You've come to right place if you're looking for some good stories, reliable recipes, interesting photos (if ever I figure out how to use my new camera), household tips, book recommendations, advice and discussion on everything from aquariums to zabaglione, and you'd like to read about the world according to me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gardening Here I Come

Wisteria from last summer:

I haven't blogged for a while. Please forgive me.

Many things have happened since last summer. We finally fenced in our front yard to keep the deer out, so I will plant fruit trees this spring. My husband thinks that I'll be planting two evergreens. It will be more like 20 deciduous trees. I guess those nice neat diagonal rows he cuts in the grass will be gone forever. Alas.

So I'm scouring nursery catalogues and websites. This is a very complicated business, if you didn't know. Most fruit trees require one or more *other* similar fruit trees for pollination. What this means is that if you want 4 fruit trees to bear fruit, figure on planting 10. Don't plant them too close to the driveway or you will have apples falling on your friends' cars. This is not a problem for me because I don't have any friends.

Not only that, but those that will be pollinating each other need to flower at the same time. As you can guess, most nurseries don't tell you when the trees flower. Good luck finding that information. You can always contact me because I have researched flowering times for every fruit tree known to man.

Last month I had my first cataract surgery. It was actually quite painless, but scary thinking about someone digging around inside your eyeball. It was also a revolting development to learn that I had cataracts at age 48. (On surgery day I was in the OR waiting room with three 80-year-olds.) I lucked out and got a surgery date for the next eye in two weeks. I won't say more about this now because I'm trying to sell an article about the experience.

I've been doing a lot of writing. I'm now a regular contributor to Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement Magazine. I kid you not. Yes, the woodworking thing has borne fruit so to speak. I'm doing about one article per month for them. I've also started writing fiction. That's great fun because you get to make up stuff. You don't have to stick to the facts like in non-fiction. Your characters say whatever you want them to say.

My first fiction submission ever was accepted last week by MUSED, the BellaOnline Literary Review. It's not the New Yorker, but it's a respectable place for a short story and a website that gets a *lot* of traffic--we're talking more than half a million hits per month. When they accepted the piece, they also asked me for an essay on writing because they said my story was their favorite for that issue. So in horse races, I think you call that an Exacta. YES. (I will provide a link when the pieces are published).

Regarding writing, I participate in several online forums, but my favorite writing forum is Absolute Write. Duotrope is the best place to find fiction markets and keep track of them. Alex Shvartsman is new writing buddy of mine who does speculative fiction and does it really well. The Camel Saloon is a terrific place to read some fiction and poetry, see some neat photos (see postcards on the right), and just hang out. I also have an official fiction writing mentor now, Will Johnson, a brilliant, prize-winning MFA student at University of British Columbia. Keep your eyes open for Alex and Will whose works will be found in local bookstores before long.

My daughter is currently wandering around Australia avoiding sharks and spiders--I hope--and interviewing for grad school on SKYPE. My son is still in Argentina, but I hear on the Fruit Tree Wireless that he may be returning to Canada before long. Whatever happened to kids working around the corner at McDonald's like me? My husband is fine and, as usual, is very preoccupied with which garbage bag I put in the kitchen can. He just about went haywire on Sunday when I took the garbage out without discussing it with him first. You can read about my adventures with him here, if you missed that blog entry.

Last but not least and all kidding aside, I urge everyone to sign this petition to free Zhu Yufu from prison in China. He's a writer.

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