Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pasture, Drought and the Farmer's Market

A farm update for the end of July. While the rest of the nation has been socked by drought - here at the farm we've had some rain. Not much, and not enough to keep the pasture from drying out on the hill tops.

However, there are some lovely green patches on the sides where I mowed the weeds down.

The weeds are nasty, the horse won't eat them and weed seeds get into their eyes, causing infections and scratching the eye itself. I have to do daily eye-checks for swelling and discharge.

On another note:

The City of Vine Grove has declared that Farmer's Market Vendors are required to have a Business License in order to sell produce.

This is a huge departure from past years. I was concerned (furious, actually) so I went to Vine Grove City Hall to ask about it. 

Now - to be fair - I already knew that someone had gone down to the Market and signed up a few of the Vendors - due to a donation from a private person. So I knew there was some support somewhere. 

The scoop was a simple one: Someone, another business owner, complained that the Farmer's Market vendors didn't have to have a Vendor's License and they did. 

Now we aren't talking big bucks Vendors. A couple are Seniors making a few bucks. There is myself, who sells a few eggs whenever I have too many and I also sell my novels. There are two people who have large enough sales to make it worth-while.

I went to talk to the Mayor at City Hall because I was concerned for the market. The WHOLE market - and the seniors in particular. The ladies I spoke with understood.

I'm SO GLAD I went.

'Swallow the Moon' News

The good news is that "Swallow the Moon" immediately hit #49 on the FREE Romantic Suspense chart.

The bad new is that I didn't intend it to go free. It looks like I got frustrated with Kobo Writing Life (a seriously flawed interface) because you CAN'T PUT IN A DECIMAL POINT.

So I left the price at ZERO.

That was 2 weeks ago - it must have sold a copy or two - KOBO DOESN'T TRACK FREE BOOKS. So I wouldn't know. Amazon picked it up today.

So I've got a nice bump coming. Maybe for a week, or more.

So go ahead, if you don't have "Swallow the Moon" already - go ahead and pick up a copy.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Cover??

I know that covers make sales - so I've teamed up with Madison Woods to work on a new cover for 'Impressive Bravado.'

The problem is my horses are either black or mares with feminine heads. So I can't use them as models. But Madison has a photogenic horse the right color. We just had to extend his blaze a bit.

I like this cover as a 'half-way' point between the old cover and something completely new.

Snippy has a very sweet nature and a kind eye. Which is what geldings SHOULD be -sweet and gentle, kind and easy-going.

Unlike stallions who CAN be sweet when it suits them, but the old libido can make life a hell of a lot more interesting than the average horsewoman will like. Especially for her teen-aged daughter.

We are talking nips, cow kicks, bad behavior and rarely (though I've seen it) outright attacks. If you've ever seen a horse come after a human being, or had one come after YOU - there is nothing like it. The whole 'my-little-pony' aspect goes out the door and never comes back.

So, we've got this little sweet heart to be our poster-pony. Let's see what else I can come up with.

 This cover is, again, one step away from the original.

I'm going to see if I can get Andre to weigh in. He's MUCH better at cover design.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Solar Clothes Dryer Controversy

What a hot, dry, breezy, day this is. While it's not a good time to do much of anything outside, it is a perfect day to use a solar clothes drier. This will save me some money because electric clothes dryers are power hogs.
A Department of Energy report estimated "electric clothes dryers accounted for about 5.8% of total electricity usage in U.S. homes -- a startling figure given that the same report said all indoor and outdoor lighting in American homes constitutes only 8.8% of electricity usage. Plus, the 5.8% attributed to dryers does not include electricity needed to power the motors of gas-heated dryers."
We don't have a really high electric bill - but it's 102f in the shade out there. Why heat the house?
Luckily, I live in a place where it isn't illegal to own/use one because it is a very handy device, quick and quiet. I can load it down with two washer loads of clothes and they dry in no time. If I'd been in a laundromat I'd have to pay a buck or more a load.
There are various configurations. Setting one up can take some time and ingenuity and quality replacement parts can be tricky to find. But the money I save justifies the initial investment. I've had to rebuild this one - and if the cords give out it's going to be a bear to replace them.
These simple devices are scorned, called ugly and unsightly, then made illegal to own or operate. Either people just don't understand this technology or they have some kind of underwear phobia. (I suspect the latter.)
It's hard to believe that this incredible invention is illegal in parts of the country. (Want to see an example? Click here.) Yep, try to use one in a sub-division and see what happens. You'll have the owners association breathing down your neck the minute you set it up. Your neighbor could call the police and have you arrested!
British film producer Steven Lake to make "Drying for Freedom," a documentary on line-drying in the U.S. because he was outraged that something so simple was outlawed in so many areas.
"The matter of wasted energy is something that draws my attention to this topic," he said. "But mostly it's the fact that in America, which to the rest of the world is considered to be the land of the free, citizens are banned from something as simple and silly as hanging out their washing."
If that sounds boring here's a quick quote: "We're including feuding neighbors in Mississippi where one man purportedly shot and killed another due to a dispute over a washing line. He didn't want to see the laundry from his window."
I guess that proves a point - doesn't it? We live in a strange society that can't tolerate something as basic as hanging some towels over the porch rail to dry? I guess if you want to live in a 'beige on beige gated community' then conformity is a much. But that's not where I live, or how I want to live.
My solar clothes dryer is old, but the Rotary configuration is compact and safer than the straight single line model. Four poles hold two dozen lines, so I've got room for queen-sized sheets and plenty of clothes. In this weather - the wind and the sun dry and disinfect my clothes in about an hour - free.
I like free.