The summer is half over and it doesn’t even feel like it’s begun. The rainy, overcast skies and slow start to the tourist season at the restaurant have been confusing. Much of my garden drowned in the constant rain, and when the sun comes out it’s muggy and damp so some of my shady low plants have developed a rot that slowly turned them gray.
On the bright side of all the rain and damp, the kiwis have gone nuts, and the grapes are loving the water for their second year of root establishment. When they’re at the age to begin fruiting, I don’t know if this much rain will be a good thing, but for now…it’s working.
We had a rare patch of light this week, so I got out with the camera to keep track of the changes. The humidity was insane, but it was lovely to have sunlight. The 13 year old apple tree that never fruited is bent over with an abundance of gala applets. This tree was a decade old when I moved in, and it never flowered in those three years. Last year I built the chicken run along side the fruit trees and piled chicken manure around the bases and root zones. I also tested the manure on one garden box, and one row of raspberries.
As I’d hoped, the apple tree came to life this year with hundreds of blooms, and what looks like it will be a great harvest. The raspberries are abundant, and the one raised bed I fertilized is rich with half a dozen herbs, yet more rhubarb, and new gladiola shoots.
I also had an unfortunate raccoon attack on the chicken coop last month that killed several of my chickens and ducks. This has necessitated a temporary cloistering in the small coop for the remaining animals (which is unfair and gross) and an emergency coop remodel. Because I hate keeping the birds trussed up in such a small space, I do allow them out to free range when I know I’ll be home by dark. The result has meant that the slug population in my garden is like, zilch. Which is awesome. Go ducks! More on the coop remodel soon.
The final update for the cottagestead for July is this: I’ve made a controversial decision this year to let my bee colony go partially feral. This is due to the more aggressive nature of this last hive, and partly due to time management issues for getting in and working the bees regularly. The positive effect of letting them go natural for a season is that they are far stronger and more active than any colony I’ve had before. They’re so heavily populated, maybe even crowded---which means, they will either swarm OR they will be able to easily defend themselves from a yellow-jacket invasion like the ones that killed both my hives late last summer (and more than half of the county’s club hives).
Writing and Publishing
I blogged about my decision to look back into traditional publishing earlier this month. I’m also checking into brand management teams and agencies, as well as talent management. In short, it’s time to do something differently, and I’m putting feelers out in lots of directions for data and feedback.
To be honest, I don’t know what I need for sure. I could easily employ an assistant with the volume of projects queued up for publishing and business management, and if I could use a full time assistant---it’s to the point I need to look into what a team might cost and what benefits that would provide. Is it worth it? I don’t know, but I’m looking at a bunch of ideas and angles I’ve never considered before. Especially now that the cannabis farming and grow model are beginning to merge and overlap with my publishing works…
We are no longer the smallest licensed grow in the state of Oregon! YAY! That being said, we still have lots of work to do. This week we got our scales certified, which was a big step. It was so nice to have an official visitor signed into the log. I’m sure he thought I was being ridiculous…but I was just so excited to have an official sign-in. It’s the little stuff, you know?
We’ll have our logo soon, which will help us feel a bit more legit when talking to folks, especially as we near the first round of product going into flower for harvest. In just a few short months I hope to be announcing our new line of designer boutique recreational cannabis offerings by their unique names and descriptors.
These designer strains will be built into our marketing and branding campaign over three business platforms, including my writing and fantasy worlds. More on that to come. The unlimited potential for introducing cannabis as an entertainment enhancer in the literary world is, well, mind-blowing and exhilarating. I owe much of this enthusiasm and encouragement to my business partners who suggested the crossover potential long before I could see it myself. Now that my creativity is latching onto the concepts and drawing them into my fantasy worlds—there will be smokable adventures on the very near horizon.
Every time I sit down to write a mid-month review I’m shocked by how fast time flies. For the last two years it seems like the mid-month is a blindside of time lapse. Evidently, the last couple of years have been stuffed with goings on and busy developments I never seem to notice until my notification goes off that a check-in is due.
This month’s review is a peek at the coming busy season, spring, and the culmination of two years of development on my latest book, and my second business, the cannabis grow. The month, of all months, finally has something to show for the last two years of busting ass.
Both of these projects were put into action two years ago, and it’s taken me this long to wrangle finances, energy, resources, and time to get to the pieces to line up.
If you were with me on the other blog, or have crossed over from the Patreon site, then you know what a tight squeeze it’s been.
I had a very difficult time coming out as a licensed grower, because it was such a huge departure from my usual work, and because I feared it would negatively impact my publishing business. After some time of wobbling and stressing, I realized it would only benefit my publishing to be able to have another creative outlet for writing copy and story, as well as expand my reach into new demographics and readerships.
It was also important to me to let people know the measures to which I felt pushed in order to be self-reliant and be able to continue to publish my works. Yes, that means growing weed. Drugs for art. It’s just a sign of the times, I suppose.
Anywhoo, this header into the deep end of the cannabis community I’ve known very little about, as well as learning a new trade, set of regulatory requirements, business model planning, and development has been, shall we say…a bit overwhelming.
On an average day while we were prepping for licensure, I might wake up, have coffee and drive an hour to the grow site, install security cameras, then drive an hour to my nine hour shift at the restaurant, get off at ten thirty or eleven, and sit in the car for an hour where I have cell service to be able to send emails, and manuscript instructions to proofer, and layout, then drive an hour home. I’d roll into the house at 1AM. Rinse and repeat as necessary. The days were long, and very little creative work was actually happening.
I’ve been teetering on exhaustion and burnout for the last six weeks or so, staving it off by not doing any of the necessary house upkeep or other creative projects. Sleep catch-up is my favorite game at the moment.
It sounds like I’m complaining. I don’t mean to. This schedule was entirely within my control to alter—but I really just wanted to get it all done and everything going so I can get onto the next steps.
If I stop and take a breath, I realize spring is happening. The daffodils are pushing up, and the song birds are starting to make their voices known in the morning.
Life is good.
Busy, but good. There’s a light on the horizon that with a new business I’ll be able to work for myself, and pay for my own publishing someday…someday soon. And that’s enough to get me out of bed, and back into the groove.
Books to write. Weed to grow. And I never in a million years thought I’d write that on a blog….
It’s all starting to come together.
A summary of the last month’s other projects include:
Here’s to an exciting spring with first steps toward true independence, and a financial shift that will allow me to publish as fast as I can write. No more manuscript piling up on my desk waiting for funds. Imagine that!
With proper financial flow I’ll be kicking out Plague of Gargoyles, and Tangle of Mermaids in no time at all. And if we time it correctly, the product released by our grow business, will dovetail with my books in nomenclature, characters, collectibles and copy writing experiences. It should be an immersive journey into a merged space between both worlds.
What a trip. Mind blown.
#cottagestead #elderglade #cannabiscommunity #meadhead #amwriting
When I set out to be a self-sufficient writer, I told myself there would be some challenges to living alone on one spotty income in a very remote location. That expectation hasn’t disappointed. It’s been a challenge.
Rewarding. Brilliant. Terrifying.
But yes, challenging.
I told myself I’d have to adapt, experiment, build, and be open to new ideas to support the end goal of writing full time and being self-sustainable. All ideas. A very open mind. Because the end goal of being free to write, was more important than how it would come about.
Enter the booming world of licensed/legal recreational cannabis.
For the record, I’ve never been interested in recreational drugs. In fact, I was 39 years old before I took my first puff, and only because I needed to know what I was about to be mass producing for public consumption. Still, a year later, I’m not much of a consumer—but I’m falling in love with cannabis as a culinary ingredient. (more on that later)
When the opportunity came up to partner with a friend and begin a legal grow operation licensed by the state of Oregon, well, it was a wild leap. The opportunity fit our shared mutual interests in new uses for a formerly illegal substance, as well as providing the avenue for two women to build a business and support themselves financially.
I could see the long game of being self-sustainable, finally, with enough left over to pay for the production of my books.
Did I ever once in my life expect to become a licensed drug dealer in order to peddle my literature? No, of course not. But such is the way of the world and its low value bar for independent art.
Drugs to pay for art. It wasn’t plan A, but it would work. So be it.
I said I’d keep an open mind, but as we began the process of legal licensure (it took two years to clear a license) I began to think maybe I’d opened my mind a little TOO much.
During the two years of setup, the bottom fell out of the market, and the hurdles to clear the license seemed like constantly moving targets. Just when we cleared one hurdle, a new one appeared, or the regulations changed. The state of Oregon developed a glut of weed and product was selling at a quarter of its cost just a year prior.
I worried that by the time we got our license, the public would be bored of marijuana or the regs would make it even more cost prohibitive to sell.
Still, we pressed on with out application, which was requesting a leased space so small, it was barely worth the auditor’s energy to show up. Simply put. Our grow is the smallest licensed grow in the state, and we only just wriggled in to one of the last available application slots before the cutoff.
We were fortunate by the grace of the marijuana gods, to land the consultation and support of a master grower. I’ll leave that story up to them to tell as it’s not mine to blog, but it’s not lost on me that without his help and support, we would have been dead in the water, so to speak. (The first several attempts I made to grow plants ended in disaster. They kept tipping over and or breaking, shriveling up, or splitting. Who has a grower license and not a single green thumb? Me. Yep. Without consultation, I would have had a rotten pile of weed compost.)
All this is to say, life is funny sometimes. I spent two decades of my life tipping my nose up at pot-heads, being frustrated with their slow grasp or desperate escapism. I avoided dating 420 friendly people, because I hated the spacey conversations, and “forgotten” appointments. Too many of them also had lost their sex drive, and were emotionally stunted, or unaware. It was such a sore frustration that I stopped hanging out with stoners and addicts (alcohol included) altogether.
Only in the process of becoming a legal grow did I begin to understand some of the disconnect between the stigma of stoners, and their behaviors that irritated me in personal relationship settings, and the TYPES of cannabis that are now available.
While there will always be addicts and addict behaviors of any substance, alcohol, food, sex, gaming, gambling and so on—the “stoner” stereotype is too frequently used as a blanket statement for anyone who imbibes, in the same way that “alcoholic” is a term used for anyone who has more than a couple of drinks a week.
In short, it’s an unfair label, and the misunderstanding has permeated our cultural expectations.
Up until a few years ago marijuana was illegal, so getting the right kind of marijuana wasn’t easy. There was no guarantee you could specify a Sativa or an Indica plant – both of which are vastly different in metabolic impact. You might not be able to verify the THC or CBD levels of a plant, or even get a repeat of the same value metrics from one deal to the next if the grower changed the nitrogen level of the soil, or harvested a week early, etc.
In short, much of what was available was slapdash, spotty, imprecise, and if you were really lucky, not full of chemical pesticides to be inhaled during smoking. And if you were super duper lucky—you didn’t get pinched and go to jail for a gram or two of personal herb in the glove box.
What I’m say is: with the enormous breakthrough in legal recreational marijuana status, AND the regulation in product labeling and quality: we, as a public can now begin the fun part of becoming educated, connoisseurs.
We no longer have to take whatever we can find by whomever is brave/stupid enough to sell it. We no longer have to settle for a CBD when we were aiming for higher THC. We can choose the time of day to imbibe on an Indica when it will be the most beneficial, because you actually KNOW what’s in it and how your body will respond.
Conscious consumers are now able to regulate their dosages for pain management, stress management, anxiety, PTSD, creativity, sexual needs, social enjoyment, and clarity. It’s the tip of the ice berg in a classification of recreational/medical intoxicants that has yet to be fully explored in a societal framework.
And more to my personal enjoyment and excitement: culinary cuisine, and ingredient exploration. The flavor profiles of specific strains and breeds has been an incredible adventure in my kitchen. I’ve been making a number of new recipes involving, funny honey, weed syrups(blackberry and raspberry), honey weed mead (my favorite so far), and so on.
The point of all this is part public apology for not understanding the struggle of imbibers sooner. It’s part apology for my years of unfair judgmentalism. It’s part apology for the vast societal unfairness that’s sent countless people to prison for a crime that turns out, was never really a crime—and I didn’t get that before. I’ve been slow to the realization, but I hope I’ll be forgiven for getting there late rather than never. I hope I can make up for all that by offering some delicious and entertaining weed…
This post is also a coming out. It’s to explain the future change in direction. I hope to be in a position in the not too distant future to be able to pay for my own writing and production costs without relying on donations.
Wouldn’t that be wonderful? (Almost as wonderful as the day when my writing pays for itself, right?)
Though we are licensed, we are not yet producing. But we’re putting plans into place and preparing for the adventure of being in the recreational marijuana business.
When I said I’d keep an open mind, this wasn’t what I was expecting…but I have to admit, it’s been so goddamn fun, that I’m grateful on a daily basis that two years ago my business partner shrugged and said, “Cool. We’re in.”
Stay tuned for more…