Tag Archives: Gardening

Blackberries and bicycles

bicycle-788733_1280It’s a quiet, warm Sunday, and there’s a magpie strutting about my fresh-mown lawn, looking for bugs. Everyone in the house is sick and/or asleep, so I mowed the lawn with the little push mower Brian bought and I just love it!  It actually cuts the grass, makes fairly little noise, and is fuel-free so good for the environment. While out in the back garden I discovered that it’s not all weeds and grass, but also the neighbour’s plants which have crawled over the fence and began to establish themselves. Which means, for the first time in my life, I have brambles!

Also discovered we have blackberry brambles. 😀

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LOOKEE, actual real blackberries, not just stuff I read about in books. I am ridiculously excited about this, it’s kinda sad.

While we have hardly any furniture (beyond cardboard boxes charmingly “decorated” with my scarves), I did get myself a bike. I also discovered that though I walk a lot, walking and biking use a very different set of muscles. My knees are like HOLY MOTHER OF DRAGONS WHAT IS THIS WHAT DID WE EVER DO TO YOU?

I am loving it here in Scotland, though I am feeling a little lonely. My family and friends are all on the other side of the world. On facebook I see my friends doing stuff around Cape Town, having birthdays, celebrating book launches and all those things, and I realise just how isolated I am at the moment. I know no-one nearby here and it’s a little scary. One thing I am looking forward to is going to Fantasycon in Scarborough in September, where at least I will see some familiar faces and feel a little less like a lost fart in a perfume factory.

Writing has been on the backburner (haha let’s not lie, it has been off the hob completely) while we were making the final immigration moves, and I’m feeling a bit pointless at the moment. I need to knuckle down on Monday and try get my head back in the right space for making and fixing words. I know people are waiting for me to send them stuff or respond to emails but my mind has been totally occupied with the move (and the *wonderful* flu that came with it :P). Things should get more or less back to normal now.

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.

My home gym

Also known as, my home.

After my visit down to cape town where I realised I was now officially the fattest person in the family, I decided to do something about it:  clean my house.  That and garden.


Dailyplate is giving me some crazy readings, none of which I actually trust – 870 calories burned doing housework and gardening? Uh…yeah. Whatever.  I am noticing a difference in my arms already though — obviously hauling around watering can after watering can to water my new veggie beds is paying off. (I don’t have a hose, and I’m considering not getting one.)

Null and Void went slowly today, I wrote about another 600 words, if even. Slacker Cat is a slacker.

I did like bits and pieces though, so at least I’m not going to delete the whole thing in a tantrum any time soon.

stats:  7126 / 90 00o



On we go, until the sky is greying, and the first sparrows wake to astonish the sky. Pigeons wheeze in the eaves of the buildings around us. The last of the stars are almost gone, and only the signal star still revolves, lamp-lit and singing so high that my ears ache.


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.