I keep a document on my computer that I call “key dates.” It is a list by date of the things that need doing on the farm.  It’s like a master “to do” list.

This is the list of tasks for the entire month of January:

Soil test gardens, prune fruit trees, burn asparagus garden, prune grapevines. 

In a couple hours, at the most, everything on that list can be done.

By comparison, there are 24 items on February’s list–some being all day jobs–and that’s a short list compared to what’s in store in the months that follow it.

The lazy days of winter are coming to a close.

Meanwhile I’m coming down the homestretch on my book manuscript–the homestretch of the first stretch at least. Trying to turn a 165 page academic thesis with over 400 footnotes into something a general audience might actually be interested in reading has been no easy task. A lot of work went into that research and shedding the footnotes and geekiness has been intellectually painful. But I’m close to being ready to hand it over for final editing.

Having read it a few hundred times by now, I’m ready to move on.

Joanna posted this quote from Winston Churchill on her blog recently, “Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.”

I’m about ready to fling him out.

Just in time for spring and to-do lists as long as my arm.

25 comments on “February

  1. shoreacres says:

    You’re obviously about at the stage that Harper Lee reached, the night in New York when she flung the manuscript of “To Kill A Mockingbird” into snow-covered streets. Just be sure you fling yours into the hands of your publisher, not into the back pasture.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, your quote in today’s post about the different stages of writing a book made me chuckle. I have toyed with the idea of writing some thing about my journey through gardening and the struggles, disappointments, joys, and satisfaction that came through the different stages of life. Alas I never consider myself a writer and editors scare me. Although, I have seen my writing in magazine print before which totally surprised me. I think of myself as a blogger and not a writer. In a blog I write about what life has brought to me and people can read it or not. There’s no pressure about whether any one is going to buy the book or not. I have this idea that if I would make an attempt to write something in book forum, it would cease to be fun and become just as the quote indicated. It’s an adventure I’m not sure I’m willing to take. Perhaps some day that will change but for now the journey is in the blog.

    Yes, the garden tasks are ramping up for the coming spring weather. Real planting doesn’t really start outside until the soil temperatures are warm enough to sprout the cool weather seeds. That usually doesn’t happen until some time in March. Grow lights and heat mats begin plants starting with onions now. That eventually progresses into tomatoes, eggplants, green peppers, cucumbers, and pumpkins. Let the gardening begin.

    Have a great book writing day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Thanks Dave. I’ve written a lot of legal briefs in my day and I was pretty effective at that. That kind of writing is intended to persuade, not to inform. It’s become hard for me to write in any other style.

      Here we could start planting some cool weather crops like peas now if the soil would permit it. But it’s usually mid-March at the earliest before we can work it. Every year is different. It will be interesting to see how this one goes.


  3. Laura says:

    I’m excited to read the book once it’s finished. Be sure to let us know. As much as I’ve enjoyed the break, I’m ready for spring and the work that comes with it.


    • Bill says:

      Me too Laura. I haven’t rested as much as I intended, nor have I accomplished as much as I hoped to do with the down time. But that’s OK, ready or not spring is coming!

      I hope the book will be worthwhile. I really want it to be. I’m sure there will be an audience that appreciates it, but it may be a small one. 🙂


  4. Can’t wait to see the book. Would you mind posting your Feb list? You’ve reminded me to prune my grapes and I’m sure I am forgetting something else.


    • Bill says:

      Here’s my Feb. task list, but other than servicing the lawnmower, these dates probably wouldn’t make sense outside of zone 7. ASA means “as soon as you can.”

      1 start mushrooms, lettuce, sow spring green manure (ASA), spread compost on spring gardens.
      3 start cabbage, collards, kale
      8 start bell peppers
      11 start broccoli
      15 start more lettuce
      19 plant onion sets (ASA), spinach (ASA), arugula (ASA), collards (ASA), senposai (ASA), English peas (ASA), radishes (ASA), turnips and turnip greens (ASA)
      20 start hot peppers
      24 plant mustard greens (ASA)
      28 change oil in lawnmower

      Liked by 1 person

  5. avwalters says:

    Looks like your winter was well spent and perfectly timed. Congratulations!


  6. I too loved the Churchill quote. It must be incredibly difficult to adapt something academic for popular reading – like an author trying to turn his literary novel into a Hollywood screenplay (hopefully not quite as bad as that!). At any rate I look forward to reading the finished work.

    Ah yes, the spring to-do list. Tis the season…


    • Bill says:

      It might have been easier to just start over again. It’s been hard to delete content, all of which seemed important when I put it in. I think it’s coming around now though.

      My to-do list is always long (I’m looking at one now with 90 items on it), but it really swells when things start warming up. But that’s part of the fun, I suppose.


  7. Joanna says:

    Well my beast, not a full book, just a paper for now, was flung in my supervisor’s direction for him to go over one last time. Glad you are getting to the end of your stint.

    We won’t be getting into the swing of planting though until April, we have very short but intense seasons, with the long days we get up in our northerly latitudes. It is a good job, as that fits in better with my academic schedule. Next winter I will have to start the real beast of my thesis, should be interesting ….. at first!


    • Bill says:

      During the summer I try to get maximum use of the daylight hours, so at the height of summer I’ll get started at 6 or so and go until 9. If I lived as far north as you do there wouldn’t be any time for sleep!


  8. Books do tend to go on, and on, and on… 🙂


    • Bill says:

      Is your book out now Curt? If so I don’t know how I missed knowing that. I found it on Amazon. Will there be a print version?


      • I am still working on some corrections, which is why I haven’t gone big on the announcements yet Bill. But, yes, it is on Amazon. And yes, there will be printed versions available. I have been sending out what I call my Beta copy to friends and family. $10 plus shipping. Order at cvmekemson@gmail.com. But, within a couple of weeks, the revised copy will be available in print on demand, as well as E-book. Thanks for asking. Curt

        Liked by 1 person

  9. EllaDee says:

    Writing, work projects, househokd projects… are all exciting at the beginning, at the big picture stage, then comes the detail, the work and more of the same, and finally the relief and celebration at the end of a job well done, but most importantly done 🙂


  10. It seemed like winter was going on and on and then suddenly I am in a panic – I have waaaaayy too many trees and shrubs to plant, seeds to get started, pruning, I need a whole lot more compost, etc…
    Guess I better get off of the computer and get going. Good luck with finishing the book. I’m looking forward to reading it!


  11. MansWhirld says:

    I spent several years working off and on upon a manuscript. I didn’t get nearly as far as you have, but some day I might just get back to it. The first stages were so much fun, the latter, well, it seems I found more important things to fill my time 🙂


    • Bill says:

      Writing seems to come in spurts for me. Cherie and I were going to try to write a book about ethical eating this winter and it was my job to create the first draft (while she worked on one about seasonal eating). I cranked out about 40 pages and felt I was on a roll, then hit a wall. Then I had to start editing the Wesley book and I haven’t looked at or thought about the other one in months. I’m pretty sure it won’t be happening this year.

      Maybe some day we’ll both get back to those neglected manuscripts. But only if it’s fun.


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