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    • By BrandieNoel in Brandie Babbles 0
      Hey All! Happy Spring! Time to grow stuff!  🍅
      I have always loved growing stuff but also love my dogs and took breaks because it was really hard for both to coexist. The hubby built some great raised beds so that I could start back up last year. I can grow vertically on the trellises and the dogs seem to stay out of it for the most part. Although, we have one naughty guy that likes to jump in and run through.... but we are working on that. 🐶

      I also started watching Roots and Refuge on youtube. Such a fun and inspirational channel with lots of information.  Jess is very encouraging and has so many great tips. If gardening is your thing or you just want to get started, this channel is a great place to start! She even wrote a book that came out this year!

      Jessica's Book
      Last year the garden was great. We had lots of squash, kale, herbs, and a ton of cucumbers. The trellises were great for growing cucumbers, but they were really heavy. I have a better plan for that this year. Before the vertical growing gets out of hand we will need to secure the structure a little more. I am thinking some pvc will help.
      I wanted to share what I have going on this year so far. I planted everything from seed this year about mid March, which is about when we have our last frost here in our area of New Mexico. My hope is to post the baby plants now and then do updates as I go. 🌱

      You can see here that the trellises took a little bit of a beating last year. I had tons of lemon cucumbers that grew like crazy and were just so heavy.

      Purple Peas! 🐛
      I am super excited about these! I planted peas last year and could NOT get them to take off! So far so good!

      Bush Beans! 🌿
      These do really well here and last year I had a lot of success with them. We put them in salads, fried them up in a pan, and I even pickled some last year and they came out really good.

      My daughter and I like to seed save. Last year we bought some delicata squash and discovered we really like them. They are sweet like a butternut squash and were really good roasted. We saved the seeds and let them dry out before placing them in a paper envelope. They were actually the first squash to pop up in the garden. 🍃
      We also saved some spaghetti squash seeds last fall (the bigger plants in the background). I am so excited that these are really taking off too. I am going to see if I can get these to grow vertically. Fingers Crossed!
      And to the left our yellow squash is starting to get going too. 🌾

      See that tiny little guy there? Cucamelon. I REALLY want to grow these! I hear they are a little sweet like a melon but also sort of like a cucumber. They are small little balls when you harvest them. They are really cute! I planted so many seeds. And so far this is all I have! They climb and they are light. I just think they would be perfect, if I could only get them going! 🍀

      I can always seem to get zucchini to grow like crazy, which is great because we eat a lot of it! 🌱

      I always have great success with basil. This year I am fighting a sow bug infestation and of all things they are eating at my basil. They also ate all of my lemon cucumber plants. I am controlling it with food grade diatomaceous earth. And they seem like they are starting to disappear. I also use diatomaceous earth to keep squash bugs under control. It really works and you don't have use pesticides and still keep an organic garden. Unfortunately pests are just part of the process. 🌿

      Diatomaceous Earth 🐛

      These chives are actually from last year. They survived the frosts from the winter and are going stronger than they were last year. Pretty crazy. 🌱

      Cilantro is the only other herb I have coming up so far.  I planted mint and dill. The sow bugs ate my dill and the mint has yet to make an appearance. I am trying dill again. I really like having it because we are trying to grow pickling cucumbers again. 🌿

      Speaking of pickles... These are also great climbers! 🥒

      Lettuce! 🥬

      We make a lot of Zuppa Toscana soup, plus the hubs just loves kale. Two different varieties here. One is just the regular curly kind and the other is a Tuscan kale, or I have also heard it referred to as dinosaur kale. 🥬
      #teamkale 😜

      Some red scallions and in the front, my daughter took a yellow onion from the kitchen and made it into 3 different onion plants. It was something she read that she could do and wanted to try it. Seems like it's working out! 🧅

      And last, we have German chamomile. We drink a lot of chamomile lose leaf tea, especially the hubs. I saw a video on the Roots and Refuge channel where Jess grows hers and makes her own tea leaves. I am excited to try! I do have some Egyptian chamomile I am going to try and get started too. 🌼
      Well there it is! My 2021 garden....so far. What is everyone else growing? Do you all have any tips or tricks when it comes to growing stuff? 🥦
    • By BrandieNoel in Brandie Babbles 3
      Happy May! 🌷
      I am new at the blogging thing but I thought the best place to start would be my reading list for May.
      I am usually a romance reader with a little bit of fantasy mixed in. My husband has his book club and all sorts of buddy reads that he has been joining in on, he asked me to join in with him and I thought it would be fun to expand my horizons. I wasn't sure how that would go, but so far there hasn't been a single book that he picked that I didn't like.
      🙈 Books in May that @Lasraik is making me read:
      NOS4A2 - by Joe Hill (so nervous about this one)

      Kings of Heaven- by Richard Nell (he's doesn"t have to twist my arm much for this one I LOVED the first two in this series)

      Malice- by John Gwynne (Holy crap! This book looks so long lol)

      🌏 Also going to read:
      This Burning World- by Jeff Lane (2nd in his Champion Saga) because......
      Jeff sent the manuscript that he is finishing for his 3rd in the Champion Saga, and I am so excited to get to read it before anyone else!

      💖 Here are some of the romance books I plan to read between the horror and the grimdark:
      A Court of Thornes and Roses- by Sarah J Mass ( this is a buddy read with @Stacyejaye, anyone can join us! There is a forum for it!)

      The Brown Sisters Series- by Talia Hibbert
      Get a life Chloe Brown
      Take a hint Dani Brown
      Act your age Eve Brown

      Hero- by Lauren Rowe (never read this author before but keep hearing good things)

      The Fire Between Hi and Lo- by Brittany C. Cherry (this is carried over from my last month TBR where I couldn't read the book because I decided to try the audio book and it RUINED the book for me, hopefully I have the narration out of my head so I can try again)

      From Lukov with Love- by Marianna Zapata (She writes super slow burn romance, and I have been reading at least of her books every month)

       So that's my crazy list! Wish me luck! Happy reading everyone!! 📕
    • By Lasraik in Steve's Book Reviews 1
      Nocturne was written by H.B. Diaz it's a collection of short stories and was published in December of 2020
      A synopsis from Amazon:
      Because this is a collection of short stories, this review won't be in my usual format (What I liked, didn't like, rating ect.).
      I picked this book up on a whim when I saw a Twitter thread a few weeks ago where authors were promoting their independent books.  I grabbed a handful of books and intended to get to them when I could squeeze them in.  Thankfully, yesterday I finished a book and before I started Neuromancer (for our group read) I picked this one off the shelf.  Being 107 pages I figured it would be a quick read and something to cleanse the palate.  Kicked my feet up and started reading.  A few minutes later my wife walked into the room and asked what I was reading.  I turned the book to her and she asked if it was scary, and if so why do I have a big smile on my face.  So here I am reading a horror book, the hairs on the back of my neck sticking up, that uncomfortable feeling you get when you read good horror and I'm smiling because I love the writing.
      Lately I've had bad luck with horror books.  This book broke my bad luck streak in a big way.  Some people may think writing a short story is easy... because it's shorter.  Writing a short story effectively is an art form, it takes skill and craft.  To squeeze in a plot, characters with enough to leave the reader satisfied and wanting more at the same time is difficult. 
      Years and years ago I fell in love with short stories.  I spent a fair amount of time studying them and reading as many as I could get my hands on.  I even made a few feeble attempts at writing my own.  As the years passed other things came up and I stopped reading them.  This book revived my love of short stories.  The stories are all great, some of them read almost as poetry.  The metaphors that are used and the writing is wonderful.  I was scared, uncomfortable and smiling all at the same time.
      If you love horror and or short stories, give this book a try.  It's free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription
      I enjoyed all of the stories, there were no low points but my standouts were:
      The Malady of Mrs. Monroe The Pocket Watch The Ruins It's a short book, but one that I'll read again.  Something tells me there are little details I missed in most of the stories that will reshape the way I read them the first and second time. 
      My rating: 5 Yellow Pills in a Tiny Paper Cup out of 5
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