Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

I’m a couple of days late posting this. There are a number of reasons for that, but . . . who needs excuses.

The main thing is that I continue to make progress on MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Not quite as fast as last week, but that’s to be expected.

In other news:

-In gardening, the Heart of Darkness (otherwise known as the turk’s cap plant at the side of the house) has been tamed (as much as it can be at the moment).


Heart of Darkness

Half-way through:

Heart of Darkness Today

It was like that green wall at the back pretty much from end to end.


Heart of Darkness Part 2

Well, that photo isn’t completely finished. There’s another section beyond that wall with the weird little window. (That window is actually in a closet. Old houses are weird.) It’s mostly ivy, not turk’s cap, beyond that point. And narrower. And I did cut back most of that stuff that was higher up and out of reach without a ladder. (Some of it was still out of reach, at least for me.) Also, I finished up this morning by raking up all the dead leaves, etc. on the ground.

-I’ve also nearly finished the whole house cleaning–as long as you don’t count the back bedroom/storage room. I’ll have to get to that, too. Preferably before I have to get the Christmas stuff (much of which is stored in there) out.

-Summer is almost over. School starts on Monday. Sadie isn’t going to like that. She likes having me home all the time.


-I finished another course through The Great Courses Plus, Heroes and Legends. It was clear fairly early on that the lecturer meant something different by heroes and legends than I do, although some would have fit my definition. Still, there were some interesting insights.

I’ve started another, How to Write Best-Selling Fiction, taught by James Scott Bell. It’s always nice when a writing class is taught by someone who is actually a writer.

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Yes, I know it’s Tuesday, not Wednesday, when I usually post. I got a month behind, so I figure I owe a few extra posts.

Okay, it’s not progress on MAGE STORM. Not yet.

Mage Storm

However, the lower patio has been found! (Well, technically, it was never lost. Just so overgrown it was barely possible to get to it.)

Here’s today’s picture.

Lower Patio 2019

Yeah, it needs to be swept again–or maybe hosed down. Sadie’ll love that. She adores playing in the hose.

I’m still going to have to do a bit of pruning. This is the entrance to the patio right now.

Entrance to Lower Patio

Just a little tight.

No table right now. I don’t think the old table is very functional right now. (And yes, that’s another area I’m going to have to clean up–just in a different way.)

Broken Table

I have to figure out how to repair the table or do something else. I have an old wrought iron table base that would have to be cleaned up–and a new top found. But that could work and might be easier to do, especially since I know a company that would pick it up, sand blast it, paint it, and deliver it back.

There’s a story behind this patio. And since what I’m trying to get to ultimately is get back to telling stories, maybe telling this one will help with that.

Years ago–never mind how many–I bought the original bench as a Father’s Day gift. Dad was retired by then and spending much of his time outside, so I thought an extra place to sit was a great idea. So did Dad. He immediately went out and bought the chairs and table–at a different store. They don’t match–never did–but only Mom and I ever seemed to care about that.

But few things were ever quite that uncomplicated with Dad, whose motto was, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” He decided that, since the chairs and bench were heavy, they might sink into the mud if we got too much rain. (Not entirely impossible. It’s adobe clay soil, which does get muddy, and might as well be concrete once it dries out.) Therefore, we had to build a patio–I helped him with that–before we put the new furniture out.

And no, that’s not the original bench I bought for Dad. A couple of years after he died, I found the old bench knocked over against the bricks that form the edge of the perennial bed behind it. Neighborhood kids, probably, but I’ll never know. Cast iron will break and it had–irreparably. So I bought a new bench because this really is a very nice, shady place to sit on a warm day.

It had only gotten overgrown during the last couple of years I was taking care of Mom when I just didn’t have the time or energy to keep up . . . well, most of the yard. Yeah, Mom’s been gone five years, now. So it’s about time I resurrected this patio.

Oh, and why do I call it the lower patio? Because beyond those bushes and the crepe myrtle tree and up a few steps is the upper patio (which clearly needs to be swept again).

Upper Patio

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The thing about having a couple of months off in the summer is that it’s really easy to forget what day it is. Almost forgot to post.

Progress: So far, slow, but steady. I’m reading through the original version of MAGE STORM, making copious notes as I go.

Mage Storm

Given other projects in the works–gardening and house cleaning, mostly–I’ve set a very modest goal of a chapter a week. Even at that rate, I should finish the read-through in a couple of weeks. And then we’ll see.

Otherwise, gardening is going pretty well. I’ve almost recovered the lower patio that had gotten so overgrown that only the neighborhood cats used it. Another day or two should see that completed.

Lower Patio

This is what it used to look like–and will again–more or less. (For one thing, that bush in the lower right is a lot bigger now.) The table is going to need some repairs, unfortunately.

House cleaning–well, it’s never been my favorite thing to do and, as I started with the most difficult (the kitchen), I’ve still got a ways to go before I can start to feel that motivating sense of accomplishment.

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A Break (Sort of)

This weekend has been more about yard work and some very overdue spring cleaning than it has about getting back up to speed with where I left off on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING.


Most of that has been due to the fact that two weeks ago we had to cut a very large branch off the Brazilian pepper tree (which shouldn’t even be where it is and wouldn’t be, except for some passing bird). The branch was going to break off and would have basically blocked the path from the house to the car when it did. So, a controlled removal was far preferable. Three trash days later (as of tomorrow, anyway) I will finally be able to say that all of that brush pile has been cleared.

Which will leave me, hopefully, time (and space in the trash cans) to finish clearing up the yard. With all the rain we had in Southern California last winter, it got completely out of control. Just about the time I’d decide to mow, it’d rain again. And the taller the weeds and grasses got, the longer it stayed wet. It’s going to take awhile to get it back under anything like control. As I go, I’m planting out some water wise plants, starting to transform what once was lawn (but not lately, with the drought) into something that makes better sense and will, hopefully, be easier to take care of. It’s a big yard and I hate to mow almost as much as I hate to vacuum.

Also, at some point soon, I’d like to be able to start looking for another dog. It’s been almost a year since I lost Aliza.

My first view of Aliza

The first time I saw Aliza

But I need have a yard a dog could actually run in, first. (Micah, at thirteen and change, doesn’t do all that much running any more. More like trotting.)

Digital Camera

There’ll be paths among the shrubs when they eventually do grow in, which should be more interesting than just running around a blank open space anyway. (Also, some of those weeds are foxtails and they have to go.)

Then, too, I really have to clear a path so that I can carry the ladder around to the side of the house and cut back the bishop’s cap vine that’s also grown out of control because of all the rain. Not only because it really shouldn’t be up against the house like it is for several reasons. I also need to get back there so I can put the screens up in place of the storm windows before it starts getting too hot. (We don’t really have storm window in Southern California. But we do have stupid louvered jalousie windows. I still have three that I haven’t yet been able to get around to replacing. It’s basically impossible to stop a draft with jalousie windows, so what I do have is some pieces of plexiglass in wooden frames that I put up in place of the screens, usually sometime in November. I need to be able to get around there to put the screens up about now.)

I confess, I also spent a fair portion of the weekend, while I was resting and cooling off, goofing off with a computer game. In between, though, I think I have finally come up with a new cover for “Wyreth’s Flame”.


Though I haven’t done anything yet about uploading it.

But, at least one major task has been accomplished. So, yay for that. And there’ll be time to get back to work on BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING during the week.

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