The State of the Woods: June 2019

Coming out from hiding to post an update on my writing, my farm, and everything else happening around here.

I’ve been busy

My farm plot has expanded to a tenth of an acre of garden area. A neighbor helped me till up the new plots, and I’m planting lots of peas for a late season harvest. Nothing is growing real big, but I’ve heard that is normal for a first year and no compost or other soil amendments.

My compost pile is growing though. I probably didn’t design it the best. Went overkill on the size for the sanitation system and thus I’m not planning on using anything I’m making at the moment for veggies or crops. I know biomanure is safe if done right, but it’s not a chance I want to take at the moment. In the fall, there should be plenty of stuff to make a new compost bin with, so I’ll start a new section just for garden compost, and use the other stuff for my trees. The “garden waste” section of my current pit is already making rich black humus.

Haven’t done much to the house, but the finances aren’t really there anymore. I need to make the most of what I currently have, and I’m weaning myself off the energy drinks to save some cash. Extra money at the moment is planned for the new addition.

“Tips” is what I named the kitten in the picture. She was offered to me weeks ago, but disappeared while weaning. Maybe the mother had her stashed somewhere. Don’t know, but two kittens disappeared, and one came back. She was really shy the first day, but now comes to find me anytime I’m around.

She spends much of her active hours pouncing on tall weeds to attack them, as well as anything else laying around. I’ve even seen her pick up fairly sizable rocks and push them around like toys, but she likes wood blocks better. She explores when I’m nearby to keep a lookout, and has started venturing farther and farther from the porch, though when the sun goes down, I coax her to stay nearby. She’s actually a really smart cat, despite the messed up feline gene pool out here, and she’s one of the most well-behaved cats I’ve ever seen. When I establish a boundary, she generally acknowledges my cordon.

…except for the front door, but that’s another story for another time. Let’s just say she’s more attached than I ever expected a cat to be.

Story Life

I’ve been working to get Incorporated Homeland out. My schedule is wrecked to hell between planting, harvesting, the cat, chores, and basically building my off-grid life. That’s not mentioning the day job. Part of my time has been spent sourcing a better income so that I can start building funds again. Things will break and need fixing, I still need shelving for the house, etc. Plus vaccinations are coming up for the cat.

All that aside, I managed to get the ebook available, and I’ve finished the interior formatting for the manuscript. The cover just needs to be finalized, but I want to give everything another once-over before I go to print. Ebooks can be fixed on the fly. Not the case with printed work. I might delay a bit longer to try some revisions to the blurb on Amazon to see what’s working and what isn’t. Sort of hard to tell with my limited audience, but we’ll see.

I’ve also been working (as you know if you follow this blog) on this world-building experiment for my fantasy project. This project is much bigger than a book though, so I’ve been upping my game as well, by creating a 3D game environment to assist crafting my story world. It will potentially be a full 3D game environment when finished, but for now, I’m pacing myself. If I can get it near complete, I may release the Alpha version to gain support and perhaps a little cash flow to continue my work. For now, I try not to stay up too late on Blender.

After years of being badgered about it, I’m also considering tuning up the first novel manuscript I managed to finish, but no promises. If I undertake the project, the little book will get much larger, and it will be a historical fantasy of epic length and breadth. Much longer than 100,000 words. Instead of the trilogy idea I started with, I decided that if I do anything with it, the story must be released in its entirety. That also means that no noteworthy publisher is going to touch it, so it’ll be an indie book like most of my works have been.

The Farm

My garden plot is divided into three parts. A tiny failure of an “herb” garden which houses some wild yarrow transplants and a Japanese Shiso that decided to grow there wild, and a bunch of weeds. My “experimental” plot is growing plenty of tomatoes and potatoes, and the squash and cucumbers are beginning to produce fruit. It’s about 16×16 feet. I also have some grocery store garlic growing well.

My primary market garden is 45×90 after the expansion, and I plan to grow staple crops there which can be harvested and stored for the winter and the following year. Like I said, the harvests so far have been smaller than I would like, but stuff is definitely growing. My dwarf corn plants are starting to produce tiny ears, and I’ve been eating string beans from my Kentucky Dreamer variety while the others are going to seed for a sample harvest.

I love split peas, so I purchased some field peas and put them onto a large swath of it (around 2000 plants or 1/2 a pound of seed). A third of the garden is a sunflower plot. The rest is beans, corn, kale, etc. Despite being low in yield, I feel like the seeds have already paid for themselves. Between the potatoes and tomatoes alone, I’ve gotten enough food to recoup my initial investment in seed starting. I’ve also learned to grow microgreens, so I’m growing sunflower greens for the local farmer’s market. They don’t make much money yet, but I’m still perfecting the process.

That’s about it. Out here enjoying my time in the woods. Survivability isn’t much of an issue anymore. I have a small A/C unit to keep the house cool on solar power, and enough water to keep me going. Thanks for all the rain on that front. With any luck, I’ll find a better paying gig soon (though it’s rare in this area), and I’ll keep the stories flowing.

If you are interested in the game, definitely let me know. If it does release in alpha, I plan on utilizing an increasingly common price model. The first alpha will be $1, with each new revision upping the price. once you buy-in, you get the updated versions for free. So when the $2 version comes out, you can simply download it if you already paid your entry fee. That kind of thing.


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Author: spottedgeckgo

Writer. Making my living on my pen, and working to turn a raw chunk of land into a future homestead.

3 thoughts

    1. If you are on my email list… (I think you are), I will be sending out some pics this week hopefully. Trying to get some good ones one afternoon when I have some shutter time.

  1. Tips is very cute 🙂 I’ve been enjoying the pics on Instagram. One of the things I’m going to miss about moving out of my house if that my compost pile is just starting to come into its own. I was on the property in MT last week and woke up to a black bear licking dead bugs off the front of my car. It was an interesting morning to say the least 😉

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