Category Archives: Gardening

Crop-rotation of the soul and other granola concepts.

Right. Crop rotation. You probably learned about this in school, yeah, but a quick refresher – you have four+ fields, in each you plant a different crop, the following year, you move all the crops along, and you give one of the fields a rest, planting it up with something like vetch to give nitrogen and stuff back to the soil.

Okay? We clear?

And why the hell am I talking bout crop rotation?

Because I’ve come to a realisation thanks to Beth Wodzinski about how the various pursuits she loves all draw from the same energy source, and that got me thinking about how I do something similar.

I have only so much whatever, and when I feel like I can’t write anymore, I should not look at it as stalling, or writers’ block, but as an opportunity for crop rotation.

So right now,  instead of freaking out that I’m not working on a book, I am planting a different seed. (If you follow me on instagram or twitter, yeah soz,  have been picspamming. :P) I’m working on other creative things – fixing things in the house, doodling, gardening.


These all are good for my creative brain, and they fulfill the need to be making something, while also being productive and giving the word-field a chance to recover, to get rich and fertile in time for the next season.



Beast- and plantkeeping

Come along if you’re going to come along, or go to your left and strike true, and you’ll find your castle, princess.”


After the general insanity of the festive season, I am doing a final sweep through Beastkeeper before I send this round of revisions off to my editor. I realised I quite like Alan and Sarah’s interactions. I would totally be drawing cute manga pics of them if I could draw cute manga pics.


I also had a little trawl through the garden to check the figs. Sadly, still not ripe.  But closer closer closer yes!


And I must be watering my plants again because this little guy is looking more green and less red (they turn red when they are Dying of The Thirst. I have no idea what it is, but I would put good money on Nerine Dorman being able to tell me its common and Latin name off the top of her head. Woman has mad botanical skills, yo.


Growing things

I am bad at keeping a veggie garden. Bad. One year in Joburg I had a pretty good haul but that seemed to have been a fluke. It was also a fluke for which I was extremely grateful as it was the year where we often only had food if it came from the garden.

Still, there’s nothing quite like being a writer to make you shrug off failure and keep going in the face of insurmountable odds and the pitying stares of your relatives and acquaintances. So, apply writer-logic to gardening and carry on regardless.

(Oh dear, now The Beautiful South’s Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud) is stuck in my head)


Anyway, on to my exciting garden adventures! It seems that when I try to grow actual things they do not like to live. It’s like they die on purpose because they hate me or something.

Like these pissed-off lettuces. I think the cat shat on them actually. *sadface*

Camera 360

Contrast this with the tangle of giant things I never planted, never look at, and occasionally mow over in a fit of spite. It is mid-winter in the cape, drizzly and fairly nippy (by my standards, so shut up, Canada), and we have the first bananas appearing. Bananas, I ask you.

Camera 360

If I apply garden logic to writing, I think I’m meant to be writing bananas instead of lettuce. There’s a message in there somewhere.

Of cabbages and kings

gardening updatery.

Planted out today:

Eggplant (black beauty)


Spring Onion


no sign of the watermelons… 🙁

spotted – one bloom on a mystery squash that is most likely a zucchini.

nano updatery.

Total wordage achieved:

32 633 / 50 000

Cool things: making my virgin mage a eunuch as a sick pratical joke.

Wait, did I say cool things?


It’s like a war cry:

The gardener yawp.

Okay seriously, today I have planted the bush bean seeds, the maize seeds, the sunflower seeds, and prepped the asparagus beds. Woosh.

Null and Void canters along, doing a nice little clip, and bringing me to just shy of 5 k. Go little book go!

The sprogs and I baked Christmas decorations (yeah, I know…) and tomorrow we varnish them and put ribbons on. So that’s exciting. I think we need to do a baked theme for the tree this year – I have the urge to make fimo cupcake decorations to go with the cinnamon biscuit ones… You know Saint Nicholas would totes approve, yeah?

(Saint Nick, busy approving)

Tuesday Teaser

Read the Epic of Gilgamesh today. Man, was Gilgamesh a twunt.

Scrapped Firedancer has a new new name – Null and Void. We’ll see how long that one lasts.

So now we’re at 3228 / 90 000. Go Cat Go!!!

In the interests of jumping on the Tuesday Teaser Bandwagon, I present you summat from this morning’s 1500 words. Not all of it, lucky you.


The Eye.

I did not just see The Eye.

I lean forward, finger jabbing at the volume control. Dev begins wailing again, but softly this time – just his usual constant whine. I thumb the up button, and the tv reporter’s voice drowns him out.

– appears to have been some kind of escape. Details are uncertain as yet, but we can tell you that the Inquisition has apprehended at least one of the Compound inhabitants.”

Flash cut to The Eye’s face; the whites of his eyes are ivory yellow in his dark face, and his crown of hair looks wilder and thicker. He snarls into the camera, and struggles in the grip of the two robed men holding him.

He’s not doing anything. Why is he not doing anything? There should be storms, and winds. He should be raising all of the air against these bastards.

Instead he struggles like a human. Then I see the small plastic ties on his wrist as the the camera pans behind his back. They’re striped, deceptively candy cane bright.

Null-strips. So it’s true.

I crawl closer to the telly and put my fingers to The Eye’s screaming mouth. They’ve blanked out whatever he’s saying, and I realise that this is a recording. Of course. I don’t even know why I thought it was live. I drop my fingers.

Depending on when this happened, he could already be Nulled.

The image flicks back to the reporter, who sits primly behind her fake desk and enunciates at her unseen audience.

His Divinity, Godking of Cero, Seventh Avatar of the Sovereign Voice, has declared that there will be a public execution of the godtraitor on his Feast Day. Plans have already been made to include the Justice in the festival program, and we all are sure to enjoy it!” She smiles bright and false, her white teeth perfect and clamped trap-jaw tight.

Holy fuck.

I sink back onto my haunches, and breathe again.

Today’s gardening was limited to planting out some flowers (I have already forgotten what the were…dahlias?) bush beans, kale, chard, and marigolds.

The perils of work

Cracked my thumbnail while gardening today. Ugh, so annoying.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get some work done on the tent. Today felt like laundry load after laundry load, so the idea of sitting down and sewing metres of pink lycra was less than appealing. Odd, I know.

I can’t even remember if I mentioned a whole new plot thread for Firedancer that came to me a few days back…oh well, now I have. It made me happy, so that’s good.

Bit what I liked today: 

Everyone’s heard the rumours, and now and again, one of the People will go missing – just drop off the face of the planet and never be heard from again. No one knows what really happens to them, but we have the memory of the purge, handed down through the generations, and we know what could have happened.

Tamarillo trees and fauxreo cookies

It’s an amazing day in Jo’burg today; warm and clear, with a slight breeze to ruffle one’s hair as one gardens.

Although there’s been a distinct lack of rain, the trees are budding, and a faint green shimmer is touching the bare branches. So it’s as good a day as any to look at the dry jungle I like to call my garden, and figure out what the hell I need to do…

I’ve been tackling The Blackjack Problem, so I have some clear areas now, (amazing! cry my friends in disbelief) and now today I have planted out some of the cuttings that have spent winter on my kitchen windowsill. I also have a bunch of tamarillo seedlings that I grew from some fruit stolen off Jen’s garden. *grins*

I’ve potted those out, thinned out my chocolate tomatoes (what I like to call grocery store salvagings – hey, what can I say: I’m cheap), transplanted a random shrub (Hi, stolen cutting!) and planted out some marigolds and kale (marigolds from my own garden, and kale seeds actually bought. From a shop and everything).

The Slave did the miraculous and climbed onto the roof to clear the gutter. The gutter which has bullrushes growing in it (I shit you not – we’re pretty craptastic homeowners…). It really looks like it may be time to upgrade the guttering, which is now nothing more than rust held together with a particularly bilious shade of green paint.

While he was being all manly, I was stumbling about the internet looking for gardening stuff, and I came across a recipe for home-made oreos. (yes, I know). After payday, I’m looking at this as a cooking project for me and Sprog the Elder, who seemed rather keen on the notion.

Fauxreo’s recipe here.

Friend Bee posted a link to this post about Not Having To Be Pretty, which I really enjoyed.

“…But in the hierarchy of importance, pretty stands several rungs down from happy, is way below healthy, and if done as a penance, or an obligation, can be so far away from independent that you may have to squint really hard to see it in the haze.”

I have also realised that Afrikaburn is like 2 weeks away. Woops!  I better get a move on with my plans.

Taming the wilderness

Tired of being the disgrace of the block, I cajoled The Slave to come help me weed our driveway.  The edges of the overgrown mass of concrete were hedged with blackjacks and the whole thing looked more like a jungle than someone’s front lawn.

People walking on the verge had to step into the road to get past our driveway. Yep, it was that bad.

No more! For Lo! We have weeded until we got bored, and then run a lawnmower over the rest. You can now see the road.


I’m sure our neighbours are relieved.

And on a gardening note: while it may be struggling into autumn on our side, I know most of you are bounding into spring, so I leave you with a link to making newspaper seedling pots.