Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Escape from the Deep Freeze


It’s early, so the sun’s not up yet, but lookie here:


After two days above freezing–yes, I said above freezing–we’re back to the icebox. Wind chill advisory until noonish. According to the weather guys, we won’t see double digits again until the end of the week.


So when one of my writing sisters tagged me on this picture from Seed Savers, I had to smile:
26239161_1693631804022263_7610006661865739579_n What a great excuse to dig out the seed catalogs I got after Christmas (because when is a better time to think about spring than when it’s effing cold outside?).

We just won’t mention the whole “writer’s stuck in deep mud and can’t seem to pull herself out” part of this, will we?

*checks for Muse*

Whew. He probably got tired of babysitting me and decided to do a pub crawl with Mr. E.

In the meantime, this is what I’ve gotten in the mail. Tell me this doesn’t look like fun!
IMG_0185_cr I usually save the seed catalogs for later, when it’s closer to seed-starting time, but it’s been so cold, and I’ve been so “stuck”, that after my WS tagged me, I thought, “Well, that’ll be a nice bit of escape from Winter.”

I like looking through the catalogs, with all the pictures of veggies and flowers, but mostly veggies. If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I have a vegetable garden every year. I figured I’d share a little about how I plan it.

Wait, plan? Ha! I plan to have a smaller garden, because WEEDS, but somehow that never seems to materialize. The smaller garden, I mean. The weeds ALWAYS materialize.

So, this year I swear it’ll be a smaller garden. Seriously. Because I’ve got other things to do, like start promoting my book coming out next year. And writing/revising book 2 and another book and probably revising another book my agent has looked at that needs a whole lotta work (and here I thought it was almost ready to go–phffft!)

Everything else is subject to how I feel that year, that is, how much trouble the veggie is and how much I don’t want to bother with it. I have things I always plant no matter what: tomatoes, onions, peppers (sweet and hot), cilantro (see a theme here? Fresh salsa!), cucumbers (pickling, not slicing), dill (see another theme? Pickles!), radishes, and potatoes. This year, since I’m not canning tomatoes (did that last year), I want to plant a nice heirloom slicing tomato. They taste sooo good.

Beets I like because they aren’t much work, just need to be weeded. Green beans are okay; the bush varieties still don’t grow as upright as they sound, and I always seem to plant way more than I need.

Zucchini is another thing I plant every year, but I always forget how big the plants get. And they’re fine until the squash bugs show up. Damn things. Some years they aren’t a problem, but other years I don’t get many squash because of those little bastards. They suck juices out of the squash plant, and of course in the process infect it with whatever nasty fungus they carry. And they’re creepy–think boxelder beetle but bigger and gray and they stink when you crush them. With blue goo inside.

Definitely doing kale again, but this year I’m starting the seeds in the house–I planted three times but they never came up, so I had to buy plants last year. And I want to do not-so-curly kale, because of the cabbage worms (you know kale is in the same family with cabbage and Brussels sprouts, right?) Speaking of, as much as I like Brussels sprouts, don’t know that I’ll plant them this year. It’s a pain in the ass to pick the cabbage worms every day (since I’m too lazy to cover them with netting so the stupid butterflies can’t get to them).

Hmm. The rest is up to whim. I don’t like planting corn because you have to have at least 4 rows to get good pollination, and we never seem to pick it at the right time. I always have borage, which self-seeds like dill and cilantro, because the bees love it.

I always plant spinach, too, but I haven’t gotten a good spinach crop in years. And I like to toss in flowers, because whenever you order seeds you get free samples of flowers. This year I might do marigolds to try and keep the rabbits out. They say it works. It’ll be a second line of defense πŸ™‚ And maybe pie pumpkins this year–I love pumpkin bread.

Every year I like to plant something new, or at least something I haven’t grown for a while. A couple years ago I did sugar snap peas, and had the same lousy results I had the last time I planted peas (about 10 years ago), so probably no peas. Did eggplant–nobody ate it. Did watermelon, but never seem to pick it at the right time, though there is a variety where the rind changes color when it’s ripe. Did cantaloupe–see watermelon.

I’m thinking garbanzo beans this year. Or maybe … Hmm. That’s what the seed catalogs are really good for. Finding something new to try. So maybe artichokes. Or leeks. Or edamame. Or Napa cabbage.

While I’m off to peruse my seed catalogs, I’ll leave you with a parting shot (don’t say I wasn’t thinking about you, B πŸ˜‰ )


Stay warm! Have a great weekend and keep writing!


Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for a decade, I have been published in small press magazines such as "Fighting Chance" and "The Galactic Citizen". I write adult mystery with a touch of romance, mystery with extrasensory elements, contemporary fantasy, and epic fantasy, and I'm represented by the fabulous Cynthia Zigmund of Second City Publishing Services. My debut novel, "Murder in Plane Sight", has been released by Camel Press (an imprint of Coffeetown Press/Epicenter Press). In real life, I am a technical writer and empty-nester with a wonderful hubby, one cat (what writer doesn't have cats??), two dogs, seven chickens, and more chipmunks, squirrels, and rabbits than any garden should have to deal with. My garden, our hobby farm, and Nature's annual seasons are some of my muses.

20 thoughts on “Escape from the Deep Freeze

  1. Goodness, you have got it very cold. Makes our cold quite summerish.
    It doesn’t feel that way though. We must all have upset the sun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’ve been spoiled the past few years–haven’t had cold stretches like this. We usually have about a week of single digit temps, but we’ve been in the teens and single digits (Fahrenheit) since Christmas (except for 2 days earlier this week) πŸ™‚


  2. Fun post. I see you have 2 of my go-to catalogs, Pinetree and SeedsNSuch. Already have my seeds in hand. Have you tried spraying brassicas with Bt, a natural fix for cabbage worms so you don’t have to net them. Of course, one must spray after each rain, which can be a hassle at times but it eliminates the worms. Use only on cole crops, so the caterpillars of good butterflies are not eliminated, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Where’s the love button on this thing? If I hit like a billion times, will it turn to love? First of all, I do enjoy how much you enjoy gardening. I WANT to enjoy it as much as you do. And I’m quite happy that thoughts of gardening keep you warm during the winter. Oh, but back up a minute. 4:59 is when that temperature shot was taken? As in the A.M.?! I think that cold has rattled your brain. Who gets up that early?! And doesn’t have a baby?! I’m in AWE! And finally, of course… you know… heehee. shucks. heeheehee. garsh… snuggle snuggle …meow… chuckle… chuckle… beam!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I got into the habit of getting up early way back when I was prepping for my very first NaNo. I worked in town (3 minute drive), so I got up early to write before the kids had to catch the bus and I went to work. So, even though I don’t write any more in the morning (I have a 45-min commute now, but I get to work by 6a so I can leave by 3p) I’m still in the habit of getting up early πŸ™‚

      Of course we won’t mention the fact I regularly only get about five hrs of sleep (but I catch up on the weekends with looong naps (yes, I know they say you can’t catch up) I like to pretend it helps (it actually does))

      I figured you’d like that pic πŸ˜€ ❀


  4. Brrr. That’s cold, Julie. Here in northern Oregon that warm Pacific is a blessing. We’re at 50F, mid-Jan. I’ll take it.
    I love how you’re musing over your seed catalogs and spring gardening. It is exciting, but isn’t it a teeny bit early? I haven’t cleaned out last year’s garden (and I’m procrastinating). Soon.
    Happy Dreaming of Veggies and Happy Writing, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Early? Oh, may-be. I’m still mired, but I am working on my presentation for the Writers’ Institute, so that counts as writing, right? I would so love 50F! We hit 40F earlier this week, and the very next day got hit with freezing fog/drizzle/sleet and snow. Not much, but enough to make everything slickery. Then back to cold. I can’t wait for Feb. Then I know we’ll be sticking to the warming trend πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have spent two days moaning about the fracking low temperatures, but after seeing your -9, our teens are balmy.

    Mr.E. hung around for a while, then promptly vanished on the pub crawl with your guy. Probably because of all the whining I was doing. I’ve given him advance notice for next weekend.

    Reading about all those delicious veggies you may or may not plant has me thinking of spring. Gardens are so much work, far beyond my meager skill, but I applaud you for tackling them. And I’m envious of all those glorious fresh veggies you’ll have (speaking as someone who has an aversion to most meat).

    This was a fun diversion. Now get back to writing! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha ha, I knew it! They went off on a pub crawl. I think my Muse found his way to the Vikings game, too. Wow, great nailbiter. Vikes pulled it off in the last 10 seconds. Hoo boy. Next week they’re out in your neck of the woods playing the Eagles.

      Teens? Man, I wish! Got snow today–almost enough to measure in our area. They’re saying we’ll hit the 20s by the weekend–funny how 20 degrees sounds warm πŸ™‚

      Yes, SPRING! I can’t wait–well, I mean, I can wait to do the spring cleaning and stuff, but I can’t wait for the warm πŸ˜‰

      Okay, okay, back to writing. πŸ™‚ Have a great week! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Julie, that is cold…you do right to curl up with the seed catalogues as a good start to your gardening! I adore your friend’s image and her words…how true! This weekend I noticed some bulbs taking a peek at the world but fear they will retreat again if it was possible! It did make me dream of garden projects for the year ahead. As for you, this is not gardening but smallholding! Your list of possible planting make me hungry but I feel for you – those weeds and bugs!! Yikes! Marigolds are always pretty even if they don’t ward off the rabbits. I look forward to following you in your garden this year…the start of many posts! Happy Planning & Writing!! πŸ˜€β€οΈ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, looking through seed catalogs is great, but it makes me long for spring that much more! Got some snow yesterday, about 2 inches worth, and windy today, giving us about a -20 F windchill. Ugh. On the bright side, it looks like we might get above freezing by the end of the week. And more snow, I suspect.

      I planted marigolds in the garden for a few years. I kinda miss them; not my favorite flower, but they’re hardy enough to handle a light frost, so they wind up being the last color in the garden in the fall.

      Have a great week, Annika!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I liked this post filled with hopeful gardening dreams! Beautiful red barn in snow photo!

    Liked by 1 person

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