A month full of wonderful changes and challenges.


It is the exciting month of NaNoWriMo!! This will be the second time I have done the November full novel challenge, however, I have participated successfully in a couple NaNoWriMo spring and summer writing camps in April and July. But this is the big daddy where the challenge is a complete 50,000-word novel. I have published one book from all these challenges. This NaNoWriMo challenge is a great way to exercise the writing skills in a fast-paced and condensed way.

So, I’m starting here on the 3rd…3 days and thousands of words behind. I have one month to complete this novel that I have no clue about where it’s going or what it will truly be about in the end.

And that is the thrill of doing this challenge. You don’t have time to actually think. You don’t have time to plot it out, draw out scene maps on a corkboard, or even get to know your characters. You put a pot of coffee on and you sit down to type like a crazy person. You don’t have time to overthink yourself right out of a story or to judge your work. This is extremely freeing to just be pure creative energy without the ego putting a halt to the parade.

So, here I go writing, writing, writing…and brewing espressos. But there are other things on the schedule. We are having interviews with the social worker for our foster care processes. Three interviews this month…all before Thanksgiving. It’s a bit nerve jangling although I know we will be fine and I’m going into it with more curiosity as to who are these people that I’ll be working with…I am also interviewing this woman as much as she is interviewing myself and family.

I decided to undertake Fall cleaning last week after Molly, our little puppy Dachshund, left some poop gifts on the carpet. I purchased the best carpet cleaner ever! A small, compact Hoover that is so slim and light I find it easier than my daily vacuum. I have been enjoying cleaning the carpets and deep cleaning the house, making it fresh, scrubbed, and good smelling again.

On top of that, we had to pull up some trees in our front yard and the avocado tree in the back outside my laundry room. I called 811 to have them come out again and really discuss these gas lines and what trees could stay. What the man pointed out was that they were fine with the gas lines but three trees were growing on top of the waterline. So the nectarine tree and my beloved shade tree, along with two wild-growing trees had to go. The nectarine turned out to be dead so that wasn’t so depressing. The avocado tree in the back was an experiment but now we know to really plan our tree planting.

The good news is that we still have two apple trees, grapes, mandarin, lemon, lime, pomegranate, two avocados, two almond trees, and a possible plum or if not, a pretty ornamental tree. Andddd…finally, my husband saw the light after a visit to my friend the “master gardener” and she explained to him how a real citrus tree should look. We had these two trees; one orange and one mandarin that were purchased from Lowe’s over two years ago and grew like weeds, looked like weeds and I was told a few times that they were more than likely suckers that had been grafted on. Bali held out hope that they would magically produce abundant, sweet fruit and prove us all wrong. I hassled him every season to remove them so we could plant more real fruit trees.

A two-year dream came true yesterday after our visit to the master gardener and sucker trees were explained to my spouse. We stopped by Green Acres, the only place I will ever buy trees or seeds…unless there is a local nursery other than this. We came home with our two new bundles of joy. Another nectarine and a three variety pear tree. We pulled up the sucker citrus trees and planted our new fruit children.

I can’t explain how accomplished it feels and that internal sigh of relief. We have a very small amount of land here in town. Every inch is valuable and has to be used wisely. You learn that growing vegetables over water and gas lines are fine but trees must be planted elsewhere. You learn to plant trees and vegetables together as companions and to utilize space. I have my greens growing under fruit trees in hot weather and sun-loving plants in the front yard over all the gas/water lines where they won’t harm things and trees don’t block the light. I have a large garage that takes up too much room as far as I’m concerned and a patio that also irritates. However, I am learning many ways I can grow on the patio without taking up the cement. I’ve already painted it earth brown to make it less hot in the summer and less glaring with the ugly cement. I could put beds on the patio or grow out of straw bales. I can use lots of containers and pots to grow tomatoes and herbs on the patio.

We are no Dervae’s family with their mini-farm in 4,000 sq ft in the LA city neighborhood. However, I can get busy with what we have and really make the back and front yard perform and produce tons of organic fruit and veggies.

I was reading Connie Hultquist’s Dear Kitchen Saints on our drive yesterday and I chose a piece on Depression Era Mothers. She talked of the country mothers that would raise chickens and plant huge gardens. They would plant pots and containers of seedlings in the winter and sell Bossy’s milk for a gallon of gas or coffee. I love this stuff. It reminds us of a time when life was simple and needs were as basic as that gallon of gas for the car or some coffee for the morning brew. There is something peaceful and uncomplicated about that. I also love the industriousness of the housewife back then. You know she didn’t have a greenhouse or little seedling pots from the local nursery. No, she used cans she had saved for years and put the seedlings in the windows of the farmhouse. She made do with everything.

Inspired we have our new fruit trees and I have committed to saving all my cans for my seedlings in the spring.

Believe it, people, the new year is less than two months away. What life do you envision for the coming year? To have a hearty savings account? To grow a large garden that gives you the cleanest and freshest produce? To simplify life? To get out of the rat race or get out of debt? To quit media and get back into an old hobby?

For this coming year, my goal is to learn as much as I can about gardening and tending to my fruit and nut trees. The other goal is making extra payments on the mortgage and be mortgage-free in 6 years. To build an enormous savings account. To live a simple and fulfilling life. To spend more time visiting family and friends. To be content right where we are instead of looking for that other home or town to make me happy. To continue decorating and creating right here in my little cottage and with my sweet gardens. To hone the skills of canning and baking and the craft of writing.

Sounds cozy, right?!



17 thoughts on “A month full of wonderful changes and challenges.

  1. Such a positive, inspiring post, Kate. Everything you wrote is so true. I, too, love to read about times when living was simple and that’s why I enjoy your blog and videos and many of the homesteading vids on Youtube.

    You and Bali made great strides in getting expert advise via the gas company and “the master gardener” on what areas to avoid planting any new trees. I’m so sorry you lost two years waiting for the Lowe’s trees to bear fruit only to discover you had to remove them. I have a young apricot tree in the back yard (as well as a Meyer Lemon) and, after a three year wait, this past spring was the first time it bore fruit and, boy, it went to town! The problem is they all seem to ripen at the same time! I’ll be prepared next spring. I now have a dehydrator (and will soon be getting a pressure canner). I also have a fig tree but the birds get to the young figs before they’re big enough to harvest. I’m going to get netting for that.

    I don’t mean to go on and on about ME! The upcoming weeks are going to be crazy busy for you. I have no doubt in the WORLD that you will come up with a marvelous novel. 50,000 words are a drop in the bucket for Kate Singh. Your property is ready, the house is ready, and your interviews with case workers will be a piece of cake. They will see how happy and joyful the kids are and what a great foster mom you will be. Wishing you only the very best life has to offer.


    1. Thank you, Lois, for such uplifting words! I am not a fig lover and would personally use it to distract the birds from my precious fruit, lol. Fruit trees do take time…up to five years sometimes but these guys were weeds. I’m so happy when I walk out there and see my lovely nectarine and pear. You and I will be canning and dehydrating together!😊🍅🥒🥔🥕🍊


  2. I can totally identify with being happy with where you are, or where you are planted…my abode is a 1948 original and trying to bring her into the 21st century is always a challenge. But, with that said I find that appreciating and honoring what we have is a mantra I need to abide, and I do😊Okay, maybe not everyday but more than not!!!

    I have a premonition that your characters will come to you, soon and they will be delightful and your story will flow like water out of your Berkey !!! Ok, I know, too many silly cliches, so off I go to bake bread…

    Ps….I look forward to hearing about your foster parents experience, only as much as you feel safe sharing of course!!
    Blessings to you and yours Kate, Marylou124


    1. Good morning, Marylou! I can only share a tad with the foster stuff…only how I’m figuring out my days with an extra child but not more, for privacy reasons to protect the children. Ah, I hope the story does flow like my Berkey! Which has to be filled often…just like my mind! Ok, off to clean and play with my house and garden.


  3. Hi Kate! Writing a novel must be very exciting and challenging! You got this! So sorry you had to remove those trees. I love trees and it is sad when there is no alternative but removal.
    Hope that you get a foster baby really soon! You will be a great foster family. There is so much love in your home! When you talk about and I see on your vlog all that you have done in your home and garden, it inspires me! Enjoying the vegan cooking also, even though we could never do the same.
    My visions for the 2020 are to plant loads of things in the spring. We have an acre and a half and have used only a fraction for gardens. Also I want to get organized, de cluttered and do lots of no spend months. We want to be debt free in five years so hubs can retire.
    Thank you for sharing and inspiring me to be my best me💐


  4. Hi Kate, I’m new to both your blog and vlog. Your spirit is infectious. You inspire me with your vision for all things home. Wishing you much success in all your goals for yourself.


  5. Great post as usual! This past weekend I shipped Obie off to his father’s, and the Redneck had a weekend all to his own self, while I drove to my friend’s home for the weekend. She and another friend were putting on a women’s retreat entitled Cozy Mountain Lodge, and it was wonderful. Based on the Book of Ruth, it really was a blessing to be with ten other women, from different churches and life styles, learning God’s Word and how to apply it to our daily lives. One bonus aspect of the study came about when we were doing a ‘worship walk through’ of my friend’s home. There were all these little devotions in our study guide, and little areas in different rooms to sit down and worship and contemplate what God was speaking to our hearts. As I went through it, I realized that all the rooms listed (bedroom, family room, dining room, etc) were the same rooms that I had been neglecting in my own home due to being too busy, too tired, whatever. I was suddenly reminded of a quote I had saved earlier that week. It said, “I’m going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.” Elsie De Wolfe

    I think that pretty much sums up what you, me, and all the others in our community are working at doing.


    1. Thank you Evelyn. You have inspired me. I, too, have neglected my home, because I was busy, tired or depressed. I need to start working on my home. Kate always inspires me, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am in Colorado. Last year we had a drought. The soil is weird on the fruit tree. My darling husband pruned at the wrong time. We had a early spring during the winter last year. We didn’t pull the suckers that the right time. (Those little sprouting trees at the base). I don’t do the fruit trees. I do the veggies. God this NaNoWriMo is driving me crazy. I have 10,000 words down. I was looking for the communities, cannot find it. I think it is my internet acting up. Melissa


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