Pecan Trees–Who Knew?

About seven years ago, we planted two pecan trees. The catalog we ordered from promised cross-pollination. But here it is, year seven, and where are the nuts?

Research to the rescue. Soooo…two different kinds of pecan trees are needed to cross-pollinate. Oops.

And I should be fertilizing the trees every month from March to June. Double oops.

And there’s a spray with zinc sulfate I should be using. Ouch. Slap my face. I had no idea.

I called an online nursery to find out which trees I should plant for cross-pollination and learned of two varieties that will work, Cape Fear and Elliot. Both will grow in Zone 6–never mind that we had a Zone 5 winter last year. The rep I chatted with was nice enough to offer me free shipping.

Except. They’re out of both varieties of pecans, at least until spring.

So I’m off to find those trees elsewhere. For the same price or near enough. Probably without free shipping. Gosh darn it.

Sunny Sunday

I keep thinking we’re headed for an early fall. After a cool spring and a mild summer, the signs are there. The daylilies are done except for the rebloomers, which are about to do what they do in fall. The chrysanthemums are budding. The sedum Brilliant and Autumn Joy have flowered. My cottonwoods are losing leaves–not unusual in a dry August. But leaves on my tulip trees (yellow poplars) are also changing, and that is unusual.

We have too many tomatoes. Fortunately, our neighbor didn’t plant this year. Whew.

Lots of gardening still to do, and I’m also needing to put more time into my work in progress. I have submissions out that need following-up and submissions still to–well–submit.

It’s a busy time.

Here’s hoping fall comes at the precise right time for you.

The Weedy-ness of Midsummer

I’m not going to actually air my weeds in public. So here is a photo of my favorite reading fairy, swimming in a sea of sedum and daylilies.

But trust me. I got weeds.

Today was a gift from the gardening gods–an inch of rain last night, sunny this morning and in the low 70’s (Fahrenheit) with a cool breeze straight out of the north. Yum.

But with the rain and cooler temps, here comes a whole new crop of weeds that must be hand-pulled.

I’m particularly dismayed by the horse nettle with it’s thorns and absolute delight when sprayed. Glyphosate? Horse nettle soaks it in and multiplies. Salt and vinegar and dish soap? Horse nettle chortles and cries, “More, gimme more.” I spent the morning with spade, pruners and tongs (as opposed to bell, book and candle), removing horse nettle by hand.

Weeds.

Rainy Sunday

It’s been stinking hot, weather that was supposed to continue for one more day. But the weather girl was wrong again. We woke in the middle of the night to high winds, thunder, and lightning. And the dogs whining to get in the house.

Rain this morning cooled things off, but the damage is done. The cottonwoods are loosing leaves.

The daylilies are finishing up. Buds are opening on the chrysanthemums, and I wonder if we’ll have an early fall. I’ve got lots of cleanup to do before winter sets in. Meanwhile, we’re harvesting peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. The garlic is ready to eat. Pasta, anyone?

Meanwhile, I’m watching the honeysuckle bloom and the bittersweet turn orange.

Happy Sunday.

Signs of Fall

We got out early this morning to water the baby trees, and found cottonwood tree leaves in the lawn. Okay–let’s call it what passes for lawn at my house.

The cottonwoods lose about half their leaves between mid-July and mid-August. Maybe more if it’s been a dry year. For me, it’s the start of Autumn.

According to the “old” calendar, Autumn begins on August 2, cross-quarter between the Solstice (June 21) and the Equinox (September 21), when the days shorten perceptibly. Just as February 2 is the start of Spring, when the days lengthen perceptibly.

Of course, it depends on where you live.

And here, thriving in the ashes of the burn pile, are morning glories. Glorious this morning.

If you’re gardening today, I hope the weeds are few and the rain is just right.

Sunny Sunday

Hot and humid–just the way it’s supposed to be. This is Kansas in July. Hard to believe we have only two-and-a-half months left of summer.

Tomatoes are starting to ripen on the vine. Eggplants are fruiting. I have a baby pepper and a baby cucumber. And–so exciting–I’ve fenced a baby watermelon to keep the bunnies and deer and coyotes away.

Hope your Sunday is filled with peace, fruit and vegetables.

Twelve-Thousand Words

When Anna Yeatts suggested I cut 12,000 words from my completed, edited 87,000 paranormal romance novel, I was a bit skeptical.

Her reasoning was perfectly sound. The shorter paranormal romance would be more marketable.

But sheesh. 12,000 words, or just a bit less than 14 percent of the book. Was it possible? Could I do it? Did I even want to do it?

But okay, I’d try.

I’m now on Chapter 23 (of 39) and have cut 8,000 words. That’s about 350 words per chapter. With 16 chapters to go and only 4,000 words to cut, I’ll probably make it.

The process has taught me three things:

  1. This story needed to get “colder” before marketing. The line edits were completed in January, and it would’ve make a huge difference to let it sit until at least March, and then giving it that final once-over.
  2. Cutting extraneous details makes for a stronger story.
  3. “Kill your darlings” (Faulkner) is good advice. I noticed that this month’s Writer’s Digest included an article on overwriting.

So where am I, and where do I want to be?

I’ll finish up the word-cut this week. A final read before restarting the query process and thinking about #PitchWars this coming fall. And I’ll go back to writing the first draft of the next in the series–which is one-fourth completed.

Whew.