Saturday, October 08, 2011

A Beautiful Fall Day

Here in the backwoods. Temps are expected to be around 80 degrees today. I like that!

Discovered that creating a mobile site from the existing Backwoods Living pages is going to be much more difficult than I thought. Ah, new technology - gotta love it! So until I learn it, those pages may be a while in coming.

Did update the website today with two new product reviews. One I love, the other I loathe. Check out the New page to read which is which.

In other news, we have completed our first film, The Fan, and it is now making the rounds of Film Festival submissions. If we get accepted into a festival, I'll be sure to let you know the details of when and where. We're now editing the second film, Truth of Becoming. Once that is complete we can move on and shoot the next two movies in the series.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo, begins November 1st. This will be the sixth year I've participated since 2002. For those following me that are also writers, I invite you to join me for this adventure. Fifty thousand words in 30 days - it is doable.

Now, I'm off to enjoy this beautiful weather.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Missing in Action

You may have noticed I haven't been posting much the last few weeks. There is an explanation for that. I've been spending most of my time getting my laptop set up and working on my next novel. I know, poor excuse, but actually the truth.

We've also been very busy editing our first short film "The Fan". After three weeks, I think we have a movie. Just need to do a bit more tweeking with the color and transitions. We sent our first rough cut out to five reviewers that we trusted to give us honest feedback. While each had a number of criticisms of the film - four out of five liked what we had done. I feel good about that.

Backwoods Living will be updated with new articles just as soon as we figure out how to import the existing files, pictures and videos into Site Spinner Pro. We just updated that program from the lesser version so that, with any luck, soon you'll be able to visit Backwoods Living on your mobile device. Of course, how soon that happens will depend on how smart I am and how complicated the new version of the program is. Plus we've got to collect the files for the website from three different computers that have been used over the years. Hard to imagine that the site started with ten articles and now has over 300 different pages. So it's probably going to be a daunting task, no matter how uncomplicated the new program is. :)

Weather here is cool for the middle of September. Temps never reached 60 degrees yesterday and I don't think it will get much warmer than that today. Cloud cover and rain will hold those temps down. But, as Kevin says, the rain will make the ground softer, which in turn, will make it easier to dig the holes for the pier supports for the new library addition. Which we will hopefully be able to get started on next week, if it doesn't rain all week long. At least the temps won't be in the 100s like most of last month.

So stay tuned, big changes are coming to Backwoods Living...once I figure out how to make them happen.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Sun is Shining...

Sort of, it's in and out behind the clouds. But that's okay. We've had four glorious days of rain here. According to the rain gauge, more than six inches. After all the 100+ degree days and little to no rain for the last month, I'll take every drop we can get. I consider all this rain Mother Nature's way of saying Happy Birthday to me (which was earlier in the week). The other plus is that it is cooler! I actually have the house open and the air-conditioner off for the first time in what seems like months.

Along with the rain, new technology entered the household this week as Kevin bought me a new laptop for my birthday. Top of the line little machine perfect for editing video. Look for updates about our films in the near future as we now have a machine that can handle the high-definition video.

In other news, Kevin (and I also) is adapting to his new weekend work schedule. It's a killer what with three 12 hour days. The plus side of this is that he's home from Sunday evening to Thursday night. I'm really liking that part of the deal.

With any luck, we'll slowly begin working on the library next week. Provided the temps aren't back to over a 100 degrees. So far the weather forecast says we'll probably be good to go, at least early in the week. I think once we get closer to fall the work will go much more quickly. I know excessive heat really slows me down.

On another note, still waiting to hear if daughter dumpling and grandson's are coming for a visit. Would be great to see the kids (even the grown one). I'm sure the boys have grown like weeds since the last time I saw them. Just hoping I don't get asked to babysit. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It Rained!

Okay not much, but it was enough to get me excited! With any luck there is more on the way this afternoon - we'll see, but I can hope, right?

Still waiting on the tiger lilies to begin blooming. Usually they are in full bloom by now, but with all the rain earlier this spring, they seem to be a bit behind.

Been taking a lot of pictures of the various flowers in the yard, which I'll be sharing on the website over the summer. The more I use them - the more I love our Nex-5 cameras; which is one reason I decided to review them on the website this week.

Also being reviewed is a fantastic book I picked up titled Stories of Survival: Arkansas Farmers during the Great Depression by William D. Downs, Jr. If you enjoy the Foxfire series of books, this book is along the same ideals; sharing stories of life in Arkansas during those terrible years.

I see the sun peeking through the clouds and the radar doesn't look promising for more rain, but at least we got a bit. Not enough to save the gardens, but maybe the grass will green up a bit.

So that's it for today...keep watching this space for more news and updates from the Ozark backwoods.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ozark Summertime...but can it rain soon, please???

Summer is in full swing here in the Ozarks. While only a couple of weeks ago, I was whining about all the rain, now I would really like some, please. Temperatures have been running in the mid to high nineties for the last couple of weeks.

Neighbor came down with potatoes the other evening. Like most around here, the early rains of spring pretty much destroyed his garden. Beans and corn all washed away. The transfer from wet to hot did in his potato plants. Not a good year for gardens, so all in all, I'm kinda glad we didn't plant one this year. With Kevin working all the hours he is, really didn't have time this year which proves that most things always work out for the best.

Beyond that not a whole lot happening around here, just trying to stay cool. I can now play three full songs on my dulcimer and am planning to start a new section on the Backwoods Living website to begin documenting my journey as I learn to play.

So check in to the website often, new articles are being added weekly now so there is always something new to read.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

I have decided....

That there just are not enough hours in a day. Even tho I'm generally up by 4am and don't go to bed until 9pm or so...I still don't have time to do everything I want to do every day. Could someone please extend daylight hours to 24 and make days 36 hours long?

So what things am I wanting to do...beside write?

Take pictures. With early summer here in the Ozarks, I'd love to tramp around the hills with my Sony Nex-5 and take pictures of everything. I'd love to take a picture a day of certain subjects then work them into a time-lapse video. Speaking of video, still have to help edit the footage from our two films...but that's going to take a better computer than what I have at the moment.

Keep learning to play my dulcimer. And that takes time and lots of practice. Okay, so I can knock out a fairly decent rendition of Amazing Grace, but there are so many other songs I want to learn.

Did I mention - write more? I've got stories dancing in my head, begging to be put on paper. For right now, I've just been filling out index cards of ideas as they mesh in my brain.

Reading screenplays. I currently have two sitting on my hard drive from friends that want me to read them and write comments and notes. Each one, to do it justice, would take at least 8 hours of time. But for friends, how can you not make the time?

Reading message and discussion boards. While lots can be said about these things being a waste of time, I love them. My day follows not only other homesteading boards and websites, but also boards catering to freelance writing, fiction writing, and wait for it - the dulcimer.

Plus reading...books of all kinds, from fiction to biographies to non-fiction how to's. My too be read pile is stacking up real nice...

I guess this post could be seen as whining and moaning when really I'm not. I find that it's a wonderful thing when you have so much to do and want to learn. It's what get's me out of bed in the morning and allows me to sleep well at night - knowing I've had a full day of experiencing something new. And that's a good thing, no?

For right now, I think I'm going to grab the camera and head outside - the roses are in full bloom!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

So Ready for the End of Stormy Weather

Well after another night of storms and tornado warnings, it looks like today may be the last bad weather day, at least for a few days. Tornado season has been especially deadly this year and I cannot image the grief suffered by those living in places like Joplin where over a hundred people died just this week from a massive twister. While tornado season seems to be changing (used to be mostly just in the spring, but now seems to be year-round), summer is almost here and hopefully the risk will drop significantly.

It's been so wet that we've given up on having a garden this year. There just hasn't been a good, dry time to build the raised beds we want and anything in the ground would have either floated away in all this rain or rotted in the ground. But such is the way of Mother Nature, sometimes we have no control and have to take things as they come.

Slowly learning to play my dulcimer. Did switch it back to a traditional three string, instead of four - gives me more of that old time sound I was looking for. Learned to change the strings (challenging) and am finding tablature (tab) music very easy to play, provided that I know the song to start with. Since I can't read music, tab makes my playing simpler - I like things that make life simple.

I've set up a Facebook 'like' button at the top of the page. If you, like me, are a Facebooker, would love it if you would click the button and follow the Backwoods Living page. I'll probably post on the page when I update the website.

Now to get through this stormy day.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Sun is OUT!

Finally, after days and days of rain, the sun is shining. For the moment tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and inches and inches of rain are behind us. Yesterday never made it out of the 40s here in Arkansas. Today should be in the 60s with 80s by the weekend. Things should begin to dry out. This doesn't save the gardens that washed away in the torrential downpours, nor does it negate those whose homes are destroyed by flooding and/or the tornadic activity of the last two weeks. My heart and thoughts go out to each and every person who has suffered from Mother Natures fury. The last few weeks here in the south has been a tragic time for many.

As summer continues to approach, we here in the Backwoods have a lot to do. Another movie is being shot this weekend. Titled "Truth of Becoming" it is based on a short story I wrote years ago when we were infested with ticks. Kevin adapted the story into a nice short horror/thriller and I cannot wait to see how it screens on the big screen once we have edited it.

More recipes and other articles are new on the Backwoods Living website. Just click on the new page to what is available.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Garage Sale Finds

Whenever we get the chance, and this is most often on Saturdays when we go to town, Kevin and I like to hit gargage sales and make-shift flea markets. The past weekend was no exception and while generally we find little of value other than some decent clothing or other items we can use for props in out films - this time we hit the jackpot.

First stop I found a small camera bag, perfect for one of our Sony Nex-5 cameras. Lightweight enough, I can load the camera, an extra lens and and an extra memory card and not have it weigh me down like much larger bags. Looked the manufacturer of the bag up when we got home and was truly surprised to see a retail price of $39.99. My cost, 25 cents.

Second we found a 921 All American Canner. Kevin was expecting the woman to say she wanted 50 dollars for it. He was going to try to talk her down to 30. Her price 5 bucks. For those that don't know, these canners retail for around 200 dollars. So cha-ching.

My favorite personal find was a dulcimer. Homemade and old, but beautiful sounding. I have wanted one of these instruments since I first heard them back in the Tennessee hills during folk festivals in the Great Smoky Mountains. Since I don't know how to play, I could never justify the two to three hundred dollar cost for one. My find, 25 dollars. Even that, for reasons mentioned above was hard to justify, but I knew I would probably never have the opportunity again. I brought it.

So in the end, we spent $30.25 for approximately 450 dollars worth of stuff - and other than the dulcimer, the other two items were needed additions. And as I spend a few hours daily, attempting to play my new to me instrument, I'm finding I may just have needed that too.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


New articles are now posted on the website. Most have to do with cooking, simply because it's something I love to do. You can find them at the top of the New page.

For a brief two minutes last weekend, my adorable grandson was a movie star on the big screen at the Ozark Foothills FilmFest. While grandma may not be the best filmmaker in the world, his cuteness more than made up for my failings. :)

Speaking of filmmaking, we put our first short, The Fan, in the can so to speak weekend before last. Now comes editing and getting ready for the next short, Truth of Becoming, the week-end of May 7th.

It's raining here, and other than the occasional boomers, I'm glad to see it. Firebugs don't bother me much when the ground is wet. Just north of here last weekend, over 700 acres burned. I can live without that.

So keep watching the website, I'm trying to add a couple of articles every day (at least during the week). Oh, and back to work on my next novel or screenplay...still not sure which direction this story should take.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Busy, Busy Week Ahead

So much to do and so very little time. Kevin started his new job today and I've got less than a week to get the house ready for our film shoot on Saturday. Got the final menu planned for the feeding of cast and crew. Still have to iron clothing that will be used for costumes and print out scripts, production sheets and shot lists. And clean house and, and, and...

To update on the Arsonist situation last week. We went to the sheriff's office on Friday and identified the guy. There is now a warrant out for his arrest (at least according to rumors) and it appears he has other warrants outstanding also (again according to local gossip). We'll see where it goes.

Now off to get all this stuff done!

Monday, March 07, 2011

My New Roaster

Bought this last week and used it for the first time on Saturday. Love this appliance. Cooked up 10 pounds of BBQed chicken quarters in very little time and didn't heat up the kitchen. I've had roaster's before, and Nesco is still the number one brand to buy.

Watch Backwoods Living for tips and recipes using this tabletop oven. As we'll be using it to feed a crowd while we are filming - I'm sure it will lead to a number of articles.

I Like Excitement..but an arsonist?

Went outside a couple of hours ago, and saw a man walking down the road. Kevin saw a half dozen small fires burning to the other side of the property down the gas line. We walk out to the road only to see this guy start another fire. Kevin stays at the road, me, I run in and call the sheriff and the neighbors.

Now, it appears he's deep in the woods, still starting fires. Sheriff called for backup and the Forestry Department and several fire departments are now up here putting out flames.

Sheriff found a truck in the ditch up the road, so we're assuming it belongs to this guy. Guessing also he's either drunk or cranked up on something. Just hoping they find him soon - probably won't sleep well tonight if they don't.

More later as I find things out. (Which the way things work may be next week in the newspaper) :)

Thursday, March 03, 2011


As with all things we do, it's one thing at a time with twenty other things running through our brains simultaneously. But that's the way we work best. Concentrate on one thing, whilst thinking about other goals needing to be reached.

The Fan script is locked down and the actors appear happy with the story. Way cool. Kevin spent yesterday making false walls so we can change the appearance of any room in our house during filming and even create rooms within rooms.

Backwoods Living is slowly but surely becoming transformed into a more easily readable website. Categories are being added, so our readers can find the information they are looking for. That will be a plus for both them and us. :)

Temperatures today are in the low 70s - perfect for early March. I am truly hoping that winter is over for us; I am so ready to put away coats, hats and boots and bring out the warm weather clothes.

So onward and forward...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

And so it begins...

Feels like spring outside, daffodils and daylilies are springing from the ground, and with spring always comes the hopes of new beginnings. Things are changing and hopefully all the changes will be for the good.

First of all, we plan to devote a lot more time to the website, Backwoods Living. Plans are underway for a minor site redesign and many, many new articles over the coming months.

Filming begins for us in less than three weeks. The first, on March 19th, will be a story from my book Kats Tales - Journeys Into the Velvet Darkness: Revealed Evil. It is one of several stories we plan to turn into 'moving pictures' before the end of the year.

We've already begun the remodel of the house. Both for using it as a 'film set' but also for our own comfort and enjoyment. Bedroom, dressing room and bathroom are done. Part of the living room is complete and plans are well underway for the new library (so we'll have a place for all my books).

So keep watching...things are a changin'.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's Been Awhile

I'll admit it, we've been busy. But we have just updated the Backwoods Living website with new articles. This new batch includes alternative uses for spring roll dough, killing tree stumps, Briggs and Stratton carborator fixes and other simple solutions for getting by in tough times.

Kevin and I have also been learning a new skill - movie making. We have both done one short film as part of a challenge presented by the Arkansas Talent Database. The films will be shown on Sat. March 26th at the Ozark Foothills FilmFest in Batesville, Arkansas. To get a sneak preview of our shorts, click Here for mine and Here for Kevin's. As part of the challenge, these films had to convey a human emotion is 2 minutes or less, with no dialogue and only one actor. It was indeed challenging.

Later this spring, we begin shooting 5 more short films based on short stories I've had published over the years. Some of which can be found in my book, Revealed Evil. To prepare for this undertaking, we're having to remodel the entire downstairs of the house. A new library will be added, which will allow us to move the four thousand some odd books we have in the downstairs now and free up the space for filming. A bathroom remodel is also in the works, but that will happen later this year.

So as I said, we have been busy and I don't see it letting up any time soon. But we will still be updating Backwoods Living when we can, so keep checking the new page for updates.