Monday, April 2, 2012

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, as you may have noticed from my lack of updates. Two weeks ago I finished Tinkerer part 2 and I promptly celebrated my accomplishment with a camping trip from hell. I'm new to "trailer-camping." In the past, I've always gone camping with a backpack and maybe a tent. Now, with a family and frequent long distance travel, I've moved up to the trailer. I've been trying to take small trips here and there to get used to it but I have a lot to learn. Like the fact that KOA apparently charges summer rates in March, despite the fact that the pool is closed, the jacuzzi is broken, pets aren't allowed on the beach, and it's too cold and rainy to use a campfire for anything but smoke signals. Doesn't sound very promising I know, and that's just where the troubles began. I won't bore you with the painful details. Suffice it to say we headed home a day early and considerably lighter in the pocketbook. To their credit, KOA did refund us the payment for the last day. I'm chalking the rest of it up to a learning experience.

Having finished the first draft of TTD 2, I've been trying to catch up on all of the things around the house and the rest of my life that I've been neglecting. I've been working on vehicles, my home, and my aquaponics project with hardly a moment's rest in between. For example: I've been trying to get my truck ready for long distance towing so I purchased a leveling kit to improve steering stability. Of course, I know from experience that many mechanics don't seem to know or care that much about what they do, and you're as likely to go home with new problems as you are to have the original issue repaired (in my experience, they often can't even manage that). So I spent the entire day pulling the front axle, shocks, and springs off my truck in order to install the kit, and then put it all back together. Thankfully, I had some assistance from my teenage son at crucial moments or I might still be working on it. The good news is that it all went together nicely and after a test drive today I can happily say that the handling around town and on narrow back-roads is better than new. I also saved $300 or more in mechanic's fees. 

Meanwhile, I'm happily watching my small backyard vineyard come to life. I pruned for the first time this winter and I replanted many of the clippings, hoping to expand my vineyard over time. A number of them are now in late stages of budding or actually showing leaves (both the established vines and the clippings). Assuming all else falls into place, I should have my first crop next year.

My aquaponics system is now fully functional and we have a good number of plants that are doing quite nicely. The system hasn't stabilized enough for fish yet, but I'm hoping to have them by the end of the month. Ammonia levels are dropping once again and nitrites are rising with the warming weather, so I'm getting very close! If this is all Greek to you, check out the aquaponics links from my previous post.

I don't have much to say on the subject of writing today, but I would like to make a reference to this post by Passive Guy , regarding author marketing and promotion. The post is mostly comments by readers, and many of those comments reflect things I've said recently on this blog. What it boils down to is that most of the time writers spend blogging, tweeting, and spamming is writing time that they've lost forever, and ultimately most of that self-promotion goes ignored. It might even inspire a certain amount of backlash.

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