Native Texans know that the recent
heavy rain and widespread destructive flooding is an aberration in the weather
pattern. Dry weather, bordering or deep in drought is the normal state of soil
conditions in Texas. The Water-Saving Garden: How To Grow A
Gorgeous Garden With A Lot Less Water by Pam Penick might just help you
plan for the next dry spell and beyond no matter where you live.
A major thrust of the book is the theme
that a water saving garden does not have to be just cacti and succulents. First,
you as the gardener have to accept the idea that your garden has to adapt to
the local environment and not the other way around. As homeowners here recently
were reminded both visually and economically it is very hard to maintain
certain types of grass filled lawns when severe water restrictions are enacted
Broken into five parts this colorful
book opens up with “Part One: DRINK UP the beauty & ingenuity of a
water-saving garden.” Through text and numerous photographs of examples in
gardens in Texas, Arizona, and elsewhere that illustrate the concept of taking advantage
of stopping water runoff. Various
landscaping techniques are illustrated as to what can be done to make sure that
the rainfall that happens is either captured and contained or diverted so that it does not just wastefully flow into the streets and ultimately the city
Capturing the water is also the
theme of theme of “Part Two:make your
garden a WATER SAVER, not a water guzzler.” Starting on page 29 going beyond
rain barrels and cisterns, which are discussed in various sizes, other options are
covered such as a “rain garden.” This is an area of your yard that is depressed
and filled with plants that don’t mind being flooded. Dirty water from your
drive way, down spots, and are other surface areas that would not allow rain to
penetrate is channeled into this area. The plants clean the water as it is
collected. That cleaner water eventually soaks in and moves its way down to the
groundwater table and underground aquifers. Other ideas such as micro basins,
berms, swales, terraces, irrigation techniques, paving choices, and more are
discussed here accompanied by numerous photographs to illustrate key points.
“Part Three: PLANTING the water
saving garden” on page 113 starts off with obvious idea-- get rid of the lawn.
The plants that would do better are discussed and showcased. This includes
various native grasses that give one the illusion of a lawn with far less water
or mowing. Suggestions for various additional garden features as well as native
and “well-adapted” plants are found throughout the book as well as specifically
in this section. Get away from the idea that plants need to be in rigid lines
and embrace a sort of organized chaos where groups of plants all gather and
thrive together. The point is also made that beyond the air pollution caused by
leaf blowers is the fact that their use can strip topsoil and nutrients from
your landscaping which is damaging in the short and long run. A nice added
bonus to this section is the piece on container gardening for those in
apartments or condos who have limited space.
One can also bring water features to
such porches and that idea is a small piece of the ‘Part Four: oasis or mirage?
creating the illusion of water in the garden.” Most of the ideas and techniques
discussed here starting on page 163 apply to landscaping, but some can be
modified for those of us apartment and condo dwellers.
“Part Five: 1001 Plants for water
saving gardens” comes next. Because the detailed list is for the entire United
States it may contain plants that are considered “invasive” in your area or region. As
the author points out, you should make sure you check the list for your area
and avoid plants that are considered invasive--even if sold in local stores--
so that your help protect native plants and habitats. The list begins
with trees on page 198 and goes through perennials, grasses, ground covers, and
more before ending on page 222.
An acknowledgement page, a two page
resource list followed by three page photography and design credit list, and a
five page index brings this colorful and inspirational book to a close.
The Water-Saving Garden: How To Grow
A Gorgeous Garden With A Lot Less Water
by Pam Penick is an informative and visual treat for readers, gardeners, and
others. The 330 page book is packed with informative tips and suggestions all
geared toward making you being as successful as possible when you decide to
transform your landscape. It doesn’t do the work for you, obviously, but it can
certainly save you a lot in time, effort, and financial resources if you
consider the suggestions found here.
The Water-Saving Garden: How To Grow
A Gorgeous Garden With A Lot Less Water
I am really surprised how very hard it is to get guest posts. A lot of folks complain about how nobody is buying/reading their books and then ignore opportunities such as I offer here. I am still looking for guest posts.
As Extreme Prey, the 26th
novel in the series by John Sandford begins, Lucas Davenport is working on his
cabin in Wisconsin. It is August and with the help of the carpenter the room
should be finished weeks before winter sets in. His days are now his having
left Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. He is without a job and to
hear others who know him tell it, he is driving everyone around him crazy. They
need him back to work doing what he does best—hunting down bad folks.
Minnesota’s governor, Elmer
Henderson, always liked Lucas and especially liked having somebody who was no
nonsense and got tricky jobs done. These days the governor is on the campaign trail
down in Iowa as he seeks the number two spot on the democratic ticket for
President. Through Neil Mitford, the governor’s “chief weasel” as Lucas
thinks of him, the governor has asked Lucas to come to Ames, Iowa for a
That meeting is about a couple of recent
incidents during the campaign. Incidents that make Governor Henderson think
someone or a group of people might be targeting an opponent to eliminate her
from the race. Henderson passed on his suspicions to the other campaign. They
seem to think Henderson is working some ply to get their candidate out of the
race if not the state.Contrary to what
they think, Henderson needs that candidate to stay in to have a chance of being
a VP nominee. Beyond the politics of it all, Henderson is afraid these folks
represent a major threat and wants Lucas to check on them.
While Lucas does not work for the
BCA anymore, he still has his contacts inside and outside of law enforcement.
It doesn’t take him long to determine there is something going on. The thrill
of the hunt is what Lucas lives for and always has. He does not play politics.
If he has to tick folks off to save lives he will and soon does.
Extreme Prey follows the style of recent novels in this long running series.
From the first chapter readers know who the bad guys are. The read shifts from
following them to Lucas to numerous other characters as the storylines
gradually work closer and closer to each other for the climatic conclusion and
aftermath. A thriller style novel from start to finish the focus is on the
chase and Extreme Prey delivers from start to finish
For another take on the book make
sure you read Lesa Holstine’s review
written last month because she got the book direct from the publisher. Some
of us are not so special and have to wait for the library. Lesa continues to
refuse to adopt me and my family, but I have hope of wearing her down and
living in her book closet.
This week, I'm giving away 2 books with Arizona settings, CB McKenzie's Bad
Country & Becky Masterman's Fear the Darkness. Details on my blog,
Entries from the U.S. only, please.
in October 2007 Barry first reviewed MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE by Lee Goldberg here on the blog. It seemed that
today was a good time to run the below review again. Head over to Todd Mason's blog for the rest of the suggestions for today.
“Defective” detectives are not new to mystery fiction. Decades ago, Baynard
Kendrick wrote a number of novels about blind private detective Duncan Maclain,
who was also featured in some “B” movies and who, allegedly, was the basis for
the TV series “Longstreet.” Pulp magazines abounded with sleuths who suffered
from physical and emotional ailments and impairments: amnesia, hemophilia, even
literal facelessness. D.L. Champion’s legless Inspector Allhoff may have
inspired TV’s paraplegic “Ironside.” More modern examples include Michael
Collins’s one-armed Dan Fortune; George C. Chesbro’s dwarf detective, Dr.
Robert “Mongo” Frederickson; and Jeffery Deaver’s paralyzed Lincoln Rhyme.
None has captured the public’s attention the way the USA Network’s Adrian Monk
The obsessive-compulsive, multi-phobic Monk combines Sherlock Holmes’ skill for
observing the minute details of everyday life the rest of us miss with a
childlike innocence and incomprehension of the way most of the world operates.
A former San Francisco Police Department homicide detective whose tics became
more extreme after his wife was murdered, he now works as a private detective
and, most frequently, as a paid consultant to the SFPD, usually at the behest
of his friend Captain Leland Stottlemeyer.
Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse is the first in a series of original
paperbacks based on the TV series. Lee Goldberg was a writer for and executive
producer of “Diagnosis Murder” and has written novels based on that program
plus The Man With the Iron-On Badge (Five Star). He has written several
episodes of “Monk,” and so is very familiar with the series’ format and
The novel is narrated by Monk’s assistant, Natalie Teeger, the widowed mother
of a twelve-year-old daughter. Events begin when Monk’s apartment building is
scheduled to be tented and fumigated for termites—that Monk himself discovered:
“He spotted a pinprick-sized hole in a piece of siding and knew it was fresh.
He knew because he keeps track of all the irregularities in the siding.” When
Natalie asks him why, he answers, “Doesn’t everybody?”
Knowing he won’t be able to deal with staying at a hotel for the duration,
Natalie invites him to move in with her and her daughter Julie, and Monk
accepts. Julie is upset when she learns that Sparky, the local firehouse dog
Firefighter Joe annually brings to school with him when he lectures on fire
safety, has been brutally murdered by a person unknown. Monk promises Julie
he’ll uncover the killer.
His investigation takes him to the scene of a house fire in which a chain-smoking
woman named Esther Stoval has died, apparently the victim of her own
carelessness. Monk quickly determines she was murdered, and soon after realizes
that her death and Sparky’s are connected.
The “Monk” television mysteries usually fall into one of two types: the
whodunit, in which there are multiple suspects and the viewer can compete with
Monk to spot the clues that identify the culprit; and the inverted detective
story, in which the viewer knows from the outset who the killer is and can compete
with Monk to spot the clues that will lead to his or her arrest. A sub-category
of both types is the case in which the murderer has a seemingly unbreakable
alibi Monk must see through to effect an arrest.
Halfway through the novel, after interrogating a number of suspects who have
solid reasons to want Esther Stoval dead, Monk determines which of them is the
murderer. Breaking that person’s alibi proves harrowing if not impossible: the
second half of the book requires him to track down the piece of damning
physical evidence that will convict the murderer. He faces the daunting—and
comical—task of wading through the city’s garbage dump to try to find it.
Along the way, with an unassuming brilliance and humility foreign to Sherlock
Holmes, Monk solves a number of unrelated murders.
The “Monk” TV scripts, because of time constraints, often subordinate mystery
to humor. In Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse, Lee Goldberg neatly
balances conundrums and comedy in a dishy, informal,
treat-the-reader-as-confidant style. The novel is far from the greatest
detective story ever written, but fans of the TV series will probably enjoy it,
and those who read it without ever having seen broadcast episodes may become
Originally published in Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, May/June
Sandi's blood work was very bad regarding her kidney function and some other issues. Despite that fact, they went ahead and did the IVIG infusion because to not do it in the shape she is in right now would be more dangerous.
Going forward the chemo is being stopped in favor of radiation. They took another look at the images and compared them to her earlier records. The tumor in her lower back next to her spinal cord is of a size that it is pressing on a variety of vital functions and could do irreversible permanent damage to motor skills and bodily functions if the growth is not immediately stopped. They don't feel they have time to wait for the chemo to do something.
So, we await an appointment with the radiation doctor and the treatment schedule. This is another case where a holiday schedule is not at all helpful.
of the Bookblog of the Bristol Public Library is back today with another guest
post. Hope you already ate…..
My first vivid memory of food in a book wasn’t from
a mystery book but from Heidi by
Johanna Spyri, in which Grandfather gave Heidi the best bread and cheese.Being a small child at the time, my frame of
reference was packaged sliced bread and Kraft American cheese, and I failed to
understand Heidi’s delight. I puzzled over it for a long time.Apparently I wasn’t alone in my fascination,
because a book entitled Fictitious Dishes has photo recreations of some
of literature’s most memorable meals—including Heidi’s cheese sandwich.
Other than as a method of introducing poison into
someone’s system, food didn’t seem to play much of a role in the mysteries
until I started reading Rex Stout.Food
(and beer!) always played a strong role. I didn’t know what shad roe was, but
the descriptions of Nero Wolfe’s dining were always a delight: oyster pie,
roast duckling, squabs with sauce, shirred eggs, lamb, and so forth. Such exotic fare! Rex Stout used Wolfe’s
dinner table as a place for conversation, where no business was allowed to be
discussed but where Wolfe (and Stout) could put forth his views on a variety of
Food also figured in Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry
Mason series, which I devoured (no pun intended) while in school.Whenever a big case wrapped up, Perry, Della,
and Paul would go out for dinner.The
menu was almost invariably steak and a salad, with form of the potato the only
decision to be made: baked with sour cream and butter or as fries.I think even then I realized that Della’s
inclusion in this rather masculine meal meant she was regarded as an equal.
Food can be used to say a great deal about places and
even eras. In Joanna Cannon’s The Trouble With Goats and Sheep, the
child narrator has a litany of 70s era British candies along with mentions of
various TV programs to keep the reader in the right time period. Jill Paton
Walsh used food rationing in A Presumption of Guilt to remind readers of
war time conditions in Britain.
And while burgers, fries, pizza, etc. are now
American staples, it’s the little divergences that help bring a place and its
people to life. Lea Wait uses lobster
dishes as well as baked beans and chowders to fix her Mainely Needlepoint
mysteries in, well, Maine.Julia
Keller’s characters indulge in red-eye gravy and biscuits in West Virginia. One
of the delights of the Tori Miracle
series by Valerie Malmont was Tori’s introduction to the cuisine of Lickin
Creek where delectable pastries and cakes are served along with bakedpig’s stomach. Tony Hillerman’s Navajo characters
indulged in fry bread, while in daughter Anne Hillerman’s books the problem of
diabetes among Native Americans influences the characters’ eating habits.
However, sometimes authors have to walk a fine line
between cultural awareness and stereotyping: you have to know just how many times
to invoke RC Colas and moon pies before the theme from Deliverance starts to run through the reader’s head. It’s bad enough that the covers often resort
clichés images.For example, two
books from Cathy Pickens very fine Avery Andrews series featured pictures of
fried chicken and a cherry pie neither of which featured prominently in the
books. I could only assume that it was because the series was set in South
Carolina and was more cozy than thriller.
Food choices also give clues to character and
socioeconomic status.Someone who
insists on making fresh salads or baking his own bread tells us something about
himself; likewise, a person who subsists on fast food burgers and Twinkies is
likely to have different values. It may
also mean that the author is setting the character up for some health issue
later.In one long running series, a
character finds a piece of sticky, lint-covered hard candy in an old coat and
still pops it in his mouth.I was both
appalled and amused.Later it’s revealed
that the character is beginning to have cognitive issues. Laura Levine’s Jaine
Austen series derives some of its humor from Jaine’s food obsessions and
half-hearted attempts to diet. In the old Jiggs
and Maggie comic strip, the nouveau riche Jiggs longs for corned beef and
cabbage much to the horror of his social climbing wife Maggie. Some characters
have to go for cheap eats because of lack of funds.In the early Sarah Kelling books by Charlotte
MacLeod, Sarah struggled to come up with ways to extend food to serve her
Finally, food can set the pace of a book.Eating can give the author an excuse to sit
the characters down and discuss the case. Hunger can be used as a way to stall
the plot which might otherwise lead to a too-quick resolution of the
mystery.It can also be used as a way to
slow a reader down, as he or she goes to raid the fridge after one too many
vivid descriptions of a meal.
After all, food for thought can turn into thoughts
Waking up and having no idea where
you are or your own name is not a good thing. At least folks found him at the
R-Bar ranch and brought him into the small cabin three days ago. He’d been
found up by the high meadow after a storm. Who he is and why he was there are
just two of the many questions at work in this short story.
The ranch is run by teens and their
far younger siblings after the death of their parents. Fever took them last
winter, as it did many others, in the area. The twins are 8 and supervised by Addie
who is almost 17 and her brother Heath, 18. Heath is the one who found the unconscious
stranger and brought him to the cabin. The Rudisels are holding their own
despite the efforts of nature and man to boot them off the land. With no idea
who he is or where he should go, it becomes natural for the stranger to stay
and get involved in their struggle in High Meadow Storm by Wayne D.
As is frequently the case in Mr.
Dundee’s westerns a major mystery is at work in this story. In fact, there are
several mysteries in play in this enjoyable tale. Nominated for the 2016
Peacemaker Awards of the Western Fictioneers this tale that was originally published
2: Heroes-Stories To Benefit Protect is now available as a standalone
read. High Meadow Storm is also mighty good read as one would expect from
Wayne D. Dundee.
Barry has a new short story eBook for young readers
titled THE BOY WHO ATE RAINBOWS.
When Christina and her friends investigate the
mysterious disappearance of a rainbow, they meet an unfriendly boy with a
strange power in this children's fantasy story.
The rainbow doesn't fade as rainbows normally do.
This one mysteriously sinks away while Christina, Gordy, Sandy and Brian watch
in amazed disbelief. When they decide to investigate the mystery, they meet
Duncan, an unfriendly boy with a strange ability. Why does he do what he
does--and how does he do it? Should they befriend him or beware? Find out in
this fantasy story for young readers.
The book is $2.99 and is available at Smashwords as well as at Amazon.
It is a crime filled Monday as
this week Kaye George reviews The Widow
by Fiona Barton….
“The Widow” by Fiona
novel meanders between quite a few points of view, and different points in
time, but the story is only enriched by the style, never confused. The reader
is always eager to get back to the next step.
There is The
Widow, who is the central character, of course. Her husband has just died and
she’s playing the grieving widow, but we learn immediately that she feels
relief because he’s gone and there will be no more of what she calls “his
starts in 2010 with the death of the widow’s husband, a man who has been
hounded by the police and the press for the last three years because of the
crime everyone suspects her husband committed back in 2006, where part of the
story also takes place. The detective, DI Bob Sparkes, and the reporter, Kate
Waters, give their thoughts on the case, on the suspect, Glen Taylor, and his
child, Bella, has been missing since October of 2006 when she was snatched from
her yard while her mother, Dawn Elliot, left her there for what she always
insists was just a few minutes. By 2007, Glen Taylor was a serious suspect for
her kidnapping. The mother, Dawn, tells part of the story, too. She believes
her daughter is still alive after all this time and keeps the story before the
public as much as she can. After Glen Taylor is killed in a traffic accident,
Dawn and the others despair of ever learning where Bella is, either alive or
dead. The only hope is The Widow, who might know something. She does, in fact,
know quite a bit more.
and intrigue will take hold of you, draw you in, and not let you go until the
Writer, Reviewer, Editor, Professional Chair and Table Controller
Those interested in discussing editing and other writing projects can contact me at kevinrtipple at verizon.net
Donations Very Desperately Needed!!!!
Sandi's cancer fight continues. If you can help and would prefer to donate directly, please contact TEXAS ONCOLOGY in SUITE 220 of Building D at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, Texas and arrange your direct donation in Sandi's name with Debra, the financial counselor. We thank you for your prayers, thoughts, and support as the battle continues.