Here it is, Sunday morning, 4/12. The sky is clear blue and the temp is already 50*…awesome. The high for today is expected to be in the low 60′s and thunder storms moving in late tonight. I can deal with that. Three days ago I had 8″ of wet slushy heavy snow. I shoveled the steps and enough of the deck to get to the grill :), but I knew it would be gone quickly, so why shovel? I wasn’t going anywhere anyway.
Forecast is 50/60′s all week, so that should take care of the rest of the snow pack. It’s been a very long winter. We had our first snowfall on Nov. 9, and by Nov. 11 there was 20″ on the ground. That’s what is melting now; it never left. Six months of winter is NOT the norm for here, it just feels like it.. lol. For all of that, we are still a foot low on average snow fall and that hurts the water tables. Hopefully the coming rain will help.
I didn’t fire up the woodstove yesterday, and I won’t today, maybe not all week! This could be the turning point. My wood has held out really well. I still have one full row left (two face cord – 8x8x1 log) plus a 1/4 row. The first of May I will move that out onto a pallet as my first burn for next fall, and start the process all over again of filling the shed (8x8x8+, which this year was 5 rows plus a half row that stuck out). I try to be done with splitting and stacking wood no later than June 15, so I don’t have to worry about it as I head into my busy summer season of work. Wood is critical to my way of life and has high priority.
My driveway is a muddy mess, but I can deal with that because it means the snow is melting and the permafrost is rising/leaving the ground. Spring here is usually two weeks of melting followed by two weeks of mud and then it’s summer :) During the winter I only keep half of the driveway open. It’s a long U shaped drive and the southern end always drifts badly and it’s a strain on my aging snow-blower (and me), so I don’t bother. It’s very close to the time when I just might try busting through what’s left. The worse section is the last six feet right at the road where the snowplows hit. If I can bust through that, even a single set of tire trails will help melt it that much faster, and I can use that end of the drive. Why is that important? It’s hard packed gravel and doesn’t get muddy and I can leave the bad part untouched to dry out without leaving ruts while staying OFF the main road.
Tufts is healthy and a bit pudgy from the winter confinement and he’s loving the meltdown because he gets to go out. He always trims down in the summer of exploring our property. My ten acres is split by the creek. Two acres on this side and eight that backs up to hundreds of acres of forest. Tufts rarely ventures past the creek.
On the writing front. Wow, what a winter it has been. My second book, The Journal: Ash Fall, was released at the end of November and did really well until January, when almost ALL books seemed to slump (post-Christmas Crash I’ve been told). With the warmer weather things are stirring again. The third book in the series will be released on Tuesday! TJ: Crimson Skies has been touted as the best one yet. I will be making an announcement across the groups as a reminder :), and then again when the printed version is available in another week. AND I’m 75% done with the fourth – and final – book of the series, TJ: Broken Shores (title is still being debated). It wasn’t until the 4th book that I realized I was addressing the elements: Earth, Wind/air, Fire and now Water. Interesting. There isn’t a release date for #4 yet, but my publisher loves my sales, so the releases have been pushed to the front, though no guarantees. I have a goal of finishing it by mid-May, or sooner.
Why the final book? That could take a bit to explain, I’ll try to keep it simple. My series has been popular because it’s so believable, it reads real and draws you into the story. I do that by feeling what the characters are feeling: all their joys, their pain and sorrow, all of it. Quite frankly, I’m getting depressed.. lol… these ‘people’ have been through SO much in the two years the story spans, that it’s time to give them – and me – a rest.
Next fall, when my $$ job is over and the canning is done, I will start writing again. This time it’s a cookbook that goes with the series, then there’s a children’s book on prepping I’ve been kicking around and who knows what else. For now, though, I need the mental and emotional break from all the fictional disasters.
Today, with the wonderful weather, I’m doing some spring cleaning. I might even hang sheets and rugs on the line outside to dry :)
For those who are following The Journal Series, my next book (#3), The Journal: Crimson Skies, will be release on April 14, 2015. The link for the pre-order is: http://amzn.com/B00VD4MITI.
Book #4, TJ: Divided Shores, is in progress, and will be followed by TJ: Cooking in the Woods, which will present all the recipes -plus more- used by Allexa Smeth in her journey.
I’m sure most of you know how I feel about New Years Resolutions … I just don’t believe in them. After all, if you’re going to try to improve something within yourself, why wait?
want to lose that ten or twenty pounds? why wait?
exercise more? why wait?
be kinder, better, more attentive … just start now
spend less? do it now.
That’s what I did. I made up my mind I needed to do more exercising during the winter, since I spend so much time sitting at the computer writing. So I made up a chart of my ‘favorite’ stretches and toning moves. I printed out a copy and put it on my fridge, so I can see it and check off when I’ve done that move. I started two weeks ago, not today. Why wait
I did an interview, online, about myself and my writing. check it out! and don’t forget.. TOMORROW, Nov. 18, 2914, The Journal: Ash Fall goes live on Amazon!!
Fans of The Journal will be happy to know that book two will be out in just eleven days, November 18th! Available on Amazon, in kindle or print format, also at Barnes & Noble in both formats.
The Journal: Cracked Earth, which debuted in July, has been a smash hit, much to the delight of my publisher, Permuted Press, and we have high hopes for The Journal: Ash Fall.
In Ash Fall, the saga and the trials continue for Allexa Smeth, her family and the small town of Moose Creek. Many surprises are in store for the fans in this sequel.
And as a tantalizer, The Journal: Crimson Skies, the third and final book of the series, is scheduled for release in July, 2015… HOWEVER, there has been some discussion that it might be released sooner. So, stay tuned!
I like to spend just a bit of time each week surfing through different prepper/survival message boards and other forums. It helps me decide what topics are of interest for my writing, of course, and it also serves to give me an idea of how the whole “prepper movement” is progressing. I saw something posted the other day that gave me pause.
What disasters do you prep for, since disasters are prep-specific?
See, here’s the thing. If you think about it for more than, say, 3 seconds, you’ll realize that we are rarely ever prepping for any specific disaster. Instead, we are prepping for the aftermath of said disasters. I mean, sure, there are disaster-specific things, such as installing shutters or covering your windows with plywood in advance of a hurricane. But, by and large, prepping involves making plans to meet our basic needs (food, water, security, etc.) in the event that our normal everyday methods of meeting those needs are interrupted. It doesn’t matter if the reason you can’t buy food is because the economy collapsed and money is worthless or that you can’t buy food because a pandemic has resulted in massive business closures and the grocery store isn’t operating any more. The relevant issue is that you can’t buy more food and need to have prepared ahead of time for that possibility.
It doesn’t matter if your personal bugaboo is EMP, pandemic, the New Madrid fault giving way, the Yellowstone caldera finally blowing, or aliens from Alpha Centauri deciding they like the taste of human brains. Any of those scenarios, as well as tons of others, both realistic and far-fetched, will likely result in:
–The power grid going down.
–Running water and sewer systems no longer operating.
–Grocery stores and other retailers no longer options.
–Police, fire, and rescue overwhelmed, if still operating at all.
–Massive civil unrest, particularly in urban areas.
The reason you prep, your own private theory about what is most likely to happen down the road, is a secondary concern. First and foremost is recognizing the need for being better prepared for whatever might be coming down the proverbial pike.
in the UP of MI
When I moved to the UP, the first thing I noticed was how CLEAN the air was. There are no industries where I am to add any kind of obvious pollutants into the air or the water. Having come from the Detroit area I knew nothing else, but once I was removed from those conditions, I started to feel better.
The next was the drinking water. It was from my own 90 foot well, unfiltered, unprocessed, and unfluoridated.
Then there were the sights and sounds. No longer was I listening to the constant drum of traffic. No longer could I walk from one end of the house to the other without a flashlight because there was so much ambient light from outside 24 hours a day. In the woods when it gets dark it gets REALLY dark and the sounds are of the leaves rustling.
I was amazed at how I felt and looked after a year of living in the woods. Then I started doing some research. What I have found out about the pollutants our government allows into our lives is staggering. And what’s worse, is most of it we are unaware of, or unaware of the consequences.
Take for instance our dental fillings. Everyone has them, right? Silver amalgam is probably the most widely known filling material. Amalgam is made up of a mixture of silver, tin, zinc, copper, and mercury, with mercury being nearly 50% of the mixture. MERCURY, one of the most toxic materials we can be exposed to. Remember the mercury fish scare? We were told not to eat fish from certain areas because they were so heavily contaminated. And now mercury is widely used in vaccines to ‘stabilize’ the material, even though it’s known to be toxic, but also might be the cause in the upswing in cases of autism in our children. This material in our fillings seeps into our blood and tissue over time. What damage is it doing? When I found this out, I had ALL of my fillings replaced with composite. Plus I started using only baking soda to brush my teeth, eliminating fluorides completely. It didn’t take long when I felt like my brain was clearing and I was thinking clearer. Of course my dentist says fluoride is good and mercury isn’t harmful.
How about our deodorant? The first ingredient listed on every commercial antiperspirant I checked is aluminum. ALUMINUM has been linked to Alzheimer’s and certain cancers, and we are willingly putting it on our skin, our largest organ, to be absorbed. I now use a deodorant stone. I’ve also gone to locally produced natural lotions for my skin, like goat’s milk and honey, instead of the creams that have a petroleum base.
Other brain fog inducing chemicals are Aspartame and HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). My favorite mixed drink is a rum and cola, but because of the calories I would drink diet cola. Double whammy! Now I drink spiced rum and club soda (no calories, no sweeteners) and I avoid anything with either of these as an ingredient.
Now let me mention food. Fast food is by far the worse thing we can ingest, with the fats and questionable ingredients. There are so many chemical in our foods it’s scary. Many are to enhance the flavor, or make the food more shelf stable, or add color. Most of the foods on the shelves these days aren’t food at all, just chemicals packed to resemble food. No wonder we have a society of sick and over-weight people who can’t think. Even fresh fruit and vegetables are sprayed with toxins to preserve their freshness or brighten their appeal. My solution has been to grow my own, and to prevent the next contamination with GMO’s, I grow only heirloom or heritage plants. I also have my own chickens for eggs and my sons hunt deer for my meat. If I can’t be confident of the naturalness, I do without.
With all the changes I’ve made in my diet and my life, I feel healthier than ever. Why did I do all this, instead of going with the flow? Because I want to give myself the best possible chance to survive what is coming.