Do you start all of your plants from seeds yourself, or do you have any that you've purchased already started? What are all the plants you have in your garden?
Thank you for the questions! I LOVE talking about gardening :D
Before about 2 years ago, I used to just put seeds in the ground right around Easter or early May. Some would take & some wouldn’t & throughout the season, I would buy plant starts from garden nurseries once they went on sale.
Last year, having a much bigger garden to work with, I decided to start seeds indoors, beginning around February/March. I think some of the starts didn’t transplant all that well, but others did really well. Then, I also planted seeds out in the soil in early spring. Then, I would fill in the holes in the garden as the season progressed. There are lots of cool charts to help you figure out when to start inside or when to plant outdoors, once you know your zone. We’re in zone 8. The zones let you know how long your growing seasons is & that helps you pick veggies that will have enough time to produce.
This year, I started the following seeds indoors on the last day of January:
onions, cauliflower (haven’t grown successfully yet), cabbage, radish (these grow quickly, so you don’t really need to start them indoors), lima beans, cucumbers, cilantro, jalapeno, peas, green beans, tomato, eggplant (first attempt), celery, okra (I’m on a mission but no luck yet), sunflowers, broccoli, cantaloupe (first attempt), pumpkin (first attempt), parsnips (no success yet, but trying again), bell pepper & garlic.
Then, there are things that are already in the garden that come back each year: raspberry (regular & golden), artichokes, strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, ground cherries, apple & cherry trees, hazelnut tree, valerian, tarragon, mint, sage, rosemary, kale (leftover from last year & keeps all winter in the garden) & I’m going to check for any more root veggies — like carrots, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas – before I add in fresh compost. Then, I’ll be ready to start transplanting some cooler crops & even putting out seeds for snap peas, radishes, cilantro, beans & so on.
So, I would say to start playing around with seeds in a sunny spot in your house a couple of months before spring & then you can kind of get a feel for how quick certain things grow. Start with your favorite vegetables that would save you money at the grocery store, for example. Some things can be grown in containers & do great because you can move them outdoors when it gets warmer. I think I’m trying my garlic, jalapeno, eggplant & okra in pots so that I can mimic a longer growing season that they need.
My husband & I used to joke that we were Faith Gardeners. We just threw the seeds in the ground & just waited to see what would would work. I’ve gotten a little bit more methodical in the past couple of years, but I still have that Just Try & See sort of mentality. Plants want to survive & thrive & will do so in many conditions – even if you don’t know your soil type or if you get the full sun/part shade things just perfect. Let me know if you have any other questions & thank you for letting me talk about gardening :D
Jacin’s posture becomes rigid in the lunar palace, his attitude colder than usual. Winter and Cinder don’t think he realizes he’s doing it. Cinder has passed laws so that thaumaturges cannot hurt people or control them against their will, but every time a thaumaturge is nearby, Jacin shoves his weapons in one of his friends’ hands. Even now, he cannot trust himself not to hurt someone he cares about.
Winter has days when she is scared to touch Jacin. Her hands hesitate over his shoulder, she stands farther from him than usual. She knows he has no reason to reject her, with the war over and Levana gone, but she can’t help but be afraid that he will. Winter doesn’t think she could handle it if he brushes her off, if he pushes her away again. Sometimes she feels like she’s just waiting for him to shut her out for good.
Thorne hates having his eyes covered, hates the feeling of blind darkness. He pulls his shirts over his head as fast as he can, and has to force himself to keep his eyes shut at night. On his birthday, Cress tells him to cover his eyes with a bandana she gives him. Thorne flinches away, telling her quietly, “I… I don’t really like not being able to see, since the desert. Can we do something else instead?”
Cress can’t stand isolation. She hates being alone in her empty room, and cannot fall asleep by surrounded by silence and emptiness. Being inside and alone is even worse-sometimes Cress will wake up in her room, thinking she is back in that horrible empty satelite, cut off from the world. She doesn’t want to be clingy, to suffocate Thorne and her friends, so she says nothing, letting her fear rise when her door closes.
Wolf has always hated doctors and needles, but after his second surgery, it’s become much worse. He no longer travels on trains and ships to avoid having to give blood samples, and he refuses to go with Scarlet to the doctors office. After a while, he agrees to let Jacin give him check-ups every six months, but he refuses to see any other doctors. Every time Jacin has to give him a shot, he can’t stop shaking for hours after.
Scarlet has stopped putting her chickens in a pen, letting them roam freely instead. When she and Wolf do renovations on the farmhouse, the first thing she does is rip out the iron trellises over the windows, the ones that make her feel trapped, that remind her of prison bars. Winter schedules one of the Rampion crew reunions to be a day trip to a local zoo. Scarlet pretends to be sick that day. She just can’t stand to see the cages.
Kai refuses to keep guards around his bedroom. He never locks the doors in the offices in the palace, and only allows Torin to own copies of his keys. Despite lots of outrage from his staff (and later, the press), Kai refuses to carry an ID chip anywhere on his person. Levana is dead and gone, and can no longer control him. Kai doesn’t care. It may be irrational, but he never wants to feel like a prisoner in his own home again.
Iko can’t be out of her body. She clings to it, despite how illogical it is, despite the fact that newer, better versions are becoming available to her all the time. Beauty matters less to her now-she’ll gladly accept physical flaws if she can say that they belong to her. Without a physical body she can call her own, Iko finds herself questioning her identity, doubting her humanity… She’ll take a few dull wires over an existential crisis any day.
Cinder has days when she’s scared to speak. She has days when her voice feels like a loaded gun, her finger perpetually caught on the trigger. With her voice, she could control all of the people she loves. She could kill people. She could turn into a tyrant, like her mother, like her aunt. With her voice, she could make a choice, an order, that might hurt people, unleash oppression, or start a war, and to Cinder, that’s even scarier.
They survived a war. They survived being criminals, being leaders, being fugitives, being soldiers, being prisoners. And they are okay, for the most part. They are. But there are some things that stay with you, no matter what. And the survivors are the ones who have to deal with the aftermath.
How much land do you really need to be self sufficient?
With a world food crisis, drought and civil unrest over escalating food prices, around the world, we all have concerns about food security and the ability to feed our own families. An info-graphic is circulating the internet that tells us that we need a full 2 acres to be self sufficient in food on a omnivore diet, implying less land if one is vegan. The problem with a graphic like this is that it discourages experimentation, and assumes a one-size-fits all family eating style. It uses yield estimates taken from mono-cultural commercial agriculture and imposes them on the homestead. This discourages people who want to attempt to be self sufficient and live a more sustainable life. 2 acres is a substantial investment in a highly productive agricultural belt or near an urban area. And this info-graphic assumes highly productive land — expensive land.
So is 2 acres a reasonable estimate? That depends where you live and what you mean by “self-sufficiency”. When Canada was being divided up in homesteading grids — it was assumed that on the Prairies an average family would need a section of land (over 1,000 acres) to be self-sufficient. In those days, self-sufficient meant to survive to the next year, without grocery stores to fall back on. In Ontario and B.C. the amount of land necessary to feed and cloth a family was considered a ¼ section — 160 acres. That area provided water, food, energy, and a livelihood. Along the St. Laurence and in the Maritimes the amount of land needed was less — due to the proximity of fishing and water. The closer one is to fresh water, whether a stream or through rainfall, the less land that is necessary to sustain a family.
Those in the North or at higher elevations need more land to be self-sufficient. Its hard to grow food — other than livestock and hay — in a growing season that’s shortened by intermittent summer frost. But it can be done. Land in these areas is cheaper, too. You will need 5 to 15 acres to be productive in a Northern area and you will have more land dedicated to raising livestock and hay and less land dedicated to vegetables and fruit.
How much land do you need?
So what’s a reasonable estimate for how much land you really need to sustain your family?
Skip the 2,000 square foot house. Its unnecessary. A smaller footprint that builds upward is a better use of space, and is easier to heat and clean. Solar panels? Possibly if you are far enough south and have a good exposure. Wind? Micro-hydro? Methane? Wood? All are possibilities to explore for energy efficiency. Each property has to be assessed individually. There is no one-size-fits-all solution — except the grid. Cut the house footprint in half.
Livestock? Skip the pigs — they produce only meat and take up valuable space. Skip the corn unless you live in the South, where your summer has the heat value to ripen corn easily. The livestock doesn’t need it and its low on food value — 2 goats and 5 chickens can live on garden surplus, grass and weeds. 5 chickens will feed a family 2 dozen eggs a week in the peak laying season. They don’t need their own dedicated space. Put them in a movable chicken tractor and let them till the garden, eating bugs and weeds. Move them every morning during the growing season and it will improve your soil quality, too.
Goats can be housed in a shed near the house, a lean to onto the house or even the back of the garage. They only need a small bedding area and can be taken for walks in the hedgerows of your neighbourhood to feed on browse. They can be given a loafing area or be tethered in different spots around the yard to help keep down weeds. Protect them from stray dogs and predators and they will give you 8 to 10 years of the highest quality raw milk for drinking, cheese, yogourt and ice-cream. They can be fed with garden waste. Or share your field peas and produce with them, in exchange for their milk. Their manure will increase the fertility of the garden space. 2 full size dairy goats will give your family a gallon of milk a day and 3 kids for 90 lbs. of meat every fall. Live in an urban area? Invest in Nigerian Dwarf goats and half the production rates, as well as the food inputs.
Instead of corn in cooler regions, grow potatoes. They offer more calories and can be grown in more climates and take up less space. You can follow a crop of potatoes with kale for a longer harvest season, even in a colder climate.
Don’t forget the orchard
Fruit and nut trees are a must. Nut trees take a while to mature but the increase in protein is beneficial to you, and your livestock — plant them if you have the space. Dwarf fruit trees will grow on a 6 foot centre and can be trellised along a fence to increase yields per space. If space is at a premium, do consider trellising them — planting 6 feet apart in a one foot wide row. One dwarf tree will yield 75 lbs. of fruit, once it is mature. 10 trees trellised along a fence with a Southern exposure, blossom sooner in spring and have an extended growing season, and will give you enough fruit for a family for jamming, canning and preserving.
Berries and small fruits take up little space and can offer high vitamins and antioxidants to your diet. If wild roses and wild strawberries grow in your area than other berries will as well.
Sunflowers are an annual crop that provide an increase in protein for your diet, and can grow on the borders of the garden, taking up very little space.
Raised beds for vegetables
Vegetables, grown in raised beds or containers, give high yields and can be rotated for 3 season gardening — greens from spinach to lettuce to kale can rotate through the growing season to keep your plate full for daily salads and vegetables. We grow all the greens we need in about 20 square feet this way. Other vegetables, like cabbage, beans, carrots and beets, need a full growing season but can be inter-cropped with flowers and herbs to feed bees, and provide medicinal plants for the family first aid kit. With raised bed gardening you could cut down the vegetable area square footage by ½ to 2/3rds Add a greenhouse and train vines to grow up instead of out and you can increase the growing season and the yields in the available space.
Community is essential
This chart fails to take into account the sharing that inevitably happens between gardeners — zucchinis, squash, lettuces and other prolific growers provide a bountiful harvest that many families can share, at the peak of the growing season.
Rabbits? Chickens? Ducks?
Put in some rabbit hutches – Each rabbit needs 2 feet by 3 ft. space. You can give them a grass run and build rabbit condos that offer them a wonderful, natural lifestyle. 3 female french angora rabbits and 1 male will provide your family with a meal of rabbit meat once a week and enough angora to keep your family in mittens and hats for the winter. They will eat your garden surplus, and grass hay. In Europe, during WWII, families with back yard rabbits would make hay by harvesting the grass from vacant lots and roadsides all summer. And they make affectionate pets, too. Are we eating our pets? No, as a farmer you make pets out of the breeding animals and give the best possible life and respect to the young that end up on your plate.
You don’t need meat every day, but you do need high quality protein every day and this kind of gardening will give you that.
Consider planting field peas for increased protein. Field peas increase the fertility of the soil and the crop is ready to harvest in August when the ground can be cleared and a second crop can be planted of either peas or a winter vegetables. The straw from peas is relished by goats and rabbits.
Consider the addition of an aquaponics greenhouse in the vegetable growing area. This will yield fish fertilizer, vegetables, and fish for a well rounded diet for you and your garden — along with year round vegetables. Add a methane digester and you can supply some of your own energy needs as well. If you can grow meat and vegetables year round, you reduce your dependence on a freezer, which lowers your electrical needs.
My estimate is that in a highly productive area with adequate rainfall, the average family could raise all their food needs on 1 acre of land. Many did just this during WWII with just a large city lot, by walking their goats and moving their chickens around the vegetable garden. The key to making this work is to eat what you can grow in your climate — using heritage seeds that are adapted to your growing conditions. With more land — 5 acres — you can move from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture and begin to make some money from your productivity.
If you have more land, grow more food and expand your self sufficiency. But if you only have a balcony in a city apartment, grow where you are planted. And start in a small way to be more sufficient now. On the Joybilee Farm Facebook Page, I post periodic links to urban agricultural projects to inspire your urban efforts for self sufficiency.
One of my favorite resources for urban farm is the Urban Farm Guys. Their videos are practical step-by-step guidelines to help you harvest more food from a small amount of land. –joybileefarm.com
Picture Scanlan, grieving and angry and clever, drowning himself in legend and lore. Picture him walking just a little bit farther the day he should’ve met Dr. Dranzel, instead listening in on a whispered conversation in a tavern. Hearing a name.
It’s not quite a Deal, he thinks, or maybe it’s not quite a Pact. Capital letters make him nervous. But in the name there’s vengeance and a promise and a distant glimmering point to all this, and he slips charming and effortless into the service of a being that he’s not entirely sure exists… except. Except he’s quicker with his hands than he used to be, except the people he meets are discomfited and distant, except the dreams that torment him have a habit of leaking.
He’s a lover, not a fighter, but there’s something burning in his blood and he says, “It’ll be worth it.” He says, “This has to be better.”
Picture the twins, unwanted, unwelcome, under the roof and the thumb of a father who sees the strangeness in them and wants it near because it’s his. Picture a studious Vex stoking her gift for performance, for illusion, weaving tapestries of lies and half-truths. Picture a silent Vax finding solace in the forms of the creatures that lurk in the city’s shadows, championing a neglected and distasteful wilderness.
Vex sings, sometimes, to ground herself, to distract, but it’s the words, the stories, the tales that hold the real power. All the world’s a stage, she thinks, and you can get so very far with a good performance. In stories, you are whatever you say.
Vax shifts, takes new form, reinvents himself as rats and alley cats and silent bats, perches as a mangy crow on the finely trellised architecture and watches and waits for his chance, one more opportunistic scavenger.
After they run, he braids her hair and he tells her, “I don’t know what we’re doing anymore,” and she tells him, “But this isn’t how the story ends.”
Picture Percy, idle and bored, neglecting his family’s religious training to tinker with machines and ideas without purpose. Picture the night he starts to turn back as his sister falls to the arrows, feeling the flare of warmth in the holy symbol over his heart. Picture him running all the same.
When he comes back to himself, gradually, on a fishing boat surrounded by strangers, every time he reaches to heal a wound or cure an illness, there’s a distance to the familiar magic, a distortion. He can’t seem to keep warm. He can’t seem to remember how it used to be. He doesn’t dream, not anymore. He doesn’t build.
He reaches for his holy symbol, expecting it to crack or shatter, and he says, “I’m still here.” He says, “I don’t understand why.”
Picture Keyleth, idyllic and carefree in the knowledge that she doesn’t possess the druidic abilities so valued by her people. Picture her discovery of a sudden surge of magic, a talent and a spark that’s not quite right. Picture her father poorly concealing disappointment and distress at this fluke of birth, this arcane, uncontrolled magic that tears at the fabric between planes instead of mending.
She’s strong, she knows, and there’s really no reason to expect she won’t be able to help her people with her newfound abilities. There’s really no reason why she shouldn’t be able to succeed her father, to follow in the fading footsteps of her mother. Just because the magic’s wrong doesn’t mean she is. She can save them all if they’ll only give her a chance.
She reaches for the power, the wilderness in her mind, and she says, “I can do this,” and, with a frustration and a longing that frightens her sometimes, “I will do this.”
Picture Pike Trickfoot, unrepentant prankster, falling thoughtlessly into the worst of the habits that earned her family their name. Picture Wilhand taking her under his wing, trying in vain to draw Sarenrae’s attention to this too-clever, quick-fingered girl.
She steals away in silence to the city limits, watching the stars from the ramparts, wondering at the silence in her mind, knowing she should feel the emptiness as a void, knowing she should want more. But there’s a comfort and a safety in the shadows, and besides, she doesn’t especially want anybody shining a light in all her dark places.
She steals a merchant’s purse just to prove she can, grinning at Wilhand’s exasperated groan, and she tells him, “It’s all right.” She says, “I’ve always been a bit of a monster.”
Picture Grog, nearly dying for the act of saving Wilhand because it was the right thing, because there should be glory in battle and that wasn’t by any means glorious. Picture Wilhand’s surprise when his frantic prayers for healing are met with a warm sense of amusement and familiarity.
And look, it’s not like Grog has ever been the religious sort, but he’s pretty good at sticking up for people and he knows a thing or two about redemption and second chances. So sure, he’s not good all the time, he fucks up more than he should and has to deal with the disapproval of a deity, but honestly that’s not nearly as scary as the disapproval of Pike, so he’s getting better at it. He’s trying.
His big fuck-off sword glows when he thinks about new beginnings, and he says, “Sometimes you get to choose.”
Stiles drags himself up to his room, feet heavy on the
stairs. He’d thought, now that summer was starting, he’d have a better chance.
With all this free time, surely someone would let him take them on one date. But he’d been turned down time
and time again.
So he’s back at his dad’s place, and it seems even less
likely that he’ll find someone, now that he’s away from campus.
Patton pulled into the
parking lot of his new place of employment and sat for a moment, just taking it
all in. He was quite a bit early, but he’d been nervous about it. At first
glance yesterday, he’d thought it was just the small shop, but now that he was
really looking, this place was MASSIVE. He hadn’t realized how big an operation
Logan was running, and just by himself?! The man must never sleep.
Summary: You’re the princess of a small but wealthy country. Your father gives you an ultimatum that you can’t refuse, but you’re determined to enjoy your last day or freedom.
Pairing: Bucky x Princess!Reader
Word Count: ~8,605
Warnings: angst, abuse (emotional and physical), fluff, NOT LANGUAGE GUYS I WROTE A FIC WITHOUT SWEARING IT’S A MIRACLE
A/N: I know I haven’t posted something in a little while. I’ve been working on a couple of things I really hope you’ll enjoy <3
I don’t really like Cinderella. I don’t think falling in love in the span of a day or so is realistic. But I loved the idea of Bucky singing Disney princess songs, so here we are and Cinderella is undeniably a classic (Wanda and Steve are 100% fairy god parents). I couldn’t figure out what to name it for the longest damn time so I got lazy with it.
You knew that when your father, the King, summoned you, whatever he had to say wasn’t going to be pleasant. You’d been dodging suitors and making excuses for being unable to meet eligible foreign dignitaries for years, and it was only a matter of time until your father had had enough.
“You will show up to the ball. You will choose a suitor from the bachelors invited. And you will do your duty as this country’s princess,” your father said forcefully, eyeing you angrily from his spot on the other side of his study’s extravagant desk.
You weren’t going to give into your father’s demands. There was no way you’d sell yourself to the highest bidder; you’d met enough Lords to know they were all power-hungry sharks just looking for a chance at the crown matrimonial.
You had to put up some show of resistance, or he’d suspect you were up to something.
“Father, I am not some pawn to be cast off as you see fit! I am my own woman and I can rule this country on my own!” you said defiantly. “I have been tutored on how to best lead this country
from the moment I learned how to speak! I alone can-”
Spoilers. 10/10 recommend. Also there’s a huge spoiler at the end end of the book. *evil cackles* Seriously. Read it. REEEEAD IT. NOW FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE::
- Perhaps when my task here was done, I’d burn this manor to the ground, too. Starting with those roses.
- But it was the vines—the thorns—that had made it unlivable. My old bedroom had been overrun with them. They’d curved and slithered over the walls, entwined themselves amongst the debris. As if they’d crawled off the trellises beneath my windows, as if a hundred years had passed and not months.
- To see Ianthe. And at last decide how I was going to shred her into pieces.
- Healing. Alive and healing. I reminded myself of that every day. Even when I still heard their screams, smelled their blood.
- That was my first step: make Tamlin believe, truly believe, that I loved him and this place, and everyone in it. So that he would not suspect when I turned them on each other.
- Not to demand the whereabouts of the two sets of wings his father had kept as trophies after he’d butchered Rhysand’s mother and sister.
- I let my glow spread, until it, too, rippled from Lucien’s bowed form. A knight before his queen.
- I was the nightmare. Preying on what Tamlin had feared from my very first days here. I had not forgotten that long-ago fight he’d picked with Lucien. The warning he’d given him to stop flirting with me. To stay away. The fear that I’d preferred the red-haired lord over him
- “What have you done,” Lucien breathed, and Tamlin’s face was the picture of devastation as Lucien shoved him aside.
- And if I could have painted that moment, I would have named it A Portrait in Snares and Baiting.
- Alis squeezed my hand. “Blood rubies or no, you will always have one friend in the Summer Court.” My throat bobbed. “And you will always have one in mine,” I promised her. She knew which court I meant. And did not look afraid.
- “I’m going with you,” he said again, face splattered with blood as bright as his hair. “I’m getting my mate back.” There was no time for this argument. For the truth and debate and the answers I saw he desperately wanted. Tamlin and the others would have heard the shouting by now. “Don’t make me regret this,” I told him.
- Cassian had taught me to always have a second escape route. Always.
- “But I think letting his court collapse around him is a better punishment. Certainly longer than an easy death.”
- “Tell me about her—about Elain,” Lucien said quietly.
- Closer and closer to the shore, to the awaiting party of sentries that winnowed in out of nowhere. No, no, no—A shadow slammed into the earth before us, cracking the ice toward every horizon. Not a shadow. An Illyrian warrior.
- “There’s no such thing as a High Lady,” one of Lucien’s brothers spat. A faint smile played on my mouth. “There is now.” And it was time for the world to know it.
- And as those violet eyes met mine, as that familiar half smile faded … My face crumpled. A small, broken noise cracked from me. Rhys was instantly moving, but my legs had already given out. The foyer carpet cushioned the impact as I sank to my knees. I covered my face with my hands while the past month crashed into me. Rhys knelt before me, knee to knee.
- Lucien said nothing while Rhys spoke. Or when I continued with my tale, Cassian often chiming in with his own account of how it’d been to live with two mated-yet-un-mated people, to pretend Rhys wasn’t courting me, to welcome me into their little circle.
- “And you love him. And he—he truly does love you.” Lucien dragged a hand through his red hair. “And all these people I have spent my centuries hating, even fearing … They are your family.” “I think Amren would probably deny that she feels any affection for us—” “Amren is a bedtime story they told us as younglings to make us behave. Amren was who would drink my blood and carry me to hell if I acted out of line. And yet there she was, acting more like a cranky old aunt than anything.”
- “I hadn’t realized I was a villain in your narrative,” Lucien breathed.
- “As far as I can recall, Cassian,” Rhys countered drily, “you actually said you needed a reprieve from staring at our ugly faces, and that some ladies would add some much-needed prettiness for you to look at all day.” “Pig,” Amren said.
- “I’ll never forget it, you know,” he said, blowing out a breath. “The moment when he spoke to us all, mind to mind. When I realized what was happening, and that … he’d saved us. Trapped us here and tied our hands, but …”
- “Why should I be scared of an oversized bat who likes to throw temper tantrums?”
- Again, that dry, quiet smile. “Why do you think Illyrians are so fit?” “Why did no one warn me about this cocky side of yours?” Azriel’s mouth twitched upward.
- “Nesta,” the Bone Carver murmured. “Nes-ta.” I squeezed Cassian’s hand. Enough. It was enough of this teasing and taunting. But he didn’t look at me. “How the wind moans her name. Can you hear it, too? Nesta. Nesta. Nesta.” I wasn’t sure Cassian was breathing.
- But Rhys rubbed his jaw, weighing, thinking. Then he said simply, “Only Nesta would not just conquer Death—but pillage it.”
- They outright gasped as Rhys simply perched on the arm of the throne, smirked at me, and said to the Court of Nightmares, “Bow.” For they had not. And with me seated on that throne … Their faces were still a mixture of shock and disdain as they all dropped to their knees.
- Cassian was halfway to Mor when she whirled on Rhys and said, “Why?” Her voice broke. And something in my chest cracked, too, at the tears that began running down her face.
- Cassian casually slid Nesta behind him, his fingers snagging in the skirts of her black gown. As if to reassure himself that she wasn’t in Amren’s direct path. Nesta only rose onto her toes to peer over his shoulder.
- Elain was staring at the spymaster now—unblinkingly. “We’re the ones who need …” Azriel trailed off. “A seer,” he said, more to himself than us. “The Cauldron made you a seer.”
- I caught Cassian glancing at me for the third time in less than a minute and demanded, “What?” His lips twitched at the corners. “You just look so …” “Here we go,” Mor muttered from where she picked at her red-tinted nails against the stair banister.
- “Welcome to the court,” he said to her. “You’re about to have one hell of a first day.” And to my eternal shock, a smile tugged at Nesta’s mouth.
- as Kallias opened his mouth—And then my friend squealed. Squealed. Both females hurtled for each other, and Mor’s squeal had turned to a quiet sob as she flung her arms around the slender stranger and hugged her tight. The female’s own arms were shaking as she gripped Mor.
- VIVIANE IS BADASS
- “She is Fae.” “No shit,” Viviane muttered under her breath, and Mor’s snort was cut off as Kallias raised his brows at them. Helion ignored them.
- “I rescind the blood rubies. Let there be no debts between us.” “Don’t expect Amren to return hers,” Cassian muttered. “She’s grown attached to it.” I could have sworn a smile tugged on Varian’s mouth.
- But Viviane nodded, chin high, and rose. “I will fight with you.” Cresseida stood a heartbeat later. “As will I.” Both of them looked to the males in their court. Tarquin and Kallias rose. Then Helion, smirking at me and Rhys. And finally Thesan—
- I let my gaze dart through the room, half paying attention to Helion’s musing on the wall and how to repair it, then dared study the High Lord for a heartbeat. Look at him. The nose is the same, the smile. The voice. Even Lucien’s skin is darker than his brothers’.
- Nesta was watching me carefully. I admitted to her, “Sometimes … I have problems with small spaces.” “I can’t get into a bathtub anymore. I have to use buckets.” I hadn’t known—hadn’t even thought that bathing, submerging in water…“ Nesta said.
- Nesta stepped forward. Then another step. And another. Until she was in front of Graysen, faster than anyone could see. Until Nesta smacked him hard enough that his head snapped to the side. “You never deserved her,” Nesta snarled into the stunned silence as Graysen cupped his face and swore, bending over. Nesta only looked back at me.
- Run, the Suriel mouthed once more, blood dribbling past its withered lips. That was pain in its eyes. Real pain, as mortal as any creature. And if Ianthe took it alive to Hybern … The Suriel knew it was a possibility. It had begged me for freedom once … yet it was willing to be taken. For me to run. Its milky eyes narrowed—in pain and understanding. Yes, it seemed to say. Go.
- Amren found me within twenty steps, a wrapped bundle in her arms. “Every time you lot leave me at home, someone manages to get gutted.”
- Amren and Varian didn’t even bother to join us. No, she’d just wrapped her legs around his waist, right there in front of us, and he’d stood, lifting her in one swift movement. I wasn’t entirely sure how Varian managed to walk them out of the tent while still kissing her, Amren’s hands dragging through his hair, letting out noises that were unnervingly like purring as they vanished into the camp.
- “I CAN’T love him like that.” “Why?” “Because I prefer females.”
- “What?” she asked, coming to my side. “I was just thinking,” I said, smile growing, “that whenever you’re ready … I was thinking about how much fun I’m going to have playing matchmaker for you.”
- And then Nesta began screaming. Not in pain. But a name. Over and over. “CASSIAN.” Amren reached for her, but Nesta roared, “CASSIAN!” She scrambled to her feet, as if she’d leap into the skies.
- “He named his three personal ships after them,” Drakon said with a smile. And there, sailing at the front … I beheld the names of those ships. The Feyre. The Elain. And leading the charge against Hybern, flying over the waves, unyielding and without an ounce of fear … The Nesta. With my father … our father at the helm.
- The talons came first. Replacing fingers and feet. Then dark scales or perhaps feathers, I couldn’t get a look at them, covered his legs, his arms, his chest. His body contorted, bones and muscles growing and shifting. The beast form Rhys had kept hidden. Never liked to unleash.
- threw herself to her knees before Cassian. “Get up,” she sobbed, hauling at his shoulder. “Get up.” He tried—and failed. “You’re too heavy,” she pleaded, but still tried to raise him, fingers scrabbling in his black, bloodied armor. “I can’t—he’s coming—”
- Nesta didn’t stop him as he leaned up and kissed her—lightly. As much as he could manage. Cassian said softly, brushing away the tear that streaked down her face, “I will find you again in the next world—the next life. And we will have that time. I promise.”
- “Don’t you touch my sister.”
- Rhys’s face was battered—bloody. His hands were still tipped in talons, his canines still elongated. Barely out of that beast form. “You—you freed her—” He was stammering. Shaking. I wasn’t entirely sure how he was even standing.
- It took me a moment to grasp it. What I saw. Rhys was sprawled on the rocky ground, wings draped behind him. He looked like he was sleeping. But as I breathed in—It wasn’t there. That thing that rose and fell with each breath. That echoed each heartbeat. The mating bond. It wasn’t there. It was gone. Because his own chest … it was not moving. And Rhys was dead.
- “Be happy, Feyre.” Tamlin said quietly.
- “Someone fish out dear Amren before she catches a cold.”
- “Hasn’t anyone told you? You’re disgustingly rich.” “Just because I have money doesn’t mean I need to spend it.” He squeezed my knee. “Good. We need someone with a head for money around here. I’ve been bleeding out gold left and right thanks to our Court of Dreams taking advantage of my ridiculous generosity.”
- A gift. All of it.
- There are more tales to be told in the land of Prythian … THE SERIES WILL CONTINUE IN 2018
With her hands out in front of her like this, and his hands covering her eyes, she was placing a hell of a lot of trust in her new husband. As he led her to their destination, her stomach curled in anticipation. She has no idea where they were going, only that it was deep in the woods outside of Magnolia.
“Gajeel, could you please just tell me where we’re going? You know how much I hate surprises…” The plea left her lips for the umpteenth time, even though she knew they were falling on deaf ears.
“Nope, not when we’re just a few seconds away,” he chuckled. His chest was warm and firm behind her, the starched fabric of his white button-down much rougher than his normal clothes.
“Then why can’t you just let me see whatever is here if we’re as close as you say?”
He was quiet for a few moments as they kept moving forward. Then he slowed them down to a stop. “Shrimp, I’m gonna need you to do me a favor,” he murmured, bending down to place his lips by her ear. “I’m gonna take off my hands, but you gotta keep your eyes closed for a sec. There’s somethin’ I gotta do before you see it.”
With a short nod, Levy made shore to keep her eyes closed as she heard Gajeel moving away to fiddle with something. She stood there, shifting from foot to foot in anticipation. They were really married, after two years… tonight, they would spend their first night together as Mr. and Mrs. Redfox… She was so excited she almost couldn’t contain it.
Hearing his footsteps approaching over the leaves on the ground, she felt Gajeel take her hands in his. “Alright Levy, open your eyes…” he whispered with a kiss to her forehead.
Slowly cracking her eyes open, she was greater with a warm glow that illuminated a little clearing in the woods. The warm light was a welcome change to the nighttime forest they’d come through to get there.
But what she was more focused on was the small building emitting the glow. It was a little cottage, like one from all the fairytales she still loved to read. With a peaked roof and window shutters and a moss-coated roof, she felt tears stinging her eyes as she took it all in. Fairy lights were strung up and down the walls through rose trellises that went from the ground to the roof, and the lights in the windows, along with the slight stream of smoke coming from the chimney, each completed the fairytale house.
Turning her star struck gaze to her husband, she took a step toward him. “G-Gajeel… how…when did you….”
“I found it when I was hiking one day with Lily on our day off. We tracked down the previous owner’s grandson, and purchased it. Ever since, I’ve been sneaking away to come clean it up and get it ready till I could finally make you my wife…” His voice trailed off as he released her hands. His fingers trailed up her arms, over her shoulders, making their way to stop beneath her chin. “I want my life with you to be just like one of your fairytales, so I figured this was a decent place to start…” His voice was no more than a whisper.
“Oh Gajeel, you would’ve been a fairytale anyway,” she gave a teary-eyed giggle as her arms wound around his neck. Their foreheads were brought together, and she closed her eyes to revel in the tender moment.
It was interrupted slightly, however, when she was suddenly swept off her feet. Gasping quietly, she gave Gajeel a curious look. “Well, I think there’s some tradition where the groom carries the bride over the threshold on their wedding night, is there not?” He grinned lovingly at the blunette in his arms as a faint blush dusted her cheeks.
“I suppose so…” she admitted, before burying her face in his neck. His heady scent took over her senses as he began to walk, strong arms holding her slight frame with ease. Looking up just as he moved to open the door, she allowed herself another gasp.
The inside was warm and well-lit, and the woodwork of the walls and floor was exquisite. To the right was a little kitchen a dinning setup, and to the left was a large sitting room with a sofa, love seat, and two chairs around an impressive wood table. The walls were lined in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves wherever there weren’t windows, and she knew they were for her vast library of works. On one wall, a small fireplace was lit with a low-burning fire that set the whole room dancing with its light.
However, upon entering, Gajeel walked straight down a short hallway to a bedroom. The bedroom, to be specific. A large walk in closet was on the left wall, along with the entrance to a master bathroom. A window seat was placed in the bay window on the right wall. And on the back wall was one of the largest beds Levy had ever seen.
Granted, if Gajeel were to fit, any bed would have to be bigger than usual. But this bed could fit two of him, and probably fairly comfortably. The cream duvet was complimented by crimson silk sheets that looked like they could be woven from pure sin. The amount of pillows piled onto the head of the mattress was more than any normal person would have, but after spending so much time with him, Levy had grown accustomed to the nests he tended to build. She took in a shaky breath, hands playing anxiously with hair on the nape of Gajeel’s neck as he paused in the doorway.
“Do you like it Levy?” He asked hesitantly, making her turn her head to look at him. He had slight worry painted out on that angular face of his, and it brought a smile to Levy’s lips. Running one hand over his jawline, she stopped at his chin to tip his head down slightly.
“It’s stunning,” she murmured, before tugging him down a bit to press her lips to his.
After a moment, he broke the kiss to look down at her. “I’m just sorry we couldn’t afford to take a trip for our honeymoon. I would’ve loved to go somewhere new with you…”
“Gajeel, I couldn’t care less if we could only afford to stay in the guildhall. As long as I’m with you, it’s worth it…” With that, Levy placed both arms around his neck, then used the support to swing one leg around his body so they were wrapped around his waist. His hands gripped her upper thighs and she leaned in to kiss him once again.
He nodded slightly into the kiss, before taking several steps forward until he reached the bed. He slowly bent down so he could place her gently atop the creamy fabric on the mattress, where she broke the kiss this time.
“I love you so much Gajeel, thank you for all of this,” she whispered, running her fingers over his cheek.
“I should be thanking you,” he chuckled. At her slightly befuddled look, he clarified. “For giving me your love, even when I’m definitely not the most deserving of it in the first place. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, Levy. And I’m going to make sure I cherish you like the treasure you are.”
Levy learned two things that night:
1.) Red silk sheets are sin incarnate
2.) Dragons always keep their greatest treasures deepest in their nests.
he didn’t ever make her whole, but he was what her mama wanted, and i was everything her father was scared of. the first time she met me she looked me deep in the eyes and said, “you’re real, aren’t you?” and i sort of understood because people these days were plastic and we were just like them sometimes and i sat beside her and said, “yeah,” and heard her sob sob sob while she blurted out that she’s never fucking sure anymore
and in the late late night we would sit together on her bed and we talk about our childhoods, hers spent in dresses that felt like nooses, mine spent hiding from monsters in my head. we would fall asleep with our hands touching and our hair undone and lock the doors and say “you’re real, aren’t you?” every so often and i don’t think we meant to be friends but we were.
and one day i saw her with the boy who would be prince because he was a fucking stunner and he brought a smile to her lips all i could think was oh oh no oh no and in the late late night we went out into the rose thickets and she picked one and put it in my hair and i said, “do you love him” and she couldn’t answer she couldn’t
and her hips were like the rolling ocean and her throat was the white of the moon and her eyes were the blue of skies right at the height of noon and her lips always held onto words like they were poison and when she read my poetry it always felt like i was being touched all over my body and when she sang for me i forgot all my sorrow and we were two colliding star systems with no friction to stop us - i was at proms and parties and breakfasts and never happy until she stepped through the door and on some certain nights even when she had more important things i got her all to myself under trees and trellises and
we were in the empty kitchen laughing and eating a cake our waistlines would hate but both of us pretending like we weren’t living down the barrel of a gun and our laughter swelled to fill the empty places of our broken bodies and we were covered with flour and she was perched like a bird on the counter in this sleek red dress and i slipped my body between her legs to reach for another mouthful and when she cupped her fingers under my chin she kissed me like she was summer and i was the wind and i felt my heart pound like a fire alarm and broke apart from her and she blushed so deep red and tried to explain herself but i couldn’t handle it, i couldn’t, i put my hands on Her Majesty as if she was water and i was lost in the desert, i held her strong and kept her close to my heart and touched every forbidden inch of skin i had been holding myself back from discovering and we kissed and kissed and kissed and her tongue was hot and wet and her teeth nipped against my chest and our dresses got in the way so we shed them like layers of lies until it was just us naked, she and i, pools of cloth at our feet, faces hot and hearts beating so loud we expected to burn down the house. her whole body was so smooth and curved and i was captive and the way she tasted was only matched by the way she writhed and we stayed up reinventing each other’s ideas of heat until it was the early morning and we had to pretend we’d never done anything
and we took dance lessons together and i wore her sleek red dress and it reminded me of the way it felt when she held me and at first we pretended like nothing happened because it was all so complicated i mean i knew she was using me to stop being so empty but goddamn when she laughed i felt the world explode and one day while we were practicing i jokingly partnered her and she paused and pushed back my hair and said “i love you” like it was the last secret she had to keep and we melted to the floor like we were made of candy and her hands were like frightened ice skaters across my skin and she was so uncertain as she ran kisses across my body and she slipped her fingers up alongside the inside of my thighs and inhaled the way i moaned under her and when her tongue found me i forgot we were supposed to be well-behaved and i watched our reflections in the mirror as we ruined each other’s good intentions over and over and over again
and the days ticked by like this and we kissed when we were alone and were best friends when we were in company and her fingers knew how to find the best parts of me in a split instant and our showers were a sin for the waste of hot water and on some nights we just rested against each other and tried to explain away the tired and on some nights we were estranged lovers and on some nights we didn’t speak, just fucked each other so raw that it gave us something real to feel in the morning, cradling our bruises as war medals in a land of machines
and the days ticked by and before he proposed to her he came to me and frowned and said, “i don’t know what she’d like for a ring.” and i said, “it figures” and he laughed about it even though i meant each word to pour like poison down his throat and i helped him pick out a ring i would have been proud of her to wear
and i went to her room that night and said, “are you real?” and she said “as can be” and when i kissed her i couldn’t stop shaking.
loving her was loving the way the world turns and loving sunrises and loving her was loving harder each and every day, loving her was loving a wild animal. it was loving an open wound.
So urban farming has taken off lately, among a certain set of people. I’ve been seeing posts railing against lawn culture, offering up pictures of these gorgeously cool traditional vegetable gardens and trellises and vertical gardens and pot gardens and all sorts of combinations thereof and it’s uplifting and solarpunk and really really cool. And I’m here to say that it can be everything it’s promised to be. Five or six years ago, my parents tore up their front lawn and made it into a garden. It’s been amazing - they get troops of old ladies coming up and ringing the doorbell asking for a tour, passersby stopping to stare and smile, little kids looking covetously at the raspberries that my dad always comes out to offer them. (Sometimes he also uses them to get rid of salespeople, but that’s another story.) In peak season, we get fresh tomatoes, potatoes, beets, carrots, peppers, onions, cucumbers, and squash, and that’s off the top of my head and not including the berry bushes we have as hedges and the lovingly-tended fruit trees in the back yard. My parents haven’t darkened the door of a grocery store produce section in more than a month at the moment I’m typing this. It’s fantastic.
My parents are teachers. They get reliable weekends and two months off during peak growing season. They also have a very comfortable middle-class salary (our teachers aren’t in quite the straits salary-wise that they find themselves in south of the border) that means they could afford, at the outset, to hire the labour necessary to get the garden started - I believe Bobcats were involved. And, last but not least, they’re gardeners. If you make the mistake of commenting to my mother that the garden must be a lot of work, she looks at you blankly and informs you that she wouldn’t do it if it were work to her. But if you aren’t a bred-in-the-bones gardener, chances are you’d hate it. I grew up the child of two bred-in-the-bones gardeners and it isn’t a commitment I’d want to make. There’s rototilling and fertilizing and digging and planting and covering and watering and more digging and thinning and weeding (and weeding and weeding and weeding), and then there’s even more digging and picking and washing and chopping and freezing if you want to make sure you get to keep what you’ve grown, otherwise it’s just as wasteful as a lawn anyway - after all, you’ve put all that water into it. My parents had to buy an entire new freezer to store all their produce, and while that sounds great (and it is), it also presupposes that they could afford to buy a new freezer.
What I’m trying to get at here is that if you want to do this urban farming thing that everyone’s so adamant about, you have to have the time, and if you don’t have the disposable income you have to have a lot more time, at least at the outset, and also hope your back holds out for the duration. And lawns aren’t a symbol of the kind of immense wealth they used to be - you kind of just inherit them if you buy a house. A house, mind you - not a castle or a mansion. Lawns have moved down the ranks into the firmly middle-class. Decrying lawn culture is all very well as it goes, but holding up urban farming as the universal solution is, to my way of thinking, disingenuous. Time is money, and not everyone with a lawn is rich.
A short ficlet about Sansa’s stewardship of Winterfell, and how the glass gardens support the war effort, even though it breaks Jon’s heart.
Jon’s stomach churned when Sansa swung open the doors to the glass gardens. The ground was torn apart. The flowers and trees had vanished. No more delicate white blooms climbing
up trellises, or bushes offering up blue winter roses. Only small, spiny plants as far as he could
“We dug it all up,” Sansa said. “Nothing to be wasted, in
this war. Hardly any places left hot enough to grow plants. And we need these ones. Rueberries.
Theon told me about them once. The Ironborn bring sacks of dried rueberries on voyages across the sea. The maester says they’ll keep us from falling ill, when all we have left is hard
bread and dried meat.”
Sansa knelt and traced a tiny branch. “Maester Luwin stored different seeds to prepare for long winters. Sam
recognized the rueberry seeds when we sifted through Maester Luwin’s old cabinets.” She rose, and brushed the dirt
from her skirts. ”What do you think? I’d hoped you’d be pleased.”
Jon swallowed. “You and Sam, you’ve both done so well,
but…you loved these gardens, Sansa. You and Jeyne used to sing together when you walked the paths. I found you once sleeping next to the lilac bush, Lady curled up by your side-“
Sansa smiled sadly. “There, in the west corner, I remember.
But flowers are a luxury, Jon. We can’t eat them. Rueberries grow fast, and they’ll keep us
healthy. Keep us alive.”
Jon nodded. He let Sansa lead him to the granary next. He
cast one last look over his shoulder, though, remembering a girl who’d touched the petals of the first spring flower, and smiled in secret.
Jon fought the Great War for his people, to beat back the wave of the army of the dead. But after Sansa showed him the stripped soil, he fought
for the gardens too. That Sansa might be able to plant winter roses there again,
and live to see them bloom.
Fuck. Everyone’s caught on how much I like amnesia fics and FUCK, I STILL LIKE THEM, EVEN AFTER WRITING THREE ALREADY.
Fuck. Me and my amnesia trope. Of course I’ll write you your fucking amnesiac Belle fic. Of course.
“And I really couldn’t remember who she was?”
“No, sir.” Cogsworth wags his head. “And she was in a pretty state about it.”
“Crying, and weeping, and begging for me to return to who I was?”
“Rather more….ah….a trifle more sarcastic than that, my lord. I would more say she was impudent than she was wise.”
“Pfft.” Adam smiles and looks off. The sun is setting over Villeneuve. It’s fit to be a beautiful night.
“Does it ever occur to you, Cogsworth, that strange things seem to happen to us rather frequently?”
“Oh, sir?” Feather-weight Plumette, too heavy to be moved. Lumiere with flat blue eyes, not knowing who he was. A time in the woods when Belle spoke Shakespeare and something…strange….happened. China at the gates and wizards in the kitchen. Cogsworth is exhausted from pretending to forget it all. “I really don’t know what you mean, sir.”
Adam is about to explain, but the crash from the rose garden cuts him off. The old rotten rose trellises, still wet from eternal winter, and he had told her not to touch them til they were fixed—
He is over the side of the balcony before Cogsworth can pull him back again. The bloody idiot still thinks he’s seven feet high and can jump like a tiger—but thank heaven, there are no broken bones as Adam sprints away.
“I hope it’s not magic, again,” groans the old man, as he takes the more sedate path around the madness. “That would just be too absurd. A man must have his retirement.”
It’s not magic. It’s blood. She scratched her head as she fell, and there’s still the stain on her temple, where she crumpled to the ground. Adam almost cries out in terror to see it—Belle is always so strong, so proud, so fearsome; to see her felled by an old, broken trellis, and a few splinters of thorn, and pale and deaf upon the ground…..he lifts her up in his arms, quick, and is talking fierce and fast to her as he walks back to the palace.
“Wake up, Belle, wake up, dearest one—dammit, Belle, if you don’t wake up, I’m going to call the priest, and you know how jealous of him I am—come on, you vagrant, you vixen, wake up, let me see your eyes, wake up and stop fooling, you know it scares me—”
Adam lays her in her bed, and will not leave her. He doesn’t yell, but the servants can tell he is deathly frightened. He lies beside her—even as they beg him not to, even as Cogsworth knows what is going to happen, as sure as he knows the way one minute follows another—and falls asleep that way, not touching her, just beside her as she bleeds and grows pale and breathes from restless dreams.
Cogsworth waits outside the door. He knows madness is coming. He won’t let it fall outside his control.
“Call me the moment anything happens,” Lumiere says, yawning, before he heads to bed.
“It’ll happen at midnight,” says Cogsworth. “These things always do.”
“Fine! Chime, then, when it happens. Be your best clock, mon ami.”
“I hate it when he does that,” says Cogsworth, and turns back to wait.
The hours creep by slowly enough. He checks his watch. 11:51.
A shriek from the bedroom. “Who are you?! Where is the Beast?! Get out of here! Oh, my god, the NERVE—” crash. Someone was just thrown out of bed. “What are you, another one of the prisoners?! Lumiere! Garderobe! Get him out!”
Cogsworth sighs and puts the pocket watch away. The mistress was always unexpected, after all.
A glitch of fate that Draco doesn’t fathom he could ever forgive, much less forget. Some cataclysmic careening of fate lines, fault lines; a mess of teeth marks and lipstick prints. Something that never should have happened.
Because Draco doesn’t frequent the Leaky Cauldron on gritty, late weekend nights. Doesn’t wipe bloody knuckles on his trousers and act as though he hadn’t just shattered a mirror in a fit of anger, bitterness, revenge on the world for putting his father in Azkaban and utterly wrecking the life that had been so carefully delineated for him, before.