Monday, November 30, 2009


Earlier this year, when we built the coop and run for our urban chickens, we dutifully went to the local feed store and picked up a bale of hay. We wanted to have a layer (heh, see what I did there?) of hay on the floor of the run.

Being almost exclusively "city folk" we had no idea just how much hay was in a bale.

"They look heavy on TV, you know, the sweaty farm hands throwing them around... Maybe 40 pounds? But I bet they have smaller ones for us," I guessed when my wife left in her minivan to go pick it up along with the cat litter and a few other pet-related goodies.

My wife returned a short time later with a car FILLED with bits of hay. Apparently hay bales start to break down once they get in your car -- some sort of radioactive half-life thing. Anyway, interesting side note, it took her hours to get the little bits of hay out of the carpet in her car...

But back to the hay story. I pulled the bale out of her car and it was big. I called it a regulation size bale. Jokes about buying in bulk seemed a bad idea.

We wrestled it into the backyard and realized that it would not fit inside the run in the nifty little space under the coop. Long story short, we had to leave it out of the coop and eventually it got rained on, turned moldy a bit, and started to decompose.

And we had used about one quarter or so of the whole bale. Now I have a huge pile of hay in the staging area for our compost bins. I'll need to mow a LOT of lawns to get enough greens to get the hay turned.

And so this weekend we had to go buy new hay. But this time we'd be ready!

We brought a tarp in the car, to limit the bale-shedding.

We set up a place where we can keep the hay out of the rain and up off the ground, so it might last through the winter. If it does, we figure we will literally have enough hay for two years. Unless we find a neighbor who needs some.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Orange House... In the middle of the street...

We did it. Yes, we painted our house orange. I wanted to paint our house ORANGE, but we went with a more subdued orange.

Or pumpkin pie, if we're feeling festive.

The neighbors? Well, some say "I see you got your house painted."

Others say things like "Good for you!"

Who knows what they're saying when we're not there. But we're happy with it. Still! It's been orange for a week or two, and I still love coming home and saying "Yep, that's ours, the orange one!"

The door isn't painted yet, though.

Check it:


Now our street goes: Tan, Beige, Green, Gray, Lt. Blue, Gray, Orange, Gray, Beige, Green, Lt. Blue, Tan.


Wow, 11/25, and 50k words. My nanowrimo work is done for this year.

I have one more scene to write, but I don't know if I'll get to it before the end of November. The fun part for me is next: turning this into a book I can print out over at and read to my kids. Of course, they're going to want to read it themselves, but it's fun (and a little tedious) to read it to them myself.

That's where I find the most typos.

Anyway, if I decide a third book is in the cards, it will be next November, and then I'll be free to head back toward some of the story ideas I've had recently.

Oh, and finally get around to real editing on last year's nanowrimo...


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nanowrimo Progress

Things are progressing nicely. Today, as I tend to do nearly every day I write this November, my MC seemed to be running out of stuff to do. Then, suddenly, a flash of inspiration and another 1100 words.

The fun part for me is that these flashes often stem from some childhood memory of my own. These things ooze out of my brain, they leak onto the paper, and seep into the story.

And while I'm writing these scenes I spend a little time in fond remembrance, visiting that weird store next to Mervyn's that sold sea shells and rocks, or that weird fountain in the mall, or that little bit of forest between my cousin's house and the neighbor.

Of course, in my story they become grander, or eerier, or stranger. The little shop now also has some magic ingredients hidden in amongst the crystals and sea snail shells. The fountain is the scene of a massive brawl amongst holiday shoppers, and the forest.... Oh, that lovely forest, so filled with possibilities!

32k words and counting!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

17k Words

I commented elsewhere that it would take me about 40 sodas to finish this year's nanowrimo as I tend to drink two per day while writing, and do most of my writing during the week. Alas, I don't have much time for writing on the weekends.

I've pretty much stuck to that schedule.

Things are working like clockwork and I'm not even all that embarrassed by my story. I let my older daughter read the opening chapter and she was in love with it, so we're golden.

Things always get tough around Thanksgiving, it's basically a 4 day weekend. I hope to start building my cushion this week.

If you're doing nanowrimo this year, what's your motivation? Will you eventually publish your story?


Make that 19.5k words!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

High Velocity Novelling

Yes, I'm participating in Nanowrimo again this year. This is my 5th year, and I hope to tuck a 5th 50,000 word novel under my belt. Literally (almost).

When I finish my novel each November, I spend some time in December tidying up and then I have it printed as an actual book. I have 4 of them at home right now. ~140 pages of bad writing, each of them reminds me of a year in my life.

Last year's story was one I wrote for my daughters. They liked it so much that this year I'm writing a sequel. I can't wait to give it to them to read in just a month or two.

Three days in and I'm about on pace.