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Now Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Life

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It was, actually, very cool.

Today was the big day, August 21, total eclipse of the sun traveling across the U.S.A. My hometown, Salem, Oregon, one of the first in the path of “totality.”

Dire predictions were made about millions of people descending upon us, traffic jams, gas shortages, etc. Nah. Not bad.

But those two minutes ( 1 minute and 57.6 seconds) when we could whip off our 99-cent eclipse shades and look directly at the moon covering the sun…worth it. Totally.

My husband and I did not go to a viewing party at Willamette University or the state fairgrounds or the baseball auditorium. We went out to the farm and sat between a filbert orchard and a berry field, joined by family from out-of-state.

When the moment arrived, we whooped and hollered and said how cool it was and that we wanted to see the next one in Argentina. And then those needing to return to Seattle hit the road immediately. Hubby and I lingered at the farm with my parents and other family members.

The time leading up to totality was nice, too. How it got still, quiet. The way the light changed and the temperature dropped. The chickens up at the house going back under cover.  (See slides below.)

Now I’m home, thinking it’s time to get back to ordinary life again after a few days with visiting family, preceded by a few days of cleaning in preparation for the guests. Sigh.

Back to canning peaches. Back to finishing the novel. Back to conferring about new covers for the books, paying bills, watering the garden.

Back to my regularly scheduled life.

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Were you in the path of totality? Have you ever experienced a total eclipse of the sun?

Leave your comments below :).

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Watching My Garden Grow, Parts 2 & 3

So back in June I posted a video of my garden. It rained a long time here (seems long ago now) in the spring, so everything was late getting in. And traditionalist that I am, I grow everything from seed myself rather than bringing in starts (okay, maybe I’m just cheap), anyway, so this year everything is late.

July was a busy month for me, what with a week in Portland at the Master Gardener Convention and the Horticulture Society’s Children & Youth Garden Symposium. Then I had a week to get the house in order for the arrival of my daughter and boyfriend from out of state and to plan for my community center half-day camp (I’m the coordinator.) Then of course, there was the actual week of camp, simultaneous with the visit. Phew!

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My lovely daughter & boyfriend sampling Marionberries.

During that time, I ran out and videotaped a July version of the garden, only to never post it. So this morning I taped it again, and am posting both.

Gardens amaze me. In the beginning, everything seems amply spaced (see June video), only to later grow into one big gnarly heap! Anyhow, I can’t seem to stop planting the darn things, even if they make it harder to leave and go camping during the heatwaves (which we’ve been having).

Here is my video of July 25, almost exactly a month after the Gonna Watch My Garden Grow post:

And, voila, almost like two posts in one, my video from this morning, August 5:

(I just watched these two, and the beginnings are similar, but I do show some of my container plants at the end of this second one. And I apologize that the videos are sort of hard to hear.)

What kind of garden do you grow? Comments always welcome in the section below. 🙂

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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FREE Science Fiction for Everyone

From now until the end of July, choose from over a dozen science fiction books to download for FREE! These are all types of science fiction, not just aliens and robots. Treasure, my middle grade book about a future where gardening is illegal, is among the books.

You will also be entered to win an additional free book, and a $10 gift card! What are you waiting for? Check it out now!

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S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Photo Post, International Master Gardener Conference

In my last post about the International Master Gardener Conference, I promised to post more photos of the bikes from the various counties. Here they are!

Columbia

Ghoulish entry from Columbia County

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Pretty in Polk

Multnomah

Invasive species brought to you by Multomah County

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They also had these adorable paper flowers

Tillamook

I voted for Tillamook, a cow on a bicycle and a fish!

Lane

The second bike with a mossy seat!

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Fish on a bike, under an umbrella!

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The sign says it all.

 

The next IMGC will be in 2019, in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Start making plans now. 🙂

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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A Fiction Author at Master Gardener Conference

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Because my books have a gardening theme, I often attend garden & foodie events, as well as trade shows large and small. This is a no-brainer for non-fiction titles. My book series, Seed Savers, however, is fiction. It’s always a bit of a challenge to get passers-by to realize the books are fiction, despite my many signs and display of the book covers.

Seed Savers is a series of five books set in a not-so-distant future where gardening and saving seeds is illegal. All the food is processed and the children don’t know what real food is. The government and big corporations are united and have total control of the food supply.

This week I had a booth at the International Master Gardener Conference. My husband and I staffed the booth, complete with prize spinning wheel and book-related merchandise, in addition to my books, of course.

It was a very different experience than the Heirloom Expo, where I’ve had a booth for the past three years. The trade show was much smaller, in that there were many fewer vendors. The potential buyers were also fewer. Though open to the public for several hours a day, not a lot of the public stopped in. So basically, the people walking by were many of the same people for three days.

I was worried, at first, that after great sales the first day, no one would come by on the next two days. What happened, in fact, was that some customers bought book 1 and started reading it while at the conference! One person came back and bought the rest of the series before leaving. Another person bought the whole set for her daughter and stopped by on the last day to tell me her daughter had already read the first book and half of the second, and loved them! That was very encouraging.

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Some of you authors considering trade shows related to your books might be wondering if it’s worth it.

I usually consider a wide-reaching trade show a success if I break even (or come close). Why? Because of the personal connections you make. In my case, I truly believe my books fit nicely into gardening classes, clubs, etc., for kids. And while there are many fine fiction and nonfiction gardening picture books, there are very few novels. I want to get the word out to folks who might be looking for a book like mine.

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It was a first-class event with fancy lunch and wait staff.

The Master Gardener Conference is great because delegates come from all over the United States and Canada. That’s why I only need to break even on sales. Because I’m also there to meet people. (And don’t forget to have people sign up for your newsletter!)

I could make this a “How To” on trade shows post (and I will if someone wants me to), but I think there are plenty of those already out there. I pretty much just wanted to let you know what I’ve been up to and to share some fun pictures.

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The decor for the show were decorated bicycles from various Oregon county Master Gardener associations. They were awesome! In fact, there are so many great photos, I think I’ll share more in a second post.

A bonus for me at this conference was that I got to meet a Master Gardener Seed Savers fan from Florida with whom I’ve been corresponding for a few years!

This is Carol.

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I almost forgot to mention that my booth was in a prime location: near the entrance, across from lunch, and I paid extra for a corner, meaning I had two sides to greet the public. Here’s a panorama of the day lunch was served a tad bit late and the people milling around, waiting.

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Okay, now for the fun bicycles brought to us from different counties in Oregon, and more coming in the next post!

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Some were simply lovely like this entry from Wasco County.

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Or appetizing, like this one from Douglas County with wine in the front and ice cream in the back!

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How about a bike of driftwood from Curry County?

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I love the mossy seat and fins for pedals for Josephine County!

 

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Gonna Watch My Garden Grow

I mentioned in my last post that my garden is super late because of the nonstop cold and rain we had this spring. I decided to record it now so I can compare it to its full-grown self in the fall.

Forgive my poor video abilities; I hope to improve with practice. 🙂

Basically, I live in town with a fenced backyard. Along part of the yard I have my garden. I try to get beans, etc., to climb up along the fence. The beans do well, sometimes the cucumbers. The melons haven’t been very successful at it. Last year I even had a hanging pumpkin!

Without further ado, here is my late June garden (which is what it normally looks like in late May!) If we don’t have a warm September, it may be sunk!

 

How are your gardens doing?

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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Not Feeling the #MondayMotivation

It’s been three weeks since I posted on the blog and I’m feeling the pressure from my boss…yes, me.

I’m not particularly inspired.

Normally by this time I could throw up some photos of my beautiful garden. Sigh. We’ve had cold, rainy weather and my garden is just starting to appear…

My birthday came and went, but that’s not really blog material.

I harvested my fava beans and thought about posting about fava beans like I did with the scarlet runners last fall…but I lost inspiration.

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I even started a post about Prescription Farmshares–have you heard of those? Where CSAs or other small farms provide fresh produce and the doctor actually writes a prescription for healthy food? But, alas, didn’t finish that one either.

I also got a new piece of technology recently and have been spending time figuring out if I’ll be able to utilize its full potential. An iPad Pro with pencil. Maybe that will be a future post.

For whatever reason, I’ve fallen off the writing wagon again, both with the book and the blog. Hard to get back on.

So for now, I’m checking in to let you know I’m still here and waiting for inspiration. In the meantime, here are some cute pictures of baby skunks we had for a week after “mom” was accidentally live-trapped and released before we knew she had a family. We subsequently deposited them to a wildlife rehabilitation center. I miss them.

Over and out.

S.

 

S. Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on TwitterSign up for the newsletter!

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