Author: Terry Burns

Thoughts from a fledging gardener

We’ve grown things for a long time, but last year we went all in. We’re getting set up to do gardening on a serious basis, but we are still pretty new at it. Our neighbor, Floyd Goudreau, shares his land for part of the garden in the new location and shares much of the work with us. We removed the fence between us to facilitate this (and give the dogs more room to run) When I say “us” it includes both him and Saundra. There are lots of articles, books, magazines and columns from experts on how to do things and we have a substantial library and learn from them as best as we can, but sometimes these expert posts can be like trying to drink from a fire hose. But I’ve also been a professional writer for many years with 40 books in print and maybe it would be useful to capture my thoughts from a beginners basis as we learn what we are doing. What do I mean by “all in?” Let me give an overview of where we are now: We tried bale gardening for the first time this past year with good success. We got a ton of tomatoes and okra, green beans, squash and black eyed peas. Lost the squash crop mid-summer to squash bugs so that was a learning experience. We built a...

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Are You Undecided?

  I’ve seen a lot of elections over the years. But I’ve never seen one like this one. The vitriol and anguish online is amazing. For the most part I bowed out of these discussions quite some time ago, but I still look at the gist of them regularly and occasionally get drawn in for a post or two until I remember why I quit doing it. It’s like a train wreck, hard to look away. I’ve seen friendships spoiled and people locked into debates nobody is going to win. It makes no sense to me unless the goal is to continue to win the support of the undecided voters. Hence my question today. Are there still undecided voters? It appears to me the battle lines are drawn and there seem to be three camps. There are the two primary candidates and each side seems to feel the election of the other would be a total disaster for this nation. The third camp feels the proper thing to do is to vote for neither, not vote, or vote for a third party candidate and propose several options there. The battle continues to rage but as I look through these postings it has been a long time since I’ve seen anyone say “I’m still undecided.” If these rare birds do not exist then the battle is in vain, reduced from...

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Freelance writing

I did a lot of freelance writing before I worked as a literary agent for Hartline Literary agency. I published a lot of things; books, ghostwriting of three books for authors I don’t get to divulge, articles and short stories in magazines and anthologies, and blogs and online content. Further back all of my writing was business oriented with the writing I did as a 25 year career chamber of commerce executive; business books and articles, newspaper columns, tourism and that sort of thing. I even wrote poetry and greeting cards. I took two movie scripts and wrote the books that go with them. One, “Footprints” has the authors name on the book but he doesn’t mind if I take credit for the work that I did on it. That’s a great Christian movie. However, that means for 10-12 years I was busy being an agent and writing books so I wasn’t doing any freelance work. I haven’t forgotten how but there are a couple of problems; most of my writing clips are 10-12 years old, and I’ve got to start over on a lot of my contacts. There is an offset as I now know a lot of people in the publishing industry, so the first thing I did was reach out to them to tell them I was available to ghostwrite a project or do some freelance...

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Keeping my sanity

   Politics is making me crazy. This country is in serious trouble and there is little or nothing that I can do about it. I’m a life-long independent which used to mean I could vote for a democrat or a republican based on their qualifications and what they stood for. But the democratic party has gone socialist on me, with an avowed socialist and a lady with the worst track record I have ever seen but whose policies still amount to socialism being the front-runners. Oh, I know, they espouse “democratic socialism” which is completely new and different and I should give it a chance. Socialism has never worked in any country it has been tried and those who still have it, it is morphing away to a new economic system. But we are smarter than all these other countries and we can make it work where all these other countries have been unable to, right? I can’t believe all those, particularly our young people that are falling for that. The GOP is no better. I keep watching them doing things that are totally the opposite of what we sent them up there to do. It is very clear that they do not represent us and clearly think they know “what is best for us better than we do.” Casting a third party or independent vote would be totally...

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Ready to grow

Much of the time that I was spending as a literary agent is going to be spent in the yard, greenhouse and garden. Here in Amarillo we can’t plant outdoors until after Easter but our greenhouses were full to overflowing all winter. We moved the potted plants in there last year when it got down to freezing and they have thrived and bloomed all winter long. The big greenhouse is 16 x 24 and in addition to the potted plants has plenty of room for growing carrots, tomatoes, onions, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, cabbage, and a variety of herbs and spices. This is the third season for the small greenhouse, 6 x 10 and it is a hydroponic garden, no soil, but growing things in a clay pellet medium. The picture is an old one when I was setting the greenhouse up. A current picture would show it overflowing with collard greens, broccoli, celery and lettuce. They all thrive on the constant recirculating irrigation. The outdoor garden has more than doubled in size this year and we are going to try something new with it. I’ve been reading a lot about hay bale gardening. Rows of hay bales are set up, fertilized and prepared, then they are used as a grow medium to plant in. It raises the garden up a couple of feet off the ground to make...

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