Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thursday This n That

I saw someone on FB talking about it being almost the time to stop feeding birds for this season because the bugs are out.  I'd like to advocate against doing that.  Most birds that eat at seed feeders don't eat bugs.  Finches, for instance, are strictly seed-eaters, as far as I know.  (Sparrows are the only ones I can think of that do both, but it's early and I don't feel like researching that.)  We feed year-round - not because they necessarily need seed all year, but because we like to watch birds.  When they have plenty of wild seed to eat, they slack off on coming to the feeder.  We also leave out suet feeder up year-round.  Loads of people only do suet in the winter, but it's fun to watch the woodpeckers bring their fledglings to eat and teach them how to use the suet feeder.  Baby pileated woodpeckers are awesome to watch and the best place to see them is a suet feeder.  I can't wait until it's warm enough to put out the hummingbird feeders.  

Yes, I am a bird nerd.

Deer will also slack off on coming to us for food once the weather starts providing them with other food options.  When the weather is really bad, we've had like 33 deer in the yard at once.  When the weather is good and food is easy to get to, we might see one or two a day.  When we're able, we put out extra protein food during the fawning season to give the mamas an extra boost.  And there's a kind of food you can buy that helps get rid of intestinal parasites, so if we see them looking thin when food is readily available, we'll add that in.  

We had scads of robins in the yard yesterday.  As they migrate north, they stop by here for water and our yard is a nice open patch in the woods for them to search for bugs and worms.  If you're feeding critters, don't forget to have some water for them, too.  Yeah, we live near a lake, but when you're dining out, you don't want to have to walk across the restaurant for a drink, do you?

While feeding critters, I like to sing "You can get anything you want at Sanderson's Restaurant."  :gigglesnort:  If you didn't sing along there and have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sorry.

One Thanksgiving long ago, I was in my bedroom listening to my tiny, red, transistor radio and I stumbled across one station doing a broadcast of the full version of Alice's Restaurant.  (Warning: don't click the link and start reading the lyrics - which aren't really lyrics so much as a story - if you don't have a lot of time on your hands.)  I'd never heard it before and I was enthralled.  I don't remember if I heard it all or if I was called away to dinner, but it was a hoot.  I kinda got sucked into reading it just now and almost didn't finish this post.  

Arlo Gurthrie also did City of New Orleans, which I love even though it has a tendency to make me cry.

I listen to many different kinds of music.  Hell, even the occasional rap or heavy metal song.  When I'm reading, though, I like to have the "Malt Shop Oldies" channel on in the background.  It's mostly '50s stuff - Johnny Mathis, The Platters, The Crew Cuts, etc.  These days, when I'm writing, I like to have a kind of folksy alternative in the background - Mumford and Sons... stuff like that.  

And I see now that I've rambled on for a while, so I'd better let you get back to your lives and get this sucker posted.  ;o)  

What's on your mind this morning?


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Sometimes, The Idea of a Thing is Worse

I weighed myself yesterday.  It had been 3 weeks since the last time I weighted myself and frankly, I was sure I'd be disappointed with the number.  After all, I've been baking and eating a lot.  And with the weather being craptastic, I haven't been active.  And with the stress I haven't wanted to do anything inside either.  

I gained two-tenths of a pound.  That puts me at 182.6 - a pound up for the year.  Better than the four or 5 pounds I was sure I'd gained.  Which goes to show you that sometimes the idea of a thing is worse than the thing itself.  

I was going to say 'fear' there instead of 'idea', but I'm not afraid of gaining weight.  It is what it is.  Gaining weight just means more work.  And while I am terminally lazy sometimes, I'm not afraid of work.

It's the same with writing/editing.  Although there is a bit of fear there, it's the idea of being done and sending my work out into the world only to see no sales that, more often than not, keeps me from working.  And this is even when I've had some good feedback on said work.  

It's not the work itself.  Right now, it's me staring down the barrel of a net income of a nickle for the month of February. That's with holding three sales this month.  And that's only if the per page price in KU holds.  It might only be four cents.

Imagine if I'd actually exercised and eaten less this month only to gain weight.  That's what it's like.  

But let's turn that around.  What if the idea was instead that I bust my buns on this book, send it out into the world, and see loads of sales.  If I look at it that way, the only thing holding me back is me.  

Don't let the idea of a negative outcome stop you from doing your thing.  Don't let it stop you from even trying.  'Cuz the only way to consistently fail at anything is to not do it.

It's like I tell myself sometimes in poker: "You lose every hand you fold."  

Okay, so what's something you're not doing because the idea of failing is stopping you?  What's something you've lost in the past because you folded rather than seen it through?  

Personally, I would've had a straight flush the other day if I'd followed the cards all the way to the river.  Pissed me off to no end.  Here's hoping Duke Noble is a straight flush kind of book, because I'm damn well gonna see this through to the end.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Sunday Update - Week 7

And here we are again...

Despite a firm commitment to working this week, I got nothing done.  Well, not nothing.  I sat down yesterday to work and managed to edit 3 pages before I let myself get distracted.  But hey, three pages is better than nothing.  And it's a start.  Here's hoping today goes better.

As for marketing, I'm doing it, but I'm not seeing any sales.  Fertile Ground is on sale now.  Early Grave will go on sale Wednesday.

I finished one book in time for the reading wrap-up and another book last night (which will be on next week's wrap-up.)

In baking news, I made mini-frittatas and coffee cake on Monday.  Those are all gone now.  I also made a vat of spaghetti and a vat of beef stew this week.  I should probably make cookies today.  Or applesauce bread.  Somethin'.

The big news of the week was the cold and the snow.  It got down to negative something and we got about 6 inches of snow.  We cheered when the cold snap ended and the furnace shut off for the first time in days.  It's blissfully quiet in the house right now - no furnace and no space heaters running in the garage.  Later we'll get the drippy noises of the snow melting, which is fine by me.

The deer look good.  It's nice to know we helped get them through the worst winter had to throw at us.  Arthur, Lear, and Midas all stopped by to eat yesterday - antlerless, but still recognizable. Yay. The birds also are doing well.  Mostly.  Unfortunately, Hubs did find a dead bird laying next to the car.  I suspect it ditched into a car window.  Hubs thinks it froze to death.  We also have a bedraggled looking wren hopping around on one leg who probably won't make it.  I hope that's it for the casualties.  

I don't want to think about what the cold might've done to my gardens.  :shrug:  Time will tell.

Due to the cold and my inherent laziness, I only got one day in where I did anything active.  Let's not talk about weight, eh?  

Insomnia. What fun, eh?  I saw a commercial for a menopause supplement of some kind that said sleeplessness is a menopausal thing.  Oh, yay.  As if the hot flashes weren't enough of a pain in my ass.  On the upside, I'm rarely ever cold at night anymore.  

Anyway...  It's the start of the last week of February.  Two months down, ten to go.  Not that I think getting rid of 2021 will do us any more good than ditching 2020 has done so far.  =o(

As to not end on a bummer note, the birds are singing, the squirrels are looking fat and fluffy, as are the deer.  Spring isn't too far off.  New growth.  Green stuffs sprouting up.  Flowers blooming.  Fishing again.  Yay.

How are things in your world?

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Saturday Reading Wrap-up - 2/20/21

Oops, I forgot to schedule this and I woke up late today.  But I'm here now, so here goes what little there was...  Needless to day, it wasn't an exciting week in reading for me.

I only picked up one new book this week - a paranormal romance new release.  I'm reading it now.  I still have 4 unread ebooks - urban fantasy, suspense, and two mysteries.

Books Read:

Pawsitively Poisonous by Melissa Erin Jackson (2/16/21) - Paranormal Mystery* - 5 stars.  New to me, but not underappreciated.  Free off the ENT newsletter.
Review: "Super cute paranormal mystery with an interesting premise. Loads of fun to read."
Note: Available in audio.

No DNFS.

Currently reading... the above mentioned PR romance.  So far, so yummy.

What was on your reading list this week?

2021 - Books Read

Another year has begun.  And I finished my first book of 2021, so it's time to start the Books Read post for the year.  Over there on the left, you'll see I've done one every year since 2007. 

If you haven't been here before, here's the deal - Every book I read and finish goes here with links to the Goodreads page for it.  Most recent at the top.  Then I put title, author, date finished.  I list the genre I think suits it best.  * means ebook.  # means 'new to me and underappreciated'.  If there's a number after the #, it's where the book fits in the series (if I remember to do it).  

This year, I set the goal for 75 books.  That may change later in the year if I'm reading more than I expected to.  I never set it to less.

Update:  Oh, and if you're just seeing this now, I originally posted this in early January.  I keep moving the date of this post so it's easier for me to find and update it.  My new browser isn't giving me the option to update directly from the post itself.  :grumble grumble:

Okay, let's get started...

10) Fighting for Justice by Silver James (2/20/21) - Paranormal Romantic Suspense*
9) Pawsitively Poisonous by Melissa Erin Jackson (2/16/21) - Paranormal Mystery*
8) Dead at Third by Gregory Payette (2/12/21) - Mystery*#
7) Twice the Temptation by Silver James (2/9/21) - Romance*
6) Fear is the Key by Alistair MacLean (2/5/21) - Suspense
5) Horse Heaven Hill by Zane Grey (1/29/21) - Western
4) Just for Now by Rosalind James (1/18/21) - Romance*
3) Five Complete Miss Marple Novels by Agatha Christie (1/15/21) - Mystery
2) Peonies and Peril by Sue Hollowell (1/5/21) - Cozy Mystery*#
1) Wholesale Slaughter by Rick Partlow (1/4/21) - SF*#

What plans to do have for your reading year?

Friday, February 19, 2021

Chances are No One is Coming to Save You.

I'm amazed at the number of people around here who wait for the government to do something for them.  It's usually people who aren't actually from around here.  Yeah, I'm not originally from around here but I fit right in with the locals.  You know, self-sufficient people.

This morning a gal from Minnesota was complaining that her road was only plowed until the blacktop ended.  Around here, that means the dirt part is probably not a county-maintained road and it's up to the residents to take care of it.  Someone on her road probably should've already thought of getting it plowed by a private entity.  If she's the only one on the road after the blacktop ends, that someone is her.  

In other news, the neighbor's well guy came out and looked everything over.  The diagnosis?  The pipes are roached.  So when it thaws, there will be water everywhere but in his home.  Years ago, the same well froze and Hubs helped them thaw it out, using a space heater.  It was assumed they would do something to stop the well from freezing again.  Umm... nope.  Here we are again and this time it's so much worse.  Blerg.

In other other news, Texas is also roached.  Poor planning combined with leaning toward 'green energy'... but I repeat myself... is to blame.  The poor planning part reminded me of a time when Hubs was pushing for the city he managed to buy more wells, but he got blowback because the wells they currently had were sufficient for all the residents to have water.  Forget the chance the city might actually grow or anything.  Forget the chance that one of the wells might go bad or have a problem or anything.  He eventually won and they bought two more wells, which, if I remember right, was good because one of the old wells had a problem not long after.  Stuff happens.  It's better to be prepared than to get caught with your pants down around your ankles.

This is why we have R-30 insulation in the house now.  When we got here, it was like R-5.  That first winter here was freak-nasty cold like this, so that spring we re-insulated.  We didn't actually need that much insulation again until this cold snap, but we're damn glad we have it now.  We're also damn glad Hubs re-plumbed the place with PEX rather than PVC.  The one thing we didn't do that we should've done was put in a wood-burning stove.  You know, in case we lose power in a cold snap like this.  Thankfully, we never lost power, but it could've been bad.  The stove is on the list of things to do ASAP.

Self-sufficiency, people.  Oh, you might have nice neighbors.  One of our other neighbors told us that if we lost power, we were welcome at their house because they have a generator and a wood stove.  (Generator... on the list, too.)  But not everyone is as nice as that.  Be prepared. Chances are when the shit hits the fan, no one is coming to save you.  


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Thursday This n That

Me: Crap.  Is it Thursday?
Hubs:  Yep.

Of course, I knew today would be Thursday when I sent my timesheet to the office last night, but upon waking this morning, I had no clue.  Wednesday was a wash.  So was Tuesday, I guess, since I don't remember it at all.  

We're getting at least a couple dozen birds at a time at the feeders these past few days.  Juncos, cardinals, blue jays, white-crowned sparrows, fox sparrows, crows, nuthatches, woodpeckers (downy, hairy, red-breasted, and piliated), Carolina wrens, and one lost-looking, lonely goldfinch.  The sparrows are singing, which gives me a happy.  

We're also getting inundated with deer right now.  Both this and the above are due to the cold and the snow and the fact that finding food on their own is harder than coming here for a free meal.  Moochers.  Heh.

Fertile Ground is on sale now.  I made a pretty graphic and what I think is a grabby blurb to use in my marketing posts.  You can see it over at Outside the Box.  Here's hoping it gains me some sales.

Hubs, bless his heart, thought about contacting our elderly neighbors to see how they've been faring in all this.  Their pipes froze and they'd been without water for 3 days.  Derp.  Hubs to the rescue.  We've been storing extra water for a while now and have added to the stash quite a bit in recent days, so we took jugs to them to tide them over until they could get their water running again.  (With a reminder for them to call us if that stuff runs out so we can give them more.)  We saw a plumber dude over there yesterday, so here's hoping he could do something.  With the temps the way they've been I expect their whole system is frozen solid.  =o(

I'm over 30 million in poker now.  Yeah, I know... stop playing poker and get back to work.  I would if I could, but I can't seem to muster the will right now.

How are the this-n-thats in your world today?