A wee news round up

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From my other blogs.
1. There’s this. This weekend in Dumfries.  Please, weather Goddesses,  be kind!

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Does this qualify for an OMG?

2. I’ve started serialising my most epic work. There’s lots to come in time, but for now I’m introducing the main characters.

A Telepath, a Fey Princess, a witch and a Queen; four Threads in The Tapestries of the Veils.

Welcome to the Tapestries.  Step inside for the serialisation of this fantasy series by Angela Miller.

Inside you will find the latest chapters of the series. I intend to serialise them over the coming months. Eventually I will release them as eBooks, but this is where you can read them first!

Baked!

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After many hours slaving away out of the sunshine, in the heat of the kitchen, to the dulcet tones of Ozzy Osborne (amongst others), my stock for Saturday is done!

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This weekend I’ll be selling Plain and Sundried Tomato flavour, which were bothvery popular last month. Additionally I’ll be trialing a new flavour….  *queue drumroll* ……

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Garlic and Herb  flavour! (Ta, Karen! Just cos you said)
They’ll be the same price per packet as the Sundried Tomato (£1.20) while the Plainwill be £1.10.
Market is Saturday, 10am to 12.30pm at Dalry Town Hall.

EDIT: I typo’d the price of the Plain Oatcakes. I have fixed it now. It should have been £1.10 to begin with.

Gardening and philosophy : update

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The sun has dared to shine two days in a row,  thus drawing me out to put my baby veggies into their beds.

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Glass corn in the deep bed

All the glass corn in a row. A rogue slug has nibbled on one of the smaller ones. Must get crushed shells down to deter them!

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Little gems and runner beans

All the french beans and lettuces now out. The lettuces needed a bit more breathing space.

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Carrot Bath

It was too bright to see the screen on my phone,  but it looks like I managed to get a pic of the carrots in their bath.

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Winter Purple Broccoli

These are the winter broccoli.  Just like the carrots I’ve cut slits in weed guard to plant them into. Hopefully this means minimal weeding! The broccoli are still in their original pots, I’ve just cut the bottom off to minimise root disturbance and maximise root depth. 

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Summer Broccoli

This stuff will be ready by September.

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Tomatoes in the greenhouse

Tomatoes also planted with their original pots. Again deeper roots, but also better moisture retention. 

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Chilli peppers in double pots for root depth.  Still a few to be potted up. Iain found another stash of deep pots today while garden tidying.
Everything is watered and in it’s oroper place now. Lots of zero food miles, organic,  homegrown veg just waiting for summer!  Fingers crossed. 

Another cake experiment

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This is Apple and Cinnamon cake this time. I’m baking it for my mum cos we’re having pie at her house for dinner tonight.

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Fresh from the oven. Used less marge, more syrup and a wee bit of additional bicarb than in previous vegan cakes. Also used a wee but of wholemeal spelt in place of some of the white spelt. It’s risen better than previous cakes so far.
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The structure has held up perfectly when I transferred it from the base of the baking tin.

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With Coffee Fudge sauce

And now I’ve covered it in coffee fudge sauce. It’s looking rather yummy.

You’ve got to make a living from what you can bring yourself to sell.

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On and off for nearly two years those words from Bad Apples by GnR have been worming around in my brain, taunting me. This year it got even worse, so just to quiet my inner Axl, I made a real effort to start selling oatcakes. And lo, it turns out Mr Rose might even have a point.
Now it’s seems to have started something, because I’m suddenly working hard towards fulfilling some of those teenage fantasies I put aside to be a responsible parent, as well as making oatcakes.  Fun and exciting things are afoot with my musical aspirations, of which more will be revealed later (some hopefully very soon!).
Today, I had to take stock of where I’m going because I had to write a cover letter for my book, Pearls On The Road.  It’s about selling yourself,  of course. The writer is as much a product as their novels. Think of writers like James Patterson,  Stephen King and even Terry Pratchett, they are marketed brands that people strive to ape when they write and people want to read or read facsimiles of.  Do you know how many times I’ve seen George RR Martin cited on the back of books in my library over the last 6 years? Look what happened to the children’s fiction market  after JK Rowling became so wildly succesful. There’s a thousand Rowling mimics on my library shelves now. But the marketing doesn’t just hinge on a writer’s writing style. A writer like Neil Gaimon, whose life is as interesting as his books, is what every publisher really wants because they are easier to sell. Neil is active on twitter, part of an alternative power couple with Amanda Palmer and seemingly effortless at self publicity. He seems pretty happy selling that part of himself, and it surely works for both him and his publishers. 
So, dutifully, I wrote about how terribly interesting I am. I bigged up my small achievements, threw rock n roll and librarian into the same sentence and hoped that part of me is exciting enough to sell. And yet, it’s made me reflective on my own talents, and made me think a great deal about what confidence and hard work are capable of achieving. 
I have no idea if my pitch with Pearls will work, but what I am realising is that I might actually be starting to be interesting.  Maybe that’s something that comes with age!

Ps, I kinda wrote a wee song about this sort of thing a few weeks ago. It’s just called Sunday Morning for now.

A blight on all our lives…

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Tories. Ugh.
I  really try to make a conscious effort not to slide into the dark laziness of hate and dislike for anyone or thing. I even felt disgust at the  way many people celebrated the  passing of  the lady above,  although I understood exactly where that came from. After all I grew up in a Single Parent family in the 80’s, in Paisley and Glasgow. 
I was considering the impact the British Conservative Party has had on my life and I had something of an epiphany. 
Every day the media, politicians and commentators of varying stripes and backgrounds strive to tell us who it is that is responsible for the state of our lives. Some say it’s Muslims, others Europe, others the feckless unemployed or unemployable (how dare people be born with such poor health they can’t work! *shudder*), some might point at the Bankers or big corporations. All these things are somewhat nebulous and faceless fears, easy to manipulate people with because it’s kind of like the scary thing in the shadows that your imagination runs away with. In other words you can put your own fears into these things because they are so vague.
This is all very useful to the real enemy – Tories.
My epiphany was actually almost annoyingly simple.  Every financial struggle, every hurdle I’ve been forced to climb just to get by in “British Society ” has been because the Tories made it so. From bad schools to dreadful housing, from depressingly dull wage slave work to the ghoulishness of filling out benefit forms for my Autistic offspring, from poverty and deprevation to isolation and the difficulty of escaping these things, they are all a result of a lifetime lived under a government of upper class, self interested Tories.
So anyway, I’m not going to fall in to the  trap of nebulous fears, I’m going to escape those Tory clutches by whatever means necessary.  Which, weirdly, might involve oatcakes.

Gardening and philosophy

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Been busy out in the garden today, indulging in some typically eccentric gardening practices. It’s certainly been the day for it.

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We have a burgeoning food philosophy of our own at this little Crow House. It’s basically about eating low (or preferably no) harm foods. By harm, I mean foods that cause harm in their production.  So, while this means I eat a mostly* vegan diet,  the focus is broader than just harm done to animals. I like to minimise the environmental impact of the foods I choose for us to eat and I like to minimise on other aspects of harm like buying Fair Trade foods and boycotting Israeli produce. As far as I can I only buy fresh food grown in Western Europe because of the carbon footprint. 
Anyway, a huge part of achieving these goals lies in what we grow in our garden. Today, after planting lettuces and french beans, potting up loads of chillies, weeding and tidying all our various deep beds in preparation for some planting and generally getting my hands dirty making food for the summer, autumn and winter, I decided to document the progress so far this year. 

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First stop on the tour of eccentric garden practices is the upcycled shelving deep bed complete with perching cold frame. We had to put the cold frame in as the Glass Corn in this wee section is taller than the deep bed frame and still vulnerable to the throes of Galloway’s spring weather.

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The Glass Corn is planted straight into grow bags to save on weeding. Once we think the frosts are by, the cold frame will be moved and there should be plenty of sun in this spot for the corn!

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Behind the corn, I’ve put in a grow bag of lettuces and one of French beans. Later I’ll put in another bag of each.

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Lettuces are still so tiny! Should be pretty snug in here.

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French Beans. Been a while since we've grown these.

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This is our bio-mass pellet boiler.  It does the central heating and hot water. Just another wee facet of the harm reduction philosophy.  It was kindly fitted by our very local housing trust when we asked for it.

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Potato patch and garlic deep bed. First signs of life are stirring!

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Fruit bushes and strawberries. In pots for easy access to hedge.

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Orchard, green house and our three other deep beds. Yes, the bath is a deep bed. For carrots. Artwork by Cathy Cassidy

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Inside the green house. Tomatoes, broccoli and chillies

Here you can see a little more evidence of eccentric practice.  We’ve kept as many baby plants as possible in their original pots and simply cut the bottoms off. This deepens the root space and disturbs their wee roots much less.

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Tomatoes. Sun Gold and Sweet Millions. Brought on in our heated conservatory early this year.

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Broccoli, summer and winter varieties. Will go in the deep bed behind the green house soon

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Chillies of all kinds. Not entirely sure which....

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Still got more little babies in our conservatory,  so lots more still to plant!

Now I might actually remember next year what worked this year!

* I use local free range eggs in some baking and support local honey makers because bees!