April is the weirdest month

Weird for weather, at least, although maybe not the weirdest (it was 70 degrees on December 22). Last week was beautiful spring weather. Weekend temps got up into the low 80s, and then the cold front moved through and there was snow on the grass this morning. The weekend encouraged the flowers, and fortunately, the cold doesn’t seem to have been drastic enough to have killed them. So here’s what’s blooming in the front yard now: Continue reading

Random Friday

Did I tell you I have a new flash story coming out? “The Call” will be the e-mailed story for Daily Science Fiction on Monday, May 14. If you’re not signed up to get their e-mailed stories, this is a good time to do it. Or you can wait a week, and they’ll have it posted on their site.

Spells & Swashbucklers, an anthology of pirates and magic from Dragon Moon Press, has my short story, “Maskèd Panama.” The official launch party will be over Memorial Day weekend at Balticon, but it’s available for purchase now (paperback at Amazon) (Kindle).

I did pick a winner for the Live and Let Fly giveaway contest and e-mailed to find out what format of e-book was preferred. Nutschell, if you’re reading this, check your e-mail. If I don’t have a response by next week, I’ll pick another winner.

It’s been a month since I’ve done a post on genres, and I do intend to get back to them. Life’s just been hectic — to keep those up while doing the A to Z posts would have required a lot more pre-planning (which I’m noting for next year). I will start those again next Friday. I’ve actually been pleased to see people find my blog in search engines by looking for things like the definition of urban fantasy or what makes cozy mysteries different from hard-boiled ones. Clearly, these posts are filling a need.

The A to Z challenge was a lot of fun, and the hosts of the challenge encouraged everyone to do a reflections post. They said, “You can put up your Reflections post anytime between now and Saturday May 12th.” Mine will go up tomorrow. If you’re interested in my thoughts, what I liked, what I’d do differently, come check it out. Otherwise, feel free to go enjoy the weekend. It’s supposed to warm up about 10 degrees here and be sunny (which still leaves it cooler than California and Nevada — springlike weather here generally is for the most part in the 60s and 70s). I may even get outside to plant the flowers I bought from the fundraiser at my daughter’s daycare (begonia, portulaca, impatiens, and geranium).

Springing around the yard

I already posted pics of my first flowers of the year, I know. Yesterday was such a lovely, sunny spring day, however, (as opposed to the current cool and overcast) that I had to take more pictures to share.

First up, a hellebore — pretty little thing, isn’t it? Well, not little like croci — it’s a couple of inches across the bloom.

Hellebore flower

Hellebore flower and buds; should be really pretty next week when the other buds open.

You might remember that we had a heavy storm at the end of October. Unlike many people, we didn’t wind up with trees split down the middle or huge branches littering our yard. We did have one split up in the tree, but as you can see from the picture below, that branch isn’t dead yet.
Maple in bloom

Maple tree is blooming now. Note the cracked branch, bent downward from the rest.

Also not dead, but not from a lack of trying on the part of the neighborhood deer, is my rhododendron. With a mild winter, they have to have had lots of things to choose from to eat. Why pick on my bush?
Chewed up rhododendron

Who's been eating my leaves? The neighborhood deer, of course!

It takes time

Just thought I’d drop a note in to say I’m doing better this week. Taking most of last week to recover really was a good move. I’ve been running several times, and I’m up to being able to run 30 minutes (not necessarily fast, but that’s okay) at a time. Proofreading has been my focus this week, with some progress made on the book for Moongypsy. I could tell my burnout was fading when I started getting ideas for new stories, and I have one idea for a short story that I’ll probably get written next week.

My big revelation this week has been that everything takes time. It’s something I know and am okay with when gardening — I planted a rhododendron six years ago that finally bloomed this year, and of my two clematis, this is the first year the maroon one has bloomed. (The purple one has been blooming for three years now.) Peonies also take a few years between first planting and blooming, but then they produce profusely every year.

Yet, even though I know I’m getting into better shape, sometimes I get depressed when I look in the mirror and see how far I still have to go. Then there’s writing — from idea to completed project can take seemingly forever.

So it’s good that I can look out at my garden and see that even things that take years to yield results are worth it.

maroon clematis

First bloom, after five years.

Clematis flower, partially opened

A regular showpiece in the garden.

white rhododendron blossoms

Six years' wait

Pale pink peony

Steady performer, every year.

Never too many

If you’ve been reading for a while, you might remember last fall when I said, “You can never have too many daffodils.” Well, right around then I planted a couple hundred bulbs in a single bed. Below is a picture of what they looked like last week.

daffodils again

A couple hundred still isn't too many.

Y is for yardwork

White daffodils and red dicentra

Narcissi and bleeding hearts

It’s April, which means everything is in bloom. Magnolias scatter their petals in the streets. Dogwoods are opening, their buds still looking dry and brittle. Tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils flourish in beds and around mailboxes. My new hellebores have their first blooms, and the bleeding hearts are stretching out their limbs.

First hellebore

It also means I have to clean up the dead peony stalks I didn’t deal with last fall, deadhead the daffodils as they finish blooming, remove the grass from the flower beds, and put new mulch on top of the old to nourish the soil.

New growth on peony

I also regularly support the Arbor Foundation, and I just got a shipment of ten random saplings (maple, oak, spruce, dogwood, redbud) that needed to be planted around the yard. Thus, new holes dug, edgers placed around the saplings to protect them from the lawnmower, that sort of thing. (Meant to have a pic of the edgers and the saplings to put here, but I decided to take my daughter to the park yesterday instead.)

The lovely thing about April? Even with a warm spell, it’s pleasant enough to do the work, and there’s plenty of rain to keep everything greening nicely.

What about you? Any new or old projects in your yard this month?

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading!

V is for violets and volunteers

Violets in the grass

Violets in the grass

Volunteers, in this case, referring to plants that grow somewhere without being planted there. As, for example, the dogwood sapling in our front flower bed that I need to decide whether to transplant or leave where it is. It can — and probably should — stay where it is until fall, as the best time to transplant is when there are no leaves on the tree. However, we’ve been talking about redoing that bed since we moved in, and it won’t survive that.
Dogwood volunteer in the flower bed

Volunteer dogwood

Mary Engelbreit may say to “Bloom where you’re planted,” but there are times when to really thrive, something needs to be moved. I think this is one such case. Meanwhile, however, it grows and becomes stronger. That’s all that I can ask.