Facets of a Muse

Examining the guiding genius of writers everywhere

Summer’s half over. Where did it go?


We’re on the second half of July already.

Wasn’t it just Memorial Day?

Why does it seem the summer is never long enough? Then again, I live in MN, so our summer weather runs from about the middle of May through the middle of September, although where I live (and with global warming) we have comfortably-warm weather from mid-April (usually, except this year when we had a blizzard in Week 2) through mid-October.

We’ve had a combination of hella hot and it-can-stop-raining-now since the end of May. For the record, this Memorial Day (last Monday in May) hit a record 91 F (about 33 C). It’s cooled off some this month (all the way down to the mid-80s, which is about average), but the combination kicks vegetation into fast-grow mode. I swear we can hear the grass growing!

Due to the deadline with my manuscript, I didn’t get my garden in until the first week of June (we like to get it in on Memorial Day weekend at the latest because our growing season is relatively short).

This week, once it stopped raining and cooled to a temperature that didn’t cause instant sweat, I ventured out to the garden. Granted, with all the rain, my plants have been struggling a bit, not to mention all that water tends to leach nutrients away.

Anyhow, here are my before pics:

The weeds weren’t as bad as I’d feared, considering I hadn’t been out to the garden in over a week (I think). One thing to note is that we use a tractor–not a lawn tractor, but a utility tractor like this one (but with a cab on it)–to till. This year, since one of the rear tires on the usual tractor developed a huge tear in the sidewall, we had to use our big tractor.

If you aren’t familiar with tractors and fieldwork, the thing to remember is the weight of the tractor will compact the soil, and thus make it tougher for plants to extend their roots. That’s why you see farmers using tractors with 4 or 6 HUGE wheels or tracs: not only does it help with traction when pulling larger implements, it spreads the weight of the tractor out so it doesn’t compact the soil as much. It’s also why farmers usually till the middle of the field first, then go around the outside perimeter last; that’s where the soil is compacted the most because the tractor turns there on every pass.

Anyway, by using the bigger tractor, the soil is compacted more (and after years of tilling with a tractor, we have some problems anyway with compaction). So, I strategically planted between the tire tracks from the tractor, which I think helps to keep the weeds down between the rows. Still, weeds.

Three hours and a couple gallons of sweat later, it looked pretty good:

Last night I actually picked our first zucchini of the season, and the handful of green beans left that some small varment (a mouse or vole, I think) didn’t munch. So, I sliced and sauted the zuke last night. There’s nothing like that first garden veggie (even if it is a zucchini 😀 )!

I tied up the tomatoes–which now have a few greenies on them–and wove the cucumber vines into the cattle gates I’m using for their climbing support. I’ve got tiny cucumbers on the vines, and more zucchini on the way. The peppers are doing their thing, and the beans, well, something smaller than a chipmunk is munching on them judging by the teethmarks in one of the surviving beans. Sigh.

On the writing front, I got my manuscript back from the line editor, and have relatively few corrections to make (yippee!). I also got another mockup of the cover. (No, I’m not going to show it until it’s done–mwahahahaha!) I’ll think about that over the weekend, along with the suggestions from my writing sisters, and give the cover person my feedback on Monday. My editor also gave me homework to do and return by the end of the month, including coming up with a teaser/hook (30 words max), a 1- to 2-sentence pitch for the book (max 50 words), and ‘highlights or aspects of the story that will appeal to readers (less than 150 words). Oh, and don’t forget the author quote used for press release.

And I thought the query and synopsis were tough!

Another step closer. I’ve got a lot going on over the next week, though, including an unexpected day at my dad’s today, an afternoon coffee meetup with one of my blogging friends tomorrow (can’t wait!), and Dad’s auction next weekend. Add working full time, weeding, and walking (because I know I’ll need the mind-space to do my homework for my editor), and my WIP (book 2) is getting very little attention. So much for a NaNo in July. Maybe August will be better; my Writing Sisters reunion is in (less than) two weeks! Nothing like a group of writers to get those creative energies charged up 😀

Here’s a quick (and yes, terrible) pic of my very own mini-panther:


Have a great weekend!

Author: Julie Holmes, author

A fiction writer since elementary school (many years ago), and NaNoWriMo annual participant for over 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, six 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 “Summer’s half over. Where did it go?

  1. This year is going by so fast, and we really are in the middle of July. Soon it will be August lol. Sounds like summer is heating up in MN. Enjoy the warm weather…here in Australia it’s winter and we ware shivering cold. Great work with the garden, and hopefully the simple zucchini made for a good meal 😀 Good luck with the manuscript. Sounds like you are close to the end. Not long to go now 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Mabel! The zucchini was good–my hubs said to just make the zucchini by itself (no onions, no mushrooms, no ham) and when we get tired of it that way, we can add other stuff to make it more interesting 🙂 And I always find it interesting how you guys in the Southern Hemisphere are opposite seasons. Christmas in summer there, and here we’re shivering when the holidays arrive. Thanks for stopping by!


      • Sometimes the simpler the dish, the better it tastes. That zucchini must have been the star of your cooking for a moment 🙂 It is interesting how the weather is different across the world – opposites 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your garden really looks lovely! What a lot of hard work that is! And I know just what you mean about how quickly the summer is going by. Before we know it, we’ll be hanging Halloween decorations…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Noooo! Not Halloween 😀 This year, even with the smaller garden, I’m getting tired of it a lot sooner than usual. That’s probably because of all the other stuff going on this year. If there was a good farmer’s market close, I’d consider no garden next year. Still might. Have a great weekend, Margot!

      Liked by 2 people


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Zoe has the panther gait down in that photo! 🙂

    Wow, your garden is gorgeous, and I found the whole lesson on tractors, tractor size and compacted soil fascinating. I’m in awe. It’s like you have a mini farm 🙂

    Wishing you luck on all the behind the scenes stuff you’re working on for your book. It’s all going to pay off in the end.
    And I can’t wait to see the cover when its finalized!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She likes to prowl around 😀 A mini-farm indeed. With all the work that goes with it 😉 We actually just barely manage to keep up with mowing–speaking of, I just went out to the garden, and the grass needs mowing again 😮

      I can’t wait until the cover is finalized. I got my writing sisters’ input, and they had some great suggestions. Off to find some more pics for the cover (I figure I can give them a hand, and we won’t mention that I’m procratinating on the back cover copy–shhhh)

      And Betsy says ‘Hi’ (we met in person today
      😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  5. OMG! Summer’s half over??? Don’t say that (even if it’s true). Lol

    I love how your garden was transformed in a few hours. How did you do that? And I’m glad your ms is looking good. Can’t wait to see the cover. 😀 I haven’t written at all for a month. I’m going to get yelled at by the muse, but I’ll promise to start September with a 6 month nano. Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, right? It’s been a crazy summer!

      I’m putting together feedback for the cover; I got some great suggestions from my writing sisters (and one writing sister’s hubby). Been so crazy this weekend, I still need to finish my edits 😮 ! And the blurbs, back cover copy, etc. Another foray into the unknown 🙂

      Uh-oh, you better hope your muse doesn’t call in the merc reinforcement 😉 I’m still in slo-mo, but I’ll be heading to the reunion next week, so I’m looking forward to the creative recharge. Have a great week, Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This year is speeding by! Congrats on your first garden veggie! Im going to pick mine tomorrow…a yellow squash. I didn’t know about tractors and roots! You have a beautiful garden we do a couple of raised beds.

    So many little details after the book is written! Those hooks are hard to write! Have a great week:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Denise! My hubs has been concerned about the compaction for a few years, but what do you do? I told him we could go back to the tiller on the lawn tractor (which takes a few hours versus 15-30 minutes with the tractor), or the walk-behind, but he didn’t particularly like those ideas. Go figure 😉

      And yes, the hooks are tough! I’ve been thinking about them for over a week, so I suppose I should start writing them down to see if they sound as good on paper as they do in my head 🙂 Have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m still amazed it’s not February. I feel like it was just New Year’s Day, but here we are, more than six months later. Time’s going too fast.

    Your garden looks amazing. I never considered tractor compression stopping weeds. We didn’t “garden” this year. In fact, I just had a landscaper rip ours out and we’re putting sod down. I do have some veggies and herbs in pots, though. The tomatoes and peppers are doing great. The zucchini died. My parents ended up ripping their zucchini out before I did. Neither of us got it to take this year. Go figure.

    Wishing you luck with the WIP!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Staci! And yes, time is zipping along far too quickly. Sorry to hear about your zucchini. With three plants, I could spare some to send to you 😉 I’ve never had very good luck with veggies in pots, glad to hear yours are doing well (because you HAVE to have fresh garden tomatoes and peppers!)

      Have a great week!

      PS: Did you get the new package? My Muse will keep his eye out for another if this one doesn’t work out for you 😉 (although there is a bit of a shortage of Italian bodyguard types without assignments 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pots are tricky. In the ground is definitely easier. But we have a weed problem in Arkansas, and I gave up. My daughter and I look in the family room every morning. We’re convinced one of these days, a weed will have sprouted in the middle of the floor overnight. The darn things grow through everything. We have a bocce court out back with a foot of rock, and it gets weeds. (Talking about it is putting me in a bad mood.)

        I did get my delivery. Thanks SO MUCH! He’s everything I could have asked for… dark wavy hair my fingers are itching to run through, chocolate-colored eyes that seem to see into my soul, dimples that melt my heart, and a body that — never mind. This is a G-rated post. The only problem now is I’m distracted all day! And when he talks… that accent? Dio mio!

        Now I need to figure out how to get work done with him around. He’s a pleasant diversion. I’m hoping he proves to be as inspirational and motivational. I’ll keep you posted.

        Crap. He’s nagging me to get back to work. Looks like this is going to be a productive partnership, after all. (At least he’s doing his job. I REALLY need to concentrate more on my laptop and less on him!)

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! Glad to hear he’ll work out for you (yes, pun intended 😉 ) I know how a distracting an, erm, visually appealing muse can be (and one with an accent to boot!) I’ll let my Muse know that one can be assigned to you 😀 Just be careful when he starts carrying a bullwhip around and wearing a fedora (or in your case, a red cape and a sword, with a matador cap 😉 )

        Liked by 1 person

      • If he shows up in a toga, I’m done for!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You have the same garden my sister does–green beans, cukes, zucchini. We canned and picked and weeded (the latter more her than me). She also has corn–10 feet tall this year! And eggs. What a difference in taste are fresh eggs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Ten-foot corn! And there is something about fresh eggs, though I have never been able to taste the difference (maybe I should try them plain without salt and pepper for a good comparison 😀 ) Tonight I think I’ll have to go out and pick and weed again. If I’m lucky, maybe there will be another zucchini ready (or a cuke!) Enjoy your week, Jacqui!


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