life

Oh deer! Our July Garden

Despite the best efforts of mama deer and her two Bambis, our garden is going strong after four separate attacks.

Awww, so cute — until they decimate your plants and leave their turd raisins everywhere!

They found the one hole in the 15-foot hedges in the back, and feasted on our apple trees, lilacs, hydrangeas, tender gladiolus, petunias, sunflowers, clematis, alstroemeria and sweet peas. Most upsetting, they mowed down all my peas, new beans, and lettuce, stepping right into the raised beds and destroying seed beds I had just planted. They nibbled at the potatoes and the tomatoes too. Aargh!

Some semi-permanent deer fencing across the corner where she got in, as well as around my raised beds, and things are starting to recover. We also decided to use our back deck as planting space since we always choose to sit out in the garden. Now I can plant even more!

As long as she can’t climb stairs… 🤔

Anyway, here are some pictures of my healing place/our paradise in July 2019.

Dahlias – stunning and deer-resistant!

My favourite shady place to read and write. Or just be.

Monster marigolds that I planted from seed are taking over!

The corner where they got in, and the final frontier for the garden – until we get rid of the trampoline. Protected by Tiki. 😏

I really love this time in the garden when most of the major tasks are done for the moment and we can just water, maintain and enjoy. We plan to plant more dahlias, especially out front because the deer leave them alone, and they’re gorgeous. They lined our driveway when we lived in New Zealand, which is where we both fell in love with them.

Any other suggestions for deer-resistant, drought-tolerant perennials? Our front garden is so blah comparatively, and north-facing so not as much fun. Any recommendations very much appreciated.

Happy August!

❤️ Amanda

life, writing

Camp NaNoWriMo Prep

I’ve started a new project and I’m fighting the seat of my pants that wants to take off and just get on with writing, and am madly prepping and outlining in anticipation of Camp NaNoWriMo in April.

Last July and November, I was working on a project about chronic, invisible illness for the writing challenge. Well, that project now needs to percolate so I can gain perspective on it again.

When my husband and I were in our West Coast paradise, I finally screwed up the courage to ask him to read the first chapter of the first ‘book‘ (I use this term loosely) I wrote back in 2015. Two reasons for this: 1) he’s an English professor, so – pressure, and 2) it’s a rough (ahem, creative) interpretation of the story of how we met.

So – pressure.

Well. What the hell did I wait so long for? His response was so motivating, I jumped into that project, determined to mold the existing 20 chapters into some kind of proper story structure. As I tried to tweak it though, I realized that I was resistant to change anything. Not because I don’t think it could be better, but because those were stories I needed to tell.

But they’re not necessarily stories I need other people to read, not my personal stories anyway. What I ultimately realized was there is definitely a story that needs to be told, outside of my own personal experience, about that era and what it was like growing up as a girl in the Wild West (haha) in the 1980s. Particularly as an introvert at a time when that was not only unrecognized as a legitimate personality characteristic, but frowned upon as a social defect.

Besides writing any and every thought about the story on index cards, I’m also rereading Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell and using K.M. Weiland‘s excellent outlining resources to help get this whole puzzle sorted out in the next few weeks so I’m ready to crank out 50,000 words in April.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll end up with an actual novel.🤞🏻

❤️Amanda

Anyone else tackling Camp Nano next month?

Here’s my writing space. The pair of hummingbirds that live in our yard have built their nest in the tree to the right so they flit in and out all day. I used to hate that tree! This is the eating area in our kitchen, too small for a table and five chairs, so I ‘built’ a window seat out of Ikea refrigerator cabinets. Storage, seating and a lovely view of our backyard. Gotta love Pinterest! My other writing space (below) is weather dependent but it’s gorgeous right now so out I go. Thanks for reading! ❤️

Window seat writing space

Late winter garden on a warm sunny day. Perfect writing space.