Archives for 2011

Spring Preview!

It’s spring!

No, no, wait a minute. It’s not spring.  It’s four days after Christmas, and while parts of the country may be chilling in the wintery weather, here in the South we’re enjoying a mild, sunny day. My pansies have perked up, I can hear birds singing in the woods behind my house, and Miss Paws and I just came in from a nice walk. Sure has stirred up my spring fever.

Hope you’re enjoying a beautiful day, wherever you are.


Merry Christmas!


Miss Paws and I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year!


Shopping for Someone Who Loves Books? Check These Out!

It’s easy for my family to shop for my Christmas gifts. Just give me a book–or a trip to the bookstore, with a gift card in hand–and I’m happy.

Kitty Cornered, by Bob Tarte. Courtesy of Algonquin Books

I’m also happy that several new books have come my way lately, thanks to publishing companies who have sent me advance copies to review. Are you buying for a bookworm this year? Check out these new releases:

The Future Of Us, by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler.  Young adults snapped up author Jay Asher’s novel Thirteen Reasons Why, and critics loved it, too. The book spent over a year on the NYT bestseller lists and has sold over 1 million print copies in the U.S. alone. While the premise might sound dreary–it’s about a teenage girl who leaves behind 13 clues to help a friend understand why she took her own life–it resonated with many readers.

Co-author Carolyn Mackler is an award-winning writer whose novels have been published in 15 countries. They include The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things; Tangled; and Love and Other Four Letter Words.

As you’d guess, these two authors have collaborated to produce another sure-fire hit. The Future of Us is set in 1996, when friends Josh and Emma receive an America Online CD-ROM in the mail and discover Facebook–except Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. Suddenly the kids are looking at their profiles 15 years in the future, complete with info on their spouses, jobs, and innermost thoughts.

Miss Paws recommends The Future of Us, a new young adult book.

Every time Josh and Emma refresh their Facebook pages, they’re actually changing their own futures. Soon they’re confronted with some difficult choices. Can they be happy with what life holds–or will they risk it all, in order to change their destinies?

The Future of Us should appeal to anyone who enjoys resist a sweet, young-love romance, and the added element of time travel is fun for sci-fi fans. You don’t need a crystal ball to see the future of this book; I’ve heard it’s already been optioned for a movie.

If you’re a pet lover, don’t miss Kitty Cornered: How Frannie and Five Other Incorrigible Cats Seized Control of Our House and Made It Their Home, by Bob Tarte. The only bad news is that this book won’t be released until April of 2012–but you can go ahead and put it on your wish list, or preorder through

Tarte is also the author of the hilarious Enslaved by Ducks, and his story of surviving in a household run by a half-dozen demanding felines is another laugh-out-loud tale. While I’m a dog person at heart, I’ve owned cats (I should say, I’ve been owned by cats), and I enjoy them. You’ll enjoy Tarte’s adventures with his complicated, diva-kitties.

Even my loyal rescue doggie, Miss Paws, gives Kitty Cornered a paw’s up!

(Click this link to see more about Enslaved By Ducks, while you wait for Kitty Cornered to be released.)

Happy Thanksgiving

Sunset. Image, courtesy of Michael Coulter

We hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving! We are grateful for the sunsets and stars; the shelter of our home; the food on our table; the hope that comes from knowing Jesus; and the warmth of loving hearts. Blessings to you all.

Lynn and Miss Paws



How To Take Care of Your Christmas Cactus

Have you kept your grandmother’s Christmas cactus growing?  I don’t have my grandmother’s; wish I did. But I do have this one, given to me several years ago by a friend from church.

When I kept it on my desk inside an artificially-lit office, it didn’t re-bloom much. Worse, I made the mistake of re-potting the first year, only to discover later that these plants like to be somewhat root-bound.

Finally, I took my Christmas cactus home and left it on my shaded porch all summer and fall. One day I realized it was studded with buds, and today—ta dah! It’s turned out to be more of a Veteran’s Day cactus than one for Christmas, because it’s already blooming and it’s not quite mid-November, but that’s okay. It’s beautiful anyway, and I know the ones in stores have been cultivated in greenhouses, so they’re timed to bloom at the holidays.

I’ve done some reading about these plants, and I’ve learned that even though they are called “cacti,” they’re really epiphytes, and they’re in the same family as orchids. They’re native to Central and South America, where you’d find them growing in the forks of trees, rooted in the fallen leaves and other debris that gets caught in the branches.

To coax your Christmas cactus into bloom, give it cooler temperatures starting in September and October, around 50 degrees F. Keep it in a room where no lights will be on at night–even a little light will disrupt the bloom cycle. It will need 12 to 14 hours of total darkness each day.

Water your plant, but keep it on the dry side throughout the fall and winter. (Overwatering can cause the buds to drop.) Don’t expose it to freezing weather, or you’ll have mush and blackened stems. You can use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer during the growing season, which is roughly April to September each year.

Or you can do what I do, and just put your cactus outside in a shady spot starting in the spring, and water it when the top soil feels dry. Bring it in when the buds start to form. Keep it out of drafts, and in a spot that gets good light–but not in a window where direct sunlight will burn it.

By keeping your plant outdoors, Mother Nature will take care of the light exposure as the days grow shorter. Of course, your cactus will also bloom before Christmas, as mine is doing right now. That’s okay…it’s beautiful! And I’m grateful for the glory of flowers 🙂

P.S. –Want to know more about caring for your Christmas cactus? Click this link to tips from Purdue University.




The Bark – What’s In Your Autumn Landscape?

“Summer’s loss seems little, dear,

on days like these” ~ Ernest Dowson


“Our house is a very, very fine house,

With two cats in the yard” ~ songwriters Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young


Delicious autumn! ~ George Elliot

A cup of coffee with a friend

Is happiness tasted,

And time well spent. ~ unknown

(I love a cuppa that smiles back at you.)

A Devotional Booklet for Your Bible Study, Retreat, or Quiet Time

A big, big thanks to Kay Marks and the ladies of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arvada, Colorado, who created a lovely devotional booklet I can share with you! Here’s the cover:



Kay contacted me awhile ago, to ask if it was okay to reprint some of my gardening tips and devotional thoughts from a calendar we created to go with my first book, Gardening with Heirloom Seeds. I was happy to say yes! I love these kinds of booklets, and Kay is kindly allowing me to share the finished product with anyone who would like to use it for personal use (that is, group or individual use is okay, but it must be not-for-profit).

You can’t really appreciate the colors and artwork in the booklet from this picture, because my scanner let the colors bleed through (boo, crummy old scanner). But if you’d like a copy, please leave me a comment or email me lynn(at) Then you can reproduce as many copies as you’d like. I’d recommend using a slightly heavier paper than ordinary office stuff, so the colors don’t show through. (Or use a good scanner/copier, LOL.)

The complete booklet is about 12 pages. We’re happy to share this with you, especially at Thanskgiving!

Lynn and Miss Paws


The Bark: Happy HOWL-o-Ween!

Human friends, I just wanted to wish you a happy HOWL-o-ween tonight! No, I’m not in my costume yet. I can’t decide what to be. Maybe I’ll be a cat, like I was last year. Take a look.

What’s that you say? You don’t think that’s me, dressed up as a cat?? Of course it is! I just had a very good costume. That’s why you probably won’t recognize me if I come to your house tonight. I might show up as a ballerina, a cowboy, an alien, or the scariest thing of all–a politician.  Boo!

Just a note: my favorite dog treats are the bacon strips, in case you can throw a few of those into my Halloween bucket. If not, writer-grrrl will eat the candy corn and, of course, anything chocolate.

Watch out for the Trick-or-Treaters tonight, and for all my four-legged friends who may be crossing the road while the traffic is out.  If you see any black cats, be kind to them. Those old superstitions are not true. They’re just as loving as the rest of us.

Happy Halloween, peeps!

wishing you lots of candy, and sending wags, Miss Paws

Fall Is Here – And Miss Paws Is Back!

Here I am, in my new autumn scarf. Admit it. I'm kinda cute.

Peeps, I’ve missed you! Writer-grrrl has neglected to post my updates lately because she’s been so busy, and I can’t do them myself. It’s kinda hard to type with these toenails. But hey—we’re back! Writer-grrrl has curtailed a few of her activities because she wants to blog and finish her middle-grade novel (yep, the one she’s been working on for two years. Just imagine how long that is in dog years!)

So here I am, dressed in my new fall scarf. In case you can’t tell, it’s plum-purple and has cute little pumpkins outlined in black on it. Makes me feel so good, I could run around the neighborhood and bite all the pumpkins on the porches! But that is frowned upon around here. Party-poopers.

Nevertheless, I am here and ready to party! I’ll keep you posted on all our comings and goings. Check back with us often!


Miss Paws


The Bark – Summer Flowers

Butterflies in our garden!  Some of our favorite summer visitors.