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Authors in Bloom!

Very busy this week hosting the 3rd Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop that begins TODAY. 🙂

Authors_in_Bloom_blog_hopFor the next 10 days, visitors will learn a ton of new gardening tips and recipes, PLUS the chance to win a number of great prizes! This year we have almost 80 authors and bloggers hosting giveaways which makes for AWESOME odds, not to mention the grand prize ereader and gift card. That’s right–you have the chance to win an ereader of your choice (kindle or nook, $200 value) and coinciding $25 gift card. This year we’ve added a second prize of $25 gift card redeemable with the bookseller of your choice.

kindlepaperwhite

What do you have to do to win? Simply leave a comment on each participating author/blogger website. That’s it. Be sure to include your contact email info so we can inform you of your winnings. 🙂 Check event page for complete rules/details.

I do hope you’ll stop by! Already we’re learning fun, facts & trivia, like how to save and store that fresh lettuce in your garden! For DAYS…

The fun begins here…Authors in Bloom

Time in Get OUTside!

After my whirlwind year of 2013 when writing took up a good chunk of my existence, I’m going back to the garden. Taking a break, if you will, from the fervent typing in exchange for the rhythmic till of soil. It’s good to be outside, especially on a day when it’s sunny and 70! Florida living…. Not that the polar vortex missed us. It didn’t. But we do get a reprieve where many of you do not. My condolences.

My plants have missed me but are loving the cooler temps. Cabbage and broccoli love this weather.

cabbage is happy

Brussels Sprouts are coming along nicely, plumping on the stalk.

Brussels are sprouting

Onions, too. The warm bed of hay mulch helps.

sweet onions are snug

I also have carrots, kale and lettuce in ground. A few peppers, plus, we planted some potatoes today. All seem content. Miraculously, my tomatoes are not brown and dead from last week’s freeze.

frozen but not dead tomatoes

Not sure how that happened but I’m not chancing a bite of the fruit. I think I’m good until spring. 🙂

Spring. In Florida that’s only 6 weeks away! I hate to boast but life is good here in the South.

Home Sweet Home

Or is it? I mean, is it sweet when the door rots? The pool leaks? The ac unit screams because your vaulted ceilings are killing it? How about when the ants band together on rainy days and head indoors for a spell? The roof shingles split because there’s no shade and the Florida sun is brutal?

you can almost here them...

I think I’m ready for a condo. Some place on the water would be nice, second floor, so I don’t have to worry about floods. Keep it roomy but not too roomy–less space means less cleaning. Pest control, lawn maintenance, building repairs are all taken care of by someone with patience and a smile. (Love them.) The dues can be hazardous but shoot, by the time you consider your maintenance and repair expenses, the headaches and stress, I think condo living might come out ahead!

I could write and relax. I’d pull into my driveway without my husband noticing all the things that need to be done. It would be like living on constant vacation! The family could relax on the weekends with no grass to cut, chlorine to adjust, weeds to pull…

Oh, right. The weeds. I wouldn’t have my garden. There’d be no space. I could join a community garden but then I’d have to drive. (Ugh, the traffic.) With no compost pile to support, my sense of “green living” would dull. I’d feel guilty wasting all those kitchen scraps. Think of the naturally-fertilized dirt I’d lose!

lettuce for lunch

Hmph. (Can you tell I’ve had a rough weekend?)

Glancing around, I fight the urge to run. Perhaps I should reconsider. Responsibility isn’t all bad. Annoying, but at least I have room to roam when I feel like running. Space to spread out, plant some veggies, a welcome mat for the dog…

Maybe obligations aren’t so bad. I’m whining, I know. I mean, I do so enjoy strolling to the garden for a pluck of fresh leaves for lunch. Sitting on the back patio, taking in the kids and their friends swimming and laughing. My husband does look good on a tractor. 😉

Take a deep breath, Dianne. Everything’s okay. How about you? What do you do when your weekend is lost to chores?

Summer in the Garden

Summer is not the time to be gardening. Not in Florida, anyway. It’s the time for vacations with the kids, days at the beach, the lake, a friend’s house. Summer is too hot for gardening in Florida. Pretty much too hot for anything but water fun!

However, I’m a year-round gardener which means there’s ALWAYS something growing in my backyard. And I’m not talking grass, I’m talking edible. 🙂

Sweet potatoes love the warm weather and grow all summer long to deliver a bounty of golden goodness come fall. These babies are sprawling into the beds on either side where I have dutifully made room for them.

sweet potatoes in bloom

Okra is another plant that loves it sunny and hot and this year, I’m playing around with a new variety! Red Okra, of the “Billy Bob” variety (and no, I didn’t make that name up).

red okra

My peanuts are thriving, burrowing away so that we may have peanuts to boil come football season.

peanuts like soft soil

Hot peppers also enjoy the heat. Go figure. My Hungarian Wax, Jalapeno and Scotch Bonnet are all doing well, though my sweet green peppers are struggling.

peppers

But my compost pile isn’t. Look at this baby, grow!

compost progress

And if my compost pile can grow squash, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, anyone can. Yep, that is my backyard compost pile. Eventually I’ll harvest the sweets, but it’s much too hot for the tomatoes to sport fruit and the squash, well, where I have to “dig” to get those golden beauties my be a bit much.  We’ll see.

Until then, I’ll continue to enjoy summer and the fruits of my labor! Including concocting a mean salsa with this bounty of peppers.

peppers in summer

How about you? Growing anything this summer where you live?

It’s All In The View…

For the last few weeks, I’ve been busy with the family. And when they’re not demanding my attention, I’ve been holed up in my office writing. So the only thing interesting in my life to report is that this …

Winter2012-IMG_0156

… has finally turned into this …

Spring2013-IMG_0219

… but what I’m really looking forward to is this …

Sheila Geraniums

May your spring arrive quicker than mine. 🙂

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