We enjoyed a surprise snowfall last week, unusual for the Texas Hill Country, where our winter precipitation usually falls as a cold rain or sleet. The snow was pretty while it lasted, which wasn't very long. Now in the fourth year of drought, we're desperate for soil moisture. Rain forecast for tonight and tomorrow: fingers crossed that it brings us something. The Highland Lakes (Buchanan and Travis) are at 41%. Inflows into the lakes for 2012 were about 30% of normal, and 2011 was worse: 10% of normal. Here at Meadow Knoll, we're right on the border between the "severe" and "extreme" regions on the USDA drought monitor for Texas. Anything wet is welcome, even a single snowflake!
If you've been following this blog, you'll know that I've been letting it slide, primarily because I do daily mini-blogging at Twitter and Facebook and post regularly to Pinterest--but also because I've been doing a lot of writing. I finished Wild Rose and sent it to my agent; she'll send it out later this month. In November, I corrected the copy-edited pages for Widow's Tears; last week, I corrected the typeset pages. The process is all-electronic now: I won't see anything on paper until I get the actual book. You can read the prologue and something about the signature herb on the book's webpage. I started the 2014 China Bayles mystery (#22--would you believe?) and have around 40,000 words, aiming for 85,000.
Other than the writing work, there is the usual gardening. There isn't much out there right now except for spring spinach, some kale and chard, garlic, and a nice crop of perennial onions. I pull a bunch or two every few days and replant at least one onion from the bunch to keep the crop going. This week, I need to plant more spinach and kale and get cabbage and broccoli seeds started: I love Gonzales mini-cabbages, great little cabbages that make a super slaw. I'm going to plant twice as much this year: they are good keepers.
And finally, the 2012 chicken project. The last of the meat chickens went into the freezer just before Thanksgiving, dress weight, about 7 lbs. Big birds, and worth every ounce of work we put into them! The 6 laying chickens (3 Buff Orpingtons and 4 Red Stars) are thriving. We're expecting their first eggs around the end of February.
That's pretty much it, up to the minute. I do write every day: usually, all day. I just don't blog very often. I'll try to be more consistent in 2013, but no promises. Okay?
Reading note: There is no excuse not to write. Do not wait for inspiration to descend from the heavens. If you find you cannot write your latest novel, then move on to a short story, write a blog, a poem, or rework your novel. ~ Stephen Gaspar