Smile, It’s Only Winter

spring flower

It’s been bitterly cold in West Central Illinois the past week or two. Most daytime highs have barely reached  the mid-teens, while overnight lows have slipped well below zero.. Given a glance at the national weather map, I assume, if you live in the U.S., you, too, have a good shot at being in the big chill zone. Fortunately, we’re expected to begin a warm up here today, but I still say it’s time to turn my thoughts to spring!

This is not exactly a new idea. Most gardening catalogs turn up in mailboxes about now, which has always worked for me. I’m an equal opportunity gardener.. Vegetables or flowers, I’m up for both. Flowers are lovely and I grow them. But, to my mind, nothing matches walking out into a vegetable patch and harvesting a crop for supper.

Gardening in pots?

I cheat. I don’t have the physical stamina to keep up a large garden. What I can do, however, is grow my goodies in pots. I’ve planted peppers and green beans and eggplants along with lots and lots of leaf lettuce. It’s easy. There is no dirt to plow or hoe. And I’ve seldom had to fight a weed infestation. A tug here and there of a baby weed has usually done the trick.

My flowering plants usually go in the ground, but since I mostly grow perennials,  my flower garden doesn’t require much work from me. If I want to add flowering annuals to  the bed, I tuck them into…(you guessed it) pots. The only downside to perennials is that they must be divided every few years to keep them healthy. But I rotate that job so that I never have to dig up  many in the same year.

Now, I’m really dreaming of spring. May it arrive early this year! And if you’ve received a gardening catalog, isn’t this just the kind of weather to dive into it?

Also, if you have a trick for surviving this dreadful weather, please share! There’s strength in numbers. Who knows when another arctic blast like this one will land again?

Bonus content:

The Top  FREE COZY MYSTERY at Amazon Today

Rosemary’s Gravy by Melissa F. Miller

Happy dreaming and happy reading, everyone.

 

 

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Of Sunsets

Untitled design (1)

When I was a child, ages upon ages ago, my mother used to exclaim, “Come see the sunset.” Our window faced west. We had a spectacular view of each brilliant display.
Today my blog was visited by a young man (I believe) who publishes photos of sunsets.
His site took me back to those days when Mother would summon me to share with her this glorious sight.
You may visit his page here. I am so glad he stopped by. There are too few sunsets in life to let  any escape without noting. My best to you all. May you enjoy many views of the sun sinking over the horizon.  And may there be clouds floating above to reflect the wonderful, crimson hues.

Free Read: Ginger’s Revenge, Chapter 1

I’m writing another Melanie Hart Cozy Mystery. I’ve also decided to publish this book here as it is written. Feel free to share  your thoughts on the story, thank you.

Chapter 1

Melanie Hart usually writes up these adventures. She’s a reporter, and she does a righteous job of it. No complaints there. But I told her that this is my story, and I intended to tell it my way.

To which Melanie  replied, “Go ahead. Knock yourself out.”

Reporters can be so touchy about little things like bylines, but Melanie is a decent sort. I don’t think I ticked her off too much.

I’m Ginger Black, by the way, the owner/operator of the Cut & Curl in Cloverton, a tiny town nestled along the western edge of Illinois. It’s an area that once lacked four-lane highways and was dubbed Forgottonia. Fortunately a four-lane highway now reaches us, and the name Forgottonia has been scrapped. In my view that’s a good thing, Nothing kills business like negativity.

In addition to being one of the town’s wildly successful business owners, I’m also a player in Melanie’s forays into the criminal world. We’ve tracked down two killers so far, and if I have my way, we’re about to take on our third.

But I digress.

My story begins about a week ago when I was driving home from the shop. I’d stayed late to fill in for an employee who needed the night off. After the shop closed, I tacked another hour on to catch up with the books.

So when I stepped out of the shop a little after ten, the street was dark with just a sliver of a moon showing overhead. Stars twinkled, but they provided little useable light. Also the temperature by then had drifted into the low 30s and was expected to keep falling. Decaying leaves blown by a biting north wind  skittered across my path. I shivered, pulled my coat collar up, and took off for my car.

All I wanted was to get home to my comfy bed. I had started my day before sunrise. Now my feet hurt, my brain was dizzy from balancing receipts, and a headache was threatening to polish off my night. Continue reading “Free Read: Ginger’s Revenge, Chapter 1”

Bones & Boxes Climbing the Charts

Bones & Boxes this week ranked in the top 9 percent of cozy craft mysteries. Thank you!

Bones and Boxes is the first book in the Hetty Fox Cozy Mystery Series. Hetty is a widow who moves to a small Illinois town at the request of her daughter. Her life becomes complicated when the ghost of her college sweetheart moves into her new home along with her. Then, when a dead body turns up, Hetty suddenly finds herself tracking a killer.

The Baying Witness

Sheriff Delton Ross shifted in his chair. Through his office window, he watched late-August heat waves rise from the department parking lot. Halfheartedly, the sixty-year-old Ross listened to the improbable tale coming from the mouth of Ennis Archer.

She was a local woman, a sister to Dave Fairmont, the man who had recently run off and abandoned his wife of the last thirty years. The whole town of Willow Grove had heard the story.

Dave had left a letter for Lila upon his departure, and she’d run around showing the entire town its contents.

Case closed to his mind; had been for months, except for Ennis.

“I’m telling you Delt, my brother wouldn’t take off like that. Not without getting in touch with one of us. The ones he really loved. Somehow, sometime.”

That was a fact, Ross thought. The Fairmonts had always been more of a clan than a family. They were a tough bunch to get inside. Still, it was odd that the man hadn’t been heard from.

“And then there’s Edgar,” Ennis continued with a firm nod.

“Edgar? Edgar who?” Ross couldn’t believe Lila had taken up with another man already. She hadn’t seemed like the type. Besides, he couldn’t think of a single man in Hartford County named Edgar. Where’d this fellow come from?

“He’s the neighbor’s dog,” Ennis added, as though she had read Ross’ thoughts. “That poor thing sits and howls over that rose garden of Lila’s, day in and day out. Lila’s even built a fence to keep the beast away from her land. But the dog just sits on the other side of that fence and howls, anyway.”Ennis’s hard, gray-green eyes gave the sheriff a look that said, “There, now. What do you think of that?”

Ross blinked before leaning forward in his chair. Ennis now had his full attention. “What kind of dog is it?” Ross asked, taking care to keep his deep voice neutral. An avid sportsman, Ross knew his dogs. This could mean something, but he sure didn’t want to get this woman any more riled up than she already was.

“Oh, heavens,” Ennis answered. “How on earth would I know?”

Ross bit back a sigh and slumped back in his seat. “Which neighbor of hers is it that has this dog?”

“Ed Bracken. He lives in the house just behind Lila’s.” Ennis studied the sheriff a moment, then asked, “You gonna go out there? You gonna follow this up?” Continue reading “The Baying Witness”