Thursday, October 15, 2020

In the Garden with Loren Rhoads #inthegarden

When my husband and I bought our house in 1999, we promised to remodel the kitchen. Built in 1940, it was in remarkably good shape, but had very little cupboard or counter space. You couldn't cook inside the kitchen because the counters were too narrow to put down a cutting board.

When we finally remodeled the kitchen ten years later, I wanted a garden window. My plan was to grow herbs so that I would always have fresh herbs to cook with. The trouble was that we traveled so often that my plants didn't survive the neglect.

Once the pandemic started and it became clear we weren't going anywhere until there is a vaccine, I finally planted the kitchen garden I've always wanted. I started with lettuces, because we were always buying salad mixes that spoiled before we could eat all the way to the bottom. I saw the Click & Grow system advertised on Facebook, so I treated myself to a three-hole garden.

It's a pretty simple system. The seeds come pre-planted in dirt "pods." You drop a pod into a cup, cover it with a little plastic greenhouse dome, and "click" it into the garden. After the reservoir is full of water and the light is plugged in, it's a matter of standing back and waiting for things to grow. The LED light has a timer, so it comes on and shuts itself off without any fuss.

My issue originally with the system was that it took a couple of days for me to stop being blinded by its brightness. In addition to that, the reservoir has a float to let you know when it's time to add more water. My float sometimes sticks and doesn't sink the way it's supposed to. Once I figured out that I needed to pay more attention, it's less of a problem.

One of the things I didn't realize in the beginning is that even though the garden has three cups and the pods come in sets with three different plants, they intend for you to only grow one kind of plant at a time. The Green Salad Mix comes with romaine, arugula, and green sorrel, but you're supposed to grow all romaine, then all sorrel, then all arugula. I didn't do that. (That's what happens when you go by the photographs, rather than reading the instructions.) The arugula sprouted first and the sorrel took the longest, but eventually they all thrived.

Making my first salad from greens I'd grown myself was one of my proudest moments of the last six months.

Since I've been window gardening, I've tried to root things from the grocery store. Scallions are definitely the success of my "garbage garden." They grew really well in a jelly jar full of water in my garden window. The basil also rooted pretty well. It would probably do better if I'd stop harvesting it, but its leaves are so good on homemade pizza! I've had less success with celery. It's slowly growing new stalks, but hasn't really put out roots. I'm not convinced it will thrive if I transfer it from its jar of water into dirt.

My daughter drinks a lot of peppermint tea, so now I've started a calming tea set in my Click & Grow. It comes with peppermint, lemon balm, and holy basil, which I've liked in tea blends. Strangely enough, the peppermint is taking its time to come up, but the other two have gotten a good start.

Once my tea herbs are far enough along to transplant, I want to grow marjoram and thyme so I can jazz up homemade pizzas. I get so much pleasure out of cooking with things I've grown.
Is it worth the expense of a Click & Grow garden? It is for me. I've wanted a kitchen window garden for 20 years and the Click & Grow system finally encouraged me to start.

Unsafe Words

Loren Rhoads

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction,

Dark Fantasy Short Stories

Publisher: Automatism Press

Date of Publication: September 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1735187600


Number of pages: 174

Word Count: 55K

Cover Artist: Lynne Hansen

Tagline: Once you’ve done the most unforgivable thing, what will you do next?

Book Description:

In the first full-length collection of her edgy, award-winning short stories, Loren Rhoads punctures the boundaries between horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction in a maelstrom of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll.

Ghosts, succubi, naiads, vampires, the Wild Hunt, and the worst predator in the woods stalk these pages, alongside human monsters who follow their cravings past sanity or sense.

Amazon      BN

 Excerpt from "Here There Be Monsters" from Unsafe Words by Loren Rhoads

Something brushed her leg. Violet kept treading water, legs pedaling below her, but wondered: did the pool have leeches in it? Snapping turtles? Her thoughts darted into paranoia: were there sharks? Piranhas? Anything that might bite?

Not that it mattered. She would stay in this water and be gummed to death by goldfish rather than get out and take her chances with the mountain lion watching her from the side of the pool.

Whatever it was below her tangled in her toes. It felt for all the world like hair. Violet shuddered, losing her rhythm momentarily, but then forced her legs to scissor once more.

She peered down into the murky water. Something below her glowed an icy white color, like moonlight. Like the moon had fallen into the old swimming pool. The temperature of the water around her plummeted. A cramp knotted her left calf. Violet whimpered.

Her head dipped toward the surface of the water. Violet fought to calm herself, to hold herself up by the determined stroking of her arms. She tried to stretch the charley horse from her muscle.

Something very much like a hand touched her thigh.

She shrieked. The sound echoed from the hills surrounding the pool and repeated from the mountain peak on the other side of the valley.

The mountain lion narrowed her eyes and stared at Violet.

Then a girl’s voice said in her ear: “Don’t be afraid.”

Ice flooded her veins and Violet lost the ability to control her limbs. Her head slipped under the surface of the water and she took a breath…and something caught her in its arms and lifted her, coughing, back to the surface. And held her there, safely, until she could breathe again.

Violet’s heart fluttered in her chest, struggling to regain its rhythm. She could see arms around her ribs, holding her up in the water. They were a pale grayish white. Not a natural color. She wondered if it was possible to die of fear.

“Don’t be afraid of me,” the ghost said gently. “I won’t hurt you.”

“I’m afraid to look at you,” Violet whispered. She didn’t trust her own voice, didn’t want to hear the sound of her own terror.

“I’m not horrible,” the ghost promised.

“Did you drown here?”

“A long time ago.”

Violet swallowed hard. Her throat was sore from the water she’d inhaled. She coughed once more, but it didn’t really help. Tentatively, she started to dog paddle.

The ghost released her. Violet turned slowly, to find a girl her own age bobbing alongside her. Her long, long hair was blond, where Violet’s was dark. It was slicked to her skull and green with streaks of pondweed. Her eyes were pale blue, maybe, or green, where Violet’s were brown. The drowned girl wasn’t horrible, even if her skin had gone the color of something kept from sunlight for a long, long time.

“Are you alone here?” Violet asked. The quaver in her voice unnerved her even more, if that were possible. She swallowed again and tried to concentrate on her kicking.

“My boyfriend is here, too,” the ghost said. “He doesn’t like to talk to people.”

“Did you die together?”

“We thought it would be romantic,” the ghost said. “We didn’t realize we’d be trapped here. That’s why I don’t want you to die. You will be trapped here, too.”

“Why are you trapped?”

“A creature roams these woods. A monster. It is hungry for company. It collects us.”

“How many of you are there?” Violet asked, even though she didn’t want to know the answer.

“Lots,” the ghost said sadly. “Lots.”

“I don’t want to be trapped here,” Violet said, “but I don’t know how to get past the mountain lion.”

“There is no mountain lion,” the ghost said. “That’s the monster. It takes many forms.”


About the Author:

Loren Rhoads is the author of the In the Wake of the Templars space opera trilogy, co-author of a succubus/angel duology called As Above, So Below, and editor of Tales for the Camp Fire: An Anthology Benefiting Wildfire Relief. She's also the author of a nonfiction travel guide called 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die. Unsafe Words is the first full-length collection of her short stories.

Newsletter sign-up:




Facebook author page:






a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

Loren Rhoads said...

Thank you so much for letting me write about my garden!