Deborah J. "DJ" Martin

A Witch and a Bitch with an Herbal Itch - and an overactive imagination

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Month: June 2013

Freaky Friday

What a day!

I had to go to a couple banks for clients & more importantly, drive 70 miles to the mall to do some shopping. I dislike shopping even more than I dislike cooking so you know it was something I really had to do. (And no, didn’t find everything I needed, either.)

I was only a little over a mile from home, bemoaning the fact that I’d gotten stuck behind one of the neighbors that drives no faster than 20 mph (even on the 65 mph 4-lane) and it would be 2 more miles before I could go around him when in the gutter between the hood & windshield appeared a little furry face with whiskers. Yep, it was a mouse. It’s not the first time one has nested in my car but it is the first time I’ve actually seen one. (The other time the mechanic just found the nest.) Pulled over, cut the engine, opened the hood & banged on everything I could think of to encourage him to find another home. I hope he got out OK.

I’m not just a sucker for critters (although there is that). Mouse is my life-long spirit animal. Most folks think Mouse people are secretive. We’re not, really. Cautious is a better description, as well as being detail-oriented. His/her appearance (such a cutie-pie!) was probably a reminder to me of Mouse’s attributes during my day’s transactions.

The bank visits had me shaking my head. First, at one of my clients; second at the fresh-faced banker who felt it necessary to explain what had happened six times when I told him I understood the first time. I bit my tongue & didn’t tell him I’ve been dealing with banks longer than he’s been alive.

If I have to go to a store/mall to do shopping, I’m a woman on a mission. Get in, get the crap & get out. Rather difficult to do when every teenager in Atlanta was at that mall. Stopped at the food court for lunch & the teenaged cashier gave me a “senior” drink, i.e., free. I’m always happy to get something free but not so sure I like the idea of looking like I’m a senior! My hair’s not completely gray, yet!

Stopped at the mailbox on the way in (it’s 1.3 miles from the house) and thankfully, I looked before sticking my hand in. There was a brown recluse spider sitting on top of the envelopes. I’m glad to know he was more scared of me than I of him – he took off right away.

Then, almost home, a Red-Tailed Hawk paralleled me for about 1/10 mile before veering off & perching in a tree. He sat long enough for me to take a picture but the damned phone camera doesn’t do close-ups. I swear he wanted his picture taken because I had to stop the car, grab the phone & get out. As soon as I snapped the photo, he took off.  (I’d post it but you really can’t see him unless you know what you’re looking for.) So, another message for me but I’m still puzzling that one out.

It’s 5:00 somewhere, right?

Meditating …

I feel a bit adrift. Baneful! is finally out … the hard part remains: marketing. That will continue over the next rest-of-my-life, along with my other books. I can’t do that every waking hour, though, without turning into what I dislike the most: a spammer.

I don’t have another herb book immediately in mind and my brain just doesn’t want to wrap itself around writing fiction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started, restarted and restarted yet again Ogre’s Assistant Book Two. I know what happens at the beginning and how it should end but getting from Point A to Point Z? Not just flowing from my fingers. What’s a writer to do?

Clean. My solution to almost any problem. (If you’ve read Stressed! Ogre’s Assistant Book One, this will sound familiar!). It’s been a couple of months since my office was even dusted but thankfully, the cleaning felines do a fairly good job of that rolling around on my desk & filing cabinets when seeking attention. No, it needs more than that. The floor needs a good wet mopping. So, cooling on the stove is my wood-floor cleaner: strong black tea with a handful of Rosemary thrown in for good measure. (I love the smell of Rosemary & it’s an excellent magically-cleansing herb. I practice what I preach.)

There’s more to it than just a good cleaning, though. Some people get their best ideas in the shower, others while they’re driving their car. I get mine while mopping & vacuuming. It’s a form of active meditation that suits my A-type personality rather well.  (Those who know me would have a good belly-laugh at the thought of me sitting quietly for even five minutes.)

I need to get out in the garden, too. (Like housework, gardening is never-ending.) Later, though, when the sun isn’t quite so high and hot. That’s another form of meditation for me. I can let my mind wander far & wide – or nowhere while pulling “weeds” from the beds.

Can’t sit still to meditate? Try vacuuming or mopping or weed-pulling. It works. Trust me.

Summer’s Here!

Yes, I know. Summer doesn’t officially start until Friday morning. So sue me. The herbs aren’t waiting a week.

I spent a long, lovely weekend in the garden. It’s true what they say: gardening is great therapy. Just in case you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter (why not?), I’ll tell you I had an up-and-down Friday. It started out great: Baneful! is finally out. (If you missed it, scroll back one post for all the links to purchase it.)

It ended on a really sucky note: I had to put our almost-16 year old cat to sleep.  Logically, I know it was the right thing to do but damn! I have to stop myself from fixing her pill at certain times and continually look for her on my bed or in her chair.

Anyhoo, I worked out my emotions. Because I couldn’t do much in the garden at all last year (due to a frozen shoulder), I’m still catching up. One of the things that sorely needed attention were the paths, which are all mulch. Or they’re supposed to be. Neglect and heavy rainfall creating a wash problem had really messed them up. 52 bags of cypress mulch later, they finally look like they’re supposed to.

Once that was spread, I turned my attention to the beds. The Clary Sage is in its second year and, true to form, is flowering!


Look at those delicate purply-pink flowers! Two more plants (in the other Clary Sage bed – I have two) are also about to pop.

This, however, is my clue it really is summer:


I have several Lavender plants, only two of which are really happy – this, obviously, is one of them. It sits at the foot of the stairs from the house to the garden and is a wonderful greeting!

One thing I didn’t take a photo of is the tomatoes. That’s the only vegetable I grow because hubby’s idea of a vegetable is the ketchup on his burger & I alone simply can’t eat everything even one plant of anything else would produce. (Yes, I have a recipe for homemade ketchup. Salsa, too.) Those two plants are now about 3 feet high & 3 feet wide and have not only tons of blossoms but baby ‘maters, as well!

Other things are emerging, slowly. Much more slowly than in past years. In a few days’ time (after it quits raining – again), it’ll be time to thin the poppies, belladonna and carnations (which I grow simply because they’re my favorite flower).

So, how’s your garden doing? Is it proving to you it’s summer?!


PS Neem lotion may do a great job of repelling chiggers, gnats and the like, but it doesn’t bother spiders at all. You should see the huge bite on my knee!

Baneful! Release Day!

OMG. I am so excited … and relieved. Baneful! 95 of the World’s Worst Herbs is finally out!

Baneful! Cover


It’s currently available in paperback through Amazon US and Amazon UK. In the next couple of weeks, it should be available to shop owners through Ingram distribution services.

Give it a day or so and it will also be available on Kindle, Nook and Kobo. (I’ll update the links when they’re live.)

If you want an autographed copy, my order should be here the last week of June. Check back to my Herb Books page as I’ll update that when I can ship.

This has been a year-and-a-half project. Celebrate with me!


Update: E-book links are live! Get it for your preferred reading device: Kindle, Nook or Kobo.