Award Winning Author



Monsoon June

birds hay
A thick layer of hay to dry out the coops

With all the wet weather, everything on the farm is growing like crazy…including the stench emanating from the poultry pens.  The birds were churning up mud like pigs in slop.  They have a really nice setup, though.

Our flocks are protected from predators from land and sky, but the quagmire needed to be dealt with because we want our birds to remain happy and healthy.  So, it was time to get to work.  Here are some things I learned about farming through Operation Feather Ruffle:

  1.  Poop happens.  It happens a lot.  It happens so much you need wading boots.
  2. Spiders like chicken wire, especially chicken wire “roofing”.  I now understand why we don’t have a mosquito problem here at the farm.
  3. Russ is a brave, brave man.  There he was wrapping spiders on a hoe handle while wading through muck.  When he came out of the pen, he had TWO spiders (the big, scary woods spider variety) on his head and a writhing staff of web and spiders.
  4. I am a brave, brave woman.  I VERY GENTLY knocked the spiders out of his hair and off his back.  I did not run screaming from the Hoe of Terror.
  5. Round bales aren’t wadded up;  they are rolled tightly.  Remember when you made snails out of modeling clay?  That’s the idea.  It takes A LOT of work to un-bale one of those puppies and they hold A LOT of hay.
  6. You need gloves to handle hay.  Well, I did.  Russ just manhandled his way through this project.
  7. You need strength to handle hay.  All that pulling, squatting, lifting, and chucking makes for a great workout.  My core was sore for two days!
  8. Once you get toward the center of the bale, it gives off heat just like a little furnace.
  9. Working with hay doesn’t get you dirty.  It gets you nasty.  I’m talking hose off before you hit the shower nasty.
  10. Our chickens, turkeys, geese, and guineas now have clean, dry pens!

Growing Weather

a baby pecan
A line of baby pecan trees ready to make a grove

The Ryans (our sextet of goslings) are loving these cool, rainy days in early June.  They’re honking and carrying on as the droplets pitter off the porch roof of the Muse, door flung wide to let in the damp breeze.  Our backyard is better than green.  I believe the word is verdant…you know, that kind of green that sinks down into your soul and fills you with promise as if the scorching onslaught of August is a world away.

The farm is rarely truly quiet.  Aside from the Ryans, Captain Kirk the rooster is crowing for all he’s worth.  The wild birds in the trees are singing, chirping and dive-bombing one of the cats who must’ve wandered a bit too close to a nest.  The guineas are socializing and Jack the Ass brays every once in awhile to announce all is well.

If you listen, you understand the farm language.  The timbre of Jack’s bray shifts if he’s sounding the driveway alarm.  Daisy the cow often joins him if someone’s approaching.  You can almost hear the grass growing!

The evenings have been pleasant so far this summer, too.  We spent the cool after suppertime this week working on the new pecan orchard.  If my count is accurate, we’ll have a 30 tree orchard.  Russ used string and a tape measure to form a planting grid so that the trees will be evenly spaced in straight rows.  He dug holes with his new backhoe implement and loaded up the front end loader with fill dirt.  Each hole gets a big bag of potting soil, some fill, a baby pecan tree, and a protective layer of straw.  My job is to drive the tractor from hole to hole as Russ plants.  The girls give the new trees a good watering.  Of course, they have great fun squirting each other as well.

A well-maintained pecan orchard is a thing of beauty,  where you can admire the rows on the straights or on the diagonals.  If I’ve ever liked an aspect of geometry, this is it!  When the trees are mature, they cast a uniform shade, and, of course, give us delicious pecans!

So, be sure to mark your calendars.  If all goes well, Moore’s Creek Farm will take its place in the pecan belt of the world round about 2027.

Bubbles, Bubbly, and Books

One of the fun parts of this whole writing she-bang is participating in author appearances.  I get to talk about my work, schmooze with other folks crazy enough to pursue the written word, sign autographs for starstruck patrons (well, every now and then somebody makes out like writing a book is a big deal), and sometimes get perks like free wine!

This weekend I visited My Favorite Books in beautiful Tallahassee, Florida along with other authors from Southern Yellow Pine Publishing for a winey/cheesy/champagne-rific celebration.  The folks at My Favorite Books were more than gracious, and it’s a great bookstore.  You can check them out at  I recommend you stop by if you’re in Tallahassee.  There are plenty of neat things to see and do in the vicinity, including a Trader Joe’s and Island Wing Company.    We ate after the shindig at Island Wings.  I had the Tiki Torch Wings.  If you like ’em hot, these will put sweat on your forehead and tears in your eyes!

It’s four hours of nothing but interstate between home and Tallahassee.  The most exciting part of the drive was flipping through radio stations and finding some 80s pop.  I alternated that with classical…when I go classical, I’m really getting stir crazy.  I did make a pit stop at the Chautaugua Vineyard & Winery because I’ve always wanted to stop when we’re driving through the area, but the timing’s never right.  I picked up my summer wine supply and made a fantastic discovery!  I love reading historical fiction, especially stories set in the Regency period.  A common motif involves women sneaking nips of port.  Well, I bought some port at the winery and I can totally see why.  That stuff is delicious!

I almost stopped on the way home to explore a bonsai tree nursery  I’ve had my eye on for years, but by the time I had driven that far I was like a horse turned to barn with my heart set on home.  Maybe next time…unless I’m out of port!

Be sure to check out the eclectic books by my SYP friends.  If you like crime fiction, go with William Mark.  Zelle Andrews and Pat Stanford will tug at your heartstrings in totally different ways.  Michael Kinnett has your regional history fix and, of course, you know mine is good for a scare.  If you’ll click on “Buy Clemenceau’s Daughters” up on the search bar, you can go directly to the SYP site and find these authors of whom I’m proud to call my friends.

Unsafe on Any Campus?

Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can ... by Samuel R. Staley
Unsafe on Any Campus? College Sexual Assault and What We Can Do about It
by Samuel R. Staley, Ruth Krug (Foreword)


Rocky Moore‘s review

Apr 27, 2017  ·  edit

I read this book over a series of lunch duty stints at a public high school, making the issue of college campus sexual assault all the more poignant as I observed teens navigating their way through supervised social situations. Staley not only captures the current campus culture these teens will enter in a no-holds-barred manner for this emotionally-charged topic, but offers viable methods for tackling endemic actions and attitudes these young adults will face, both individually and systemically.

I recommend this book particularly for parents of students about to enter the collegiate arena and for those colleges not already addressing these very real, damaging situations proactively.

Clemenceaus Daughters RGB-302

The Ballards live in the shadow of July Mountain.  They are one step shy of overcoming the taint of poverty dogging the family since the Great Depression.  During the excess of the modern 1980s, the Tennessee Valley still harbors a passing respect for the unexplainable and superstition.  Roots cling to family trees like tendrils that tangle and tear to claim, not just birthrights, but bloodrights.

Folks tend to die around Little Debbie Ballard.  She struggles to make sense of a world where the unspoken past and prejudice collide, where truth is no longer as simple as Daddy’s word, and cruel intentions transcend generations.  Debbie must face the insidious legacy that haunts the women of her family, one by one.

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