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Monday, May 19, 2014

R. Mac Wheeler

When you publish a book, it's a big deal to the author. But when you publish 24 of them, it's time for everyone else to stop and take notice. Who is this prolific writer with very photogenic pups?

R. Mac Wheeler, of course!

Mac is currently celebrating this milestone and you get to reap one of the benefits. Just leave a comment on his blog.

He posts lots of pictures of the Florida landscape on his blog (in the winter, you'll be green with envy and palm trees). His dogs are also frequent targets of his camera. Does that make Mac a puparazzi? Hmm... No wonder his pups try to avoid direct eye contact.

No matter, he treats them well. So stop by and wish Mac well and congratulate him on his 24th. If you leave a comment at his blog, he’ll send you a mobi copy of New Order Apocalypse 1). Not a bad trade, eh?

Mac spins tales around rich, gritty characters with a lot of baggage, and puts them through a bit more grief than they can handle.


Visit Mac on his web site where you can peruse his titles or read an excerpt. And don't forget to leave a comment on his blog to score NOA #1

Congrats, Mac! Try to slip in a little sleep now and again. 


I'm at Casa South (again) in my world class attempt to see how much more damage I can do to my back. Internet connection is hit or miss out here but I'll try to visit everyone sometime this week for sure.

Monday, May 12, 2014

State of the Homestead

Relocating Greg has proved more daunting than I anticipated. My online time has been pared to the bone, but it's been too long since I've done a homestead update so here I am.

Bear with me. I'm sure things will get back to normal once we've sold the other house and moved him here. If nothing else, you'll be entertained by watching a grown woman cry uncontrollably, live online.

Garden: Everything is blooming. I've already harvested spinach (and peppers that were overwintered). Parsley and rosemary are always on hand. Grasshoppers have finally reappeared. They're not the plague they were last year, but they're still munching on my cabbages and cauliflower. Da bums!

This year we redesigned the main garden with raised boxes. There's still more work to be done there, but one problem at a time. Right? I'll post pictures next month. The new garden is pretty neat.

Chickens: Status quo. But egg production is way down. There's at least one snake who's made a home UNDER the chicken coop. I haven't been able to catch him yet. He's found the perfect safe haven because he's protected from me and one other predator...

The bobcat: I only saw him once in the woods behind the garden. There are a few other clues to his whereabouts such as a paw print in some soft ground, and a rabbit feeder that had been forcibly smacked to one side. He probably terrified my rabbits. Greg's going to invest in a game camera to see if we can spot where the varmint is going and who else he's after.

In the meantime, I'm trying to make as much noise as possible, and allowing the dogs to scent the area more often in the hopes that it'll persuade him to go elsewhere.

The goats: BBQ has gone to goat heaven. He was a mean goat and I'm not sorry he's gone. I still bear the scars of his time on Earth.

Interestingly, the first thing I noticed once he was gone was how calm all the other goats became. He bullied them too so they must've been just as relieved as I was. 

And no, we've not had a taste of him yet. There's not been a moment's downtime since the retirement countdown began.

Ray Charles snacking
Baby goats: As of this post, the babies are now 8 weeks old. There's Ray Charles, the baby born blind (who has since regained his sight), Pandora, the girl baby, and no-name goat (her brother). The no-name baby will probably be sold when he's a little older and weaned, but we'll likely keep Ray Charles and Pandora.

Ray Charles has been sick. I suspect a bacterial infection. Penicillin would probably clear him right up, but I'm trying to get him to resist the infection on his own. Penicillin is so overused that most bad bugs are resistant to it. I'm trying for more homeopathic remedies to help his body combat the infection on his own. It's been slow going, but I think he's improving.

Pandora (blue collar) and little bro
Pandora is the most vocal and skittish, probably due to her taking on the world from the moment she was born. Her no-name brother is very passive. He just follows along with whatever the herd wants to do. But Ray Charles, who had so many problems when he was born and consumed my every waking moment to keep him alive, is my shadow. He follows me around as if I were his second mama. I hope he always stays this sweet, but I know testosterone can make a boy goat do mean things. We'll see.

I'm trying to decide whether to keep these guys at all or switch to smaller dairy goats. It just depends how our joints and muscles hold up. Big goats can be hard to control. It's something I didn't take into consideration when we got these guys. They're young though, so I know even if we have to sell them they'll still have a long life on some other farm.

The dogs: My poor Tank had another toenail snap at the quick. The same one as last time. Lots of blood and pain. I'm going to have to keep his nails closely trimmed from now on. He slips and falls a lot which makes it easy to break a toenail. Poor boy. He suffers so much but he never complains. Greg drove 300 miles on his off weekend to be with him.

Nana has officially taken over as alpha leader, but she's a brash and obnoxious leader and I want to curb her arrogance. The trips back and forth to Casa South have been good for her. We see so few people where I live that she needs to be reminded of the world at large--and that she's not the only one in it.

Question, stemming from Ray Charles' treatment: I have a friend who's married to a doctor. Unless it's a major illness, he refuses to give his kids antibiotics. I, myself try not to use antibiotics unless I'm in a bad way. If my body hasn't fought off the infection in two weeks, I'll go in. How do you feel about this? Do you see a doc right away or try to fight it off on your own?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Miles To Go Before I Sleep

I'm back, but I hope to make another trip to Casa South soon. Although the house is in pretty good shape, there's still some major clean up in his workshop (which is bigger than the house).

For the most part the only thing left to do at the house is to make it 'sale-pretty' which is my department.

I've got the house about 75% empty. Greg still needs some furniture to keep living there, but it won't be quite so daunting to pack up what's left. Everything is freshly painted. I've scrubbed the floors and all the cabinetry. It no longer looks like a 'slovenly bachelor' lives there. I've threatened death and dismemberment if he doesn't keep it neat from now on.

This trip, while exhausting was way better than my last trip. Last time, there was so much to do, it was hard to know where to start. I just kept hopping from one project to the next. This time it was more about packing and throwing stuff out.

We threw out TONS of stuff. Appliances, electronics, outdated technology, lamps, motors, grills, luggage, even a well with pump. People snatched them off the curb almost as quickly as we put them out there. We were never going to use those things again and it was too much trouble to take any of it with us and sell at some future garage sale so we gave it all away. Better than letting it sit in a landfill.

Right now I'm sorting through dozens of boxes, trying to decide if I want the minutia in my house or if it's better off in someone else's house.

It's really tough merging two households. I'm finding stuff I haven't seen in almost 40 years.  There are embarrassing pictures of me in hideous '80s fashion, and a 19-year old Maria in a sweatshirt I still own today. (I also had the '80s disaster dress, but I had the good sense to donate it during the last closet purge.)

The most exciting thing we found when we were boxing stuff up is almost $400 in cash! It was in one of Greg's old duffel bags. Neither of us remember taking the money out of the bank and we have no idea why it was in that little bag, unless Greg took the money out right before our last vacation (Washington, DC). 

I know we're old and decrepit, but you'd think one of us would've missed that much cash. Sheesh!

For now, I'm glad things are calming down to baby hurricane strength instead of the Category 5 we've been experiencing.

A lot has happened on the homestead too but that post will have to wait for another time. Gardening is in full swing in Texas, but because of all the traveling, I only put in one garden this year instead of two.

And for those of you interested, I've got a guest blogger on my Back to Basics blog this Wednesday. He's going to pique your green thumb interest with hydroponics. This guy lives in Chicago with a tiny yard! If he can grow food there, you can grow it anywhere. Stop by and visit this Wednesday.

I'm tired! What have you guys been up to? Have you ever found money in a pocket or old purse?