task at hand is fitting your 62 lb Rottie self down into a bed meant for a 20lb dog TOPS. Yeah, you know there’s a photo.

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