Here’s What’s Up Since Forever Ago!

Hey there folks! Sorry it’s been a whole two plus months since I’ve written anything, it’s not for lack of trying. Here’s What’s Up! This is going to be another long post so I thank you in advance for taking time out of your day to follow along. It’s long but mostly a brief update and list of what you can expect to see/hear from me.

So much has happened and so much has not. Obviously we’re still dealing with and living in the times of a pandemic. I’ve been encouraged by much of the leadership we HAVE received but I’ve also been discouraged by how selfish many people are. Wearing a mask sucks, we all can agree on that, but it’s not the end of the world. If we were as intelligent as we like to believe we are, then wearing a face covering would be second nature. Oh there’s a new contagious respiratory virus spreading around the world? Better cover up my breathing holes to protect from what’s coming in and going out.

I digress.

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We’re trotting our way to the end of this season (wait what!) and in to the next. I’m not a parent but I sympathize with you/them and what they’re facing. These are not easy times, and whether or not it is safe for your child to go back to in-person schooling is no simple decision. This matter is conflated by the fact that the circumstances are different everywhere. My heart goes out to all the parents, step-parents, grandparents, and kids out there. May the decision you make be the best for your family.

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In other news about the seasons, I was successful in planting, growing and even partially successful in harvesting a garden this year! This is my first garden in…15 years maybe? Wow, that makes me feel old! The pandemic pushed me to stop procrastinating and get it done. My biggest hang-up (pretty sure I’ve already shared this) was my soil. I have what’s called slag in my backyard. It is an industrial by-product, from what I don’t know, but it’s left over from metal smelting and often used as filler. I don’t know who filled this yard or when or with what or why but these big funky meteor-like chunks are abundant. After reaching out to a geologist I decided (thank you) it best I not take my chances with my soil. So I built raised beds using untreated 2x6s (go me!) and filled them with a soil mixture from a local landscaping company. I had also purchased some bags of organic container mix, raised bed mix, potting soil, and top soil. That was back in March when things were iffy and getting soil and seeds was difficult. Eventually the lockdown eased and I was able to get a bulk mixture delivered to my house. Which I proceeded to move in dozens of wheelbarrow loads.

I built three raised-beds, though not all three were planned, especially the third one. In fact it was a great exercise for me in just doing and not being so afraid to. Are they ideal in their placement? Absolutely not. But they’re there, for now, and I’m DOING not thinking about doing anymore. They are 4×8′, 4×6′, and 4×4′, all 12″ high though the dirt is more like 10-11″ deep since it has settled.

This post isn’t going to go into a whole lot more detail about my garden because I’ve decided that I am going to start a new series/section all about my garden called In the Life of My Garden. If you want to know more about my garden please follow that link or search garden in the search box. You can also scroll down my feed and find posts about it. What I will tell you here is I’m growing Bumble Bee Cherry tomatoes (6 plants), roma tomatoes (4 plants), orange bell peppers (6 plants), beets, broccoli (big fail with that one), Kuri squash (2 plants, awesome then disaster), Hearts of Gold cantaloupe (2 plants, one in container), Sugar Baby watermelon (2 plants, one in container), snow peas (yes they grew in the heat!), bush beans (that turned out to like growing vertically), true mini carrots (did you know most baby carrots in the store are actually full-size just cut down?), mustard greens, and now I’m in the midst of a fall garden plan and plantings.

Like I said, please follow the link In the Life of My Garden to learn and discover more. I find it really hard to believe I’ll ever go back to not gardening again.

Not only did gardening get me back in touch with my nature loving side, it also got me more in touch with YouTube! (Some of you are nodding and smiling YES while others are shaking your heads NO NO NO, oh the distraction! All of you are right. ;)) First of all thank you Crafty Gemini for my first video on building my own raised beds. I really need to check out some more of her videos, I’ve gotten all caught up in those of many others, namely Gardener Scott operating out of Colorado. Gardener Scott is one of many interesting people I’ve recently discovered on YouTube (not including those I found before related to Book Tube). His channel is a well of information let me tell you. He’s like that teacher/professor you had that seemed to know everything and was more than happy to share. Then there’s Self-Sufficient Me over in Australia, highly recommend him as well. People call Self-Sufficient Me the Steve Irwin of gardening. Lol. He is, though there is no one like Steve Irwin for real. Did you know Bindi is expecting her first child? Move along Elpy… I also found Jess and Jeremiah over at their Roots and Refuge farm in Arkansas. She too is a natural born teacher. Their farm is beautiful and their commitment to it admirable. Then there’s MIGardener in Michigan. He makes me smile, he’s so enthusiastic about his garden and teaching the rest of us how to Grow Big or Go Home! There are others but these are my top four for gardening and Crafty Gemini is well crafty as heck!

You can click on the links above to check out all those beautiful people. Also follow my In the Life of My Garden page to know more.

Aside from telling you to check out those channels I have to tell you a wonderful thing Gardener Scott introduced me to: VERMICOMPOSTING! That’s right folks, worms and worm composting. Gardener Scott has some videos in which in starts, maintains and harvests a worm bin. MIGardener has some as well. What ever do you want a worm bin for some of you ask? Why composting of course!

Gardener Scott also runs a compost pile outside in his garden, which I was considering but ultimately in my current situation a worm composting bin in my basement (okay two) is best for me.

I have long wanted to stop just throwing out my organic food scraps (think strawberry tops, cucumber and zucchini ends, greens that go bad before you get to them or finish them, yucky apple chunks, etc). So many times I’d make some food for my birds and look at all that was left over and sigh. Or I’d buy veggies with the best of intentions (I’m going to eat healthier AND lose weight) only to see much of it go to waste (having a crap refrigerator doesn’t help). If only I could do something with that waste…

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Welcome the Worms!!! I now have red wigglers, blue worms (mostly them), and some European nightcrawlers taking care of food waste (not all, not meat or dairy or other stuff) for me. Stay tuned and visit In the Life of My Garden for more on my newest hobby of composting with worms and the cool YouTube channels I found pertaining to this.

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Alright if you’re still with me, thank you so so much, I promise there’s not too much more in this post. I’m going to tell you about what update posts you can expect.

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On the book blogging front I have not been reading physical books because… I just haven’t. I still have to finish Akata Warrior and several others. I won a Goodreads giveaway for The Bone Jar (Detective Lew Kirby, #1) by S.W. Kane and received an e-copy that I just discovered and decided to start last night (as if I’m not currently reading too many books). It’ll all be okay though… lol… as long as I don’t start anymore books… … …

While I haven’t been physically reading I have been listening to audio books and have finished many. In fact I just started Inheritance by Dani Shapiro. I’m halfway through and totally intrigued. I can’t believe I’m only halfway through as this first half feels like a story in and of itself. It’s a memoir by the way.

So I’ll be updating you on what I’ve read/listened to and maybe I’ll have some reviews in there too. The last three books at least have been five stars, really really enjoyed them. I’ll also update my currently reading list as well as my 20 Books for Summer 2020. That list is going to have to change, which kind of feels like a cheat. I guess I’m just going to need to go for 20 books period.

My novel has been patiently waiting for me to pull my muddy boots out of this creative slump. I do not believe in writer’s block, just so you know this is not that. But I’m getting back to it and I’ll have some writing related posts for you about what I’ve learned (check out my post about things I’ve learned so far).

I’m also going to update my recommended Podcasts page. I’ve got some more to add to it as well I’m thinking I should make it an overall resources kind of page where you can find all the links to various people/channels/blogs I follow regularly or at least from time to time. This would include book bloggers, book tubers, gardening and vermiculture channels, podcasts and more. Oh and I definitely have some cool photos from the garden for you; ever seen what a beneficial predator can do for your garden, namely a tomato hornworm? Oh yeah, I got that baby! ๐Ÿ˜‰

This leads me to share that I plan to go back (but in a forward kind of way ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) to sharing my own photography with you, like I used to but not exactly like I used to. ๐Ÿ˜€

I appreciate the time and energy you spent with me today, really I do. ๐Ÿ˜€ I hope you’ll like and follow my blog should you be interested in these updates and what’s to come. As I like to remind you, I LOVE COMMENTS. ๐Ÿ˜€ Just saying… Feel free to share what content you’re most interested in or what updates and even how your summer has been. I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great rest of your week!

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