First, an update on the book:

I've been tossing around series titles with my editor the last week or so but so far nothing has stuck. I did get her the maps for PROMISE and am pleased at how they turned out.

I was supposed to get the next round of edits back this week but I just received an email informing me they will be coming more toward the middle of June, so I will just keep hacking away at book 2.

Book 2 does not yet have a title. I've been having a frustrating week, and may end up going back and throwing out everything I've written so far. *grimace* This will put me quite a ways behind and see me playing catch up for the rest of the summer. I'm not pleased about it, but better to scrap things now than when I have 120K words written.

I've mentioned before that wifey and I have put inordinate amounts of time into our yard. One of my brothers thinks this is stupid, because it's a rental property. But we plan on being here a while and the yard was in such terrible shape that I couldn't help but try to improve it. We've replanted about half of the lawn and I put in four 4'x8' garden boxes and filled them with tomatoes, rhubarb, blackberries, onions, garlic, and peppers. They are looking fantastic.



I put in the boxes at the beginning of April and planted the first tomatoes at the end of April. This was a risk, as the last freeze is usually around the 18th of May, but the gamble paid off and we already have blossoms on the tomatoes. The blackberries and rhubarb, both planted just after the boxes were finished, survived the early freezes and are now gorgeous.

The next part of the yard we worked on was the very back of our lot. It had spent years filling with yard debris like leaves and sticks and rocks, and at some point our landlord had dumped about 200 bricks into the low muddy spot to be used at a future date. After a wet winter, parts of the yard had 6" of standing water. We had to rip all of the junk out of there and level the ground and reseed the lawn.

This is after 60+ hours worth of work

What it looks like now

The bricks came in handy. I used them to lay a patio for the beehive to rest on, as the location I wanted the hive was right where all the water congregated during the winter. I sloped the back section so that water now drains across our lawn, rather than to it.

Finally, I saved the raspberries. They had been planted on either side of the front door in lieu of flower beds. Some might find that odd. I loved it. My very own raspberry patch! Unfortunately they had been severely neglected. The branches had bent over double to form arches; they'd never once been pruned or thinned and were full of dead canes; weeds had grown rampant and I very much doubt they'd ever been fertilized. Raspberries need a ton of nutrients, so this is especially important.

I trimmed back all the canes and got rid of the dead growth and added manure and fertilizer to the soil. Michele weeded them several times until I was able to get the mulch for them, and I put about 4" of mulch down.

I don't have a "before" picture for the raspberries, but I can show them to you now:

Right side

Left side

Our first berries coming on before June

"Brian," some of you may ask, "shouldn't you have been working on book two or even a new series during all this time you've put into a property that doesn't even belong to you?"

Well, shut up you. I have to live here.