Category Archives: My Writing

Writing I’ve finished and writing I’m working on

Exploring Pumpkins

Plants grow all around us although we often ignore them or call them weeds. They are interesting to study and that is the real purpose of exploring pumpkins in “The Pumpkin Project”.

Pumpkins are interesting for lots of reasons. They are fun to grow. They are good to eat. They are fun to decorate. They are used in competitions.

exploring pumpkins by decorating them
People think of carving pumpkins. There are other ways to create interesting pumpkin decorations. This contest included this dog, a snake, pumpkin men and more.

I began writing “The Pumpkin Project” with the investigations. Each one of these suggested topics for puzzles. That took me to the internet where I began exploring pumpkins.

One site I found is devoted to growing giant pumpkins and entering them in competitions. People from all around the world grow these pumpkins and I emailed a few. Their stories are in the book.

Other sites listed sayings and trivia about pumpkins and there are lots of them. Some of these became puzzles or notes in the book.

exploring pumpkins by growing giants
Young Ben is seven with his first giant pumpkin, 307 pounds. The older Ben has grown them for many years and now judges at the local weigh in.

Did you know pumpkins began in South America and were grown only for their seeds? They weren’t even orange then.

I love looking at seed catalogs and packets. How do all those seeds get into those packets? I didn’t know and I found out.

Of course one activity is growing pumpkins. Some pumpkin plants are small enough to grow in a large pot. Others will take over an entire garden.

Lots of people love to decorate pumpkins and this makes a great activity. I prefer to eat them and I found lots of great recipes which I made and enjoyed eating. The cookies with lots of walnuts in them are my personal favorite.

Missouri state record giant pumpkin
Richard Bottorf loves growing giant pumpkins. He spends a lot of time preparing his pumpkin patch and caring for his pumpkins. It paid off several years as he set new Missouri state records.

My garden still includes sugar pie pumpkins. These are the best eating pumpkins. My goats think so too.

The book began as a botany science book. Once I focused on and began exploring pumpkins, the book was a lot more interesting and fun.

Get started on your pumpkin investigations, puzzles and activities. Check out “The Pumpkin Project“.

Dealing with Writing Interruptions

Over and over writing instructions say a writer should write everyday preferably at the same time. Writing interruptions don’t read those instructions or, if they do, take delight in disrupting them.

What should a writer do when faced with such disruptions?

I’ve found fighting the problems is a waste of time. It’s better to accept the loss of a day or two than to force circumstances to conform to a schedule. They won’t. Creativity dies under anxiety.

Most of my writing interruptions are weather related. The latest was the polar vortex. It was coming and had no regard for human endeavors.

writing interruptions include snow and cold
The bird feeder was a busy place for the two weeks of snow and cold with the birds almost standing on each other, scouring the ground and devouring double the usual amount of seed and suet. The birds needed extra calories to keep warm.

My buck High Reaches Augustus has a roofed over open pen. Zero temperatures and wind are not healthy for him. Two days of my writing time was spent cleaning out the barn and constructing a pen for him.

Once the cold and snow arrived, the goats and chickens needed attention every few hours. No water could be left out. Food disappeared as the animals wanted extra for calories to keep them warm.

My house is old and drafty. The wood stoves tried, but my computer room stayed at sixty or below for five days. I used the time to read and do mending. Thinking is difficult when the feet are turning into ice cubes.

A friend asked me to edit a story for her. It’s the beginning of a novel. I rarely do editing for anyone else as I simply can not work on someone else’s story and one of my own at the same time.

These are examples of writing interruptions. They suspended my work on “The Mounzz of Autumn” for the month of February.

Another problem is not wanting to write. Procrastination sets in. I sit in front of the computer and stare at it. Every sentence gets redone several times.

The three blog posts for my website fix this problem. They must get done and done on time. It seems to help that they are on other topics.

Once I’m back to typing away, the writing interruptions become a thing of the past. Now comes the next problem. After a month away, I must go back to the Planet Autumn and the crisis developing on West Station.

Don’t miss out on your free pdf of “Goat Games” this week! Drop me an email from the Contact page.

My First Book “Goat Games”

My first book was an accident. My mother tossed a crossword puzzle book into a box of Christmas gifts. None of the puzzles even mentioned goats. I decided to make up some puzzles about goats.

My best friend for making up word puzzles is an old Scrabble game with a triple set of letters. The board size is about right for most word skeletons or word searches. It makes organizing letters for anacrostics and similar puzzles much easier as well.

fun picture from Goat Games
Goats strike lots of fun poses just begging for humorous captions.

Puzzle topics were centered around goat care to begin with. Then I looked up some sayings about goats and found piles of trivia. The stash of puzzles kept growing.

Anacrostics are challenging as each letter is used only once in the word clue answers. I wanted some theme to make choosing these clues easier and came up with the National Parks. I had visited many of them and had always loved to go camping.

My favorite puzzles were number puzzles so I made up some of them. The stash was now over sixty. What was I going to do with all these goat puzzles? The obvious answer was to make up a puzzle book.

perfect goat owner mailbox
Dairy goat owners love their goats and come up with many ways to let everyone know about their passion. This was the mailbox at Price o’ the Field.

I looked up similar books and found one on horses published by Storey Publishing. It included pages about various breeds. My first book suddenly became more than a puzzle book.

I raise Nubians and am a member of the American Dairy Goat Association (ADGA). Each year ADGA puts out a membership book listing goat owners. I looked up owners of major dairy breeds living in my area. Most were thrilled to let me visit, interview them and take pictures.

Goat Project owner and goat
Goats make good 4-H and FFA projects as they take up little room, are easy for younger children to handle and make friendly pets.

Goats are used for meat and fiber as well as milk. I looked up owners of these goats and added them to the book. Extra pages were added about using milk, meat and fiber.

The result was “Goat Games”. My first book hooked me on writing.