Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Come Into My Garden... by Cathy Ace

QUESTION: Do you have hobbies outside of your writing life? Tell about them. Do they feed your writing life? Do they get your mind off your current projects and their attendant frustrations? Do they satisfy a different part of you than is satisfied by your writing?

Hello, my name’s Cathy, and I’m a gardener. I am also alarmingly if this post looks a tad familiar it might be because you received it yesterday, tacked onto the end of Frank's lovely piece. That would be because I scheduled it to post on the wrong date. My apologies to Frank. If you saw this post you go to get on with your day - you're excused. However, if you ignored/didn't see it is! Not exactly my finest ta-daa! moment, but...

Ask anyone who says they’re a gardener if they're ever satisfied with their gardening efforts and their answer will probably be, “No”. There’s always something more to do, something you want to make better, or different, or there’s a plant you wish you hadn’t planted where you did…or, you know, weeds.

Part of the back garden

At this time, I’m a gardener who’s also facing a particular challenge – drought. In our normally damp, and therefore verdant, Pacific Northwest we’ve experienced a terribly dry spring, followed by a phenomenal heat bubble during our usually-wet June, and now a completely dry July. I know we’re incredibly fortunate to not be facing the absolute disaster of wildfires being so close that we’ve had to evacuate, or – much worse – face the loss of absolutely everything, but drought is my challenge right now, so my “gardening” has dwindled to watering, doing my best to rescue plants not able to take 43 degrees of heat in the shade, let alone direct sunlight which isn’t filtered by our “usual” cloud-cover.

Scorched hosta, poor thing

Of course, our well has run dry (it does every year, but usually not until July, however, it was dry early in June this year) so we’re having water trucked in to fill our water tanks aboveground which we then use to feed our well, from where the water comes to the house in the usual manner via filters which remove particulates and a UV filter which further purifies the water, ready for drinking.

The water truck arriving-  YAY!!!

So, my “hobby” this year is my everyday reality, with – to be honest – more stress than pleasure involved. We’re also deciding which shrubs to move in case this weather becomes a more frequent occurrence, as well as deciding which trees to plant to at least offer more shade in the future for shrubs which are currently scorched…all of which means that my hobby isn’t merely a restful distraction from my normal writing routine, but – at the moment – it’s not allowing me to do as much writing as I would like.

Some areas are doing not too badly at all

Normally, I enjoy plotting as I weed or mow; nowadays, I find there’s still a space in my brain for plotting as I water parched plants I’ve tended and loved for the past twenty years, but the space isn’t as large as I’d like, nor is it a particularly happy place.

The bees are grateful we're keeping the buddleia healthy

This has had a surprising impact: I was plotting a book set in Arizona for Cait Morgan’s eleventh outing (to be published in November 2021) but I’ve found that my continuously sweaty reality has made Arizona a less appealing location…so I’ve switched things up to send Cait and Bud to London, UK, next, where they can enjoy a dusting of snow on the Christmas decorations, and indulge in visits to galleries and museums – as well as tackling a particularly puzzling murder, of course!

The humming birds are grateful we're keeping the crocosmia healthy

Re-reading this post I can see I have a hobby that, ultimately, I love but which never allows me to feel total contentment with what I’ve achieved, as well as a writing career about which I feel exactly the same. That probably says a great deal about my personality…I’ll let you decide what that is!

If you'd like to be FIRST to see the cover reveal for the next Cait Morgan Mystery, sign up for my newsletter...on the Homepage of my website:

Also, if you'd like to find out more about the area where I really live, you can see how it inspired my writing in THE CORPSE WITH THE IRON WILL, the 10th Cait Morgan Mystery:


Frank Zafiro said...

Well, not only am I impressed with your gardening prowess but I am happy to be paired with you, even accidentally.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

You have a great garden, Cathy, and you've got me wondering if they also have beer trucks that will make deliveries like that.

Susan C Shea said...

My garden is a handkerchief compared to yours and it keeps me as busy as I let it. How you manage for many acres so beautifully while writing and indie publishing amazes me. Wonder Woman. (I love your buddeia.)

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks, Frank...LOL! Just back in from a few hours spent underneath's all glamour in the garden, you know ;-)

Cathy Ace said...

If they could deliver beer in trucks like that, Dietrich, they'd be rumbling up our little mountain even more frequently. That said, the local liquor store does deliver so, you know, there's that ;-)

Cathy Ace said...

Not Wonder Woman, Susan...just grubby gardener (especially at this to change and dunk in the hot tub now - which I think is at a lower temperature than our current "in the shade" air temps!) Gasp! xx

Catriona McPherson said...

Ach, I'm sorry that you're having such a struggle with the garden this year, Cathy. That's what it's like for me down in CA - we enjoy gardening all autumn, winter and spring and then spit on our hands and determine to balance "over-summering" the trees and roses with conserving as much water as possible. This is a house of many buckets and hardly a drop of grey water goes down the drain.

Would I swap it for slugs again? I'm close.